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27 August 2013


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In summary:

We dont know what the chemical agent was that was employed
We dont know who made the delivery system
We dont know where it was fired from
We dont know from whence it came

Yet the US and UK and France are all going to bomb the regime.



And the hypocrisy begins at 0:55....


robt willmann

As was the subject of the previous post below, "The smoking gun comes from ....", the Times of Israel comes out and says it--


The lead paragraph--

"While Israel will almost certainly take no direct part in a military strike, Israeli intelligence information is widely believed to have played a central role in enabling the US’s adamant conviction that Assad’s regime fired chemical weapons at civilians outside Damascus last Wednesday ...."

The next paragraph--

"A large delegation of senior Israeli security officials is currently in Washington holding talks with top administration officials led by US National Security Adviser Susan Rice."

And the headline: "Israeli intelligence seen as central to US case against Syria".

The article is dated 27 August and is quite a puff piece.

The Israeli government must be rolling on the floor laughing at how easy it is to manipulate the "top administration officials led by US National Security Adviser Susan Rice".


Meh. Limited action to incapacitate Assad's ability to deliver CWs? Russians won't escalate? "Not giving the rebels a decisive edge" and "no regime change" ?

I'm OK with this.

From recent rumours, it thought the administration was trying to help the "right" rebels win, both against Assad and the "wrong" rebels - a losing proposition IMO. If Harper's assessment is accurate, my understanding was incorrect - much to my relief!



Harper is a guest author. I have a right to edit his material for format and I have. pl


Of course you do Sir. My curiosity was based on whether there had been new information that led to the removal of the "Israeli aspect" of the post.

Doug Tunnell

A piece by Noah Schachtman in Foreign Policy credits "U.S. intelligence" with the intercept...


William R. Cumming

If BHO were able to get a vote on Syria in the HOUSE my guess is that it would fracture further the TEA PARTY!


"For Obama and his inner circles of advisors (Rice, Jarrett, Axelrod, Power, Michelle Obama), ..."

I thought Axelrod left Obama's employ last year to work as a journalist. How could he be in Obama's inner circle deciding whether the US commits an act of war against a no-threat sovereign nation a quarter of the way across the planet?

Medicine Man

I wonder about your second point too. I seem to remember Hezbollah having the capacity to drop rockets on Israel, so how does the means of delivery implicate Assad beyond question?


"Secretary of State Kerry has spoken with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and has informed him of the American plans, along with reassurances that the United States is not targeting any Russian strategic interests in Syria or seeking regime change."

The Russians received similar assurances over Libya.

An NYT article that offers not terribly persuasive reasons why Assad might have resorted to chemical weapons at this juncture:



Stephanie: If the Russians believe Kerry's assurance, then the Russian deserve to lose their strategic interests in Syria.


I just heard Nicholas Burns say: ... the US has a dog in the fight in Syria because #1 the poor Syrians are being brutalised by the Assad regime, #2 because of Israel, and #3 because of Iran and Iran's ally Hezbollah, and America's adversary Russia.

I found notable the use of the word 'adversary'.

Probably, for Burns the cold war never ended, and probably that the Syrian people don't matter for more than being a prop for his grand strategery games - what an opportunity - whack Iran, Hezbollah and Russia at the same time! Obviously, by all means the US must give it a shot!



Nicholas Burns is just another pretty boy foreign service whore. pl

 Larry Kart

Colonel -- I hold no brief for Mr. Burns the "pretty boy foreign service whore," but "whatever his last name was originally" strikes me as beneath you. Is not the man quite capable of being what you say he is with out also being what you imply he is? BTW and FWIW, Burns is a member of the Sovereign Knights of Malta, a lay Catholic religious order with which I believe you are familiar.


Larry Kart

OK. I take it back. Sorry. pl


The NYT is rather disingenuous.

"further terrorizing rebel supporters, projecting confidence by defying the international community, or simply wanting to raise the military pressure on some of the most stubborn and strategic pockets of rebel fighters and their backers."

The rebel supply lines were cut with the recapture of Homs are surrounding areas as well as cities further to the West. That negates a need for placing 'more' military pressure on them since they are effectively cut off. The supporters of the rebels (financial and equipment) are in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, killing Syrians will not terrorize them. Assad was already negotiating with native Syrian rebels to either change sides or at least become neutral. Gassing Syrian's eliminates that possibility immediately, that gains more rebel support, not less. The 'most stubborn' rebels - the foreign jihadis - they believe they are on Gods side. They aren't going to get terrorized or change sides. Gassing a suburb doesn't kill enough of them to outdo all the negatives.

Where is the actual proof? This is all conjecture to encourage America to enter into a war that a number of the usual suspects have been demanding for many years.


Let's just say Burns ain't no Kennan.....of course not many were. But he, Burns, is a lightweight....true?


With all due respect Mr. Kart,

Sir Nicholas Burns being a Knight of Malta should be ashamed of himself. First SMOM is a Catholic Religious Order not just a Catholic Lay Order, that would be the Knight of Columbus. Being a Knight of Malta, one takes a series of oaths and vows. One of those is to be subservant to Clergy and Rome. Unless he paid his $3000 inital fee and his $1500 annual dues just to join the "Beltway Fair Haired Bozy Club" and yes sir SMOM has a lot of those while some are not even Catholic.

The Eastern Catholic Church in Syria has come out against outside military intervention. Even Our Holy Father has pleaded for talks. As a Knight Sir Nicholas should have taken notice. While he is over looking the humanitarian disaster our intervention will cause. That sir, should be Sir Nicholas's very first concern.

Sir Nicholas should be concerned thatbthis administration better have more than UTube, Israeli Unit 8200s intel and couple of NGOs who could not tell the difference between a BB Gun and a ICBM before we send in any of our smart pencils for surgical strikes with target files that benefit who? Israel? Or the Syrian People? Oh yes, or maybe Sir Nicholas can tell us where our own IC is? NSA, NRO, MSIC, CIA, DIA and the plethoria of another intel agencies? What do they have? Or were they all on vacation this month? Budget cuts got them working a 26 hour weeks? Our birds in orbit not working?

Besides when do we have the moral right to to tell other countries not to use CW when we sir have a history of using weapons and still stockpile and use weps like phosphorus and DU munitions, including cluster weps and landmines with cards yes? So is Sir Nicholas going to tell me that these types of weps are any different than CW? The same applies to Israel. Or has he forgotten Gaza? By the way, Israel? When are we going to force them into the NPT? Or are their nukes any different than our nukes or anyone elses nukes? Or are nukes different than CW? Oh yeah when is Israel going to ratify the CWC? Or did they forget they signed the convention while using phosphorus a poison....

Lastly, POTUS has a constutional obligation to seek approval of the Congress in this case. We have not been attacked and its getting old that any president and I don't care the party decides when they wish to use our militray without accountability. Any Knight Of Malta I know would be very displeased with that alone.

All Respects Mr. Kart


Maybe Burns just knows which side of his bread is buttered. Looks to me like the MSM is trying to sell a us load, but we're not buying. I was reading some CNN thing yesterday which said that American public opinion on a potential attack on Syria was "mixed"; when I clicked the link to see the stats, I found that "mixed" means that 9% support it.

That's a pretty weak drink.

 Larry Kart

Popsmoke -- Sorry if I was wrong about the Sovereign Knights of Malta, but the phrase "lay Catholic religious order" is how the the Sovereign Knights of Malta is characterized in the Wikipedia entry for the organization. If I'm wrong, so is Wikipedia -- and it wouldn't be the first time for either of us.


Larry Kart and popsmoke

I am not a member of SMOM, but I am an invested member of EOHSJ and know something of the military-religious orders. Both groups are confraternal orders of chivalry that date from the Latin period in Jerusalem and Palestine. The two groups are under the protection of the papacy. EOHSJ is actually part of the papal household and though less well known has primacy of place. EOHSJ is a mixed lay/clerical establishment. SMOM is a religious order like the Jesuits, Benedictines and the like. They have some lay brothers but the men who run the thing are in vows like a Franciscan friar. These are called "Knights of Justice." None of the SMOM knights are priests although they have priests in th eorder as chaplains. pl


Colonel Lang,

There are only three Papal Orders of Knighthood under protection of the Pope. SMOM is one of them. I believe you belong to one the others (Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre). The SMOM is rather unique and different from the others. The election of the grand master must be approved by the Pope who is the Orders "Superior" and the Pope appoints a Cardinal as Prelate of the Order. Additionaly SMOM hold Diplomatic Status and Members can travel and do travel with a Maltese Diplomatic Passport. It has many diplomatic mission and many countries in return have diplomatic mission in return to the Order in Malta.

This gives SMOM a very special ranking to the Universal Church. As far as I know. No other Papal Order of Knighthood hold this type of status and ranking. With the Pope as the Orders Superior his order is order. Knights can take various vows as they do in other Religious Orders to include, poverty, chasity and obedience.

Priests of the order are normally ranked as Honorary Cannons of the Order...I believe the same as the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. This is what I was referring to...

With High Regards...



I am surprised that you think you know more about this than I. Perhaps I could send you a photograph of my "diploma" from the Grand Master of EOHSJ. There are not three orders of knighthood under papal protection. There are two. The Order of St. Mary of the Teutons (the Teutonic Knights) is virtually extinct and should not be counted. These two orders are as as I said. SMOM and EOHSJ. They both are; personal honors, titles and organizations. EOHSJ essentially raises and disburses the monies need to maintain a Catholic church presence in Israel/Palestine, Jordan, southern Lebanon up to Jouniya and Cyprus. These are the ancient territories of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Among the activities funded are; parishes, schools, creches, orphanages, a seminary, Bethlehem University, old folks homes and the like. Many of these activities provide services to Muslims as well. For example BU is 60% Muslim in its students. SMOM (the Hospitallers) continue their focus on medical matters. There are no Canons of the Holy Sepulchre in EOHSJ. The order originated as a guard for the Canons of the Holy Sepulcher as well as an an honorific for senior barons of the kingdom but at present there are no Canons of the Holy Sepulchre. Priests are allowed to be knights up to a certain level in EOHSJ. The comment in the wiki on this is incorrect. There are other "orders" of papal knghthood but they are not organizations. They are individual honors. The Order of Christ and the Order of St. Gregory would be examples. SMOM has the status of a sovereign entity because it actually ruled Rhodes and then Malta for hundreds of years. That does not make SMOM less subject to the authority of the pope. EOHSJ as a part of the papal household participates in the extra-territorial privileges of the Vatican under the Lateran Treaty of 1929. pl

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