26 thoughts on “U.S.’ Planned Syria Attack Hits Roadblock – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Given your usual wide knowledge Richard, I am surprised that you said that the rebels may have chemical weapons too, this you are not sure of. Surely you remember the last time Assad “gassed his people” a couple of months ago. As a result the US increased its overt supply of weapons to the insurgents. However, it was subsequently concluded that the gas attack most likely came from the rebels. Indeed, the UN chemical weapons team in currently in Syria, at Assad’s invitation, to investigate previous chemical weapon attacks. I can’t imagine you missed all of this.
    Of course, you would then have to wonder,k with the UN team in Damascus investigating chemical attacks, what Assad would hope to gain by conducting a chemical attack in close proximity to where they were.
    If you were to look at these “chemical attacks” statistically, you would find a correlation between the rebel military situation and “Assad’s gas attacks”. I cannot agree with your unqualified belief that Assad was responsible. In that regard you are lining up with Obama, happy to conclude what suits you rather than wait for the evidence.

  2. Ta, Richard.
    Is it not time to desist from referring to this expanding nexus of proxy conflicts as a ‘civil war’; and to call the spade a spade…the post napalm-cold war resumption of the global imperial Great Game, galloping towards next year’s centennial of the initiation of their consummation in that Great War(‘..to end all wars’).
    Given the potential for historical spiralling, I think its time to burn their Newspeak lexicografix and cry ‘wolves’.

  3. “To be clear, I believe that Pres. Assad gassed his people last week (the rebels may have chemical weapons too, this I’m not sure of).”

    Don’t agree with this assertion as it’s the most imporant LIE of the Obama administration and its allies of the willing. The intelligence isn’t there as one can read in the UK report handed out yesterday (assessment of the JIC). The simple analysis of going to war: “the opposition forces don’t have neurotoxins or delivery systems,so it must have been the Assad regime.” This is also the basis to revert to the R2P doctrine which is actually very limited in scope. Nevertheless the Neocon Obama administration uses this argument to circumvent International Law, the UN Security Council and call it a legitimate case for going to war. Kerry’s matter of “conscience” and Cameron’s our best judgement doesn’t explain away the caveats in the intelligence. At least Colin Powell went to the Security Council and went before the world community with his lies, he too had a transcript of “intercepts.” For the attack on Syria, replace aluminum tubes by “intercepts” from a reliable ally Israel and its IDF Unit 8200.

    I’ll wait for the evidence from the UN inspection team and the lab analysis of what cocktail of chemical agents was used and which type of rockets delivery de deadly poison.

    Juan Cole too made this same assertion on complete false assumptions: in these suburbs the “local boys” are fighting tirant Bashar Assad, there are no foreign fighters and certainly not Al Nusra who remain in the north. He added the rebels are winning in this district and turn this into a motive for the Syrian Army to use deadly gas as last resort. None of this can be substantiated by evidence.

    France24 headline: Intercepted call ‘proves Syria used chemical weapons.’

    Yesterday I wrote quite extensively to debunk these arguments. A short timeline found in reliable open source in news reports this year:

    Rif Dimashq offensive, Presence Al Nusra Front, Chemicals found

    See wikipedia entry: Rif Dimashq offensive (March 2013–present)
    On 8 May, the leader of the Al-Nusra Front rebel group, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, was wounded during an artillery bombardment south of Damascus. On 14 May, several rebel brigades, including the Islamist Al Nusra Front, united temporarily under the same command and launched operation Al Furqaan. The stated aim of the operation is an attempt to recapture Otaiba and to try and reopen the rebel supply line into Damascus and the Ghouta area.

    In a rare move, brigades operating in Ghouta, a largely agricultural region on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, have united under one command to wrest back the town of Otaiba, two miles (3 km) northeast of Damascus international airport. “This is a huge target no brigade can deliver on its own, even al-Nusra cannot do it alone, so we all agreed to unite to retake it,” said a commander whose brigade is one of the 23 taking part in the battle. “With God’s will this will be a decisive battle in rural Damascus that will stop the advance of the regime army and reopen the supply route.”

    Renewed Army push with Hezbollah in Ghouta
    On 27 May, Hezbollah forces reportedly engaged in combat operations against the rebels in the Eastern Ghouta area. Hezbollah fighters had captured nine towns in the Al-Murj area neighboring Ghouta. On 28 May, the Army launched a major operation against the Barzeh neighborhood in Damascus. Government troops advanced 400 meters in the district, after attacking from the north, east and south-east. The aim of the operation was to isolate the rebel area near Qaboun.

    In addition there were numerous reports of the Al Nusra Front, joined to the Iraq Al Qaeda group [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], of depots with chemical agents:

    ○ BBC News: Iraq uncovers al-Qaeda ‘chemical weapons plot’ – June 1, 2013
    ○ Hürriyet News: Syrian Opposition Forces Caught with Sarin Gas in Turkey
    ○ UN Del Ponte: Syrian rebels ‘used sarin gas’
    ○ The fall of Khirbet Ghazaleh, situated in the Hauran Plain on the highway to Jordan
    ○ New Saudi-supplied missiles boost rebels in south Syria – Aug. 15, 2013

    What happened to the global threat alert the US State Department issued early August? A video conferernce call of Al Zawahiri with twenty regional leaders, this included the newly appointed general manager Nasir al Wuhayshi, a Yemeni. He has been quite succesful in operations on US assets and wants to illustrate his might. What we witnessed in the Ghouti district of Damascus just may be linked. Indeed a false flag operation by Al Qaeda with Saudi support. Sounds all too familiar.

  4. Cameron lost the vote because MPs knew their constituents opposed armed intervention for several reasons:

    Evidence: Cameron was trying to get a vote through before the evidence was all there. Not only that, but the evidence he did produce , omitted a lot of compelling stuff that could have bolstered his case. A failure of basic political competence on both counts, really.

    Trust: It was his “Blair Moment” and that’s precisely what the British public are afraid of. No-one in the political elite seems to comprehend how loathed the bloody man is, and Cameron has several times said that he admires Blair and is trying to emulate him.

    But the biggest problem was that nobody could see how he proposed to contain, or even cope with, the consequences of military strikes:
    Cameron, like Major, Blair and Brown, has combined relentless cuts to the armed forces with an endless stream of draining and dangerous military adventures. The public, in consequence, doesn’t believe that the armed forces are strong enough to cope with any backlash from intervention, even if Cameron had planned for this, and it’s patently obvious that he hasn’t. That’s before one even considers the diplomatic and economic consequences: again: there was no hint of a plan for containing any unwanted diplomatic reaction, oil price rise or global loss of market confidence.

    It has to be that although America has a lot of apparent military strength, much of this applies to Obama, too. There is no plan for the unwanted reactions. And America’s military strength is not as absolute as many think:

    More than a decade on from 9/11, the Pentagon has still not made good the fighter gap created by its reactions to 9/11 and the following two wars. Most of the fighters America had in 2001 still exist, but they have been worked very much harder than planned, so they are less serviceable, spares stocks are run down and many are so close to the end of their fatigue lives that they’re not being flown in order to preserve some war-fighting capability for a real emergency. The delays to the F35 programme help the budget, but worsen this problem. Drone strikes are in part a symptom of a worn-out manned fighter fleet that won’t even begin to be replaced for another five years.

    And although some American newspapers may be parading messages of hate and contempt for the British on their front pages, polls suggest that about half the American public also opposes intervention and about 80% want Congress to consider the matter on their behalf, first. Largely for the same reasons that the British public have their reservations: they do not share the leadership’s blithe assumption that America has the military and economic strength to do this without pain. America can do it, but it will hurt and the failure to make good the wear and tear on the fighters in particular may produce humiliating disasters before success is finally achieved, perhaps a lot further into the future that the White House expects.

    The plan isn’t to use fighters for any strikes on Syria, but they will still be needed to contain any Syrian reaction to the strikes, and that’s where I think the public’s instinct in both Britain and America is probably a lot more grounded in reality than the assumptions of the political elite. After twelve years of war, everything is a lot more stressed and worn out than the White House seems able to comprehend.

    They are also blaming Russia for everything, when the “European” technicians recently filmed helping the Republican Guard fire novel munitions may well be from Belarus, whose leader is a LOT further up the pole (and a lot more anti-Israel) than Mr Putin.

    The gas attack happened. But they have ignored others, notably in Laos and the Sudan.

  5. RE: “If the president now turns his back on a multilateralism and reverts to the neocon go-it-alone approach, it will be yet another betrayal of his former liberal credentials.” ~ R.S.

    FROM TED RALL, 07/22/10:

    . . . Umberto Eco’s 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism” describes the cult of action for its own sake under fascist regimes and movements: “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.” . . .

    SOURCE – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/22-1


    ● FROM RootsAction.org:
    To email Obama, your senators and representative, expressing opposition to an attack on Syria, click HERE.

    If you think Congress should debate and vote before any war with Syria, you can join 25,000 people at MoveOn in telling Congress by clicking HERE.

    1. P.S. SING IT, SPRINGSTEIN: Who will be the last to die for Obama’s “credibility” (i.e. int’l “cred”)*!

      * SEE: “We’re Going to War Because We Just Can’t Stop Ourselves”, By Stephen M. Walt, foreignpolicy.com 8/27/13

      What is most striking about this affair is how Obama seems to have been dragged, reluctantly, into doing something that he clearly didn’t want to do. He probably knows bombing Syria won’t solve anything or move us closer to a political settlement. But he’s been facing a constant drumbeat of pressure from liberal interventionists and other hawks, as well as the disjointed Syrian opposition and some of our allies in the region. He foolishly drew a “red line” a few months back, so now he’s getting taunted with the old canard about the need to “restore U.S. credibility.” This last argument is especially silly: If being willing to use force was the litmus test of a president’s credibility, Obama is in no danger whatsoever. Or has everyone just forgotten about his decision to escalate in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, and all those drone strikes?
      More than anything else, Obama reminds me here of George Orwell in his famous essay “Shooting an Elephant.” Orwell recounts how, while serving as a colonial officer in Burma, he was forced to shoot a rogue elephant simply because the local residents expected an official of the British Empire to act this way, even when the animal appeared to pose no further danger. If he didn’t go ahead and dispatch the poor beast, he feared that his prestige and credibility might be diminished. Like Orwell, Obama seems to be sliding toward “doing something” because he feels he simply can’t afford not to.
      Sad, but also revealing.

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/08/27/obama_orwell_and_shooting_an_elephant

  6. well…all good things must end.
    your assertion that it was Syria that used these chemical weapons is so ridicules it now makes me wonder if anything you have written here should be considered correct.

    the reason you see obama going it alone is because everyone knows it was a false flag operation not to mention that a 20 year Middle Eastern reporter and Associated Press, BBC and NPR correspondent Dale Gavrak was told by Syrian rebels that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident in Ghouta.
    you should read his story.

    i hope you will apologize to all the dead when you realize how wrong you are and how you have contributed to their deaths with your support of this fairy tail.

    how repulsive!

      1. The attack happened.
        In truth, there were several tries before, which never came to as much, probably for technical reasons which weren’t well understood by those giving the orders, so they were surprised at the effect once those technical drawbacks were overcome (probably the chemical used in previous attacks had degraded and lost its potency).

        But that doesn’t mean that what Cameron and Obama had planned, and what Obama will now do without Cameron’s help, is safe or wise.

        A very revealing thing was Paddy Ashdown’s hate-filled rant to BBC Newsnight after the vote in Parliament: “the ones who voted against this are the ones who want us to leave the EU!” Ashdown can imagine nothing worse than that, of course. But the EU consists of an endless procession of actions, often petty, sometimes major, done for the sake of action as our friend describes above. And so, in recent years, has Britain’s relationship with America, and we seem to have evolved a species of leader, like Cameron and Blair, adapted to the cult of constantly acting whilst letting the capacity to act crumble and without thought to the evolving consequences of action.

        The weapons now being used by Assad are heavily “value engineered” and this means that even as possible military victory over the rebels hoves in sight, economic defeat looms. A thoughtful response would be to give this existing trend an encouraging shove in the right direction, not to provoke other countries to rush to Assad’s aid, thus solving his financial problems for him.

        America will stop doing this sort of thing when the American military fails. That might come sooner than even I would expect. Parliament has effectively voted to give the British military a rest before it breaks, and provided that Cameron does not further cut the defence budget in revenge for being denied his “action” this means that the British military will be able to avoid failure. Narrowly, as it always does.

    1. “…your assertion that it was Syria that used these chemical weapons is so ridicules it now makes me wonder if anything you have written here should be considered correct.”
      I completely agree with your statement and at the same time I’m deeply disappointed with Richard: with his assertion -Assad gassed his people- he has lost all of his credibility. What a pity, I suscribed to Tikun Olam because I believed it was a valid alternative to the mainstream embedded media but after reading this schocking statement of Richard I can put it on the same level of the german Bild newspaper = trash! I’m now curios to read the responses of Richard on this subject: as I see I’m not the only one criticizing his statement in this forum – after that I will unsuscribe, I don’t want to waste my time reading nonsense!

      1. @truthseeker: You should change your nickname from “truthseeker” to “truebeliever.” I don’t appreciate being called ‘trash.’ Anyone who would do so is themselves trash. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  7. Paddy Ashdown’s response to the vote also revealed a deep hatred of Nigel Farage, whose message really boils down to: “we don’t actually have to do, most of the things other politicians are telling us we have to do.” Which is perfectly true: we don’t have to do these things.

    That is why Farage is so hated, and it’s why his opponents cannot cope with him. They can’t explain why they hate him, so they make up pretexts for hating him. But not doing things which do more harm than good is the first necessary step on the way to better governance.

    1. Many people, both politicians and otherwise, hate Nigel Farage and his party because of their insidious xenophobia, which ranges from contemptuous anti-immigrationism through hateful chauvinism to actual racism. They build their political success on pandering to the worst reactionary impulses, including homophobia, Islamophobia, conspiracy theorizing and anti-Europeanism, of small-minded, parochial, irrationally conservative Englanders. The fact that Farage is a Dulwich-educated fop who made his career in American trading and French banking while hypocritically wrapping himself in the English flag and pretending to be “the man in the street” doesn’t make him any more sympathetic.

      The fact that he has taken a sane position on the Syria crisis does not change any of this.

      1. Are you quite sure none of that list of reasons to hate Farage are unfounded pretexts?

        The fundamental reason is that he teaches people that they need not do what the political elite say they must.

        1. None of those things are unfounded, in my opinion. I personally find Farage to be loathsome. As for whether some politicians are indifferent to his positions, and merely use them as a pretext to dismiss him because they feel threatened, I’m sure that’s true. But that has no bearing on his nature.

          The message: “we don’t actually have to do, most of the things other politicians are telling us we have to do”, as you put it, while a worthy attitude, is far from unique. It is in fact the message of every political fringe in the world, whether on the left or right — Greece’s Golden Dawn, for example. Its most successful advocates today in Europe include people like Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders, Marine le Pen and their ideological comrades in numerous neo-nationalist and reactionary parties. It is also the creed of libertarian minorities such as Ron Paul in the US.

          The fact that these people have a healthy antagonism towards the political mainstream is not enough to make me overlook their true political nature, and it’s certainly not enough to make me align with them. I’m glad Farage’s own, cynical political interests led him to oppose Cameron on Syria, but that doesn’t change who and what he is.

  8. President Obama now says he will ask for Congress to approve his plans for a strike, though it’s not clear that this means a full vote, or showing a dossier to selected leaders.

    But it does show the last-minute development of a survival instinct.

    This leaves President Hollande as the last practitioner of the divine right.

  9. I like Fred Plester’s comment about Farage, who I never heard of, till now – but the “masses’ don’t always want to not do what their governments want. They want to tell their governments what not to do, not even knowing what the government is or might be doing, spurred on by reports from all over the place by all interests concerned, each with a different spin on events.
    The last few days, I saw places where “people” are trying to get President Obama not to go to war…what I have seen are statements and connotations, depicting him as desiring/wanting to bomb Syria, etc.

    Last week I saw a news program, where Pres. Obama, clearly stated, he had not made a decision, that the U.N. investigation was in progress and this report and others factors will be discussed at that time.
    The person interviewing him, jumped right past what he had just said, with a question of the strategic plan in the event this and that…
    It reminds me of triage. a person comes in, you treat for the most obvious and the most serious first. You do what is most necessary as soon as possible, and you get the medical people to cooperate. You make the patient as comfortable as possible.
    You don’t stand there debating, if it was a blue car that ran over the old man, not a yellow cab. Or the chances, it was one or the other. Someone else will address that, and till the evidence is out, the diagnosis, at least, is still the same.

    Pres. Obama’s and the administration’s statements have been distorted in the press, news, t.v. and many places. I have “concluded” it’s politics, again.
    And, when someone says “concluded” that does not mean that anything certain has or has not been established.
    But the subtleties of language, and the lack of” “interpretational” skills – or just plain manipulation and perverse spins –
    are not, apparently, relevant anymore. If you don’t say what the press is looking to hear, they’ll make sure you say it.
    Ha. how sad. I realize this is nothing new, and I am the one, new to the scene.

    Thanks for your posts, Richard.

    ( Jadez, you are way out of line.
    “Truthseek”, your comment would have been o.k. had you just been disagreeing. I hope you
    think twice, if you decide, again, that it’s alright to trash a site, many people respect and are glad to read.)

    1. @ jg:

      Thanks for your posts, Richard.

      ( Jadez, you are way out of line.
      “Truthseek”, your comment would have been o.k. had you just been disagreeing. I hope you
      think twice, if you decide, again, that it’s alright to trash a site, many people respect and are glad to read.)

      And thank you for adding some balance.

    2. The biggest problem people in the UK, and apparently the general public in France and America, too, with intervention in Syria, is largely the lack of a plan for containing the consequences of the strike, rather than they they don’t believe that anything bad actually happened.

      That being said, if Cameron had advanced half of the evidence which Obama did the day after Cameron lost the vote, it might have been closer. I’m afraid that that man, Blair, has made all British politicians wary of evidence not already in the public domain.

      There’s still a “no evidence” lobby, but unless an extraordinary and multi-layered deception is in place, the attack happened and it was launched from government-held areas with weapons that no-one else is proved to have.

      But the horror of the attack, and the evidence about culpability, no matter how high they are piled, does not prove that military intervention, especially BY THE WEST is going to make things better. Obama and Cameron were eager to rule out “boots on the ground” but nobody sane can see the slaughter stopping without boots on the ground, so they simply don’t believe that if the west starts intervention, it won’t end up with boots on the ground.

      And western boots on Syrian soil will be resisted by all sides in the civil war. Arab and Turkish boots might get away with it, though.

      Something has to be done, but the real question is: are we (the west) the ones who should do it?

      If Farage is a racist, why was he the first party leader to condemn Cameron’s “Go home or go to jail” poster campaign, and also the first to condemn Cameron’s Gestapo-style random sweeps of black people at tube stations in order to check their right to be there?

      And the practice of taking children from Slovak immigrants on a pretext, for adoption, as practiced by Rotherham and other Labour-controlled local authorities in the North of England (to meet Cameron’s arbitrary target for more children being available for adoption!) was exposed by UKIP, until such time as injunctions from the family courts unexposed it all again. I am afraid that future generations are going to see this policy as a crime against humanity, and it’s certainly a crime against natural justice, but without UKIP, I wouldn’t even know it was happening. And if I blinded hated UKIP and everything it stood for on account of its leader’s personality, I still wouldn’t know that Slovak immigrants to Northern England are liable to lose good-looking fair-haired children to rich adopters on the most shallow of grounds.

      No UK politician following in the footsteps of the late (and murdered) Pym Fortyn is going to be quite as homophobic as Daniel says…

      1. @Fred Plester: I respect you as a sensible commenter on many topics, and I’ll be happy to discuss Nigel Farage and UKIP, on which we seem to have quite differing perceptions, with you, on another occasion. We’ve gone far enough off topic already, but perhaps another time.

        As a Parthian shot, see this: http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/a_roster_of_bigotry_ukip_the_tories_and_the_far_right

        And this: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/02/ukip-party-bigots-lets-look-evidence

        1. The EXTREME right in the UK are the various population reduction factions who meet up somewhere on the dark side with the deep ecology movement. Google: Richard Hart, Troy Southgate, Ronnie Lee and Paul Watson for why it makes sense to kill over 95% of the human race.

  10. The Israeli ‘Red-Line Game’

    Everybody remembers Netanyahu on the floor of the UN last year, brandishing his RED LINE cartoon bomb, as he unsuccessfully tried to hoax the US into a war on Iran, based on numerous Israeli/Neocon fabrications (such as the now debunked ‘smoking Iranian laptop’ fabricated by Israeli intelligence, or being caught having Mossad pose as CIA agents as they ran the Jundallah terrorist groups in assassinating Iranian scientists, in the hopes Iran would retaliate against the US and trigger a war)

    Everybody remembers (don’t they) how Michael Ledeen/Mossad fabricated the Niger Yellowcake Forgeries, which Ledeen then handed off to Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans, in order to hoax the US into the diastrous war against Iraq? The hoax of the US into a war against Iraq in which Feith escaped prosecution for his participation in?

    And everybody does remember the last several instances of the Israelis/Neocons claiming again and again that Syria used chemical weapons’ when in fact it is the Syrian rebels who have been caught with 2 kg of Sarin gas (when the Turks arrested a group of them) and the UN Investigating teams say some of these attacks appear to have been done by the Syrian rebels themselves, as a False Flag operation, in cahoots with Israeli agendas

    Obama was MANEUVERED into setting up the ‘redline’ by Israel and the Neocons in order to staave off an Israeli attack on Iran and further Israeli attacks on Syria – and now the Israelis her Israeli Lobby are USING their prior set-up in order to further MANIPULATE the US into an attack on Syria

    This is the Israeli/Neocon Red-Line Game. Force the American president into a corner, like setting up a bowling pin, and then knock him down and force him into a hoaxed war

  11. Kerry Speaking the Truth
    From Politico article John Kerry to Democrats: ‘Munich moment’.
    “Kerry also said that Israel, America’s closest ally in the region, backed the need for a U.S. military response.”

    Right, once again going to war for Israel and the Arab Gulf states. Fighting Iran in Syria.
    UK ‘approved nerve gas chemical exports to Syria’
    ○ Mondoweiss: Dubious Intelligence and Iran Blackmail: How Israel is driving the US to war in Syria

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