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September 08 2013

EU to ensure settlement guidelines will not harm ties with Israel, says Ashton Haaretz

EU to ensure settlement guidelines will not harm ties with Israel, says Ashton
Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.545659

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton said on Saturday that the EU will make sure the new settlement guidelines do not harm relations with Israel.

Speaking in Vilnius after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ashton said that the guidelines - which state that any private Israeli entity that wants to receive funding from the EU must demonstrate that it has no links to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights – will be implemented “sensitively, and we of course want to continue to have a strong relationship with Israel.”  

Ashton’s comments came after Kerry met in Vilnius with the EU’s 28 foreign ministers, urging them to postpone the new guidelines.

A senior U.S. official said Kerry asked the foreign ministers to support ongoing Israeli-Palestinian talks and postpone the implementation of the guidelines so as not to hinder the negotiations. The official said that the foreign ministers showed “willingness and openness to consider Kerry’s request.”

Kerry portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports

Kerry portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/05/us-syria-crisis-usa-rebels-idUSBRE98405L20130905

Secretary of State John Kerry’s public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.

September 07 2013

Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for U.S.

Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for U.S.
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE98603A20130907?irpc=932

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the United States threatening to attack Syria, U.S. and allied intelligence services are still trying to work out who ordered the poison gas attack on rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

No direct link to President Bashar al-Assad or his inner circle has been publicly demonstrated, and some U.S. sources say intelligence experts are not sure whether the Syrian leader knew of the attack before it was launched or was only informed about it afterward.

While U.S. officials say Assad is responsible for the chemical weapons strike even if he did not directly order it, they have not been able to fully describe a chain of command for the August 21 attack in the Ghouta area east of the Syrian capital.

It is one of the biggest gaps in U.S. understanding of the incident, even as Congress debates whether to launch limited strikes on Assad’s forces in retaliation.

...

A declassified French intelligence report describes a unit of the SSRC, known by the code name “Branch 450”, which it says is in charge of filling rockets or shells with chemical munitions in general.

U.S. and European security sources say this unit was likely involved in mixing chemicals for the August 21 attack and also may have played a more extensive role in preparing for it and carrying it out.

“BEST EVIDENCE”

Bruce Riedel, a former senior U.S. intelligence expert on the region and sometime advisor to the Obama White House, said that intelligence about the SSRC’s alleged role is the most telling proof the United States has at hand.

“The best evidence linking the regime to the attack at a high level is the involvement of SSRC, the science center that created the (chemical weapons) program and manages it. SSRC works for the President’s office and reports to him,” Riedel said.

Asia Times Online :: Obama dips toe in Syrian Rubicon

Asia Times Online :: Obama dips toe in Syrian Rubicon
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-040913.html
By M K Bhadrakumar , 4 septembre 2013

A leading international authority on the subject, Professor Jack Goldsmith at the Harvard Law School (who previously served as US Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel and also as Special Counsel to the Department of Defense, apart from being a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law) warned on Sunday, “There is much more here [in the proposed AUMF] than at first meets the eye.”

In a detailed commentary for the Lawfare journal, the professor wrote:

It [AUMF] authorizes the President to use any element of the US Armed Forces and any method of force. It does not contain specific limits on targets - either in terms of the identity of the targets (eg the Syrian government, Syrian rebels, Hezbollah, Iran) or the geography of the targets.

Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to take sides in the Syrian Civil War, or to attack Syrian rebels associated with al Qaeda, or to remove Assad from power? Yes, as long as the President determines that any of these entities has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and that the use of force against one of them would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (eg Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons. It is very easy to imagine the President making such determinations with regard to Assad or one or more of the rebel groups.

Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to use force against Iran or Hezbollah, in Iran or Lebanon ? Again, yes, as long as the President determines that Iran or Hezbollah has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and the use of force against Iran or Hezbollah would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (eg Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons.

The proposed Syrian AUMF is worth a lot, for it would (in sum) permit the President to use military force against any target anywhere in the world (including Iran or Lebanon) as long as the President, in his discretion, determines the target has a connection to WMD in the Syrian civil war and the use of force has the purpose of preventing or deterring (broad concepts) the use or proliferation of WMDs in, to, or from Syria, or of protecting the US and its allies from the mere threat (again, a broad concept) of use or proliferation of WMDs connected to the Syrian conflict.

Congress needs to be careful about what it authorizes. [Italics as in original text.]

Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war | The Daily Caller

Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war | The Daily Caller
http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/29/verify-chemical-weapons-use-before-unleashing-the-dogs-of-war

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

According to these officers, who served in top positions in the United States, Britain, France, Israel, and Jordan, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit has been doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.

[…]

According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.

The general staff officer asked the major if he was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. From the tone of the conversation, it was clear that “the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions,” the former officers say.

According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

Plus loin:

An Egyptian intelligence report describes a meeting in Turkey between military intelligence officials from Turkey and Qatar and Syrian rebels. One of the participants states, “there will be a game changing event on August 21st” that will “bring the U.S. into a bombing campaign” against the Syrian regime.

The chemical weapons strike on Moudhamiya, an area under rebel control, took place on August 21. “Egyptian military intelligence insists it was a combined Turkish/Qatar/rebel false flag operation,” said a source familiar with the report.

Poll : Majority Of Americans Approve Of Sending Congress To Syria | The Onion - America's Finest…

Poll: Majority Of Americans Approve Of Sending Congress To Syria | The Onion - America’s Finest News Source
http://www.theonion.com/articles/poll-majority-of-americans-approve-of-sending-cong,33752

The New York Times/CBS News poll showed that though just 1 in 4 Americans believe that the United States has a responsibility to intervene in the Syrian conflict, more than 90 percent of the public is convinced that putting all 535 representatives of the United States Congress on the ground in Syria—including Senate pro tempore Patrick Leahy, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and, in fact, all current members of the House and Senate—is the best course of action at this time.

“I believe it is in the best interest of the United States, and the global community as a whole, to move forward with the deployment of all U.S. congressional leaders to Syria immediately,” respondent Carol Abare, 50, said in the nationwide telephone survey, echoing the thoughts of an estimated 9 in 10 Americans who said they “strongly support” any plan of action that involves putting the U.S. House and Senate on the ground in the war-torn Middle Eastern state. “With violence intensifying every day, now is absolutely the right moment—the perfect moment, really—for the United States to send our legislators to the region.”

“In fact, my preference would have been for Congress to be deployed months ago,” she added (...) regardless of whether the Assad regime used chemical weapons or not.

In fact, 91 percent of those surveyed agreed that the active use of sarin gas attacks by the Syrian government would, if anything, only increase poll respondents’ desire to send Congress to Syria.

September 05 2013

European Commission preparing for EU-US trade talks : 119 meetings with industry lobbyists |…

European Commission preparing for EU-US trade talks: 119 meetings with industry lobbyists | Corporate Europe Observatory
http://corporateeurope.org/trade/2013/09/european-commission-preparing-eu-us-trade-talks-119-meetings-indust

http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/meetings_with_stakeholders.jpg?itok=yneUHDUZ

In response to an access to documents request from Corporate Europe Observatory, the European Commission has released a list of 130 ‘meetings with stakeholders’ on the EU-US free trade talks. At least 119 meetings were with large corporations and their lobby groups. This means that more than 93% of the Commission’s meetings with stakeholders during the preparations of the negotiations were with big business. The list of meetings reveals that, in addition to the civil society dialogue meetings reported on the DG Trade website, there is a parallel world of a very large number of intimate meetings with big business lobbyists behind closed doors - and these are not disclosed online.

Negotiations on an EU-US ‘free trade’ agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) started in July this year amid strong controversy and public concern about the impacts such an agreement could have on environmental regulations, food standards, data protection and other issues. The European Commission, which represents the EU in the negotiations, has reacted with a propaganda offensive that includes a Q&A website full of misleading claims about the TTIP talks and a ‘@EU_TTIP_team’ that counters critical messages on twitter. In mid-July, the Commission made a huge deal out of the civil society dialogue it had organised in Brussels on the TTIP talks, posting dozens of tweets about the event, praising the “interesting discussion” on issues such as “the environment, transparency, development” with “as many questions from NGOs [...] than there were from Industry”.

The event also features prominently on the website of the Commission’s trade department (DG Trade), in the ‘Dialogues’ section where the Commission states that it aims for “a transparent and accountable trade policy based on consultations with all parts of European civil society”. But what is disclosed on the website is only a tiny part of the meetings that DG Trade has with ‘stakeholders’.

In April, Corporate Europe Observatory submitted an access to documents request in order to get an overview of the Commission’s contacts with industry, in the context of the preparations for the EU-US trade talks. The Commission’s first response was to ask us to "narrow down the scope” of the request, because it “concerns a very large number of documents”. Three months later the first result arrived: a list of 130 ‘meetings with stakeholders’ that took place between January 2012 and April 2013.1 A few weeks later another five meetings were added to this list. DG Trade has informed us that the minutes and other reports of these 135 meetings, as well as correspondence between DG trade and industry lobbies, will be released later, but that they “cannot yet commit to a specific date”.

#EU-US
#European_Commission
#TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)
#NGOs #ONG

Senate Panel Backs Resolution on Use of Force Against Syria - WSJ.com

Senate Panel Backs Resolution on Use of Force Against Syria - WSJ.com
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324577304579054973488682120.html

Apparemment le feu vert du Sénat est compatible avec l’emploi d’une force plus grande,

The revised options under development, which reflect Pentagon concerns that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dispersed his military equipment, include the use of Air Force bombers to supplement the four Navy destroyers armed with missiles that are deployed in the eastern Mediterranean. Initially, Pentagon planners said they didn’t intend to use aircraft in the proposed strikes

...

The Pentagon’s new planning stems from Mr. Assad moving equipment, including Russian-made helicopters, to bases around the country while the U.S. debates, a change that could require the Pentagon to use many more Tomahawk cruise missiles and other types of munitions than initially envisioned.

Moreover, U.S. officials say, Mr. Assad has moved aircraft and other equipment into hardened bunkers and shelters. In some cases, destroying these hardened targets, officials say, could require the use of multiple Tomahawks.

The Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean carry about 40 Tomahawks each. Air Force bombers could carry dozens more munitions, potentially allowing the U.S. to carry out follow-on strikes if the first wave doesn’t destroy the targets.

Among options available are B-52 bombers, which can carry cruise missiles; low-flying B1s that are based in Qatar and carry long-range, air-to-surface missiles; and B-2 stealth bombers, which are based in Missouri and carry heavy guided bombs.

Al-Qaïda à la recherche du talon d'Achille des drones américains | Presse russe | RIA Novosti

Al-Qaïda à la recherche du talon d’Achille des drones américains | Presse russe | RIA Novosti
http://fr.rian.ru/presse_russe/20130905/199219153.html

http://fr.rian.ru/images/19233/49/192334996.jpg

Les ingénieurs d’Al-Qaïda ont reçu pour mission d’élaborer une stratégie anti-drone, comme en témoigne un rapport confidentiel du renseignement américain dévoilé au Washington Post par Edward Snowden, écrit jeudi le quotidien Nezavissimaïa gazeta.
Selon les informations de la Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), les terroristes financent des projets de recherche pour créer des stations de brouillage, qui permettraient de perturber les signaux GPS et les balises infrarouges qui servent à orienter les opérateurs de drones.
De plus, Al-Qaïda travaille sur des aérostats de surveillance et des appareils télécommandés de taille réduite qui devraient permettre aux terroristes de suivre la trajectoire des drones américains. Les terroristes se penchent sur la possibilité d’abattre les drones grâce aux lance-roquettes sol-air et travaillent sur des systèmes d’alerte d’approche de drones. Le commandement d’Al-Qaïda supervise tous les projets et sert de base de liaison pour échanger les succès entre diverses équipes d’ingénieurs.

September 03 2013

Market turmoil signifies a new global financial crisis in the making - World Socialist Web Site

Market turmoil signifies a new global financial crisis in the making - World Socialist Web Site

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/09/03/pers-s03.html

Market turmoil signifies a new global financial crisis in the making
3 September 2013

Concerns are growing in international financial circles that the conditions have been created for a major, and potentially uncontrollable crisis, as soon as the US Federal Reserve begins cutting back on its purchases of US treasury bonds under its “quantitative easing” (QE) program.

Since the Fed first indicated last May it would begin the process of “tapering,” the so-called “emerging markets” have been experiencing growing turbulence in their currency and stock markets as the speculative capital that moved in as a result of QE starts to be withdrawn.

#pétrole #énergie #marchés #spéculation #crise

US spied on presidents of Brazil, Mexico, documents from Snowden reveal - World Socialist Web Site

US spied on presidents of Brazil, Mexico, documents from Snowden reveal - World Socialist Web Site

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/09/03/snow-s03.html

US spied on presidents of Brazil, Mexico, documents from Snowden reveal
By Tom Eley
3 September 2013

The US National Security Agency eavesdropped on the communications of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico, according to documents gathered by whistleblower Edward Snowden and revealed by journalist Glenn Greenwald to the Brazilian television news program Fantastico.

#prism #snowden #états-unis #mxique #brésil #espionnage

En janvier 2012, le gouvernement du Royaume-Uni a autorisé la livraison de composants susceptibles…

En janvier 2012, le gouvernement du Royaume-Uni a autorisé la livraison de composants susceptibles d’être utilisés pour la fabrication du gaz sarin.

Revealed : UK Government let British company export nerve gas chemicals to Syria - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-uk-government-let-british-company-export-nerve-gas-chemicals

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, will today be asked by MPs to explain why a British company was granted export licences for the dual-use substances for six months in 2012 while Syria’s civil war was raging and concern was rife that the regime could use chemical weapons on its own people. The disclosure of the licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride, which can both be used as precursor chemicals in the manufacture of nerve gas, came as the US Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States had evidence that sarin  gas was used in last month’s atrocity in Damascus.

Mais c’était pour des usages civils et d’ailleurs le temps a manqué pour les livrer.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “You see the system working, with materials not exported. The facts are that the licences were revoked and the exports did not take place. The Prime Minister’s view is that that demonstrates that the system is working. There is a sanctions regime, which is a very active part.”

Critics of the Business Secretary, whose department said it had accepted assurances from the exporting company that the chemicals would be used in the manufacture of metal window frames and shower enclosures, said it appeared the substances had only stayed out of Syria by chance.

September 02 2013

Israel, stop kibitzing and let Obama work - Haaretz 2nd of September Editorial

Israel, stop kibitzing and let Obama work -
Haaretz 2nd of September
Editorial
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.544796

The disappointed voices that arose on Sunday from belligerent circles in Israel in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision on Saturday night to put on hold for now the military operation against Syria might create the false impression that most, if not all, Israelis are eager to see an attack on Damascus.

The long lines at the gas mask distribution centers and the traffic jams that can be expected on the roads leading out of major population centers in the event of an American attack against Bashar Assad’s regime teach us that the disappointed voices belong only to a few. The majority of people in Israel are breathing much easier upon hearing of the postponement and even the burial of the operation. It is important for the American public and administration to know that Israelis – both those who fear a Syrian response against Israel as well as those who doubt such a response will occur – have no interest in encouraging Washington to once again be drawn into a war in the Middle East.

Obama was right in not allowing his actions to be dictated by his personal pride – in the face of Assad ignoring his warnings – or by concern that the American superpower would turn into a laughingstock. The outcome of an operation is determined by the advance planning. Countries do not go out to battle assuming the perfect scenario will unfold. In this case this means the complete destruction of all the weapons of mass destruction by precision attacks from the air without injuring civilians and without American casualties or captives. Accidents and surprising developments are an inherent part of a military action. What can go wrong is sometimes worse than the situation the military blow was intended to fix. This is especially true under the conditions of a civil war in a political entity split between ethnic groups and religions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters were quick to praise his exceptional wisdom in being skeptical about American policy regarding Iranian nuclear weapons. This is a complete distortion of the Syrian lesson. Israel depends on American aid – from war planes to the veto in the United Nations Security Council – and this dependence is increasing as the government’s policy on the occupied territories and the peace negotiations is isolating Israel from the rest of the world. The American policy, for its part, cannot be based on a whim. In democratic nations clear-cut evidence is required to convince the public – weary of war – to pull the trigger before the diplomatic alternatives have been exhausted.

It is possible that at the end of a bitter debate in the Congress and votes in the committees and full House and Senate, Obama’s decision, now frozen, to use military force against Assad’s chemical stockpiles will be approved. In any case, it is essential that the decision be made on Capitol Hill, and not in Jerusalem.

Dubious Intelligence and Iran Blackmail : How Israel is driving the US to war in Syria | Max…

Dubious Intelligence and Iran Blackmail: How Israel is driving the US to war in Syria | Max Blumenthal
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/dubious-intelligence-and-iran-blackmail-how-israel-is-driving-the-us-to-

Oddly, neither outlet was able to reproduce audio or any quotes of the conversation between the Syrian officials. Channel 2 did not appear to cite any source at all – it referred only to “the assessment in Israel” – while Focus relied on an unnamed former Mossad official for its supposed bombshell. The definitive nature of the Israeli intelligence on Ghouta stood in stark contrast to the kind introduced by other US allies, which was entirely circumstantial in nature. At the same time, it relied on murky sources and consisted of vague assertions.

The Assad regime may indeed be responsible for the Ghouta massacre, but Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus does not exactly have a reputation for trustworthiness. (Consider, for example, the Israeli army’s shameless attempt to link the Gaza Freedom Flotilla to Al Qaeda by plastering Israeli media with crude and easily discredited propaganda, always sourced to anonymous national security officials.) Yet in his determination to see the US attack the country he recently referred to as “Iran’s testing ground,” Netanyahu appeared to be succeeding in his campaign to bring Obama’s red line back into focus.

[…]

The threat of a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran if the US does not act on Syria is slowly seeping into American media, and will almost certainly grow more pronounced this week as pro-Israel pundits and members of the Obama administration unite on their message. AIPAC may also join the push for congressional authorization, a move the night flower-style lobby managed to avoid during the run-up to invading Iraq. If the Israel lobby is forced into the open, it could hold the prospect of an attack on Iran like a gun to the heads of members of Congress, warning them that the price of inaction is a regional conflagration.

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

September 01 2013

Shale Grab in U.S. Stalls as Falling Values Repel Buyers - Businessweek

Shale Grab in U.S. Stalls as Falling Values Repel Buyers - Businessweek
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-08-18/shale-grab-in-u-dot-s-dot-stalls-as-falling-values-repel-buyers-energy

Oil companies are hitting the brakes on a U.S. shale land grab that produced an abundance of cheap natural gas — and troubles for the industry.

#gazdeschiste

Syria Statement - International Crisis Group

Syria Statement - International Crisis Group
http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2013/mena/syria-statement.aspx

To precisely gauge in advance the impact of a U.S. military attack, regardless of its scope and of efforts to carefully calibrate it, by definition is a fool’s errand.  In a conflict that has settled into a deadly if familiar pattern - and in a region close to boiling point - it inevitably will introduce a powerful element of uncertainty.  Consequences almost certainly will be unpredictable.  Still, several observations can be made about what it might and might not do:

A military attack will not, nor can it, be met with even minimal international consensus; in this sense, the attempt to come up with solid evidence of regime use of chemical weapons, however necessary, also is futile.  Given the false pretenses that informed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and, since then, regional and international polarisation coupled with the dynamics of the Syrian conflict itself, proof put forward by the U.S. will be insufficient to sway disbelievers and skepticism will be widespread.

It might discourage future use of chemical weapons by signaling even harsher punishment in the event of recidivism - an important achievement in and of itself.  Should the regime find itself fighting for its survival, however, that consideration might not weigh heavily.  Elements within the opposition also might be tempted to use such weapons and then blame the regime, precisely in order to provoke further U.S. intervention.

It could trigger violent escalation within Syria as the regime might exact revenge on rebels and rebel-held areas, while the opposition seeks to seize the opportunity to make its own gains.  
Major regional or international escalation (such as retaliatory actions by the regime, Iran or Hizbollah, notably against Israel) is possible but probably not likely given the risks involved, though this could depend on the scope of the strikes.

Military action, which the U.S. has stated will not aim at provoking the regime’s collapse, might not even have an enduring effect on the balance of power on the ground.  Indeed, the regime could register a propaganda victory, claiming it had stood fast against the U.S. and rallying domestic and regional opinion around an anti-Western, anti-imperialist mantra. 

Ultimately, the principal question regarding a possible military strike is whether diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict can be reenergized in its aftermath.  Smart money says they will not: in the wake of an attack they condemn as illegal and illegitimate, the regime and its allies arguably will not be in a mood to negotiate with the U.S. Carefully calibrating the strike to hurt enough to change their calculations but not enough to prompt retaliation or impede diplomacy is appealing in theory.  In practice, it almost certainly is not feasible.  

Whether or not the U.S. chooses to launch a military offensive, its responsibility should be to try to optimize chances of a diplomatic breakthrough.  This requires a two-fold effort lacking to date: developing a realistic compromise political offer as well as genuinely reaching out to both Russia and Iran in a manner capable of eliciting their interest - rather than investing in a prolonged conflict that has a seemingly bottomless capacity to escalate.  

In this spirit, the U.S. should present - and Syria’s allies should seriously and constructively consider - a proposal based on the following elements:

1- It is imperative to end this war . The escalation, regional instability and international entanglement its persistence unavoidably stimulates serve nobody’s interest.

2- The only exit is political . That requires far-reaching concessions and a lowering of demands from all parties. The sole viable outcome is a compromise that protects the interests of all Syrian constituencies and reflects rather than alters the regional strategic balance;

3- The Syrian crisis presents an important opportunity to test whether the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran can work together on regional issues to restore stability;

4- ...

(...)

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

August 31 2013

Hitting Syria to deter Iran ? | Al Jazeera America

Hitting Syria to deter Iran ? | Al Jazeera America
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/8/31/hitting-syria-todeteriran.html

Barbara Slavin voit des signes en faveur d’une solution diplomatique par le fait que les Etats-Unis semblent accepter l’Iran dans la table de négociations.

Proponents of tougher action against Tehran have long argued that muscular U.S. intervention to remove the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would deal a heavy blow to Iranian influence in the region. Syria, after all, is Iran’s only durable ally among Arab nation states — it was the only Arab country that sided with Iran during the 1980-88 war with Iraq. Syria is also the conduit for Tehran’s delivery of weapons and money to Hezbollah, the most powerful pro-Iranian organization in the Arab world.
 
As the civil war has dragged on, however, the notion that removing Assad would be a pure strategic win for the United States and its allies has become muddied. Ironically, if Assad were to be removed now, the biggest beneficiaries would likely be Sunni Muslim radicals who hate Iran as passionately as they do Syria’s Alawite minority, Israelis and the U.S.

Then there’s the fact that Iran is one of only two foreign countries with real leverage over the Assad regime — the other is Russia. For the past two years, the U.S. has resisted calls to include Iran in multilateral talks on Syria’s future, but that position appears to be changing as the Syrian crisis deepens and a less confrontational government has taken office in Iran.
 
Russia and the United Nations have insisted for months that Iran, as a key outside player in the conflict, must be invited to any new peace talks in Geneva if there is to be any chance of progress toward a political solution. The Obama administration refused but later hedged, noting that the U.N. would be the one to issue invitations.
 
In his interview with the PBS Newshour on Aug. 28, Obama appeared to open the door a bit wider to participation by Tehran. “We hope that, in fact, ultimately, a political transition can take place inside of Syria, and we’re prepared to work with anybody — the Russians and others — to try to bring the parties together to resolve the conflict,” he said.
 
While Obama did not clarify whether “others” included Iran, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Jeffrey Feltman was in Tehran a day earlier meeting with Iran’s new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Feltman is currently U.N. Undersecretary General for political affairs, but the Iranian press identified him as a “senior U.S. official.”
 
 "Mr. Feltman shared the U.N. position that Iran, given its influence and leadership in the region, has an important role to play and a responsibility in helping to bring the Syrian parties to the negotiating table," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

It’s a safe bet that Feltman would have informed his old bosses in Washington of Zarif’s response. Sultan Qaboos of Oman, a long-time intermediary between the U.S. and Iran, was also in Tehran this week, and Syria was almost certainly discussed.

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

France's Hollande reaffirms will to sanction Syria | Reuters

France’s Hollande reaffirms will to sanction Syria | Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/31/us-syria-crisis-france-idUSBRE97U0DM20130831?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNew

(Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande reaffirmed to U.S. President Barack Obama in a telephone call on Saturday his will to sanction Syria for a chemical attack this month, a source close to Hollande told Reuters.

Following Obama’s announcement that he would seek authorization from the U.S. Congress before taking any military action against Bashar al-Assad’s government, the source said France believed each country’s pace of action must be respected.

“The president reaffirmed to him his determination to act to sanction the regime,” the source said. “Each country’s pace of action must above all be respected. It’s important for the Americans to have the green light from Congress.”

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Writing by Catherine Bremer, Editing Dominique Vidalon)

David Irving - the hate that dare not speak its name

David Irving - the hate that dare not speak its name
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-david-irving--the-hate-that-dare-not-speak-its-name-8792411

Irving, 75, is justly paranoid about security. During a career spanning 50 years and more than 30 books, he has emerged from relative respectability to become a notorious revisionist historian, and a target for anti-fascist demonstrators. In 2000, he lost a £2m libel action against the US historian Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books. The judge ruled that Irving “is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist”.

Five years later, Irving was sentenced to three years in an Austrian prison for “trivialising, grossly playing down and denying the Holocaust”. He was released after 13 months and banned from returning to the country. He has also been banned from Canada, Italy and Germany.

After a period of relative quiet, Irving has now returned to publicise his unfinished book about Heinrich Himmler, founder of the SS and architect of the Holocaust. A series of talks began on 18 August in Southampton. Stops since have included Bristol, Coventry, Manchester and Edinburgh. He is due to speak in Oxford tonight, and in London on 21 December.

Eventually, we come to the Holocaust. Since his conviction the historian has denied denying the Holocaust, conceding that millions of Jews did die in gas chambers. But in Peterborough he says: “If you read the memoirs of Churchill or Eisenhower or de Gaulle, they don’t mention it at all. It never happened as far as they were concerned.” In around 1970, he adds, the Jews were “advised by a PR firm to give it one name, stick to that name, and stick to those figures and gradually you’ll make billions out of this. That’s what happened.”

#négationnisme #antisémitisme #racisme

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