Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Levant's Intricate Intrigues: Obama's dangerous game in Syria

Besides setting the stage for WWIII, what are the interests (strategics, geopolitical implications) Assigned reading! Check The Optimistic Conservative's Blog for more great posts (see also file "Caucasian Heat", entry Apr. 12) -

Hotair: Syria, Russia: It all looks different from out there"

(...) The US should be concerned about the danger as well – but instead, the Obama administration is seeking reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, backing it in Syria (see here as well), and proposing to fund and treat with the terrorist group Hamas. The Russians are justified in being worried that the US shows little discrimination in our choice of clients and protégés in the region. Whether the reason is ideological sympathy or ideological naïveté, the US administration’s affinity for the most radical, repressive, Islamo-statist elements in the Islamic world cannot be a basis for strategically responsible uses of power.

The Obama administration showed clearly during the Libya operation that it was committed to not using US power to achieve decisive political outcomes. Yet US power is the element most badly needed in the situation in Syria. The feat needed in Syria is one to which only America, up to now, has been suited: acknowledging the regional implications of any Syrian outcome; bringing Russia into a group effort; and yet also bringing an end to the Assad regime on terms favorable for the Syrian people, and acceptable to the Arab world, the West, and Russia.

Perhaps, in the weeks ahead, another nation will find a way to fill that role. France may shift her focus: from dismissing Russia and setting up a separate coalition, to trying to engage Russia. Turkey may be able to broker a group effort in which Russia gets a role.

Russian intransigence is marginally more likely to win out; I don’t think France and the UK are really stupid enough to provoke an armed standoff with Russia, even if the US is. But we are in uncharted territory, and that assessment may be wrong. (...) >>>

HotAir: "Report: Russian “anti-terrorism” troops arrive at Syrian port"

They’ve had military advisors inside the country assisting the regime for months and they’re doing their level best to meet Assad’s exploding demand for new weapons. But actually sending Russian special forces to Tartus, presumably to lend a hand in case Syrian troops need help with with their, er, “counterterror” operations, is a new one on me. Message to NATO and any other nascent western/Arab coalition: The price of intervention will be higher than you estimated. Time to start paying closer attention to Syria. (...) >>>

Apr. 11, 2012

While John McCain is calling for a UN style Bosnia-Kosovo-Libya RtP intervention, the Obama is less gung ho about "war" (but that is in relation to protecting Israel from Iranian nukes) -

Noah Simon: "(Other) Stratfor leaks: NATO commandos in illegal special ops in Syria"

(RT).Undercover NATO troops are already in Syria despite denials from their parent governments, according to a leaked brief from a highly-placed analyst.

The information comes from a hacked email from leading private US intelligence agency Stratfor, whose correspondence has been released by Wikileaks since February 27. The email appears to be written from the address of Reva Bhalla (, the company’s director of analysis, for internal use, and details a confidential Pentagon meeting in December. The consultation is alleged to have been attended by senior analysts from the US Air Force, and representatives from its chief allies, France and the United Kingdom. (...) >>>
Mar 7, 2012

The Sunni-Shia divide -

Telepraph: "Syria: fall of Bashar al-Assad 'will bring war to Middle East, warns Iraq" ...

and "Here Are The Next Steps In The Escalating Middle East"

Dec.4, 2011

"Arab Spring" 5.0 -

AsiaTimes: "The shadow war in Syria", by Pepe Escobar - FEATURE

Target Syria - the strategic prize that outstrips Libya. The stage is set. The stakes couldn't be higher. Libya 2.0 equals Syria? It's more like Libya 2.0 remix. With the same R2P (''responsibility to protect'') rationale - starring civilians bombed into ''democracy''. But with no UN Security Council resolution (Russia and China will veto it). Instead, Turkey shines, fanning the flames of civil war.

US Secretary of State Hillary ''we came, we saw, he died'' Clinton set the scene on Indonesian TV a few weeks ago, when she prophesied there would be ''a civil war'' in Syria, with a well financed and ''well-armed opposition'' crammed with army deserters. (...) >>>

Dec. 2, 2011

Russia arming Assad -

JP: "Report: Russia delivers anti-ship missiles to Syria"

Russia has delivered anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria, the Interfax news agency cited an unnamed military source as saying on Thursday, days after a United Nations commission of inquiry called for an arms embargo on Damascus. (...) >>>

Dec. 1, 2011

The plot is thickening - "Turkey is ready to invade Syria"

Turkey and its western allies are transferring the Libyan fighters whom they trained and armed to depose Muammar Gaddafi to Syria. Around 600 Libyan ‘volunteers’ have entered Syria. Daily Telegraph reported that secret meetings were held on Friday in Istanbul between the Turkish officials and the Syrian opposition representatives and the Libyan fighters. Large-scale infiltration of weapons from Turkey and Jordan have been going on for months to create civil-war conditions in Syria, but this is the first move to introduce ‘volunteers’. The move is necessitated by the failure to induce defections form the Syrian armed forces, except a mere handful. Turkey and the western powers are desperate to create the myth of a ‘Syrian resistance’ force without which their blatant aggression will be in full display. (...) >>>

Nov. 30, 2011

The spider is moving -

With the US and EU in system collapse, and IDF returning fire last night after Lebanese rockets land in Israel, Iran is testing Western will with "hardline students" storming the British embassy in Tehran in a replay of the 1979 hostage crisis with the US Embassy. Apparently diplomatic personnel is now in safety. All in all, things are heating up considerably. And then there's this: "Iran prepping al-Qaida for large-scale attacks" - it has been aided by the mess created in Libya -

Prison Planet: "NATO-Gulf military officers in Turkey prepare for intervention in Syria"

Military officers from NATO and Persian Gulf nations have quietly established a mixed operational command at Iskenderun in the Turkish Hatay province on the border of North Syria, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Hailing from the United States, France, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with Turkish officers providing liaison, they do not represent NATO but are self-designated “monitors.”
Their mission is to set up “humanitarian corridors” inside Syria to serve the victims of Bashar Assad’s crackdown. Commanded by ground, naval, air force and engineering officers, the task force aims to move into most of northern Syria. (...) >>>

Nov. 29, 2011

Escalation, fast! -

More developments on the escalating tention at the Turko-Syrian border area @Haaretz -

YNet: "Clinton warns of Syria-Turkey border clashes"

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning Syria to withdraw troops now massing near its border with Turkey, saying their presence is worsening an already bad situation for refugees and risks sparking border clashes with the Turks. (...) >>>

June 23, 2011

Syria and leftist causes -

Mark Steyn is asking why the MSM is taking on a half way dictatorship like the pro Western Mubarak's and is keeping mum about the Syrian all the way tyranny. Let's pose the usual question when we don't understand the Leftist stance: what would hurt the West most? Exactly!  -

The Daily Caller: "Steyn: U.S. media ignoring Syrian uprising"

With a death toll estimated at 1,300 civilians plus more than 300 soldiers and police and a pending refugee crisis at its borders, the uprising in Syria has been absent from US and other Western nations’ media headlines.

That has raised questions for columnist Mark Steyn. In an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s Thursday radio show, Steyn addressed the situation in Syria and asked why it’s being ignored.

“It’s perplexing to me that they’re far more interested in pro-Western dictators like [former Egyptian dictator Hosni] Mubarak than they are in somebody like [Syrian Dictator Bashar] Assad,” Steyn said. “Now I’ve been in favor of knocking off Assad for a decade. I think he’s weak. He’s not like his father. He is prepared to kill, but he’s not got that cunning that his father had. And hereditary dictatorships in that sense are always weak.”

Is there a lesson to be learned here, in that if you take a more aggressive tack against your own people as was the way Assad has unlike Mubarak earlier this year, you escape Western scrutiny?" (...) >>>

19 juni 2011

Iran's Revolutionary Guard helping suppression of 'Arab Spring' in Syria; Deputy minister for Galilee Ayoub Kara says Syrian opposition asked for Israel’s help, PM refused.

JP: "'Iran aiding Assad in crackdown against protesters'"

Iran has sent training staff and advisers, including members of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, to help Syria crack down on its 10-week-old popular uprising, the Washington Post reported Friday. The assistance reportedly includes not only arms and riot great, but advanced surveillance equipment to help Damascus monitor citizens’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, the newspaper reported, quoting two US officials and a foreign diplomat. The diplomat said the military trainers were brought to Damascus to instruct Syrians in methods the Iranians used in effectively crushing the nation’s “Green Movement’’ in 2009. (...) >>>

May 28, 2011

Syria up in smoke - Why is the Left supporting 'democratic Spring' in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, but not in Syria and Iran??? See also: "Socialist Causes Explained" -

Lebanon News: "The Syrians are not different"

Today, many Nedas are being killed the same way in Syria. Their deaths are also being broadcast by amateurs on the internet, but the international media is covering the uprising indecisively. Western governments are not being as clear with the Syrian president as they were with the Egyptian and the Libyan leaders, for example.

Although Syrians are calling for the same freedoms and reforms, why is the West looking at the Syrian uprising from a different angle?

Western media is still dealing with the Syrian uprising from a political perspective by trying to answer questions about a possible alternative to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the role of the Muslim Brotherhood or other radical Islamic factions that are taking part in the protests, and whether the US or Europe could pressure the regime to implement the reforms it promised to make.

However, unlike the coverage of the Iranian protests and other Arab uprisings, Western media is still incapable of looking at the Syrian uprising as a humanitarian and democratic issue. The Syrian people’s demands are still not seen as genuine, and the conspiracy theories presented by the regime were not brushed off completely. (...) >>>

Apr 23, 2011

Give Hezbollah a chance -

Daily Star: "Hezbollah enters uncharted territory", by Rami G. Khouri

The new Lebanese prime minister-designate, Najib Mikati, has been widely portrayed in international media as “Hezbollah’s man.” His mandate to form the next government has generated considerable speculation about the consequences of a government formed in the shadow of Hezbollah, which means Iran and Syria to most people.

Indeed, critics of Hezbollah and the Mikati appointment – especially Sunni supporters of caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri – speak disdainfully of Mikati as the “wilayat al-faqih” prime minister, referring to the formal title (“rule of the jurisprudent”) of the Iranian supreme leader system. (...) >>>

Jan. 29, 2011

Lebanon on the brink -

That Hezbollah is an Iran proxy was no secret. Now the rest of Lebanon is also at risk -

Avid Editor's Insight: "Iran proxy Hizbullah sets up government in Beirut"

In his first speech on the Lebanese crisis, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday night, Jan. 16: “The opposition will exercise its own national convictions and will not be intimidated by the world’s reaction.” He added: “The opposition” had decided unanimously not to name Saad Hariri, the pro-Western prime minister they toppled last week, as next head of government, meaning that the Hizballah-led camp will build its own regime shunning Hariri.

Nasrallah and Hariri will certainly go head to head to decide which rules the country. DEBKAfile’s sources note that Hizballah has the advantage of being the most powerful armed force in Lebanon. Added to Hariri’s disadvantages is the refusal of his potential outside supporters, whether the U.S., France, Israel or Saudi Arabia, to intervene on his behalf (...) >>>

Jan, 17, 2011

Hezbollah is dropping the Lebanese government -

The Daily Star: "Politicians pass blame, call for domestic solution"

As news of the impending collapse of Lebanon’s national unity Cabinet spread Wednesday, local politicians exchanged blame, but agreed that the solution to the crisis over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (S.T.L.) will have to come from within the country.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea blamed the rival March 8 camp for seeking what he called “Stalin-like” powers, accusing it of seeking to steal away the prerogatives of the president and the prime minister.

Geagea said the March 8 camp had made an “illogical” demand of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, namely to openly renounce the S.T.L., which is investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, Rafik. (...) >>>

Jan. 13, 2011

Lebanon, an Iranian Eparchy -

Caroline Glick: "Saad Hariri's cautionary tale"

Lebanon is a sad and desperate place. And its disastrous fate is personified today by its prime minister. All who claim to love freedom, democracy, human rights and dignity should take note of Saad Hariri's fate. They should recognize that his predicament is a testament to their failure to stand up for the ideals they say they champion. (....)

Policy-makers in Washington, Paris, Jerusalem and beyond who envision the 21st century Middle East as a place where the US and its allies are able to project their power to defend their interests should study Hariri's story. All those who insist peace is possible and even incipient need to cast a long, lingering glance in his direction. (...) >>>

Sept. 14, 2010

Hezbollah delivers a message - Daniel Dagan on the same subject (in German) -

American Thinker: "Of Trees and Tribunals: Lebanon's Growing Headache", by Matthew R.J. Brodsky

The recent border skirmish between Lebanon and Israel in which a senior Israeli officer, two Lebanese soldiers, and a journalist from the pro-Hezb'allah al-Akhbar newspaper were killed is the most significant clash between the two countries since the 2006 summer war. While at first glance this episode may appear to be a simple misunderstanding, a closer look reveals the strategic power play. What happened is clear. (...) >>>

Aug. 8, 2010

Lebanon back to square one -

Memri: "Syria Reimposes Its Patronage over Lebanon", by H. Varulkar and N. Mozes

"...[Syria's] political return to Lebanon is taking place slowly but surely, by means of its allies in [this country], whose numbers are growing and whose voice is becoming stronger. It is regaining its influence [over Lebanon] quietly and without military [force], placing more [emphasis] on diplomacy than it did in the past..." Thus columnist Emil Khouri described the reality in Lebanon in Al-Nahar, a Lebanese daily which is close to the March 14 Forces.

Five years after a Western-Arab-Lebanese front emerged to oppose Syria's presence in Lebanon, forcing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to withdraw the military and security forces that had been there since 1976 and had provided the military backing for Syria's control of Lebanon, Syria seems to be regaining its control over Lebanon. This is coming about with the backing – or at least with the acquiescence – of the very forces that five years ago led the campaign for the Syrian withdrawal. (...) >>>

May 24, 2010

Another Obama policy gone to threds -

JP: "Damascus slams US sanctions"

Syrian FM says Washington "lost its credibility." Syria has criticized the US renewal of sanctions against Damascus, describing them as a disappointment. Government-owned Al-Thawra newspaper warned on Wednesday that Washington's move keeps the region in a state of hostility. The White House said Damascus continues to support terrorists and pursues weapons of mass destruction. (...) >>>

May 5, 2010

Syria picking a fight again -

Billboard with portrait of Assad and the text ...Image via Wikipedia
Commentary Magazine: "Israel Threatens Assad with Regime Change", by Michael Totten

The Israeli government may be moving beyond its fear and loathing of a Syria governed by somebody other than Bashar Assad. For years, Jerusalem has been careful to avoid doing anything or even saying anything that might destabilize Damascus. But after Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Moallem, threatened Israel this week with a war that would be fought “inside your cities,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman snapped.

“Not only will you lose the war,” he said to Assad, “you and your family will no longer be in power.” There are good reasons to feel squeamish about the aftermath of regime change, whether it comes at the hands of Israelis or not. The same sectarian monster that stalks Lebanon and Iraq lives just under the floorboards in Syria. (...) >>>

Febr. 7, 2010

Of victory and stalemate: Memri has more interesting stuff coming out of Lebanon: "Sami Gemayel, Lebanese MP and Son of Former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel: The Reason for All Lebanon's Catastrophes is the Front That Was Opened Against Israel – This Front Must Be Closed (...)" >>>

CNSNews: "Hezbollah, Allies Defeated in Lebanon Poll But Outlook Still Troubling"

Lebanon’s pro-Western coalition has declared victory over Hezbollah and its allies in Sunday’s parliamentary election but the result looks set to leave Lebanon essentially where it was before, with the powerful Shi’ite terrorist group posing a threat to political stability and refusing to disarm.

Unofficial results early Monday brought projections that the “March 14” alliance would secure around 70 seats in the 128-seat parliament, with some 58 seats for Hezbollah and its allies in the pro-Syrian “March 9” bloc – around the same number as both held in the outgoing legislature.

By agreement since 1989, parliament’s seats are divided equally between Christians and Muslims (...) >>>

June 7, 2009

FEATURE - Hezb terror master Nasrallah reacts to Der Spiegel's report that the UN tribunal on the assassination of Rafiq Hariri is covering up evidence that Hezb special forces were behind the terror attack:

CNN: "Hezbollah accuses German magazine of conspiring with Israel"

Hezbollah's leader accused a German magazine of engaging in a conspiracy with Israel and the West after it reported that the militia group orchestrated the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. "In regards to the Der Spiegel article, I want to say that the conspiracy is there," Hassan Nasrallah said during a speech in Beirut, Lebanon, on Monday. "What Der Spiegel wrote about our involvement in the Hariri assassination is nothing but an Israeli accusation  (...) >>>

Here are some excerpts of the article in Der Spiegel ... read it all, it's a total thriller!

Der Spiegel: "New Evidence Points to Hezbollah in Hariri Murder", by Erich Follath

The United Nations special tribunal investigating the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri has reached surprising new conclusions -- and it is keeping them secret. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, investigators now believe Hezbollah was behind the Hariri murder. (...) >>>

May 26, 2009

See Hezbollah cheer (it isn't a 'political trial' after all!) ...

RTT News: UN Tribunal Orders Release Of Four Generals Held Over Hariri Killing"

The United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on Wednesday ordered the release of four senior Lebanese generals held over the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, saying that there was not enough evidence to hold them."The pre-trial judge orders, unless they are held in another case, the release with immediate effect," ruled Belgian pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen on Wednesday.Soon after the STL announced its ruling, Lebanon released the four generals who were being held in custody since 2005 on suspicion of planning the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri and carrying out terrorist acts. (...) >>>

May 1, 2009

The building that housed the former Dutch Intelligence Agency (BVD) makes new history ...

Voice of America: "UN Special Tribunal on Hariri Assassination to Open Sunday"

Four years after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a special United Nations court is opening its doors in the Netherlands on Sunday to judge the suspects.

The assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri shook the world - and led to profound changes in Lebanon, including the departure of Syria's occupying troops. Four years later, the United Nation's Special Tribunal for Lebanon opens its doors - in perhaps the first time a United Nations court has been established targeting a single individual.

Lebanon had been holding seven suspects in Mr. Hariri's killing, but it released three civilians on Wednesday. Still being held are four former top Lebanese intelligence and security officials. (...) >>>

Mar 1, 2009

- "Israeli Raid on Syrian Nuke/Nork"
- "Middle East Peace Process"

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