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October 21 2013

Saudi Arabia's Pointless Theatrics « LobeLog.com

Saudi Arabia’s Pointless Theatrics « LobeLog.com
http://www.lobelog.com/saudi-arabias-pointless-theatrics

by Thomas W. Lippman

Unless the people who run Saudi Arabia know something nobody else does, it’s difficult to see what they hope to achieve by turning down a seat on the United Nations Security Council that the kingdom had worked assiduously to gain. It appears to be the kind of theatrical but pointless gesture the Saudis have always avoided — not on a par with shutting down the U.S. government for no gain, perhaps, but absurd in its own way. The world might have expected this from the late, unlamented Muammar Qadhafi, but not from Saudi Arabia.

Do the Saudis actually believe that the Security Council, chastened by Riyadh’s disapproval, will now force Israel to pull out of the West Bank, or unite to drive Bashar al-Assad out of power in Syria, or head off a possible rapprochement between the United States and Iran? Surely they know better. If they harbor such strong resentment against the Security Council, would they not have more influence over the group’s performance from the inside? And why seek the seat in the first place if they thought the elite group they were trying to join was impotent and feckless, as the statement from the Saudi Foreign Ministry announcing the decision said it was? It is hard to dispute the New York Times’s characterization of the decision as “a self-destructive temper tantrum.”

Saudi Arabia has traditionally pursued its international objectives through quiet diplomacy rather than open confrontation or grand gestures. It may well be that the Saudis would have been uncomfortable on the Security Council, where they might have been forced to take public positions on issues outside their relatively narrow range of interests — on territorial disputes in the Pacific, for example, or peacekeeping deployments in Africa. Did no one in Riyadh think that during the two years the kingdom campaigned for the election to one of the prized non-permanent seats? Apparently not, because the kingdom’s diplomats in Riyadh and New York were celebrating the election as a great success until they were sandbagged on Friday by the Foreign Ministry statement.

August 31 2013

As the United States Prepares to Strike Syria : Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on Democracy Now

As the United States Prepares to Strike Syria: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on Democracy Now
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/13894/as-the-united-states-prepares-to-strike-syria_jada

The British have, you know, made their say, and the Americans, the U.S. government, and France is pushing forward. What I think we should do first, before we actually begin to talk about any of this, is to recognize that this is not—no longer about the Syrian regime and whatever atrocities it may have committed and whatever atrocities the rebels may have committed. This is about invading a sovereign country before even the evidence is out, before even the U.N. inspectors are out. There are decisions to already invade, to attack, to launch a strike on Syria, by a country that we should actually check the record of. The United States is not qualified to do what it claims it wants to do, as a result of its own record in violating international law for a very long time and supporting dictators and rogue regimes and the apartheid state of Israel in opposition to all manners of international law. The United States violated international law by attacking and invading a country on false premise, which is Iraq in 2003. And most importantly, the United States, in Iraq, has actually used nerve agent, mustard gas and/or white phosphorus in Fallujah and beyond, left depleted uranium all over the country in Iraq, ruined and destroyed the lives of generations as a result, and now claims that it needs to do this to protect Syrian civilians, which is exactly the opposite of what will happen in any invasion or any strike on Syria, which is not possible to happen in the surgical manner that is being discussed right now.

August 27 2013

Exclusive : CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran - By Shane Harris and Matthew M.…

Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran - By Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid |

Foreign Policy
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/25/secret_cia_files_prove_america_helped_saddam_as_he_gassed_iran

The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.

July 26 2013

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys | Politics and Law - CNET News

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys | Politics and Law - CNET News
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57595202-38/feds-put-heat-on-web-firms-for-master-encryption-keys

The U.S. government has attempted to obtain the master encryption keys that Internet companies use to shield millions of users’ private Web communications from eavesdropping.
These demands for master encryption keys, which have not been disclosed previously, represent a technological escalation in the clandestine methods that the FBI and the National Security Agency employ when conducting electronic surveillance against Internet users.

commentaire de @reichenstein:

The Web revolution has come full circle. We started with the storm on the Bastille and now Napoleon crowned himself

#NSA #surveillance #ssl

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