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06 December 2012


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ex-PFC Chuck

Have the Nobel poobahs ever withdrawn a previously awarded Peace Prize? (Or any Nobel prize for that matter?) Perhaps a new precedent should be set.


A bomb to drop one bridge? What type of bridge? a 25ton? Or the GWB? Kill more than eight? Well one can do that with a C4 brick. So I guess C4 is now a WMD? wWe have really lost our minds...


If ever there was an argument for owning a nuclear deterrent capable of reaching the continental U.S., the fates of Sadaam Hussien, Ghadaffi, Assad, could we be excused for thinking these have provided one to Iran?

Clifford Kiracofe

"(Reuters) - Syrian rebel groups meeting in Turkey elected a 30-member unified command on Friday at talks attended by security officials from international powers, delegates said.

The 30 included many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, and excluded the most senior officers who had defected from President Bashar al-Assad's military, they said.

"The command has been organized into several fronts. We are now in the process of electing a military leader and a political liaison officer for each region," said one of the delegates who did not want to be named, speaking from the coastal city of Antalya, where the meeting is being held.

Another delegate said that two-thirds of the leadership had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or were politically allied with the group, a composition which resembles that of the civilian opposition leadership coalition created under Western and Arab auspices in Qatar last month.

"We are witnessing the result of the Qatari and Turkish creations," the delegate said, adding that the 30 are a mix of officers who had defected from the military, which is dominated by Assad's minority Alawite sect, and civilians-turned rebels.

Security officials from the United States, Britain, France, the Gulf and Jordan have been attending the talks..."

Clifford Kiracofe


thanks. Brookings seems very well positioned given its operation in Doha. The latest Brookings paper I noted is highly recommended at the influential Council on Foreign Relations website indicating it is circulating among the foreign policy establishment.

The beaver

"The battle for the future control of Syria is at the heart of this enormous geopolitical war and tug of war. Its resolution will have enormous consequences for either world peace or endless war and conflict and slaughter. NATO member Turkey is playing with fire as is Qatar's Emir, along with Israel's Netanyahu and NATO members France and USA. Natural gas is the flammable ingredient that is fueling this insane scramble for energy in the region."

The conclusion of this article:



For starters.... stability.....


Especially if Jordan falls....

Babak Makkinejad

I will make sure to never read anything by Engdahl.

[Turkey, had a choice to make: acceed to the orders coming out of the White House or become another Greece.]

William R. Cumming

WMD is now CBRNE in DoD!


Can part of the calculation be an end game that installs a 'moderate' MB leadership that will be amenable to accepting military aid in exchange for peace with Israel?

And as you say, the annexing of the Golan would be quite the prize.


Eventual dialog with Iran and shared regional hegemony with Russia and China.


Not sure about Rice, but Power appears to be a well-meaning, if frantic, busy-body.


Yes, the biggest question in the back of my mind has been how Hezbollah will fare, especially if Assad is deposed. Will the Saudis and Quataris simply send money and waves of jihadis to out-number them? Or can Hezbollah easily refresh numbers from Lebanon and Iran?

Clifford Kiracofe


Thanks for the heads up. Engdahl is a well informed and serious analyst with an independent perspective. I noticed South Stream is under way now.

In former times it was the Hamburg-Baghdad Railroad and French and Russian projects while today it is the pipeline routes, yes? no? bien sur...

Clifford Kiracofe


We are back to the Blairite "Dodgy Dossier" days...

Hague chimes in:

"William Hague has said he has seen "some evidence" that Bashar al-Assad's regime is preparing to use chemical weapons against Syrian rebels.

The foreign secretary would not give specific details of the intelligence, also seen by the US, but said it was enough to renew warnings to Assad that his regime would face action if they were deployed."

Back to the "Dodgy Dossier" days.

Hague, a Brit version of a US Neocon/Humanitarian Interventionist: "In August 2010, Hague set out a values based foreign policy. He said that "We cannot have a foreign policy without a conscience. Foreign policy is domestic policy written large. The values we live by at home do not stop at our shores. Human rights are not the only issue that informs the making of foreign policy, but they are indivisible from it, not least because the consequences of foreign policy failure are human"."

Clifford Kiracofe

The Israeli line has always been that "Jordan is Palestine." So, if the monarchy falls, or if not, a convenient space into which to "transfer" Israeli and West Bank Palestinians?

Charles I

I was thinking in terms of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Syrian chaos defangs a lot of potential opposition too and response to a strike on Iran, although it frees up some actors. Its also a long term opportunity, albeit, as Harper informs us, an unplanned one, to nibble away at the northern border. If a weak Baathist Syria is not to be permitted, the potential for the country to be dismembered after it fails cannot be ignored. Recall the concerns in Iraq that the Kurds would hive off and the state would be disassembled. Similarly, if the neocons necessary to attack Iran's price is the destruction of Assad, they should be accommodated.

The one thing that cannot be allowed is a strategic threat to Israeli nuclear hegemony and freed of action. This mandates a reduction of Syria,where the chaos surely limits Russian ability to gird Syria to respond to an attack on Iran.

Charles I

Thanks for the historical imperial context.

Charles I

I thought Israel aspired to regional hegemony, and would brook no other. And as a control freak, I have a little trouble with the concept of shared tripartite hegemony in that arena.

FB Ali


In answer to your question above: My estimate is that Sunni jihadi militias operating in an anarchic Syria will not, in themselves, pose a great threat to Hizbullah. The main setback to them will be the cutting off of a supply line from Iran and the opening up of one for the Lebanese Sunnis. In the short-term this should not unduly shift the balance of power in Lebanon. For Israel (and Saudi Arabia and Qatar) the main route to neutralizing Hizbullah is to foment civil strife in Lebanon. After Syria, this will be the next item on their agenda.


I do not foresee the unholy alliance you refer to above trying to neutralize the jihadis after they have smashed Syria. I see them trying to point them towards Lebanon next. The Saudi and Qatari royals are quite happy to support these AQ jihadis abroad while crushing them within their own countries. Typically stupid. The monster they are feeding will one day turn around and devour them.


I did reconsider my choice of words after I posted, but let's just say that the US has no intention of allowing Russia or China to become the cock of the rock in the area.


Thank you, sir.

Clifford Kiracofe

One of the few somewhat balanced reports in the press I have seen:

"One of the reasons that President Bashar al-Assad has not been toppled like the Arab Spring dictators of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen is that he has a strong base of support. Rebels have found to their cost that some of the suburbs are doggedly loyal to Mr Assad, and refuse to allow the anti-government forces to pass through....."

But analysts and ordinary residents of Damascus tell a different story: one in which, in many areas, the regime remains very much in control, and indeed cannot be deposed by purely rebel military offensives.

"In Damascus, there is no sign that the city is about to fall," said Samir.

"Too many people support Bashar al-Assad. Everything is fine in my neighbourhood. There are all the supplies we need, and life is almost normal. If the men that you call the Free Syrian Army are there, then they are hiding from the army.

"In the regular army there are Sunnis, Christians and Alawites. The FSA are Muslims that want to liberate us, but then why don't the Muslims in Assad's army want to fight for the FSA?"
There are tens of thousands of well-armed, well-trained Syrian soldiers, plus many civilians who will fight to the death for the government, because they feel they have nowhere to go if it falls".
But then I saw that the Muslim Brotherhood leads the FSA, and no one wants that. I don't want to live in an Islamic state.
At another checkpoint rebels came onto a bus full of people and demanded the Christians give them their crosses. Then they told us that Christianity is not a religion."

Quite a difference in reporting between this Brit journalist and the breathless American stenographers posing as journalists who serve as propagandists for the White House and State Dept....

Clifford Kiracofe

One of the key "players" in US Syria policy. It is useful to look into where policy comes from and from whom. People make policy, it is not delivered by storks:

"Who: Special Advisor for Regional Affairs Ambassador Fred Hof
What: Presentation on Syria
When: 1600-1730, 18 September 2012
Where: DLI, Weckerling Center, Gold Room.

This event is open to all NPS and DLI students. He is giving a similar presentation in San Francisco. The following is from that site:
Ambassador Frederic Hof, US Department of State’s Special Advisor on Transition in Syria, will provide remarks regarding US policy, engagement with the Syrian opposition and efforts to reintegrate Syria into the international community. While the focus remains on removing the Assad regime, stopping the violence, and easing the refugee situation the State Department is also looking at what comes next for the Syrian people.
Ambassador Hof will also discuss the challenges ahead for Syria, including the formation of a transitional government, protection of all ethnic and religious communities, drafting a new constitution, holding elections, economic revitalization and reinstating rule of law."...
Ambassador Hof is a 1969 graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and began his professional career as an Army officer. He is a Vietnam veteran and served as a US Army Middle East Foreign Area Officer, studying Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute in Tunisia and receiving a Masters Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as US Army Attaché in Beirut, Lebanon and later in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Director for Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian Affairs...."

Biographic data/Hof interview:

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