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04 May 2016

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The Beaver

Speaking of dictatorship

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36213401

Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu to quit amid reports of Erdogan rift
Scuttlebutt: The Sultan may want his SIL Berat Albayrak to be the next PM . All in the family (guess son Bilal is mud these days since he is mixed up with ISIS oil)

Matthew

steve: Political pragmatism means saying "Israel is always right" while running for office takes Israel off the table in American politics.

Trump also said he wants to be "even-handed." No one knows what Trump would do in Palestine if elected.

Matthew

johnf: They should play Alexander Nevsky (battle on the ice) while rolling into Aleppo.

Tigermoth

It would appear that the US has a different methodology:

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/341934-syria-tuce-agreement-carter/

'US spending millions on 'Aleppo is burning' PR campaign to create no bombing zone'

"...Firstly, the US Defense Secretary is using language that doesn’t actually apply to this conflict. He is doing this to try to re-frame the narrative. He is calling it a civil war. This is not a civil war by any stretch of the imagination. It ceased being a civil war back in 2011, maybe early 2012, but after that it is anything but a civil war. This is a conflict, it is a proxy war.

What you have is the US will do what is called a ‘strategy of confusion’ in terms of public relations. So John Kerry is the good cop, he is there with Sergey Lavrov trying to hammer out a peace deal in Geneva. And Ash Carter is playing the bad cop – he is making inflammatory statements that are trying to characterize Russia as a bad guy. And then President Obama might have another statement that he does, and the State Department spokesman will say something else. This is what the US does constantly; this is their strategy of PR confusion, so that no-one knows exactly where they stand on any of the issues. This is used to basically obscure and cover up what is essentially a dirty war going on the ground in Syria right now...

...We’re looking at a public relations war. The US and George Soros have spent millions of dollars over the last couple of weeks launching ‘Aleppo is burning’ – it is a PR campaign, designed to get people behind a no bombing zone. So the ‘no-fly zone’ became the ‘safe zone’, and now it is a ‘no bombing zone’. This is a public relations war with a level of sophistication we’ve never seen before."

bth

Perhaps correct, but how would this land corridor that Iran is talking about to Lebanon actually be created if there aren't enough Iraqis to hold the roads west of Baghdad open, much less through western Syria? Perhaps Iranian troops through Iraq? I really doubt the Iraqis will tolerate that Sunni or Shia.

bth

Isn't there a difference in opinion about the role of Iran in Iraq between the Badr folks and the Sadr folks? One being more Persian and the other being more Arab in orientation? Please correct me as I would not pretend to be nuanced on the subject. I'm just not aware of Sadr encouraging direct Iranian involvement in Iraq since the US left at least and he has certainly come out against the corruption and anti-Sunnism of the recent Iraqi government. Again I defer to your opinion.

Max H

Does anyone have an opinion on Seymour Hersh's claim that Hillary Clinton approved sending Libya's Sarin to Syrian rebels?

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n24/seymour-m-hersh/whose-sarin

Ulenspiegel

"I do not see an end to this cycle - with or without Trump as US President - until and unless the Big 3 - US, Russia, and China - would be willing to negotiate a peace to replace the defunct Peace of Yalta."

Is this an attempt to be funny or is this a the result of a serious "analysis" on your side?

How do you assume China and Russia could decide European matters; Europe is not longer a accumulation of individual states, even if you do not understand this.

Let's hope that the leaders in China and Russia show more intelligence that you. :-)

bth

The locals in Syria will probably appreciate a free concert that marks Putin's territory like the Ukrainians and Poles appreciate a periodic touring visit from Putin's Night Wolves motorcycle club.

Babak Makkinejad

EU is the hand-maiden of US, let us not kid ourselves here.

Fred

dc,

"Think outside the Borg"

FB Ali

Thanks for the quotes. One would never read any of those in the Western media. As Tigermoth says, there seems to be a massive PR campaign being waged by the West.

Lavrov (and Putin's) sensible approach contrasts sharply with the confusion and mendacity underlying that of the West.

Bill Herschel

Seriously, you're wrong.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress the power to declare war, in the following wording:

[The Congress shall have Power...] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.

The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973 or the War Powers Act) (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548)[1] is a federal law intended to check the president's power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congress joint resolution. It provides that the U.S. President can send U.S. Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, "statutory authorization," or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

The War Powers Resolution requires the President notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force or a declaration of war by the United States. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. 107-40, codified at 115 Stat. 224 and passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. Yet nearly 15 years later, the AUMF remains operative and has become the basis for military actions against innumerable individuals, organizations, and nations with no involvement whatsoever in the events of September 11, 2001.[1]

Babak Makkinejad

Answering your questions: -

1 - Of course there are differences of opinion there.

2 - My understanding has been that it was Iranians' intervention that saved both Baghdad and Irbil. And let us not forget the role of Ayatollah Sistani - an Iranian - in the politics of Iraq since 2003.

In my opinion, many people underestimate the role of the Doctors of Religion in Najaf and in Qum in the politics of Iran and now Iraq.

Iran exists because of Shia religion and I think that there is something like a consensus that Iraq is to remain Shia - that the rule of Imam Ali is to be restored in Iraq.

Sunni Arabs, broadly speaking, are clearly not accepting the Shia rule. That does not surprise me for they would any day take Ma'awiya over Imam Ali.

All of these are religious issues having to do with "What is Justice?"

I think Western Diocletian people have managed to confuse themselves by claiming to have established a religion-free politics and thus are unable to grasp the essential religious nature of all political struggles - which is "What is Justice?"

Barish

Funnily enough, that motorcycle tour was a fairly international event last year in Poland itself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boOyQzS_-Mw

Not to mention their eventual arrival in Berlin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhj2Wsj-nLY

As for the orchestra in Palmyra, recording's up here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b0hFIf4Zaw

David Habakkuk

Max H,

Where does Hersh write that in the article to which you link?

The claim that he implicated Hilary in supplying sarin from Libya was made by Eric Zuesse in an article which appeared on the ‘Strategic Culture Foundation’ site.

(See http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/04/28/seymour-hersh-hillary-approved-sending-libya-sarin-syrian-rebels.html .)

This refers to an interview with Hersh on the ‘Alternet’ site, following the publication in book form of the article to which you link, and three other critical articles which initially appeared in the ‘London Review of Books’.

Taken together, the seminal importance of these articles – and they may be the most significant Hersh has ever written, which is saying something – is more apparent than if they are read separately. I would strongly recommend the volume to all here at SST.

The interview with ‘Alternet’ is extremely interesting, as also is a subsequent interview Hersh gave to ‘Democracy Now’.

(See http://www.alternet.org/world/exclusive-interview-seymour-hersh-dishes-saudi-oil-money-bribes-and-killing-osama-bin-laden ; http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/25/is_the_obama_admin_ignoring_the .)

Nowhere in any of this material can I see any suggestion that ‘Hilary Clinton approved sending Libya’s Sarin to Syrian rebels’.

In fact, however, this brings us back to a puzzle relating to Hersh’s crucial article entitled ‘The Red Line and the Rat’ Line’, originally published in April 2014, and reproduced in slightly amended form in the book.

Consistently, Hersh has told us that, according to his sources, the key tests on sarin samples from Ghouta which made it possible for the then – and unfortunately no longer – CJCS General Martin Dempsey to prevent Obama launching air strikes against the Syrian government forces came from the British defence science laboratory at Porton Down.

In the original ‘Red Line and Rat Line’ article, Hersh suggested that the analysis involved was the kind of complex process which would be required, had the sarin used at Ghouta come from facilities in, for example, Libya: that is, industrial facilities specifically designed to produce chemical weapons.

However, in another interview with ‘Democracy Now’ he gave shortly afterwards, Hersh suggested that the tests carried out at Porton Down established the toxin used at Ghouta was ‘kitchen sarin’: that is, the kind of material one might expect if those producing it had lacked proper production facilities and appropriate ‘precursors’.

(See http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/7/sy_hersh_reveals_potential_turkish_role .)

There is, however, a plausible explanation for the change.

As it turns out, in the wake of the initial small-scale incidents in March 2013 where it was claimed that the Syrian government had used sarin, it was reported in the ‘Times’ that MI6 had recovered ‘environmental samples’ for testing at Porton Down.

(See http://brianhaw.tv/index.php/index/1555-22032013-propaganda-murdoch-claims-mi6-testing-syrian-soil-for-nerve-gas .)

As it happens, a technique known as mass spectrometry has come on by leaps and bounds in recent years. It enables enables scientists like those at an OPCW- certified laboratory at Porton Down, or its Russian equivalent, not simply to identify the presence of sarin in ‘environmental samples’, but also to establish a great deal about how it was produced and its likely origin.

Accordingly, a good ‘working hypothesis’ is that MI6 had handed Porton Down evidence enabling them to establish that a ‘false flag’ was at issue, without realising they had done so. So when in July 2013 the Russian U.N. Ambassador presented the results of his country’s OPCW-certified laboratories tests on samples from one of the early incidents, it would have been apparent to the people at Porton Down that these were accurate.

This would explain another apparently baffling feature of the ‘Red Line and Rat Line’ story – the suggestion that samples from Ghouta obtained from a Russian sources were regarded as reliable.

It seems likely that Porton Down and those aware of the results of their tests knew that a 'false flag' had been attempted, and a fresh such attempt was likely, weeks before the Ghouta atrocity – and may well have been part of a multinational effort, involving people in the United States, Britain, and Russia, designed to ensure that it could not be used to rush us all into a new disastrous war.

Here, meanwhile, the recent interviews with Hersh add a critically important element to the story. In these, it is suggested that the briefing to Dempsey came from Sir Peter Wall, who was Chief of the General Staff – that is, head of the British Army. It did not come from the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Nigel Houghton – but then, he had only recently taken over the job.

All this makes still more puzzling, what from the British end of the affair, is one of its most remarkable aspects: the fact that the Joint Intelligence Committee provided Cameron with an ‘assessment’, according to which there was no plausible alternative to Syrian government responsibility for Ghouta.

If General Dempsey had evidence from General Wall in time to tell Obama by the evening of 30 November 2013 that this was flat out wrong, it is not clear how Jon Day, the then chairman of the JIC, could have told Cameron the precise reverse on 29 August.

(See http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/Jp_115_JD_PM_Syria_Reported_Chemical_Weapon_Use_with_annex.pdf .)

The ‘prima facie’ case for a conspiracy, on someone’s part, to mislead the House of Commons gets stronger and stronger. And – in the days when officials in this country had some respect for constitutional government – it was taken for granted that this was an extremely serious offense. Legally, it still is.

Another important point to emerge from the recent Hersh interviews has to do with the results of tests carried out, when the sarin stocks from the Syrian government arsenal were destroyed on the U.S. Navy ship the ‘Cape Ray’ in mid-2014.

This, it appears, had been specially equipped with systems to ensure their safe destruction which were developed by the U.S. Army’s OPCW-certified facility at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.

(See http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2014/08/cape-ray-finishes-destruction-syria-deadly-chemical-weapons .)

According to Hersh, tests carried out on these stocks – whose destruction took approximately six weeks – showed that their chemical profile did not match those from the Ghouta samples tested. As the destruction was finished by mid-August, this definitive evidence would have been in the hands of U.S. officials by early July, if not indeed substantially earlier.

In the interviews, Hersh tells us he intends to write further on this evidence.

A plausible explanation for the change in his account of what the Porton Down tests revealed, I think, is that scientists there, and people in Defence Intelligence, behaved with great courage in frustrating another attempt to lie us into a disastrous war.

However, as they have very rational reasons to fear the revenge of the human vermin involved in this attempt – among whom I would include Obama, Kerry, Clapper, Cameron, Jon Day and many others – they do not want to see what they did made public.

All that said, the fact that we have every reason to know that much of what appears in the Western MSM is lies does not mean that we should gullibly accept Russian ‘information operations’, such as that in which Eric Zuesse is involved.

On a sidenote, it was a great relief to me to hear of the role of Sir Peter Wall. I had begun to think that the notion of an ‘officer and a gentleman’ had lost most of its meaning in this country. One should not rush to judgement.

Matthew

FB Ali: It's not propaganda, everyone know MSF has 50,000 volunteers in rebel-held Aleppo and everyone else is a civilian, even if they inadvertently carry MANPADS or fire TOW missiles.

Ishmael Zechariah

BM,
Maybe not Timur Leng, but DNA testing has shown that Genghis has many descendants indeed. Per Wikipedia, these folks usually have a predilection for fur hats, a desire to have axes hanging above their front doors, are slightly overweight and have occasional visions of screaming Mongol hordes. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descent_from_Genghis_Khan ).
Ishmael Zechariah

Tyler

Babak,

Stop with the silly sarcasm. The neocons are apoplectic for good reason. If you want to be the FP version of a Rothbardian libertarian, arguing about the legality of traffic lights and unable to see the forest for the trees, be my guest.

Babak Makkinejad

Rosalyn Carter stated that Americans prefer War to Peace; I should think that she knows the mind of her fellow countrymen better than I would.

Furthermore, I heard from this woman Trump-supporter that she is pleased that Trump will unchain US military to kick ass abroad.

And lastly, are you telling me that author of the "Art of the Deal" is not amenable to some deal with Shoah Cultists?

Serge

A major IS assault seems to have occurred at the Shaar gas fields, which to my memory has not been threatened to any meaningful degree since the action back in november(?) 2014. Dozens dead, large stores of ammo and heavy weaponry left behind by the Syrians. Footage of Russian helos heading to Shaar 3 days ago:
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/exclusive-footage-7-russian-choppers-way-striking-isis-shaer-oilfield/
Meanwhile, the chorus cries of "IS Assad cooperation" grow in cadence. I don't expect this loss of control to last, given the importance to government infrastructure.

Matthew

And there is this inconvenient truth. See https://twitter.com/joshua_landis/status/728271058088812544

To separate Al Nursa from the FSA is to give Aleppo to Assad. The FSA guys are the one guy in each fighting group firing the TOW's. Al Nusra are the hundreds of armed guys standing behind him.

turcopolier

Matthew

IMO we have to ask if Kerry is 1 - demented or 2- making a side deal with Lavrov over Aleppo. pl

Kooshy

Babak IMO this a good and a fair view comment, thank you , I totally agree Iran was revived because of shah Ismail and enforcing the Shia Islam to free and distinguish Iran from the Khalifs and sultans of the majority sunnies.

Kooshy

Thank you for your reply, cunterary to a view you hold, this is not about a land bridge or struggle to establish a on land link from Iran to Mediterranean Sea, it is centuries such a link has not existed. IMO this is about incremental improvement, establishing as well as defending to hold, newly acquired influencial gains, like defending Asad and future of Syria from removal, as a symbol of defying western dictates on ME future, keeping a Shia goverment in Iraq, etc. Iran doesn't look at this, as a Shia vs. Sunni war, which for her is a losing game, Iran looks and promote this as a resistance to a centuries long western hegemony which is common in all Muslim streets everywhere, so as long as Iran can show she is truly resisting the western designs for the Muslims she remains safe and can insert influence even on Sunni streets. To them this is an easy and an inexpensive exercise to be exist, it was in this context that Iran wanted to get out of the nuclear issue, it had become a distraction after the Arab springs.

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