February 22, 2014
Robert Fisk: Ukraine'€™s future is tied up with Syria's and Vladimir Putin is crucial to both

February 3, 2014

Hala Jabar’s photos from the beseged Yarmouk Refugee Camp, a mix of Palestinians and Syrians, undergoing hell few of us can imagine. - Via Electronic Intifada

September 30, 2013
"

A 20-strong international team of engineers, chemists and paramedics leave the Netherlands for Syria on Monday to embark on the most hazardous mission in the history of disarmament: to dismantle one of the world’s biggest chemical weapons arsenals, during a civil war, under extreme deadline pressure.

In 35C heat inspectors from the international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will, at times, wear body armour and helmets over their chemical protection suits, sometimes carrying air tanks on their backs, in their efforts to abide by a UN security council resolution to destroy about 1,000 tonnes of nerve agents such as sarin and other poisonous gases such as sulphur mustard.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad vowed to co-operate with the mission in an interview with Italy’s RAI News 24 TV. “Of course we have to comply [with the UN resolution]. This is our history to comply with every treaty we sign,” he said.

The inspectors are due to arrive in Damascus on Tuesday. They will need to work quickly to meet the tight deadlines agreed by the security council on Friday.

"

Julian Borger for the Guardian

September 28, 2013
US Insanity

US Insanity

(Source: fuckyeahmarxismleninism)

September 18, 2013

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) mobilizes protests across the country to demand no imperialist attack on Syria, August 31, 2013.

Photos: TKP

September 13, 2013
"

Since the late 1990s, the US has made great efforts to destroy its own chemical weapons caches, and facilitating the process in the handful of other so-called “possessor states” – in some cases helping fund the process through aid.

However, technological and political challenges have resulted in lengthy delays. By missing its deadlines, the US and other countries have arguably breached a founding principle of the same treaty cited as a reason to justify an attack on Syria…

The United States promised, but failed, to destroy these stocks by 2012 at the very latest. The most recent forecast from the US is that the process of “neutralising” the chemicals in its Colorado weapons dump will be finished by 2018; the date for Kentucky is 2023. That will be 11 years after the US promised to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles, and eight years after Russia – the other major possessor of declared chemical weapons – says it will have finished destroying its arsenal.

About 2,611 tons of mustard gas remains stockpiled in Pueblo, Colorado. The second stockpile, in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, is smaller – 524 tons – but more complicated to decommission, because it consists of a broader range of lethal gases and nerve agents, many of which are contained within weaponry.

Although the process of constructing neutralisation facilities in Colorado and Kentucky is well under way, both plants have still not begun testing procedures. The nature of the Kentucky stockpile makes it particularly difficult to destroy.

"They have every agent there and every weapon – rockets, artillery shells, landmines, spray tanks and aerial bombs," said Paul Walker, a program director at Green Cross International, which has facilitated the destruction of chemical weapons in the US and Russia since the mid-1990s.

"

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/us-syria-chemical-weapons-destruction

September 8, 2013
Whomever wrote the comments that follow is an idiot…. Pinochet was a US installed/supported capitalist dictator, Assad has routinely resisted our imperialist policies in the Middle East.  And let’s be honest…. supporting most of Obama’s policies?!?!?!?!?!  But MoveOn is big.  Sweet support.
justinspoliticalcorner:

While I voted for President Obama twice (2008, 2012) and support most of his policies, I think he is misguided on the handling of #Syria, with the exception of making Congress vote on whether or not to go to war or not with them. I understand that Bashar Al-Assad is a horrible Pinochet-esque man, but the US does NOT need to go into Syria. 

Whomever wrote the comments that follow is an idiot…. Pinochet was a US installed/supported capitalist dictator, Assad has routinely resisted our imperialist policies in the Middle East.  And let’s be honest…. supporting most of Obama’s policies?!?!?!?!?!  But MoveOn is big.  Sweet support.

justinspoliticalcorner:

While I voted for President Obama twice (2008, 2012) and support most of his policies, I think he is misguided on the handling of #Syria, with the exception of making Congress vote on whether or not to go to war or not with them. I understand that Bashar Al-Assad is a horrible Pinochet-esque man, but the US does NOT need to go into Syria. 

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

September 5, 2013
"

This week’s statement by the US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, that his country’s armed forces are preparing for a strike on Syria appears to have produced a marked shift in the public position taken by the Iranian leadership on Tehran’s primary Middle Eastern ally.

Early this year, Ali Akbar Velayati, the top international affairs adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said of Syria’s embattled president: “Bashar al-Assad is our red line and we will support him to the end.” Three weeks ago, the conservative Alef website featured a letter from Assad that was hand delivered to Khamenei, which read: “With the support of steadfast, visionary and strong allies like Iran we are certain of victory.”

On Wednesday, however, in his first meeting with President Hassan Rouhani’s new cabinet, Khamenei limited himself to expressing Iran’s strong kinship with Syria and characterising a potential western attack as “a certain catastrophe”. Avoiding any pledge of specific support, he raised his palms in prayer, saying: “I hope merciful God protects this region from the menace of America and Zionism and other evils.”

Khamenei’s silence about defending Assad was underscored by a subsequent report from the semi-official Fars news agency on a speech delivered by General Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. In extensive excerpts of his address to a conference of ground force commanders, there was not a single word about Syria.

A year ago, by contrast, Colonel Mohammad Ali Asoodi, the head of the guards’ culture and propaganda office, said: “If America attacks Syria, Iran, along with Syrian allies will go into action.”

"

The Guardian on Iran’s sentiments on Syria

September 4, 2013
"The situation will not remain the same, but war is also a big problem, and I am confident that the US will attack Syria."

Israeli PM Netanyahu

Well, if the Israeli PM promises it, we can be relatively sure the US government will make sure it happens….

September 3, 2013
Robert Fisk: Iran, not Syria, is the West’s real target

Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West


Before the stupidest Western war in the history of the modern world begins – I am, of course, referring to the attack on Syria that we all yet have to swallow – it might be as well to say that the cruise missiles which we confidently expect to sweep onto one of mankind’s oldest cities have absolutely nothing to do with Syria. 

They are intended to harm Iran. They are intended to strike at the Islamic republic now that it has a new and vibrant president – as opposed to the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – and when it just might be a little more stable.

Iran is Israel’s enemy. Iran is therefore, naturally, America’s enemy. So fire the missiles at Iran’s only Arab ally.

There is nothing pleasant about the regime in Damascus. Nor do these comments let the regime off the hook when it comes to mass gassing. But I am old enough to remember that when Iraq – then America’s ally – used gas against the Kurds of Hallabjah in 1988, we did not assault Baghdad. Indeed, that attack would have to wait until 2003, when Saddam no longer had any gas or any of the other weapons we had nightmares over.

And I also happen to remember that the CIA put it about in 1988 that Iran was responsible for the Hallabjah gassings, a palpable lie that focused on America’s enemy whom Saddam was then fighting on our behalf. And thousands – not hundreds – died in Hallabjah. But there you go. Different days, different standards.

And I suppose it’s worth noting that when Israel killed up to 17,000 men, women and children in Lebanon in 1982, in an invasion supposedly provoked by the attempted PLO murder of the Israeli ambassador in London – it was Saddam’s mate Abu Nidal who arranged the killing, not the PLO, but that doesn’t matter now – America merely called for both sides to exercise “restraint”. And when, a few months before that invasion, Hafez al-Assad – father of Bashar – sent his brother up to Hama to wipe out thousands of Muslim Brotherhood rebels, nobody muttered a word of condemnation. “Hama Rules” is how my old mate Tom Friedman cynically styled this bloodbath.

Anyway, there’s a different Brotherhood around these days – and Obama couldn’t even bring himself to say “boo” when their elected president got deposed.

But hold on. Didn’t Iraq – when it was “our” ally against Iran – also use gas on the Iranian army? It did. I saw the Ypres-like wounded of this foul attack by Saddam – US officers, I should add, toured the battlefield later and reported back to Washington – and we didn’t care a tinker’s curse about it. Thousands of Iranian soldiers in the 1980-88 war were poisoned to death by this vile weapon.

I travelled back to Tehran overnight on a train of military wounded and actually smelled the stuff, opening the windows in the corridors to release the stench of the gas. These young men had wounds upon wounds – quite literally. They had horrible sores wherein floated even more painful sores that were close to indescribable. Yet when the soldiers were sent to Western hospitals for treatment, we journos called these wounded – after evidence from the UN infinitely more convincing than what we’re likely to get from outside Damascus – “alleged” gas victims.

 So what in heaven’s name are we doing? After countless thousands have died in Syria’s awesome tragedy, suddenly – now, after months and years of prevarication – we are getting upset about a few hundred deaths. Terrible. Unconscionable. Yes, that is true. But we should have been traumatised into action by this war in 2011. And 2012. But why now? 

I suspect I know the reason. I think that Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless army might just be winning against the rebels whom we secretly arm. With the assistance of the Lebanese Hezbollah – Iran’s ally in Lebanon – the Damascus regime broke the rebels in Qusayr and may be in the process of breaking them north of Homs. Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West.

 And while we’re on the subject of war, what happened to those magnificent Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that John Kerry was boasting about? While we express our anguish at the hideous gassings in Syria, the land of Palestine continues to be gobbled up. Israel’s Likudist policy – to negotiate for peace until there is no Palestine left – continues apace, which is why King Abdullah of Jordan’s nightmare (a much more potent one than the “weapons of mass destruction” we dreamed up in 2003) grows larger: that “Palestine” will be in Jordan, not in Palestine.

 But if we are to believe the nonsense coming out of Washington, London, Paris and the rest of the “civilised” world, it’s only a matter of time before our swift and avenging sword smiteth the Damascenes. To observe the leadership of the rest of the Arab world applauding this destruction is perhaps the most painful historical experience for the region to endure. And the most shameful. Save for the fact that we will be attacking Shia Muslims and their allies to the handclapping of Sunni Muslims. And that’s what civil war is made of.

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