Another Western War Crime In The Making - September, 2013

The Western military intervention that we had been waiting for since the beginning of this summer seems to be near, which is why I would like to bring my readers' attention back to the topic of Syria and the historic Battle for Damascus. Having realized that they would be unable to defeat Bashar Assad's government via a foreign sponsored Islamic insurgency, Anglo-American-Franco-Zionist-Turco-Wahhabist interests had begun preparing for direct military involvement in Syria some time ago. Western war planners seem to have completed their unholy assignment: Military strikes against Syria now seem inevitable. If the calculus for war does not significantly change in the coming days or weeks, Syria may become latest major Western crime against humanity, and God knows their crimes are many -
The "moral authority", "beacon of democracy" and the "leader of the free world" will have set in motion the destruction of yet another ancient civilization for no other reason that to simply ensure a favorable geostrategic climate for itself and its regional allies. Millions of more innocent lives will be ruined so that the Anglo-American-Zionist global order and its friends will be able to enjoy lasting supremacy in the region. To commence the aggression against Syria, they of course needed a good pretext. As we should all know by now, excuses to go to war can be either fabricated or contrived. We also know that Western powers and the Zionist state are masters of deception. 

In fact, most of the pretexts that have led the US into war since the late 19th century (e.g. sinking of USS Battleship Maine which led to the Spanish-American war, the sinking of Lusitania which led to US involvement in the First World War, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor which led to US involvement in the Second World War, the Gulf of Tonkin incident which led to the Vietnamese-American war, the humanitarian crisis that led to US involvement in the Kosovo war, Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait that led to the US going to war against Iraq in 1991, the attacks on September 11, 2001 which led to the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, accusations that Saddam Husein possessed WMDs which led to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, and the humanitarian concerns that led to military role the US played in Libya) have been either instigated, highly suspicious or simply based on outright lies and/or deception. In other words, if they have the will, they will find a way. 

The supposed chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus supposedly carried-out by forces loyal to Bashar Assad was precisely what the Anglo-American-Franco-Zionist-Turco-Wahhabist interests needed to set into motion a chain-of-events that will inevitably lead to some kind of military aggression against Syria -
Until I see profoundly convincing evidence that Syrian government forces deliberately carried-out the attack on August 21 which is said to have killed more than one thousand civilians, I will trust my better judgement and continue believing that the attack in question was carried out by people opposed to Bashar Assad. I'd like to remind the reader that opponents of Bashar Assad have been previously found with chemical agents in Syria and in Turkey. This fact has even been documented by UN officials. And it is also well known that Bashar Assad's opponents (which include Saudi financed Al-Qaeda terrorists and Western and Israeli special forces) have the means and of course the incentive (i.e. drawing Western forces into the conflict) to use such weapons. And speaking of "moral obscenities", it was high minded officials in Washington that gave their erstwhile friend Saddam Hussein of Iraq the green light to use chemical weapons against his enemies during the 1980s -
US gave Saddam blessing to use toxins against Iranians: http://rt.com/news/chemical-weapons-iran-iraq-980/
Therefore, I don't know what "moral obscenity" John 'Kohn' Kerry is talking about. What about the "moral obscenity" of using depleted uranium, white phosphorous, napalm and cluster munitions in Iraq? What about "moral obscenity" of murdering millions of innocent civilians throughout Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East?

I suppose we can now include 'morals' amongst the many things that Washington has privatized and weaponized for use in self-serving imperial matters. It never ceases to amaze me that US officials, historically amongst the most bloodthirsty in the world have the audacity to speak about morality and ethics. It's even more amazing that millions of sheeple around the world, including many idiots right within Armenian society, continue believing their imperial bullshit. 

And speaking of bullshit, it has been amusing to watch the American empire's 'two party, one elite' system in action recently: a majority of influential Democrats and Republicans are obediently falling inline behind the imperial agenda put forth by the empire's special interest groups. But what's sickening to watch is the warmongering antics and hypocrisy of imperial servants like Obama, McCain and Kerry.

Watching Barack 'Hussein' Obama (the house negro that the sheeple think is the president of the US) has been particularly surreal. The 2009 "Nobel Peace laureate" is currently being made to work on overseeing his fourth war - as a prelude to a fifth war against Iran. This blackman's role in the White House seems to have been degraded to that of a smooth talking salesman in the business of peddling war. He is in essence the Uncle Tom, the subservient house slave that the imperial elite have exploited to subvert the empire's anti-war movement and present the world a brown face with which the American empire will wage war against brown people around the world. 

For more on the Barack Obama deception, please revisit the following blog entry -
Regarding John McCain: Every time I have the misfortune of seeing this nauseatingly delusional warmonger on television, I wonder how it was that the Vietnamese kept a war criminal like him alive, and even went as far as returning him to his homeland after all the crimes he and his government had committed against Vietnam. Ask yourselves this: How would Americans have treated a downed military pilot of a foreign entity that was responsible for killing millions of Americans and destroying much of the US? Because John McCain was not executed for his war crimes against the Vietnamese people, he is here with us today and he is now trying to bring death and destruction to the Syrian people. And I only have one question to ask the onetime anti-war activist John 'Kohn' Kerry: How do you ask a man to be the first to die for a lie in Syria? Times like this I'd like to remind my readers to revisit the following three blog commentaries -
The two ring circus called the American presidential elections (January, 2013): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-two-ring-circus-called-american.html
Ron Paul and Electoral Fraud in America (March, 2012): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/03/electoral-fraud-in-america-march-2012.html
The Menace of Globalism, Democracy and the Political West (July, 2013): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-menace-of-western-globaism-western.html
The war rhetoric against Damascus is now taking on a very sinister tone. Zionist controlled propaganda outlets long disguised as mainstream news organizations in the American empire have been virtually unanimous in their calls for a military strike against Syria. The only thing they seem to disagree on is the scale of the attack or how it should be carried-out. And it's not only the news media in the US: From political mercenaries in Washington to "Bible Belt" nutjobs to television and radio pundits, like a desperate yet well coordinated chorus of demonic voices, they have been calling for bloodshed in the name of 'truth, justice and the American way'.

For Western war planners, however, it was not meant to come to this: Bashar Assad was expected to have capitulated a very long time ago. Thus, from the perspective of Syria's enemies, the Battle for Damascus was failing. The military uprising against Assad's government has taken too long and the so-called "rebels" have been on the verge of defeat; The presence of large numbers of Saudi Arabian and Qatari sponsored Islamic terrorists in Syria has proven counterproductive; Syria's foreign based political opposition has been hopelessly fragmented; Turkey and Israel do not want to risk taking on Syria's armed forces directly. As a result, Bashar Assad's regime, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iran have grown more powerful. Western military intervention will thus seek to turn the tide.  

Fearing the prospect of dangerous unintended consequences, they seem to be cautiously mulling the idea of a "proportional" and "limited" missile strike option for now. They are also officially stating that the strike in question will not seek to topple the Assad government. Why a limited strike? Why the softer tone towards Bashar Assad? It could be any one of the following reasons:

A limited strike can be carried-out to assess Syrian anti-air defenses and to gauge what responses - if any - will come by the way of Tehran and/or Moscow. I believe the recent missile test by American and Israeli forces over the Mediterranean Sea was also meant to gauge Syria's early warning capabilities. It is interesting that is was Russia's military high command that immediately issued a strong warning. See article titled "Russia Defense Ministry Warns About ‘Playing With Arms’ After Israel Launch" posted below this commentary. Therefore, a limited strike might very well be a test run. If the initial strikes are in fact a trial run and they prove successful in destroying their designated targets or if Tehran and Moscow decide not to get involved in any meaningful way, Washington may feel encouraged to gradually increase the frequency and the intensity of the strikes to the point where Bashar Assad is forced to capitulate unconditionally. This is a tactic they employed with great success against Serbia, Iraq and Libya.

There is also the possibility that after over two years of looking impotent, a limited military strike against Syria is meant to be a face saving measure for the incompetent looking Obama administration. Having set its "red line" over a year ago, Washington is now in a position where it has to show the global community that it is still in control and that it still needs to be feared. In other words, this has become a serious PR matter for imperial officials. If so, we can expect a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. By making it public that it is only going to conduct a limited, symbolic attack; that it will not attempt to kill Bashar Assad; and by giving Damascus time to protect its vital assets from the impending strike, Washington may be asking Damascus to just take the hit and refrain from retaliating. In other words, Washington may be signalling to Bashar Assad: We promise we won't try to kill you, just let the world see that we are hitting you. 


If the strikes are meant to be a symbolic act then not much else will happen unless Damascus or Tehran decide to retaliate forcefully. It should also be said that an unsuccessful strike or casualties suffered by Western personnel as a result of Syrian retaliation may also provoke a more violent response by Western powers.

Interestingly, according to credible news reports, Washington is said to have sent an envoy to Iran - to most probably to assess what Teheran's reaction will be to an American missile strike against Syria. Please see news article titled "Sultan Qaboos, UN's Feltman Test Diplomacy with Iran" posted below this commentary. If these reports prove accurate, this means Washington is profoundly worried about military escalation, which explains why the strike is being delayed.

There is also the strong possibility that a so-called limited missile strike will be designed to degrade Bashar Assad's fighting capability and give the revolting Islamists in Syria a fighting chance - thereby prolonging the country's misery, which is something that has actually been called for by many political pundits. This is the scenario where US led Western forces essentially begin providing Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria with military air support and hope that the country descends into an endless cycle of sectarian violence as in Iraq. Moreover, as they begin bombing Syria from above, we can also expect Western trained troops from Jordan and Turkey to participate in the action on the ground. 

After all, Washington's ultimate desire is to see Sunni Arab boots on the ground, not Western ones. Western war planners may be thinking any one of the aforementioned scenarios. I personally think that the primary, current intention of Bashar Assad's enemies is to degrade Syria's fighting capabilities thereby prolonging the civil war in Syria. What's their end game? With Syria drowning in its blood, Damascus will not be a political or military factor when the aggression against Iran begins. Of course none of the aforementioned scenarios addresses possible Iranian or Russian actions once the red line is crossed by Western forces. Thus far, it does not look as if Western powers have the balls or the stomach for risking a full scale war precisely due to the Russian and Iranian factors in the matter. This is why their approach to Syria has been very cautious and long in coming. But despite their rhetoric about limited engagements, they must surely know that once the red line is crossed, that is once Western forces enter the fight in any capacity, there may be no turning back. 

Paraphrasing a great Prussian military leader, Helmuth von Moltke: no plan survives contact with the enemy. More often than not, war plans do not survive past the first day of war and wars are notorious for having the tendency of taking on a life of their own. Unlike the Western instigated wars in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the Battle for Damascus has the real potential of turning into a global affair. And because of the close proximity of Russian and Western military assets within the crisis region, there is also the real danger of an accidental clash between superpowers. This is not the first time superpowers have come to blows over Syria.

Many today seem to have forgotten that exactly thirty years ago the Syrian military was subjected to an attack by Western powers. It is quite revealing that there is total silence about this in the Zionist controlled news press in the US.
During the second half of 1983, a series of military strikes were carried-out by Western powers against Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon. This was of course during the time when Bashar Assad's father Hafez Assad was in power in Damascus. The following is a brief look at the conflict from a military perspective -
Disaster in Lebanon: US and French Operations in 1983: http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_278.shtml
The intent of Western powers at the time was to exploit Lebanon's fragmented political landscape in the aftermath of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Simply put, Western powers sought to weaken Syria's military presence in Lebanon by bolstering their own. The agenda proved to be an utter failure. In what became known as one of the last "battleship" engagements in military history, battleship USS New Jersey stationed right off the coast of Lebanon was tasked with bombarding enemy troop formations inside Lebanon. The battleship's bombing targets often turned out to be barren hill tops and mountains. On the ground in Lebanon, US Marines were dying on a regular basis in violent clashes with various paramilitary groups. In the air, several Western aircraft were shot-down by Syrian air defenses during the course of hostilities. One of the aviators, an African-American, was captured by Syrian troops and taken to Damascus. African-American political activist and one time presidential candidate Jessy Jackson traveled to Damascus to help free him. Not a single word has been spoken about any of this in the US news media. It is important to note that the situation back then did not escalate. Seeing the futility of their actions, Washington pulled its troops out of Lebanon. The calculus for Western powers back then was of course a bit different because the Soviet Union was still in existence.

They are boxed in

Some 2500 years ago the great Chinese military theorist/general/philosopher Sun Tsu wrote in his "Art of War":
"Politics is the womb within which wars are born"
“One mark of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or does not fight at all.”
 “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
In his book titled "On war", the great military theorist, General Carl Von Clausewitz wrote:
"War is the extension of politics by other means"
“No one starts a war - or rather, no one in his sense ought to do so - without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by the war and how he intends to conduct it.”
Historically, wars have seldom been waged for purely religious, cultural, moral or humanitarian reasons - these are the excuses to rally the peasantry in any given country in any given time. Wars are ultimately waged for political, geostrategic and financial reasons, and at times for self-defense/survival. Historically, one of the golden rules of war is not to take unnecessary chances on the battlefield. Nations wage offensive wars when their military leaders have studied the matter and have unequivocally determined that they can win - and a nation on the defensive fights by any means possible. A golden rule for planning for a war is to have experts forecast every possible outcome/consequence once the shooting begins. Historically, nations have not waged offensive wars when there have been unknown factors in their war calculus or when they do not have a clearly defined entrance or exit strategy.

From what we know thus far, the Western military plan against Syria does not seem to have taken into account any of the aforementioned wisdom. This leads me to believe that they are either desperate or that they are being forced into it. If so, this makes their war plan weak and dangerous. The Anglo-American-Franco-Zionist-Turco-Wahhabist geostrategic agenda for the region have left Western war planners with no good alternative options. The agenda against Iran has become so pervasive, so obsessive that they will sooner turn the entire region into one, massive inferno before they allow themselves to be faced with the prospect of relinquishing their hegemony in the region to Iran - or to Russia, or to China.

Simply put, they are intoxicated with a century of excess and unchallenged authority. Western powers fear losing their iron grip over the region. The Zionist state fears losing its military supremacy over its neighbors. Saudi Arabia and Turkey fear the rise of Iranian power and influence. They are all therefore desperate and therein lies their weakness as well as the danger the world faces: How will a massive, arrogant, destructive and gluttonous monster react to the emergence of serious competition? 

In a sense, Western powers are now in the very unenviable position where they 'must' do everything in their power to defeat Syria, Hezbollah and Iran - for not doing so will prove politically disastrous for them in the long-run. They have thus effectively boxed themselves in. They are now in a position where they have no choice but to act militarily. And not being able to compromise, not having alternative options on the negotiation table will prove to be a major weakness for them. Being predictable and one dimensional will be their Achilles' heel. Their self-righteous imperial arrogance may be their undoing, their political rigidity is their flaw, and this makes them vulnerable.

Western forces, already war-weary, stretched thin and financially stressed, can be drawn into the region. Once they are militarily engaged, they can then be dealt a severe counter blow. Russia and Iran have the kind of weaponry that can neutralize Western forces stationed in or near the region. For example: With a well coordinated, large-scale anti-ship missile attack by swarms of ships and aircraft, the entire Western naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean will be resting on the bottom of the sea within a day. 

With their military assets on fire or under water, would they respond by a full scale invasion of Syria? Will they bomb Damascus with nuclear weapons? If Russia and China finally grow a backbone and militarily warn against an escalation, Western powers will stand down.

The only thing that would stop something like the aforementioned from happening would be the lack of political will in Moscow, Beijing and Tehran. However, it would be good for these capitols, especially for Moscow and Beijing, to finally realize that as long as Western powers are not dealt a very severe blow, they will continue turning the world into their playground and they will continue their encroachment on Russian and Chinese sovereignty. Therefore, Syria has become the ideal battlefield where the West can be dealt a severe blow. Syria can potentially be the battlefield where Persia defeats Rome and send its legions reeling back.

Now, back to the real world. 

If with Iran's and Russia's assistance Syria is able to resist the on-coming Western onslaught/onslaughts and perhaps even deal a counter-blow or two against Western forces stationed in the region, the long awaited decline of Western power in the Middle East may finally begin. Those standing poised to fill the vacuum are Russia and Iran. Therefore, what is happening in Syria today is a very high stakes game not only for Bashar Assad's government but also for Western powers and the Zionist state. 

Perhaps symbolic of the gradually changing political climate in the world, and the reason why Western powers are panicking today are the following two pictures from Italy and Egypt -
 
http://i.imgur.com/Y035cD1.jpg

http://elgornalimages.elgornal.net/images/news/thumb/2013/7/26/635104452321083535_3720132620943.jpg

The rise of pan-Arab nationalism and foreign competition in the Middle East (e.g. Russia) is a serious geostrategic concern for Western and Zionist interests. As I have pointed out in previous blog commentaries about the region, when it comes to the Middle East, Western powers much rather deal with backward Islamic governments or subservient dictators. Needless to say, crucially important in the Battle for Damascus today are roles played by Russia and Iran. How far Moscow and Tehran are willing to go to preserve Bashar Assad's rule in Damascus will ultimately determine the fate of not only Syria but also of the greater region.

For Moscow, keeping its naval facility at Tartus, Syria, the only Russian military station located outside of former Soviet territory, is crucially important from a military perspective. Moreover, Moscow's presence in Syria is a geostrategically important foothold in the Middle East, one that curbs the growth of Western, Zionist, Turkish and Sunni Islamist power in the region. What's more, its presence in Syria also serves to make it a major player on the international stage. These and other reasons are precisely why Moscow has not abandoned Bashar Assad's government. 

If things escalate out of control and Bashar Assad's government is in danger of falling, at the very least, I would like to see Russian amphibious forces occupy Syria's Russia-friendly Alawite populated territories on Mediterranean coast. This would not only ensure the survival of Syria's Alawite and Christian populations (including Armenians) by securing territory where they can flee to, it would also ensure the preservation of a pro-Russian bastion within Syria - as well as protect Russia's naval facility at Tartus. If Bashar Assad's government falls, Syria's Alewite population will be in danger of a genocide. Moscow has the moral obligation and legal justification to intervene in Syria. If Bashar Assad's government is in danger of falling, Moscow should react by sending troops to occupy Syria's Alewite populated territories on Syria's Mediterranean coast. 

After the Alewites, Iran has the most to lose or to gain in Syria. Tehran sees the potential for creating a Shiite/Iranian "arc" stretching from southern Lebanon to Iran. One of the fundamental problems here is that the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance also sees this Iranian potential. Nevertheless, Tehran will not have a problem with keeping Syria a battlefield for its proxy war against its enemies. If Assad's government cannot enjoy victory, the longer the Battle for Damascus lasts the better it will be for Iran.

Assessing the weight of the opposition against Damascus today, however, I personally do not think Bashar Assad will be allowed a victory. They may not be able to defeat Damascus, they are however able to make sure Damascus is not victorious either. If Western powers and their regional allies prove unable to oust Bashar Assad from power, they do have the leverage and the means to turn Syria into a failed state stuck in an unending cycle of sectarian violence, similar to what they have done in Iraq. Therefore, regardless of how one looks at it, the prospects for Syria look very grim.

As noted above, Russia of course continues to be a major concern for Syria's enemies. In my opinion, Bashar Assad has survived thus far in large part thanks to the unwavering support he has gotten from Moscow. If Assad is to survive the coming military aggression against his country, he will need Russia now more than ever. How far will Moscow go to protect Bashar Assad's regime?

I'm quite confident that this is a question that Russian officials themselves are having a difficult time answering. Nevertheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin did publicly state at the recent G-20 conference that if Syria is militarily attacked, Moscow will help Damascus. I do not know what "help" means in this context. It is importance to note, however, that besides providing modern weapp0ny to the Assad government, Russia is also continuing to increase its military presence in the region.  

They have tried everything in their power to get Moscow to back-off from Syria. According to a recent news report, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan is said to have even offered Russian President Vladimir Putin lucrative oil deals - as well as security from Chechen terrorists during the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi if Moscow just abandons Bashar Assad's regime. See article titled "Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria" posted below this commentary. Needless to say, Vladimir Putin is said to have dismissed the Saudi offer to sell Bashar Assad for a barrel of oil. 

If the report, however, is accurate, it is very revealing that the Saudi prince of camels (who was reported to have been killed in an assassination attempt last summer) may be publicly admitting what we have known for decades, namely that Saudi Arabia, one of Washington's closest partners in the world, is the number one financier of Islamic radicalism around the world and that Riyadh maintains direct control over Islamic terrorists, including over those located in southern Russia. For more insight on the epidemic of Islamic terrorism around the world in recent times, I ask you to please revisit the following blog commentary -
Tsarnaev brothers, secret services and Islamic terrorism (April, 2013): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2013/04/tsarnaev-brothers-secret-services-and.html
The West Masterminded Chechen War to Destroy USSR and Russia (June, 2010): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2010/11/it-is-now-known-that-twenty-year-old.html
Nevertheless, I would like to reiterate once again that Moscow will not allow itself to be pulled into this fight. Moscow will do everything in its power to preserve Bashar Assad's government - short of going to war for it. As we have seen in recent news reports, Moscow will provide Syria with modern weaponry, financial aid, humanitarian aid, political protection, technical support and military intelligence. However, those who Moscow will expect to fight for Syria are Syrians, Iranians, Shiite Iraqis and the Hezbollah.

As important as Syria is to Russia geostrategically, Moscow's red line in the region has historically been the Caucasus. Iran, on the other hand, is a different story. It is now known that Tehran sees its red line in Syria. This is understandable because Syria is in fact Iran's and Hezbollah's first line of defense. If Syria falls, Hezbollah's fate will be sealed. With Syria and the Hezbollah out of the way, Iran will soon follow. Therefore, a lot is now depending on Iran. How Tehran responds to an attack against Syria by Western forces will inevitably determine the course of events going forward. The Middle East is in the very midst of a drastic reshaping. The geopolitical format put together by London and Paris one hundred years ago no longer seems to serve their purpose. Western imperial powers and their lackeys are in the process of recreating the region at the tip of a bloody bayonet. 

One of the tragic consequences of Western actions in the Middle East during the past one hundred years has been the systematic eradication of the region's ancient Christian populations, starting with the genocide of Armenians.  The Anglo-American-Zionist alliance has in effect managed to do what Islamic rulers of the region did not dare do during the past fourteen centuries: Christianity today is on the verge of extinction in the very land where it was born.

On the brink of world war

The political climate of the world today is eerily reminiscent to that of almost exactly one hundred years ago on the eve of the First World War. Who at the time would have thought that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria would spark a major world war? Who today thinks that a military aggression against Syria or Iran cannot spark yet another world war?

Humanity is in upheaval. Civilizations are clashing. Alliances are being formed. Battle-lines are being drawn. Superpowers are stirring. A new global order is coming into existence. We will be experiencing stronger birth pangs of this new world in the coming years.

To preserve its global hegemony within the new century, the Western alliance is systematically spreading its tentacles worldwide. Not yet fully recovered from its post-Soviet shock, the Russian Federation is busy fortifying its Eurasian fortress and in doing so protecting its vast natural wealth. China is rapidly building up its military capacity and strategically diversifying its economy. Seeking direction and perhaps a new identity (having been letdown in its Eurotic dreams), Turkey is attempting to reincarnate the Ottoman empire. And an embattled Damascus and a stubborn Tehran are preparing for a major military onslaught by Anglo-American-Franco-Zionist-Turco-Wahhabist interests. They have thus brought the world to the brink of a world war.  

We may already be in its preliminary stages. The numerous devastating wars that have plagued this century, a century that is barely over ten years old, may be its preparatory phases. Although nothing is yet set in stone and a major global catastrophe can still be avoided, an attack on Syria or Iran has the potential of being the trigger that will inevitably plunge the world into the third major global confrontation in a hundred years. Within this very complex and very volatile geopolitical climate many vulnerable nations such as Armenia are bracing themselves for the inevitable big bang.

Essentially finding itself in the middle of this turbulent storm, Armenia has been carefully navigating the dangerous waters that surround it. Armenian President Sargsyan just recently announced Yerevan's decision to further deepen its ties with the Russian Federation by agreeing to join the Moscow-led Customs Union. I can sleep better now knowing that Armenian officials recognize the futility of trying to board a sinking ship like the European Union. I can sleep better now knowing that officials in Yerevan fully recognize the paramount importance of having Russian boots on the ground in Armenia.

Arevordi
September, 2013


***
Syrian Conflict: A Brief Military Analysis (June 2013): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2013/06/syrian-conflict-brief-military-analysis.html 
Middle Eastern geopolitics and the proxy war in Syria (May, 2013): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2013/05/geopolitics-and-proxy-war-in-syria-may.html
CIA arms Islamic rebels, Syria downs Turkish warplane (June, 2012): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/06/cia-arms-islamic-rebels-syria-downs.html 
Russian military buildup in Caucasus, Russian anti-terror troops arrive in Syria, Armenia moves closer to Russia (March, 2012): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/03/russian: anti-terror-troops-arrive-in.html
Political unrest nearing Russia's southern border (February, 2012):
http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/02/as-political-unrests-near-russias.html
West, Arab League and Turkey Supporting Armed Islamic Militants in Syria (December, 2011): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2011/12/nato-arab-league-and-turkey-supporting.html
NATO plans campaigns in Libya and Syria to tighten noose around Iran (September, 2011): http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2011/09/nato-plans-campaigns-in-middle-east-to_03.html

***


Another Western War Crime In The Making

http://truthfrequencyradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/P30_ALE_1024_299712k.jpg

By Paul Craig Roberts 

Washington and its British and French puppet governments are poised to yet again reveal their criminality. The image of the West as War Criminal is not a propaganda image created by the West’s enemies, but the portrait that the West has painted of itself.

The UK Independent reports that over this past week-end Obama, Cameron, and Hollande agreed to launch cruise missile attacks against the Syrian government within two weeks despite the lack of any authorization from the UN and despite the absence of any evidence in behalf of Washington’s claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the Washington-backed “rebels”, largely US supported external forces, seeking to overthrow the Syrian government.

Indeed, one reason for the rush to war is to prevent the UN inspection that Washington knows would disprove its claim and possibly implicate Washington in the false flag attack by the “rebels,” who assembled a large number of children into one area to be chemically murdered with the blame pinned by Washington on the Syrian government.

Another reason for the rush to war is that Cameron, the UK prime minister, wants to get the war going before the British parliament can block him for providing cover for Obama’s war crimes the way that Tony Blair provided cover for George W. Bush, for which Blair was duly rewarded. What does Cameron care about Syrian lives when he can leave office into the waiting arms of a $50 million fortune.

The Syrian government, knowing that it is not responsible for the chemical weapons incident, has agreed for the UN to send in chemical inspectors to determine the substance used and the method of delivery. However, Washington has declared that it is “too late” for UN inspectors and that Washington accepts the self-serving claim of the al Qaeda affiliated “rebels” that the Syrian government attacked civilians with chemical weapons.

In an attempt to prevent the UN chemical inspectors who arrived on the scene from doing their work, the inspectors were fired upon by snipers in “rebel” held territory and forced off site, although a later report from RT says the inspectors have returned to the site to conduct their inspection. The corrupt British government has declared that Syria can be attacked without UN authorization, just as Serbia and Libya were militarily attacked without UN authorization.

In other words, the Western democracies have already established precedents for violating international law. “International law? We don’t need no stinking international law!” The West knows only one rule: Might is Right. As long as the West has the Might, the West has the Right.

In a response to the news report that the US, UK, and France are preparing to attack Syria, the Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov, said that such unilateral action is a “severe violation of international law,” and that the violation was not only a legal one but also an ethical and moral violation. Lavrov referred to the lies and deception used by the West to justify its grave violations of international law in military attacks on Serbia, Iraq, and Libya and how the US government used preemptive moves to undermine every hope for peaceful settlements in Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

Once again Washington has preempted any hope of peaceful settlement. By announcing the forthcoming attack, the US destroyed any incentive for the “rebels” to participate in the peace talks with the Syrian government. On the verge of these talks taking place, the “rebels” now have no incentive to participate as the West’s military is coming to their aid.

In his press conference Lavrov spoke of how the ruling parties in the US, UK, and France stir up emotions among poorly informed people that, once aroused, have to be satisfied by war. This, of course, is the way the US manipulated the public in order to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. But the American public is tired of the wars, the goal of which is never made clear, and has grown suspicious of the government’s justifications for more wars.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that “Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria’s government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed.” However, Obama could not care less that only 9 percent of the public supports his warmongering. As former president Jimmy Carter recently stated, “America has no functioning democracy.” It has a police state in which the executive branch has placed itself above all law and the Constitution.

This police state is now going to commit yet another Nazi-style war crime of unprovoked aggression. At Nuremberg the Nazis were sentenced to death for precisely the identical actions being committed by Obama, Cameron, and Hollande. The West is banking on might, not right, to keep it out of the criminal dock.

The US, UK, and French governments have not explained why it matters whether people in the wars initiated by the West are killed by explosives made of depleted uranium or with chemical agents or any other weapon. It was obvious from the beginning that Obama was setting up the Syrian government for attack. Obama demonized chemical weapons–but not nuclear “bunker busters” that the US might use on Iran. Then Obama drew a red line, saying that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrians was such a great crime that the West would be obliged to attack Syria. Washington’s UK puppets, William Hague and Cameron, have just repeated this nonsensical claim. 

The final step in the frame-up was to orchestrate a chemical incident and blame the Syrian government.

What is the West’s real agenda? This is the unasked and unanswered question. Clearly, the US, UK, and French governments, which have displayed continuously their support for dictatorial regimes that serve their purposes, are not the least disturbed by dictatorships. They brand Assad a dictator as a means of demonizing him for the ill-informed Western masses. But Washington, UK, and France support any number of dictatorial regimes, such as the ones in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and now the military dictatorship in Egypt that is ruthlessly killing Egyptians without any Western government speaking of invading Egypt for “killing its own people.”

Clearly also, the forthcoming Western attack on Syria has nothing whatsoever to do with bringing “freedom and democracy” to Syria any more than freedom and democracy were reasons for the attacks on Iraq and Libya, neither of which gained any “freedom and democracy.”

The Western attack on Syria is unrelated to human rights, justice or any of the high sounding causes with which the West cloaks its criminality. The Western media, and least of all the American presstitutes, never ask Obama, Cameron, or Hollande what the real agenda is. It is difficult to believe than any reporter is sufficiently stupid or gullible to believe that the agenda is bringing “freedom and democracy” to Syria or punishing Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons against murderous thugs trying to overthrow the Syrian government.

Of course, the question wouldn’t be answered if asked. But the act of asking it would help make the public aware that more is afoot than meets the eye. Originally, the excuse for Washington’s wars was to keep Americans safe from terrorists. Now Washington is endeavoring to turn Syria over to jihad terrorists by helping them to overthrow the secular, non-terrorist Assad government. What is the agenda behind Washington’s support of terrorism?

Perhaps the purpose of the wars is to radicalize Muslims and, thereby, destabilize Russia and even China. Russia has large populations of Muslims and is bordered by Muslim countries. Even China has some Muslim population. As radicalization spreads strife into the only two countries capable of being an obstacle to Washington’s world hegemony, Western media propaganda and the large number of US financed NGOs, posing as “human rights” organizations, can be counted on by Washington to demonize the Russian and Chinese governments for harsh measures against “rebels.”

Another advantage of the radicalization of Muslims is that it leaves former Muslim countries in long-term turmoil or civil wars, as is currently the case in Iraq and Libya, thus removing any organized state power from obstructing Israeli purposes. Secretary of State John Kerry is working the phones using bribes and threats to build acceptance, if not support, for Washington’s war crime-in-the-making against Syria.

Washington is driving the world closer to nuclear war than it ever was even in the most dangerous periods of the Cold War. When Washington finishes with Syria, the next target is Iran. Russia and China will no longer be able to fool themselves that there is any system of international law or restraint on Western criminality. Western aggression is already forcing both countries to develop their strategic nuclear forces and to curtail the Western-financed NGOs that pose as “human rights organizations,” but in reality comprise a fifth column that Washington can use to destroy the legitimacy of the Russian and Chinese governments.

Russia and China have been extremely careless in their dealings with the United States. Essentially, the Russian political opposition is financed by Washington. Even the Chinese government is being undermined. When a US corporation opens a company in China, it creates a Chinese board on which are put relatives of the local political authorities. These boards create a conduit for payments that influence the decisions and loyalties of local and regional party members. The US has penetrated Chinese universities and intellectual attitudes. The Rockefeller University is active in China as is Rockefeller philanthropy. Dissenting voices are being created that are arrayed against the Chinese government. Demands for “liberalization” can resurrect regional and ethnic differences and undermine the cohesiveness of the national government.

Once Russia and China realize that they are riven with American fifth columns, isolated diplomatically, and outgunned militarily, nuclear weapons become the only guarantor of their sovereignty. This suggests that nuclear war is likely to terminate humanity well before humanity succumbs to global warming or rising national debts. 

Update: 

The war criminals in Washington and other Western capitals are determined to maintain their lie that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.  Having failed in efforts to intimidate the UN chemical inspectors in Syria, Washington has demanded that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon withdraw the chemical weapons inspectors before they can assess the evidence and make their report.  The UN Secretary General stood up to the Washington war criminals and rejected their demand. 
 
The US and UK governments have revealed none of the “conclusive evidence” they claim to have that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. Listening to their voices, observing their body language, and looking into their eyes,  it is completely obvious that John Kerry and his British and German puppets are lying through their teeth.  This is a far more shameful situation than the massive lies that former Secretary of State Colin Powell told the UN about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.  Colin Powell claims that he was deceived by the White House and did not know that he was lying.  Kerry and the British, French, and German puppets know full well that they are lying.The face that the West presents to the world is the brazen face of a liar.
 
Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format.



No Syrian War to Save Obama’s Face!

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By Patrick Buchanan

“Catastrophic!” said Sen. John McCain. If Congress votes no on a resolution calling for U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war, says McCain, it would be “catastrophic” for U.S. credibility in the world. Consider what the senator is saying here.

Because Barack Obama, two years ago, said “Assad must go,” and, one year ago, said any use of chemical weapons crosses his “red line,” Congress has no choice but to plunge America into yet another Mideast war. Can this be? Are we really, as a nation, required to go to war to make good the simple-minded statements of an untutored president who had no constitutional authority to issue his impulsive ultimata?

Are we really required to go to war to get the egg off Obama’s face? Not since the War of Jenkins’ Ear has there been a dumber cause for a great country to go to war. Is there no way out? There is, and it’s right in front of us.

The House, Senate or both can vote no on the war resolution and Obama can then say, as did David Cameron, that, while he disagrees, he respects the decision of a Congress in which the Constitution placed sole authority to authorize America’s going to war. Are Brits now crying “catastrophe!”? Do the Spanish no longer think the Brits will defend Gibraltar? Is Britain now wholly non-credible to the world?

For Obama, and for us, it is the other options that invite catastrophe. If, for example, the House or Senate votes down the war resolution and Obama, without authorization from Congress, the Security Council, NATO or the Arab League plunges us into a new war this nation does not want to fight, he will be courting a geostrategic and political disaster.

Even if Congress approves a war resolution, the president should think long and hard about diving into a war he sought to avoid and stayed out of for over two years. Make no mistake; if Obama attacks Syria, be it for hours or days, we are in that blood-soaked abattoir for the duration. In his dramatic statement Saturday, as politically astute as it was constitutionally correct, Obama called Syria “someone else’s war.”

Whose war? It is Shia Alawite vs. Sunni, Muslim vs. Christian, Kurd vs. Arab, Islamist vs. secularist. Backing Bashar Assad are Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. Backing the rebels are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, al-Qaida, foreign jihadists and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Assad is accused of killing 100,00 people. But that is the total of the dead in a civil war Assad has as much right to fight as the rebels. While his army is accused of using gas on civilians, the Islamist rebels have murdered Christians, massacred captives and engaged in public acts of cannibalism on dead Syrian soldiers.

Gas is a sickening weapon. Yet, there is no evidence thus far that Assad ordered its use. Rebel elements are said to have been found with sarin. As for Americans who tend to prefer white phosphorus, napalm and cluster bombs, upon what lofty moral ground do we stand?

Have we forgotten that Churchill wanted to drop anthrax on Germany and settled for two days of firebombing the defenseless city of Dresden? Or that our great friend Anwar Sadat was the confidante of Gamal Abdel Nasser when Egypt was using poison gas on Yemeni tribesmen?

The United States does not have any national security interest in Syria’s war. Why would we then launch missile attacks to “degrade” Assad’s military, when that army and air force are all that stands between us and a privileged sanctuary for al-Qaida in northern Syria, not unlike what al-Qaida had in Tora Bora and Waziristan.

We are told that if we do not strike Syria – making good on Obama’s threats – Israel, Turkey and even Japan and South Korea will not be able to trust us ever again. What nonsense. We have treaties with Japan and South Korea. As for Turkey and Israel, if what is happening in Syria is outrageous and dangerous, why do they not act? Why do they keep tugging at our sleeve?

The Israeli Air force is five minutes from Damascus, its army a two-day march. The Turks have three times Syria’s population and a 400,000-man army equipped with NATO weapons. Together, they could invade and turn the tide in a week. Why do they not man up?

McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham came out of the Oval Office saying Obama was open to wider strikes on Syria and more lethal support for the rebels. As Iran, Hezbollah and Russia would then upgrade their own weapons shipments to Damascus, this will mean more dead, more wounded, more tens of thousands fleeing into exile and a longer war.

But what it will likely end with, after America is dragooned in, is a U.S. war with Iran; our allies, sitting in their box seats, cheering us on. And that is the dog you will not hear bark in the war-on-Syria debate.

Source: http://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2013/09/03/no-syrian-war-to-save-obamas-face/

Obama Set For Holy Tomahawk War

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By Pepe Escoba

The ''responsibility to protect'' (R2P) doctrine invoked to legitimize the 2011 war on Libya has just transmogrified into ''responsibility to attack'' (R2A) Syria. Just because the Obama administration says so. On Sunday, the White House said it had ''very little doubt'' that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry ramped it up to ''undeniable'' - and accused Assad of ''moral obscenity''.

So when the US bombed Fallujah with white phosphorus in late 2004 it was just taking the moral high ground. And when the US helped Saddam Hussein to gas Iranians in 1988 it was also taking the moral high ground.

The Obama administration has ruled that Assad allowed UN chemical weapons inspectors into Syria, and to celebrate their arrival unleashed a chemical weapons attack mostly against women and children only 15 kilometers away from the inspectors' hotel. If you don't believe it, you subscribe to a conspiracy theory.

Evidence? Who cares about evidence? Assad's offer of access for the inspectors came ''too late''. Anyway, the UN team is only mandated to determine whether chemical weapons were deployed - but not by who, according to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's spokesman.

As far as the Obama administration and UK Prime Minister David ''of Arabia'' Cameron are concerned - supported by a barrage of corporate media missiles - that's irrelevant; Obama's ''red line'' has been crossed by Assad, period. Washington and London are in no-holds-barred mode to dismiss any facts contradicting the decision. Newspeak - of the R2A kind - rules. If this all looks like Iraq 2.0 that's because it is. Time to fix the facts around the policy - all over again. Time for weapons of mass deception - all over again. 


The Saudi-Israeli axis of fun

The window of opportunity for war is now. Assad's forces were winning from Qusayr to Homs; pounding ''rebel'' remnants out of the periphery of Damascus; deploying around Der'ah to counterpunch CIA-trained ''rebels'' with advanced weapons crossing the Syrian-Jordanian border; and organizing a push to expel ''rebels'' and jihadis from suburbs of Aleppo.

Now, Israel and Saudi Arabia are oh so excited because they are getting exactly what they dream just by good ol' Wag the Dog methods. Tel Aviv has even telegraphed how it wants it: this Monday, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper headlined with ''On the Way to Attack'' and even printed the ideal Order of Battle.

Months ago, even AMAN, the Intelligence Directorate of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) concluded that Assad was not a fool to cross Obama's chemical weapon ''red line''. So they came up with the concept of ''two entwined red lines'', the second line being the Syrian government ''losing control of its chemical weapons depots and production sites''. AMAN then proposed different strategies to Washington, from a no-fly zone to actually seizing the weapons (implying a ground attack).

It's now back to the number one option - air strikes on the chemical weapons depots. As if the US - and Israel - had up-to-the-minute intelligence on exactly where they are.

The House of Saud had also telegraphed its wishes - after Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, was appointed by King Abdullah as head of Saudi General Intelligence. Abdullah's hard on is explained by his mother and two of his wives coming from an influential, ultra-conservative Sunni tribe in Syria. As for Bandar Bush, he has more longevity than Rambo or the Terminator; he's back in the same role he played in the 1980s Afghan jihad, when he was the go-to guy helping the CIA to weaponize president president Ronald Reagan's ''freedom fighters''.

Jordan - a fiction of a country totally dependent on the Saudis - was easily manipulated into becoming a ''secret'' war operation center. And who's in charge? No less than Bandar's younger half-brother, and deputy national security adviser, Salman bin Sultan, also known as ''mini-Bandar''. Talk about an Arab version of Dr Evil and Mini Me. Still, there are more CIA assets than Saudis in the Jordanian front.

The importance of this report cannot be overstated enough. It was initially leaked to Lebanon's Al-Safir newspaper. Here's Bandar's whole strategy, unveiled in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, already reported by Asia Times Online. After trying - for four hours - to convince Putin to drop Syria, Bandar is adamant: ''There is no escape from the military option.''

Mix Kosovo with Libya and voila!
 
Former president Bill Clinton resurfaced with perfect timing to compare Obama's options in Syria to Reagan's jihad in Afghanistan. Bubba was right in terms of positioning Bandar's role. But he must have inhaled something if he was thinking in terms of consequences - which include everything from the Taliban to that mythical entity, ''al-Qaeda''. Well, at least al-Qaeda is already active in Syria; they don't need to invent it.

As for that bunch of amateurs surrounding Obama - including R2P groupies such as Susan Rice and new Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, all of them liberal hawks - they are all suckers for Kosovo. Kosovo - with a Libya add-on - is being spun as the ideal model for Syria; R2P via (illegal) air strikes. Right on cue, the New York Times is already frantically parroting the idea.

Facts are, of course, absent from the narrative - including the blowing up of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade (a remix in Syria with the Russian embassy?) and getting to the brink of a war with Russia.

Syria has nothing to do with the Balkans. This is a civil war. Arguably the bulk of the Syrian urban population, not the country bumpkins, support Damascus - based on despicable ''rebel'' behavior in places they control; and the absolute majority wants a political solution, as in the now near-totally torpedoed Geneva II conference.

The Jordanian scheme - inundating southern Syria with heavily weaponized mercenaries - is a remix of what the CIA and the Saudis did to AfPak; and the only winner will be Jabhat al-Nusra jihadis. As for the Israeli solution for Obama - indiscriminate bombing of chemical weapons depots - it will certainly result in horrendous collateral damage, as in R2A killing even more civilians.

The prospects remain grim. Damn another coalition of the willing; Washington already has the British and French poodles in the bag, and full support - in air-con safety - from the democratic Gulf Cooperation Council petro-monarchies, minion Jordan and nuclear power Israel. This is what passes for ''international community'' in the newspeak age.

The Brits are already heavily spinning that no UN Security Council resolution is needed; who cares if we do Iraq 2.0? For the War Party, the fact that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said Syrian ''rebels'' could not promote US interests seems to be irrelevant.

Washington already has what it takes for the Holy Tomahawks to start flying; 384 of them are already positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean. B-1 bombers can be deployed from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. And bunker-busting bombs will certainly be part of the picture.

What happens next requires concentric crystal balls - from Tomahawks to a barrage of air strikes to Special Ops commandos on the ground to a sustained air campaign lasting months. In his long interview to Izvestia, Assad gives the impression he thinks Obama is bluffing.

What's certain is that Syria won't be a ''piece of cake'' like Libya; even depleted on all fronts, Gaddafi resisted for eight long months after NATO started its humanitarian bombing. Syria has a weary but still strong army of 200,000; loads of Soviet and Russian weapons; very good antiaircraft systems; and full support from asymmetrical warfare experts Iran and Hezbollah. Not to mention Russia, which just needs to forward a few S-300 air defense batteries and relay solid intelligence.

So get used to how international relations work in the age of newspeak. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's army in Egypt can kill hundreds of his own people who were protesting against a military coup. Washington couldn't care less - as in the coup that is not a coup and the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath.

No one knows for sure what exactly happened in the chemical weapons saga near Damascus. But that's the pretext for yet another American war - just a few days before a Group of 20 summit hosted by Putin in St Petersburg. Holy Tomahawk! R2A, here we go.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

Source: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-270813.html

World’s Largest Nations Speak Out Against US-Led Strike

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As leaders of countries making up half of the world’s population firmly opposed military action against Syria without a UN mandate, the US kept pushing for a strike, claiming that many countries represented at the G20 summit were “comfortable” with it. Although discussion of the Syrian conflict was never officially on the G20 agenda, world leaders used their statements and speeches to outline their stance on a possible US-led military strike against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the notion that there was a 50/50 split of opinion on the issue, alluding that leaders of the majority of the world’s largest economies clearly stated their opposition to military intervention in Syria. Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa were among the countries that openly spoke out against military action not authorized by the UN Security Council, Putin revealed.

Putin himself said that he believes the alleged chemical weapons attack was nothing more than “a provocation on behalf of the armed insurgents in hope of the help from the outside, from the countries which supported them from day one.” 

Taking a stand against a US-led strike

During his closing speech at the G20 summit, the Russian President pointed out that the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation – Indonesia – was among those “categorically opposed” to a strike against Syria. Indonesia has been calling on the international community to refrain from extrajudicial justice on Syria, and to wait until UN investigators publish the results of their work.

Indonesia’s stance is clear. President Yudhoyono has said that, while affirming that the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians cannot be accepted, we need to ensure who actually carried out the attacks. In this sense, we should wait for the UN’s inspection team to announce the result of its investigation,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in a statement published on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s official website.

International responses should not lead to more and worse humanitarian problems. The misery of the Syrian people has been too long and we need to ensure there is no military approach used, but instead peaceful diplomatic measures must be utilized to settle the problems,” Natalegawa added.

China has consistently opposed a military solution for the Syrian crisis, joining Russia in its belief that any action must be based on the UN investigation and authorized by the UN Security Council. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told RT at the summit that it is “vitally important” that any move on Syria be based on the UN investigation, stressing that China is “against the use of chemical weapons by any countries or organizations.”

China and Russia are both appealing to the countries concerned to be serious about the possible consequences of the use of military means without the mandate of the UN Security Council,” Qin added, reminding that recent history has shown that such means “can’t solve a complicated issue like Syria.” Meanwhile, China’s vice finance minister, Zhu Guangyao, has warned that a strike would have a negative impact on the global economy and “cause a hike in the oil price.”

Other members of the BRICS bloc of emerging economies – Brazil, India and South Africa – also voiced their firm opposition to the possibility of a US-led military strike. Any action on Syria should be taken within the UN framework, and only after the UN releases the results of the chemical weapons investigation, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed. While condemning the use of chemical weapons by any party, Singh told G20 leaders that one needs to be certain what has really happened in Syria, according to Indian Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who spoke to reporters at the summit.   

South African President Jacob Zuma slammed the idea of a military intervention in Syria on the eve of the summit, saying that one cannot “remain silent when one country is being bombed to ashes before our eyes.” Zuma stressed that the UN is “the only authority that can intervene militarily in any country,” in his speech earlier this week. “We don’t want the world to be run by individuals, but a collective in the form of the UN. I don't know if people who are questioning our position on Syria have an alternative,” Zuma said. 

President Putin on Friday quoted his South African counterpart as saying that the world’s smaller countries feel “increasingly vulnerable and insecure” with the notion that a more powerful nation can “at any time and at its own discretion use force against them.” In this regard, a military strike outside of a UN Security Council resolution would set a dangerous precedent, Putin warned. “The use of force on a sovereign state is only possible if it is done for self-defense – and, as we know, Syria is not attacking the US – or under a decision made by the UN Security Council. As one participant in our discussion said, those who act otherwise put themselves outside of law,” Putin said. 

Defending a US-led strike on Syria

On the other hand, US President Barack Obama stressed that the situation in Syria might set a dangerous precedent for the world. During his Friday speech at the G20 summit, Obama said his “goal” and America’s “responsibility” was to maintain international norms on banning the use of chemical weapons, saying he wanted the enforcement to be “real.” He stressed that if the international community does not act, the norms will begin to “unravel.”

Obama then seemingly downplayed the role of the UN Security Council, saying it can end up as “a barrier to acting on behalf of international norms and international law.” The US has stated that it has “high confidence” that Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the alleged chemical weapons attack, and that Washington has evidence proving it, with US officials speculating on Assad’s “capabilities” for such an attack. However, neither Russia nor the UN found such reasoning to be satisfactory. 

Seeking international support for a strike against Syria at the G20 summit, Obama openly brought up the issue at both bilateral meetings and in discussions on the summit’s sidelines. The US President’s conclusions on the global opinion contradicted that of President Putin’s.

I would say that the majority of the room is comfortable with our conclusion that Assad – the Assad government – is responsible for their [chemical weapons] use. Obviously this is disputed by President Putin, but if you polled the leaders last night, I’m confident that you’d get a majority who said it’s most likely, we are confident that the Assad regime used them,” Obama said.

Just as the G20 summit was closing up, the White House promptly published a joint statement signed by the leaders and representatives of 11 nations – ten of whom are G20 members. The signees included Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The statement condemned “in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21,” adding that “evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack.”

It called “for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world’s rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated.” The signatory nations said they “support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.” However, another part of the statement clearly contradicted the current American stance on military action against Syria.

Recognizing that Syria’s conflict has no military solution, we reaffirm our commitment to seek a peaceful political settlement through full implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communique.  We are committed to a political solution which will result in a united, inclusive and democratic Syria.”

It also remained unclear whether all the parties shared a common understanding of what constitutes a “strong international response.” Earlier last week, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta stressed that Italy would not participate in a strike against Damascus “if the United Nations doesn’t back it.” British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that he “will act accordingly” after British MPs rejected the government’s motion to support a military action against Syria.

Cameron on Friday again hinted at the possibility of bypassing the UN Security Council on the strike, saying that relying on the body whose decision hinges on a potential Russian veto would be a very misguided approach.” As he expressed his frustration over the divisions at the G20 summit, Cameron stopped short of accusing Putin of being dishonest about the situation in Syria.

“This G20 was never going to reach conclusions on Syria. The divisions are too great…The Russian position that, as Putin has said, if it is proved it is Assad he will take a different view, but he is fairly clear that it is the opposition, is miles away from what I think the truth is and miles away from what lots of us believe,”
Cameron said at the G20 summit briefing.

Europe’s biggest supporter of the US-led strike against Assad, French President Francois Hollande, told reporters after the G20 summit that he will rely on the UN inspectors’ report and the decision of the US Congress.We shall await the report of the inspectors just as we will await [US] Congress,” he said, promising to do everything he can “so that France only strikes military targets to avoid civilian casualties” if the Syrian strike is launched. Hollande also said he hopes to convince his EU partners to adopt a similar position on Syria. 

‘Extremely cautious’

According to Putin, Germany - one of America’s key NATO allies - is “extremely cautious” when it comes to a strike against Syria. German Chancellor Angela Merkel defined her country’s position during the G20 summit, saying that she does not believe military intervention is the answer, and that Germany will support a political solution. The European Commission disagreed with the position voiced by some of the union’s members, saying that the EU does not support a military solution to the Syrian crisis. The European Union is certain that the efforts should be aimed at a political settlement,” president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, told reporters at the G20 briefing.

Source: http://rt.com/news/g20-against-syria-strike-527/


Mark Glenn: Israel, US want to prevent Russia return to ME region

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Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Glenn, author and journalist, about US Secretary of State John Kerry producing no proof on a chemical weapons attack in Syria by the Syrian government and yet pushes for a US attack on the sovereign country.This is diplomatic language for saying that Russia is going to participate in this in a sane rational manner, but that Russia is going to protect her own interests in the region particularly when it could wind up on her back door because Iran is right next door to Russia.  The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Let’s discuss the threats and war rhetoric aimed at Syria over the past week. I’m sure you heard Mr. Kerry’s comments. If they are so sure as to what took place, why don’t they just present the proof to the world?

Glenn: Yes, it’s a very obvious and very good question to ask. If they have the proof then all they need to do is to bring it before the world and the world will believe them.

The way that I look at both Obama and Kerry when they’re speaking, they are basically just two hand puppets: one on Benyamin Netanyahu’s right hand; and one on Benyamin Netanyahu’s left hand. When I hear either of these individuals speaking, what I’m hearing is Benyamin Netanyahu and Israel’s intelligence and military establishment who is the only entity that is going to benefit from this at all.

Furthermore, it is obvious that Kerry and Obama are very uncomfortable with this. The body language indicates that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re lying and that they are very nervous about going before the world and trying to sell this idea of invading and destroying yet another one of Israel’s enemies under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction when the first story has fallen apart so miserably vis-a-vis the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

Press TV: Let’s also talk about Russia’s stance and response so far. Russia has been adamant and very vocal about opposing any form of military activity and military intervention in Syria. Just recently news surfaced of Russia saying that these threats are unacceptable.

Can you elaborate on Russia’s stance and what a proper Russian response would be if this military attack were to take place?

Glenn: Anybody who has studied the history of the region particularly for the last 50 years knows that there is this great contest that took place between the West and Russia over Russia’s participation in events in that region.

Russia was basically chased out of the region after Egypt signed the peace deal in 1979 and I think that Israel and the United States want to make sure that the Russians do not come back. And I think that the invasion and destruction of Iraq and what we see taking place right now in Syria is part of this long term project of making sure that the Russians do not come back to the region.

However, the Russians particularly under Vladimir Putin they have different plans in mind, not the least of which is due to the fact that Russia understands that because she is a resource-rich country that she is on that list of countries that stand to be subjected to the same types of skullduggery and deliberately instigated revolutions in her country as we have see the United States and Israel do to other countries in the region.

And I think that Vladimir Putin and the people behind him are serious, I think that they are in this for the long haul. Let’s remember that when Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, when he said last week that Russia was not planning to go to war with anyone over Syria, he didn’t say that Russia wouldn’t respond.

Source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/08/31/321471/israel-us-want-russia-outside-me-analyst/

Richard Becker: US aims to overthrow all independent govts in the Middle East

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The US is not “the cop of the world” and cannot “attack any country,” but it follows its key agenda of removing all independent governments in the Middle East, Richard Becker from ANSWER Coalition told RT. The real aim of the US "is to remove all the independent governments in the Middle East, to destroy the popular movements in order to secure the domination of this key strategic and oil rich region,” Becker said.

US President Barack Obama on Saturday formally requested Congressional authorization for military strikes on Syria in a bid to prevent more chemical attacks. “Syria has not threatened and cannot threaten the US. So such a war would be a crime against peace,” Becker acknowledged.

RT: We are waiting to find out what Congress decides - but do you think Obama really would go it alone?

Richard Becker: Well he could go it alone. What we’ve seen is that there is an opposition around the world and in the US, and yesterday in the US there were demonstrations in dozens of cities opposing a new war against Syria. And that opposition is what forced Obama to pull back and say that he was going to Congress. It wasn’t a matter of change of sentiment or that he started to rethink things, except on the basis that there was such a great opposition and it presents great dangers. If they launch a war, it would not only be reckless, it would also be lawless and would have unforeseeable consequences as all wars do before they begin.

RT: No matter what Congress says shouldn't the President be more concerned about what the American people think?

RB: I think that they are going to try in the next week is to wage a campaign using the corporate media in the US which really functions as the fourth branch of government in times of crisis, particularly war crisis. They will try to convince the people in the US that there is justification, but there is no justification. First of all it defies logic that the Assad government would have used chemical weapons at exactly the moment they were winning and the UN inspectors were there. But secondly if that had happened the US do not have the authority, it is not the ‘cop of the world’, to attack any country. And Syria has not threatened and cannot threaten the US. So such a war would be a crime against peace.

RT: With Secretary of State Kerry saying the US has proof - is Washington guilty of riding roughshod over the UN inspectors who are working to determine IF there was indeed a chemical attack?

RB: What the US is really convinced of is not the so much the accuracy of their information as of their objective. Their objective has been for a long time to remove, to overthrow the government in Syria. The day after the fall of Baghdad on April 10 2003, a State Department official John Bolton said that Syria, Iran and North Korea should learn the lesson of Iraq. What is it, if not a terrorist threat? But it also indicates to us what the real aim is, and that is to remove all the independent governments in the Middle East, to destroy the popular movements in order to secure the domination of this key strategic and oil rich region.

RT: Iraq's just voted against intervention at the Arab League - is this not ironic given the fact the country has supposedly been liberated by US forces?

RB: We can see the tragedy of Iraq. The horrible tragedy that everyday people are dying there: over a million people were killed, five million were made refugees, and over a quarter of the population was killed, wounded or made refugees by the US intervention and occupation. I can certainly understand why any government in Iraq that was loyal to the interest of the Iraqi people would want to vote ‘no’ in another such intervention.

Source: http://rt.com/op-edge/us-overthrow-middle-east-328/

Le Figaro reports rebel soldiers trained by US, Jordan, Israel crossed border to Syria

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Guerrilla fighters trained by the West began moving towards Damascus in mid-August, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Thursday. Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.
The rebels were trained for several months in a training camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border by CIA operatives, as well as Jordanian and Israeli commandos, the paper said. The first group of 300 handpicked Free Syrian Army soldiers crossed the border on August 17 into the Deraa region, and a second group was deployed on August 19, the paper reported. The paper quoted a researcher at the French Institute for Strategic Analysis as saying the trained rebels group was passing through Ghouta, on their way to Damascus.

In June, the Los Angeles Times reported that CIA operatives and American special operations units have been training Free Syrian Army soldiers with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons since late 2012. The newspaper reported that the training took place at covert bases in Jordan and Turkey. So far, the Obama administration has been hesitant to sanction large-scale military aid to the rebels for fear that the arms could end up in the hands of radical Islamists currently fighting in the Assad regime. 

Washington has been urged by lawmakers at home and critics abroad to increase involvement in the Syrian conflict, which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands in the last two years. The United States has left about 700 combat-equipped troops in Jordan after a training exercise there, at the request of the Jordanian government, US President Barack Obama said on Friday.

"This detachment that participated in the exercise and remained in Jordan includes Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control, and communications personnel and systems," Obama said.

A team of United Nations chemical weapons experts arrived in Damascus on Sunday to investigate the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war. President Bashar Assad's government and the rebels fighting him have accused each other of using chemical weapons, a step which the United States had said would cross a "red line" in a conflict which has killed 100,000 people. The UN team, including weapons experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will try to establish only whether chemical weapons including sarin and other toxic nerve agents were used, not who used them.

Source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Syrian-rebel-forces-trained-by-West-are-moving-towards-Damascus-324033

Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria

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Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria. The revelations come amid high tension in the Middle East, with US, British, and French warships poised for missile strikes against Syria, and Iran threatening to retaliate. The strategic jitters pushed Brent crude prices to a five-month high of $US112 a barrel. ‘‘We are only one incident away from a serious oil spike. The market is a lot tighter than people think,’’ said Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review.

Leaked transcripts of a behind closed doors meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan shed an extraordinary light on the hard-nosed Realpolitik of the two sides. Prince Bandar, head of Saudi intelligence, allegedly confronted the Kremlin with a mix of inducements and threats in a bid to break the deadlock over Syria.

‘‘Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets,’’ he is claimed to have said at the four-hour meeting with Mr Putin. ‘‘We understand Russia’s great interest in the oil and gas in the Mediterranean from Israel to Cyprus. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. We are not interested in competing with that. We can cooperate in this area,’’ he said, purporting to speak with the full backing of the US.

The talks appear to offer an alliance between the OPEC cartel and Russia, which together produce more than 40 million barrels a day of oil, 45 per cent of global output. Such a move would alter the strategic landscape. The details of the talks were leaked to the Russian press. A more detailed version has since appeared in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, which has Hizbollah links and is hostile to the Saudis. As-Safir said Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord.

‘‘I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the Games are controlled by us,’’ he allegedly said. Prince Bandar went on to say that Chechens operating in Syria were a pressure tool that could be switched on and off. ‘‘We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role in Syria’s political future.’’

President Putin has long been pushing for a global gas cartel, issuing the ‘‘Moscow Declaration’’ last month to ‘‘defend suppliers and resist unfair pressure’’ Mr Skrebowski said it is unclear what the Saudis can really offer the Russians on gas, beyond using leverage over Qatar and others to cut output of liquefied natural gas. Saudi Arabia could help boost oil prices by restricting its own supply. This would be a shot in the arm for Russia, but it would be a dangerous strategy if it pushed prices to levels that put the global economic recovery at risk. Mr Skrebowski said trouble is brewing in supply states.

‘Libya is reverting to war lordism. Nigeria is drifting into a bandit state with steady loss of output. And Iraq is going back to the sort of Sunni-Shia civil war we saw in 2006-07,’’ he said. The Putin-Bandar meeting took place three weeks ago. Mr Putin was unmoved by the Saudi offer. ‘‘We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters,’’ he said, referring to footage showing a Jihadist rebel eating the heart and liver of a Syrian soldier. Prince Bandar said that there can be ‘‘no escape from the military option’’ if Russia declines the olive branch. Events are unfolding exactly as he foretold.

Neocon Hawks Take Flight Over Syria

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In an echo of the tactics they used to promote U.S. intervention in the Balkans, Iraq and Libya, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives published a letter Tuesday urging President Barack Obama to go far beyond limited military strikes against Syria in retaliation for its government’s alleged use last week of chemical weapons that reportedly killed hundreds of people.

Signed by 66 former government officials and “foreign policy experts” – almost all of them strongly pro-Israel neo-conservatives – the letter, which was released by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), called for Washington “and other willing nations [to] consider direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime” as part of more ambitious strategy to support “moderate” Syrian rebels and dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Any military action should aim to ensure that the government of President Bashar al-Assad will be unable to use chemical weapons and should deter or destroy its “airpower and other conventional military means of committing atrocities against civilian noncombatants,” according to the letter.

The letter’s most prominent signatories included several senior officials of the George W. Bush administration, such as his top Middle East aide, Elliott Abrams, former Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, John Hannah, and was given a bipartisan gloss with the inclusion of former Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman and several liberal interventionist commentators identified with the Democratic party who signed previous statements by the FPI and its predecessor, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

The letter also called on Obama to “accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition” to help them prevail against both Assad and growing Al Qaeda-affiliated or extremist factions. It was released amidst growing indications that the Obama administration, which Monday called the alleged attack a “moral obscenity”, is determined to take limited military action – most likely through cruise-missile strikes launched from naval vessels based in the eastern Mediterranean – against selected targets in Syria for up to three days, possibly as early as this weekend.

It is expected that Britain and France and possibly Turkey will also take part in operations under a NATO mandate and with the support of the Arab League which, meeting in Cairo Tuesday, blamed Syria for the attack and called for its perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Despite the fact that U.N. inspectors, who on Monday visited the site of the alleged attack outside Damascus and took blood and tissue samples from some victims, have not yet submitted their findings, administration officials said they had concluded that the attack did take place and that government forces were responsible.

At the White House Tuesday, spokesman Jay Carney said the administration will release a report detailing the basis for its conclusions later this week and that Obama was currently considering various options prepared by the Pentagon, although he also insisted that any action taken by the United States will not be intended to achieve “regime change” in Damascus.

That assurance will no doubt frustrate neo-conservatives, many of whom have long held the Assad dynasty in their sights and who had hoped that the 2003 invasion of Iraq – which they promoted through organizations like PNAC, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD) – would lay the foundations for Assad’s ouster, too.

Indeed, a number of neo-conservatives, including signatories of the FPI letter, are insisting that US action aim to end Assad’s regime.

One, Eliot Cohen, argued in a Washington Post op-ed Monday that “a bout of therapeutic bombing is an even more feckless course of action than a principled refusal to act altogether,” a point echoed on the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page – a favorite neo-conservative forum – Tuesday.

Another signatory, Reuel Marc Gerecht, who promoted the Iraq war at AEI and is now based at FDD, called for a “devastating” attack targeting “elite military units, aircraft, armor and artillery; all weapons-depots; the myriad organizations of the secret police; the ruling elite’s residences; and other critical Alawite infrastructure” in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday.

Founded by two prominent neo-conservatives in 1997, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, PNAC published a series of letters and manifestos that helped shape the foreign policy trajectory, especially regarding the Middle East, of Bush’s first term. Among its charter members are eight men who held key posts under Bush, including Cheney; his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; Abrams and the Pentagon’s foreign policy chief, Peter Rodman.

In 1998, PNAC published letters favoring legislation adopting “regime change” as official US policy toward Iraq that was eventually signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. Nine days after 9/11, it published another letter to Bush signed by 41 policy analysts – virtually all neo-conservatives – that laid out an ambitious agenda for his “global war on terror”.

It insisted that failure to remove Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from power “will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.” It also urged that Bush “should consider appropriate measures of retaliation” against Iran and Syria if they refused to comply with demands that they cease support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

PNAC faded into oblivion by the beginning of Bush’s second term as the situation in Iraq deteriorated and neo-conservatives lost influence. In early 2009, however, Kagan and Kristol founded FPI and were joined as directors there by Edelman and Dan Senor, a former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq.

In January 2011, FPI published a letter signed by 40 policy analysts, including more than a dozen former Bush administration officials, calling on Obama to press NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Libya and the country’s naval vessels.

By the following summer, it joined with FDD in calling for tough economic sanctions against Syria and the creation of no-fly or no-go zones in Syrian territory to protect civilians, and in December 2011, it released a letter signed by 58 individuals – most of whom also signed Tuesday’s letter – calling for military aid to opposition forces “whose political goals accord with US national security interests”.

Among the more notable signatories of the most recent letter are French writer Bernard-Henri Levy, who played a key role in mobilizing international support for the NATO intervention in Libya; Christian Right activist Gary Bauer, who, with Kristol, was a founding board member of the Emergency Committee for Israel; Bush political adviser Karl Rove; the former head of the Committee to Liberate Iraq, Randy Scheunemann; and former CPA chief, L. Paul Bremer, as well as Kagan and Kristol.

Surprisingly absent from the list were some of the most visible and controversial architects and supporters of the Iraq war and those who had previously associated themselves with PNAC or FPI, such as Cheney, Wolfowitz, Libby, former CIA director James Woolsey, and AEI’s Richard Perle, who chaired the Defense Policy Board under Rumsfeld.

Source: http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2013/08/27/neocon-hawks-take-flight-over-syria/

New York Times: Target Assad

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A strike directed straight at the Syrian dictator and his family is the only military option that could hasten the end of the civil war

Should President Obama decide to order a military strike against Syria, his main order of business must be to kill Bashar Assad. Also, Bashar's brother and principal henchman, Maher. Also, everyone else in the Assad family with a claim on political power. Also, all of the political symbols of the Assad family's power, including all of their official or unofficial residences. The use of chemical weapons against one's own citizens plumbs depths of barbarity matched in recent history only by Saddam Hussein. A civilized world cannot tolerate it. It must demonstrate that the penalty for it will be acutely personal and inescapably fatal.

Maybe this strikes some readers as bloody-minded. But I don't see how a president who ran for his second term boasting about how he "got" Osama bin Laden—one bullet to the head and another to the heart—has any grounds to quarrel with the concept. As it is, a strike directed straight at the Syrian dictator and his family is the only military option that will not run afoul of the only red line Mr. Obama is adamant about: not getting drawn into a protracted Syrian conflict. And it is the one option that has a chance to pay strategic dividends from what will inevitably be a symbolic action.

Let's examine some of the alternatives.

One option is to target the Syrian army's stores of chemical weapons, estimated at over 1,000 tons. Last week the Times of Israel reported that "the embattled [Assad] regime has concentrated its vast stocks of chemical weapons in just two or three locations . . . under the control of Syrian Air Force Intelligence." If that's right, there's a chance some large portion of Assad's stockpile could be wiped out of existence using "agent-defeat" bombs that first shred chemical storage containers in a rain of metal darts, and then incinerate the chemicals with white phosphorus, preventing them from going airborne.

Still, it's unlikely that airstrikes could destroy all of the regime's chemical stores, which are probably now being moved in anticipation of a strike, and which could always be replenished by Bashar's friends in North Korea and Iran. More to the point, a strike on chemical weapons stocks, while salutary in its own right, does little to hurt the men who ordered their use. Nor does it seriously damage the regime's ability to continue waging war against its own people, if only by conventional means.

Dan Henninger and Bret Stephens discuss why the U.S. should go straight for Assad in a potential military action against Syria. Also, James Taranto on the new great migration, 50 years after Martin Luther King. Plus, viewer mail on Al Gore.

Another option would be a strike on the headquarters, air bases and arms depots of the regime's elite Republican Guard, and particularly Maher Assad's Fourth Armored Division, which reportedly carried out last week's attack. But here the problem of asset dispersion becomes that much greater, as fewer tanks, helicopters or jets can be destroyed by a single cruise missile (unit cost: $1.5 million).

Nor is it clear, morally speaking, why the grunts doing the Assad family's bidding should be first in the line of American fire. In the spring of 2005 I was briefly detained by a Republican Guard unit when I stumbled into their encampment on the Lebanese border. The soldiers looked poor, dirty and thin. I felt sorry for them then. I still do.

Then there is the "Desert Fox" option—Bill Clinton's scattershot, three-day bombing campaign of Iraq in December 1998, on the eve of his impeachment. The operation hit 97 targets in an effort to "degrade" Iraq's WMD stockpiles and make a political statement. But it did nothing to damage Saddam's regime and even increased international sympathy for him. Reprising that feckless exercise in "doing something" is the worst thing the U.S. could do in Syria. Sadly, it's probably what we'll wind up doing.

And so to the Kill Assad option. On Monday John Kerry spoke with remarkable passion about the "moral obscenity" of using chemical weapons, and about the need to enforce "accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people." Amen, Mr. Secretary, especially considering that you used to be Bashar's best friend in Washington.

But now those words must be made to mean something, lest they become a piece of that other moral obscenity: the West's hitherto bland indifference to Syria's suffering. Condemnation can no longer suffice. It recalls the international reaction to Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia, captured by the magazine Punch: "We don't want you to fight/but by jingo if you do/We will probably issue a joint memorandum/Suggesting a mild disapproval of you." Mussolini went on to conquer the country—using chemical weapons.

The world can ill-afford a reprise of the 1930s, when the barbarians were given free rein by a West that had lost its will to enforce global order. Yes, a Tomahawk aimed at Assad could miss, just as the missiles aimed at Saddam did. But there's also a chance it could hit and hasten the end of the civil war. And there's both a moral and deterrent value in putting Bashar and Maher on the same list that once contained the names of bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki.

There will be other occasions to consider the narrow question of Syria's future. What's at stake now is the future of civilization, and whether the word still has any meaning.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323407104579036740023927518.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop 

Wall Street Journal: The goal of U.S. military action should be regime change in Damascus.

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Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday made the clearest statement so far that the U.S. believes Syria has used chemical weapons, and White House aides are whispering that President Obama is moving closer to a military strike in response. The question now is whether this would be a token bombing to make the West feel better, or an intervention with enough strength and staying power to oust Bashar Assad.

The worst response would be lobbing in a few cruise missiles from a standoff distance. That attack would kill a few Syrians, including some civilians, but it's hard to see it achieving a strategic or military goal. Assad and his backers in Tehran would take it as a gesture intended mainly to vindicate Mr. Obama's promise that there would be "consequences" to the use of chemical weapons. Assad would not stop his killing.

More serious would be a bombing campaign and Special Forces raids to destroy or capture Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. This by itself is an important military and antiterror objective. If the regime has again used chemical arms, then Assad has joined the likes of Saddam and Hitler in violating a rare taboo in modern warfare.

Syria's chemical stockpiles are believed to be extensive, and no one should think they will stay confined to that country. They could eventually be used against Americans. For the U.S. and civilized world to do nothing now would expose the President as unserious and invite other despots to use chemical weapons in the future.

Yet no one should think that such a surgical or "proportional" strike would end the conflict. The problem is that it doesn't get to the source, which is the Assad-led regime backed by Russian and Iranian arms. This is a family-run, ethnic-minority operation that after 30 months of massacres knows it can't share power and survive. It has to defeat the rebels or else. All the more because Iran views the Syrian fight as an extension of its own influence.

A useful analogy is to Slobodan Milosevic and the Balkans in the 1990s. The Serbian leader sought to dominate the region and purge other ethnic groups, and he was going to keep trying as long as he had power. Amid Serbia's advances and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999, Bill Clinton unleashed a bombing campaign, and after 78 days Milosevic was stopped. A little more than a year later, Serbs ousted Milosevic.

Mr. Clinton acted without going to the U.N. Security Council, which was blocked from taking action then as now by Russia. A Syrian campaign might be more difficult than the one in Kosovo. Damascus has more sophisticated antiaircraft defenses, and its patrons in Tehran have more at stake in Syria than the Russians did in Serbia.

But for all of his bluster, we wonder how much Vladimir Putin really wants to brawl with NATO. Presumably Mr. Obama can put together a coalition of the willing that includes most of Europe, as well as Turkey, the Gulf Arab states and perhaps a few friends in the Pacific.

The larger case for acting boldly is strategic. Opponents of U.S. action in Syria have argued that it is a Muslim civil war with no implications for U.S. interests. This is more clearly wrong by the day, as the conflict spreads to Iraq and Lebanon and refugees flood those countries and Jordan.

Iran is attempting to establish a Shiite-based alliance from Tehran through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean that would make it the dominant regional power. If Assad wins in Syria, Turkey and the Gulf states will have to accommodate Iran's new (and soon nuclear-armed) dominance. Israel will be more besieged than at any time since the mid-1960s. The U.S. might find itself drawn into a larger and more costly conflict down the road, or in a far weaker position to help allies or maintain stability.

The latest fashionable argument for doing nothing is that the Syrian opposition is now dominated by jihadists so the U.S. should want neither side to win; better to encourage a 100 years war. The moral objections to such a cynical policy are obvious, but in any case it is impossible to calibrate. Eventually one side will win, and the better bet is the side backed and supplied by the state actors in Tehran and Moscow.

The jihadists are stronger than they would have been had the U.S. acted two years ago, but even now they don't dominate the opposition. If Assad is ousted, there will be a scramble for power. But the U.S. will be better placed to influence the outcome if it has been backing the non-Islamists. Better-armed rebels backed by NATO air power have a good chance to prevail, and most of the free world will follow if the U.S. leads.

As he contemplates his options, Mr. Obama might consider that a narrow bombing campaign carries risks of its own but without the promise of larger strategic gains. The real problem in Syria isn't the chemical weapons. It is the leader who has used them, Bashar Assad. This is where to focus the military response.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323407104579036944187177968.html 

Economist: Hit him hard

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The grim spectacle of suffering in Syria—100,000 of whose people have died in its civil war—will haunt the world for a long time. Intervention has never looked easy, yet over the past two and a half years outsiders have missed many opportunities to affect the outcome for the better. Now America and its allies have been stirred into action by President Bashar Assad’s apparent use of chemical weapons to murder around 1,000 civilians—the one thing that even Barack Obama has said he would never tolerate.

The American president and his allies have three choices: do nothing (or at least do as little as Mr Obama has done to date); launch a sustained assault with the clear aim of removing Mr Assad and his regime; or hit the Syrian dictator more briefly but grievously, as punishment for his use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Each carries the risk of making things worse, but the last is the best option. 

No option is perfect

From the Pentagon to Britain’s parliament, plenty of realpolitikers argue that doing nothing is the only prudent course. Look at Iraq, they say: whenever America clumsily breaks a country, it ends up “owning” the problem. A strike would inevitably inflict suffering: cruise missiles are remarkably accurate, but can all too easily kill civilians. Mr Assad may retaliate, perhaps assisted by his principal allies, Iran, Russia and Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shias’ party-cum-militia, which is practised in the dark arts of international terror and which threatens Israel with 50,000 rockets and missiles. What happens if Britain’s base in Cyprus is struck by Russian-made Scud missiles? Or if intervention leads to some of the chemical weapons ending up with militants close to al-Qaeda? And why further destabilise Syria’s neighbours—Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq?

Because doing nothing carries risks that are even bigger (see article). If the West tolerates such a blatant war crime, Mr Assad will feel even freer to use chemical weapons. He had after all stepped across Mr Obama’s “red line” several times by using these weapons on a smaller scale—and found that Mr Obama and his allies blinked. An American threat, especially over WMD, must count for something: it is hard to see how Mr Obama can eat his words without the superpower losing credibility with the likes of Iran and North Korea.

And America’s cautiousness has cost lives. A year ago, this newspaper argued for military intervention: not for Western boots on the ground, but for the vigorous arming of the rebels, the creation of humanitarian corridors, the imposition of no-fly zones and, if Mr Assad ignored them, an aerial attack on his air-defence system and heavy weaponry. At the time Mr Assad’s regime was reeling, most of the rebels were relatively moderate, the death toll was less than half the current total and the conflict had yet to spill into other countries. Some of Mr Obama’s advisers also urged him to arm the rebels; distracted by his election, he rebuffed them—and now faces, as he was repeatedly warned, a much harder choice.

So why not do now what Mr Obama should have done then, and use the pretext of the chemical strike to pursue the second option of regime change? Because, sadly, the facts have changed. Mr Assad’s regime has become more solid, while the rebels, shorn of Western support and dependent mainly on the Saudis and Qataris, have become more Islamist, with the most extreme jihadis doing much of the fighting. An uprising against a brutal tyrant has kindled a sectarian civil war. The Sunnis who make up around three-quarters of the population generally favour the rebels, whereas many of those who adhere to minority religions, including Christians, have reluctantly sided with Mr Assad. The opportunity to push this war to a speedy conclusion has gone—and it is disingenuous to wrap that cause up with the chemical weapons.

So Mr Obama should focus on the third option: a more limited punishment of such severity that Mr Assad is deterred from ever using WMD again. Hitting the chemical stockpiles themselves runs the risk both of poisoning more civilians and of the chemicals falling into the wrong hands. Far better for a week of missiles to rain down on the dictator’s “command-and-control” centres, including his palaces. By doing this, Mr Obama would certainly help the rebels, though probably not enough to overturn the regime. With luck, well-calibrated strikes might scare Mr Assad towards the negotiating table.

Do it well and follow through

But counting on luck would be a mistake, especially in this fortune-starved country. There is no tactical advantage in rushing in: Mr Assad and his friends will have been preparing for contingencies, including ways to hide his offending chemical weapons, for many months. Mr Obama must briskly go through all sorts of hoops before ordering an attack.

The first task is to lay out as precisely as anybody can the evidence, much of it inevitably circumstantial, that Mr Assad’s forces were indeed responsible for the mass atrocity. America’s secretary of state, John Kerry, was right that Syria’s refusal to let the UN’s team of inspectors visit the poison-gas sites for five days after the attack was tantamount to an admission of guilt. But, given the fiasco of Iraq’s unfound weapons, it is not surprising that sceptics still abound. Mr Obama must also assemble the widest coalition of the willing, seeing that China and Russia, which is increasingly hostile to Western policies (see next leader), are sure to block a resolution in the UN Security Council to use force under Chapter 7. NATO—including, importantly, Germany and Turkey—already seems onside. The Arab League is likely to be squared, too.

And before the missiles are fired, Mr Obama must give Mr Assad one last chance: a clear ultimatum to hand over his chemical weapons entirely within a very short period. The time for inspections is over. If Mr Assad gives in, then both he and his opponents will be deprived of such poisons—a victory for Mr Obama. If Mr Assad refuses, he should be shown as little mercy as he has shown to the people he claims to govern. If an American missile then hits Mr Assad himself, so be it. He and his henchmen have only themselves to blame.

Source: http://www.economist.com/printedition/2013-08-31

Telegraph: The West's failure to act leaves Russia, Iran and Bashar al-Assad in control of events

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Whatever happens in the next few weeks, one lesson is already clear: the axis between Russia, Iran and President Bashar al-Assad is deciding the course of events in Syria; the rebels and their foreign friends are in retreat. Russia and Iran have shown themselves to be far more effective and resolute allies than the Western and Arab powers who have backed the opposition. After all, the Kremlin and Tehran have a clear objective - to keep Mr Assad in power - and a proven willingness to deliver the firepower that wins real victories.

Syria's armed forces rely on Russia for tanks, artillery, armoured personnel carriers and strike aircraft. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute calculates that Russia alone provided almost half of Syria's military imports between 2006 and 2010. While Russia supplies weapons, Iran has intervened directly, sending thousands of Hizbollah fighters from Lebanon to serve alongside Syria's army. An oil embargo and other sanctions have succeeded in choking off Mr Assad's sources of revenue. Last year, his central bank was believed to be spending its reserves at a rate of $1 billion per month, with only $3 or $4 billion left by December.
Iran probably came to rescue and bailed out Mr Assad. So whether it comes to weapons, cash or boots on the ground, either Russia or Iran will actually deliver. And they do not need to worry about parliamentary votes, Congressional support or, indeed, public opinion. Compare and contrast the help given to the opposition by America, Britain, the other Western powers and the Arab League. Do they have a shared objective? In theory, they all want Mr Assad to go; in reality, David Cameron and President Obama have been at pains to say that deterring the use of poison gas - not toppling the regime - would be the goal of any military campaign.

Can they actually deliver firepower? Arab countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are willing to supply weapons, but neither is a big military power, able to provide advanced military capability. Meanwhile, the West has dropped its arms embargo, but without summoning the resolve to actually supply weapons. As for money, Qatar and Saudi Arabia can deliver large sums, but the West prefers to focus its help on humanitarian aid. The obvious conclusion is that authoritarian regimes are much better allies than Western democracies.

The one factor that could have changed that - a series of American-led air and missile strikes on the regime's nerve centres - now seems in doubt. If, following Britain's abdication, Mr Obama does not deliver, then the field will be left clear for the Russia-Iran-Assad axis. They may not be strong enough to achieve outright victory, but they will be able to preserve the regime in its Damascus stronghold and give Mr Assad enough confidence to reject a negotiated settlement. That would be a formula for endless war.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10279192/Syria-crisis-The-Wests-failure-to-act-leaves-Russia-Iran-and-Bashar-al-Assad-in-control-of-events.html

Washington Post: Time to destroy the WMDs and the regime that used them

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From everything we know, President Obama seems headed for the narrowest, shortest response possible to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. We hope this is not so, for reasons we’ll discuss below, but it is unsurprising. The president has no stomach for complex military situations. He prides himself on “ending wars.” And after five years of downplaying hard power and demanding we “nation-build at home,” the public and Congress is naturally disinclined to make a substantial commitment to the Middle East.

The itsy-bitsy footprint (i.e. a few cruise missiles lobbed from ships) is worse than useless. In a letter to the president, an impressive bipartisan list of commentators and former officials argue that less is not more here:
At a minimum, the United States, along with willing allies and partners, should use standoff weapons and airpower to target the Syrian dictatorship’s military units that were involved in the recent large-scale use of chemical weapons.  It should also provide vetted moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition with the military support required to identify and strike regime units armed with chemical weapons.
Moreover, the United States and other willing nations should consider direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime.  The objectives should be not only to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons no longer threaten America, our allies in the region or the Syrian people, but also to deter or destroy the Assad regime’s airpower and other conventional military means of committing atrocities against civilian non-combatants.  At the same time, the United States should accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition, with the goal of empowering them to prevail against both the Assad regime and the growing presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated and other extremist rebel factions in the country.
Their argument is bolstered by new reports suggesting that the moderate rebels are identifiable and geographically distinct from terrorist elements. Moreover, one of the prime concerns — jihadists getting chemical weapons — would be alleviated if we destroyed the chemical weapons caches.

Moreover, a negotiated settlement in which Assad retains part of Syria is now impossible. He must go, meaning others must take the reins. It is in our interest to help those more sympathetic to the West get the upper hand. Fortunately, these forces are closest to Damascus and perhaps best positioned to seize power if Assad and his regime are promptly destroyed.

Others advocate just knocking off Assad. But this is foolish. Our goal at this point must be to eliminate the threat of additional chemical weapons and, even more important, send the signal that your regime will not survive if you are bent on obtaining or using WMDs. One of the open letter’s signatories, Reuel Marc Gerecht, puts it best when he writes:
If the president intends to maintain American influence, which means maintaining a credible threat to go to war to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, then Washington’s response to Assad’s challenge must be devastating. The entire regime must be targeted: elite military units, aircraft, armor and artillery; all weapons-depots; the myriad organizations of the secret police; the ruling elite’s residences; and other critical Alawite infrastructure. President Obama may not believe that Middle Eastern conflicts are a proper test of his or America’s mettle; that sentiment is irrelevant now. He put the country’s reputation on the line in Syria.
In short, anything that leaves Assad in command, his regime in power or the stockpiles of chemical weapons intact would be a humiliation to the United States and an invitation for Syria’s sponsor to plunge ahead with its nuclear weapons program.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/08/27/time-to-destroy-the-wmds-and-the-regime-that-used-them/

Russia releases key findings on chemical attack near Aleppo indicating similarity with rebel-made weapons

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Probes from Khan al-Assal show chemicals used in the March 19 attack did not belong to standard Syrian army ammunition, and that the shell carrying the substance was similar to those made by a rebel fighter group, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated. A statement released by the ministry on Wednesday particularly drew attention to the “massive stove-piping of various information aimed at placing the responsibility for the alleged chemical weapons use in Syria on Damascus, even though the results of the UN investigation have not yet been revealed.” 

By such means “the way is being paved for military action” against Damascus, the ministry pointed out. But the samples taken at the site of the March 19 attack and analyzed by Russian experts indicate that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, the ministry statement suggests, outlining the 100-page report handed over to the UN by Russia. 
The key points of the report have been given as follows:
• the shell used in the incident “does not belong to the standard ammunition of the Syrian army and was crudely according to type and parameters of the rocket-propelled unguided missiles manufactured in the north of Syria by the so-called Bashair al-Nasr brigade”;
• RDX, which is also known as hexogen or cyclonite, was used as the bursting charge for the shell, and it is “not used in standard chemical munitions”;
• soil and shell samples contain “the non-industrially synthesized nerve agent sarin and diisopropylfluorophosphate,” which was “used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.”
The findings of the report are “extremely specific,” as they mostly consist of scientific and technical data from probes’ analysis, the ministry stressed, adding that this data can “substantially aid” the UN investigation of the incident. While focusing on the Khan al-Assal attack on March 19, in which at least 26 civilians and Syrian army soldiers were killed, and 86 more were injured, the Russian Foreign Ministry also criticized the “flawed selective approach” of certain states in reporting the recent incidents of alleged chemical weapons use in August.

The hype around the alleged attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta showed “apparent attempts to cast a veil over the incidents of gas poisoning of Syrian army soldiers on August 22, 24 and 25,” the ministry said, adding that all the respective evidence was handed to the UN by Syria. The condition of the soldiers who, according to Damascus, suffered poisoning after discovering tanks with traces of sarin, has been examined and documented by the UN inspectors, the ministry pointed out, adding that “any objective investigation of the August 21 incident in eastern Ghouta is impossible without the consideration of all these facts.” 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said the UN investigators are set to return to Syria to investigate several other cases of alleged chemical weapons use, including the March 19 incident in Khan al-Assal.

Source: http://rt.com/news/chemical-aleppo-findings-russia-417/

ABC News: Syria's Readiness for Attack in Question

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While Syria has been upgrading its aging defense system in recent years, it will be severely tested if a barrage of American-made missiles are fired at the country. The question is, How will Syria fare?

Syria boasts an integrated system that covers much of the most populous and strategic parts of the country. But is all that hardware in working condition after two and a half years of war? Does the Syrian military have the manpower and expertise to run the system, or is it stretched thin by the conflict? Can Syria still deploy blanket coverage since there are now pockets of the country out of its control? Did Israel's strike inside Syria this year reveal Syrian vulnerability?

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a confident, if unnamed, "military diplomatic source" on Tuesday who predicted "no easy victory" if "the U.S. Army together with NATO launches an operation against Syria. Buk-M2E multirole air and missile complexes and other air defense systems are capable of making a fitting reply to aggressors." Experts aren't so sure.

What Does Assad Have?

Estimates by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Jane's and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) of Assad's pre-war defense capabilities included 365 to 550 combat aircraft (50% of which CSIS estimates may be left now with questions about pilot capability); 25 air defense brigades with some 120 to 150 surface-to-air missile batteries (most aging or obsolete); and an array of more modern short-range surface-to-air weapons, including thousands of shoulder-launched MANPADS.

Syria has purchased a highly advanced S-300 system from Russia, which can intercept targets at a much longer range and higher altitude than anything currently in Syria's arsenal. But it hasn't been delivered yet, and even if it arrived tomorrow, it would take months to set up and properly train Syrians to use.

One of the Syrian military's most potent assets are its Bastion coastal defense missiles, which Assad bought from Russia in the last few years. They could strike ships in the Mediterranean and would effectively push back the distances from which foreign ships would launch missiles used in any attack. Part of the system are Yakhont anti-ship missiles, which were reportedly Israel's target when it bombed a Syrian depot in July.

According to Sean O'Connor, a Jane's contributor and expert on air defense systems, the surface-to-air batteries and radar sites throughout the country provide overlapping coverage throughout most of the territory, though the system remains more vulnerable in its eastern half. He noted, however, that the Soviet-era systems are vulnerable to complex attacks because each one can only engage a single target at a time.

How Well Could Syria Defend Itself Against U.S.-Led Attack?

Experts agree that Syria's defenses are much larger, better deployed, more advanced and much better trained than Libya's, which the U.S.-led coalition quickly obliterated. Experts also agree the U.S. would still be able to take them out, albeit with significant firepower. Tony Cordesman of CSIS, writing in May about the possibility of enforcing a no-fly zone (not what the U.S. and its allies are said to be leaning toward now) suggested, "It would take a massive U.S. air and cruise missile attack to suppress it quickly."

O'Connor believes the easiest way to do that would be to send a barrage of missiles aimed at the radar sites. "Such a strike would represent a comparatively low-cost and low-risk method of greatly reducing the threat posed by the network," he told ABC News.

"The Syrian IADS (integrated air defense system) is not capable of defeating a large-scale attack by a modern air arm. The overreliance on aging technology, technology often encountered and exploited by Western air arms, puts the overall network at significant risk," he said.

Syria has also tried upgrading its aging Soviet systems by integrating newer Chinese radars and sensors, but O'Connor says it remains to be seen how well they mesh. Cordesman says the system has other vulnerabilities. "They also have aging surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that have been only partially upgraded and are vulnerable to jamming and other electronic countermeasures, as well as antiradiation missiles," he wrote.

Has the War Taken a Toll on the Syrian Air Defenses?

On this point experts remain divided, largely because it's very difficult to tell from afar. Pieter Wezeman, who tracks arms shipments at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), says that Assad began stocking up on modern defense systems in around 2010 and Russia has continued to deliver components throughout the conflict. But he also points to reports that rebel forces have been able to capture military bases where some systems were stored, though it's unclear if those systems were old or outdated.

"On the basis of that I would expect there to be major gaps in the Syrian air defense system," he told ABC News by email. O'Connor disagreed.

"Current operations by anti-government forces have had little impact on the overall network," he said, noting that the bulk of surface-to-air systems remain in Assad-controlled areas. He said crew readiness probably wouldn't be an issue either because those groups haven't played much of a role in the conflict thus far. The rebels, of course, have no planes to defend against.

Cordesman pointed out in May that the fact that Israel was able to hit targets inside Syria may be a sign of how the country's air defenses have degraded. But he also cautioned, "At the same time, this does not mean that Syria could not put up a defense or that the U.S. could simply rely on a few strikes or threats to either destroy Syria's air defense or intimidate it into complying with U.S. demands."

It's unclear how far into Syria Israeli planes had to travel to conduct the bombing, or if they did at all, and how much effort Syria took to stop them, knowing it was only a limited attack. Some believe Israel may have lobbed the bombs over the border, rather than entering Syrian airspace and risking being shot down.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/International/syrias-readiness-attack-question/story?id=20112785

AIPAC to go all-out on Syria

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The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is planning to launch a major lobbying campaign to push wayward lawmakers to back the resolution authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria, sources said Thursday.

Officials say that some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon. They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that “barbarism” by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would “send a message” to Tehran that the U.S. won’t stand up to hostile countries’ efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group.

“History tells us that ambiguity [in U.S. actions] invites aggression,” said the AIPAC source who asked not to be named. The source added the group will now be engaged in a “major mobilization” over the issue. Despite the group’s political muscle, it often doesn’t get involved in congressional fights over authorizing military action, and it had been mum about intervening in Syria as recently as last week.

But the stepped-up involvement comes at a welcome time for the White House, which is struggling to muster the votes in both chambers for a resolution that would give President Barack Obama the authority to engage in “limited” military action in Syria for 60 days, with one 30-day extension possible. The hawkish group also has ties to many Republicans, including ones who have been critical of the Obama administration’s handling of U.S.-Israeli affairs.

The top two Senate GOP leaders — Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas — both have already been urged by top Jewish donors and AIPAC allies to back the Syria resolution, sources say. Unlike their House GOP counterparts who endorsed the measure, McConnell and Cornyn have withheld their support. A Cornyn aide said Thursday that the senator currently opposes the Syria resolution, which will be debated on the Senate floor next week.

“If the vote were held today, Sen. Cornyn would vote no,” said Megan Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Cornyn. “What he is waiting to see is a credible plan from the administration that will achieve our national security objectives. Specifically, a plan to keep chemical weapons out of the hands of terrorists.”

Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said that his boss had yet to announce his position on the resolution. McConnell said earlier this week: “While we are learning more about his plans, Congress and our constituents would all benefit from knowing more about what it is he thinks needs to be done — and can be accomplished — in Syria and the region.”

Indeed, AIPAC and the White House also have their work cut out for them in the House — and among Democrats. Leaving a classified briefing on Syria Thursday, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) said she was undecided on the issue.

“For me, it’s about what makes sense for this country,” Tsongas said when asked how the security of Israel was playing into her deliberations.

BBC: Gauging Russia's reactions to strike scenario

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There are two subjects Russians talk about a lot: history and geography. In recent days, there's been much public discussion of both. Russian officials and the media have been constantly recalling "Yugoslavia - 1999", "Iraq - 2003" and "Libya - 2011" as examples of Western military intervention which resulted in regime change. The suspicion in Moscow is that the West is plotting to add "Syria - 2013" to the list. 

One of the headlines this week in the Russian government daily Rossiskaya Gazeta was: "Will Obama risk repeating the Libyan-Iraqi scenario in Syria?" Moscow appears now to be expecting a US strike on Syria. According to the head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian Parliament, Alexei Pushkov: "It's only a question of time." But the Russians have not stopped arguing their case that military intervention would be wrong.

'Monkey with a grenade'

First, Moscow maintains there is no proof that President Bashar al-Assad was behind the suspected chemical weapons attack in eastern Damascus. If anything, argue the Russians, evidence points to the rebels carrying it out in order to scupper peace talks and to put pressure on the Syrian government. Russia insists that UN weapons inspectors in Syria should be given time to complete their job, write up their report and present it to the UN Security Council.

Next, Russia continues to warn that military intervention will have "catastrophic consequences" for the wider region, including a rise in radical Islam. This week Russia's deputy prime minister tweeted that "the West is playing with the Islamic world like a monkey with a grenade". Finally, Russia believes that any military action without a mandate from the UN Security Council would be a "grave violation of international law". So if there is a military strike, how is Moscow likely to react?

On Wednesday, one of Russia's most popular tabloids, Komsomolskaya Pravda, warned that Western intervention could spark an East/West standoff akin to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis."If optimists in the Pentagon believe that Russia will limit itself to warnings and expressions of anger, like it did over Iraq and Yugoslavia, they may well be mistaken," the paper declared on its website."Times have changed. There's too much at stake and Moscow won't retreat... Who'll crack first: Putin or Obama?"

Such sabre-rattling may be exaggerated. Although Moscow has been a firm ally of President Assad, Russia is unlikely to be drawn into direct military confrontation with the West. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has already made it clear that his country has "no plans to go to war with anyone". But there are other ways in which Russia could display its disapproval of Western intervention and its anger with the United States.

Some commentators predict that Moscow may increase weapons supplies to Damascus, forge closer ties with Iran and reduce co-operation with Washington in different areas. Relations between Russia and the West have been growing increasingly rocky. There's little doubt that Western military intervention in Syria will make an already difficult relationship even more strained.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23865053

Naval Forces Line Syrian Shores

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Mounting pressure for a Western strike on Syria has seen naval forces both friendly and hostile to Damascus build up off the embattled country’s coastline. The potential of a US strike against Syria in response to an August 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb gained steam on Wednesday, when a resolution backing the use of force against President Bashar Assad's government cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a 10-7 vote.

President Obama has decided to put off military action until at least September 9, when the seemingly recalcitrant US House of Representatives reconvenes to vote on the measure. Following the August 21 Ghouta Attack, which killed anywhere between 355 to 1,729 people, the diplomatic scramble to launch or stave off a military strike on Syria was mirrored by the movement of naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, off the coast of Syria.The deployment of US and allied naval warships in the region has been matched by the deployment of Russian naval warships in the region.

While the Western vessels have in many cases been deployed in the event a military strike against Syria gets a green light, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s naval presence is needed to protect national security interests and is not a threat to any nation. Below is a brief summary of the naval hardware currently amassed off Syria’s shores.

USA

The US Navy has five Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers off the coast of Syria, which its top admiral says is “fully ready” for a wide range of possible actions. The USS Ramage, USS Mahan, USS Gravely and USS Barry are each armed with dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which have a range of about 1,000 nautical miles (1,151 miles) and are used for precise targeting. The ships are also equipped with surface-to-air missiles capable of defending the vessels from air attacks. On August 29, the USS Stout was sent to relieve the USS Mahan, but a defense official told AFP that both ships might remain in the area for the time being.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday that the US ships are prepared for what he called a "vast spectrum of operations," including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets in Syria, as was done in Libya in 2011, and protecting themselves in the event of retaliation, AP reports.

In addition to the destroyers, the United States may well have one of its four guided missile submarines off the coast of Syria. At one time these subs were equipped with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. Nowadays, they are capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles. It was also announced on Monday that the US had deployed the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport ship, to the Eastern Mediterranean.

 The USS San Antonio, with several helicopters and hundreds of Marines on board, is “on station in the Eastern Mediterranean” but “has received no specific tasking,” a defense official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The deployment of the USS Antonio comes despite promises from President Obama that no amphibious landing is on the agenda, as the US has ostensibly ruled out any “boots on the ground.”

While the wording of the draft resolution set to be put before the House does not permit a ground invasion, the wording of the text could potentially allow troops to carry out non-offensive operations within Syria, including securing chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.

On Monday, it was also announced the USS Nimitz super carrier had moved into the Red Sea, though it had not been given orders to be part of the planning for a limited US military strike on Syria, US officials told ABC News. The other ships in the strike group are the cruiser USS Princeton and the destroyers USS William P. Lawrence, USS Stockdale and USS Shoup. The official said the carrier strike group has not been assigned a mission, but was shifted in the event its resources are needed to “maximize available options.” The USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and strike group is also in the northern Arabian Sea.

Russia

Russia, Syria’s longtime ally and primary arms supplier, has its only overseas naval base located in the Syrian port of Tartus, which has reportedly been used to support Russia’s growing number of naval patrols on the Mediterranean. However, Russia insists recent efforts to bolster its naval presence in the region are not in response to Western threats of a military strike. Reported movements of many Russian ships in the region are coming from anonymous Russian defense ministry sources and have not been confirmed. RT contacted the Russian Navy to ask for confirmation of the reported ship movements, though no comment was forthcoming.

On Friday, for example, the large landing ship, Nikolai Filchenkov, was reportedly dispatched from the Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol for the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, from where it is eventually expected to reach the Syrian coast, a source told Interfax News Agency.
 
"The ship will make call in Novorossiisk, where it will take on board special cargo and set off for the designated area of its combat duty in the eastern Mediterranean," the source said.

RIA news agency quoted an unnamed senior naval source as saying on Friday that the frigate, Smetlivy, would leave for the Mediterranean on September 12-14, and the corvette Shtil and missile boat Ivanovets would approach Syria at the end of the month. The Russian destroyer Nastoichivy, which is the flagship of the Baltic fleet, is also expected to join the group in the region. Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov, who was unable to comment on specific reports, said on Thursday the Russian navy currently had a "pretty strong group" there.

"The Russian navy does not intend to take part directly or indirectly in a possible regional conflict," he told the state Rossiya 24 broadcaster. "Our navy vessels are a guarantee of stability, guarantee of peace, an attempt to hold back other forces ready to start military action in the region."
 
Also reportedly in place in the eastern Mediterranean are the frigate Neustrashimy, as well as the landing ships Alexander Shabalin, the Admiral Nevelsky and the Peresvet. They are expected to be joined by the guided-missile cruiser Moskva. The Moskva, set to arrive in a little over a week’s time, will take over operations from a naval unit in the region.
 
"The plans of the naval unit under the command of Rear Admiral Valery Kulikov had to be changed a little. Instead of visiting a Cape Verde port, the cruiser Moskva is heading to the Strait of Gibraltar. In about ten days, it will enter the eastern Mediterranean, where it will replace the destroyer Admiral Panteleyev as the flagship of the operative junction of the Russian Navy," a source told Interfax on Wednesday.

Panteleyev incidentally, only arrived in the east Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday after leaving the Far-Eastern port city of Vladivostok on March 19 to join the Russian standing naval force as its flagship. The SSV-201 reconnaissance ship, Priazovye, is also reportedly on its way to join the group in the Eastern Mediterranean. Accompanied by the two landing ships, Minsk and Novocherkassk, the intelligence ship passed through the ‘Istanbul Strait’ on Thursday, which helps form the boundary between Europe and Asia.

France

On August 31, French military officials confirmed the frigate Chevalier Paul, which specializes in anti-missile capabilities, and the transport ship, Dixmude, were in the Mediterranean. French officials denied they are in the region to participate in military action against Syria, but were rather taking part in training and operation preparations. Despite their presence in the region, France currently has no ship-based missiles, so any offensive action would come from the air in the form of long-range Scalp missiles, similar to those the nation used in Kosovo in 1999 and in Libya in 2011, Time reports.

Italy

Two Italian warships set sail for Lebanon on Wednesday in a bid to protect 1,100 Italian soldiers in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Syria’s southeastern neighbor, Agence France Presse reported. The Italian ANSA news agency reported that a frigate and a torpedo destroyer boat departed from Italy's southeastern coast on Wednesday and would provide additional protection to the soldiers in the event the Syrian conflict further deteriorates.

UK

As of August 29, the Royal Navy's Response Force Task Group was deployed in the Mediterranean as part of long-planned exercise Cougar 13. The force includes helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious, type-23 frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Montrose, amphibious warship HMS Bulwark and six Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships. The Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine HMS Tireless was also believed to be in the area at the time, after it was detected in Gibraltar. On the same day that British media started touting Britain’s “arsenal of military might” which would be available in the event of intervention, British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 13 votes. In light of the shocking parliamentary defeat, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK would only be able to offer the US “diplomatic support.” The UK’s Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne, confirmed that the UK would not seek a further vote on action in Syria.

Source: http://rt.com/news/naval-forces-syria-strike-514/

Russia bolstering naval presence amid expected Syria airstrikes

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Russia has deployed two powerful warships to the Mediterranean Sea to augment its normal naval presence amid rising expectations of Western airstrikes on its ally, Syria. A senior Russian naval officer denied Thursday that the dispatch of an anti-submarine ship and a guided-missile cruiser were in response to U.S. and European naval buildups in preparation for possible punitive strikes on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Russia's Interfax news agency this week quoted an unidentified Russian General Staff source as saying that "the well-known situation now in the eastern Mediterranean required us to make some adjustments to the naval force."

The United States on Thursday dispatched a fifth guided-missile destroyer, the Stout, to the region as Western threats loomed of punishing Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21. Hundreds of people were reportedly killed in the attacks. Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed naval official as saying the latest warship movements were part of a "planned rotation," and not in response to the mounting indications that a U.S.-led strike on Syria may occur soon.

It was unclear how many naval vessels Russia would have in the region once the missile cruiser Moskva of the Black Sea Fleet arrives from its current deployment in the Northern Atlantic. The anti-submarine vessel, which was not identified by name in the Russian media reports, is part of Russia's Northern Fleet, RIA Novosti said.

The commander of the Russian navy, Adm. Viktor Chirkov, told Zvezda television this week that Russia "should have five or six vessels permanently deployed in the Mediterranean," but did not say how many were already in the area. In June, Russia's armed forces chief of staff said the navy had permanently based 16 warships in the Mediterranean, as well as ship-based helicopter units.

Russia may have deployed the extra naval power this week in a muscle-flexing exercise, to put Western forces on notice that Moscow is keeping watch over the tense standoff with its most important ally in the Middle East. Russia maintains a strategic naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus but has reportedly evacuated civilian and nonessential personnel in recent days.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Wednesday the Kremlin's strong opposition to any foreign intervention in Syria's 2½-year-old civil war. Lavrov warned that any strike without U.N. Security Council authorization would constitute a violation of international law, though the Russians have also indicated that they would oppose such a U.N. resolution.

The Russian ships now steaming toward the eastern Mediterranean would be capable of detecting cruise missile firings from Western vessels and of warning Damascus of the incoming munitions. They are also equipped with jamming equipment that could interfere with radar and communications aboard other ships in the region.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-russia-syria-warships-deployed-20130829,0,3436636.story

Russia sends spy ship as US prepares for possible Syria strike

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Russia is sending a reconnaissance ship to the eastern Mediterranean as the US prepares for a possible military strike in Syria, it was reported on Monday. The Priazovye left Russia's naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol late on Sunday on a mission "to gather current information in the area of the escalating conflict", said an unidentified military source quoted by the Interfax news agency. The defence ministry declined to comment.

Barack Obama said on Saturday he would seek congressional authorisation for punitive military action against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after what the US says was a sarin gas attack that killed more than 1,400 people. Russia says the US has not proved its case and that it believes the attack was staged by rebels to provoke intervention in the civil war. Port of Tartous. Moscow opposes any military intervention in Syria and has shielded Damascus from pressure at the UN security council.

Interfax said the Priazovye would be operating separately from a navy unit permanently stationed in the Mediterranean in a deployment that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said is needed to protect national security interests. The defence ministry said last week that new warships would be sent to the Mediterranean to replace others in a long-planned rotation of ships based there.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/02/syria-russia-spy-ship-us-military

Russian source: Syrian Army may have S-300 missile systems

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The Syrian Armed Forces might possess S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in addition to S-200, Buk-M1-2, Buk-M2E, Pantsir-S1E, S-125 Neva and S-125M Pechyora systems, which would allow Damascus to successfully respond to U.S. air and sea missile attacks, a Moscow military source familiar with the situation said. "Syria's air defense systems are able to appropriately respond to strikes by the U.S. and its anti-Syrian coalition allies, should a war begin. Today Damascus has approximately 1,000 air defense missile systems and more than 5,000 different air defense weapons," a former commander of the Russian Air Defense Forces told Interfax-AVN on Friday. The source did not rule out that the Syrian Armed Forces might also possess S-300 missile systems. "Russia did not deliver these systems to the Syrians in the past, which was confirmed at the highest level, but Belarus or China could have done so tacitly in 2010-2011," he said.


Russia Defense Ministry Warns About ‘Playing With Arms’ After Israel Launch

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Hours after Israel admitted to firing “ballistic targets” that resembled missiles in the Mediterranean, a launch that the country did not priorly announce, Russia’s Defense Ministry spoke out against “playing with arms and missiles” in such a “volatile” region.

“Is there any other region more volatile and packed with weapons today?” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told journalists. “I don’t completely understand how someone could play with arms and missiles in that region today.”

Antonov called on those who launched the so-called missile-like targets to be more responsible for regional security and “not play with fire.”

“The Mediterranean is a powder keg,” he said. “A match is enough for fire to break out and possibly spread not only to neighboring states but to other world regions as well. I remind you that the Mediterranean is close to the borders of the Russian Federation.”

He recalled that a meteorological rocket launch by Norway in 1995 was mistaken as a possible rocket attack on Russia. The two “ballistic targets,” detected by the Russian military on Tuesday, had been launched by the Israeli military as part of a joint US-Israeli test of the Middle Eastern nation’s missile-defense system, an official in Tel Aviv said. Russia put its General Staff’s central command center on high alert after the launches, Antonov said.

The launch was detected at 10:16 a.m. Moscow time (6:16 a.m. GMT) by radar in the southern Russian city of Armavir, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. The objects’ trajectories ran from the central to the eastern Mediterranean, the spokesman said. A diplomatic source in the Syrian capital, Damascus, told RIA that the targets had fallen into the sea.

Source: http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20130904/183151257/Russia-Defense-Ministry-Israel-Playing-With-Arms-After-Israel-Launch.html

Russia Will Not Fight With Anyone Over Syria

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Russia will not use its military if Western forces move into Syria, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an emergency press conference that was called due to the sudden escalation in the situation around the country. Moscow is extremely concerned with the aggressive statements coming from the West, and Russian experts warn that military intervention in Syria will lead to a break-up of the country.

"We do not intend to fight with anyone. We continue to expect that our Western partners will apply their policies strategically and not reactively," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. However, he made it clear that invading Syria would be a flagrant violation of international law, similar to operations in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya.

According to the minister, the hype surrounding the use of chemical weapons near Damascus could be beneficial to those who want to provoke strikes on Syria from the outside.

"There were absolutely no political or military reasons for the Syrian government to resort to using chemical weapons, when experts [from the U.N.] were working there [in Syria], when, in general, the military situation favored the government, and when American-Russian meetings were to be held shortly in preparation for the Geneva conference," said Lavrov.

However, it was beneficial for opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who want to trigger attacks from abroad in order to organize such provocations, added the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry. He also criticized the position of Western countries, which flatly declare that the government army was involved in a chemical attack in a Damascus suburb. Lavrov noted by way of reminder that evidence is needed.

Lavrov also warned that a change of power in Syria will not bring an end to the civil war: "If someone thinks that bombing the Syrian military infrastructure, and then leaving the battlefield so that opponents of the regime can claim victory, will bring an end to all this, they are fooling themselves. Even if such a victory could be won, the civil war will continue. Only those who fought for the government side will become the opposition."

Earlier, in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov expressed "deep concern" regarding statements on the readiness of U.S. armed forces to "intervene" in the Syrian conflict. Moscow believes that new military intervention would further destabilize the Middle East.

In the meantime, experts warn that Syria will be destroyed as a nation if there is foreign intervention in the Syrian conflict. "The after effects, it seems to me, would be catastrophic for the Arab and Muslim world: There will be a completely destroyed country, and, in this case, the West would not look like a champion of freedom and justice," said Vitaly Naumkin, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“The use of military force without the sanction of the U.N. Security Council is contrary to international law. If our Western partners take such an action, it will damage our relations with NATO countries, since we consider such an action to be illegal; and we will, as can be expected, demand the question be placed before the U.N. Security Council,” said Naumkin.

According to the expert, intervention could lead to the destruction of Assad's regime. "The forces that are amassing around Syria are far superior to those of Syria, and, what's more, there is a so-called free Syrian army on the ground already that can take the offensive," Naumkin said.

Russian Council on Foreign Affairs specialist Mikhail Troitsky also believes that, if Western forces attack, 

"Government troops will be immediately destroyed, and President Assad — along with his closest aides — will most likely be forced to go into hiding in Alawite parts of the country."

"All of this is reminiscent of the Iraqi situation. Just like they looked for but did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so, it seems, it will be here. The pretext for intervention is clear. But it really does seem like a provocation," said Victor Sergeev, professor of comparative political science at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).

Just a few days ago, Barak Obama expressed his opposition to military intervention in Syria without a U.N. mandate. In the MGIMO scholar’s opinion, this signals that Obama has not yet defined his position on Syria. Troitsky believes that, in order for military intervention in Syria to go forward, President Obama first needs to know the results of the U.N. investigation. The second condition is that there must be a plan for what to do after Assad is deposed.

"The United States is unlikely to act without a clear idea of who will replace Assad, as well as understanding if the people who will head Syria will be dangerous," the specialist said.

The situation is complicated by the possibility that Iran could interfere in the conflict. "There was a statement by one of the military leaders of Iran that the U.S. will regret if it intervenes in Syria. This means that Iran is ready to support the Syrian leadership. And this smells like an all-out Middle Eastern war. This is not the same as an isolated Libya. The U.S. is not ready for this," said Sergeev in conclusion.

Source: http://rbth.ru/international/2013/08/27/russia_will_not_fight_with_anyone_over_syria_29247.html

Britain will play active role in military action despite vote defeat

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The UK’s intelligence-gathering assets based in the Mediterranean are to provide the US military with information, as it prepares to carry out cruise missiles strikes against President Bashar al-Assad. Whitehall sources said Britain’s decision not to take part in attacks punishing the regime for using chemical weapons only covered its Armed Forces, and the sharing of intelligence would continue.

 GCHQ’s powerful eavesdropping facilities on Cyprus, around only 100 miles from the Syrian coast, are expected to play a key role in intelligence gathering for military action. One source said: “We always support our allies and the Commons’ vote was about military action, not about intelligence.” The Cyprus post intercepts messages from across the Middle East and is central to Britain’s intelligence sharing with the US, according to documents leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden. Washington pays for half its costs and in return has a say in what it does.

Meanwhile, the military build-up in the region was continuing yesterday, with the arrival of a US navy amphibious landing ship carrying hundreds of US Marines.The vessel, the USS San Antonio, is also equipped with helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft, that could be deployed to help rescue downed pilots. The US authorities have described its arrival in the eastern Mediterranean as part of “prudent planning”.

 Six RAF Typhoons and a Sentry early warning plane remain in place in Cyprus to protect the spy bases and Britain’s airfield from possible attack by “rogue aircraft”. The Royal Navy also said there were no plans to move a Trafalgar class nuclear-powered submarine which had been on standby to join an assault. The submarine has a formidable array of spy equipment, but sources said it was now not likely to use it to back the attacks.

Those attacks will almost certainly begin with a night time barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from the US Sixth fleet. By Saturday night the fleet had positioned five Arleigh Burke class destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean, each armed with up to 90 missiles. USS Stout has been deployed to join sister ships Mahan, Ramage, Barry and Gravely, a US defence official said. The addition of a missile carrying US submarine gives Barack Obama the option to launch hundreds of missiles in “surgical” strikes across Syria.

A list of possible targets includes command and control centres such as the general staff, special forces and military intelligence headquarters in Damascus, along with Assad’s palace itself. Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure is also likely to be hit. There are research labs in Hama, Latika and Homs. Missiles could also strike artillery depots used to launch chemical attacks, but analysts have suggested America will shy away from hitting stockpiles themselves for fear of toxic chemical leaks, or leaving smashed bunkers full of chemicals open to plunder by jihadist rebels.

Opposition rebels also want Mr Obama to hit Syrian airbases, including the Dumayr and Mazzeh which are being used by Iranian cargo planes to supply Assad’s forces. America also has F-16 fighters poised around the region, at bases in Incirlik in Turkey and in Jordan. Two Fifth fleet carrier strike groups with dozens of F-18s are within reach in the Gulf and longer range bombers could be sent from America.

 However the strength of Syria’s air defences and American spending cuts which have grounded combat squadrons both mean the US is likely to rely on missile strikes. As the American military colossus assembles, France is the only European nation prepared to join in. It has sent an anti-missile warfare destroyer to the region and has the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, in Toulon, southern France. French aircraft can be equipped with Scalp missiles and it has seven Mirage 2000 combat jets in Djibouti and six Rafales are stationed in Abu Dhabi.

 In the face of such a build-up, Syria said it expects to be attacked imminently. “We are expecting an attack at any moment. We are ready to retaliate at any moment,” a security official said. The country’s state television has been broadcasting images of Syrian soldiers training, fighter jets soaring in the sky and tanks firing at unseen targets, to the backdrop of martial music.

Among Assad’s options for retaliation, one of the most feared is a strike from his stockpile of Scud missiles. Some estimates put his arsenal at 500 and all are capable of carrying chemical weapons. Cyprus, Turkey, Israel and Jordan are all well within range. Any attack with Scuds, particularly on Israel, would invite dangerous escalation across the region. To combat the possibility, the US and Nato have built a shield of Patriot missile batteries surrounding Syria ready to knock down incoming missiles.

US batteries are in place in Turkey and Jordan, while Israel has its own missiles in place. Reports from inside Syria suggest the regime is already trying to lessen the impact of air attacks by dispersing and hiding Scud missile launchers and aircraft. Senior military officers are also steering clear of headquarters buildings and bunkers which are expected to be hit. Assad also has a wide range of unconventional options for revenge, using his allies and militant groups around the region.

 Turkey will be on alert for car bombings in its border towns similar to one in Reyhanli earlier this year. In Amman, Jordan, security will be bolstered in the city’s five star hotels, which are popular with foreigners. Assad could also encourage attacks by militant groups linked to his Iranian allies. The Shia militia Hizbollah could be persuaded to fire rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel. The Iranian-sponsored militants group Islamic Jihad has also frequently fired rockets into Israel.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10278355/Syria-crisis-Britain-will-play-active-role-in-military-action-despite-vote-defeat.html

US, Britain and France Agree to Attack Syria Within Two Weeks

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Syrian state television claimed an information ministry source had said the international experts were shot at by "terrorists", a term it commonly uses to describe rebels trying to topple Bashar al-Assad. Syria has insisted rebel forces were responsible for an attack in which a team of UN inspectors came under fire while trying to enter the site of an alleged gas attack. 

"The Syrian government will hold the armed terrorist groups responsible for the safety of the members of the United Nations team," the source added, according to state television. Syria had agreed to let UN inspectors visit the scene of the violence, which the charity Médecins Sans Frontières said had killed around 350 people and left 3,600 needing treatment for "neurotoxic symptoms".

The team had reportedly arrived in Moadamiyeh, a western suburb of Damascus and one of the areas where the alleged gas attack occurred. They were meeting with doctors and victims at a makeshift hospital when they came under fire. Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, said the vehicle was "deliberately shot at multiple times" in the buffer zone area between rebel- and government-controlled territory, adding that the team was safe.

Western countries, including Britain, are planning to take unilateral military action against the Assad regime within two weeks in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians in Syria. David Cameron discussed launching missile strikes against key regime targets during a 40-minute telephone call with Barack Obama on Saturday night and also with the French President François Hollande on Sunday. While Downing Street said western powers had not ruled out seeking UN endorsement for military action they added that they were also prepared to unilaterally.

"We cannot in the 21st century allow the idea that chemical weapons can be used with impunity and there are no consequences," the foreign secretary, William Hague said. A Downing Street source added: "We intend to show that an attack of this nature will not pass without a serious response."

Mr Cameron is expected to cut short his holiday in Cornwall and return to London to chair a meeting of the Government's National Security Council on Tuesday. Mr Cameron may hope that the limited nature of the planned response may help him avoid having to hold a pre-emptive vote on military action in Parliament, where he could face strong opposition not just from Labour but also his own backbenches who are concerned about the UK being increasing dragged into yet another Middle Eastern conflict.

A Downing Street spokesman said that Mr Cameron had "always been clear that MPs should have a chance to debate this type of issue" but he added: "He reserves the right for the Government to act and respond."

However Douglas Alexander MP, Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary said: "If the Prime Minister is now considering military options involving UK personnel then of course I would expect him to seek a recall of Parliament and to come to the House of Commons."

Any military action is likely to take the form of missile strikes from US naval forces in the region, which were ordered to move closer to Syria on Saturday. The new head of the UK armed forces, General Sir Nick Houghton is meeting with General Lloyd Austin, the US commander in the Middle East in Jordan. The pair are attending a pre-planned meeting of defence chiefs but are expected to discuss the planned action and possible targets "at the fringes" of the conference.

Government sources said it was too early to say whether British military personnel would take part in any of the attacks but would provide complete political support. The western response it unlikely to be long lasting and is expected to consist of limited air strikes on key targets. It will allow Mr Obama to insist that America is capable and willing to take action over the use of chemical weapons which last year he described as a "red line" for the administration.

However, there are fears that any strike could lead to retaliation or terrorist attacks in the region either from Syria or its Iranian supporters. It is also likely to lead to condemnation from Russia and make any internationally brokered settlement that much harder. Significantly the Government said discussions with Russia over the response to the chemical weapons attack had so far only been at a "senior official" level.

A Downing Street source said that Mr Cameron would speak again to the US President and would also be engaging with other key European allies. It said: "If the Assad regime were innocent they wouldn't have stopped UN inspectors from coming and they would have stopped shelling the area.

"Therefore we are into a scenario of, not has there been an incident and does the international community need to respond, but how should the international community respond? This is where our focus now is. "The aim here is to have a clear, concrete response from the international community that deters further outrages and makes clear that we will stand up to the prohibition of chemical weapons. We need to show that their use will not go unchecked."

Asked about getting a UN mandate from military action, it said: "We are not excluding the UN route and we will keep engaging with UN partners and working the diplomatic machine. But we do not want the regime or its allies to use the UN to drag this all out. An attack of this nature passes without a serious response."

It added that any attack would not be intended to sway the military balance between Assad forces and they Syrian opposition. "This is not about trying to shape the outcome of the Syrian conflict by military means. This is focused on the incident that happened on Wednesday."

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-un-weapons-inspectors-attacked-as-they-try-to-reach-site-of-alleged-poison-gas-attack-8784435.html 

Hezbollah mobilizes forces ahead of potential US-led attack on Syria

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Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement is mobilizing its force as the war rhetoric against Syria intensifies, witnesses say. According to witnesses in Lebanon, it appears to be a general mobilization of the group's members since many Hezbollah fighters have left their regular posts in several villages in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre and the Bekaa Valley over the past five days, AFP reported on Monday. It also said that teenagers have replaced more experienced Hezbollah fighters at checkpoints in the southern suburbs of the capital Beirut. A Hezbollah spokesman, however, declined to comment on the reported redeployment of the group's forces. Meanwhile, Lebanon's al-Akhbar daily has reported that the "Syrian army has mobilized units that have not participated until now in the conflict."
"It has established an operations room ... with Hezbollah and the units in charge of missiles are at an unprecedented level of alert," the daily said adding, "The Islamic resistance (Hezbollah) has called on all its officers and members to man their positions."
The reported mobilization comes as the West appears to be moving toward taking military action against the Syrian government over the use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government has vehemently rejected the accusation, saying the attack was carried out by the militants to draw in military intervention. US President Barack Obama delayed an imminent military strike against Syria on August 31 to seek approval for the move from the Congress, which will debate the issue when lawmakers return from recess on September 9. The Obama administration has, however, said it “has the right” to attack Syria even if the Congress does not approve the measure.

Source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/02/321736/hezbollah-mobilizes-forces-over-syria/

Marine Units Positioned Near Syria

 26th MEU Flight Deck Operations

Marines in the Middle East, Africa and Europe are poised to reach Syria within hours should President Obama order a strike on the country as officials work to determine whether the government there was involved in a chemical weapons attack against its own people. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told BBC television Tuesday that the Defense Department has “moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take.”

The Corps has units forward-deployed to the region to deal specifically with crisis response missions, said Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon. But so far, none have been directed to prepare for a specific mission or deployment, he said. The various units are there for this type of reason, Flanagan added, and they include the following capabilities:

■ 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. MEUs typically number about 2,200 Marines and sailors. They operate at sea from Navy amphibious ships and carry infantry, aviation and logistics capabilities. The 26th MEU is distributed among the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge, the amphibious transport dock San Antonio and the amphibious dock landing ship Carter Hall. The Kearsarge is in the United Arab Emirates, southeast of Syria. The Carter Hall was in the Seychelles, off the coast of Africa. And the San Antonio, is in the Gulf of Aden, just south of Syria.

■ Special-Purpose Marine air-ground task force Crisis Response. The Corps’ newest type of unit, the Special-Purpose MAGTF operates like a smaller-sized MEU, but is based on land and operates largely independent of the Navy. The Crisis Response Force deployed to the region is made up of about 550 Marines. Most of the Marines are at Morón Air Base in Spain. A small detachment is based at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy. The force is built around a reinforced rifle company and is supported by six MV-22B Ospreys and two KC-130J aerial refuelers.

■ Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Teams. The Marine Corps has four FAST teams deployed to the region — two in U.S. Africa Command and two in Europe Command, Flanagan said. Typically used to respond to threats to embassy security, FAST teams are made up of about 50 Marines who can be called up by combatant commanders in the region to protect vital naval and national assets.

■ 13th MEU. Marines and sailors with the 13th MEU departed from California on Friday. They are headed to the Middle East and North Africa for a six month deployment.

Also in the region are members of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234. Members of VMGR-234 deployed to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, in June. The Marines have been tasked with refueling not only U.S. aircraft, but also aircraft from allied countries, according to a Marine Corps news release. The squadron recently took part in aerial refueling missions to provide fuel in the air for the Moroccan air force. Flanagan said the forward deployed units are always ready to respond to missions, and are prepared to do so in Syria if ordered. For now, they haven’t been given “prepare to deploy” orders, he said.

“Alert postures change — they go up and down — but we don’t have any details on any change in the last 48 hours,” Flanagan said.

Source: http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20130827/NEWS08/308270036/Marine-units-positioned-near-Syria 

US Media Heading to War With Syria
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Horrific scenes of dead and injured civilians in Syria have been a part of the conflict there over the past several years, but the reports of a chemical attack of some sort last week in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta have led U.S. policymakers and the Obama White House to threaten to attack in a matter of days. There is still no firm public evidence that would tie these specific attacks to the Assad government. But all around the U.S. media the signs are clear that war is on the way. The front page of USA Today (8/27/13) displays U.S. bombs:

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While on ABC's This Week (8/25/13) viewers saw a computer simulation of an attack from a U.S. warship:

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One tendency in the corporate media seemed to be to jump to the conclusion that the chemical attacks were launched by the Assad regime, while admitting that perhaps this was not yet proven. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson (8/27/13) wrote that "Obama has to punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's homicidal regime with a military strike" – before admitting:
If it is true that the regime killed hundreds of civilians with nerve gas in a Damascus suburb last week – and Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday that the use of chemical weapons is "undeniable" – then Obama has no choice. Such use cannot be tolerated, and any government or group that employs chemical weapons must be made to suffer real consequences.
Of course, providing convincing evidence that the attacks actually were the work of the Syrian government should be the first order of business.  But when news accounts, like one from  USA Today (8/27/13), open with this–"A limited strike against Syria might convince the Assad regime not to use chemical weapons again"–it's hard not reach the conclusion that some have already made up their minds.  On CBS's Face the Nation (8/25/13), Reuters journalist David Rohde said:  

"There has to be a price for gassing hundreds of civilians. There has to be."
So far, the U.S. government has mostly made emphatic assertions–often anonymously.  In the August 26 New York Times, readers learned that "a senior Obama administration official said Sunday that there was 'very little doubt' that President Bashar al-Assad's military forces had used chemical weapons against civilians last week." The report, by Scott Shane and Ben Hubbard, added:
The official, in a written statement, said that "based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts and other facts gathered by open sources, the U.S. intelligence community, and international partners, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident." The statement, released Sunday morning on the condition that the official not be named, reflected a tougher tone after President Obama's meeting at the White House on Saturday with his national security team, during which advisers discussed options for military action.
It is curious that this "tougher tone" comes from officials whom the paper will not name.

Today's edition of the Times (8/27/13) gives readers the headline "Kerry Cites Clear Evidence of Chemical Weapon Use in Syria." Earlier versions of the piece were less definitive (the headline read "Kerry Accuses Syria of Chemical Weapons Attack"), and it was difficult to see just what the clear evidence was–other than the acknowledgment that some sort of chemical attack had occurred, which is hardly in dispute. The paper went on to report:
In the coming days, officials said, the nation's intelligence agencies will disclose information to bolster their case that chemical weapons were used by Mr. Assad's forces. The information could include so-called signals intelligence–intercepted radio or telephone calls between Syrian military commanders.
If there is such evidence, one would assume it would be made public as soon as possible. Instead, unnamed officials are telling the New York Times that they'll share it someday soon. What would more skeptical coverage look like? Patrick Cockburn of the Independent (8/21/13) wrote that it is vital to be skeptical, since "the Syrian opposition has every incentive to show the Syrian government deploying chemical weapons in order to trigger foreign intervention." Cockburn adds that there are plenty of reasons for the Syrian government to not launch a chemical weapons attack, but:
the obvious fact that for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons would be much against their own interests does not prove it did not happen. Governments and armies do stupid things.
 Source: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/08/27/heading-to-war-with-syria/

Sultan Qaboos, UN's Feltman Test Diplomacy with Iran

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What was the sultan of Oman doing in Tehran? Many answers might emerge to this question, despite the fact there is one main answer that an Iranian source gave. “Sultan Qaboos is a close friend to Iran; before and after the revolution ties stayed strong between Muscat and Tehran,” the source said, adding, “Now as in 1999, the sultan has an initiative to bridge the gap between Iran and the West, and its Arab neighbors.”

Back in 1999, then-President Bill Clinton sent a letter via the Omanis to Iran’s then-President Mohammad Khatami. Clinton was a Democrat, as is President Barack Obama, and Khatami was a reformist, as is President Hassan Rouhani. Back then, the reconciliation efforts failed despite all the optimism filling the air, and later on hopes of peace turned into fears of war, with the assumption of power of Presidents George W. Bush [2001-2009] and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [2005-2013].

Sultan Qaboos discussed several issues with the Iranians, in addition to having a certain message to convey, the Tehran source said. “Despite denials, the sultan had an initiative for Iran to decrease the level of uranium enrichment in return for the West observing Iran’s right to enrich [uranium] and easing financial sanctions.” The source added that the Iranians promised to consider the initiative carefully, although they had serious doubts that such a step would solve the problem. “It’s hard to arrive to terms with the West on one file while others are still on hold — the war in Syria is one, Israel, the relations with America,” the source said. The source added, “We welcome any attempt, and we are interested in tackling all the problems, but not by giving up our people’s rights.”

The Omani leader’s visit came in conjunction with the surprising appearance in Tehran of UN Undersecretary Jeffrey Feltman (a former US assistant secretary of state and ambassador to Lebanon) to meet with Iranian officials and discuss the situation in the region, mainly the war in Syria. With both guests in Iran, eyes and ears were directed toward Tehran to understand the developments, and to try to get some clues of what’s happening backstage.

According to well-informed sources in Tehran, the American UN official who used to be one of Tehran’s most active foes in Lebanon had two messages to deliver, both connected to each other, and both on Syria. His first message was on the Geneva II peace conference on Syria and the other related to Geneva II but seemingly an American message. “Feltman suggested that Iran can play an important role in ending the crisis in Syria, given its strong ties with Syrian president Bashar Assad,” the source said. “The Iranians mentioned their six-point initiative for peace in Syria, and Feltman listened carefully and gave some remarks. Still, the meeting was cold; this was the first time Iranians had held indirect talks with the Americans directly, like it or not — Feltman is here as a UN official and as an American.”

The UN’s Feltman stressed the importance of Iran’s participation in Geneva II, but the Iranians were still waiting to hear what the US’s Feltman would say. It was only during the third and last session that he spoke about the use of chemical weapons in Syria; here the Iranians stated that they were 100% sure it was not the Syrian regime and that there was evidence to prove that. “There are satellite images and pictures that prove Assad has nothing to do with this condemnable crime; to prove his good will he gave access to the international fact-finding commission to investigate the claims and give its verdict,” the source said.

The source added that Feltman warned that a successful Geneva II should be preceded by the restoration of a balance of power, and that Iran should understand the importance of this for the greater goal of bringing peace back to Syria. “The Iranians understood that Feltman was calling on them to stay calm if there were strikes on Syria,” said the source, who said that Feltman used a very diplomatic rhetoric, and that “the Iranians responded in a similar manner: ‘Mr. Feltman, if you’re serious about the success of Geneva II, you have to visit Damascus.’”

Source: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/08/sultan-qaboos-iran-oman-us-diplomacy.html#ixzz2dt5UJDdy

Syria's Alawite Force Turned Tide for Assad

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Mounir and Samir Fandi, twin brothers from this central Syrian city, had ordinary lives before the start of civil war more than two years ago. Mounir worked as a technician at the country's telephone company. Samir was a traffic cop. Life for the 40-year-old brothers changed abruptly 20 months ago. Their 85-year-old father and another brother were killed by rebels at a fake checkpoint in Homs—the Fandis believe for no other reason than belonging to the Alawite minority that dominates the Syrian regime.

Now the brothers are members of the Homs branch of the National Defense Force, a mainly Alawite paramilitary group that has been instrumental in enabling the regime to regain control of territory captured by rebels. The defense force has been a crucial factor in President Bashar al-Assad's rebound from last summer when predictions of his regime's imminent demise prevailed.

And with the U.S. and its allies poised to strike at Syria's conventional army for alleged chemical weapons use last week, many average Syrians and outside analysts believe that the auxiliary force could play an even greater role.

Some Syrians are already bracing themselves for large-scale sectarian carnage should external strikes weaken the regime. The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front executed an Alawite cleric on Monday, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights—an opposition group tracking the conflict. He was abducted this month with dozens of civilians when rebels raided remote Alawite villages in northwestern Syria. Rebels fighting the regime belong to the country's Sunni majority.

The National Defense Force was set up by the Syrian regime about nine months ago with the help of allies Iran and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, according to Syrian security officials. Unlike the ad hoc pro-regime militia known as the Shabiha that was mobilized at the start of the war, members of the defense force are licensed, armed and paid by the state.

The ranks of the force approach 100,000 members, and the organization is still growing, the security officials said. Rebels now see the force as a formidable adversary. On Aug. 1 rebels fired rockets at an unfinished sports auditorium in Homs city used by the defense force as an ammunition depot, causing massive secondary explosions that killed and wounded scores in a mostly Alawite neighborhood.

Rebel fighters in Homs say the involvement of the defense force gives a big boost to the regime because—unlike the average Syrian soldier—its members are driven by sectarian zeal. "They storm in ready to kill or be killed," says one rebel.

The defense force is part of a metamorphosis the Assad regime has undergone in the caldron of war. The regime has mobilized state resources—money, arms, control over key commodities such as wheat, fuel and even international aid—to fortify its core Alawite constituency and allied minority groups for what it believes will be a protracted sectarian battle.

Echoing this new reality, Mr. Assad acknowledged earlier this month the limits of a conventional army like Syria's in conducting guerrilla warfare. He said it was time for Syrians of all backgrounds to take up arms to defeat "homebred monsters" and foreign fighters who have flocked to the country to aid them.

"We can easily come out of this crisis if we unite one hand: white against black," said Mr. Assad in a speech delivered at an official banquet in Damascus. "A war led by the people will decide the battle's outcome."

Speaking on the same day to the Al Jazeera news channel, the head of the Western-backed Syrian Opposition Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba, said Mr. Assad "will not win" and that rebels had a "strategic plan" to regain momentum on the ground.

On the surface the Alawite militia may appear as nothing more than a repackaged version of the Shabiha, the bearded enforcers and bodyguards that accompanied security forces at the start of the conflict. The Shabiha were accused by the opposition of committing some of the worst atrocities against antiregime protesters—something the Syrian government has denied.

But there are significant differences. The genesis of the defense force goes back to last summer when the regime hastily organized so-called popular committees among loyalist communities in Damascus to help fend off a major rebel offensive in the capital. These committees were akin to armed neighborhood watch groups tasked with manning checkpoints and patrolling streets.

By the fall, the Syrian regime had decided to create a national force similar to the Basij—the paramilitary group created by Iran's clerical regime in the 1980s to fight in the Iran-Iraq war—government officials said at the time.

Youth in their late teens and early 20s and unemployed men are eager recruits to the defense force. They often see it as a more attractive alternative to the army, which many consider to be infiltrated by rebels, overstretched and underfunded. Some defense force members say they have received boot camp and more advanced combat training in Syria from Hezbollah operatives or have been flown to Iran for similar purposes.

They say they answer to senior officers in the Syrian military and the regime's security and intelligence services. Force members are issued official identifications and are paid monthly salaries equivalent to almost $200 plus perks like food rations. Hezbollah confirmed the training. A spokesman for Iran's mission to the United Nations declined to comment on whether his country had done any training but noted that Tehran opposed foreign countries assisting Syrian rebels.

In recent months defense force members have participated in fighting in Damascus and its suburbs or have been tasked with holding down neighborhoods and villages that had been cleared of rebels by the army. Thousands were dispatched recently to the northern city of Aleppo and surrounding areas where the regime faces a major challenge from rebels, Syrian security officials said.

Nowhere has the defense force played a more prominent role than in Homs. Syria's largest and most strategic province, Homs is a symbolic place for Mr. Assad's opponents who have christened it the "cradle of the revolution." Homs has seen some of the most vicious sectarian-motivated killings committed by both sides in the civil war.

Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, says that while much of the focus has been on the role of international supporters like Iran and Russia in Mr. Assad's survival, little attention has been paid to how his regime has channeled the traditional solidarity of groups like the Alawites into new structures such as the defense force.

"It has allowed Assad to go on the offensive," says Mr. Gerges. "This is the untold story of the Syrian conflict so far."

Running parallel to the highway from Homs to the coastal city of Tartus is a road that winds through picturesque valleys and mountains dominated by Alawites living alongside other minorities like Christians. At the entrance of every town and village are billboards and monuments commemorating hundreds of "martyrs" fallen while fighting on the government's side. Many are defense force members. 

In the town of Safita, famed for a Crusader-era tower, 57-year-old Amal Hamdan lives with her three daughters and her grandchildren in a rented house nestled amid olive and pomegranate trees. Ms. Hamdan says they moved more than a year ago to her late husband's hometown in order to escape fighting in their neighborhood on the southern fringes of Damascus. The men, including her 28-year-old son Alaa Omran, stayed behind in Damascus to fight on the government side.

Mr. Omran joined the defense force this year after his brother Ali, an army reservist one year his junior, was killed in March in the eastern Damascus neighborhood of Jobar. The family says it has yet to recover Ali's corpse. "I am proud of my son's martyrdom [and] I have two others that I am willing to sacrifice for Syria," says Ms. Hamdan, her creased face framed by a white head scarf.

In Alawite villages adjacent to Rastan and Talbiseh—two rebel bastions north of Homs city—almost every military age male has joined the National Defense Force. These fighters are often at the forefront of combat with the regular army just providing air and artillery cover.

This is the case in the village of Ain Dananeer where defense force members are hunkered down behind sandbagged positions on rooftops facing off with Sunni rebels in neighboring Ain Hussein. They accuse the rebels there of driving out Alawites from Ameriya, an adjacent hamlet, in January. Only patches of scorched fields separate the two opponents.

"We are defending the village and the state, but their logic is twisted and wrong," a member of the force who gave his name as Abu Najem said of the Sunni rebels. His gear including desert combat boots is more advanced than the normal issue for Syrian soldiers.

The period between October 2011 and February 2012 saw unprecedented sectarian carnage in Homs province, according to residents and people who witnessed some of these incidents. Many of those now fighting the regime in Homs say they took up arms in the fall of 2011 in response to the regime's crackdown on protesters. Alawites who had to commute through rebel-controlled parts of Homs city also became targets of kidnapping and killing, according to residents.

In October 2011, rebels stopped a public transport minibus going through an area in the city known as Wadi al-Sayeh, singled out nine Alawites, lined them up against a school wall and showered them with bullets, according to a survivor of the incident. Alawites retaliated by kidnapping around 40 Sunnis who were then executed in the main square of Al-Zahra, an Alawite neighborhood in Homs, residents said. Rebels and Alawites confirm the incident, though each side blames the other for starting it.

Today previously pro-rebel and Sunni neighborhoods in eastern Homs have been emptied of their residents largely due to the defense force's involvement. The force now is battling to oust rebels from their last remaining enclaves in the city's northwestern quadrant. In Homs it is hard to differentiate defense force members from the regular Syrian army. Both man checkpoints, but defense force members often are more vigilant in searching vehicles and interrogating their occupants.

Life appears normal in many parts of eastern Homs, with shops and restaurants open late into the night. But signs of rising militancy are everywhere. Funeral tents for those killed fighting alongside the regime are erected in many alleyways. The crackle of celebratory gunfire often means another casket bearing the body of a slain fighter has left the Zaeem hospital. They are considered martyrs. A collage of portraits of more than 800 Alawite civilians and combatants killed in the conflict is affixed to the outer wall of a government building in Al-Zahra.

While the national defense force has helped turn the tide in Homs, there is sober realization among many Alawites here that the battle is far from won and the situation could get much worse.

Car bomb, mortar and rocket attacks by rebels against Alawite neighborhoods in Homs are a frequent occurrence. And for now the cycle of revenge between the two sides appears to be perpetual. New areas captured by pro-regime forces in Homs are often followed by systematic pillaging and looting. On a recent morning Mounir Fandi, the telephone technician turned National Defense Force member, cruised down the main road cutting through Homs city's east side. An AK-47 assault rifle, pistol, ammunition vest and a portable two-way radio sit inside his sedan with tinted windows.

He says he has nothing against Sunnis in Homs, and that some Sunnis now fighting the regime were once friends. But Mr. Fandi says the sectarian attacks by rebels and the rhetoric by opposition figures about the need to drive out Alawites from Homs convinced him that his sect is in a fight for its survival. "I was born in this house and someone wants to simply kick me out of it," he said. 

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323997004578639903412487708.html

A Veteran Saudi Power Player Works To Build Support to Topple Assad

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Officials inside the Central Intelligence Agency knew that Saudi Arabia was serious about toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when the Saudi king named Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud to lead the effort. They believed that Prince Bandar, a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world, could deliver what the CIA couldn't: planeloads of money and arms, and, as one U.S. diplomat put it, wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout.

Prince Bandar—for two decades one of the most influential deal makers in Washington as Saudi ambassador but who had largely disappeared from public view—is now reprising his role as a geopolitical operator. This time it is to advance the Saudi kingdom's top foreign-policy goal, defeating Syrian President Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies. Prince Bandar has been jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime, according to Arab, American and European officials. 

Meanwhile, an influential protégé, current Saudi Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir, is leading a parallel campaign to coax Congress and a reluctant Obama administration to expand the U.S. role in Syria. The conflict there has become a proxy war for Middle East factions, and Saudi Arabia's efforts in Syria are just one sign of its broader effort to expand its regional influence. The Saudis also have been outspoken supporters of the Egyptian military in its drive to squelch the Muslim Brotherhood, backing that up with big chunks of cash.

The Saudi lobbying is part of the calculus as the U.S. weighs its options in the wake of a suspected chemical attack last week. Damascus suburbs allegedly targeted are at the heart of what the Saudis now call their "southern strategy" for strengthening rebels in towns east and south of the capital. As part of that, intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm handpicked Syrian rebels, according to current and former U.S. and Middle Eastern officials.

The CIA has put unspecified limits on its arming efforts. But the agency has been helping train rebels to better fight. Earlier this year it also began making salary payments to members of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, U.S. and Arab officials said. There are now more CIA personnel at the Jordan base than Saudi personnel, according to Arab diplomats. Jordan denied any training or arming of Syrian rebels was taking place in the country, something Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said would be contrary to Jordan's national interest and policy "to remain neutral" on Syria.

"There are no military bases in Jordan for the Syrian opposition…There are no bases of any sort. This is inconsistent with the Jordanian position that calls for a political solution to the Syrian crisis," Mr. Momani said. He added that Jordanian King Abdullah has said firmly "Jordan will never be a base of training to anyone and will never be the launching base of any military action against Syria."

For decades, wasta has been Prince Bandar's calling card. The prince also wins U.S. officials' trust in part because his background is, in its own way, so American. Though his father was a Saudi crown prince, his mother was a commoner, and he rose through the crowded royal ranks by force of will. He attended U.S. Air Force officer training in Alabama, did graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University and worked his way into the good graces of several U.S. presidents. He has painted his personal airplane in Dallas Cowboy colors, and his son attended the pro-football draft this year at the table of owner Jerry Jones. Prince Bandar declined to be interviewed for this article.

Not everyone in the Obama administration is comfortable with the new U.S. partnership with the Saudis on Syria. Some officials said they fear it carries the same risk of spinning out of control as an earlier project in which Prince Bandar was involved—the 1980s CIA program of secretly financing the Contras in Nicaragua against a leftist government. The covert program led to criminal convictions for U.S. operatives and international rebukes.

"This has the potential to go badly," one former official said, citing the risk weapons will end up in the hands of violent anti-Western Islamists.

Many top U.S. intelligence analysts also think the Syrian rebels are hopelessly outgunned by Assad allies Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group, according to congressional officials and diplomats. Prince Bandar and Mr. Jubeir have told the U.S. they don't necessarily expect a victory by the Syrian rebels anytime soon, but they want to gradually tilt the battlefield in their favor, according to American officials who have met with them.

The Saudi plan is to steadily strengthen carefully selected groups of rebel fighters not in the radical Islamist camp, with the goal of someday seeing them in control in Damascus. Difficult as such an effort is proving to be, the Saudi thinking goes, not trying would risk a future in which Syria was dominated either by extremist Muslims from among the rebels or by Iran, Riyadh's arch rival in the quest for regional dominance.

In Jordan, officials said they couldn't yet tell whether the joint operation has reaped success in sifting moderate Syrian rebels from the extremists. Some said they couldn't rule out the possibility some Saudi funds and arms were being funneled to radicals on the side, simply to counter the influence of rival Islamists backed by Qatar. U.S. officials said they couldn't rule out that mistakes would be made.

Saudi King Abdullah, whose mother and two of whose wives hail from a cross-border tribe influential in Syria, tried for a decade to woo Mr. Assad away from Iran's sway. He failed. The king's attitude hardened in 2011 after the Assad regime, rebuffing the king's personal advice on how to ease tension, cracked down brutally on political opponents and did so during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The king then decided to do whatever was needed to bring down Mr. Assad, American and Arab diplomats said.

Qatar also wanted the autocratic Assad regime out. While the Saudi princes initially were divided about how to proceed, some worrying that armed insurgents in Syria could later threaten Saudi stability, Qatar intervened quickly and gained influence with the rebels, according to Arab and American officials.

The Saudis stepped up rebel support in early 2012, at first by joining forces with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to fund what was then the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council. Saudi Arabia quickly soured on the effort because the Council wasn't buying arms with the money, diplomats said, and began to push for directly arming the insurgents. It also began to work with Qatar through a command center in Turkey to buy and distribute arms.

But tensions grew over which rebels to supply. Both Saudi and American officials worried Qatar and Turkey were directing weapons to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Qatari and Turkish officials denied they favored certain rebel groups. The Saudi king also was uncomfortable at sharing control with Qatar, a Persian Gulf rival. At a meeting to coordinate arms shipments last summer, Prince Bandar took a swipe at Qatar, a tiny nation with one of the region's largest broadcasters.

Qatar is "nothing but 300 people…and a TV channel," the Saudi prince yelled into a phone, according to a person familiar with the exchange. "That doesn't make a country." Saudi officials declined to comment on the exchange.

It marked the start of a new, more aggressive drive by Prince Bandar, and a Saudi shift to operate out of Jordan instead of Turkey. In July 2012, the Saudi king—his uncle—doubled the prince's duties; already head of the national-security office, Prince Bandar took over the Saudi General Intelligence Agency as well.

"His appointment to head intelligence marked a new phase in Saudi politics," said Nohad Machnouk, a Lebanese legislator with close ties to the Saudi leadership.

Some critics of Prince Bandar within the kingdom and in Washington described him as inclined to be impulsive and overoptimistic about what he can achieve. Defenders said his enthusiasm and drive were what made him the king's go-to problem solver. The Saudi ambassador, Mr. Jubeir, has long been courting members of Congress who could pressure the administration to get more involved in Syria. He found early support from Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

He also reached out to centrists, helping set up a rare one-on-one meeting for one of them, then-Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.), with King Abdullah in Riyadh. Mr. Nelson said he told the king that if regional powers pulled together with a common strategy, it would be easier for the U.S. to become a partner. Mr. Jubeir used his access to policy makers, including the president, to push the message that U.S. inaction would lead to greater Middle East instability down the road, American officials said.

A senior U.S. intelligence official called the Saudis "indispensable partners on Syria" and said their efforts influenced American thinking. "No one wants to do anything alone," the official said in explaining why the partnership expanded. The Saudi goal was to get the U.S. to back a program to arm and train rebels out of a planned base in Jordan. Then-CIA chief David Petraeus was an early backer of the idea, said Arab and U.S. officials, and helped clinch Jordanian military support for the base. Gen. Petraeus declined to comment.

Prince Bandar met with the uneasy Jordanians about such a base. His meetings in Amman with Jordan's King Abdullah sometimes ran to eight hours in a single sitting. "The king would joke: 'Oh, Bandar's coming again? Let's clear two days for the meeting,' " said a person familiar with the meetings.

Jordan's financial dependence on Saudi Arabia gave the Saudis strong leverage, officials in the region and the U.S. said. They said that with the blessing of the Jordanian king, an operations center in Jordan started going online in the summer of 2012, including an airstrip and warehouses for arms. Saudi-procured AK-47s and ammunition then started arriving, Arab officials said.

Prince Bandar sent his younger half-brother and then-deputy national-security adviser, Salman bin Sultan, to oversee the operation in Jordan. Some regional officials took to calling him "mini-Bandar." Earlier this summer, Prince Salman was elevated to deputy defense minister. Mr. Petraeus in mid-2012 won White House approval to provide intelligence and limited training to Syrian rebels at the base, including in the use of arms provided by others. Saudi and Jordanian agents began vetting the fighters to be trained, said Arab diplomats and a former U.S. military official.

Prince Bandar has largely stayed out of Washington but held meetings with U.S. officials in the region. One was in September 2012. Sens. McCain and Graham, who were in Istanbul, met him in an opulent hotel suite on the banks of the Bosporus. Mr. McCain said he made the case to Prince Bandar that the rebels weren't getting the kinds of weapons they needed, and the prince, in turn, described the kingdom's plans. The senator said that in succeeding months he saw "a dramatic increase in Saudi involvement, hands-on, by Bandar."

In September and October, the Saudis approached Croatia to procure more Soviet-era weapons. The Saudis got started distributing these in December and soon saw momentum shift toward the rebels in some areas, said U.S. officials, Arab diplomats and U.S. lawmakers briefed on the operation. Officials in Croatia denied it was involved in weapons sales.

That winter, the Saudis also started trying to convince Western governments that Mr. Assad had crossed what President Barack Obama a year ago called a "red line": the use of chemical weapons. Arab diplomats say Saudi agents flew an injured Syrian to Britain, where tests showed sarin gas exposure. Prince Bandar's spy service, which concluded in February that Mr. Assad was using chemical weapons, relayed evidence to the U.S., which reached a similar conclusion four months later. The Assad regime denies using such weapons.

After Mr. Petraeus's November resignation over an affair, his job was handled by his deputy, Michael Morell, who privately voiced skepticism the agency could make sure any arms supplied by the U.S. wouldn't end up with hard-line Islamists, said congressional officials. Ultimately, the new CIA chief was John Brennan, whose closest Saudi confidant when he was White House counterterrorism adviser was also focused on the risk of inadvertently strengthening al Qaeda. Since moving to the CIA, Mr. Brennan has been in periodic contact by phone with Prince Bandar, officials said.

Despite its caution, the CIA expanded its role at the base in Jordan early this year. At that point, though, the U.S. still wasn't sending weapons. In early April, said U.S. officials, the Saudi king sent a strongly worded message to Mr. Obama: America's credibility was on the line if it let Mr. Assad and Iran prevail. The king warned of dire consequences of abdicating U.S. leadership and creating a vacuum, said U.S. officials briefed on the message.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, who was the first Saudi official to publicly back arming the rebels, followed with a similar message during a meeting with Mr. Obama later that month, the officials said. By late spring, U.S. intelligence agencies saw worrisome signs that Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, in response to the influx of Saudi arms, were ramping up support to Mr. Assad. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee backed arming the rebels, and Mr. Jubeir and Prince Bandar turned their attention to skeptics on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

They arranged a trip for committee leaders to Riyadh, where Prince Bandar laid out the Saudi strategy. It was a reunion of sorts, officials said, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) warmly scolding Prince Bandar about his smoking. Mr. Obama in June authorized the CIA to provide arms at the Jordanian base, in limited quantity and firepower, on the understanding the U.S. could reverse course if there weren't sufficient controls on who got them, congressional officials said.

Prince Bandar flew to Paris soon after for talks with French officials. In July he was in Moscow to meet with one of Mr. Assad's prime supporters, President Vladimir Putin. A generation ago, Prince Bandar, in a role foreshadowing his current one on behalf of Syrian opposition, helped the CIA arm the Afghan rebels who were resisting occupation by Soviet troops. Arab diplomats said that in meeting with Russian officials this summer, the prince delivered the same message he gave the Soviets 25 years ago: that the kingdom had plenty of money and was committed to using it to prevail.

This past weekend, as the White House weighed possible military attacks against Mr. Assad, Saudi Arabia and its allies pressed Mr. Obama to take forceful action in response to the chemical-weapons reports, according to a U.S. official. The Arab message, according to another official, was: "You can't as president draw a line and then not respect it."

103 comments:

  1. Arevordi, nice commentary. Certainly a very important issue today. I think you hit the nail on the coffin about "face-saving" military strikes. Hezbollah's media outlet Al-manar were pocking fun at Obama actually sending envoys to Iran and through back door to Syria to ask them what their response is going to be if "we bomb you just a little". How more absurd can these freaks get? It sounds like the Grand Ayatollah gave him the finger and now Obama doesn't know what to do. He is asking the congress to vote, and the earliest that can happen is on September the 9th. Yet each day, the alternative media and the alternative "international community" are ripping holes in Obama's narrative. Even Putin spoke directly now saying Washington should present evidence, and if they don't, it means said evidence does not exist. It makes me think that Obama is backing out.

    Concerning Russia, Russia has significant issues on her own. I don't see why the Caucasus has to be Russia's "red line". Russia can draw a "red line" everywhere her strategic interest lies. Russia already has vested way too much in Syria, including a very lucrative opportunity concerning the gas field discovery in the eastern med. I hope the Kremlin is playing this to win. It doesn't mean get into a shooting war with American warships, but they need to make sure to empower the Syrian side to inflict a very serious bloody nose to the aggressor. Russia's political elites are not "patriots" or "nationalists" and they don't have their national interests at heart. They can't while they stick their personal bank accounts in western banks.

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  2. Russia remains an enigma. Their red line is the Caucasus, but with Syria defeated and Iran weakened ( we must not forget that The Caucasus is also an Iranian sphere of influence) the red line woul be reached and crossing it would not be that difficult for the USA Israeli axis. No one seems to mention what Syria and Teheran out of the way would mean for Turkey . Turkey would become the American Israeli axis spearhead in their drive to the vast expanses of Russia's east. In this scenario the Caucasus might simply fall like a ripened fruit in the lap of the hegemons. Syria and Iran are the antechamber to the Caucasus.

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  3. Good point made by skahra. These so called Arab nations, presumably enemies of Israel, kept all their oil profits and reaches ensconced in Western Jewish owned and controlled banking systems. Gadaffi specially had his fortune in the hands of the Jew banking system. The Jew bank slapped a frozen screen on his fortunes and Gadaffi ended running like a meerkat in the desert. The same withe the Russian oligarchy. Where do they hoard their riches ? In the network of the Goldman Saches, Lazard ferries, Lombards, Lehman bros , where ? It is sheer idiocy fighting the enemy when the enemy is in control of your wealth

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  4. I will just post a few pictures that say a lot:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/9900_596803320387646_580586943_n.jpg

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1235948_596800860387892_938215578_n.jpg

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1240482_596766267058018_2017920744_n.jpg

    http://www.mashreghnews.ir/files/fa/news/1392/6/10/396606_864.jpg

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  5. Interesting analysis Arevordi. Apart from Russia and Iran, it would be interesting to have a better understanding of China's position on the issue. As many others have pointed out, the outcome of the struggle for Syria will be critical for Armenia.

    Like him or not, I really liked Brother Nathaniel's latest video on the issue.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvmXbFxdaAc&list=UUtBqVgzL_cDv_t9o2hFiXXg&index=1

    As for the other group of inbred semites known as saudis, their reported threats against Russia are both laughable and enraging. I see a parallel between the saudi regime's cocksure bolstering against Russia and sultan aliyev's constant talk about his third world country's weapons purchases against Armenia. Both those mudslim warlords are full of hot air... Still, it would be a special treat to see Russia's security services use the Olympics as a cover to eliminate a few chechen extremists.

    I feel very badly for the Armenians trapped in crossfire in Syria. Whatever their ideological flaws may be, it will be terrible to see that community ripped apart by the demonic lust for destruction which has gripped the west. The deafening silence of the Armenian-American community and leadership on western aggression against a country that houses and large and important Armenian community only confirms that the diaspora here is all but useless to the Armenian nation.

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  6. Skhara,

    You first criticize Moscow for not putting its red line in Syria and then you go on to state that Moscow does not need to get into a "shooting war with American warships"...

    Well, the whole idea of a 'red line' is to start a shooting war with whoever crosses it. No? If not, then what good is a red line?

    I think you and others here are projecting your frustrations at the current situation and looking at the matter at hand from an emotional and anger-based perspective. But I fully understand your frustrations and anger.

    However, as I have been saying - Moscow will do 'everything' in its power to help preserve the Assad regime short of going to war for it. And Moscow is doing exactly that. Moscow is doing everything in its power to help ward-off a full scale military invasion of Syria. Moscow has been the primary reason why they have not risked invading Syria for over two years and I don't think they will risk invading Syria now.

    But Moscow will not go to war over Syria. That job is reserved for Syrians, Iranians, Iraqi Shiites and the Hezbollah.

    It utterly ridicules to suggest that Moscow should start a world war over Syria. As important as Syria is for Moscow, its death (if it comes to that) will not necessarily present an imminent danger to Russia. The destruction of Iran's government, on the other hand, may. From a geostrategic perspective, Moscow looks at the situation with Iran with more concern.

    Again, the Caucasus (north and south) is where Russia has historically drawn a "red line". This is not expect to change in our lifetimes.

    PS: Western control over global finance and the commodities trade is centuries old (goes back to the times of the Crusades) and this is the secret to Western power and success. This is a fundamentally important issue to grasp. So, I'm glad you brought it up.

    Nevertheless, as long as Chinese, Russians, Indians, Arabs, Armenians, Egyptians, Brazilians, Japanese, Germans, French, etc., continue trading in US Dollars and continue holding US Dollar assets, the US will remain a global superpower.

    Since the beginning of the 20th century (especially after the second world war) they managed to create a global financial/economic system where the only safe place to do business and park your wealth is in the Anglo-American-Zionist world. Therefore, don't let it surprise that wealthy Russians park their money in Western financial institutions.

    Think of it this way: If 'you' had a lot of money, would you put it in a place that was inherently unstable or some place that had a good track record for hundreds of years? If you were a business tycoon, wouldn't you seek to do business with a Western world that represents hundreds-of-millions of relatively wealthy consumers?

    In the big picture: Weaken the US Dollar, you weaken the American empire. Destroy the US Dollar, you destroy the American empire.

    Russian patriots, as well as Chinese ones know this. There is a fledgling movement against the US Dollar. But the backers of this movement realize that because the global community is so deeply involved in the Western financial and economic system, that any drastic moves against it has to be done cautiously and gradually. Right now, if you kill the US Dollar, you kill most developed and developing nations on earth.

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  7. For those interested, here is a link to a three year old blog commentary that discusses the abandonment of the US Dollar amongst other things - http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2010/12/sino-russian-abandonment-of-dollar.html

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  8. Arevordi,
    The "red line" thing is in the context of Syria should be considered as redder to Russia, than the destruction of the Assad regime to the west. The good and helpful thing for Russia is that Syria has friends who logistically well placed and are willing to die in the defense of this land namely Hezbollah, Iraqi Shias (maybe), and Iran. Russia's job should be to empower them with weapons and technology as well as intelligence and satellite imagery.

    Anyway, my anger and frustration is not actually over political wranglings of the Russian Federation. It has more to do with the US military. If I remember correctly back in the day you mentioned involvement with US military. What is your take on the US officer corps. For the life of me I cannot understand how they can just blindly follow criminal orders? How is there no outspoken rhetoric coming from the US military. Are these guys well educated and do they understand what is really happening in the world?

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  9. Skhara,

    You always ask the good questions. This is why I always liked you.

    Basing my opinion on what I was able to observe firsthand during the late 1980s and the early 1990, the US Officer corps was well read, well educated and many (if not most of the higher ups) knew exactly what was going on around the world. There was also within their ranks a relatively good understating of the inherent dangers of Zionist Jews working within the US government.

    Most of US military personnel at the time were of Germanic (German, Scandinavian, Dutch, etc) and British (Irish, Scottish, English) decent. I would notice quite a bit of sympathy towards Nazi era Germany and its war machine. They also had a very healthy respect towards Soviet-Russians for their martial and technological capabilities.

    In short, they were patriotic and professional - nothing like the USA-USA-USA shouting, Chinese made American flag waving idiots you see today.

    Just know that a 'lot' has changed in the US during the last 20-25 years.

    American society, as a whole, has been brainwashed and dumbed down by pop culture (tv, movies, music) and a subpar education system. This is not the America I grew up in. Therefore, I suspect that the new breed within the officer corps may also be somewhat compromised today.

    Having said that, however, I do periodically see, read and hear about US military personnel who are wholeheartedly opposed to the Zionist-led American empire's crimes around the world. These tend to be Midwest, country boy types, the gun toting libertarian types that are currently being attacked by "mainstream" (i.e. Afro-Jewish-immigrant) America. I also periodically see 'retired' high ranking US military officers raising the alarm.

    One of the problems here is that US military personal (especially the officer corps) are quite well taken care of by the imperial system. Regardless of their politics or their ethics, there won't be many 'career officers' that would be willing to sacrifice their salaries, their beloved professions or their retirement pensions by speaking the truth or opposing their government. In other words, they wont speak against the system that provides well for them. The more patriotic/ideologically driven amongst them may wait until they retire to open their mouths... which is too late.

    Moreover, as you well know, the best way to kill a career in the US today is to speak against the nation's sacred people, the Jews. Therefore, many within the armed forces just keep quiet, do their jobs and hope for the best.

    Nevertheless, I have said this in the past, if the the US is to be saved sometime in the future, it will be saved by a military mutiny. And key to this mutiny will be the country's Midwestern, white, Christian, rural and libertarian populations...

    PS: Regarding the US Dollar's global hegemony and the fledgling movement against it, I also suggest interested readers to revisit the following blog entry from 2011 - BRICS Wants to Get Rid of Dollar: http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2011/05/brics-wants-to-get-rid-of-dollar-may.html

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  10. Arevordi, with regards to what is going on in Syria and the possible Anglo-American-Zionist-Turco-Wahhabist attempts at remaking the Middle East, I'm surprised that this incident even has people in Turkey posting misinformation about what is happening in Syria and half of Turkey's population oppose the US plans to bomb Syria. Now I also realize that not all the Turks actually have any love for the West, so why do they still have such a schizophrenic mindset? One minute, the Turks are buddies with the Anglo-American-Zionist cabal and the next, they are opposing them.

    Yes, the Turks have no love for the West, but does their deranged Pan-Turkic project still pose a threat, even with the Anglo-American-Zionist cabal out of the picture?

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  11. The problem with the USA armed forces is that is a thoroughly judaized enclave. it's leadership is zionized indoctrinated, its leaders infected with the judaized virus. Take a look at their chieftains. What was schrtzkopf in the first Itaqui war ? A Hebrew, what was the consummate liar, hybrid 5 star robot Powell, another Jew, and what about the famous Wesley Clarke, another one of the chosen race. And so the names go on ad infinitum. The armed forces are there to obey orders, not to question political decisions. They are like technicians , a job needs to be done, here are the tools , do it. They now have another hybrid as President, who does not command neither respect nor awe, a scarecrow of a figure head whose more like a ventriloquist's doll gesticulating and hollering a conversation from the stomach of his owner, the Sanhedrin establishment that rules and runs the USA. Americans are under a systematic system of mind control. It's dreary, but that is how it is. They have become the Rottweiler, a dog of war, for Israely designs and geo strategies. The Yanks will and want to devastate Syria , remember the end goal of Israely strategy is to have the entire neighborhood of the ME, ridden with war, civil strife, mayhem, instability and quartered into small sectarian domains. This state of affairs means peace and tranquility for them. The main reason why tomahawk missiles have not been launched against Bashir is their fear of possible retaliation. The Israelis will never go to war themselves unless absolutely certain that the odds are heavily invested in their favor and that there will not be any retaliation. Saddam, was smashed because he was impotent and had no weapons to harm Israel, save for a few flying dustbins ( scud missiles) , Gaddaffi had nothing to hit back, and moreover all his fortune was stashed in Jewish controlled bank vaults. With Bashir things are not that simple for the Israelis. Unlike Saddam, and Gadaffi, who ran; Bashir will stand his ground and fight to the end, and besides he can if all is lost make a fire ball of the ME and in the process immolate himself in it. In this scenario Israel may not escape unscathed. This is not a winning formula for the AmericoIsraely axis.

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  12. use online translator for this insightful article

    "Historical disgrace: the U.S. military mutiny forced Obama to retreat"

    http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2013/09/01/historische-blamage-meuterei-der-us-militaers-zwang-obama-zum-rueckzug/

    AJ

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  13. And it's not only the US news media: From political mercenaries in Washington to "Bible Belt" nutjobs to television pundits, like a desperate yet well coordinated chorus of demonic voices, they have been calling for bloodshed in the name of 'truth, justice and the American way'.

    I can't think of a more rabidly hateful, deluded, or sheepelike group of people that the "born-again" Christian-Zionist nutjobs of America. In a hypothetical war of turkey against an Orthodox Christian nation, the corrupt born-again leadership would gladly sell out to their globalist- jew masters and talk nonsensically about how it is their followers duty as "Christians" to do "God's work" and protect the jewish state in the "holy land" by defeating the enemy of israel's muslim ally. And the brain-dead Americans of the Midwest would swallow it all up. The racket the jews have set up in the west is pretty incredible... Anyone interested should like up the "Scofield Reference Bible" and "Dispensationalism".

    ***

    I wonder what role, if any, yakhont anti-ship missiles and S-300 anti-aircraft weapons will play in the upcoming events. I wonder if Hezbollah will take any actions against the zionist (non)entity.

    ***

    Another signatory, Reuel Marc Gerecht, who promoted the Iraq war at AEI and is now based at FDD, called for a “devastating” attack targeting “elite military units, aircraft, armor and artillery; all weapons-depots; the myriad organizations of the secret police; the ruling elite’s residences; and other critical Alawite infrastructure” in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday.

    Even for something published in the jew york times, this open call for ethnic cleansing in Syria is a particularly vile and evil statement. Another gem from gerecht:

    "The Iranians will certainly respond with terrorism. That's one of the reasons [they] want to have nuclear weaponry anyway, is because they have terrorism in their DNA. I would expect them to try to cause trouble in Iraq."


    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/showdown/themes/irannext.html#gerecht

    Gee, I wonder why the ACLU, ADL, anti-"racist" mainstream media and treyvon_martin-protester-types didn't chew gerecht out?

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  14. Arevordi, good job once again my friend. What do you think about England pulling out? You didn't even mention this.

    Arto #1

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  15. Sarkis,

    Thank you for your contribution.


    AJ,

    Very interesting timing with your post. I was just discussing a related topic with Skhara.

    Jerriko,

    Turkey is torn between east and west. East being its Asiatic/Islamic heritage. The west being its desire to move away from its Asiatic/Islam heritage. Therefore, you guessed right my Filipino friend, Turkey, as a nation, is indeed schizophrenic. We see this in their politics. But regardless of their eastern or western bent, Turkey, as a nation, is a warmongering/bloodthirsty entity. And being that Turkish officials realize that their nation is situated on property that does not belong to them, they will always be aggressive in their political approach.

    Arto #1

    I didn't mention anything about London pulling out because it is just a political show for public consumption. In my opinion, the no vote by their parliament was orchestrated by the authorities. However, don't for one minute think that London is not militarily involved against Syria. It's just that they are afraid - and they cant financially afford - being the spearhead of any military operation. Therefore, military show against Syria will be put on by Zionist-US interests, and all the rest of the riff-raff (i.e. England, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar) will provide support...

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  16. Skhara, this latest news is evidence that what you were praying for is coming true: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/02/syria-russia-spy-ship-us-military

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  17. Thanks for your answer Arevordi and AJs article certainly was in fact very on point.

    On Russia-Syria:
    The way I see it, is Russia simply cannot allow a defeat to her interests in Syria. The Caucasus in not Russia's bishop, the Caucasus is a rook, Syria is a knight. If Moscow loses that knight, the advantage of the other "pole" will be decisive. And just like in chess, it would take many more moves before checkmate is delivered, it nonetheless is decisive. Russia hoping for a tactical blunder of the other side after the loss of Syria that would allow them to equalize, would just be that - hoping.

    What happens if the secular regime and the secular military of Syria is destroyed? Next Lebanon and Iraq, followed by extreme pressure and ultimate collapse of Iran leaving Russia to fight for her life in the Caucasus? And yes, the jihadists will need conflict to continue and the precedent has been set that these jihadists will be back in the Caucasus and Russia may face this same exact scenario that Syria is facing today. The flocking of jihadist hoards into the Caucasus. A victory in Syria on the other hand, will deal a devastating blow to the forces of the global jihad and will remove a weaponized tool of the the other pole to destroy nations.

    We don't know just what is going on behind closed doors. A lot of people get upset over Russia not threatening America with nuclear weapons. There are very obvious political reasons why all official statements from Russia will be measured and "rational". Nonetheless, it doesn't mean that Russia is not preparing a response. After all, what are Russian delegations discussing with Hezbollah and with Iran? We will not know for sure.

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  18. Thanks Arevordi,

    The attacks seems stalled for now. Being boxed in makes perfect sense to me. They are desperate which makes them look weak. I hope Iranian and Russians are giving Syria good arms and military intel. Let's see if uncle Sam will come away with a big bloody nose from this. Just imagine the joy that would send around the world.

    Arto #1

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  19. ‘I did not join for this’: US military men speak out against Syria strike: http://rt.com/usa/us-against-syria-strike-313/

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  20. BTW,
    That's a good article about the Alawites. The Alawites have proved themselves to be the superior race in Syria. :)

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  21. Time is not ripe yet for a cataclysm. The present scenario can be prolonged and extended for a few more years. After all the Israelis goals are being met according to their strategies. Turmoil, mayhem, havoc, wars, social political unrest , truncated nations, instability ad infinitum, this is the recipe for Israelis to live in peace. Why should they disturb the status quo ? Egypt is burning, Iraq is moribund, Syria is in civil strife, ideal scenario for Israel. War is not coming yet. There may be a few bloody and brutal skirmishes her and there to test weaponry and new technologies of warfare, but war , no not yet anyway. The status quo will remain. The Saudis can keep bleeding their bank reserves by funding the terror groups, it is good business all around for the western hegemons..

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  22. Very analytical article on the Syrian affair. ironic that pages such as GoldenJackass have far more superior analysis when compared to non-Golden jackasses such as reuters, AP, CNN, Spiegel and co.

    Read and enjoy :)

    Syria, Pipeline Politics, OPEC & the USDollar
    http://news.goldseek.com/GoldenJackass/1377892800.php

    AJ


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  23. Arevordi, thank you for the compliment, and thank you for taking the time to put together your insightful analysis and informative collection of articles. I did not know you had experience with the US Military... It is hard for me to determine if previous generations were or were not as dumbed-down and/or indoctrinated as today, but as a whole I see my generation as hopeless. And sadly this applies to a majority across all ethnic lines in America, whether pure German or Armenian or other European. Perhaps it's an L.A. thing, but "White guilt" and a "duty to help {Serbs/Belarusians/Russian/Libyans/Georgians/Syrians/color revolutionaries/arab springers/ect.} gain freedom and democracy" seems to be prevalent among almost all of the university and graduate school Americans I have met.. Perhaps better access to "alternate media" combined with deteriorating living standards will force more people to reassess their positions. I doubt it though.
    **
    Skhara, I was going to post something very similar to what you wrote. Basically while it would be premature for Russia to declare an open war with the west over Syria, at this point it is obvious that the west is determined to topple Syria and Iran. If the west succeeds then the Russians will find themselves on the defensive in the South Caucasus. A bad development on the southern front would place Armenia and Russia in a very tough situation, and this causes me to worry greatly about Armenia's security. Apart from an emboldened azerbaijan, I'd hate to see Armenia's demographics take a further hit if socio-economic factors and living standards deteriorated as a consequence.
    ***
    AJ I enjoyed reading the German language article you posted, as well as the last post you made on the previous blog entry about Russia stepping up its soft power and PR in Armenia. Except for your sympathetic views on the EU (which I view as mortally dangerous for Armenia to even flirt with), I enjoy reading your posts here. About the German article, some military dissent in the US Army is an interesting development, but I feel like soldiers will do what they are told and officers and generals can be subject to political pressure and/or blackmail. Arevordi had posted this video called "Soldiers of Conscience", and it covers certain aspects of how soldiers are deliberately trained to kill reflexively, rather than to think first before shooting. It's worth watching for the personal insight you get on how the Army trains soldiers to behave on the battlefield. They systematically weed out sympathy for the declared enemy with the aim of minimizing dissent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEruXV0G_0Q

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  24. Excellent video footage of joint Armenian and Russian Army exercise in Armenia drilling how to repel an enemy (nato-turkey-israeli backed azerbaijani) invasion of Armenia.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRUzdPLA9ig

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  25. CONGRATULATIONS AREVORDI!

    46 ingiyslhttp://www.rferl.org/content/armenia-customs-union/25094560.html

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  26. I would tend to agree with Arevordi in regards to the British vote. England cast herself and remains petrified in the role of "Perfidious Albion". As the war is ordered by Zion remains to be seen for how long this highly infested by zionism country could resist. In USA the Congress is ordered to vote for the strike because by doing so they would protect Israel. Indeed this is the view not only of the "dispensationalist" nutjobs but it is the all pervasive view of Protestantism.
    And we should not loose from sight the repeated indications that this strike is just the prelude for the great wet dream of the Zio-Khazars to re-conquer Russia and the good times of the GPU, NKVD, Ceka, be brought back (to teach a lesson to the horrible anti-Semites that Russians are).
    Romanian Anonymus

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  27. Anonymous (September 3, 2013 at 8:38 PM)

    Thank you for the good news. I knew President Sargsyan would do the right thing. I can sleep a little better tonight knowing that rational minds are in control in our homeland. But do not make the mistake of thinking that the struggle between Russia and West is over. Western operatives in Armenia are deeply entrenched and Western powers continue to wield leverage over the country. Nevertheless, this is a very good step.

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  28. Congratulations Armenia, and well played Presidents Sargsyan and Putin! Let's see how they begin smearing Armenia and Sargsyan in the controlled press. Perhaps "Freedom House" will rank Armenia below Zimbabwe.

    In response to the exploited criticisms of Russia's arms sales to azerbaijan, this press release by Armenia today:

    http://www.gov.am/en/news/item/6878/

    "During the last three years, we acquired as much armament as over the past two decades." -Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

    Of course those weapons were received by Armenia, practically free, from Russia. And remember that the last three years the Armenian economy has still been recovering due to the global economic disturbance caused by America's economic fuck-up in 2008, so there was no other way Armenia could have acquired such a quantity of weapons without Moscow's support.By comparison, not even turkey gives free weapons to azerbaijan.

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  29. @Sarkis

    You are mistaken if you think I have special sympathy about EU membership.

    My opinion is that Europe and Russia are destined towards further integration due to geographic reality with over 3000 km of shared border.

    Europe desperately needs Russian (energy), and Russia needs EU for modernization among other things. So further integration between the two is only logical and beneficial to both.

    Eurozone crisis promotes Russia-EU economic integration
    http://rbth.ru/international/2013/01/27/eurozone_crisis_promotes_russia-eu_economic_integration_22245.html

    EU - Russia trade at record high in 2012
    http://www.neurope.eu/article/eu-russia-trade-record-high-2012


    My opinion so far is that none of Yerevan's moves were done without the Kremlin's approval. I even think the diplomatic maneuvers are applied according to Moscow's instructions.

    I view the EU as a market, one that Armenia can potentially benefit from, but in no way jeopardize our strategic relation with Russia.
    I advocate complementary policy whenever possible just as the Armenian government does likewise.

    I think there is potential for Europe to break away from the Anglo American + Zionist yoke, this could happen with the help of Russia (i.e. to enhance relations, trade, interdependence, synchronize foreign policies for a stronger position in UN bodies etc.) this could take time, but what binds Europe and Russia together is much greater than what binds it to the US in my humble opinion.

    PS: I still think Armenia will go forward with signing the free trade agreement with EU. Game is not over, far from it, it's only the beginning.

    Just a few words from Russo-German analyst Alexander Krylov. Please read carefully

    "Now, the 'goodbye Russia' theme has been replaced with a 'goodbye Eurointegration' one in Armenian media," the expert said, however, advising against rash conclusions.

    The expert believes that Armenia will implement a complementary policy, with the latter quite admissible to Moscow, "although it’s clear that coordination of the interests of the EU and Russia, as well as the Customs Union and the EurAsEC won’t be an easy task.”

    “At the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit, Armenian leadership will need to persuade our Western partners that the complementary policy won’t harm their interests.

    http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/169525/

    The situation at hand demands critical analysis, and less emotional impulses.

    PS: Arevordi can testify that for quite long time I was advancing the argument that Armenia will seek membership of both blocks, even before the official government adopted and-and terminology. I think the same position holds today. Expect some statements in the coming days directed towards EU that we still want to have relations with you.

    AJ

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  30. Glad that our President did the right thing.
    Back to the subject of a possible aggression against Syria. Apart from the Russian "Intelligence" ship recently deployed to the Mediterranean, here are the other combat vessels that are currently there:
    Destroyer Admiral Panteleyev.
    Frigate Neustrashimy.
    Landing ships Alexander Shabalin, Peresvet and Admiral Nebelskoy.
    Resupply tanker Elnya.
    Tug MB-304.
    Repair ship MP-138

    In addition, the following warships are on their way to the Mediterranean:
    Cruiser Moskva (Coming from the Atlantic.
    Destroyer Smetlivy (Coming from the Black Sea.
    Landing ships Novocherkask,Minsk and Priazov.
    Resupply tanker Ivan Bubnov.
    Tug Yevgeny Khorov.
    It is also possible that the destroyer Admiral Kulakov which is escorting the cruiser Moskva may be diverted to the hotspot too together with the tanker Sergey Osipov.
    There are no information about possible Russian submarines.

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  31. The area has become a veritable powder keg. The Israely and their bitches of war ( USA ,EU ) need to tread warily. A nuclear Armageddon in the area would spell doom for Israely, if not from direct hits , from nuclear fallout. The humanitarian calamity would surpass anything witnessed so far. Tidal waves of refugees would smash toward the Mediterranean rim. The American psicopaths, egged on by the nest of troglodyte in the bandid state and supported by the judaized EU , will wreak havoc with the expansionist strategies and wars. It all sounds so simple and hollywoodesque, the Americans will drop a few bombs to punish Assad, not to harm him or depose him, just to teach him a lesson, and that will be it. Assada will genuflect servilely and tail between his legs withdraw into a corner all will be fine. This is a play station war game. It is obvious that the end kampf of this is the Zionist drive to conquer and dominate the east, from the Mediterranean to the Caspian. This is a war for the chosen race, directed and conducted by the chosen tribe. However they are no ingenue , if their intelligence services have gauged the potential response of the combatants and fear of retaliation as a high probability then the chances are they will not move to attack. The Israely state can not afford to sustain any kind of damages, losses, and for the first time it could be that they are too close to the front lines to escape unscathed. Watch turkey. Any squaring off with turkey means a direct confrontation with a nato member, hence potential intervention of Nato. Turkey might enter the fray to pre empt the establishment of a Kurdish entity . The establishment of a Kurdish entity in what was former western Armenia will potentially create another theater of conflict. After this war, if there is one now, the area would become fractured and new territorial domains created. The map of the ME would be redrawn .

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  32. as per my expectation, the message came earlier than i expected

    Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's administration says it still hopes to initiate a key political and free trade agreement with the European Union this year.
    http://www.rferl.org/content/armenia-customs-union-eu--association-agreement/25095833.html

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  33. Arevordi, sorry for being off topic but I also wanted to congratulate you on Sargsyan's acceptance of Russia's Eurasian Union.

    Long time reader first time commenter

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  34. We hear that at the G20 Summit Putin will be taken to task over "gay rights". The avocats of GLBT bend over backwards to invoke the homosexuality of Tchaikovsky. Putin responded alluding to an old Soviet joke which in original went like this: "At Radio Yerevan a listener asked whether Tchaikovsky was homosexual. Yes, he was but it is not the only reason we like him". Actually Putin said that Russians loved Tchaikovsky even though he was said to have been homo.
    Romanian Anonymus

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  35. AJ,

    As I said before, I agree with you that 'theoretically' or 'ideally' Yerevan should be dealing with both economic zones. And I agree with you that that is exactly what Yerevan had been trying to do in recent years. What I was trying to explain to you, however, is that these kinds of matters are profoundly political. What I was trying to tell you is that you were not taking into account the geopolitics behind it all. It was obvious that a big brother like Russia would have problems with a little nation under its umbrella seeking closer cooperation with the EU. It was obvious that an overgrown and sick monster like the EU would have problems with Armenia not totally submitting itself to them...

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  36. Armenia made the right decision by joining the Customs Union.

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  37. Hi all, instead of leaving self congratulatory messages here, please leave pro Armenia, Russia, and EAU comments on western outlets like rfe/rl, armenianow, and eurasiaoutlook.

    Below are links to relevent articles.

    http://carnegie.ru/eurasiaoutlook/?fa=52841

    http://armenianow.com/society/48240/customs_union_european_union_bagrat_asatryan

    http://armenianow.com/news/48235/armenia_european_union_customs_union_aharon_adibekyan


    The info war against Armenia has spiked again, please do your part to counter it.

    LG

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  38. Putin has declared that Russia has a plan for a response, but that its too early to talk about it. Interesting.

    Russian navy has said that the surface warships and submarines (undisclosed), are up to all challenges and tasks in the eastern Mediterranean. Interesting.

    The missile cruiser Moskva is sailing to the Mediterranean. Interesting.

    Witnesses in Lebanon have said that Hezbollah is mobilizing. Interesting.

    It looks to me, that the zionist occupied Washington still believes there will be no hit back.

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  39. Right from the start it was obvious that Armenia was going to choose the customs union. The govt. took its time the evaluate the other proposals on the table, the EU proposal.. This was really an honest appraisal of the situation and the choices to be made. The EU can not offer Armenia anything more that Armenia can not find in her relations with Russia. The EU can not provide national security conditions for Armenia, that argument alone is to devalue and scupper any chances the EU proposal had for winning Armenia's support. Trade with the EU can be carried on as before. In political terms the EU ,s courting of Armenia to make her a EU protectorate is understandable, there are no tangible benefits from turning our back to our traditional and historical ties and transform Armenia into a EU theme park. The EU option was generated on a purely emotional basis, disregarding other consideration of visceral importance for the national interests. Critics for the govt. decision ranged from spurious accounts of economic prosperity to Russian bullying of Armenia. In the final analysis the decision for the customs union was in our best national interests.

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  40. Russia “will help Syria” in the event of a military strike, Putin stressed as he responded to a reporter’s question at the summit.


    http://rt.com/news/putin-g20-syria-meeting-511/


    LG

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  41. Arevordi,
    What I always am emphasizing on, is that Armenia's multi-vector double integration policy is not originating from Armenia but it is pushed from these two blocks themselves, Armenia is just playing along this game. That is the reason why both, Russia and EU both have blessed Serge Sargysyan's election. For Armenia this is a very golden opportunity that comes very rarely once in a millenia, we just have to be smart and exploit this development.

    Ofcourse there are forces working against this integration, but the main drivers (economic) have an interest to start integration of EU with Russia and are eager to find a bridge connecting these two blocks.

    Please consider reading this analysis from Levon Melik-Shakhnazaryan, "Armenia breaks down the stereotypes"
    http://voskanapat.info/?p=3363
    "Armenia can serve as a model, where the positions of the EU and the Customs Union can be drawn together and combined."
    If logically develop further the idea of G. Harutyunyan, we should admit that for the EU and for the Customs Union, with the Eurasian Union, Armenia could also be interesting as a bridge for these structures.
    And the bridge indispensable to alleviate possible confrontation and preserving interoperability.
    AJ

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  42. The photo below shows the fleets of Russia and those of the aggressor navies deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean as of the 6th of September 2013.
    Note that the cruiser Moskva has not arrived yet.

    http://i.imgur.com/8dcb00X.jpg

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  43. Aj,

    Again, you are not taking into account the politics behind it all.

    Moscow knew very well that despite what happened Yerevan would be going nowhere. The EU was naively hoping that with a lot of empty promises and perhaps some money under the table, Yerevan would be convinced to divorce Moscow. This hope of theirs was essentially why they tolerated the Sargsyan administration.

    A proven grossmeister of politics, Sargsyan was able to play them brilliantly. By leading them on for several years, Sargsyan was able to neutralize them during a time when he was most vulnerable - specifically during the months leading up to the presidential elections. Now that it's quite obvious that Sargsyan played them like a cheep fiddle, EU officials will earnestly begin their propaganda assault against Sargsyan... BUT IT'S TOO FUCKING LATE NOW.

    The only thing that surprised me in this matter, however, was the timing. I did not think Sargsyan would make his decision this early. I personally think the early annunciation by Sargsyan was because of the volatile geopolitical climate in the region. As I have pointed out, that region of the world is a volatile powder keg as a result of Western aggression against Syria and Iran. With the world thus on the brink of a world war, nations are taking sides and setting red lines. Although Yerevan would eventually join the Moscow-led Eurasian Union, I personally think that the early decision was due to pressure from Moscow because of the looming crisis in the region.

    Again, regardless of what Armenia wanted, the EU wanted Armenia without Russia and Russia wanted Armenia without the EU. This is what you need to grasp. Again, Armenia had NO CHOICE in the matter. This was, from the start, an arranged marriage between Moscow and Yerevan. Although arranged, I am however very happy about the partner in question.

    Let's please end this discussion. Official Yerevan has made a choice and it happens to be not only the right one but the only one.

    God bless Russia. God bless Armenia. God help protect Russo-Armenian relations from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Arevordi, you said:


    "If things escalate out of control and Bashar Assad's government is in danger of falling, at the very least, I would like to see Russian amphibious forces occupy Syria's Russia-friendly Alawite populated territories on Mediterranean coast. This would not only ensure the survival of Syria's Alawite and Christian populations (including Armenians) by securing territory where they can flee to, it would also ensure the preservation of a pro-Russian bastion within Syria - as well as protect Russia's naval facility at Tartus. "If Bashar Assad's government falls, Syria's Alewite population will be in danger of a genocide. Moscow has the moral obligation and legal justification to intervene in Syria. If Bashar Assad's government is in danger of falling, Moscow should react by sending troops to occupy Syria's Alewite populated territories on Syria's Mediterranean coast."

    Excellent suggestion. I totally agree with you my friend. You should send this in a letter to the Russian embassy wherever you live.

    Long time reader

    ReplyDelete
  45. Arevordi mentioned an "emotional perspective" in his first response to me. I will admit, that there is definitely an emotional perspective impacting me personally.

    This week I've been reading about the rats attacking the ancient city of Maaloula. A city that is a world heritage site and where people still learn and speak the Aramaic language.

    Here is a bit on this town:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxXTpieMFN0
    Here is a piece that was made before the crisis:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy38UQ9EQ6o
    And now here is what Obama's rat vermin are doing in this town now:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbHWMGzzsZM

    ReplyDelete
  46. Straight from a Zio-source:

    "AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action"
    http://www.haaretz.com/1.545661

    You guys should also watch Syriangirl Partisan's videos. She predicted the chemical weapons false flag attack a year ago.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbMdll58lis
    (Check the date)

    ReplyDelete
  47. go Obama is a marshmallow puppet manipulated by the Sanhedrin Kabbalah in Washington. The man is Zion black doll, a ventriloquists doll which is triggered i to bark, threaten, bluster and intimidate all and sundry. The chosen race can only launch an attack if sufficient guarantees about her security are cast in iron. The American Rottweiler of the Israelis have not the stomach for a grinding struggle of unforeseen consequences. What they are excellent at performing is cake walk scenarios like Serbia, Bosnia, Iraq, Lybia. In the syrian instance it appears probable that Russia might be a bastion of support fro Syria. If that is the case the threat of retaliation is very high. The barking will continue, the arming of the rebels by the Arab Jews of the house of Saud will escalate, and they will bank on weakening Bashar's operational base. Some sort of intervention sorties will be carried out by the American zionis brigands, weapons have to be tested. We hear about Syrias impregnable air defenses, this is propaganda and supposed to act as a deterrent. To make an assessment a real proof of concept is necessary in real battle conditions. Therefore we might expect flying missiles and the technology to neutralize them to be put to the test. No matter what happens, the struggle for influence in the region will continue, The Israelis attacked Syria twice in the last three months. These attacks were inconclusive to draw any lessons other than the fact that Syria did not respond .

    ReplyDelete
  48. Suddenly, all of Rome is embedded in posters saying "I believe in Putin"

    http://i.imgur.com/p6aZNLk.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/Y035cD1.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/1yydTA9.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thanks Zoravar.

    I liked all the pictures, especially the ones in Rome. I have already incorporated two of them in my commentary.

    The pictures are very symbolic of the times we are living in. And they are also symbolic of the paramount importance of the rise of Russia. Humanity desperately needs a multipolar political world.

    Any news from the military front? Your thoughts/comments would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Below I am posting a copy of an email between Arevordi and I:

    Sarkis said:

    http://www.infowars.com/the-west-dethroned/

    "The “New American Century” proclaimed by the neoconservatives came to an abrupt end on September 6 at the G20 meeting in Russia"

    The above quote reminded me of the several times Arevordi mentioned Vladimir Putin's 2008 speech in Munich and how that was a turning point.

    The article sums up some very good points, except it does not mention that most Americans are still comfortable enough (although that comfort is slowly disappearing) and/or not educated enough to effect change. Also, he blames obama, but the whole system from education to business to the parties and media and so many other factors are corrupt beyond redemption.

    Arevordi stated:

    "My comments about Putin's speech in Munich had more to do with Russia's ascension as a world power and the birth of a multipolar world. But, in the big picture, Russia's ascension and a multipolar world does mean the decline of the political West..."

    ReplyDelete
  51. The unexpected backlash imperial officials in Washington are getting from their subjects is unprecedented. The popular revolt against Washington's imperial agenda is evidence that Joe "sixpack" on Main Street may be slowly waking up from his pop-culture induced slumber.

    Nevertheless, the empire will pursue its imperial interests regardless of the whims of its subjects. However, if in pursuit of its interests the Anglo-American-Zionist global order is dealt a major counter blow in the Middle East, the American empire will begin to slowly crumble.

    Realizing that Jews will be singled out once the American sheeple wake up, many Jews today, including some influential ones, have been expressing antiwar sentiments. I personally think this is an instinctual reaction by them. Being that they act as parasites in the human ecology, they have a highly refined survival sense. Of course I'm not referring to the large numbers of rabid, Zionist ones in the Jewish-American community that are enthusiastically taking this opportunity to once again lead the US down the path of yet another war for Israel.

    Anyway, in the truest sense of the word, the US is the reincarnation of ancient Rome. More and more Americans are now asking: "Have we become Rome?" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPpYXwliKVY

    And more evidence that many smart Americans are abandoning their now sinking ship - http://money.msn.com/now/post--more-americans-are-renouncing-their-citizenship

    ReplyDelete
  52. To all,

    I have revised and updated the blog commentary. Please reread it, and post a link to it in any appropriate website and discussion board you happen to visit.

    We need to do our part, how ever small, to help win the information war. Use their tools - the English language, social media and the internet - to help in the fight against them.

    Consequences of the Battle for Damascus will impact far beyond Syria's national borders. Syria is the battlefield that will determine the future of the region of the world where Armenia is located.

    Therefore, this is also an Armenian fight.

    ReplyDelete
  53. McCain, the Yankee predator, war mongrel and jewish lackey claims that Russia will do nothing if the Americans attack Syria. If Americo-Israely intelligence has assessed and evaluated potential Russian reaction to an attack as non involvement, it poses a serious question as to Russia's attitude. The only deterrence for the warmonger Americans is probable Russian intervention. The Russian now are calling the crypto Jew Kerry bluff about handing over Assad'chemical arsenal. This is easier than said than done. The logistics of carrying out such a project is challenging. Assad is supposed to hand over his chemical arsenal to prevent being bombed, the terrorist groups fighting Assad will keep theirs intact. This farcical situation really exposes how ridiculous politicians are. Politicians are nothing but mercenary whores .A McCain, a Kerry are irresponsible reckless jackasses, and they occupy key positions in policy making decisions. Syria, alone, can not fend off an American continual assault longer than a week. Also Syrian claims about hitting back are subject to be tested. Assad will be corralled to fighting an external assault and an internal terrorist subversion. An Americano-Israely-Turkish attack on Assad will significantly degrade his armies capacity to fight the terrorist ensconced inside Syria.

    ReplyDelete
  54. http://www.tomatobubble.com/id323.html

    The link above contains links to nine articles from mainstream American, British and israeli media sources about American jews as well as israeli officials leading the movement to force the US to attack both Syria and Iran.

    HAARETZ (Israel)

    March 5, 2012
    Netanyahu's conspiracy to drag the U.S. to war
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/netanyahu-s-conspiracy-to-drag-the-u-s-to-war-1.416523




    THE HUFFINGTON POST (US)

    September, 2012
    Iran War: What Is AIPAC Planning?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/aipac-iran_b_1265984.html

    NEWSWEEK / DAILY BEAST (US)

    September 3, 2013
    AIPAC in Full Court Press on Syria



    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/03/aipac-in-full-court-press-on-syria.html




    POLITICO (US)

    September 5, 2013
    Netanyahu's conspiracy to drag the U.S. to war



    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/aipac-syria-96344.html


    THE JERUSALEM POST (Israel)

    September 5, 2013
    Report: AIPAC to mount major lobbying blitz for Obama's Syria strike plan



    http://www.jpost.com/International/Report-AIPAC-to-mount-major-lobbying-blitz-for-Obamas-Syria-strike-plan-325381



    THE GUARDIAN (Britain)

    September 6, 2013

    US Jewish leaders petition Congress to authorize Syria Strike



    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/06/jewish-leaders-petition-congress-syria





    HAARETZ (Israel)

    September 7, 2013

    AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action



    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.545661



    YNET News (Israel)

    September 6, 2013
    AIPAC to lobby Congress for Syria strike


    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4426658,00.html




    JERUSALEM POST (Israel)

    September 10, 2013
    Pro-Israel groups in United States scramble to save Syria strike resolution


    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Pro-Israel-groups-in-United-States-scramble-to-save-Syria-strike-resolution-325681

    ReplyDelete
  55. RT - The Truthseeker: 9/11 & Operation Gladio (E23)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vka7Da6e9LY

    ReplyDelete
  56. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/putin-didnt-save-obama-he-beat-him_753730.html


    Ignore the idiot's ramblings but do consider his main thesis, that Russia is aiming to oust the US/West from the ME or at least carve a zone of influence for the long haul.


    LG

    ReplyDelete
  57. LG that weeklystandard article was twisted. My "favorite" part was:

    What good are American aircraft carriers if you don’t have the will to use them? Putin will use anything he has to win, while Obama is looking for a reason not to fire a few cruise missiles into the Syrian desert.

    The leaders in Washington and in the media-industry-education-society are truly insane war mongers. The article glosses over the prospect of an Alawite Gencodie and massive destruction cruise missiles would cause for Syrian civilians. War crimes are business as usual for the imperial west.

    ReplyDelete
  58. The article in the link below is twisted and written in the standard anti-Armenian style typical of Diasporan "Armenian" press. Still, it's a good story.

    http://asbarez.com/113768/still-no-case-for-beaten-armenian-activists/

    Too bad these scum were not killed. Armenia is in no position to tolerate the existence of the kinds of threats to national security these types pose.

    ReplyDelete

  59. I believe this article. The US dropped war talk a little too quickly and suddenly and Putin seems to be dictating terms now. And even McCain is talking about a "Russian initiative".
    ------
    http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=110043&cid=31&fromval=1&frid=31&seccatid=71&s1=1

    A well informed diplomatic source told As-Safir newspaper that “the US war on Syria had started and ended the moment those two ballistic missiles were fired, leaving inconsistent information, as Israel denied and Russia confirmed, until an Israeli statement was issued indicating they were fired in the context of an Israeli-US joint drill and fell in the sea, and that they were not related to the Syrian crisis.”

    The source further told the Lebanese daily that “the US forces fired these two rockets from a NATO base in Spain, and were instantly detected by the Russian radars and confronted by the Russian defense systems, so one of them exploded in the airspace and the second one diverted towards the sea.”

    In this context, the source pointed out that “the statement issued by the Russian Defense Ministry, which stated the detection of two ballistic missiles fired towards the Middle East, intended to neglect two points: the first was the location from which the two rockets were fired, and the second was their downing. Why? Because the moment the full military operation was launched, Head of the Russian Intelligence Service contacted the US intelligence and informed it that “hitting Damascus means hitting Moscow, and we have removed the term “downed the two missiles” from the statement to preserve the bilateral relations and to avoid escalation. Therefore, you must immediately reconsider your policies, approaches and intentions on the Syrian crisis, as you must be certain that you cannot eliminate our presence in the Mediterranean.”

    “This unannounced direct confrontation between Moscow and Washington increased the Obama Administration’s confusion and certainty that the Russian side was ready to move until the end with the Syrian cause, and that the US did not have a way out of its impasse except through a Russian initiative which would save America’s face…” he added.

    From this point, the diplomatic source clarified that “in order to avoid further US confusion, and after Israel denied knowing anything about the rocket firing in its first statement, which is the truth, Washington demanded Tel Aviv to adopt the rocket firing to save its face in front of the International Community, especially since these two rockets were the beginning of the US aggression on Syria and the announcement of the beginning of military operations, after which US President Barack Obama was supposed to go to the G20 Summit in Russia to negotiate the destiny of Syrian President Bashr Al-Assad. However, he went to find a way out of the impasse he’s in.”

    The source further indicated that “after the US-Russia rocket confrontation, Moscow intended to increase its number of military experts in Russia, and added to its military units and destroyers to enhance its military presence in the Mediterranean. It also set a time for announcing about its initiative on stopping the aggression on Syria after the G20 Summit, after drawing a side scene on the sidelines of the summit which was followed by two successive visits for Iranian Foreign Minister, Hussein Amir Abdul Lahyan, and Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Moallem, in which a way out was agreed on with the Russian side, and it included a Syrian announcement on approving the Russian initiative regarding putting Syrian chemical weapons under international supervision and preparing Syria for joining the non-proliferation treaty.

    Finally, the source pointed out that “One of the first results of the US-Russian military confrontation was the British House of Commons’ rejection to participate in a war on Syria. This was followed by European stances, most significantly, the German stance announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel."

    ReplyDelete
  60. No matter how the pot is stirred, the Judaic kernel of advisors who have control and execution of USA policies can not embark on war adventures if the slightest risk exists of Israel becoming a collateral damage . From now onward it seems that the war mongers are likely to be resisted and under risk of retaliation. We ought to consider that in previous engagements, the incidents were cake walks for USA, they blasted, bombed and flattened countries without the slightest disturbance and concurrent risks to Israel. Now it is different, the Israelites will not be allowed to sit comfortably in their couches and watch tv serials of another nation being overrun, destroyed. On single nuclear strike is sufficient to turn the the ME into a nuclear devastated zone, the radioactive fall out will impact all nations in the area, including the southern Mediterranean rim. For the American,EU, Israelis what they want is conflict scenarios of a matinee version a la Serbia, Afganistan,Iraq, Lybia, . The moment we speak of potential retaliation and tangible risks to Israel, then the script for a war has to be re written. For the moment the American strikes have been stalled. The internal war against Bashar will continue, destabilization, chaos, warfare in nations surrounding Israel is the prescriptive recipe and success formula for their geostrategic stakes.

    ReplyDelete
  61. American war crimes with chemical weapons in Iraq

    Fallujah - The Hidden Massacre

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yalyCk4kK-8

    This 30 minute documentary is difficult to watch because of the gore. Pay special attention to the comments and the jackass americans defending this embarrassment of a nation.

    The Syrian population, whether Alawi, Sunni or Christian should be thankful Russia is preventing them from sharing this fate.

    ReplyDelete
  62. When deals are made there must be a price to pay, the weaker side has to pay it.
    Russia achieved significant strategic advances in the last few months
    - Boosted its Naval presence in Mediterranean
    - achieved air superiority over Syria, Lebanon and Israel and partly Turkey through its naval presence
    - signed military-technical agreement with Fiji of which hundreds of troops are stationed in the golan where can be found a UN radar
    - forced Israel to sell its excess Gas to gazprom
    - deployed Iskander-M missiles in Armenia to keep away NATO patriot bases in Turkey (at 400 km), S-400 or even S-500 missiles to follow soon
    - added Armenia's membership to the Eurasian Union, boosting the chances for realization by 2015, Georgia to follow next
    - stopped the US/French strike on Syria
    The Russian nuclear arsenal focuses on Israel, that's why NATO installed the anti ballistic missile radar system in Turkey, and here's how Putin reacts when he's told the radar is targeted toward Iranian rockets, not Russia
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQg2vMl34KI
    Turkey lies directly on the path of potential Russian balistic missiles towards Israel.
    So what did the Israeli driven US government have to pay? a sacrifice must be made.
    Can be either Turkey or Saudi Arabia, if the price was heavy, then both will go to the slaughter hause. If was a low price, Turkey is good candidate
    The reasons
    - Saudi has oil, therefore Germany will give hundreds of Leopard tanks to keep its population in check, Israel is not voicing concern. Tank deal is good for oil supply stability and for German economy. Last thing Israel needs is destability in Saudi Arabia that may engulf Jordan and spill over Israel. Foreign fighters in Jordan-Syria border will be slaughtered by SAA. NATO will make sure to protect Jordan and black re-entry of fighters into Jordan.
    - Turkey's relation with Israel took a downturn during the flotilla incident, today Israel accuses Turkey of blocking co-operation between Nato and Israel. Erdogan giving life sentence to Ilker Basbug , a top high level Israeli implant in the Turkish military establishment. Erdogan also lately accused a Jewish businessman for financing the protests. Also he has expressed anger towards Western media shows that he is on a one way ticket to hell.
    Israel has thrown Turkey to the hungry beasts. Fortunately for Turkey, the beasts are from its own creation and there are no shortage of them aka. the myriads of terror groups it gladly hosted and offered logistical services hoping to topple Assad and install himself as Caliph.
    The US-Russian deal envisions that UN monitors get permanent access to Chemical Weapon sites. To ensure their security the Syrian government needs to wipe out all rebel groups (foreign and local). Syrian pressure on Turkey will increase when hundreds of thousands of refugees and fighters cross towards Turkey escaping the SAA's assault on Aleppo (ongoing and intensifying). To counter the fallout, Turkey deploeyed air defenses systems and tanks on the border with Syria. Today they indicted 6 Syrian rebels from Al Nusra front for seeking chemical weapons. Cracking down on the Syrian opposition will eventually cause the fleeing terror groups towards Turkey to point their guns Turkish army, ofcourse Iran through Syria will support them gladly. The Syrians in the Iraq war have mastered techniques of working with armed groups under different names and formations. The consequences on Kurdish and Alevi populations are incalculable but will increase chances for Kurdish breakaway and Alevis drifting towards their Syrian kins. PKK has anounced it stopped withdrawal of fighters from Turkey and is frustrated by the pace of "talks". Add on top the polarization among Kemalist vs. Islamists. Erdogan is screwed big times.
    The Russian-Israeli tension should not in any way be disregarded
    http://www.juancole.com/2013/05/coming-israeli-russian.html

    The Kremlin knows well, to catch a snake, go for head first.

    AJ

    ReplyDelete
  63. First, it was President Vladimir Putin's historic Op-Ed in the New York Times and now this: After weeks of aggressive posturing and threats of military intervention, John 'Kohn' Kerry was quoted today by the Wall Street Journal as saying:

    "There is no military solution [to the Syrian civil war]. "It has to happen at the negotiating table."

    This is a historic moment in global affairs. With a blink of an eye, the calculus for war has changed. There will not be a military strike against Syria, for the time being at least.

    By calling off the military strike against Syria, Washington has in effect placed Moscow in the driver's seat. Moscow's diplomatic corps, spearheaded by the Armenian Sergei Lavrov, has outclassed officials fielded by Anglo-American-Zionist alliance at every turn and the Russian military has stood up against the best the West could deploy in the Mediterranean.

    This is a victory of great proportions for the Russian Federation. Moscow is now suddenly a voice the global community is impatiently waiting to hear. Let's hope Moscow can now effectively exploit the new reality on the ground. Nevertheless, the cancellation or the delay of the military strike against Syria gives Bashar Assad's government, the Hezbollah and Iran precious more time to extrapolate, to prepare, to strengthen and to counteract.

    Why the sudden and drastic change of course by Washington? Something very big must have happened beyond the public's view.

    This compels me to take a closer look at recent unconfirmed reports that Russian military assets stationed in or near Syria may have neutralized an initial missile strike against Syria last week. Skhara's last comment pertains to this matter. If any of my readers find more information on this please post it here.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Arevordi,
    There is definitely something that doesn't smell right with the official explanation of those "ballastic objects" detected by Russian radar. If it was a US-Israeli drill, why is Israel the one saying it, but the US is keeping mum? Israel later started to boast about a successful missile test. Ok well, in that case, why didn't they just boast right away? Instead they say they knew nothing about it initially. The the joint part is that the Israeli side is saying that Americans fired these objects and Israeli test interceptors successfully intercepted. So it sure sounds like they missiles were shot out of the sky. Hmmmm......

    I also kept an eye on debka. The debka people picked up on the fact that during the Charlie Rose interview with Assad, Assad hinted at the fact he doesn't expect an American attack to come without clarifying why.

    Also, lets pay attention to the hints made by Russia. The naval was playing a double game of hinting military responses and postures on the one hand, while dismissing on the other. One Russian naval officer said the navy is there to "prevent agression" -- interesting -- American hubris was declaring that they would just shoot those cruise missiles over Russian heads. Putin hinted that Russia would be helping Syria in case of aggression -- what does that mean?

    Arevordi, using the "homeland security" color scale, if Syria isn't Russia's "red line" -- it sure looks like a reddish orange one.

    ReplyDelete
  65. This is what Al-manar promises today:

    Many senior international analysts have come to same conclusion, that what resulted from the Russian initiative to stop the aggression against Syria is not a mere act of successful diplomacy but rather equal to an emergence of a new world order, where bi-polar system prevails instead of the sole US hegemony that came after the collapse of former Soviet Union in the nineties of last century.


    The Syrian army has given a pledge to surprise enemies and friends very soon with military achievements that will further devastate the already downsized Takfiri groups. The promised achievement is not reduced to a certain geographic area but will include different fronts across Syria.

    ReplyDelete
  66. To take into consideration the rumors that Russia threatened Saudi Arabia.
    Also the suggestion of Roman Silantyev that Orthodox volunteers from Russia might be sent to protect Christian Syrians, along with volunteers from Chechnya to protect Muslim shrines! He stressed that it would be better to beat the terrorists in alien territory before letting them to return to Russia.
    Romanian Anonymus

    ReplyDelete
  67. "Why the sudden and drastic change of course by Washington? Something very big must have happened beyond the public's view"

    Here's my opinion.
    The missile test had nothing to do with Syria, but had everything to do with interception capabilities of Israel's-Nato missile shield system.

    1- Nato fires a balistic missile from west-central Mediterranean towards Israel. This is a simulation of an incoming missile threat from Russia (almost same firing distance, 2000+ km.)

    2- Russian radar at Armavir detected the balistic missile and is closely following the trajectory

    3- Israeli Green Pine radar system detects incoming missile, fires Arrow 3 anti-balistic missile from a vessel to intercept the incoming threat.

    4- Russian hypersonic (mach 12+) air defense systems (only can be guessed what exact model) intercepts Arrow 3 either blowing it up or diverting from its course. Show is over. The bear rules the skies over the East Med.

    Therefore, the Anglo American Zionists are forced to strike a deal (surrender).

    AJ

    ReplyDelete
  68. Map of possible simulation scenario

    http://s24.postimg.org/leskqhaz9/arro.png

    ReplyDelete
  69. The news of the shelving of the air strikes on Syria it is heartily welcomed. The reason for this Volta a face by Obamistan is patently clear. The bastards do not have the capability, for the moment, to penetrate Russia's air defenses it has provided Syria. The missiles fired two weeks ago by the americo Israelies which were intercepted was a forerunner of things to come if the axis of evil persisted with their goal to flatten Syria with bombs. There is serious risk of escalation, retaliation and collateral damage ( a few torpedoes might hit Israel,) and that is unacceptable and unaffordable, for a risk averse predatory nation . Back to the
    drawing board for the very confident, very assured Kabbala of judaics running and pulling strings of puppet Obama. Last week, two judaics, Kerry and Fabius in a meeting somewhere in the EU decreed and categorized Assad as the new Hitler. This is coded language amongst the kabbalists. Anyone compared to Hitler must be smashed into powdered dust. It has become patently evident that Obama and the USA have been exposed for what they represent : a rogue, lawless, unaccountable , government committed to lies and war crimes. The syrian saga is not over yet. A chapter has closed, now we move forward to the next rendition. Remember, the play out in the eastern Mediterranean has got everything to do with the strategic control of the Caucasus, from Haifa to the Caspian Sea and beyond, Syria, Iran are the hoops and hurdles thwarting the Americo Israelies . Obama is a consummate chequer player, Putin is a chess player. There is no question if the USA continues to play chequers against Russian chess master what the outcome would be.

    ReplyDelete
  70. considering the technology needed to intercept the Arrow 3 missile flying at speeds of over 9 Mach, you need advanced interception systems that may surpass conventional weapons capabilities.

    The Russians have been working since the Soviet times and afterwards on Plasma Weapon Systems.

    The spiral visual phenomena that was created over Norway when Obama was receiving his Nobel Peace prize in Oslo might have been the first public display of Russian unconventional missile shield system.

    Note: in 2012 a similar spiral was seen over Yerevan.

    Such a system can render the NATO missile shield defense system useless.

    Details and analysis of the Norway event can be read here
    http://www.spellconsulting.com/reality/Norway_Spiral.html

    Sci-Fi or reality I don't know, maybe Russian speaking readers can learn more from this video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjHubNU0jjY

    Already in 1995 there was reference to this technology
    http://www.fas.org/news/russia/1995/tac95060.htm

    PS: the two missiles that were fired from the Mediterranean did not explode in air but have fallen to the sea (i.e. they were knocked out of their trajectories)

    ReplyDelete
  71. The plasma missile shield technology can reach over the Mediterranean airspace.
    It was witnessed on June 7, 2012 by
    rebel fighters in Hama,Syria. They thought it was chemical weapons.
    The spiral is the same type as the one used in Norway
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOjAfrq1XU4

    It was also seen in Israel
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/watch-israelis-report-seeing-unidentified-flying-object-glowing-in-the-sky-1.435106

    "According to Lebanese sources the object was a meteor though the Israeli Astronomical Association rejects this, suggesting it is a man made object."

    http://rt.com/news/israel-ufo-missile-337/

    "Suspicions that the shining flying object could be a missile were further fuelled by a Russian Defense Ministry statement saying the country had successfully test-fired a Topol strategic intercontinental ballistic missile.

    The launch was made from Russia’s southern Astrakhan region to a testing area in Kazakhstan 3500 km from Israel’s northern border where the object was seen."

    Interestingly this technology was pioneered by Soviet-Armenian scientist back in 1970
    E.A. Abramyan, The Generation of Intensive Relativistic Electron Beams

    For a good read, here's one of his writings
    CIVILIZATION IN
    THE TWENTY-FIRST
    CENTURY
    http://www.savefuture.net/files/2009edition-en.pdf

    Russian plasma experiment in space, zero-gravity setup.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kanYuBptuZ0

    Bottomline, it is very likely that US-Israel conducted the missile test to validate if this Russian technology is real.
    One detail that goes unnoticed, according to the Radar at Armavir, the missile was launched exactly at 06:16 GMT. This is the exact time for sunrise on September 03. The reason for the timing is to ensure that the visual phenomena of the beam/spiral is not visible to the public. That would have been very embarrassing if a ballistic missile test was intercepted by Russian sci-fi technology in plain public sight.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Anonymous (September 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM)

    Can you please identify yourself? Have you commented here before?

    ReplyDelete
  73. http://rt.com/news/turkey-helicopter-downing-syria-937/

    "No one will have the courage to violate Turkish airspace again,” declared Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to reporters in Paris.

    I can't wait to see the news reports about turkey paying for its hubris. Accidents do happen. Particularly to turkish military vehicles, police stations, and aircraft. The RT article makes a point to focus on the fact that turkey's F-16s were US made. Of course our democrazy now(!) idiots are impervious to this fact and live in an alternate reality

    ps very interesting posts about Russian plasma weapons and the possible links to the downed american/kike cruise missiles.

    ReplyDelete
  74. "A protest rally against Armenia’s joining the Customs Union was held outside presidential residence.... The rally was planned in Facebook, with the further actions to be coordinated in the social network."

    Source: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/169556/Protests_against_joining_Customs_Union_outside_presidential_residence

    Armenia needs to ban western "social networks" on the grounds that "it subjects our citizens to undue spying and violations of privacy and data-mining by foreign governments and is therefore an affront to Armenia's national security and a threat to the safety and well-being of Armenian citizens."... Not to mention a massive tool for spreading poisonous ideas within Armenian society.

    ReplyDelete
  75. http://blogs.wsj.com/brussels/2013/09/04/eu-stunned-by-armenia-u-turn/
    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt reflected the widespread frustration among European leaders in a tweet: “Armenia negotiated 4 years to get Association Agreement with EU. Now President prefers Kremlin to Brussels.”
    Unbelievable! Where are those jackass "opposition" protestors when Swedish FM and EU official Bildt makes a statement such as this insulting Armenia's sovereignty? It violates every basic notion of the rules of diplomacy to bitch about diplomatic relationships not going your way like a 15-year-old whore on Twitter... And does it actually surprise this scum that Armenia prefers the Kremlin, it's strategic partner, over any other international actor?

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  76. No military solution for Syria, says former ambassador Djerejian

    http://www.groong.com/news/msg479250.html

    Even this faggot has toned down is aggressive, war-mongering tone.

    Don't let the Armenian last name fool you, djerejian is a tool of American imperialism through and through. Recall that, as Arevordi posted on the thread listed below, djerejian has exposed himself as an American agent who will agitate for turkey/nato at America's behest:

    Ambassador Djerejian: An Illustrious US Diplomat Tarnishes Own Reputation

    http://www.armenianlife.com/2012/10/10/ambassador-djerejian-an-illustrious-us-diplomat-tarnishes-own-reputation/


    Vartan Oskanian and the political West in Armenia - October, 2012

    http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012_10_28_archive.html

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  77. Anonymous id = AJ (September 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM)

    Turkey will now either go defensive, i.e. seal its border from the potential influx of refugees and fighters.

    Or alternatively, as they say, “The only way out is deeper in”, but then Turkish forces will be directly facing Iranian elements.

    Check this refreshing video of an Iranian commander co-ordinating Syrian defense forces
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2J02DutU2c


    PS: This is Ilker Basbug,Chief of the Turkish General Staff who Erdogan gave life imprisonment hahaha
    http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k534/Kommando11/lker-babu.jpg

    The most convenient solution for Turkey to come out of this mess is an Egyptian scenario, Erdogan will end no different than Morsi.

    AJ

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  78. Djeredjian is a an american product. He can not be otherwise, he is part of the system. His Armenian name is just that, he will go along with the music the band is playing. Djeredjain is not a policy maker, is not a strategy thinker; he is an orderly. We are proud of his surname , but even if he were an armenian in his inner most feelings, he can not reveal his self , nor express himself. He is doing the job he was appointed to do.

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  79. Arevordi,
    w.r.t the Plasma weapon system, can you be kind enough to translate this diagram.

    http://s7.postimg.org/6hwxgefij/P1000464.jpg

    in specific, do the marine vessels have capability for beaming energy? or it's only terrestrial?

    AJ

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  80. The Delusions of Caliph Erdogan

    http://frontpagemag.com/2013/magdi/the-delusions-of-caliph-erdogan/

    AJ

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  81. what an epic interview

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zcmpn-lmQ1I

    must love his comments on Georgia :)))

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  82. Arevordi this is really interesting.

    Apparently in 1993, economically ruined Russia was asking from the US funding for a joint anti-missile system development. In total they wanted 300 million USD (which is nothing)to conduct the tests.

    It seems the apparatus can be installed on an aircraft carrier, or a vessel. The electricity power requirements are not extra-ordinary.

    "The energy directed by the ground-based components of the weapon, is concentrated not on the target itself, but on the area of
    atmosphere directly in front of it, in its flight trajectory. It ionizes that area and completely disrupts the flight aerodynamics of the missile or aircraft.
    The object goes off its trajectory and is destroyed by monstrous overloads."
    At that time Russia was also lagging in computer technology.

    Id modern post-Putin Russia I think both were solved, funding and computer advances. So I have no doubt they pushed this project to counter the Nato missile defense system.

    Question is, why didn't the US take the offer and worked jointly with Russia on plasma technology?

    1- there is more money in developping rocket based missile interception systems. compared to the peanuts 300 million investment. The military industrial prefers to sell EXPENSIVE systems.

    2- working jointly with Russia would render the whole project meaningless, since Russia itself was the boogie man enemy for whom they built the entire expensive system.

    I'm glad and I'm sure the Russians resumed this project and brought it to a perfect operational state. 10 years is more than enough for maturation. When did Putin first come in office?

    I hope this theory does not drift to the lunatic fringe. Those rebels shouting Allah Akbar on the green spiral cracked me up, they really freaked out.

    Full document here. please read
    https://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1993/eirv20n15-19930416/eirv20n15-19930416_026-russian_sdi_proposal_points_to_l.pdf

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  83. Erdogan Is doing fine. It should serve neutral interests. Turkey, although a NATO and USA-Israeli lackey, under Erdogan wants to pursue a semi independent foreign policy based on megalomania, psychopathy and overweening hubris. If Erdogan is deposed, a more pliant and blind follower of Israeli- USA would come in its stead. With Erdogan we have excellent chances of numerous faux pas by his government, an accident can happen. He is surrounded by turkeys, his crypto Hebrew Davotoglu is a foreign minister with minimal knowledge of history and international diplomacy. Not to mention the other minister to the EU, Bugs bunny , a clown and orotund gas bag. Let Erdogan thrive in his megalomania of recreating neo ottomanism, he may end up losing the current piece of real estate called Turkey. The Kurdish irredentism will not go away. The Kurds are a dagger ready to be flung at Turkeys heart. Erdogan may irritate his Israely masters beyond their tolerance. Devotoglus policy of zero conflicts with neighbors has been overturned with 100 percent hostility with neighbors. Erdogan needs to remain in power to achieve the wreck of turkey.

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  84. Global Research had featured the following article from an Arabic source back in June. I do not know how much of it is accurate, but it may be a clue -

    Unrevealed Secrets of Vladimir Putin’s Recent Visit to London: http://www.globalresearch.ca/russian-advanced-weapons-for-syria-unrevealed-secrets-of-vladimir-putins-recent-visit-to-london/5339559

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  85. Talk show on Syria on Russia's main channel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQulbxcKbK0#t=3919

    They showed quite a bit about Maloola. The debate did not even spare Israel as a culprit and antagonist in the Syria crisis. I believe that Russia is in it to win it. They were saying thing like they need to defeat the radicals in Syria so they don't have to fight them at home. If Putin did not want the public to be in that kind of mood, we wouldn't be seeing these shows.

    There was some old Armenian guy talking. I don't know that I have seen him before.

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  86. Change of faith: Why young Brits turn from Christianity to Islam

    http://rt.com/news/muslims-uk-church-christianity-005/

    I welcome the slow death of Britain. It is historic justice to see invading hordes do to London what they did to Western Armenia: Out-breed its native population and eventually leave it desolate.

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  87. The death of Britain, is following on the very same footsteps as France, Sweden! Germany and other people's in the EU.
    What is it meant by death is the transmogrification of a nation, the demographic corruption, deracination, and replacement of its authentic inhabitants by larger, powerful, more virile and militant alien groups. America has already transmogrified and metamorphosed into a non descript geographical domain. America has indeed become an experiment lab of international,interracial fornication projects leading to the creation of new species and life forms. Europe is now in the grist of a similar evolution. Centuries old cultures, races, rich in history and traditions are finding themselves in a mixing bowl of deracination, etiolation and dissolution. From Armenian perspective this is not a healthy development. The cancerous degeneration of Britain, or the " death", will not be confined to the British isles only, the cancer of demographic corruption, racial degeneration will spread like an unstoppable contagion. There is absolutely no benefit for Armenia to be dealing with " Turks on the Thames, or Turks on the Brandenburg gate". Eastern Europe has remained relatively safe from this interracial disease, the question is for how long will they be able to remain isolated and free from the contagion ? Unless there is a counter idea, counter concept of life, contrary to the contemporary prevailing concepts of life preservation, the future looks dark indeed. An Islamic Europe would be twice a mortal threat to Armenia than the current eviscerated, agglomeration of dispirited European nations.

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  88. Putin is King

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0TEPO9jomE

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  89. Sorry, a little off topic, but here's a nightmare scenario for Armenia if EU regulations would be imposed upon the country without adequate agricultural protection. In one generation the average Armenian teenager would resemble the average American(300lb of useless mass with disastrous health consequences). The problem is if Georgia or Ukraine sign up for it soon we still might be eating their crap.

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-02-190913.html

    The whole GMO debate is for sure one area where the Eurasian Customs Union excels beyond the European one for now, lets see how long that lasts.

    Arto2

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  90. Arevordi

    What will your stance be if it was proved that Assad used gas to kill his citizens?

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  91. Anonymous @ September 18, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Please reread my comment regarding Britain. Here it is:

    "I welcome the slow death of Britain. It is historic justice to see invading hordes do to London what they did to Western Armenia: Out-breed its native population and eventually leave it desolate."

    I stand by every word I stated. There is no substantive difference between the mortal threat to Armenia and Russia posed by a future, totally "Islamic Europe... than the current eviscerated, agglomeration of dispirited European nations." Quite the contrary, a Europe torn apart by hostile Muslim invaders would actually pose less of a threat to Armenia than what we had in the past, which were socially powerful, stable, White, middle-class, economically productive, technologically innovative European states controlled by at the top by a small group of Zionist-Globalist elites. The Roman Empire posed less of a threat to Armenia once the Germans started tearing Rome apart. California has declined from a world economic powerhouse to a nearly bankrupt sinking ship now that it has become the toilet for Mexico and the rest of the third world. The same with Europe in its current form, it needs to finally tip over the edge in order to cease being a threat to Armenia.

    We Armenians have no business rooting for any revival in Britain, France, Germany or Sweden at this time. Let those nato assholes experience total collapse and breakdown and some of the havoc they have wrecked on Armenia and throughout the world. Then maybe the Europeans will be too busy handling their own shit to spend any resources propping up turkey, azerbaijan, israel and various favored terrorists in Syria and pariah states around the world.

    Besides it will only be when shit hits the fan in Europe that we will see Nationalism return and the Anglo-American-Zionist elite hunted down like animals.

    Anyway I have no doubt that one day the sun will shine on Europe again and it will experience a new Renaissance and cleanse itself of its fith, both domestic and imported. When that day comes Russian, Armenians and Europeans can embrace each other as true partners. But Europe as we Armenians admired it for all practical purposes died in 1945, and it has many brutal phases it now needs to go through before it earns our sympathy and support in its struggles.

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  92. September 19, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Ultimately, what is happening in Syria is a battle for survival for Bashar Assad and his supporters (including Armenians). Therefore, in the big picture, I wouldn't care if Assad used an atomic bomb on his enemies. He simply has to win. Having said that, there is not even a shard of evidence that even remotely suggest Assad's culpability in the chemical attack on August 21. Moreover, I fail to see big difference between killing people by bombs, bullets and knives and killing people with chemical weapons. Anyway, I suggest you stop watching Western MSM.

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  93. From VNN:

    John Kerry’s Chicago Jewish roots
    http://voices.suntimes.com/early-and-often/sweet/john-kerrys-chicago-jewish-roo/

    Also:

    Madeleine Albright on her Jewish roots
    http://voices.suntimes.com/early-and-often/sweet/madeleine-albright-on-her-jewi/

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  94. Armenia's communion with Europe is as it was with European nation states. Today the European nation state does not exist. With the demographic disaster looming upon her, it is unlikely European nations are likely to witness a renaissance. In another three generations ,if present demographic dynamics are maintained, Europe's pm will bear names such as Zain- bIn -Al Europa, and the number of mosques will far outnumber churches. We could only wish such a mephistophelian fate for Turkey .

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  95. To Anonymous from 9/21 1:14AM

    I agree Europe is facing a serious demographic crisis. More importantly, for the past 70 years they have been facing an even bigger issue. Their cultural and spiritual death. No one can say for certain what may cause the Europeans (especially those west of the Oder river) but I suspect that before we see European PMs with names like 'Zain bin al-Europa' we shall see some traditional/conservative/Christian party rise. We have already seen a small glimmer of this in places such as Greece, the UK, Spain, Bulgaria, France, Finland, etc. It may not be much but it is a start, and as the socio-political situation deteriorates further in the West we will see more gains by rightist parties.


    LG

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  96. When analyzing and dissecting ethnic origins of the ruling strata of American politics, and European for that matter too, the question to be asked is who is not a chosenite. American political ethos is Judaic to the core.

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  97. One aspect of the outcome from the American bombing burlesque upon Syria is the seemingly de facto theft of Syria's alleged chemical wp. arsenal. Syria is giving up one of her deterrent angles against a nuclear armed Israel.

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  98. Anonymous (September 21, 2013 at 10:13 PM)

    The imminent war against Damascus has been stopped. That is the most important thing at this point. Everything else is semantics (i.e. verbal gymnastics). Yes, there was an agreement reached between the parties. But as they say, the devil is in the details. With regards to Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons, it's now up to Bashar Assad - and to a lesser degree Moscow - to determine how much or what will be handed over or destroyed. Having said that, chemical/biological weapons are not much of a deterrence - especially compared to nuclear weapons. A real deterrence for Syria would be modern, state-of-the-art weaponry or of course nuclear weapons.

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  99. AJ

    I apologize for the late response. I just realized you had asked me a question about the plasma weapon depicted in the Russian diagram. According to the diagram, the ships at sea do not have plasma projection capability. They seem to be the targets of the incoming missiles. The plasma weapons are land based.

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  100. Anonymous September 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Thank you for the information. I had no idea there were calls at the time to jointly develop plasma technology. This shows you just how naive and wide-eyed Russians were at the collapse of the Soviet Union. A lot of them had actually thought they had shed evil to join the forces of good. Too bad it almost cost them their nation before they realized the refined evil they were faced with.

    PS: The "rebels" in Syria (all of them) are primitive subhumans. It was very surreal (and amusing) watching them shout "Allah Akbar" at the spiral in the sky. They probably thought Allah was sending them a message. In hindsight, I guess in a sense he was...

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  101. http://arevordi.blogspot.com/2006/01/ancient-civilization-unearthed-in.html

    The above link to an entry from Arevordi's Armenian Highlands blog about the development of civilization in Ancient Armenia is only tangentially related to the topic of Syria and Armenia, but nonetheless still interesting to read about.

    The archeological discoveries only reinforce the truth that Armenians have interacted with the region south of the Armenian Highland, basically Syria and the northern half of the Middle East - today's battleground against the anglo-american-zionists. Developments in that region effected Armenia in the past and they will effect Armenia today and well into the future.

    It's interesting to come full circle and take a panorama of the long history of the region while reflecting on the recent gains made by Armenia's strategic allies in Moscow (which came at the expense of Armenia's anglo-american-zionist-turkish enemies).

    And while it is only remotely connected to geopolitics, the readers here who are interested in history should pay the Armenian Highlands blog a visit.

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  102. Some highlights of current developments on various fronts

    Syrian National Coalition to attend Geneva 2 if transitional govt on table
    http://rt.com/news/syria-opposition-attend-geneva-201/

    Jihadist groups turn on each other in Syria
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Sep-23/232211-jihadist-groups-turn-on-each-other-in-syria.ashx#axzz2fhTYtR00

    Turkey says will not 'tolerate' Syria-linked radicals
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/09/22/turkey-says-will-not-tolerate-syria-linked-radicals/

    Not realistic to talk Syria without Iran: Turkish President
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/not-realistic-to-talk-syria-without-iran-turkish-president-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=54927&NewsCatID=338

    Russian offers troops to help remove Syria chemical arms
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24195864

    An Israeli Sergeant Is Shot Dead in the West Bank as a Second Is Remembered
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/world/middleeast/anger-protests-and-call-for-calm-after-killing-of-israeli-soldier.html

    IDF patrol comes under fire on Syria border
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-patrol-comes-under-fire-on-syria-border/

    EU diplomats: Israel attack ‘shocking and dangerous’
    http://www.codewit.com/europe/12596-eu-diplomats-israel-attack-shocking-and-dangerous


    Arevordi, how do you see the chances for Palestinian and/or Arab Israeli rebellion within the state of Israel? something similar to Syria's foreign planned uprising? new intifada for desperate palestinians invade modern settlements, occupy luxurious houses and enjoy well managed abundant Israeli orchards.

    And how about destabilization of Golan front from Assad by allowing it to be a playground for militants? All that SAA has to do is reduce its presence the border villages.
    The only way he's going to get out of this mess is to divert the activity against Israel, that will unify the ranks of all jihadis, question is, who is willing to finance this operation?


    PS: thanks for the plasma diagram translation, the diagram is from 1993, so I think at present they have pushed the technology of microwave generators (main component of plasma technology) way ahead that would enable such devices to be deployed on marine vessels with modest power requirements that should not be an issue with modern accumulators.

    Today, Russia is in a very advanced position in the field of high power solid state microwave generators. Siemens have started R&D facility in Skolkovo.


    In July, General Norton Schwartz in an interview with the trade magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology, warned that countries such as Russia could be ahead of the United States in High Power Microwave technologies.

    http://www.nature.com/news/microwave-weapons-wasted-energy-1.11396

    AJ

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  103. From an azeri source... Armenia was already receiving massive quantities of free or vastly discounted weapons from Russia already, but this is definitely a positive step. Can be seen as one of many rewards and reassurances for Armenia's population for ascending to the Customs' Union, following the favorable gas price rate Russia and Armenia agreed on a day or two before President Sargsyan made his announcement in Moscow. Can also be seen as a blunt statement to the azeri's not to get any wild ideas about their new artillery and export-version T-90s, as well as message to Armenia's western "suitor's" to get rid of any dreams they may still have of taking control of Armenia.

    Armenia to directly purchase weapons, ammunition and military equipments from Russian enterprises at low prices
    [ 25 September 2013 14:51 ]

    The two countries have signed a unique contract in this regard

    Baku. Rashad Suleymanov – APA. Armenia will directly purchase weapons, ammunition and military equipments from Russian enterprises.

    APA reports that Armenia’s “Qraparak” newspaper made this report quoting its sources in the Parliament.

    The Armenian Parliament will confirm the contract on direct purchases from the Russian military factories signed between Armenia and Russia in the near future. Thus, Armenia will be the only country having such a contract with Russia.

    Currently, Russia is carrying out the sales of weapons and military equipments to Armenia and its close ally Belarus via Rosoboronexport State Corporation that is responsible for foreign sales. The Russian Armed Forces and security agencies sign procurement contracts with manufacturing enterprises directly without a mediator.

    The contract let the Ministry of Defense of Armenia purchase weapons from Russia at low prices as one of the country's own military structures.

    Source: apa.az

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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will therefore be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis. To limit clutter in the comments section, I ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what. If you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or just attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself... or else, I will not post your comments, especially if they are, in my opinion, nonsense. Thank you for your cooperation.