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The weather in Syria: cloudy. Getting murkier.

The US has apparently decided to ignore its own list of terrorist organizations when it comes to aiding the “rebels” in Syria, so determined are we to interfere in another nation’s governance and sovereignty.  We liked Assad well enough when he was running some black sites for us; now “his days are numbered”, according to Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton.  The US has just announced it will increase its monetary aid to the “rebels” in Syria, bringing the total amount given so far to $170 million.  Imagine what this money could be used for in our own country.  While we are offering only “non-lethal” support at this point – at least (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), we hope the rebels only use the money to purchase cell phones and the like – we are in fact giving money to groups who are on the US State Dept. terrorist list.  Arms to these groups are funneled through proxy countries: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

US seeks to rally Syrian opposition, Clinton pledges $45 million in additional aid
By Associated Press, Published: September 27 | Updated: Friday, September 28, 7:47 PM

NEW YORK — The Obama administration moved Friday to rally Syria’s opposition with pledges of $45 million in new non-lethal and humanitarian assistance as the administration and other world leaders lamented the failure of diplomatic efforts to push Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. would contribute an additional $15 million in non-lethal gear — mostly communications equipment — to the civilian opposition trying to oust Assad as well as $30 million in new humanitarian assistance to help those affected by the continuing violence.

She also delivered a new, stark warning to Iran that it must stop arming and supporting the Assad regime.
“It is no secret that our attempts to move forward at the U.N. Security Council have been blocked repeatedly, but the United States is not waiting,” Clinton said as she announced the new aid at a gathering of the Friends of Syria group that she hosted at a New York hotel on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. She and other foreign ministers from the group met with nine Syrian opposition figures, including several who traveled from Syria to attend Friday’s session, to discuss strategy.

With U.N. action blocked by Russia and China, Clinton said the rest of the world must support the Syrian opposition. She also said it was urgent that the fractured foes of the regime unite around plans for a political transition that could put an end to more than three decades of Assad family rule.[…]

The new U.S. humanitarian assistance — which brings America’s total humanitarian contribution to more than $130 million since the crisis began — will include food, water, blankets and medical services to victims of the violence. U.S. officials said on Thursday that an earlier shipment of medical goods provided by USAID had just arrived in southern Syria. The officials would not provide details of how the aid made it into Syrian territory.

The additional non-lethal support brings the total U.S. contribution in that area to nearly $40 million since the crisis began and includes 1,100 sets of communications equipment, including satellite-linked computers, telephones and cameras and training for more than 1,000 activists, students and independent journalists.

“We are working to help them strengthen their networks, avoid regime persecution and document human rights abuses,” Clinton said. The U.S. is not providing military aid to the rebels although it acknowledges that other countries are.[…]

Neither Russia nor China, which have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions aimed at pressuring Assad to end the violence and enter negotiations on a political transition, were invited to Friday’s meeting.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — who was to address the General Assembly on Friday — has accused the U.S. and other countries of encouraging terrorism in their stance on Syria.

However, Clinton told the meeting that the greatest threat to Syria, other than the Assad regime itself was Iran.
“Let’s be very frank here,” she said. “The regime’s most important lifeline is Iran.”

“There is no longer any doubt that Tehran will do whatever it takes to protect its proxy and crony in Damascus. Iran will do everything it can to evade international sanctions,” Clinton said. She urged Syria’s neighbors to take extra steps to ensure that Iran is not smuggling weapons and materiel into Syria through their airspace or territory.

Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report from Washington.Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/israels-netanyahu-says-world-must-act-against-iran-draws-red-line-to-prevent-nuke/2012/09/27/bf11a758-090b-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_story.html

As Americans, we are supposed to hate Russia, China and Iran by reflex.  Yet it is Vladimir Putin of Russia who most clearly and succinctly states the truth of the situation in Syria:

(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin signaled in an interview aired on Thursday that Russia was not ready to shift its stance on Syria, and suggested Western nations were relying on groups such as al Qaeda to help drive President Bashar al-Assad from power.[…]

Putin was asked whether Moscow should rethink its stance on Syria after vetoing three Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolutions designed to pressure Assad to end violence that has killed 20,000 people.
“Why should only Russia re-evaluate its position?” he said. “Maybe our partners in the negotiation process should re-evaluate their position.”

Without naming any country, he hinted the United States was looking to militants to help topple Assad and would regret it, drawing a parallel with U.S. support for the mujahideen who fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the Cold War.

“Today somebody is using al Qaeda fighters or people from other organizations with the same extreme views to achieve their goals in Syria,” Putin said. “This is a very dangerous and short-sighted policy.”[…]

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Jon Boyle)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/06/us-russia-putin-syria-usa-idUSBRE8850CO20120906

Out in the hinterlands of the US, we have forgotten that the Taliban was not originally our enemy in Afghanistan nor the main reason for our invasion, although most of us seem to believe now that they were.  We have forgotten that al Qaeda was formed by the CIA out of the mujahideen of Afghanistan and that Osama bin Laden was originally a CIA asset.  al Qaeda is our prime enemy in the war on terror, or whatever this global conflict is now called; yet today, it is expected that we simply won’t notice that we are now on the same side as al Qaeda.  Even Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta admit as much and have done so publicly.  See: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/08/is-you-is-or-is-you-aint-aiding-a-terrorist/

For sure, we won’t notice that the “uprising” in Syria appears to be more of a planned invasion by terrorist groups sent in from elsewhere.  By us.

For a good history of the morphing of al Qaeda and its affiliated groups, you might do worse than to start here: http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/09/war-on-terror-is-fraud.html

As well as al Qaeda itself, the Syrian “rebels” include the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and the Tawhid Brigade (also called the Army of Islam).  Regarding the LIFG:

[…]In reality, the “opposition” in Syria constitutes foreign terrorist legions flowing across Syria’s borders, and in particular, staging and crossing over from NATO-member Turkey. In fact, it was recently admitted by the terrorist legions themselves that their headquarters has been located within Turkish territory for the duration of the conflict. In a recent France 24 article titled, “Free Syrian Army move HQ from Turkey to Syria,” armed militants claimed they had only just recently “moved from Turkey to within Syria.”[…]

The presence of LIFG in Syria was first announced by the Western press in November of 2011 when the Telegraph in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” would report:
“Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader
of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, ‘met with Free Syrian Army
leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,’ said a military
 official working with Mr Belhadj. ‘Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim 
Libyan president) sent him there.’ ”

The face of Libya’s “revolution” was literally Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda’s LIFG commander, Abdul Hakim Belhadj, was NATO’s point man in Libya and has now redirected his terrorist forces against Syria. LIFG commanders are now literally running entire brigades in Syria with Western diplomatic, logistic, and military support.  Another Telegraph article, “Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels,” would admit “Syrian rebels held secret talks with Libya’s new authorities on Friday,
 aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against
 President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, The Daily Telegraph has learned.”

Later that month, some 600 Libyan terrorists would be reported to have entered Syria to begin combat operations and more recently, CNN, whose Ivan Watson accompanied terrorists over the Turkish-Syrian border and into Aleppo, revealed that indeed foreign fighters were amongst the militants, particularly Libyans.[…]

CNN’s reports provide bookends to 2011′s admissions that large numbers of Libyan terrorists flush with NATO cash and weapons had headed to Syria, with notorious terrorist LIFG commanders making the arrangements.


LIFG officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007, but has fought along Al Qaeda since its inception by the US and Saudis in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980′s. This includes fighting alongside Al Qaeda most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq against US troops while sowing sectarian violence, as covered by the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center in a 2007 report.[…]

It would now appear that LIFG’s logistics capacity aimed at Iraq which was previously routed through Syria and Egypt in cooperation with sectarian extremists, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood based in both nations, is now being directed exclusively at Syria. LIFG is doing this with Qatari, Saudi, US, French, British, and NATO support (predominantly Turkey) after receiving similar support in overthrowing the Libyan government in 2011.[…]

Ironically, the recent infusion of cash and support for Al Qaeda terrorists by the US comes on the heels of assaults staged by the group against US diplomatic missions across the region. One in particular, emanating within LIFG’s own terror emirate in Benghazi, Libya, would claim the life of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. While Stevens’ death was most likely accidental, (he succumbed to smoke inhalation, and was not killed directly by militants), it was most certainly the LIFG militias who dominate Benghazi that staged the attacks.[…]http://EndtheLie.com/2012/09/30/surreal-clinton-pledges-45-million-in-aid-to-al-qaeda-in-syria/

About the Tawhid Brigade (Army of Islam) and the US attempts to get Iraq to engage in the Syrian matter as a US proxy against Iran:

[…]The “rebel” surge inside Syria’s two main cities is the latest escalation of the long-running proxy war between the United States and its regional allies, on one side, and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Iran, on the other.
The intensified fighting in Syria coincided with Washington’s announcement Friday that it would send additional aid to the opposition militias. The Obama administration declared that it would provide an extra $45 million of “non-lethal” aid to anti-Assad groups, bringing total direct US financial support for the Syrian opposition to $170 million.[…]

Washington has also ramped up its diplomatic offensive to isolate the Assad regime. During a press conference in New York on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki had been pressured into conducting “random searches of Iranian aircraft en route to Syria.”

The Maliki regime has until now sought to balance the dictates of its US masters with the growing economic and political ties that Iraq has with its neighbors in Iran and Syria. Clinton’s announcement that the US proxy war against Syria has been extended into Iraqi airspace only underscores the bullying and reckless character of Washington’s role in the region. The seizure of Iranian civilian aircraft and their cargoes by Iraqi air defenses, acting under the control of the Pentagon, would amount to a declaration of war between the two countries.[…]

One of the main armed opposition forces waging the current offensive in Aleppo is the Tawhid Brigades. Led by Sunni extremists like Abu Khalid, a 28-year-old Syrian veteran of the sectarian civil war in Iraq, the Tawhid militia is one of the largest armed groups loosely associated with the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Speaking to McClatchy Newspapers in March, Khalid, then based in Jordan, admitted that his organization was running guns into Syria using money provided by the Sunni Gulf sheikdoms and the European powers. “We don’t mind any kind of cooperation,” even from the US, Khalid told a McClatchy journalist. “Our goal now is to end the regime, even if another million people are killed,” the opposition leader added.

While they have gained the sponsorship of Washington and its regional allies, the armed opposition groups have failed to win a significant base of support among the working class and small businessmen in either Aleppo or the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Pro-opposition activists inside Aleppo have estimated that there are around 6,000 “rebel” militants in the city – out of a total population of over 2 million people.Many of these fighters, including elements linked to Al Qaeda and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, have come across the nearby border with Turkey under the auspices of the CIA.[…]

http://wsws.org/articles/2012/oct2012/syri-o01.shtml

Here is the official list of  terrorist organizations as per the State Dept:  http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm#  You may notice that al Qaeda, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and the Tawhid Brigade (listed as the Army of Islam) are on this list.   They are also groups which are part of the “rebel forces”, the Free Syria Army, that we have formed and are backing in Syria.   Laws pertaining to groups on the list as per the State Dept:

Legal Ramifications of Designation
1.    It is unlawful for a person in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to a designated FTO. (The term “material support or resources” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(1) as ” any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who maybe or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(2) provides that for these purposes “the term ‘training’ means instruction or teaching designed to impart a specific skill, as opposed to general knowledge.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(3) further provides that for these purposes the term ‘expert advice or assistance’ means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge.’’
2.    Representatives and members of a designated FTO, if they are aliens, are inadmissible to and, in certain circumstances, removable from the United States (see 8 U.S.C. §§ 1182 (a)(3)(B)(i)(IV)-(V), 1227 (a)(1)(A)).
3.    Any U.S. financial institution that becomes aware that it has possession of or control over funds in which a designated FTO or its agent has an interest must retain possession of or control over the funds and report the funds to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm#

But Syria is on the way to Iran.  Thus we will ignore the terrorist designations for now and hope that the American public is sufficiently stupefied by this time as to ignore the fact that our own government is aiding and abetting terrorists.  And I sincerely doubt that the entire US government is going to imprison itself indefinitely under the rules of the 2012 NDAA.

The beneficiaries of the continued interference in the Middle East and north Africa are obvious; and it is not the average citizen of the US.  The weapons manufacturers, the oil companies, various mercenary groups, big corporations who get to divvy up the spoils after a country has been “democratized”, the security apparatus in the US that depends on our continued fear of “terrorists” – these are the ones who benefit.  The IMF and big banks do well also, as they rush in to offer “loans” to countries impoverished by our actions.  We will eventually become so impoverished ourselves by the costs of waging these operations that most of us will suffer terribly as our economy grinds to a standstill.  We, however, are not of paramount concern in the scheme of things.  We are useful as cannon fodder and a source of tax money.  (Except for the wealthiest among us, who will never see their tax rates rise.  That is a given.)  When the tax money dries up, as it must when people continue to lose jobs and homes and face unaffordable levels of inflation on basic goods, and the social safety net is finally ripped to complete shreds as part of austerity measures, then we are totally expendable.  That’s when you will see the TransPacific Partnership go into force and the sovereignty of the US given over to the corporations with no further pretense that our Congress has any interest in us.  (Regarding the TPP, see:  http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/06/the-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp/)

Here is a bonus video.  This was taped in June of this year.  In this interview, Hillary Clinton and James Baker are talking with Charlie Rose.  You don’t need to watch the whole thing – start at the 23-minute mark and watch until about the 28-minute mark.  Baker says of Iran, “At the end of the day, we [the US rather than Israel] oughta take ’em [Iran] out.”  Hillary, cackling like the mad witch she is and rubbing her shoulder flirtatiously against Baker: “Ha, ha, ha!  We’re working on it!”  This year?  Next year?  Eventually, is the point – and we do fully intend to “take them out”.  Syria is on the way and in our way on the road to destroying Iran.  For doing what they are not doing.  And because our government seems to have a higher interest in following Israel’s wishes rather than the wishes of the American people, who, by a large margin, do not want war with Iran.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJcHiPusTS0&feature=youtu.be

[Note: in case you are too young to remember who James Baker is, here is part of his bio from wikipedia:

[…]In 1981, Baker was named White House Chief of Staff by President Ronald Reagan… He served in that capacity until 1985. Baker is considered to have had a high degree of influence over the first Reagan administration, particularly in domestic policy.[…]
During the Reagan administration, Baker also served on the Economic Policy Council, where he played an instrumental role in achieving the passage of the administration’s tax and budget reform package in 1981.[…]
President George H.W. Bush appointed Baker Secretary of State in 1989. Baker served in this role through 1992. From 1992 to 1993, he served as Bush’s White House Chief of Staff, the same position that he had held from 1981 to 1985 during the first Reagan administration.
On January 9, 1991, during the Geneva Peace Conference with Tariq Aziz in Geneva, Baker declared that “If there is any user of (chemical or biological weapons), our objectives won’t just be the liberation of Kuwait, but the elimination of the current Iraqi regime….”Baker later acknowledged that the intent of this statement was to threaten a retaliatory nuclear strike on Iraq, and the Iraqis received his message.[…]
In 2000, Baker served as chief legal adviser for George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign and oversaw the Florida recount.[…]
On September 11, 2001, Baker watched television coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington DC, where Baker and representatives of Osama bin Laden’s family were among those attending the annual conference for the Carlyle Group. Baker is Senior Counselor for the Carlyle Group, and the bin Ladens are among its major investors.[…] -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Baker]

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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in economy, MIC, State Dept/diplomacy, Syria

 

Is you is, or is you ain't, aiding a terrorist?

According to the 2012 NDAA  [National Defense Authorization Act], you can be picked up and detained indefinitely without trial for aiding terrorist organizations.  This most specifically includes the Taliban, al Qaeda and its related affiliates.  The Obama administration is appealing Judge Forrest’s recent decision barring enforcement of the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA.  In other words, despite Obama’s words that he didn’t “like” that part of the NDAA and that he only signed it for the sake of national security, his administration is battling for the right to use exactly those provisions.

[…]Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest in May ruled in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December.

The government says indefinite military detention without trial is justified in some cases involving militants and their supporters.
The judge’s preliminary injunction prevents the U.S. government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, which represents the government in this case, along with named defendants Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta filed its notice of appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiffs in the case have asked Judge Forrest to make her injunction permanent. Oral argument on the request is scheduled for Tuesday.[…]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/indefinite-detention-ruling_n_1749566.html

 As it came out during the hearings in this case, there are many ways the government can pick you up for “aiding terrorists”: you might interview a member of the Taliban or al Qaeda for an article you are writing or include a sentence expressing support for the political goals of the Taliban in a book or article you have written.  You may donate money to a group that is later added to a “watchlist” by the FBI or Homeland Security.  Perhaps you organize a demonstration that someone decides shows support for a terrorist organization (both “support” and “terrorist organization” being only vaguely defined by the NDAA).  You may loan money to a friend in need who has somehow become involved with a group on one of the “watchlists”; the fact that you did not know this, that you helped the friend unwittingly, is irrelevant under the provisions of the NDAA.

Now let’s look at the situation in Syria.  News reports recently revealed that Obama signed secret orders some time ago allowing the CIA to take part in the “rebel uprising” in Syria.

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, sources familiar with the matter said.

Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.[…]

Precisely when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorization, an action not previously reported, could not be determined.
The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.[…]

A U.S. government source acknowledged that under provisions of the presidential finding, the United States was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies.[…]

Separately from the president’s secret order, the Obama administration has stated publicly that it is providing some backing for Assad’s opponents.

The State Department said on Wednesday the U.S. government had set aside a total of $25 million for “non-lethal” assistance to the Syrian opposition. A U.S. official said that was mostly for communications equipment, including encrypted radios.[…]

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury confirmed it had granted authorization to the Syrian Support Group, Washington representative of one of the most active rebel factions, the Free Syrian Army, to conduct financial transactions on the rebel group’s behalf. The authorization was first reported on Friday by Al-Monitor, a Middle East news and commentary website.[…]

Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad’s opponents.[…]

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/02/us-usa-syria-obama-order-idUSBRE8701OK20120802

We are determined to intervene in Syria and oust President Assad, for “humanitarian reasons”, of course.  We seemed to have liked Assad well enough when we were using his prisons as black sites to hold and torture people we deemed threats.  Now the Assad regime must go and we just have to get involved in another country’s internal problems. The thing is, we are determined to move forward with the broader war planned with Iran, and Syria is the last country standing in the way.

Thus we hear Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton, ever the diplomat, warn that Assad’s days are numbered. “The sand is running out of the hourglass,” she said.  “It should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime their days are numbered.” http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2012/07/clinton-assads-days-are-numbered.html ]  (Did a cackling Clinton just invoke the Flying Monkeys meme?)

Leon Panetta did her one better, threatening members of Assad’s family.  Although to be fair, he was merely stating US policy of going after the entire family in grand mafioso style as we did in Libya – one of our first targets there was a Ghaddafi family home and the dead included one of Ghaddafi’s sons and three of his little grandchildren.  “I’m sure that deep down Assad knows he’s in trouble and it’s just matter of time before he has to go,” Panetta said. “I would say if you want to be able to protect yourself and your family, you better get the hell out now.”  Interestingly, Panetta also thinks it is important to keep Assad’s military intact after getting rid of Assad; this is the same military supposedly running rampant and killing civilians throughout Syria.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says that when Bashar al-Assad loses his grip on power, he wants the Syrian military to remain in place.

“I think it’s important when Assad leaves – and he will leave – to try to preserve stability in that country. And the best way to preserve that kind of stability is to maintain as much of the military, the police, as you can, along with the security forces, and hope that they will transition to a democratic form of government. That’s a key,” Panetta told CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr in an exclusive interview in Tunis, Tunisia, Monday.[…]

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/30/panetta-says-when-not-if-al-assad-falls-syrian-military-should-remain-intact/?hpt=hp_t3

 

According to one Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the US is seeking a “controlled demolition” of the Assad government.  (Which he seems to find not an altogether bad idea.)  [ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/world/middleeast/us-to-focus-on-forcibly-toppling-syrian-government.html ]

The “rebel” group we have befriended in our effort to get rid of Assad is the Free Syria Army.  They are supported by al Qaeda, as is acknowledged by both Clinton and Panetta, and a fact which has been pointed out by numerous media sources.  For instance:

Syria: Clinton Admits US On Same Side As Al Qaeda To Destabilise Assad Government

by Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that Al Qaeda and other organizations on the US “terror list” are supporting the Syrian opposition.

Clinton said: “We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region, al-Qaida [sic], Hamas, and those who are on our terrorist list, to be sure, supporting – claiming to support the opposition [in Syria].”

Yet at the same time, in the above BBC interview the US Secretary of State repeats the threadbare Western claim that the situation in Syria is one of a defenceless population coming under “relentless attack” from Syrian government forces.

There is ample evidence that teams of snipers who have been killing civilians over the past year in Syria belong to the terrorist formations to which Clinton is referring to.[…]

The admission at the weekend by Hillary Clinton corroborates the finding that armed groups are attacking civilians and these groups are terroristic, according to US own definitions, and that the situation in Syria is not one of unilateral state violence against its population but rather is one of a shadowy armed insurrection[…]

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29524#.UCIk3H88pmw.email

 

German intelligence: al-Qaeda all over Syria
By John Rosenthal

German intelligence estimates that “around 90” terror attacks that “can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups” were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July, as reported by the German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).[…]

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG24Ak02.html

From the Council on Foreign Relations’ Ed Husain:

The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.

In Syria, al-Qaeda’s foot soldiers call themselves Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Sham (Front for the Protection of the Levantine People). The group’s strength and acceptance by the FSA are demonstrated by their increasing activity on the ground (BBC)–from seven attacks in March to sixty-six “operations” in June. In particular, the Jabhat has helped take the fight to Syria’s two largest cities: the capital of Damascus, where 54 percent of its activities have been, and Aleppo. Indeed, al-Qaeda could become the most effective fighting force in Syria if defections from the FSA to the Jabhat persist and the ranks of foreign fighters (Guardian) continue to swell.

Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its “martyrs” in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization’s remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat’s future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria.

Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran’s position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.

But the planning to minimize al-Qaeda’s likely hold over Syrian tribes and fighters must begin now as the Obama administration ramps up its support to rebel groups (Reuters). […]

http://www.cfr.org/syria/al-qaedas-specter-syria/p28782#cid

See also: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/30/al-qaida-rebels-battle-syria

And who are the experts in regard to all matters Syrian, the most often quoted by the press when a spokesman is needed to push for the invasion of Syria?  Charlie Skelton, a journalist for the Guardian UK, did an amazing bit of reporting when he asked just that question and found some answers:

A nightmare is unfolding across Syria, in the homes of al-Heffa and the streets of Houla. And we all know how the story ends: with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed, towns and families destroyed, and President Assad beaten to death in a ditch.

This is the story of the Syrian war, but there is another story to be told. A tale less bloody, but nevertheless important. This is a story about the storytellers: the spokespeople, the “experts on Syria”, the “democracy activists”. The statement makers. The people who “urge” and “warn” and “call for action”.[…]

It’s important to stress: to investigate the background of a Syrian spokesperson is not to doubt the sincerity of his or her opposition to Assad. But a passionate hatred of the Assad regime is no guarantee of independence. Indeed, a number of key figures in the Syrian opposition movement are long-term exiles who were receiving US government funding to undermine the Assad government long before the Arab spring broke out.[…]The most quoted of the opposition spokespeople are the official representatives of the Syrian National Council. The SNC is not the only Syrian opposition group – but it is generally recognised as “the main opposition coalition” (BBC). The Washington Times describes it as “an umbrella group of rival factions based outside Syria”. Certainly the SNC is the opposition group that’s had the closest dealings with western powers – and has called for foreign intervention from the early stages of the uprising. […]
The most senior of the SNC’s official spokespeople is the Paris-based Syrian academic Bassma Kodmani.

Kodmani is a member of the executive bureau and head of foreign affairs, Syrian National Council. Kodmani is close to the centre of the SNC power structure, and one of the council’s most vocal spokespeople. […]This year was Kodmani’s second Bilderberg. […]

Back a few years, in 2005, Kodmani was working for the Ford Foundation in Cairo, where she was director of their governance and international co-operation programme.[…]
In September 2005, Kodmani was made the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) – a research programme initiated by the powerful US lobby group, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

The CFR is an elite US foreign policy thinktank, and the Arab Reform Initiative is described on its website as a “CFR Project” . […]

Another often quoted SNC representative is Radwan Ziadeh – director of foreign relations at the Syrian National Council. Ziadeh has an impressive CV: he’s a senior fellow at the federally funded Washington thinktank, the US Institute of Peace (the USIP Board of Directors is packed with alumni of the defence department and the national security council; its president is Richard Solomon, former adviser to Kissinger at the NSC).

In February this year, Ziadeh joined an elite bunch of Washington hawks to sign a letter calling upon Obama to intervene in Syria: his fellow signatories include James Woolsey (former CIA chief), Karl Rove (Bush Jr’s handler), Clifford May (Committee on the Present Danger) and Elizabeth Cheney, former head of the Pentagon’s Iran-Syria Operations Group.
Ziadeh is a relentless organiser, a blue-chip Washington insider with links to some of the most powerful establishment thinktanks.[…]

Along with Kodmani and Ziadeh, Ausama (or sometimes Osama) Monajed is one of the most important SNC spokespeople. There are others, of course – the SNC is a big beast and includes the Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition to Assad is wide-ranging, but these are some of the key voices. […]  So, again, a fair question might be: who is this spokesman calling for military intervention?

Monajed is a member of the SNC, adviser to its president, and according to his SNC biography, “the Founder and Director of Barada Television”, a pro-opposition satellite channel based in Vauxhall, south London. In 2008, a few months after attending Syria In-Transition conference, Monajed was back in Washington, invited to lunch with George W Bush, along with a handful of other favoured dissidents […]

At this time, in 2008, the US state department knew Monajed as “director of public relations for the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD), which leads the struggle for peaceful and democratic change in Syria”.

Let’s look closer at the MJD. Last year, the Washington Post picked up a story from WikiLeaks, which had published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables. These cables appear to show a remarkable flow of money from the US state department to the British-based Movement for Justice and Development. According to the Washington Post’s report: “Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the state department has funnelled as much as $6m to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.”[…]

One of the most widely quoted western experts on Syria – and an enthusiast for western intervention – Michael Weiss echoes Ambassador Ross when he says: “Military intervention in Syria isn’t so much a matter of preference as an inevitability.”
Some of Weiss’s interventionist writings can be found on a Beirut-based, Washington-friendly website called “NOW Lebanon” – whose “NOW Syria” section is an important source of Syrian updates. NOW Lebanon was set up in 2007 by Saatchi & Saatchi executive Eli Khoury. Khoury has been described by the advertising industry as a “strategic communications specialist, specialising in corporate and government image and brand development”.[…]

But Weiss is not only a blogger. He’s also the director of communications and public relations at the Henry Jackson Society, an ultra-ultra-hawkish foreign policy thinktank.

The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include: James “ex-CIA boss” Woolsey, Michael “homeland security” Chertoff, William “PNAC” Kristol, Robert “PNAC” Kagan’, Joshua “Bomb Iran” Muravchick, and Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle. The Society is run by Alan Mendoza, chief adviser to the all-party parliamentary group on transatlantic and international security.[…]

Statistic after horrific statistic pours from “the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (AP). It’s hard to find a news report about Syria that doesn’t cite them. But who are they? “They” are Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdel Rahman), who lives in Coventry.

According to a Reuters report in December of last year: “When he isn’t fielding calls from international media, Abdulrahman is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.”[…]

That name, the “Syrian Observatory of Human Rights”, sound so grand, so unimpeachable, so objective. And yet when Abdulrahman and his “Britain-based NGO” (AFP/NOW Lebanon) are the sole source for so many news stories about such an important subject, it would seem reasonable to submit this body to a little more scrutiny than it’s had to date.

The Observatory is by no means the only Syrian news source to be quoted freely with little or no scrutiny […]They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change, and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.

But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinise sources. Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there’s a sceptic born every minute.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking

I know that was a lengthy excerpt, but I think it important to understand who the spokesmen pushing for intervention in Syria are.  The entire article is excellent and I highly recommend you read the whole thing.  We see all the usual suspects pushing for war – the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg people, the Ford Foundation (Obama’s mother worked for the Ford Foundation at one point in her career, by the way), etc.  And the Syrian opposition is not really so much “rebels” and “freedom fighters” as it is CIA and al Qaeda.  Although it has become painfully clear that the US has been involved in staging this civil war in Syria for some time, Hillary angrily proclaimed a day ago that those working “to exploit the misery of the Syrian people, either by sending in proxies or by sending in terrorist fighters, must recognize that that will not be tolerated, first and foremost by the Syrian people.” [Clinton speaking from S. Africa: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/07/world/meast/syria-unrest/ ]  The CNN article goes on, blissfully unaware of the irony of following the Clinton quote with this: “Nations such as the United States, France, Britain and Turkey, as well as Arab League countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have supported Syrian rebels and the opposition.  There are also reports of Islamist cells schooled in terror tactics helping some rebels fight the al-Assad regime, and weaponry has flowed across the borders to Free Syrian Army rebels…”

As I pointed out at the beginning of this article, Obama wants to retain the right to imprison you indefinitely without trial for aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.  Congress likes the idea so much that they have included this provision in the 2013 NDAA, currently being worked on.  ….On the other hand, you are now encouraged to donate money to what we know is a group working with al Qaeda in Syria.   Wait a second here – what about the War on Terror?  Are we going to take al Qaeda off the terror list?  Perhaps just in this one case?  You know, temporarily-like?  What the hell?

Because this fundraiser is aimed at Americans, the donation website includes a little video game where you can shoot down Assad.  So cute and endearingly childish, we are.  Notice in the following article how sweetly we are encouraged to fight the government of a foreign nation with our donations and to “help set up a new government” there.  Getting us all to collude in the (illegal) invasion of sovereign nation with which we are not at war, and to (illegally) replace its current government with forced regime change.  Perhaps this is a method of entrapping foolish Americans into donating to terrorists.  Maybe Oblahblah forgot about the NDAA momentarily.   It may be an “oversight” (oops, did we just ask you to support al Qaeda?), or a way for the government to deny the already admitted al Qaeda affiliation to the Free Syria Army.   Perhaps it is just intended to be a tax deduction for the Koch Brothers and Jeffrey Immelt.  It is clearly a way for Americans and Big Money to directly fund terrorism and call it a charitable donation.  It may just be a sign of the insanity and nonsense that rules the US now.  Who the hell knows?   For what it is worth, though, here it is:

Now you legally can buy weapons for Syrian rebels, according to the Obama administration. Sacramento and national media are now telling U.S. residents that they can legally arm Syrian rebels by sending money to the Syrian Support Group based in Washington, DC at 1000 Connecticut Avenue NW, suite 900, Washington DC 20036 and run by an American. There’s a link on the group’s website you may click if you wish to donate money.

The group supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The Free Syrian Army is an armed opposition group operating in Syria that has been active during the Syrian civil war. […]

The organization reports that it advocates military intervention by any willing country to ensure saving lives on the ground, according to its website.

The U.S. Treasury Department cleared the way today for U.S. residents to buy weapons to send to Syria by donating money, not mailing guns and bombs, of course.

Today the federal government, that is, the Obama administration’s Treasury Department, has now cleared the way after more than a year and a half of rebel fighting in Syria for U.S. residents actually to buy weapons for the rebels who are fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. This means that now a Washington-based advocacy group has been legally granted a rare license to collect money for arms and other equipment.

You can’t actually mail guns to Syria, but the Washington-based advocacy group can collect money from you to buy arms and other equipment to fight the Syrian government and knock Bashar Assad out of office with the imagery of a pin-ball game, where you figuratively shoot the target photo of Assad, that is, send money to that organization which in turn buys the arms such as guns and other equipment like tanks and bombs to fight the government of Syria and help set up a new government there.[…]

http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-residents-now-can-legallly-arm-sryian-rebels

See also: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/02/4684067/us-residents-can-help-arm-syrian.html

Or: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/08/01/159311/us-eases-arms-purchases-for-syrian.html

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Congress, Iran, MIC, Syria

 

Clinton pokes the Bear and the Dragon.

Updated below, Sat., 7 July.

Our top “diplomat”, Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton, is now threatening punishment for Russia and China because they refuse to support regime change in Syria.  Russia and China, let us remember, are founding members of the Shanghai Cooperative Organisation (the SCO), and are working jointly in this economic and military partnership – formed largely to protect themselves and other participating nations from attempted US hegemony.  We are fools to ignore the SCO group and bigger fools to take a sharp stick and poke at them, especially on a matter where we are in the wrong.  Forced regime change by an outside country is illegal under international law.

The situation in Syria is murky at best.  The US, via the CIA, and several other nations are arming the “rebels”.  Reporting is bizarre, with some articles reading that the Syrian military is killing every civilian within range and others pointing out that the Syrian military itself is the target and on the losing side of each confrontation.  Reporting in the US consists mostly of canned quotes from “anonymous” persons in “positions of authority”.  I suspect that this will one of those matters where the truth is brought to light many decades after the events.  Clinton has called for regime change (again – illegal under international law) and baldly stated that Assad’s “days are numbered”.   al Qaeda, as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, is once again surfacing as the enemy de jour, although the entire al Qaeda brand name is beginning to be questioned in some quarters as a CIA operation.

We were oddly on the same side as al Qaeda in Libya, where the “rebels” were known to be both al Qaeda- and CIA-backed.  Our regime change there has left the country bereft of any meaningful leadership, embroiled in a civil war, mired in lawlessness, with a vigorous turn toward sharia by the “recognized government” the US preferred.  However, the oil derricks are being protected by US troops and the oil is once again beginning to flow under the auspices of the newly enshrined for-profit corporations, so there’s that.  Libya’s oil fields are no longer facing any threat of being nationalized, one of Ghaddafi’s final projects; the profits will go to the multinational companies instead of the Libyan people.  We call this A Success.  This is what we thought was better for Libya than what they had.

Russia and China both state that they do not approve of way Assad rules Syria, but that the issues must be worked out internally and that they cannot participate in the proposed forced regime change.

China joined Russia on Thursday in boycotting a meeting aimed at coordinating efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria, where three senior army officers were among more than 150 people reported killed in 48 hours.

Moscow confirmed that some Western countries had asked it to offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a haven in exile, saying it had dismissed the idea as a “joke.”

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China would not attend the so-called “Friends of Syria” gathering in Paris on Friday. China “at present does not consider attending the meeting,” Liu said.

Russia has also said it will stay away from the meeting after accusing the West of seeking to distort a weekend deal by world powers in Geneva aimed at achieving a transition of power.

The Paris meeting follows one in Tunis and another in Istanbul, both of which called in vain for tougher action against Assad’s government.

China did not attend either of those meetings, in which the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Arab nations Saudi Arabia and Qatar lead a group of more than 60 members, including most EU states and many Arab League nations.

China backed Russia in Geneva on insisting that Syrians must decide how the transition should be carried out, rather than allow others to dictate their fate, and did not rule out Assad remaining in power in some form.

The West has said Assad should not be part of any new unity government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Western nations had asked Moscow to offer Assad asylum and that the idea was first raised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during June 1 talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  “Our side thought this was a joke and responded with a joke — how about you, the Germans, take Mr Assad instead,” Lavrov said during a press appearance with his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle.

Lavrov said he was “quite surprised” when the idea was raised again during the meeting in Geneva on Saturday.

The foreign minister also repeated Russia’s displeasure with the slow pace of reforms pursued by its Soviet-era ally, but again argued that any attempts at forced regime change were doomed to end in even greater violence.

“Yes, the regime bears the main responsibility,” but those who seek regime change “ignore the fact that we are not talking about a few dozen people — as they tell us we are — but a very large part of the Syrian population that ties its security to the current president.”

On the eve of the Paris meeting, Amnesty International called for an immediate arms embargo on the Syrian government and for caution over the supply of weapons to rebels. [Teri’s note: it was Amnesty International France which supplied the original story that Ghaddafi was going to massacre civilians – a story that they later admitted was untrue and based on unfounded rumors, although they carefully did not admit that they themselves had begun the rumors.  It seems they are being a little more careful WRT to Syria.]

“Amid growing reports of abuses by members of the armed opposition, states should also stop arms transfers to the opposition wherever there is a substantial risk that they are likely to be used for war crimes or other human rights abuses,” it said.[…]

http://news.yahoo.com/west-trying-distort-syria-deal-says-russia-032828655.html

Despite their rather reasonable pleas for handling the matter in a way that allows for the national sovereignty of Syria to be honored, Clinton just issued a belligerent threat to both countries today while attending the “Friends of Syria” meeting.

Moscow and Beijing will be punished for supporting the regime of President Bashar Assad in Syria, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton harshly stated at the “Friends of Syria” meeting of over 100 Western and Arab nations in Paris on Friday.

“I do not believe that Russia and China are paying any price at all – nothing at all – for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime.  The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price,” Clinton warned.

Russia and China once again opted not to attend the “Friends of Syria” meeting. Neither Moscow nor Beijing believe the meeting in the French capital will be helpful in uniting the Syrian opposition “on a constructive basis”.

“We have frankly laid out the reasons why we have restrained from joining the mechanism, the very name of which has a contradiction between the word and the deed,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this week.
The US Secretary of State further criticized Russia for the maintenance of Syria’s Soviet-made helicopters. Two weeks ago Hillary Clinton lashed out at Russia for repairing three Syrian helicopters, saying their presence “will escalate the conflict quite dramatically.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry swiftly refuted the allegations. “In 2008 there was a contract to repair them. They are still to be assembled after delivery”, Lavrov said. ”That entire process will take at least three months. So to speak about something we have just sold to Syria, which is then to be used in action, is not true at all,” he added.

French President Francois Hollande demanded Bashar Assad step [down] while delivering an opening statement at the Friends of Syria meeting on Friday. Hollande believes a transition of political power is the only way to end the 16-month conflict in Syria.  The Friends of Syria meeting comes just a week after a UN-led summit in Geneva where the international community endeavored to reach a consensus on the conflict. They agreed to get behind UN envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for a transition government in Syria.

However, Russia said that western powers were purposely distorting the terms of the agreement to push for the removal of Assad.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that the agreement said Assad must leave office, whereas Moscow claims that the original accord made no allusion to the removal of the Syrian president.

http://on.rt.com/24i1ib

RT further updates its article with the following rumination from someone who actually studies the use of diplomacy:

Mark Almond, a professor of international relations at Bilkent University in Turkey, told RT that the US probably has its own solution for the Syrian problem and is not prepared for any sort of compromise.

“The rhetoric of Mrs Clinton recalls that of the Bush era,” the professor said. “There is a great deal of congeniality in international policy between George Bush and Barack Obama’s administrations,” he said. 

“After all France, Russia and China opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (Then US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice threatened (Then French President) Jacques Chirac by name that he would pay a price with the distraction of his reputation and public esteem,” Almond recalled.

“Mrs. Clinton is converting a regional problem, a crisis in Syria and its neighbors, into a potential global problem,” he said. “Those countries that do not agree with every word of Mrs Clinton are to be considered supporters of tyranny and enemies of the good. This is creating a much more dangerous global answer,” he continued.  

“Maybe Mrs. Clinton is simply speaking out of frustration at the fact that her policies have not yet achieved the goal of overthrowing Assad,” Almond argued, adding that Clinton is known for using harsh rhetoric towards people she does not like.

“Remember her comments on Gaddafi. She said ‘We came, we saw, he died’, which was broadcasted on American TV. Falling out with Mrs Clinton can prove fatal,” he concluded.

http://www.rt.com/news/clinton-russia-china-syria-569/

One would think that after the ruin we have imposed on Iraq, Libya, and many South American and African countries through these coups and regime changes that we indulge in, after the obvious bad results wrought by our interference and invasions in foreign lands (think the Philippines, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.) we would stop this sort of thing.  Just stop.  It makes no sense and produces nothing remotely passing for democracy or peace in the nations thus “handled” by the US – if that weren’t obvious before, it certainly should be by now.  Still, we intend to forge ahead in yet another country; and this time we are threatening two nuclear armed giants with “punishment” for not agreeing with the process.

Our leaders are clinically insane.

UPDATE: Sat. 7 July:

This has nothing to do with Russia and China, but with Clinton – and as it comes immediately on the heels of her statements a day or two ago, I am posting it with this article.

Apparently, Hillary and Barrack have just posted a sign in Afghanistan which reads, “Please excuse our mess as we remodel to better serve our customers”.  Clinton just announced that Afghanistan is now a major non-NATO ally of the US.

Mercy.  Slap me on the ass and call me Betsy.  I could have sworn that the United States invaded and has been at war with Afghanistan for over a decade.  Can you call a country an ally if you only like half the people who live there and are doing your best to kill the other half?  We have a rather, um, visible group of military and mercenary forces in Afghanistan and last I heard, they were armed with a vengeance and using those arms against Afghans.  We are also running a number of prisons to house Afghans we don’t like so much.  Guess we will go through neighborhood by neighborhood to decide which ones are allies and which not.  Although, come to think of it, we consider Pakistan and Yemen allies and we are drone-bombing the hell out of certain people in those countries.  Perhaps the fact that we are “accidentally” arming both the Afghans we like and the Afghans we are at war with makes the designation somehow more acceptable and meaningful.  Or maybe not.  Maybe nothing means anything any more.

The truth is, it would seem that by naming Afghanistan an “ally”, Obama and Clinton have just assured that boatloads of US taxpayer dollars will eternally flow into the place and, despite our agreement to withdraw troops by 2014, we will now have cover for keeping forces there forever – as we do in our other “non-Nato ally” countries such as Japan and the Philippines.  Clinton said at a press conference in Kabul, “Please know that the United States will be your friend and your partner. We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan. Quite the opposite.”  Your friend and partnerAbandoning them?  This is what we say to a country we invaded?  They did not, to the best of my recollection, ask us to come in and start a jolly little war.  Yeah, excuse our mess…

(Reuters) – Washington declared Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally on Saturday, a largely symbolic status reinforcing its message to Afghans that they will not be abandoned as the war winds down.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the decision, made by President Barack Obama, during her unannounced visit to Kabul where she met President Hamid Karzai on the eve of a major donors’ conference in Tokyo which will draw pledges for aid.

The status upgrade may help Afghanistan acquire U.S. defense supplies and have greater access to U.S. training as the Afghan army takes more responsibility for the country’s security ahead of the 2014 withdrawal of most NATO combat troops.

“Please know that the United States will be your friend and your partner. We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan. Quite the opposite,” Clinton told a press briefing with Karzai before jetting off to Tokyo.

Obama’s decision meets a pledge he made on a visit to Afghanistan this year to upgrade Kabul to a special security status given to only a limited number of U.S. partners — including close allies like Israel and Japan — which are not members of NATO.

Participants at the Tokyo meeting are expected to commit just under $4 billion annually in development aid for Afghanistan at Sunday’s meeting, though the central bank has said the country needs at least $6 billion a year to foster economic growth over the next decade.

This is on top of the $4.1 billion committed annually by NATO and its partners for Afghanistan’s security forces, pledged at a Chicago summit in May.

U.S. officials with Clinton declined to say how much aid the United States would pledge, which has significantly reduced aid since the peak year of 2010 when more than $6 billion was given, two thirds from Washington.[…]

U.S. officials may be reluctant to cite a specific pledge because the sum actually given is ultimately controlled by Congress, which holds the U.S. government’s purse strings. Enthusiasm for foreign aid has generally waned in Congress because of massive U.S. budget deficits.

(Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/07/us-afghanistan-clinton-idUSBRE86601120120707

 

[…]Clinton announced the new alliance to diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, according to the Associated Press. She was in Afghanistan to meet with President Hamid Karzai.

The White House had informed Karzai of  its plans when President Barack Obama made a secret trip to Afghanistan in May, on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. At the time, a White House statement said the move would “provide a long-term framework for security and defense cooperation.”

The list of major non-NATO allies includes Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.  Notably, these countries are eligible for priority delivery of military hardware and can get U.S. government help to buy arms and equipment.

But the designation does not include the mutual-defense pledge that is at the heart of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.

NATO has agreed to give Afghan security forces the lead in their strife-torn country by mid-2013, on the road to a full withdrawal by the end of 2014. But Obama has always said that U.S.-Afghan cooperation will continue beyond that date.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/u-anoints-afghanistan-major-non-nato-ally-033404099.html

Welcome to the fold, Afghanistan:

A video has surfaced online that appears to show a US helicopter crew singing “Bye-bye Miss American Pie” before blasting a group of Afghan men with a Hellfire missile.

The footage comes in the wake of a string of damaging videos and pictures showing US forces in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead insurgents, and posing with the remains of both suicide bombers and civilians killed for sport by a group of rogue soldiers.[…]

Men spotted digging in Afghan roads by the US or other foreign forces are likely to fall under suspicion that they are insurgents burying home-made bombs, one of the Taliban’s main weapons.

If the US military is confident it has identified them as insurgents, bombs are sometimes used to kill them, although Afghan officials have accused troops in the past of killing farmers and people working on irrigation ditches when they thought they were targeting people laying bombs.

In the video, after the bomb appears to hit the group, survivors scatter, and the helicopter aims machine gun fire at them.[…]

In April, the Los Angeles Times published pictures that appeared to show American soldiers posing with the bodies of dead Afghans in the south of the country, and the US president, Barack Obama, called for an investigation.[…]

In March a US soldier killed 16 civilians on a solo night-time shooting rampage. Deadly violence erupted in February over the burning of copies of the Qur’an by US troops. In January a video surfaced of marines apparently urinating on Taliban corpses, and last year a group were tried for murdering three Afghan civilians for sport.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/06/u-s-helicopter-crew-sings-bye-bye-miss-american-pie-before-launching-hellfire-missile-in-afghanistan/

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Afghanistan, Libya, MIC, Russia, SCO, State Dept/diplomacy, Syria