US going forward ...
It's not paralysis
They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06
President Barack Obama says the US should take military action against Syria and he will seek congressional authorisation for intervention. Link
When he was running for president in 2007, Obama, a former constitutional law professor, told reporter Charlie Savage that "the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." That was an accurate description of U.S. law. Link
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared ‘utter nonsense’ the idea that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its own people and called on the US to present its supposed evidence to the UN Security Council. Link
In an Israel beset by threats and challenges in almost every direction, an Israel whose northern border is just an hour’s drive from Assad’s toxic Damascus, an Israel being urged by the international community to take territorial risks for peace in a vicious, WMD-using, phenomenally unstable Middle East — in that Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be feeling a further bitter vindication of his long-held and oft-stated conviction that, ultimately, against all dangers, Israel needs to be able to take care of itself, by itself. At the very least, he might be reflecting, perfidious Albion could not be relied upon to rally to the rescue. http://www.timesofisrael.com/?p=655472
After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation.
The administration’s reversal, which came within hours of the deal reached between Syria and the U.N., was reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday and effectively confirmed by a State Department spokesperson later that day.
In his press appearance Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who intervened with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to call off the investigation, dismissed the U.N. investigation as coming too late to obtain valid evidence on the attack that Syrian opposition sources claimed killed as many 1,300 people.
The sudden reversal and overt hostility toward the U.N. investigation, which coincides with indications that the administration is planning a major military strike against Syria in the coming days, suggests that the administration sees the U.N. as hindering its plans for an attack. Link
The Tamarod campaign has released a statement Wednesday urging authorities to close Suez Canal to vehicles carrying weapons supporting US military attacks on Syria.As someone recently said, petitions are not for collating, they are for mobilizing. Nudge, wink.
The group’s spokesman added in the statement that “it is a national duty to support the Syrian army” and denounced “people who betray their country.” Link
Egyptian soldiers will no longer swear loyalty to president
Egyptian soldiers will no longer swear loyalty directly to the president of the republic, according to a published decree, a symbolic change analysts said underlined the military's independence from any civilian control.
Officers will vow to "execute the orders of my leadership", according to the amended oath of allegiance, that removes the phrase: "I will be loyal to the president of the republic". Link
Quite an alliance! Was it not the Three Musketeers who shouted “All for one and one for all” each time they sought combat? This really should be the new battle cry if – or when – the statesmen of the Western world go to war against Bashar al-Assad.
The men who destroyed so many thousands on 9/11 will then be fighting alongside the very nation whose innocents they so cruelly murdered almost exactly 12 years ago. Quite an achievement for Obama, Cameron, Hollande and the rest of the miniature warlords. Link
Whilst it's totally off subject and of course has no bearing whatsoever upon this new glorious and violent enterprise we are about to inaugurate, I'd like to take a moment to recall a Daily Star headline printed in the run up to the Iraq War ... "Mad Saddam ready to attack: 45 minutes from a chemical war".
And yes, doesn't the 'butcher of Syria' - or whatever we are calling him - need to be unhinged to launch a chemical attack on the civilians in Ghouta whilst the UN are a few blocks down the road, and with the obvious consequence of US intervention - the shock, the awe ... the hanging.
John Kerry's speech had a clear purpose which was to begin the process of softening us up for a new war that is uniquely compelling and which no sane mind with an ounce of humanity could oppose.
You couldn't argue with nine tenths of what Kerry had to say. I can confirm - chemical weapons are an abomination, their indiscriminate use is barbaric, yes, the videos available on You Tube detailing the suffering of people apparently victims of their use is 'gut wrenching'. Twice Kerry tells us that it is 'real'. That's all ok. The problem with Kerry's statement is that he completely fails to address the key question - Where is the evidence that Bashar al-Assad's regime was responsible?
Tantalizingly, John Kerry promises that the US administration has "additional information about the attack" which they will provide "in the days ahead". In the form of a dossier I presume. Look forward to that.
'Alawites will pay for it'
An al Qaeda-affiliated rebel commander in Syria has pledged to target communities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority with rockets in revenge for an alleged chemical attack near Damascus, according to an audio recording seen on Sunday."For every chemical rocket that has fallen on our people in Damascus, one of their villages will, by the will of God, pay for it," Abu Mohammad al-Golani of the al-Nusra Front said in the recording posted on YouTube. "On top of that we will prepare a thousand rockets that will be fired on their towns in revenge for the Damascus Ghouta massacre." Link
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, held: “The only possible explanation of what we have been able to see is that it was a chemical attack.
“So we believe this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime on a large scale… It was the only plausible explanation for casualties so intense in such a small area.”
The odds that rebels had staged the attack to “frame” the regime, said the Foreign Secretary, were “vanishingly small”. Link
Arms control advocates are decrying a new U.S. Department of Defence announcement that it will be building and selling 1,300 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, worth some 641 million dollars.
The munitions at the heart of the sale are technically legal under recently strengthened U.S. regulations aimed at reducing impact on civilian safety, but activists contend that battlefield evidence suggests the weapons actually exceed those regulations.
These weapons have not been used by the U.S. in over a decade, so it’s hard to see why it’s in our interest to sell these to Saudi Arabia.” -- Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control AssociationOpponents say the move runs counter to a strengthening push to outlaw the use of cluster bombs around the world while also contradicting recent votes by both the U.S. and Saudi governments critical of the use of these munitions.
“Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have recently condemned the use of cluster munitions by the government of Syria – that’s ironic given this new sale, because a cluster munition is a cluster munition, no matter what kind it is,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a watchdog group here in Washington, told IPS. Link
U.S. naval forces are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers military options for responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. Link
Between 15 to 40% of Egypt's economy is an 'untouchable and unaudited economic empire' controlled by the military - for the benefit of the military.
Given a choice between becoming a client state of the GCC, doing a deal with the IMF economic hit men, or reforming the economy and derailing the SCAF gravy train, the latter might be the best option. The other two options merely delay the inevitable. To reform the economy will require an alliance between Islamists and secularists, because obviously whilst Al-Sisi, like Mubarak before him, dearly loves the Egyptian 'people' (the term 'people' excludes all the haters) he will likely jail or kill those that demand the breakup of this business empire.
Egypt's Army Marches, Fights, Sells Chickens
[...] These companies add up to "a very large, unaccountable, nontransparent Military Inc.," says Robert Springborg, a professor in the department of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and author of Mubarak's Egypt: Fragmentation of the Political Order. The generals "will try to massage the new order so that it does not seek to impose civilian control on the armed forces," he says. "It's not just a question of preserving the institution of the army. It's a question of preserving the financial base of its members." Link
When the Egyptian Ambassador to Britain said that the Muslim Brotherhood must be removed like Nazis I guess this is the sort of thing he was referring to. Here we have some unarmed protesters being cleansed from the streets utilizing four armored personnel carriers.**Video includes violence, death
America Has No Leverage in Egypt
However great its hegemony may have once been in the Middle East, America no longer enjoys a strategic monopsony. Today, there are other buyers of Egyptian cooperation who can outbid the United States. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia together have pledged $12 billion to Egypt’s junta, and they have done so without the conditions that Congress places on American-appropriated funds.Link
Egypt on the brink of a new dark age, as the generals close in for the kill
Sky's Middle East Correspondent Sam Kiley, reporting from inside the Rabaa al Adawiya camp in Cairo, said it was "under very heavy gunfire" and was a "massive military assault on largely unarmed civilians in very large numbers".
He said government forces were using machine guns, snipers, M16s, AK-47s and were firing into the crowd.
Kiley added: "There are machine gun rounds, and snipers on the roof, that are preventing people from getting any closer to the field hospital (in the camp).
"I haven't seen any evidence yet of any weapons on the side of the pro-Morsi camp. The camp is very full of women and children."
He said it was a scene of "extreme chaos and bloodshed" and "many hundreds of troops and interior ministry police and special forces are involved".
"The dead and dying are on the steps of an improvised field hospital. The scenes here are absolutely graphic.
"I have covered many wars and this is as severe a battlefield as I have witnessed, with the exception of scenes in Rwanda. There are dozens and dozens of people who have been shot in the head, neck and upper body."
He also said the violence was not a crowd-clearing operation. Link
Wednesday: John Kerry, interviewed in Pakistan - a country that knows something about military rule - was asked why the US has not taken a clear position regarding the military intervention against the democratically elected government in Egypt (see video below). Kerry thanks the interviewer for a great question, clears his throat, and goes on to endorse the regime change in Egypt because, he claims, the military 'were in effect restoring democracy'. Not a position shared by mourners of Muslim Brotherhood supporters subsequently gunned down, but perhaps a clear one to be observed by all Islamists considering a future democratic path.
Friday: CNN publish a 'purported' statement from Egyptian Ayman Al Zawahiri. Not known to be considering the (somewhat perilous) democratic path. :-
Mursi’s “Muslim Brotherhood government strove to please America and the secularists as much as it could, but they were not satisfied with it,” said Zawahiri, who is believed to be hiding somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan.“They did not trust it [Mursi’s government] because they did not forget the Brotherhood’s slogan: ‘Jihad is our war, and death in the path of God is our highest aspiration’,” he said.“The Brotherhood abandoned that slogan, substituting it with the slogan ‘Islam is the solution,’ but the Crusaders and secularists did not forget,” he said.“What happened is the biggest proof of the failure of democratic means to achieve an Islamic government,” he said of the coup.“I call for them to be united ... to make Islamic law rule.” Link