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14 September 2013


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I have a hunch that thy will try something like getting deadlines or 'red lines' into the CW deal that they can accuse Syria of not meeting or violating. They would then also make the claim, pointing at some on ambiguity or lack of documentation, that the Syrians are hiding CW. After that, it will be the old "Prove to us that you are not hiding something".

To most American's Assad is a "thug" anyway, and whatever he says will not be credible as a matter of course.

The beaver

Christiane Amanpour will explode again on TV :-) after the deal and the news posted in your thread.


The least one can say is that Obama did not send a cake in the shape of a key - accompanied by a BIBLE.

The open question is whether the White House assumption is that they can get what they've been after all along from a more accommodating, more needy Iranian leadership OR now realize that they too must be more accommodating as what terms of a nuclear deal they will accept and a change the overall tenor of relations with IRI, i.e. accepting its legitimacy and legitimate interests.



Our thanks. pl

The beaver


Along the same line:

"As in the case of the Russian plan on Syria's chemical weapons, there is a two- to three-year-old Russian blueprint already lying for a starter - an incremental approach of Iran responding to the international community's concerns and the US step-by-step dismantling the sanctions regime and allowing Iran's full integration as a regional power.

The US and Iran are warily probing each other's intentions, and any keen observer of the three-decade old stand-off would sense that the diplomatic idiom is changing. The US no longer opposes Iran's inclusion in any Geneva 2 talks on Syria."

David Habakkuk


A most trenchant analysis.

It 'meshes' with two long-standing beliefs of mine.

One is that, if one forgets democratic messianism, the United States and Russia, while they have conflicting interests in some areas, have congruent interests in others. Crucially, it seems to me that in relation to Syria and Iran, the least worst outcome for them both is essentially similar.

Another is that AIPAC and the Israeli lobby may be much more of a 'colossus with feet of clay' than people generally realise.

When Cameron and Hague tried to embroil us in another Middle East conflict -- after the British Army had come out of Iraq with its tail between its legs, and the corpses had gone on coming from Afghanistan in a war nobody has believed for a long time is winnable -- there was a kind of 'peasants' revolt'.

A corollary of this is that there is a very large volume of anti-Israeli feeling here, some of which morphs into anti-Semitism.

The situation is obviously different in the United States, not least because you are a settler society -- while we, with the exception of Northern Ireland, are not.

But the possibility of a backlash is still clearly present in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom.

Ever since I had Richard Perle on a television programme I produced, back in 1986, I have thought he was a complete idiot. Also, a civilian militarist of quite the worst kind. Having known German and Czech Jewish refugees, who were loyal patriots of their respective countries who could only express that loyalty by serving in the British Army and the RAF, he seemed to me an abominable monstrosity.

If I was Perle, or Wolfowitz, or Martin Indyk, or Dennis Ross, I would be very cautious about sending people like Tyler to fight unwinnable wars in foreign lands.

But -- these people are seriously stupid!


It's amazing to me that it has taken this long for the US to realize that the more it punishes Iran the more it risks driving them into the arms of the Chinese and Russians. This is certainly not something Iran wants. Nor should the United States. Perhaps the US has finally come to realize that, if it can't get suzerainty over Iran, then an unaligned Iran is the best option.

Also, it's amazing to me how long the US has put up with Saudi shenanigans. Given half an opportunity, the Iranians might prove to be better partners, much less prone to promoting religious fundamentalism and terrorism than the Saudis.

Ursa Maior

Hm. Has the AIPAC lost its claws? Or at east some of them?




My blood pressure soars whenever the pundits on “Inside Washington” mention Syria or Iran and enemy in the same sentence. They are not; if the USA can reach a diplomatic understanding with them to keep out of each others way, and avoid being drawn into a Sunni Shiite Jihad being pushed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Israel can take care of itself. Oil will keep flowing. As the supply diminishes, America will have to switch to alternative sources of energy anyway; especially, if Duluth, Nashville, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, central New York or the Colorado Front Range Floods are symptoms of climate change.


Thank you very much TTG. Is it too much to hope for, this apparent outbreak of common sense?

If I were a jihadist in Syria right now, I imagine I would be extremely worried because if a Syrian CW agreement holds and Iran - U.S. relations experience a thaw, then I would expect that American and European support for the rebels would vanish overnight.

Would I be right in thinking that this would leave Assad with a mopping up operation? The next question is how do America, Russia, Turkey, Jordan, etc. neutralise the salafists currently in Syria to prevent them slipping away into neighbouring states? I wouldn't have thought that KSA would want them either.


Col. Lang, FM Lavrov cited VIPS letter to Obama recently...

“At this point there is plenty of evidence made by independent experts, including on-site, in particular provided by a nun from the nearby convent, there are other witnesses, Western correspondents have been there. Besides, experts in Europe and the US, including twelve retired employees of the Pentagon and the CIA, as you know sent, an open letter to President Obama, explaining how it was all fabricated,” explained Lavrov.


different clue

Would KSA, Quatar, Turkey and the Lesser Gulfies
press for continued European/American support to their rebels and jihadis regardless? Would Ergogan even be interested in stopping jihadis trying to escape through Turkey? Would the Turkish and Iraqi borders be hardest to seal and police against such jihadi escape?

Alba Etie

Mr Habakkuk ,
I have a working hypothesis- that so far based on actions taken by the BHO administration ,that in at least regarding Iranian policy - hence Syria as well , that a peaceful solution is sought. I also believe that the AIPAC/ neocon cabal is on the wane - at least for now. I also believe that the Realist re Gen Dempsey & Sec of Defense Hagel are winning the day over the Interventionist. We are witness in my view of a course correction in foreign policy that would have us not intervene anymore in the Middle East or elsewhere. Lord knows what might have happened if there had been a President Romney - who is very close to Netanyahu . We shall see.

r whitman

There is a good chance that the Iranians have already reached their nuclear weapons goals in secret and this is why they have made overtures to the west thru their new president. Western intelligence agencies have been wrong about ME countries before.

Babak Makkinejad


You are reading too much into this; no substantive deal between US and Iran is possible anytime soon; certainly not during the remainder Obama's term in office.

The best that one can surmise is that US would not attack Iran to please Israel (progress?).


David Habakkuk,

I agree with you. Tribal people, groups, or small nations—and who insist on staying so--are good in hand-to-hand combat, or backstreet subterfuge, deception, or cunning, but not in geopolitical smarts with the big boys where the timing may be achingly slower, but the blowback greater, more all-consuming, and finally lethal.

That doesn’t make much sense. Let me set it up this way. It was said of John Huston that he was one of a rare number of film directors who could make a $3-5 million film as successfully as he could a $100 million film. As it was explained to me by an insider, if you’re a successful $10 million budget filmmaker, it is no guarantee that you can handle a $100 million budget. The skill sets are completely different on every level. This insider said it is one of the biggest problems that the money people have: you can’t give a consistently successful low-budget guy a big-budget film and maintain the hope he can pull it off. Apparently, John Huston could.

OK. That out of way. This is a metaphor for Israel. It thinks it can declare itself a nation and play with the big boys, but continue to act as if it’s running the Bloods and the Crips [LA gangs] invoking the ‘You tryin' to disrespect [delegitimize] me’ line as a reason for war, or fight turf wars over buffer stock like drugs or settlers. It accepts ancient history as a viable excuse to do what it does today, so it laughingly uses techniques honed in Bialystock—the hometown of most of its past leaders--three centuries ago as if still applicable. It tells itself we’re the chosen and smart. ‘Natch it doesn't like its neighbors, which it considers all rival gangs it can continually be at war with. It has ham-fisted representatives like Perle, Wolfowitz, Martin Indyk, and Dennis Ross, who think that the mere declaration of nationhood gave them the cajones to show up and make demands the big boys seem willing to listen to, so they continue to make them misunderstanding the long silence.

But Israel isn’t on Mars. It’s in a geopolitical neighborhood (the world) it didn’t have the smarts to figure out 47 years ago when it was planning its gangland 1967 War. Its ‘capos' didn’t have the intelligence to listen to General Peled about the consequences of the results of Palestine in the future. Geopolitical timing is achingly slower than the quick fixes it thinks it won, which is why the blowback against it is already set in motion—Iraq started it, recent Syria cemented it and made it apparent--and we can watch it play out until 2020. Israelis hate being called freiers, or suckers. They’re going to discover they’ve been suckered by their own delusions, and no amount of their vaunted chosenness is going to help them now. They spent it.

Charles I

Or, if you're Canadian FM John Baird, attack dog of True Believer PM Steven Harper, just lob this turd, and scoff your way to Iran:

"Syria crisis: Foreign Minister John Baird scoffs at giving Bashar Assad time to hand over chemical weapons

By: The Canadian Press, Published on Sat Sep 14

ISTANBUL—Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird, is calling Syria’s offer to begin providing information on its chemical arsenal 30 days after it signs an international convention banning such weapons “ridiculous and absurd.”

Baird said Syrian President Bashar Assad could not be given extra time. Baird said: “This is a man who, up until a week ago, denied that they had any such weapons.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who joined Baird at a news conference Saturday in Istanbul, also expressed skepticism, saying Assad was playing for time while continuing to commit atrocities."


Babak Makkinejad

Canada is welcome to go to war with Syria as well as with Iran.

I would hope that Baird and Davutoghlu will have the decency to parachute into Syria with the first paratrooper brigades.

Babak Makkinejad

You are again cutting him too much slack; in the past he was about to start a war with Iran - when be reversed course - and more recently he was about to start another with Syria - when, again, he reversed course.

I suppose when a person chooses not to pursue a self-destructive course of action one has to be grateful for that.

But there is vast chasm between overcoming one's worst tendencies and actually doing something positive.

Precipitating0 near-war with Iran and Syria in less than 18 months of each other does not give one much room for optimism now, does it?

The beaver

Baird speaks as if Canada is a top dog country when all he cares about is Israel because his second "mommy" is Jewish and , if he was not a Canadian politico, he would love to live in a Kibbutz.

What will BooBoo do, go bomb Syria?



"Russia is not an ally of Iran, nor is it really an ally of Syria. However, it is in Russia's interest that the Salafist jihadists do not prevail in Syria or anywhere else. That's what drives their actions in Syria, not any lingering cold war enmity with the U.S."

I think that statement grossly misreading the Russian perspective. Listen what the Russians said all over again and again and Putin also just wrote in the NYTimes again:

"We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law."

Of course, these words are sugar coat for the very serious motivation embedded in these words. From diplo-speak into common language I'ld translate these words into: Russia is fed up with a long string of US-led regime change operations in foreign countries, and especially in such countries which are independent and Russias friends.

Read Putins article in the NYTimes, half the article is one this theme: doing regime changes in foreign countries is a grave violation of international law and Russia wants this behaviour to be stopped. This is the very serious interest that makes Russia so serious in Syria.

Russia and all the SCO states oppose Salafi jihadism, that's true, because it's extremism, one the three evils they defined. But what Putin is really up against is world wide US-military jihadism, or as he named it in his NYTimes article when he said it was extremely dangerous: American exceptionalism.

Reuters today wrote:

"There's no diminution of options," Kerry said, noting Obama's right under U.S. law to order military action, with or without support from Congress or any international body.

As a German I'm too polite to say whom I think of when I read of a claimed right by someone to wage any war of aggression at will. And that's what Russia is against and the sugar coat phrase for it is: "We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law."

Pity that so few people in the US seem to understand this. The worldwide above-the-law wars of the "exceptional American jihadi crowd" do great harm to the people in the US, too.


"We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law."

This is crystal clear in the US as well. Reuters may report, as does the BBC and other media outlets, that President Obama can order a military strike without Congressional approval. They can continue to quote Kerry and even Obama as saying so; however it is not legal under US law nor the UN charter. The later being Putin's point.

The US was not attacked and the Obama administration continues to refuse to release the 'evidence' of who was responsible for using chemical weapons. The US Congress is likely to impeach Obama if he were to order any attack without consent, which he will not receive. What the JCS would do is also unclear. It is pretty clear that Obama would create a Constitutional crisis trying to unilaterally attack Syria at this point in time.

William R. Cumming

Will Putin and Snowden be sharing a Nobel Prize?

Check out Fallows and Kaplan in September 12th Atlantic on role of emotions instead of reason in FP! Rings accurate to me!

Although I supported the 2003 Iraq invasion on the "Facts" as known through open source.

Charles I

Mr. Baird is not just some Johnny Boy here, he speaks for Mr. Harper, a True Believer in the Evilness of the Iranian regime, the Justness of Zionism's present manifestations, with tremendous Faith that there is no, and there is to be no Palestine, no Palestinians.

Charles I

One can hope the hoi polloi has noticed the threadbare transparency of the Emperor's garment.

See Counterpunch: No More Wars for Israel.


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