ISIS / ISIL, Syria & Iraq
Updated February 11, 2015


    Main Sections
        Introduction, Editor's Notes & Opinions, and (below that) some maps
  1. World News Article Links & Summaries from Mark Jensen & others
        1A: "Origins Of ISIL - And Implications" Some Key Refs (new Nov'15)
  2. ISIS/ISIL "±Official± Perspectives & Related Commentary"
  3. ISIS/ISIL & "Sykes-Picot"
  4. ISIS/ISIL & "Sykes-Picot" (±Radical± Perspective)
  5. ISIS/ISIL 2 (±Radical± Perspectives)
  6. ISIS/ISIL "Peace Blog on Whether to Attack ISIL" 9/11/14]
  7. ISIS/ISIL: Research & Misc
  8. Syria 2012-2014 -- Notes, Discussion, References (incl. map)
  9. Congressman McDermott's "Listening Session on Our Options in Syria" (facebook discussion)
  10. Bio-weaponry in Syria & Related Issues, EMAIL Discussion - Apr'13
  11. Syria Refs - Sep'13 & Jan'14
  12. Related References
  13. Editor / Site Info Including a Site Search Engine & link to the "About Page" and the "Chalice Bridge Update Page" (chronology of edits, additions, etc for last few years or more)
Poly-Psy Arts Logo © 2'05 Christopher Pringer

WHY Poly-Psy?
see the PolyPsyArts Home Page

PolyPsyArts Pages Updates
Political References Page

Includes many summaries, references to, as well as full prints of, (22+) articles from Mark Jensen of UFPPC, prolific editor/publisher -- in compiling and forwarding the more important news publications around the world on any current political issue -- sent out to the SNOW listserve before it was retired, and still prolifically to his own list.

Introduction & Editor's Notes / Opinions

      A huge compilation of articles, references, and more, this page is a work in progress. You may find your browser's word finder useful for detail searches. Thank you! [page initiated 9/16/14]

      Some Key Refs have been added or moved to the section, "Origins Of ISIL - And Implications" (new Nov'15). Which title in itself implies 'strategic pertinence.' Essentially, we do no one any favors by addressing this group as "ISIS" - except the group that wants to be "ISIS"...

      Some of the more on-point pro-active AND pro-peace reports (albeit Sept'14): "Instead of going back to war in the Middle East, President Obama should have announced more effective ways to degrade ISIS: full analysis on non-military ways to combat ISIS on Huffington Post." Related link: "8 Reasons Why Congress Should Vote No on Training and Funding Syrian Rebels." More recent articles referenced further below (see above page links)
[___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___] ===[=========== -------- ==============]=== [¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯]

Excerpts from posts at facebook by the editor:
Most recent listed first

          Post at
facebook for February 10-13, 2015: about "Providing the INFRASTRUCTURE for Cooperation or / vs 'The War on Terrorism'" - and thereby a strategy would end the threat of terrorism - an article at Poly-Psy Citizen Healing page, integrating the "Pragmatic Example 'Best Starts for Kids' - because an early environment has a lasting impact on kids" along with the economic facts and stats about military vs domestic spending, including the U.N. statistic that only 10% of the amount budgeted to the US military would ensure the essentials of life to EVERYONE in the world (!!!) - as elaborated in the chart noted and linked-to [in the 11/6/15 post below], and a few other concepts that might be considered common sense (as well). Some might consider this "magical thinking," however, the groundwork for the implementation has been laid, the resources, mechanisms, and people are in place, considering the Peace Tax Fund legislation (H.R. 2377, originally H.R. 2037 by Senator Hatfield) albeit tried and died since the 1970's, but especially the awareness and momentum as garnered by the Bernie Sanders campaign... IF we can begin now to put special effort toward making programs such as *Best Starts* the examples for preventative maintenance - vs poverty, crime, ignorance, And health on all levels for the world community... it may only take a generation or two (15-30 years) to fully pull the rug out from under terrorism, not to mention to garner the understanding necessary to build and maintain the foundation for solving problems between nations without colonization and war. Again, how and why this can work, technically and economically, is not new - but the time is new, and it is now - and all that is elaborated via the article and supportive references linked to in the article. And more will be built upon this over time, of course.

          December 9, 2015 Post at facebook "About that 'message for this season': My last post (Nov.25) about the holiday attitude management in lieu of the holiday terrorism warnings... Well, this last Sunday I heard the message that I would love to pass on in this regard. "A Message from the Masters" - a select collection of ancient wisdom in colloquial voice, I'm calling it.
          And since it really is *spot-on* for balancing the adrenalized brain with the spiritual heart in any tough circumstance, it's the perfect message for this season IMHO. Reverend James Kubal-Komoto of Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church put together and gave this talk, and can be heard here - select Dec.6, "All Will Be Well", as well as via text transcript. Enjoy! smile [Note that the prefacing poem by Adam Zagajewski (published in 2002) may seem a bit paradoxical, but again, the message (eternal) will put all in context. Thank you.]

          November 25, 2015 Post at facebook re: ISIS/ISIL & True Security vs that via "Spy Masters" "documentary" ...
            a) "Spy Masters" is the official response to ISEL's advertising efforts. Its overall message is "We are constantly and consciously engaged in moral dilemmas in order to weigh the methods by which we care for Americans, whereas look at these images [especially selected for shock effect] of what the terrorists do." This is designed to keep emotionally driven citizens relatively appeased (with a little shock & awenertainment with the beheading video) and at peace (as if to know our Homeland Security has it "all figured out" -- unless we want to travel abroad) during challenging times. Besides, the torture methods that actually work [as much as they do - enough for them to keep trying them] are not described in such "documentaries."
            b) Meanwhile, the newscasters chide the administration for not having a strategy, as if [the president's] beating his chest, poking others' egos, and giving away the current strategy would actually work against the terrorists. Besides, what inspires one may go over or around the head of another.
            c) Since the 18th century, our foreign policy was never decided strictly by the president, has increasingly been influenced by the Military Industrial Complex (for whose strategies fear-mongering does work well), and more recently that includes such entities as [those known as] the "Neo-Cons," various of which were installed in key places in the security and military apparatus, and operate "off the books as needed" via contractors.
            d) What is "True Security"? Same as it's always been- conscious awareness of individuals, striving for balance between brain and heart as engage any given situation, doing what they believe works in the long run, perhaps hoping that it will also work in the short run. As most of you know, more specifics around all that (by yours truly) has been posted steadily for years here and at my site, doing the best I can to simply, hopefully timely, remind us of what we already know on one level or another.

          November 24, 2015: Thank you, President Obama for using the term, "ISEL." Yet so many news casts as well as various tv drama series are still using the "ISIS" term [ In reference to the Nov. 21 post ]. That's just due to habit and ignorance, and not for the fear-based titillation, and thus for the ratings, right?

          November 21, 2015: Having difficulties finding a link to the actual interview (on public radio, Thursday, Nov 19), the major point of which I came away with being essentially that, we do no one any favors by addressing this group as "ISIS" - except the group that wants to be "ISIS" - although (to paraphrase the Muslim professor on public radio): about the only thing that ALL Muslims agree on, is that the *political* group ISIL [who calls itself "ISIS"] is not even Muslim, let alone so representative as to be called "ISIS." I added the most related ref-links I could find in the section just added, "Origins Of ISIL - And Implications."

          November 16, 2015: With regard to the recent attacks in Paris, as well as in New York on 9/11: When paranoia is understandable, incapacitation is uncalled for. Understanding and compassion goes hand in hand with creativity for the most productive response towards ALL concerned, strategically yet therapeutically, differently yet tactfully. EG: One best not unwittingly sabatage oneself on the psycho-emotional level while defending against extremism. Hint [in metaphor]: the most effective immune systems are highly complex, engaging cellular re-organization, adaptation, yet as guided by the heart's compassion as the individual may bring to bear. HeartMath Institute teaches this. With effort, the principle of "As Above, So Below" has pro-active application here. [Ref. [re: Immune/Attitude]]
      AND... as regards the below Nov 6th note on *incentive* for production and a whole lot of folks GREATLY benefiting from therapy, I was/am referring to those on BOTH extremes of the question. That is, as related to what constitutes proper vocational incentive, work place motivation, and what is defined as "healthy competition." Ref: "WORK ETHICS" at the "Citizen Healing" page.
          November 6, 2015: So, as Gayle Tzemach Lemmon of the Council on Foreign Relations put it on the Travis Smiley radio show this week, the Syria Strategy has been about "not making stupid mistakes." And yes, since it is due to that very thing, that we ARE in the Middle East, with that leading to ticking a whole lot of people off to the point where ISIL leaders can recruit way too many of those angry folks, and take enough territory and power, that the world has now become a much more dangerous and unpredictable place. So what strategy would end the threat of terrorism? I'm going to repeat in as brief, unredundant, and proactive a way as I can, that to end war, we have to re-invest our resources toward that joyously celebratory cooperative existence that we actually do want.
    Really - a chart of stats /facts is available, including the U.N. statistic that only 10% of the amount budgeted to the US military would ensure the essentials of life to EVERYONE in the world (!!!). Please see chart, "One Definition Of Insanity - (Paying For War When Peace Costs So Much Less)" just below this blog section.
One Definition Of Insanity (Thumbnail)
Thumbnail of "One Definition Of Insanity"
        EG: IF we cover the cost of all the basic needs of all the people (especially from conception to college, plus all-round health care, plus the infrastructure to support it, appropriate to each culture), THEN the recruiters will fail the power-brokers' needs for war-making -- which is much more expensive, ANY way you count it. The chart linked to at right puts it in numbers.
      IF we could agree on that, THEN the main question becomes HOW to facilitate that movement of resources - from the military budget and/or the 1%, EG: the corporations profiting from that. And IF we could agree on that, THEN I'm sure we can get sufficiently creative to manage the challenge.
      At this point (since I know that's a big 'THEN'), certain folks want to talk about *incentive* for production, right? And here's where I say, a whole lot of folks would GREATLY benefit from therapy. And psychologists and other therapists would get work besides tending store counters, relieving us all from the anger of too many intellectuals who can too easily and too often tell us what our problem is - which might be, come to think of it now, one of the underlying causes of war! laughing But actually, I am quite serious about the need for therapy, as well as our creative potential, while also fully acknowledging that nothing happens for free. [minor edits to this entry made 2/13/16]

          October 31, 2015: About the most recent surprise(±) plans or strategy initiation for Syria... Well, we've had time to study the situation, so I hope we're going about this with our heads on our shoulders - so we all keep them on, that is. And we're "not" coordinating missions with the Russians? Interesting. Testing new radar systems, eh? Whatever *works* - I guess we'll see - so to speak.
      On the other hand, to mirror part of my facebook note copied to the "Citizen Momentum" page, March 6-7: Feeling sucked into a WAR of EXTREMISTS? Yeah, [as if] we need to take that money, which we now all have so much of, to fight another war and further waste our resources so all but the arms and drugs merchants can be totally broke and dependent on them. Do we realize that EVERY need [that] EVERY person on this planet has - could be paid for many times over - for a fraction of what we spend - to fight those who feel so underfed, that they have to join extremists to make themselves heard??? [Please see chart, "One Definition Of Insanity" just below for the stats /facts on that.] Yes, they joined the extremists, but extremely few of them would have if they were prevented from it by simply making sure their basic needs were taken care of. In Other words, ITS a downward spiral that could've been prevented, and JUST MAYBE it's not to late for us to wise up and accomplish that. Remember that poster of Osama Bin Laden in the famous US Army recruiting pose saying, "We want you to attack Iraq?" -- Well, ISIS and fascist Israeli's - EXTREMISTS, that is, have got more Westernized extremists polarized in the opposite extreme. Please realize that extremists are attracted to extremists. I mean, it's really other extremists who they focus on most. IE: fundamentalist Christians who are also starving in too many ways and not just bodily nutrition. Well, they also focus on shock-loading those who make it too obvious they'd rather ignore them. All kind of a sado-masochistic affair, eh? So, maybe it's really about sexual abuse, since too many of us obviously don't know how go about sex healthfully. Ok, so Ready to join up for that war now? Was that sarcasm? Dang!

          February 11, 2015: About President Obama's "ISIS Proposal" [plans/ program/ etc] to "assist" in the fight against and/or recover the Middle-East from ISIS/ISIL:
     From the point of view of a Gestalt-Taoist-Buddhist, with experience as a student of war, as a former Marine, as a member of SNOW (Sound Non-Violent Opponents of War) activists for peace & justice, and of the "Seattle 12" who got arrested in 2002 to try to keep [the Bush Crew] from attaining capacity to declare war, who worked for peace for another four years or more as a member of VFP (Veterans for Peace), and who wrote the statements below as well as those on the many PolyPsyArts pages at this site (including those as regards the progress of our evolution human psycho-social maturation, how we manage our "leadership," etc.):
     THIS *STEP* is a grand improvement in approach as compared to the approach on the part of the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) which was (so obviously?) based in such grandly bad intentions and plans. On the other hand, I am not totally sure that this current move will not -in the near future (1-4 years)- be co-opted by members of PNAC (or whatever that has since progressed or degenerated into) which is still (obviously?) in operation via members installed by [the Bush Crew] in various departments of the Pentagon and intelligence agencies and via active contractors there of, covert or otherwise.
      My brothers in the VFP will not be so kind to the Obama administration. And in their favor, I do feel that it is indeed necessary for progressives to maintain extremely close watch and to, as constantly as necessary, remind our leadership of our highest core values in non-violence and peace. I'm sure I will soon be referencing most worthy and detailed analysis by writers very well known in the progressive community, and cherry-picking from those as to what I feel are the most relevant, etc.
      But realistically speaking, and I don't expect to make friends by saying this, but given the drastic intentions and actions on the part of extremists, albeit all that has contributed to motivate their existence and resolve, well, here we are where we have been for a very long time. And that is on a train going 100mph towards a cliff one mile away -- and yet the cliff may not precede a deep and wide chasm - necessarily. And that depends on those same two options we've always had: 1) to learn the hard way or 2) to realize we have the option of dropping our addictions (to whatever habits, physical, mental, or emotional) that blind us spiritually from learning how to work together, and then learn how to employ the fruits of that option.
      Meanwhile, for the day that we officially determine our military re-entry into Iraq and Syria, I would like to suggest a "Day of Mourning" - not for just the many that will die from that day forward, but for all those that have and will suffer from our not being able to solve foreign relations problems better than we do, and those who also suffer from the domestic crises that result from the diverting of resources. A simple but spiritually basic acknowledgment of our needs for healing - to awaken us to our responsibility to take care of those needs.
      If we were to believe that we are permanent, and always had to come back to learn what we didn't get in the previous time or situation - no matter how painful that would be to do that... well, that's what reincarnation and Karma is about: eternal responsibility for learning love - and all the responsibility and accountability that goes with that, and much more. No matter how many lifetimes it takes. By the way, that was not about immortality in the physical sense, although I do believe we can, as a result of the aforementioned healing, also learn to live much much longer, healthier, and happier lives.

          November 21, 2014: Ok. It's possible I optimistically oversimplified the potentials in my September & October notes (below)... On the other hand, ONE ISIL leader (out of how many dozens or more rebel leaders in Syria and Iraq) but the most militarily successful of them that is, has appointed himself *THE* spiritual director of/for ALL Muslims, requiring the immediate beheading of ANY Muslim who believes or professes otherwise, which doctrine also threatens most anyone else of any other belief. ("Austere Saudi creed..." "a kind of untamed Wahhabisim") Well, that simplifies it. Small Muslim countries in the Middle-East are now signing up. Fear-mongering works. Also simplifies the response of any simple-thinking adversary- not just "eye for an eye" but "head for..." Hence, General Dempsey, Head, I mean Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, says we can do it in four years ("Dempsey predicts 3- to 4-year war against ISIS") - provided we upgrade our military budget, per newly-wed congress of course. Making most fundamentalists everywhere very happy, particularly *THE* Muslim head of state - remember the recruiting poster with Osama saying, "We want YOU to invade Iraq"? Yes, We're into simple nowadays... Did I over-simplify that? [Noted & related references just below in section, "World News Article Links & Summaries from Mark Jensen & others"]
      [Sorry, but I continue to be astounded at how we humans repeat amazingly stupid patterns - except that a) that is one working psychological definition of a pattern, and b) just how humans learn, and thus the basis of reincarnation and karma. Yet, it still makes me want to take my drum and beat it while hollering "Wake Up" at the top of my lungs, as I did while marching up Queen Anne Avenue with Queen Anne SNOW activists in 2004 - and we did rouse some folks for a time, although obviously too few for too little time. After 2005 the hollering was about feeling the heart break, but also healing the (whole) situation. Now I think some of the old 2002 essays may be called for again: "Overcoming Political Disillusionment" or "Poly-Psy & Citizen Health, Recovering Democracy" -Chris, 11/22/14]

          October 3, 2014: I Need to add that the more and longer we deal militarily with ISIL (vs non-militarily), the more likely is that the extremist elements within ISIL will have more power, and thus the more likely and sooner the chances of their attempting direct attacks on those countries exercising military force against them.
          The case would seem to have already been made with (counter-) attacks on news journalists. On the other hand, they've been beheading their enemies (not to mention cutting the hands off of thieves, stoning people for sexual and other "crimes", etc) long before Western folks came around in any great numbers.
          Also consider that most of the millions of refugees from the Iraq war settled in Syria. Many of these were children of those who were killed by helicopter gunships as well as "insurgent" car bombs, IED's, etc. That probably makes for at least a few hundred thousand very angry people. I re-emphasize: it's just not good policy to continually risk ticking these folks off, certainly without expressing good reasons - CREDIBLE to those that will determine the expression of their reactions.
          [ IMHO, Based on summary analysis of other's analysis of news reports. But if the last paragraph sounds familiar, as if from 2009 posts on facebook, or during the Bush years on the PolyPsyList or via this or various sites, well, I appreciate your memory. ]

          September 18, 2014: I think ISIL will take care of it's own extremists, not to mention Al Caida, if/when they have to manage things on their own, eg: when US soldiers aren't there to "help" manage things, to piss them off and/or fulfill their warrior dreams and take their fire. These tribes generally can live and work together only when they have a great deal of their own preferred type of structure among themselves, which the Sykes-Picot agreement screwed up. That is whether they retain ISIL as it is or not, and I believe that will transition to something much more moderate, if... EG: If we stop giving them things to react to they'll focus on themselves, and they will respect us for it enough to keep their extremists from attacking us or other countries that aren't interfering in their self-governance business. And it will be difficult for us to watch for some years, but we should've proved to ourselves (as we definitely have to them) that we are not capable of directing their affairs.

          September 11, 2014: Well, been wondering... about kids proving their manhood -- and now, proving it to the whole world ('cause everyone knows we're all connected now) -- kids of many many different belief systems -- some quite extreme -- often very tangled up in interesting ways in how one's extremism opposes another's -- and then how much money is provided for armaments to fight each other and the costs of post action rehabilitation/ healing -- AND how comparatively little money it would take to provide the preventative training for proper parenting and/or therapy and/or nutrition and/or education during childhood and adolescence -- for them and anyone else these kids could think they needed to prove something to [for actual stats supporting that statement, see "One Definition of Insanity" on many PolyPsy pages] -- except that once all those things were provided, well, no one would be fooled into thinking they needed their basic needs provided since they'd already be provided -- uhm, ahem...

Thank you,
--Chris Pringer, editor
  PolyPsyArts, ChaliceBridge.Com
Love Was Their Religion

Making It Conscious by Carl Jung
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate." ~ Carl Jung

Democratic Socialism - by Bernie Sanders

Karma Learng Love Shield, Chris Pringer

Noam Chomsky On Democracy

The Most Terrifying Thing is to Accept Oneself Completely-Carl Gustav Jung via GoodTherapy.Org
"The Most Terrifying Thing is to Accept Oneself Completely" -Carl Gustav Jung via GoodTherapy.Org

Bernie Sanders On Muslims Working Things Out

I want YOU to Attack Iraq ~ as would sayeth Osama on US military recruiting poster
...As our military would be invited -by extremists- to recruit our kids and send them to the Middle-East

All Religions & Chalice Scale Over PiChalice Intwined-Heart Earth by Chris Pringer
All Religions & Chalice Scale Over PiChalice Intwined-Heart Earth by Chris Pringer


vUSPALogo5a-Thm Chris Pringer vUSPA, PolyPsyArts

PeaceFlagEarthChalice3a Chris Pringer PolyPsyArts
"Invocation for True Representation of Middle-Eastern Peoples" invoking at World Healing Prayers Page ~ Chris Pringer PolyPsyArts 2011 (click to see full size)

Spiritual Battles Balancing the Chalice Within [John Pettie Knight(Cut&ReTouched)] Ovr3DMultiChaliceVtxMistO'VBrF&TOL Chris Pringer, 3'13

Is that Lancelot? Or YOU with your shining armor, lance, and cloak of truth?" ?
What's WRONG with this picture?
(And, yes, what's also right with it?)

What about how we (most folks) relate to the archetype of Knighthood? And how many people (not just guys) relate that archetype (consciously or unconsciously) to our own self-image as related to military service? (And what about that armor, shining or not? Rolfers and Integrative Bodywork practitioners might have an answer for you, by the way smile with far, far-reaching psychological implications, however.) Granted, I could think of far far worse archetypes for someone bent on going to war - ie: those unassociated with such attributes as chivalry. And what does the "Holy Grail" represent? (more about "Pragmatic Balance" than extremism perhaps?). BIG HINT about that archetype being associated to military service: What if I said spiritual battles were meant to be fought within? And that the grail legend was / is about recovering balance (and recovering from EXTREMISM) as as essential part of that (at least eventually through our evolution as humans)? "Spiritual Battles & Wars, Systems of Structure & Learning": Structure, or the felt need for it is, IMO, the underlying basis of fundamentalism (of any belief system), which is the basis of extremism, which is the basis of most terrorism we hear about today.

[Hence the chalice art at this site, whether for "spiritual" purposes or not. In the above art by Chris Pringer 3'13, the knight was cut from a re-touched photo of painting, "The Vigil" by John Pettie (1839-1893)]

TrendsToWhat, Chris Pringer, 6'16

"Thresholds, Changing Trends, and Learning from Extremism" at the page, "New Information & Facilitating Paradigm Shift Potential." Initiating with a slightly eclectic introduction, the writing provides a fair amount of the scholastics and background research on "Threshold Effect"," and "Classic threshold models - the two most pertinent - as well as a few related uses for this variable that is useful for recognizing, assessing, and predicting key events and trends in processes. Trends being the operant word, since the current times 2015-2016 have been especially remarkable for their unpredictability. Also includes a pertainant review of Granovetter's model in Malcolm Gladwell's article, "Thresholds Of Violence" -- about the "school-shooting epidemic," "The Power of Context" and "The Tipping Point." As well as some implications - but with considerations for practical application, including for how to take all this in - AND references, including an extensive list copied from the Wikipedia page on Conscience. Finishes up with a summary assembly of context usages of "threshold effect" at the site. [New, June 2016]


One Definition of Insanity (paying for war when peace costs so much less)


How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?

How much of this is spent by the U.S.?

What percent of US military spending would ensure
the essentials of life to EVERYONE in the world ?
(according the UN, & includes education, of course)
$900+ billion

10% (That is about $40 billion, the amount of funding initially requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan in 2002).
National Priorities .Org

      Q1:    "The main rationale for war generally boils down to lack of sustenance" - ie: due to the planet not having sufficient resources ?
      Q2:    "It's about Terrorism" ? Or, how many people would support extremists, IF everyone already had all they needed (basic needs and much more, which obviously could be afforded, were it not for the addiction to arms) ?
      Q3:    About someone's lifestyle, RELIGION, or values being threatening to "our own"?


     A1:   The above stats clearly do not support that notion shaking out with Reality. That is, the claim about planetary resources has been a lie, certainly for the last 150 years. In fact, that will only be true if we don't prevent climate change before it has gone on too long. But indeed, poverty and fear-of-lack has almost always provided the basis of war, and/or the excuse of the power-addicted, as well as sufficient circumstance, desparation, and fodder for terrorism.
      A2:    No and very few (not near enough to give cause for the risk). This assumes (after these needs are met) that there would be some amount of cooperative international policing capability, of course, with substantially reduced redundancy (not to mention "over-kill" capacity). When will we realize that EVERY basic *need* [that] EVERY person on this planet has - could be paid for many times over - for a fraction of what we spend - to fight those who feel so underfed, that they have to join extremists to make themselves heard (???), since that is when the recruiters will fail to meet the power-brokers' requirements for war-making -- which is much more expensive, ANY way you count it.
      A3:    Any psychologist, let alone anthropologist, will tell you that we cannot survive on this planet without diversity, and thence the respect for it. Scientists will tell you that goes for plant and animal species as well. (Q: Have we not yet learned from politicians who play with religious fervor and the freedom jealousy thing - on the emotions of the emotionally led?   A: One only hopes so!)
      A1-3:    The main point being, *Need* is NOT what motivates war - By about 90% or $800 Billion !!! (per the U.N., pre-Iraq War!) The real cause of war or terrorism is "Desire" by those who don't know when enough is enough (things or power), who don't know the difference between *Need* and *Desire,* and thus fail to deal appropriately with HOW the resources are distributed - and NOT. And to thus continue using problem-solving methods that increase the number and size of problems - is that not one definition of insanity? Vs such as those as could be accomplished by those discussed in "Providing the INFRASTRUCTURE for Cooperation" and the awareness and momentum as garnered by the Bernie Sanders campaign, the Peace Tax Fund legislation (H.R. 2377, originally H.R. 2037 by Senator Hatfield), & via the below links.

Do you want to make a difference in the politicized economy? Please consider these VIEWS and RESOURCES as needed (on other pages at this site)
[Parts Added 12'15, 2'16: a) about planetary resource availability in A1; after "When will we realize" in A2; & after "By about 90% or $800 Billion!!!" b) re: "Providing INFRASTRUCTURE..." and Bernie Sanders, Peace Tax Fund in A1-3 c) CostOfWar.Com became NationalPriorities.Org ]


Some MAPS & Timeline of Events

         The top two maps are from "Battle for Iraq and Syria in maps" at BBC -- among many more maps plus various charts there, as well as the apparently quite complete "Timeline of ISIL related events" (on different page)
         NOTE: "...the UN estimates there are 1.8 million Iraqis who have been forced to leave their homes to escape the conflict with IS and are now living in temporary accommodation elsewhere in the country." (Excerpt from same page) The numbers on the map pertain to those "Registered" - without discussion of what that entail for an Iraqi refugee who may have reasons to not register. ~cp

Exceptionally detailed at the larger (HUGE) sizes: Syria and Iraq 2014 onward War map (not included below)

_77746071_syria_refugees_624_22_sep_2014.jpg _77820373_iraq_syria_oil_624v2.gif
MiddleEast'Pol'Map iran map
Middle-East 'Political' map (on left)                               Middle-East map, Iran-centered, US Bases (on right)


1. World News Article Links & Summaries from Mark Jensen & Others

Most Recent Listed 1st
Not nearly a complete set from Mark Jensen's many informative posts at UFPPC.Org / US & World News)

1A. "Origins Of ISIL - And Implications"
Some Key Refs with 'strategic pertinence' (new Nov'15)

"ISIS, ISIL Or Islamic State: What's In A Name?"
NPR.Org Updated September 15, 2014 3:01 PM ET
Excerps: "The Obama administration favors the term ISIL. Many Western news outlets have switched to calling the group 'the Islamic State.' And in general, ISIS might be the most ubiquitous acronym. ...Jonah Blank is a former staffer at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he advised Joe Biden and John Kerry when they were senators. He's now at the RAND Corp. think tank. He tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that the militant organization is waging a propaganda war — and what name it goes by is part of that war. ...Islamic State- This is the term used by the organization itself these days, and it speaks to their ambitions. 'They're claiming to represent all Muslims everywhere — they have declared the establishment of a new caliphate,' Blank says. 'So if they are to actually own this term, that'll be a huge propaganda victory for them.' ...Compared with ISIS, the group's old name, and ISIL, that alternate acronym, the newest identifier — 'the Islamic State' — is a key piece of propaganda for the group, especially when it comes to targeting potential terrorist recruits. 'That's a very potent area of propaganda, because ISIS has attracted potentially thousands of foreign fighters, and none of these foreign fighters see themselves as terrorists. They see themselves as knights. They see themselves as mujahedeen. They see themselves as freedom fighters,' Blank says. 'So they're very interested in fighting for the Islamic State, and they do not regard what they are doing as in any way an act of terrorism.' ...Part of the problem is that there are several different narratives for different audiences. For the American audience — for the American people — the narrative has got to be, 'Your government will protect you. Your government will protect American interests,' he says. 'However, the big narrative for ISIS is, who is going to defeat them? Is this the battle that the United States will be waging? Is this a battle for the world community to be waging? Or is this a battle that really has got to be waged by Muslims and particularly by Sunni Muslims? That's a totally different narrative, and it's one that the U.S. can facilitate, but the U.S. cannot really control.' "

"What is the Islamic State?"
[at PBS] By Zachary Laub, online writer/editor, and Jonathan Masters, deputy editor at the Council on Foreign Relations, November 16, 2015 at 2:20 PM EST.
Incl. sections, "What are the Islamic State’s origins?" "How has the Islamic State expanded?" "What is the Islamic State’s relationship with al-Qaida?" "How is the Islamic State financed?" "Does the Islamic State pose a threat beyond Iraq and Syria?" "What is U.S. strategy vis-à-vis the Islamic State?" originally published in June 2014 and updated in November 2015

By David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, September 24, 2014
Mark Jensen's Summary at
BACKGROUND: The Islamic State is 'a kind of untamed Wahhabisim'
Most of Western mainstream media describe ISIS (a.k.a. ISIL, a.k.a. the Islamic State) either as a version of al-Qaeda, barbarism, evil incarnate, or some combination of these, but on Thursday the *New York Times* carried a background piece offering a calm account of Islamic State thinking. -- ISIS has "clear roots" in Wahhabism, an 18th-century Islamic revival movement that is the foundation of the Saudi state, David Kirkpatrick said.[1] -- In fact, the Islamic State "circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls." -- But Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (who on Jun. 29 declared himself the Caliph Ibrahim) has added two elements to Wahhabi ideology: a liberation movement aimed at Western imperialism, and the restored caliphate as an actual political goal. -- Barack Obama would like to assimilate ISIS to al-Qaeda in order to claim that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) applies, but in fact ISIS's approach is "is at odds with the more mainstream Islamist and jihadist thinking that forms the genealogy of Al Qaeda, and it has led to a fundamentally different view of violence." -- Al Qaeda views Muslim states and societies as having fallen into sinful unbelief and embraces violence as a tool to redeem them, but "the Wahhabi tradition embrace[s] the killing of those deemed unbelievers as essential to purifying the community of the faithful." -- Prof. Emad Shahin of Georgetown said that the Islamic State "is not al-Qaeda, but far to its right."

"The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)" [at wikipedia]
also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham,[28] Daesh, or simply Islamic State (IS), is a Wahhabi/Salafi jihadist extremist militant group, self-proclaimed to be a caliphate and Islamic state. It is led by and mainly composed of Sunni Arabs from Iraq and Syria. As of March 2015, it has control over territory occupied by 10 million people in Iraq and Syria, and through loyal local groups, has control over small areas of Libya, Nigeria and Afghanistan. The group also operates or has affiliates in other parts of the world, including North Africa and South Asia.
          Related: A SUMMARY OF WIKIPEDIA'S ACCOUNT OF ISIS By Henry Adams
Mark Jensen's Summary, 6/13/2014: For those without the time or patience to peruse it themselves, here is a summary of the information in the Wikipedia article on ISIS. -- Or, if you prefer, ISIL. -- The difference hinges on the difficulty of translating the Arabic term *al-Sham*, which refers not to present-day Syria but so-called 'Greater Syria,' often dubbed 'the Levant' in modern Western literature and encompassing the Eastern Mediterranean region. -- Either translation is defensible. -- A few other related sources have also been consulted.

ISIS declares caliphate restored as 'The Islamic State'
Mark Jensen's Summary, 6/30/2014
ISIS chose Sunday [prior to 6/30/2014], the beginning of Ramadan, to declare that ISIS (or ISIL, for 'Islamic State of Iran and al-Sham [i.e. 'the Levant' or 'Greater Syria'] has achieved the restoration of the Islamic caliphate and is now "The Islamic State." -- "A spokesman for the new entity . . . said the group's chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remains its leader, and called on residents in areas under its control to swear allegiance to al-Baghdadi and support him," USA Today* reported.[Ref.1 "IRAQ MILITANTS ANNOUNCE NEW ISLAMIC STATE" By Oren Dorell ] -- "The group . . . has developed an elaborate bureaucracy and an efficient model of governance, providing modern social services together with medieval justice," and "has supporters in Jordan, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia," Oren Dorell said.
         The *Washington Post* said the historic declaration of "the restoration of the 7th-century Islamic caliphate" was "an ambitious challenge to al-Qaeda’s established leadership."[Ref.2 "MILITANTS MAKING HEADWAY IN IRAQ AND SYRIA DECLARE CREATION OF FORMAL ISLAMIC STATE" By Liz Sly and Loveday Morris ] -- "ISIS’s chief, an Iraqi known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be the caliph, or leader, of the new caliphate, and all Muslims worldwide will be required to pay allegiance to him," Liz Sly and Loveday Morris said. -- An analyst at the Brookings Doha Center said that "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has declared war on al-Qaeda." -- Sly and Loveday said that according to the statement "The state will cover lands now under Islamic State control, stretching from the northern Syrian province of Aleppo to the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala." -- Wikipedia, always up to date, has already changed the name of its article on the entity to The Islamic State. ( ) -- The declaration of the founding of the caliphate is a lengthy document. -- It declares that "the shaykh (sheikh), the mujahid, the scholar who practices what he preaches, the worshipper, the leader, the warrior, the reviver, descendent from the family of the Prophet, the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn ‘Awwad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badri al-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by lineage, as-Samurra’i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by residence and scholarship" has "accepted the bay’ah (pledge of allegiance)" and is therefore "the imam and khalifah for the Muslims everywhere. Accordingly, the 'Iraq and Sham' in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration."
         [Ref.3 "THIS IS THE PROMISE OF ALLAH" ] -- "[I]t is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the khalifah Ibrahim and support him," it states. -- Though the call is a universal appeal, declaring "By Allah, if you disbelieve in democracy, secularism, nationalism, as well as all the other garbage and ideas from the west, and rush to your religion and creed, then by Allah, you will own the earth, and the east and west will submit to you. This is the promise of Allah to you," it specifically tells other jihadists that "the legality of your groups and organizations has become invalid," and indeed these organizations are its chief target, since it says that "nothing has delayed victory and delays it now more than these organizations." [The full text is posted at the same URL as this summary.]

"The Gatekeepers" (Video)
A reference, as related to area politics, enemies, frenemies, etc, "IMHO, this is the video that Netanyahu would love no one to see: a 2012 documentary about, via interviews of six retired directors of Israel's domestic spy agency, the Shin Bet (who had reigned during most of the years between 1988-2011). These men, interviewed in their elder years, share how and why it was that they came to do what they did, how they think or feel years later as they now regret their actions, especially having also witnessed the repercussions then and much later. Amazing that both the current circumstances AND this video even exists. Includes excerpts from a linked review of the documentary. Added at the Political Reference Page, section on Iran/Israel, et-all (March 27, 2015). Section includes many other annotated article links on Netanyahu and/or his speech before the US Congress about Iran, and many that are representative of the more informative articles over the last few years from the middle-left to progressive-left.

1B. World News Article Links & Summaries

Opinion By Leonard Pitts Jr., News Tribune (Tacoma) (originally published in the *Miami Herald* on Nov. 19), November 20, 2014
Mark Jensen's Summary at
COMMENTARY: What, in the name of God?
The outrages perpetrated by the Islamic State are making vivid and direct forms of speech that have long been dead metaphors in the modern era. -- The exclamation "What in the name of God?" is one of them, as Leonard Pitts Jr. pointed out in a column this week. -- "Ordinarily, it is only rhetorical, something you might say if you came home to find police cars parked in front of your house. -- But it takes on a painful literalness following the latest video from the Islamic State, or ISIS, the barbarian army of extremists that has swept through Syria and Iraq."[1] -- Pitts commented on the murder of Peter Kassig, an Iraq war veteran who had devoted himself to humanitarian work. -- Kassig even converted to Islam, taking the name Abdul-Rahman, but that made no difference to Islamic State illuminati. -- But what really impressed Pitts was the dignity and elevation of the actions and statements of Peter Kassig's parents, Paul and Ed Kassig. -- "His mother said with an assurance that lifted you as tides lift boats, -- 'Our hearts are battered, but they will mend. -- The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end and good will prevail as the one God of many names will prevail.' -- His father asked for prayer. -- He said the family would 'mourn, cry, and yes, forgive.'"

By Brendan McGarry,, November 19, 2014
Mark Jensen's Summary at
NEWS: Dempsey predicts 3- to 4-year war against ISIS
Speaking at a conference in the nation's capital on Wednesday, U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted that the war against the Islamic State would be a "protracted three- to four-year campaign," reported.[1] -- "When discussing Iraq, Dempsey said, 'This is my third shot at Iraq, and that's probably a poor choice of words,'" Brendan McGarry said. -- The 62-year-old general has a master's degree in literature from Duke University ( ) (with a thesis on the Celtic Twilight), and he should know better than to make such vacuous statements. -- His crystal-gazing can be compared with that of a former secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, who opined in early October that the U.S. is now involved in "a kind of thirty-year war." ( )

On "Responsibility for war" [sic?]
Mark Jensen's Summary at
NEWS & COMMENT: Congress failing to face responsibility for war on ISIS
The U.S. has been at war against the Islamic State since August and has spent about a billion dollars on the enterprise. -- But apart from a bill ( ) to aid "appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals," Congress, which under the Constitution holds the war power (Article I: "The Congress shall have the Power . . . To declare War"), has been inert. -- On Thursday, *Stars and Stripes* reported that "President Barack Obama’s decision to reverse course and seek a congressional authorization for the war against the Islamic State has so far served only to reignite criticism of his entire military strategy against the extremists."[1] -- On Friday, Politico said that "There appears to be no consensus among either party’s members about what an AUMF should say, what it should prohibit or how long it should last."[2] -- Earlier in the week, Sen. Rand Paul pointed out the the war is now, in fact, illegal, quoting a Yale law prof: "Yale Professor Bruce Ackerman puts it succinctly: -- 'The war against the Islamic State is now illegal. -- The War Powers Resolution of 1973 gave President Obama 60 days to gain consent from Congress and required him to end "hostilities" within 30 days if he failed to do so. -- This 90-day clock expired this week.' -- And yet, there’s been no consent, and no end to the fighting. -- I believe the president must come to Congress to begin a war. -- I also believe the War Powers Act is misunderstood; -- President Obama acted without true constitutional authority even before the 90 days expired, since we were not under attack at that time."[3] -- COMMENT: This absurd situation is another demonstration of the decrepitude of constitutionalism in the United States after several generations of the imperial presidency.

By Travis J. Tritten, Stars and Stripes, November 13, 2014

By Jeremy Herb and Philip Ewing, Politico, November 14, 2014

By Sen. Rand Paul, The Daily Beast, November 10, 2014; "The president is subverting the Constitution -- and America's latest undeclared war in the Middle East is just the latest example."

By Helene Cooper and Michael D. Shear, New York Times, November 8, 2014 (posted Nov. 7)
Mark Jensen's Summary at
NEWS: US sending more troops to Iraq -- 'with what porpoise?,' as Lewis Carroll would say
On Friday the *New York Times* said that the fact that the announcement of 1,500 more U.S. troops being sent back to Iraq came three days after midterm elections "raised the question" whether the administration "decided to wait until after the elections to minimize further damage to Democratic candidates."[1] -- "[S]enior administration officials denied that Mr. Obama waited until after the elections to announce the deployment so as not to alarm an already skittish electorate." -- It's sheer coincidence that it was just after midterm elections that Iraqi forces "reached the point where they need additional help and guidance," according to Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, and that the administration needed to make a request for $5 billion, which "will be presented to Congress during the lame-duck session that begins next week." -- Further illustrating the administration's clear-sightedness and sincerity, "Officials said the decision to send additional troops was based on what they said was legal authority the president already has from Congress." -- "But they said the president wanted a new authorization from Congress for continuing American military action in Iraq and Syria, which Mr. Obama has said will last into the presidency of his successor." -- Here's Adm. Kirby's story, and he's sticking to it: "'We did spend a lot of money and effort training the Iraqi Army,' Admiral Kirby said. -- 'When we left them in 2011, we left them capable.' He said the Maliki government 'squandered' the American military’s training of Iraqi troops, but expressed optimism that things will be different now. -- 'This is a completely different game,' he said, pointing to a recent visit by Mr. Abadi to Anbar Province to engage Sunni leaders in the fight against the Islamic State." -- COMMENT: And, Adm. Kirby might have added, this completely different game is a very difficult one, where the players all play at once, without waiting for turns, quarreling all the while, while the Caliph stamps about, shouting "Off with his head!" about once in a minute. -- And it's a game where onlookers are beginning to feel very uneasy: even if they themselves have not as yet had any dispute with the Caliph, they know it might happen at any minute. -- "And then," think they, "what would become of us?" -- "They're dreadfully fond of beheading people here: the great wonder is, that there's any one left alive!"

Bush-War-era Politicians: "We Are Baaaaaccccckkkkkk"
(Two November 4-5, 2014 News Articles Referenced)
Mark Jensen's Summary at
NEWS & COMMENT: 'Bush-era throwbacks' elected to Congress
The rise in Republican ranks of Joni Ernst, elected senator from Iowa on Tuesday in a 52%-44% victory over her Democratic opponent, "is a signal that the backlash against George W. Bush, both inside and outside the Republican Party, is ending," *The Week* reported.[1] -- Other 'Bush-era throwbacks' elected to the Senate on Tuesday include Cory Gardner in Colorado and Tom Cotton in Arkansas. -- In the House, neocon Elise Stefanik, 30, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress by winning an upstate-New York seat. -- "The victory of Senate hawks has also put NSA reforms and the CIA torture report in serious doubt, with Senate Intelligence Committee member Mark Udall (D-CO) losing his seat," Jason Ditz of said.[2] -- "Udall was one of the most public critics of government surveillance and intelligence community abuses, and the committee’s pending reshuffle with more pro-surveillance, pro-torture figures could spell the end to a push for reform."

Mark Jensen's Summary at
NEWS: Lower profile to elude ISIS attacks, Pentagon tells employees
On Wednesday the *Washington Times* was the first to report that the Pentagon Force Protection Agency has told employees and their families to vary routines and hide evidence of links to the military in order to reduce the danger of attacks "directed or inspired by the Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," [1] -- Employees were advised to "alter their ways of life" in eleven ways, Rowan Scarborough said. -- Pieces of advice included "Remove decals and other identifiers from clothing and vehicles" and "Do not post any opposition to terrorist groups." -- Employees were advised: "It is important that you ensure all members of your family are made aware of this valuable information so they not only protect themselves, but also become an integral part of the overall community antiterrorism effort."

(Three October 17, 2014 News Articles Referenced)
Mark Jensen's Summary at
NEWS: Islamic State reportedly training pilots to fly MiGs
Reuters posted an article Friday reporting that a spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is saying that "Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets."[1] -- "[I]f the report is confirmed, this would be the first time it has been able to pilot warplanes," Sylvia Westall said. -- The planes are said to be MiG-21s or MiG-23s captured from the Syrian military, and they are said to be flown from the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo. -- A spokesman for CENTCOM said that the U.S. was "not aware" of such flights. -- AFP also reported on the assertion, adding that "Witnesses have reported seeing planes flying at a low altitude to avoid detection by radar after taking off from Jarrah" and that "The jihadists also control two other airports in Syria -- Albu Kamal near the Iraqi border and Tabqa in Raqa province."[2] -- The Associated Press also led its Friday piece on the Islamic State with the report, but devoted most of its report to news about the Isalmic state offensives targeting Kobani on the Syria-Turkey border and the Iraqi city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province.[3] -- BACKGROUND: The MiG-23 is a Soviet plane designed to rival fighters like the F-4 Phantom, which can carry nine tons of weapons and fly at Mach 2.2, and which was used extensively in Vietnam. -- The MiG-21 is also a supersonic fighter jet that is still in service in many countries. [Not included in Mark's Summary: These old jets may have minimal military impact, but they could provide significant psychological impact upon minds: boosting moral of ISIL fighters, devastating that of their enemies- as it was noted in the 3rd of the referenced articles; and perhaps confusing some civilians as to who they are being attacked by. -cp]

By Susan Page, USA Today, October 6, 2014
Mark Jensen's Summary at
NEWS: Leon Panetta says US in 'a kind of 30-year war' with ISIS
In an interview published Monday, Leon Panetta, a former CIA director and former secretary of defense, told *USA Today*'s Susan Page that the war against ISIS will be "a kind of 30-year war."[1] -- Panetta wholeheartedly endorsed such a war, saying: "I really believe in the president's power as commander-in-chief to protect this country." -- President Obama was "right" to "take us to war against ISIS," he said. -- ISIS "may not be al-Qaeda," he said, but "they represent the fanaticism, the terrorism, they represent the kind of evil nature of that kind of Islamic extremism that is just as dangerous as al-Qaeda." -- "We very well may need special forces" on the ground in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, Panetta said. -- Despite his criticism of Obama's leadership, he said the president "may have found himself again with regards to this ISIS crisis." -- COMMENT: The attitudes and beliefs expressed by Leon Panetta -- indeed, his very career -- and the way they are implicitly endorsed by *USA Today* reflect the fact that constitutional government in the United States has collapsed and been replaced by agencies of the national security state. -- Agencies supposedly directed by the president and overseen by Congress in fact constitute a permanent, unelected deep state that along with corporations, which increasingly perform its outsourced functions, determine the long-term policies of the country. -- These national security state institutions, created in the years following World War II and constantly growing despite President Dwight Eisenhower's warning in his prescient 1961 farewell address, define issues, manipulate media, and present policies to be rubber-stamped by compliant "leaders." -- Thus Panetta, despite his years in Congress, is perfectly happy to have a president embark on a "30-year war" without any congressional vote.

Democracy Now, October 3, 2014
Mark Jensen's Summary at
INTERVIEW: 'US created the very threat that it claims to be fighting' (Jeremy Scahill)
Taking a longer view of the current war against the Islamic State, Jeremy Scahill said in a Democracy Now! interview Friday that "the United States, through its policies, created the very threat that it claims to be fighting now, and in continuing this policy, what President Obama is doing is embracing the very lies that made the Cheney-Bush Iraq War possible."[1] -- "And in the process," Scahill added, Obama is "creating yet another generation of people in the Islamic world who are going to grow up in a society where they believe that their religion is being targeted . . . this is sort of an epic formula for blowback." -- Scahill also described a number of Orwellian redefinitions of words ("imminent"; "innocent civilian") that help the U.S. present the consequences of its military attacks as palatable. -- Thanks to Robert James Parsons for sending this piece.

"Kobani Aristrikes Highlight Limit Of U.S. Strategy Against ISIS" NPR, Wednesday, October 08, 2014 1:18 PM: The U.S. has been bombing ISIS targets in Syria, but that has not stopped the self-proclaimed Islamic State from threatening civilians in the country.

"Judging Effectivenes Of Airstrikes Against ISIS Remains A Challenge" NPR, Wednesday, October 08, 2014 1:18 PM: There have been about 400 airstrikes so far in Iraq and Syria. We take a look at the impact in both countries, whether the Islamic State fighters have been slowed, and the way ahead.

"More Iraqi Civilians Reportedly Killed Us Led Bombings" Common Dreams, 10/7/14

INTERVIEW: 'US created the very threat that it claims to be fighting' (Jeremy Scahill) Democracy Now, October 3, 2014: Summary from Mark Jensen: Taking a longer view of the current war against the Islamic State, Jeremy Scahill said in a Democracy Now! interview Friday that "the United States, through its policies, created the very threat that it claims to be fighting now, and in continuing this policy, what President Obama is doing is embracing the very lies that made the Cheney-Bush Iraq War possible."[1] -- "And in the process," Scahill added, Obama is "creating yet another generation of people in the Islamic world who are going to grow up in a society where they believe that their religion is being targeted . . . this is sort of an epic formula for blowback." -- Scahill also described a number of Orwellian redefinitions of words ("imminent"; "innocent civilian") that help the U.S. present the consequences of its military attacks as palatable. -- Thanks to Robert James Parsons for sending this piece.

At its regular meeting on Thurs., Sept. 18, 2014, United for Peace of Pierce County (WA) adopted a statement rejecting President Barack Obama's strategy to combat ISIS as "absurd and dangerous." -Mark Jensen

          To re-quote (just a little of much wisdom included in) the statement "ABSURD AND DANGEROUS" by UFPPC / Mark Jensen, September 18, 2014:
          "...Even Thomas Friedman thinks that doing nothing would be better than what the administration has set in motion. It is true that the caliphate of the Islamic State is piling crime upon crime and is responsible for 'acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale,' as the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a Sept. 1 report. But these are precisely the acts that doom it to destruction. Given the recent history of the United States in the region, American intervention only strengthens the Islamic State by enhancing its appeal, as a hurricane gathers energy when it passes over warmer water. Armed American interventions in the Middle East multiply, not diminish, Islamic terrorism. As Dominique de Villepin said on Sept. 9, it is 'absurd and dangerous' to think that an American-led anti-ISIS coalition is the best strategy to address this urgent international problem. In fact, such an undertaking is guaranteed to make matters worse."

BACKGROUND: Moscow brokers US-Syria deal to allow anti-ISIS airstrikes inside Syria

A U.S. arrangement with Syria has been worked out with Russian mediation to enable U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets without the risk of anti-aircraft fire from the Syrian military, Robert Parry reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed "source briefed on the secret arrangements."[1] -- Parry also suggested that one of the motivating factors in the West's provocation of the Ukraine crisis was a desire among certain parties to subvert the emerging cooperation of Washington and Moscow in the Middle East. -- Perhaps, Parry said, "despite the U.S.-Russian estrangement over the Ukraine crisis, the cooperation between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been extinguished; it has instead just gone further underground." - Mark Jensen

By Robert Parry, Consortium News, September 17, 2014

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [vfp-all] Does the Public Want More War?
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:22:48 -0500
From: David Culver

Wait a second. People who want the US to "solve problems" are asking the US to "flex muscle"?
      The Media and War, June 27, 2014

Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

September 2, 2014 | If you've been tuning in to TV news lately, there's been a lot of chatter about what sort of military action the United States should take against the Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. While the public isn't eager for any new wars, the front page of USA Today was trying to change that narrative.

The paper's August 29 edition boasted the front-page headline "More Want US to Flex Muscle." As if that militaristic tone wasn't obvious enough, right next to it is a graphic labeled "Is Obama Tough Enough?"
Peter Hart: Activism Director and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003).

Full story …

The Media and War, June 27, 2014, Compiled by David Culver , Ed., Evergreene Digest
How the Media Doesn't Give Peace a Chance

Part 1: The Truth vs. DC's Propaganda Machine with Charles Lewis
Part 2: If You Were An Iraq War Critic, You're Probably Not Being Asked To Go On TV
Iraq War Boosters Get Second Chance In Media Spotlight
Full story …

[vfp-all] Fwd: Confusion in War On ISIS
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:09:23 -0700
Gerry Condon

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: {vfpaction} Confusion in War On ISIS
From: Kevin Zeese

The propaganda from all sides is creating a chaotic information stream where figuring out the truth becomes difficult. I found this NBC News propaganda from the hawkish Richard Engler to be the story the US government wants to get out. It is the polar opposite of Nafeez Ahmed's analysis, which rings true to me. And all the stories about alleged truce's between moderate Muslims and extremists, who is a moderate fighter etc.

"It is so important to understand that one of the primary means of immobilizing the American people politically today is to hold them in a state of confusion in which anything can be believed but nothing can be known, nothing of significance that is." - E. Martin Schotz

Can the peace movement bring some clarity to the confusion around the ISIS War? First, it is a war - no euphemisms. A three year (minimum) military campaign with bombing in two countries, troop escalation (US is over 2,000 now in Iraq and what is the number of military contractor-mercenaries?), allied members of the US Empire joining in -- this is a war. Let's be consistent and clear.

Second, war will not solve the problems and will become a war-quagmire. In fact, wars have created or made worse the problems. More war is the wrong direction.

Third, there are lots of positive steps that could be taken, multiple people have outlined these.

Fourth, the reason Obama-Kerry do not call it a war is because they know they are violating both international and domestic laws. Trying to minimize their illegal actions by not calling it a war they think avoids that reality. It doesn't but it confuses the issues to immobilize the congress and US as well as public opinion.


Shift Wealth: Economic Democracy
Its Our Economy
Build power and resistance
Popular Resistance
Democratize the Media
Clearing the FOG (Forces of Greed)
Radio (
Video (

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [vfp-all] Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2014 18:44:40 -0500
From: David Culver

The neocons – aided by their “liberal interventionist” allies and the U.S. mainstream media – are building new “group thinks” on the Middle East and Ukraine with many Americans having forgotten how they were duped into war a dozen years ago.
      What To Do About ISIS

Ray McGovern, Consortium News
August 27, 2014 | As the world marks the centennial of World War I, the guns of August are again being oiled by comfortable politicians and the fawning corporate media, both bereft of any sense of history. And that includes much more recent history, namely the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq and widened conflict throughout the Middle East. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago with a preview in late August before the full-scale rollout in September.

On Aug. 26, 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney – who remains something of a folk hero on Fox News – formally launched the lies leading to the U.S.-UK attack on Iraq seven months later. And on Aug. 30, 2013, another late-summer pitch was made for war on Syria, which came within 20 hours of a major U.S. aerial assault after Secretary of State John Kerry claimed falsely – no fewer than 35 times – to “know” that the Syrian government was responsible for using sarin nerve gas in an attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. In the Sixties he served as an infantry/intelligence officer and then became a CIA analyst for the next 27 years. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Full story …’s-legacy-lies

What To Do About ISIS, David Swanson, World Beyond War
The first thing to do differently going forward: stop bombing nations into ruins, and stop shipping weapons into the area you’ve left in chaos.
Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed
Full story ...

BACKGROUND: Qatar playing both sides of anti-ISIS war

[According to the Egyptian newspaper *Al-Ahram*, on the eve of an Arab League ministerial meeting "several Arab officials" said that Qatar is "expanding its support, 'both financial and in intelligence,' to I.S. [the Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL], 'essentially with the purpose of challenging Saudi Arabia.'"[1] -- But Qatar also has close political, economic, and military relations with the U.S. (which sold it Apache helicopters, Patriot defense systems, and other arms worth $11 billion in 2014) and with the European Union (where it has invested more than $65 billion). -- Qatar also shelters a radical Sunni cleric from Egypt and gives him air time on Al Jazeera, which has caused tensions between Doha and other Arab states. -- That cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, on Saturday criticized Arab states who are cooperating with U.S. plans to wage war on the Islamic State, Reuters reported.[2] -- "I totally disagree with Da'ish [i.e. the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL] in ideology and means, but I don't at all accept that the one to fight it is America, which does not act in the name of Islam but rather in its own interests, even if blood is shed," he said. -- The statement by the cleric, who this summer declared its caliphate to be "null and void," "may increase the fears of a backlash against Arab governments that publicly join the campaign" led by the United States, the *New York Times* reported Sunday.[3] -- Michael Gordon illustrated the extreme nervousness of these governments when he reported the assertion of a U.S. official that while "several" Arab countries have offered to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State, none of them could be named specifically. --Mark]

By Dina Ezzat
** The elimination of the Islamic State and company topped the agenda of the Arab League ministerial meeting this week **
Al-Ahram (Egypt)
September 11, 2014

** Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric based in Doha, said Washington was acting in its own interests. **
September 14, 2014

3. Middle East
By Michael R. Gordon
New York Times
September 14, 2014

NEWS: War? Not a war. Islamic State? Not a state. Not Islamic, either.

[The neo-Orwellian character of the 20th century deepened this week as President Barack Obama declared a war that is not a war against a state that is not a state. -- However, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that we can "think about it as being a war" if we like.[1] -- And if we can think about it as a war against al-Qaeda, he'll be especially pleased. -- He told CNN on Thursday that "This group is and has been al Qaeda. By trying to change its name, it doesn't change who it is." -- Kerry claimed to know what ISIS "is," but his intelligence services don't seem so sure: "The CIA estimates the Islamic States in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is made up of anywhere between 20,000 to 31,500 fighters, according to reports Thursday night," *The Hill* reported Thursday.[2] -- As for the president's strategy for combating the Islamic State, many are criticizing the plan, the *Wall Street Journal* said.[3] -- The principal problem, one unnamed U.S. official said, is that Obama's plan for a proxy war (or whatever it is) involves "relying on lots of different forces who are in some cases highly unreliable and highly divided." -- Rand Paul called Obama's approach "unconstitutional," but also said, Politico reported: "This is an intervention, and I don’t always support interventions but this is one I do support."[4] --Mark]

By Elise Labott, Laura Smith-Spark, and Ray Sanchez
September 11, 2014

2. Policy
By Mario Trujillo
The Hill
September 11, 2014

3. Middle East news
By Julian E. Barnes and Siobhan Gorman
** American Strategy Envisions Training of Iraqi Allies, Syrian Rebels **
Washington Post
September 10, 2014

By Lucy McCalmont
September 10, 2014


2. ISIS/ISIL "±Official± Perspectives & Related Commentary"

      * "Official" US Reasoning, Policy; 7 Sep 2014
      * "Back to Iraq -- US expanding war aims..." 18 Aug 2014
      * More Background - & atrocities; 1 Sep 2014
      * "Why Iraq imploded" by Le Monde diplomatique; 7 Jul 2014

ANALYSIS: 'Obama’s presidency has come full circle by reinventing the neocon dogmas'

[In a commentary on the U.S. plan for a new war in the Middle East posted Friday by the Strategic Culture Foundation, Melkulangara Bhadrakumar called it a "repackaged version" of George W. Bush's "coalition of the willing."[1] -- The retired Indian diplomat emphasized that in describing his plan Barack Obama "avoided holding out any categorical affirmation of the unity of Iraq." -- Bhadrakumar noted that the U.S. is embarking once again on nation-building, an enterprise that has again and again produced colossal failures. -- As for American tactics, "The U.S. has learned nothing and still hopes to use extremist elements as instruments of regional policies." -- But the prospects for success are dim, and Bhadrakumar suggested that the White House has already resigned itself to failure: "Iraq and Syria in their present form may well cease to exist at the end of it all. -- Of course, the really intriguing part is that such a dénouement may well be the U.S.’s geopolitical objective. In a recent interview with the *New York Times*, Obama himself put his finger on the unraveling of the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 as the core issue of the Middle Eastern politics." -- "Obama’s strategy completely bypasses the U.N. and, in reality, undermines the U.N. Charter. . . . Obama’s presidency has come full circle by reinventing the neocon dogmas it once professed to reject. On the pretext of fighting the I.S., which the U.S. and its allies created in the first instance, what is unfolding is a massive neocon project to remold the Muslim Middle East to suit the U.S.’ geopolitical objectives." --Mark]

1. World

By Melkulangara Bhadrakumar

Strategic Culture Foundation Online Journal
September 12, 2014

The United States President, Barack Obama, unveiled in a major speech on Wednesday his strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The strategy has no timeline and, quintessentially, the U.S. will pit Muslims against Muslims in a grim war through the deployment of 'smart power,' which would ensure that American casualties are avoided. From all appearance, it will also be a self-financing war funded by the petrodollar Gulf Arab states of the Middle East.

The strategy is built on three pillars -- firstly, setting well-defined limits to the actual American intervention in military terms, secondly, resuscitating the 'regime change' agenda in Syria, and, thirdly, dispensing with any mandate from the United Nations. In essence, it becomes a repackaged version of the crudely unilateralist U.S. intervention in the Middle East by the George W. Bush administration.

Clearly, Obama delayed the unveiling of his strategy until the public opinion in the U.S. 'matured.' Opinion polls show a high degree of approval rating in America for renewed U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria. The gruesome killing of two American journalists by the Islamic State has no doubt inflamed public anger. But the main factor is the fear that has been injected into the American mind through weeks and months of media campaign projecting that the Islamic State posed a direct threat to the U.S.'s 'homeland security.' The ploy indeed worked, as the opinion polls testify. Obama's timing is perfect, as he deftly chose the eve of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to unveil his strategy before the American public.

Curiously, however, with the 'maturing' of the public opinion successfully accomplished, Obama also took pains yesterday to scale down the fear psychosis in America by clarifying that the U.S. has "not detected specific plotting against our [American] homeland" by the Islamic State although its leaders have "threatened America and our allies." Instead, he portrayed the Islamic State as posing threat to the "people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East -- including American citizens, personnel, and facilities."

Clearly, not only has a sense of proportions been introduced that calms agitated American public opinion even as the country embarks upon another virtually open-ended war abroad, but Obama has found a rationale for recruiting the U.S.' Middle Eastern allies in the forthcoming war. Obama’s message to the American people is simple: 'No need of anxiety syndrome, get on with your life, let your commander-in-chief handle this.'

In return, Obama held out the assurance that the parameters of the U.S. military intervention will be well-defined. There will be "a systematic campaign of airstrikes" at the I.S. targets even as Iraqi forces go on offense; U.S. will hunt down I.S. terrorists and increase its support to the Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the I.S., including providing training and intelligence and equipment; Pentagon will deploy an additional 475 military personnel in Iraq (bringing the total to nearly 1600). But, "American forces will not have a combat mission -- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq."

Obama underscored that the war ahead will be "different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil." Instead, as the U.S. has been doing in Yemen and Somalia "for years," this war "will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out the ISIL wherever they exist, using our airpower and our support for partner forces on the ground."

Obama stated that the U.S. military operations directed against [the Islamic State] will extend into Syrian territory. He spelt out the strategy toward Syria, which is focused on ramping up military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Obama appealed to the U.S. Congress to make available to him additional "authorities and resources to train and equip these [Syrian] fighters." In essence, a big escalation of the U.S. intervention in Syria is in the offing.

Obama bluntly rejected any notions of the U.S. relying on the Syrian regime. He called it an illegitimate regime and also vowed to "solve Syria’s crisis once and for alL." Simply put, the U.S. will accelerate the push for regime change in Syria.

Quite obviously, Washington realizes that it can never extract a mandate from the U.N. Security Council to bring about a ‘regime change’ in Syria in contravention of international law and the U.N. Charter. Obama, therefore, took a detour and will simply chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council later this month in New York "to further mobilize the international community" around his Iraq-Syria strategy.

The U.S. claims to have so far assembled a "core coalition" of eight North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] member countries (plus Australia) to fight the new war in the Middle East. But Obama said there is need of a "broad coalition of partners." He disclosed that accordingly, Secretary of State John Kerry is travelling across the Muslim Middle East "to enlist partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria." He chose his words carefully, hinting that the U.S. proposes to accord selective roles for the Shi'ites and Sunnis in the campaign against the I.S. The most disconcerting part, of course, is the implied intention to enlist an active role on the Syrian theater for countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

No doubt, the enlisting of the petrodollar states ensures that money is not going to be a problem for the U.S. in waging this open-ended war.


Nonetheless, will Obama’s strategy work? Clearly, Obama’s strategy a cost-effective one and largely self-financing and might, therefore, be sustainable over a period of time. To be sure, there isn’t going to be any dearth of resources -- financial or material or human -- for fighting this war, given the involvement of the petrodollar states that have been pushing for regime change in Syria.

The American public may not militate anytime soon against this war, either. The American strategic community -- especially, the think tankers and the media -- will also be largely supportive, since this war explicitly dovetails with Israeli interests. In fact, the U.S. is reassembling the same old axis in the Middle East, comprising Israel and the Sunni Arab oligarchies of the Gulf region. At the same time, the U.S. will not be accountable to the U.N. Security Council. It is a "coalition of the willing" that is fighting this war and internal dissent within that coalition is highly improbable, which in turn would ensure that Washington kept the command and control of this war.

However, imponderables lie ahead. First and foremost, it is hugely significant that Obama avoided holding out any categorical affirmation of the unity of Iraq. He is also delightfully vague about what his expectations are out of an "inclusive" government in Baghdad.

The point is, although Washington could engineer the replacement of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whether it still leads to Sunni reconciliation is far from clear as of now. This is important because the U.S. strategy can work only if there is wholesome Iraqi Sunni mobilization against the I.S. Or else, it may turn even uglier as sectarian strife continues to tear apart Iraq’s unity.

But then, on the other hand, this also involves the question of Shi’ite empowerment in Iraq. Suffice to say, the U.S. needs to invent some magical formula that refines the concept of democratic principles allowing majority rule in Iraq. Put differently, this is also a war that involves nation-building in Iraq and the U.S.’s record in such enterprises abroad has been very dismal, to put it mildly. This is one thing.

The most disconcerting part of this war is going to be its Syrian chapter. Perhaps the U.S. estimates that now that Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons have been destroyed, it is a safe bet to launch attacks on that country. Even assuming it is so, the Syrian opposition still remains a revolving door for extremist groups, as the saga of the Islamic State proves. The U.S. has learnt nothing and still hopes to use extremist elements as instruments of regional policies.

Indeed, failure comes at a very heavy cost, as Iraq and Syria in their present form may well cease to exist at the end of it all. Of course, the really intriguing part is that such a denouement may well be the US’s geopolitical objective. In a recent interview with the *New York Times*, Obama himself put his finger on the unraveling of the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 as the core issue of the Middle Eastern politics.

Equally, Obama’s intention to recruit as allies «Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities» virtually acknowledges the sectarian dimension to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Now, there is a complicated backdrop of regional politics playing out here, involving these every same Sunni Arab nations as key protagonists. Would Obama have some recipe to heal the regional tensions? He’s had nothing to say. Interestingly, not once did Obama refer to Iran, either.

Obama’s strategy completely bypasses the UN and, in reality, undermines the U.N. Charter. He failed to convincingly explain the raison d’être of this particular variant of U.S. military intervention in the Muslim world -- unilateralist but ‘risk-free’ and low-cost -- since the U.S.’ homeland security is not even in any imminent or conceivable danger.

At the end of the day, the impression becomes unavoidable that the U.S. continues to arrogate to itself the prerogative to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nation states on the basis of its self-interests. Indeed, that this hydra-headed war is going to assume many varied shapes as times passes and long after Obama disappears into history books is virtually guaranteed.

Obama’s presidency has come full circle by reinventing the neocon dogmas it once professed to reject. On the pretext of fighting the I.S., which the U.S. and its allies created in the first instance, what is unfolding is a massive neocon project to remold the Muslim Middle East to suit the U.S.’ geopolitical objectives. Call it by whatever name, it is an imperial war -- albeit with a Nobel as commander-in-chief.

--Former career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. Devoted much of his 3-decade long career to the Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran desks in the Ministry of External Affairs and in assignments on the territory of the former Soviet Union. After leaving the diplomatic service, took to writing and contribute to The Asia Times, *The Hindu*, and *Deccan Herald*. Lives in New Delhi.

"Official" US Reasoning, Policy; 7 Sep 2014

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: NYT: Obama to declare war to 'destroy' ISIS in speech on Wednesday
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2014 22:33:22 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
To: Jensen, Mark

NEWS: Obama to declare war to 'destroy' ISIS in speech on Wednesday
[On Wednesday, in a speech to the nation, President Barack Obama will announce a war against the ISIS that U.S. officials say "may take three years to complete," the *New York Times* reported Sunday.[1] -- It is to have three phases: first, "an air campaign," second, "an intensified effort to train, advise, or equip the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters, and possibly members of Sunni tribes," and third, "destroying the terrorist army in its sanctuary inside Syria." -- "The military campaign Mr. Obama is preparing has no obvious precedent," Eric Schmitt, Michael Gordon, and Helene Cooper said. -- The Obama administration "plans to play the central role in building a coalition to counter ISIS," but does not intend to use U.S. ground troops. -- Instead, Obama intends to organize an international coalition whose make-up and roles are still uncertain will make various contributions. --Mark]

1. Middle East
By Eric Schmitt, Michael R. Gordon, and Helene Cooper

New York Times
September 7, 2014

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is preparing to carry out a campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that may take three years to complete, requiring a sustained effort that could last until after President Obama has left office, according to senior administration officials.

      The first phase, an air campaign with nearly 145 airstrikes in the past month, is already underway to protect ethnic and religious minorities and American diplomatic, intelligence, and military personnel, and their facilities, as well as to begin rolling back ISIS gains in northern and western Iraq.

      The next phase, which would begin sometime after Iraq forms a more inclusive government, scheduled this week, is expected to involve an intensified effort to train, advise, or equip the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and possibly members of Sunni tribes.

      The final, toughest, and most politically controversial phase of the operation -- destroying the terrorist army in its sanctuary inside Syria -- might not be completed until the next administration. Indeed, some Pentagon planners envision a military campaign lasting at least 36 months.

      Mr. Obama will use a speech to the nation on Wednesday to make his case for launching a United States-led offensive against Sunni militants gaining ground in the Middle East, seeking to rally support for a broad military mission while reassuring the public that he is not plunging American forces into another Iraq war.

      “What I want people to understand,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NBC's “Meet the Press” that was broadcast Sunday, “is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum” of the militants. “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we're going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we're going to defeat them,” he added.

      The military campaign Mr. Obama is preparing has no obvious precedent. Unlike American counterterrorism operations in Yemen and Pakistan, it is not expected to be limited to drone strikes against militant leaders. Unlike the war in Afghanistan, it will not include the use of ground troops, which Mr. Obama has ruled out.

      Unlike the Kosovo war that President Bill Clinton and NATO nations waged in 1999, it will not be compressed into an intensive 78-day tactical and strategic air campaign. And unlike during the air campaign that toppled the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, in 2011, the Obama administration is no longer “leading from behind,” but plans to play the central role in building a coalition to counter ISIS.

      “We have the ability to destroy ISIL,” Secretary of State John Kerry said last week at the NATO summit meeting in Wales, using an alternative name for the militant group. “It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years. But we're determined it has to happen.”
      Antony J. Blinken, Mr. Obama's deputy national security adviser, has suggested that the United States is undertaking a prolonged mission. “It's going to take time, and it will probably go beyond even this administration to get to the point of defeat,” Mr. Blinken said last week on CNN.

      Mr. Kerry is scheduled to head for the Middle East soon to solidify the anti-ISIS coalition. And Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is traveling to Ankara, Turkey, on Monday to woo another potential ally in the fight against the Sunni militant group.

      Although details of how the emerging coalition would counter ISIS remain undecided, several American officials said that they believe the list of allies so far includes Jordan, offering intelligence help, and Saudi Arabia, which has influence with Sunni tribes in Iraq and Syria and which has been funding moderate Syrian rebels.

      The United Arab Emirates, officials said, has also indicated a willingness to consider airstrikes in Iraq. Germany has said it would send arms to pesh merga fighters in Kurdistan. And rising concern over foreign fighters returning home from Syria and Iraq may also have spurred Australia, Britain, Denmark, and France to join the alliance.

      Administration officials acknowledged, however, that getting those same countries to agree to airstrikes in Syria was proving harder.

      “Everybody is on board Iraq,” an administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the policy is still being developed. “But when it comes to Syria, there's more concern” about where airstrikes could lead. The official nonetheless expressed confidence that the countries would eventually come around to taking the fight into Syria, in part, he said, because “there's really no other alternative.”

      The talks between Mr. Hagel and the Turkish leadership may be crucial in determining whether the United States will be able to count on Ankara on a number of fronts, including closing the Turkish border to foreign fighters who have been using Turkey as a transit point from which to go to Syria and Iraq to join militant organizations and allowing the American military to carry out operations from bases in Turkey.

      But Turkish officials have been wary of attracting notice from ISIS, given that the group holds the fate of 49 kidnapped Turkish diplomats in its hands. In June, Sunni militants with ISIS stormed the Turkish Consulate in Mosul, Iraq, kidnapping the consul general and other members of his staff, and their families, including three children.

      Mr. Obama's planned speech suggests he may be moving closer to a decision on many remaining questions, including whether and at what point the White House might widen the air campaign to include targets across the border in Syria, possibly to include ISIS leadership and its equipment, supply depots and command centers. The time of the speech on Wednesday has not been announced.

      Senior officials have repeatedly ruled out sending ground combat troops, a vow Mr. Obama reaffirmed in his appearance on “Meet the Press.”

      “This is not going to be an announcement about U.S. ground troops,” he said. “This is not the equivalent of the Iraq war.”

      But it is not clear if that declaration would preclude the eventual deployment of small numbers of American Special Operations forces or CIA operatives to call in airstrikes on behalf of Kurdish fighters, Iraqi forces, or Sunni tribes, a procedure that makes it much easier to distinguish between ISIS militants, civilians and counter ISIS fighters.

      During the recent operation to retake the Mosul Dam, Kurdish soldiers, using a more roundabout procedure, provided the coordinates of ISIS fighters to the joint United States-Kurdish command center in Erbil, which in turn passed them to American aircraft, Masrour Barzani, the head of Kurdish intelligence, said in a recent interview.

      The White House is counting on an effort by American, Iraqi and Gulf Arab officials to persuade Sunni tribesman in western Iraq, now aligned with ISIS, to break their ties after chafing under the harsh Shariah law the group has imposed.

      Unless the new Iraqi government is substantially more inclusive, American encouragement and support for these groups to turn on ISIS may be far less effective than it was in 2007, when many tribes fought the forerunner of ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

      Some Sunni tribal leaders are still bitter at the treatment under former Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite.

      “Even if they try we will not accept it,” said Sheikh Ali Hatem Suleimani, a tribal leader in Anbar who lives in Erbil. “In the past, we fought against Al Qaeda and we cleaned the area of them. But the Americans gave control of Iraq to Maliki, who started to arrest, kill, and exile most of the tribal commanders who led the fight against Al Qaeda.”
--Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon reported from Washington, and Helene Cooper from Tbilisi, Georgia. Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed reporting from Washington, and Azam Ahmed from Erbil, Iraq.

"Back to Iraq -- US expanding war aims..." 18 Aug 2014

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: R,AP,AA: Back to Iraq -- US expanding war aims, using land-based bombers, promising help in Anbar
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:51:10 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
To: Jensen, Mark

NEWS: Back to Iraq -- US expanding war aims, using land-based bombers, promising help in Anbar
      [Surprise, surprise: the return of the U.S. military to combat in Iraq was not only about (1) protecting U.S. personnel and (2) preventing genocide.
      -- U.S. war aims have expanded to include pushing ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State forces from the Mosul Dam, and Reuters reported Sunday that President Obama "had informed Congress he authorized U.S. air strikes in Iraq to help retake control of the Mosul Dam."[1]
      -- He declared that this was "consistent" with the aim of protecting U.S. personnel.
      -- The Associated Press noted that "The latest round of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign."[2]
      -- And so the expansion of aims in the Fourth Iraq War ( ) begins.
      -- Last week, Anwar Provincial Governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi told Reuters that "Americans had promised to help" in Anbar with "air support against the militants," among other things.[3]
      -- The promises seem to include boots on the ground there, since al-Dulaimi said that "it will be very soon and there will be a presence for the Americans in the western area."
      -- Although "U.S. diplomats and a senior military officer" were involved in making the promises, the Pentagon seemed embarrassed by the story and said it had no comment, Reuters reported.[4]
      -- The State Dept. claimed that U.S. officials are only "having conversations about what it (any security assistance) might look like in the future, but nothing concrete beyond that."
      -- COMMENT: If you believe that, we have a bridge to sell you.

By Jeff Mason

August 17, 2014

EDGARTOWN, Massachusetts -- The White House on Sunday said President Barack Obama had informed Congress he authorized U.S. air strikes in Iraq to help retake control of the Mosul Dam, and that the action was consistent with his goal of protecting U.S. citizens in that country.

"The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, threaten U.S. personnel and facilities -- including the U.S. embassy in Baghdad -- and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace," the White House said in a statement.

"These operations are limited in their nature, duration, and scope and are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the government of Iraq."
The Mosul Dam fell under the control of Islamic State militants earlier this month. Control of the dam, Iraq's biggest, could give the Sunni fundamentalists the ability to flood cities and cut off vital water and electricity supplies.

The U.S. Central Command said on Sunday the United States conducted a second day of air strikes against Islamic State fighters near the dam, using a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely-piloted aircraft. Central Command said the 14 strikes on Sunday damaged or destroyed 10 armed vehicles, seven Humvees, and two armored personnel carriers of the Islamic State as well as one of the militants' checkpoints. The strikes followed nine U.S. air strikes on Saturday. "All strike aircraft exited the strikes areas safely," Central Command said in a statement.

The Obama administration earlier this month launched an air strike campaign to protect U.S. personnel from the Islamic State and to ensure northern Iraq's minority Yazidis were not subject to systematic violence at the hands of the militants.

The air strikes were the first direct U.S. military action in Iraq since the end of 2011, when Washington completed the withdrawal of its troops from the country.

Iraq has been plunged into its worst violence since the peak of a sectarian civil war in 2006 and 2007. Islamic State-led fighters have overrun large parts of western and northern Iraq, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee for their lives and threatening ethnic Kurds in their autonomous province.

The Islamic State has also seized large parts of Syria as it tries to build a caliphate across national borders drawn up by Europeans a century ago.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney and Paul Simao)

Associated Press

August 17, 2014

EDGARTOWN, Massachusetts -- The U.S. has expanded its air campaign in Iraq with attacks aimed at helping Iraqi forces regain control of the strategic Mosul dam.

The White House said President Barack Obama notified Congress on Sunday that the widened mission would be limited in duration and scope.

The administration's letter to Congress said, “The mission is consistent with the president's directive that the U.S. military protect U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq, since the failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians and threaten U.S. personnel and facilities -- including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.”

It also noted that the failure of the dam could “prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services” to the Iraqi people.

The letter said: “I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution.”

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the operations are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the government of Iraq.

The latest round of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign.

Kurdish security officials say Kurdish forces, aided by U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes, have now taken over parts of the dam. Militants had captured control of the dam less than two weeks ago.

The U.S. military says U.S. forces conducted nine strikes Saturday and an additional 14 on Sunday. The second round of strikes damaged or destroyed 10 armed vehicles, seven Humvees, two armored personnel carriers and one checkpoint, the U.S. said.

3. Middle East

Al Arabiya News
Augusy 14, 2014

The governor of the Iraqi Sunni heartland province of Anbar said he has secured a promise from the U.S. for support in the ongoing conflict with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, Reuters reported.

Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi told Reuters his request, made in meetings with U.S. diplomats and a senior military officer, included air support against the militants who have a tight grip on large parts of his desert province and northwestern Iraq.

Dulaimi said the Americans had promised to help.

The announcement recommences an alliance that helped curb a past militant threat, from al-Qaeda.

“Our first goal is the air support. Their technology capability will offer a lot of intelligence information and monitoring of the desert and many things which we are in need of,” he said in a telephone interview.

“No date was decided but it will be very soon and there will be a presence for the Americans in the western area.”

There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials.

After its capture of the northern metropolis of Mosul in June, a swift push by the ISIS to the borders of the autonomous ethnic Kurdish region alarmed Baghdad and last week drew the first U.S. air strikes on Iraq since the withdrawal of American troops in 2011.

U.S. involvement in Anbar is a far more sensitive matter.

The region, sparsely populated and forming much of Iraq's border with Syria, was deeply anti-American during the U.S. occupation.

Tribal leaders and local people saw the replacement of fellow Sunni Saddam Hussein by a U.S.-backed leadership dominated by Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim majority as a threat and took up arms. Al Qaeda fighters flooded in to join them.

The United States mounted its biggest offensive of the occupation against a variety of Islamist militants in the Anbar city of Fallujah, just west of Baghdad. Its soldiers experienced some of their fiercest combat since the Vietnam War.

Eventually, the U.S. military was able to persuade some of its most diehard Sunni opponents to turn against al-Qaeda.

The strategy brought a period of calm. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, now being replaced by a less polarizing colleague among the Shi'ites, went on to alienate many Sunnis.

The ISIS, disowned by al-Qaeda as too radical after it took control of large parts of Syria, capitalized on its Syrian territorial gains and sectarian tensions in Iraq to gain control of Falluja and Anbar's capital Ramadi early this year.


Iraq's president has named a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, who is seen as a moderate Shiite with a decent chance of improving ties with Sunnis.

The Sahwa, the U.S.-funded militia drawn from the country's Sunni Muslim tribes, were a driving force in fighting al Qaeda from 2007. A U.S. decision to hand authority over the Sahwa to the Shi'ite-dominated government in 2009 alienated them and drove some to join ISIS.

Abadi is in the sensitive process of trying to form a new government in a country where sectarian tensions are rising; bombings, kidnappings, and executions are part of daily life.

Bloodshed is back at the levels of 2006-2007, the peak of a sectarian civil war.

Abadi faces the challenge of trying to rein in Shi'ite militias accused of kidnapping and killing Sunnis and persuading the once dominant Sunni minority that they will have a bigger share of power.

Maliki is still refusing to step aside despite months of pressure to do so from Sunnis, Kurds, some fellow Shiites, Shiite regional power Iran and the United States.

It is not clear whether he still commands the loyalty of special forces or Shi'ite militias -- just about the only leverage he may have left.

Dulaimi was especially concerned by the militants' determination to seize control of Anbar's Haditha dam -- they have lately captured Iraq's biggest dam, a fifth oilfield, more towns, and areas that are home to vital wheat crops in the north.

“The situation in Haditha, where the dam is, is controlled by security forces and tribes. But the problem is how long can they endure the pressure?” said Dulaimi.

“I held several meetings since one month ago with the American embassy and the commander of the central troops all in this regard, and very soon there will be a joint coordination center and operations in Anbar. They gave a promise.”

Aside from strong momentum built up in the north and control of large parts of the west, the ISIS has threatened to march on Baghdad.


The group, which wants to redraw the map of the Middle East, used tunnels built by Saddam in the 1990s to move its fighters, weapons, ammunition, and supplies to towns just south of Baghdad, Iraqi intelligence officials told Reuters.

Unlike Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, which set its sights on destroying the West, ISIS has territorial goals, aims to set up a caliphate and rages against the [==>] Sykes-Picot agreement [<==] of 1916 between Britain and France that split the Ottoman empire and carved borders across the Arab lands.

Rough terrain has enabled the militants to evade the army and security forces. Seizing Baghdad would be difficult because of the presence of special forces and thousands of Shi'ite militias who have slowed down ISIS elsewhere.

But a foothold just near the capital could make it easier for the ISIS to carry out suicide bombings, deepen sectarian tensions, and destabilize Iraq.

On Thursday, the group's militants massed near the town of Qara Tappa, 120 km north of Baghdad, security sources and a local official said, in an apparent bid to broaden their front with Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

The movement around Qara Tappa suggests they are becoming more confident and seeking to grab more territory closer to the capital after stalling in that region.

“The Islamic State is massing its militants near Qara Tappa,” said one of the security sources. “It seems they are going to broaden their front with the Kurdish fighters.”
While pressing for more territory, ISIS fighters use fear and intimidation to tighten their grip on towns and cities they control and impose their radical view of Islam.

With ethnic Kurdish Peshmerga forces pushed back on the defensive by ISIS this month, France has joined the United States in supplying what it called “sophisticated arms” to the regional militia and E.U. foreign ministers will break summer holidays to discuss the crisis on Friday.


In Mosul, Iraq's second biggest urban center, the militants have blown up or bulldozed Shi'ite mosques and shrines, destroyed statues of poets which they deem un-Islamic, and forced women to veil.

On Thursday, women doctors in Mosul said they faced ISIS's wrath.

“One of them is hitting any girl (doctor, nurse, or a visitor) on her head as a warning to her especially after the period they gave for starting the application of scarf wearing,” said a female doctor.

“They are intimidating us, threatening us with killing, and destroying our houses. Because of that bad treatment I decided to sit in my house and not to go to the hospital, but still feeling afraid as I don't know what they will do.”

In Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, ISIS militants shot dead four policemen in a public area, men who were on a 150-person hit list , said security sources and witnesses.

They also confiscated 20 houses once inhabited by security personnel and wrote “Property of the Islamic State” on the walls.

In addition to arming the Peshmerga and, in the case of Washington, bombing militant positions, Western powers have been trying to help aid agencies drop supplies and provide refuge for tens of thousands of people, many of them from non-Sunni communities, who have fled attacks by the ISIS.

The White House said the United States and its allies were considering setting up airlifts and safe land corridors to rescue people, including many from the Yazidi sect stranded on the arid heights of Mount Sinjar near the Syrian border.

But a U.S. assessment team sent to Mount Sinjar on Wednesday found the situation better than expected, and the Pentagon said an evacuation mission was “far less likely.”
The U.S. team found fewer civilians than expected and their condition was better than previously believed, the Pentagon said, crediting humanitarian air drops, U.S. air strikes on ISIS targets and the ability of Yazidis to evacuate the mountain over recent nights.

4. Exclusive
By Raheen Salman

August 14, 2014

The governor of Iraq's Anbar province in the Sunni heartland said he has asked for and secured U.S. support in the battle against Islamic State militants because opponents of the group may not have the stamina for a long fight.

Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi told Reuters that his request, made during meetings with U.S. diplomats and a senior military officer, included air support for battling the militants who have a tight grip on large parts of Anbar and the north.

Dulaimi said the Americans had promised to help.

"Our first goal is the air support. Their technology capability will offer a lot of intelligence information and monitoring of the desert and many things which we are in need of," he said in a telephone interview.

“No date was decided but it will be very soon and there will be a presence for the Americans in the western area," he said.

Asked whether Dulaimi was correct in saying the United States had made a commitment, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she had no details but that American officials had met with a range of people in Iraq to discuss their security needs.

"We're having conversations about what it (any security assistance) might look like in the future, but nothing concrete beyond that," Harf told reporters in Washington.

A dramatic push by the Islamic State through northern Iraq to the border with the semi-autonomous Kurdish region alarmed Baghdad and drew the first U.S. air strikes on Iraq since the withdrawal of American troops in 2011.

U.S. involvement in Anbar is a far more sensitive matter.

The region was deeply anti-American during the U.S. occupation, with everyone from ordinary Iraqis to powerful Sunni tribes to al Qaeda taking up arms against U.S. troops.

The United States mounted its biggest offensive of the occupation against a staggering variety of Islamist militants in the city of Falluja in Anbar, with its soldiers experiencing some of the fiercest combat since the Vietnam War.

Eventually, the U.S. military was able to persuade some of its most die-hard Sunni opponents to turn against al Qaeda, which is seen as less hardline than the Islamic State.

The strategy worked for some time, but the sectarian agenda of outgoing Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki alienated many Sunnis and the Islamic State capitalised on sectarian tensions to gain control of hardcore Sunni cities like Falluja and Ramadi.


Iraq's president has named a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, who is seen as a moderate Shi'ite with a decent chance of improving ties with Sunnis, who dominated the country during Saddam Hussein's decades of iron-fisted rule.

Dulaimi seemed especially concerned by the militants' determination to seize control of Anbar's Haditha dam -- they recently seized Iraq's biggest dam, a fifth oilfield, more towns and areas that are home to vital wheat crops in the north.

“The situation in Haditha, where the dam is, is controlled by security forces and tribes," Dulaimi said. "But the problem is how long can they endure the pressure?"

"I held several meetings since one month ago with the American Embassy and the commander of the central troops all in this regard, and very soon there will be a joint coordination centre and operations in Anbar. They gave a promise," he said.

Aside from strong momentum built up in the north and control of large parts of the west, the Islamic State has threatened to march on Baghdad.

The group, which wants to redraw the map of the Middle East, has been using tunnels built in the 1990s by Saddam to move its fighters, weapons, ammunition and supplies to towns just south of Baghdad, Iraqi intelligence officials told Reuters.

Rough terrain has enabled the militants to evade the army and security forces.

On Thursday, Islamic State militants massed near the Iraqi town of Qara Tappa, 122 km (73 miles) north of Baghdad, security sources and a local official said, in an apparent bid to broaden their front with Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

The movement around Qara Tappa suggests they are getting more confident and looking to grab more territory closer to the capital after stalling in that region.

"The Islamic State is massing its militants near Qara Tappa," one of the security sources said. "It seems they are going to broaden their front with the Kurdish fighters."
(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington, writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Peter Millership and Gunna Dickson)

More Background - & attrocities; 1 Sep 2014

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: UNHRC,NYT: 'Acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale'
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2014 23:18:07 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
To: Jensen, Mark

DOCUMENT: 'Acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale'
[The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has published the text of a lengthy address delivered Monday by the deputy high commissioner summarizing in bone-chilling fashion the extent of human rights violations being systematically carried out in Iraq by the forces of the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL).[1] -- This catalogue of horrors is far from complete, since the Islamic State also controls large parts of Syria. -- After hearing the report at an emergency session, the U.N. Human Rights Council decided to send an 11-person team to investigate abuses, the *New York Times* reported.[2] -- "Russia already demonstrated support for Iraq by delivering advanced attack fighter aircraft, its ambassador, Alexey Borodavkin, said," the *Times* said. -- "In a criticism of American and Arab support for antigovernment armed groups in Syria, [Borodavkin] asserted that 'all this could have been avoided' if states had cooperated with President Bashar al-Assad's armed forces in Syria." --Mark]

1. Media statement
United Nations Human Rights
Office of the High Commissioner

1 September 2014

Mr. President,
Distinguished Members of the Human Rights Council,

I thank you for convening this special session of the Human Rights Council on Iraq.

Over the past decade, the population of Iraq has endured relentless violence and unrest. This has escalated dramatically in recent months as the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant group and associated armed groups have seized large parts of Anbar, Ninewa, Salah-al-Din and Diyala governorates. There have been thousands of casualties, mainly among civilians, and widespread destruction of infrastructure and livelihoods. Over one million people have been forced to flee their homes in terror, often under imminent and serious threat to their lives.

OHCHR human rights officers in Iraq continue to gather strong evidence that serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have been committed in areas under the control of ISIL and associated groups. This includes targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, slavery, sexual and physical abuse and torture, and the besieging of entire communities on the basis of ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation. Mosques, shrines, churches, and other religious sites and places of cultural significance have also been deliberately destroyed.

      The effect of the ongoing conflict on the children of Iraq has been catastrophic. Many have become direct victims of the conflict, while others have been subjected to physical and sexual abuse, whose scars may remain with them throughout their lives. Children belonging to ethnic and religious communities targeted by ISIL have endured particularly extensive violations of their rights. In the course of numerous interviews conducted by OHCHR staff in camps for internally displaced, families have reported forced recruitment by ISIL of boys as young as 15. Some of these boys who subsequently managed to escape told their families that they had been positioned on front-lines during military operations, to shield ISIL fighters; others said that they had been forced to donate blood for treatment of injured fighters. Child soldiers have been posted at illegal checkpoints set up by ISIL, and also by other armed groups operating in Baghdad and other areas.

      Ethnic and religious groups under attack
Christian, Yezidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Kaka'e, Sabaeans and Shi'a communities have been targeted through particularly brutal persecution, as ISIL has ruthlessly carried out what may amount to ethnic and religious cleansing in areas under its control. The full extent of casualties is difficult to determine. Many have been killed directly; others have been besieged and deprived of food, water or medication. Hundreds of thousands of civilians from these communities have fled to remote and desolate locations where unconfirmed reports indicate that scores of children, elderly people, and people with disabilities have been dying as a result of exhaustion and deprivation.

      At least 850,000 people have found refuge in displacement camps established by the Government of the Kurdish Region, and others in host communities, where resources are often scarce. To cite just one example, following the advance of ISIL into areas of the Ninewa Plain in early August, large numbers of Yezidi residents of the Plain ­– and a number of mainly Christian families who had previously sought refuge there from their homes in Mosul – were forced to flee en masse. Some 180,000 people entered the Kurdistan Region in the course of one single day. People from these ethnic and religious communities who remain in areas under ISIL control – and many who have fled – fear further attack by ISIL and associated armed groups.

      Yazidis have been targeted for extremely harsh treatment, including enslavement and physical and sexual assault. Reports from Ninewa Governorate suggest that at least 1000 Yazidis have been killed in recent weeks, with close to 2750 kidnapped or enslaved. The actual numbers could be much higher. Some have been coerced to convert to Islam and are subsequently tightly supervised by ISIL. Many men who refused to convert have been executed, while women and young girls, probably including minors, have been allotted as slaves to ISIL fighters. At least 2250 women and children have been detained as hostages in the Badoush prison in Mosul, in Tal Afar, and other locations under the control of ISIL.

      On 15 August, the predominantly Yazidi village of Cotcho in Southern Sinjar was subjected to a brutal attack by ISIL fighters. Many men were killed and hundreds of women and children were abducted. I am particularly concerned about reports indicating that other villages of Sinjar remain at risk of similar attacks by ISIL, on the basis of the residents' ethnic and religious origins.

      Christian communities have also been subjected to targeted persecution. As a result, all 8,000 members of the Christian community in Mosul have fled, according to officials, and many more from other locations in Ninewa Governorate. On 17 July, ISIL members in Mosul started marking the houses of Christians and Shi'a with "Property of the Islamic State". Families were given an ultimatum to convert, pay a protection tax, leave – after abandoning all their belongings and savings to ISIL fighters – or face execution. The Christian Patriarch of Mosul later informed OHCHR staff that all Christians had fled the city. A large number of Shi'a have also fled Mosul.

      The Shabak and Turkman communities have also been targeted. At least 13,000 Turkmen villagers – including some 10,000 women and children – were until yesterday besieged by ISIL and associated armed groups in Amerli, in Salah al-Din Governorate. The siege had been underway for more than two months, generating severe shortages. Thankfully, the siege was lifted on 31 August by a military operation conducted by the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces, supported by international forces, and life-saving humanitarian assistance has begun to reach the civilians.

      When such villages are taken over by ISIL, the consequences have been extremely grave. On 2 July, ISIL fighters entered the Omar-Khan village in the Nimrod area of southern Mosul district, looking for Shabak people, many of whom are Shi'a. They kidnapped around 40 Shabak and Turkmen, stole cattle and vehicles, damaged the Shi'a mosque and set fire to a Shi'a shrine, which they then blew up the following day. Reports indicate that the majority of the residents of the village fled to the Ninewa Plain. On 7 July, ISIL stormed the village of al-Rashidiya, in northwest Mosul, and abducted 40 Turkmen. Some were found executed while others remain missing.

      As part of this widespread and systematic pattern of religious and ethnic persecution, ISIL has intentionally destroyed Sunni and Shia shrines, Christian monasteries and churches and other places of cultural or religious significance. Human rights officers are attempting to maintain a list of the often ancient and profoundly beloved sites that have been obliterated. In the area of Mosul alone, they include the 17th century Sunni Tomb of Sheikh Fathi; the 12th century Syriac-Christian Monastery of Mar Behnam; and the Shrine of Nabi Younis, or the Prophet Jonah, revered by both Sunnis and Christians.

      These communities have lived side by side, on the same soil, for centuries, and in some cases, millennia. These individuals have an undeniable right to continue living in their own country, in peace, equality and dignity. It appears that ISIL has intentionally committed widespread and systematic persecution of these ethnic and religious groups, depriving them of their fundamental rights, including their right to life and to freedom of religion; denying them of their identity; and compelling many to wander in fear in desolate and dangerous areas. These inhumane and odious offences constitute a serious and deliberate attack on human dignity and on human rights, likely amounting to a crime against humanity.

      Residents of Mosul and other cities under ISIL control

I am deeply concerned by the situation of civilians who remain in areas under ISIL control, particularly in cities such as Fallujah, Ramadi, Tikrit, Tal Afar and Mosul. Their living conditions are intolerable. Medical facilities lack medicine and basic supplies, and health sector employees have not received a salary for months. Reports indicate a near-total breakdown in rule of law and an increase in criminality in Mosul and other cities. This insecurity compounds the difficulty for the civilian populations to access essential services.

      Women have been particularly exposed to severe restrictions and abuses by ISIL. On 14 August, an announcement by ISIL was read in all mosques in Mosul, ordering women to veil their faces or incur severe punishment. ISIL has also established a police force to ‘promote virtue and prevent vice', essentially to coerce women into compliance with gender-specific rulings. Women are not allowed to walk in the street without the presence of a male guardian, and there are more and more reports of women being beaten for violating ISIL rules.

      On 10 July, at least 650 male inmates of Badouch Prison in Mosul were summarily executed by ISIL, according to confirmed witness and survivor reports. Inmates claiming to be Sunni were closely questioned and then transported away from the site. Members of Shi'a or other religious and ethnic communities were ordered into ditches where ISIL fighters fired on them. The bodies were then examined and any men that appeared to be alive were shot in the head.

      Let me stress that armed groups have an obligation to ensure that all civilians under their control are protected; that they have unhindered access to hospitals and humanitarian assistance; and that they are able to leave in safety and in dignity areas where fighting or violence is taking place.

      Killing of civilian officials and executions of hors de combat military or security personnel

OHCHR has received reports of executions by ISIL of religious leaders, including 12 Sunni religious leaders in Mosul who refused to pledge allegiance to ISIL. Confirmed reports also indicate that Government officials and other civil servants have been kidnapped and executed because of their service in the Iraqi administration. In some cases, their houses have been burned down and their families have been persecuted. Others remain in detention.

My Office has also received reports of executions or ill-treatment of hors de combat soldiers, police officers, and prisoners of war including air force recruits and Army conscripts, in complete breach of international humanitarian norms. On 12 June, following an ISIL attack on an Iraqi air force base near Tikrit, over 1500 young conscripts went missing. Many bodies were subsequently found in the Dijla River; they had clearly been executed. Videos viewed by OHCHR staff, which have been confirmed by witness and survivor reports, show the systematic shooting of hundreds of handcuffed men in civilian clothes, some of them wearing military uniforms under their tracksuits.

      Executions by Iraqi Security Forces and anti-ISIL militias during the period under review

OHCHR has also received reports that in recent months the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and anti-ISIL armed groups have perpetrated violations of human rights and humanitarian law that may amount to war crimes.

      On 15 June, at least 31 detainees were executed at the al-Qalaa police station in Tal Afar by police officers fleeing their posts shortly before the approach of ISIL fighters. On 17 June, members of Asayeb Ahl al-Haq, a Shi'a armed group, entered al-Wahda police station in the Qatoon area of Diyala and reportedly executed 48 detainees, all Sunni.

      On 22 August, members of the so-called “volunteers units” affiliated with the ISF, and other armed men, carried out an attack on the Musab bin Omair Sunni mosque in Bani Wais village, in Khanaqin district. They opened fire on worshippers from the entrance and the windows of the mosque, as well as from the roof, killing at least 73 men and boys, and wounding 38. Iraqi Army and police units were allegedly close to the scene at the time of the attack, but failed to intervene. I welcome the announcement by the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives that an investigation into the incident has been launched with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

      Mortar rounds and shelling by the ISF have killed and injured many civilians in Tel Keyf city, Batnaya and Tel Esquf towns. On 14 and 15 August, two air strikes in the Hawija area of Kirkuk killed 25 civilians, including four women and three children, and wounded 20 others. Other air strikes in the Daquq district in Kirkuk resulted in the killing and injury of civilians on 13 August; four civilians were wounded in Saad village; and five civilians (including one woman and three children) were killed and three more wounded in al-Wahda village.

      In Fallujah, in the province of Anbar, from 14-17 August the General Hospital recorded 17 civilians killed (including one child), and 26 wounded (including six children and two women), as a result of shelling. We have also received reports that ISF air strikes in areas near the Baiji refinery in Salah Al-din have resulted in the killing of at least 25 civilians and the wounding of 40 more.

      Conclusion: Accountability.

      Mr. President,

I am profoundly concerned at the grave impact the current conflict is having on civilians, including children and people from Iraq's ancient and diverse ethnic and religious communities. Systematic and intentional attacks on civilians may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Individuals, including commanders are responsible for these acts.

      Even though this conflict has severely reduced the Iraqi Government's control over large parts of its territory, the Government continues to bear primary responsibility for the protection of all persons on its territory, and must endeavour to implement its obligations. Additionally, all parties to the ongoing armed conflict are obligated to abide by international humanitarian law, which governs the conduct of conflicts, and international human rights law, which applies during times of war and peace. All parties must also take all feasible precautions, in areas under their effective control, to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities, and to respect, protect and meet the basic needs of civilian populations. Moreover, I must forcefully remind all parties that they are obligated to treat members of armed forces who have laid down their arms, or who are hors de combat, humanely.

      Former High Commissioner Navi Pillay has called repeatedly and resoundingly for the immediate cessation of acts of violence and abuses committed against the civilian population of Iraq. I reiterate that call today. The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale.
I am particularly concerned about the persecution that is taking place. As I have just outlined, several groups in Iraq are intentionally and severely deprived of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of their ethnic and religious identity. This is a crime against humanity under international law.

      The international community must intensify its efforts to protect all Iraqis, including ethnic and religious communities and those who are particularly vulnerable. The international community and the Government of Iraq must exert all efforts to ensure that any individuals who have participated in, or supported, the commission of these crimes are held accountable in accordance with the law.

      To the extent possible, OHCHR and human rights activists have documented all violations of human rights, and will continue to do so, with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators will ultimately be held accountable. Given ISIL's well-documented record of human rights violations in Syria, particularly in the province of Raqqa, there will be particular scrutiny of the conduct of ISIL fighters and leaders.

      I urge the international community to act to support the Government of Iraq, including the Government of the Kurdistan Region, in its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in need, wherever they are located, and to ensure the protection and needs of those who have been displaced as a result of the violence and persecution.


For more information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / ) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169/ or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 /

2. Middle East
By Nick Cumming-Bruce and Somini Sengupta

New York Times
September 1, 2014

GENEVA -- The United Nations Human Rights Council decided Monday to send a fact-finding team to Iraq to investigate possible war crimes by Islamic extremists after hearing senior human rights officials detail mass killings and other atrocities committed “on an unimaginable scale.”

In the face of new depravities in Iraq, the Geneva-based council adopted, without a vote, a resolution sponsored by more than 100 states calling for the urgent dispatch of a fact-finding mission and required it to report back in March.

      Of the council's 47 members, only South Africa withheld support, saying the resolution was ambiguous and lacked balance.

      The United Nations already has a 42-person team monitoring human rights in Iraq, working from Baghdad and other cities. But officials said the human rights council will now send an 11-person team that will operate separately, focusing on abuses arising from the behavior of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni extremist group that has seized parts of northern Iraq and has boasted about its brutalities against nonbelievers.

      More than a million people have fled the ISIS onslaught in recent weeks, Flavia Pansieri, the deputy high commissioner for human rights, told the council. She reported summary mass executions, forced conversions, abductions, slavery, sexual abuse, torture and the besieging of entire communities.

      “The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale,” Ms. Pansieri told diplomats as she opened the emergency session.

      ISIS fighters killed at least 650 non-Sunni inmates of a Mosul prison, forcing them into ditches and shooting them, Ms. Pansieri said. Afterward, she said, “the bodies were then examined and any men that appeared to be alive were shot in the head.”
Detailing other atrocities, Ms. Pansieri said that 1,500 young conscripts were missing after ISIS captured their base, and videos confirmed by witnesses showed hundreds of handcuffed men systematically shot. ISIS forces also killed at least 1,000 members of the Yazidi minority and kidnapped or enslaved 2,750 others, she said.

      Ms. Pansieri told the council that ISIS had ordered strict rules for women living in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and other areas in its control. “Women are not allowed to walk in the street without the presence of a male guardian, and there are more and more reports of women being beaten” for infractions, she said.

      ISIS and its allies were taking boys as young as 13 on patrol “carrying weapons sometimes bigger than themselves” and using children as checkpoint sentries, informants and sometimes as suicide bombers, Leila Zerrougui, the top United Nations advocate for children who are afflicted by war, told the council. Ms. Zerrougui also spoke of reports about sexual violence and abductions of young girls from minority groups for forced marriages that the United Nations had yet to verify.

      Iraqi security forces also committed abuses that may amount to war crimes, Ms. Pansieri said, reporting killings of detainees and citing an attack by Shiite militia fighters on a Sunni mosque killing at least 73 men and boys and wounding 38 others.

      The council resolution, however, called for an investigation only of ISIS violations. Iraq's minister of human rights, Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani, speaking to reporters after the session, said instances of abuses by Iraqi forces would be investigated by Iraq's government, not the fact-finding mission.

      Still, defeating ISIS “begins with a united Iraqi government committed to justice for all of Iraq's communities,” Keith Harper, the American ambassador to the council, said, calling, like many other states, including Iran, for strong international support to the new government formed by the prime minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi.

      Russia already demonstrated support for Iraq by delivering advanced attack fighter aircraft, its ambassador, Alexey Borodavkin, said. In a criticism of American and Arab support for antigovernment armed groups in Syria, he asserted that “all this could have been avoided” if states had cooperated with President Bashar al-Assad's armed forces in Syria.

      Nick Cumming-Bruce reported from Geneva, and Somini Sengupta from the United Nations.

"Why Iraq imploded" by Le Monde diplomatique; 7 Jul 2014

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: TRANSLATION / ANALYSIS: Why Iraq imploded
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2014 22:59:37 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
To: Jensen, Mark

[*Le Monde diplomatique* has devoted much of its July 2014 issue to Iraq.
      -- Prominent among the articles the number contains is a probing analysis by Peter Harling, translated below.
      -- Harling is an analyst at the International Crisis Group, an establishment NGO with many prestigious names associated with it.
      -- He explains why he mostly blames Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the catastrophe, but also looks more deeply into the reasons Maliki acted as he did.
      -- In the Middle East today, he concludes, increasingly "[t]he art of governing that is spreading consists in abandoning any ambition to govern at the level of the nation-state.
      -- Regimes no longer even try to overcome the splits that divide their societies, whether these be of ideology, development, or repression.
      -- Instead, they attack along these fault lines, make them worse, and seek conflict.
      -- By radicalizing one part of society, they consolidate their position in another, and spare themselves the trouble of any constructive program: the fear of what might replace them suffices to keep them in power.
      -- They also tend to weaken the national character of their institutions by depriving them of their autonomy, in order to make themselves indispensable.
      -- Then they sell themselves abroad in the name of the 'war on terrorism' on the strength of a 'democratic' election that reflects the hysterical vote of one swath of society and the fatal boycott of another."[1]

1. [Translation]
Peter Harling

** Spectral States in the Middle East **
** The offensive of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has not been a surprise to those who continued to follow the evolution of the country after the withdrawal of American troops. The central power's incompetence and its pro-Shiite policies created the conditions for the Sunni insurrection.
** Le monde diplomatique
July 2014
Pages 1 & 12

The recent rise a Sunni jihadist force in northwestern Iraq is literally spectacular. It's like bad vaudeville: in this country, there's a terrorist in the closet, as it were. When he first pops on stage, the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pretends to be surprised, shouts bloody murder and calls for his friends to come running to drive him from the house. Yet he himself opened the door to this jihadist and kept him well-fed. His friends certainly know this, especially the Iranians, but it's in their interest to play along. Because the terrorist is just the thing to cover up the shortcomings of one who remains, after all, their man.

      In June 2014, then, Sunni jihadists operating under the name "The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL, also known [as ISIS and] by its Arab acronym DAASH) took almost without fighting Mosul, the second- or third-largest city in Iraq, depending on which figures you use. Other places in this Sunni-dominated zone fell rapidly as the security apparatus collapsed. The Iraqi state abandoned its military equipment, including vehicles supplied by the United States, and left behind its many prisoners (usually arbitrarily arrested) and turns over to its adversary choice prizes: nearly half a billion dollars deposited in a branch of the central bank, especially. Less radical armed groups joined the movement, claiming what is probably an exaggerated role in the victories. Among the inhabitants who didn't leave, some celebrated a "liberation," and "uprising," or even a "revolution."

      The Kurds jumped at the chance to take control of another major city, Kirkuk, a zone as rich in oil as in symbolic stakes, and one over which they had been jockeying for influence for years with the government in Baghdad, not to mention with other local minorities. Yet this second tour de force went almost unremarked, since all the attention was focused on the jihadists. To listen to Nouri al-Maliki and his Shia allies and rivals, the U.S. administration, and much of the media, you'd think the jihadist offensive seemed irresistible: they all said they feared that they would seize and destroy the Shia mausoleums in Samarra, unleashing a new sectarian war, or that they would conquer the capital and establish a caliphate across much of Iraq and Syria.

      The prime minister's response was to call for a general mobilization of his side. Various sectarian militias (whose expansion he has tolerated) as well as several prominent Shia figures fell in line behind him. Iran dispatched reinforcements charged with organizing these paramilitary contingents and probably with fighting alongside them. The United States redirected two aircraft carriers to stations near a theater of operations -- one that President Obama has been trying hard to leave for good since 2011.

      Meanwhile, the most basic questions posed by this debacle have not been answered. How could a well-supplied security apparatus, one of the world's largest, with one million men under arms out of a population of around 25 million, have melted away in the face of the jihadists' advance? What can explain the jihadists' relative popularity, given the terrible memories left behind by their predecessors of the al-Qaeda type, when they dominated the city of Mosul and slaughtered people almost at random in the streets? Why did local Sunni potentates like the Nujayfi family, who are close to the Maliki family, prove unable to rally any support to oppose them? Finally, and most importantly, what about the record of the incumbent prime minister, who is attempting to use his lead in the recent parliamentary elections to obtain a third term?

      Maliki, once a minor figure in the small Islamist Shia Al-Dawa Party, became prime minister in 2006 as a compromise candidate, precisely because he seemed not to threaten anyone. At the time, war was raging between armed Sunni groups and Shia militias. They all originated in the armed resistance to U.S. occupation, but were divided by a growing feeling of reciprocal persecution. The prime minister supported the Shia militias, and used them as auxiliary forces against Sunni groups.

      Maliki's image and political strategy changed radically in 2008, when the United States gave him the means to escape the logic of sectarianism. It was a matter of organizing the Sunni militias co-opted by the government to fight Al-Qaida and rein in the Shia militias, which were getting more and more out-of-control. Maliki himself played a minimal role. Nevertheless, it gave him the air of a statesman who had risen above the dynamics of a civil war in order to lead the country back to stability.
In the aftermath, he clung to the role of savior, developing a personality cult that owed quite a bit to Saddam Hussein. This didn't seem to worry his Shia supporters. Because of the suffering under the previous regime or the supposed "ungovernability" of the too-turbulent Iraqi people, the Shia just seemed to desire the emergence of a leader like Saddam, but of their own sect.

      The "fight against terrorism" quickly became the main argument for Maliki, allowing him to pursue a multitude of objectives simultaneously. He was able to concentrate more and more powers in his own hands, take control of the huge security apparatus he had inherited from the American occupier, and put it to service for his own political ends. From December 2010 on, he added to the post of prime minister others: commander in chief of the armed forces, defense minister, and interior minister. Fear of a vacuum kept anyone from trying to replace him and guaranteed him enough support from the United States and Iran. Since his election in 2008, Obama had been wanting to withdraw U.S. troops as quickly as possible; and Tehran liked a man able to maintain himself at the helm of the Iraqi state but careful not to go against Iran's interests.

      Maliki's not the only one using, by default, a "struggle against terrorism" as a political program. In the Arab world, almost all his counterparts leaders have used it to justify terrible abuses. Thus Hafez al-Assad, the current president's father, in Syria, Algeria's generals in the 1990s, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. In Yemen, President Ali Abdallah Saleh, until his fall in 2012, had developed a system to keep himself in power forever that relied, in part, on the ever exploitable threat represented by Al-Qaeda. Faced with the resentment, frustration, and diverse aspirations of the Arab Spring in 2011, just about every regime invoked the fight against terrorism.

      Maliki stood out, however, thanks to his limitless use of the tactic. He deliberately and systematically alienated Sunnis even as he weakened the state in a way that is inexplicable, given the position of strength he was originally in. In Syria, Mr. Assad did the same from 2011 on, but he was pressured by a huge popular rebellion supported by foreigners who were openly calling for his fall. In the case of Mr. Maliki, the decision to neglect, even to dismantle, the Sunni militias, often tribally based, that he had inherited from the United States, and to maintain an ever-more sectarian security apparatus, was coldly and deliberately made. Every form of Sunni opposition has categorized as "terrorism" and led to arbitrary arrests and detentions and countless atrocities.

      Iraqi Sunnis were outraged by such treatment, inspired by the 2011 uprisings in neighboring countries, and discouraged by the disastrous militarization of the opposition in Syria, and were also affected by their own painful defeat in the recent civil war. From 2012 on, they organized themselves to express their dissatisfaction peacefully. The first demonstrations turned into permanent sit-ins in the main squares of Iraq's Sunni cities. Their demands were always centered on rebalancing the power structure so as to give Sunnis their proper place. But Maliki ignored them. The slowly increasing number of bomb attacks during this period he took not as a warning, but as a pretext for hardening his stance. Little by little, the option of violence, which Sunnis had come to see as unacceptable, began to gain support beyond the more radicalized fringes.

      In parallel, the prime minister also decided to get involved in supporting Mr. Assad in an ever more sectarian conflict, pitting a regime reduced to its Alawite core against a Sunni opposition. He stopped criticizing his neighbor's repression, though it was getting worse and was adopting ever more abominable forms, and retracted his offers to mediate. He allowed Shia volunteers to go fight in Syria as part of a "war effort" Iran was managing. These jihadists, inspired by a millenarian vision foreseeing the end of the world, began to travel unimpeded through the Baghdad airport or by the highway to Syria -- two crucial transport links strictly controlled by Maliki's forces -- and also allowed them to spread hateful sectarian propaganda, march in the streets, and form militias inside Iraq.

      So the man who claimed to have ended the civil war seemed to be doing his best to resuscitate those who had fought in it. What were the powerful U.S. and Iranian embassies saying about it? Until the Mosul crisis, at least, they bizarrely spoke with one voice, promising Maliki their unconditional support. And yet the signs of impending disaster were multiplying. The resurgence of armed Sunni groups and Shia militias should have been enough to sound the alarm.

      Even worse, the erosion of the state structures was auguring the catastrophic scenario Iraq faces today. The competence and cohesion of the security apparatus declined as Maliki increasingly politicized it, tolerating a level of corruption worthy of a banana republic. Essentially, the state became an instrument of cronyism; and the (inappropriate) participation in the recent parliamentary elections of those benefiting from this cronyism goes a long way toward explaining Maliki's share of the vote.

      By reducing the role of the parliament, surrounding himself with an entourage of profiteers, and blithely betraying his promises, Maliki deprived himself of the levers of power he needed to manage crises. Because the judicial system had been brought to heel, he could not have recourse to it, either. On the economic front, almost no development project has seen the light of day, so much have the oil riches been the object of systematic theft. In other words, Maliki's power depended on survival tactics that were undermining the institutional foundations of a state that was already fragile.

      But some Iraqis where profiting from this process, whether it be the political allies of the prime minister, who were getting their share of the pie, or his rivals, who could divine the promise of an eventual weakening of their adversary. Iran, the Shia militias, and the regional Kurdish government all wanted Baghdad to remain as frail and malleable as possible. The United States, for its part, was sitting it out: its withdrawal "strategy" to end a decade of military occupation consisted in turning a blind eye to everything that could delay that process and hoping for the best.

      The result was that the more Maliki showed himself to be sectarian and inept and the more he failed, the more he consolidated his position. At the end of 2012, before the Sunni demonstrations gathered strength, his chances of being re-elected seemed poor. Frustration was particularly evident in the Shia community: at that time the country was relatively stable, but nothing seemed to be making any progress. A year later, Iraq was once again in turmoil, with a monthly average of deaths of 1,000, just like the dark years 2006-2007, and the popularity of its strong man shot up. Even after the fall of Mosul, his imminent departure didn's seem a sure thing: the Shia were closing ranks around him, Iran was showing support, and the fear of a vacuum remained strong, even among those who were more ambivalent.

      This crisis raises many questions; but we'd be wrong to limit ourselves to the most obvious aspects of the crisis -- American responsibility for the debacle, the personalization of the problem via the figure of Mr. Maliki, or the threat of "terrorism." What people are talking about less, but which is central, is how power is exercised and the nature of the institutions. The personality of the prime minister is secondary: it's an entire context, not he alone, that enabled him to behave as he has done, and rewarded him for doing so. In March, when he organized a big international conference on the "fight against terrorism," for example, the U.N. took part and applauded.

      What's more, the wound is regional. The more Mr. Assad succeeds with his deleterious strategy, the more he inevitably seems to appear as part of the solution rather than the problem. Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has officially been running Egypt since June, has a military intelligence officer's conception of politics, but being elected -- and, as always, fear of a vacuum -- is enough for the outside world to give him free rein. In Bahrain, the ruling family has yielded nothing, but is suffering no consequences for it.

      The art of governing that is spreading consists in abandoning any ambition to govern at the level of the nation-state. Regimes no longer even try to overcome the splits that divide their societies, whether these be of ideology, development, or repression. Instead, they attack along these fault lines, make them worse, and seek conflict. By radicalizing one part of society, they consolidate their position in another, and spare themselves the trouble of any constructive program: the fear of what might replace them suffices to keep them in power. They also tend to weaken the national character of their institutions by depriving them of their autonomy, in order to make themselves indispensable. Then they sell themselves abroad in the name of the "war on terrorism" on the strength of a "democratic" election that reflects the hysterical vote of one swath of society and the fatal boycott of another.

      Iraq gives a good idea of where such a praxis of power leads in the end. It remains to be asked: why the devil would one want to get involved in this game?
--Peter Harling is project director with the Middle East program of the International Crisis Group; he lived in Baghdad from 1998 to 2004.
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Phone: 253-535-7219


3. ISIS/ISIL & "Sykes-Picot"

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: LRB: Islamic State most radical change since Sykes-Picot, Shia domination in Iraq is finished
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2014 23:10:41 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
To: Jensen, Mark

ANALYSIS: Islamic State most radical change since [==>] Sykes-Picot [<==], Shia domination in Iraq is finished
      [The Islamic State now covers "an area larger than Great Britain and [is] inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark, Finland, or Ireland," Patrick Cockburn noted in the *London Review of Books* (Aug. 21).[1]
      -- The powers of the established order are, in general, in denial, hoping ISIS will fall victim to its own excesses.
      -- It may, of course, but then again, it may not.
      -- "For America, Britain, and the Western powers, the rise of ISIS and the Caliphate is the ultimate disaster. -- Whatever they intended by their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and their efforts to get rid of Assad in Syria since 2011, it was not to see the creation of a jihadi state spanning northern Iraq and Syria run by a movement a hundred times bigger and much better organized than the al-Qaida of Osama bin Laden.
      -- The war on terror for which civil liberties have been curtailed and hundreds of billions of dollars spent has failed miserably.
      -- The belief that ISIS is interested only in ‘Muslim against Muslim' struggles is another instance of wishful thinking:
      -- ISIS has shown it will fight anybody who doesn't adhere to its bigoted, puritanical, and violent variant of Islam.
      -- Where ISIS differs from al-Qaida is that it's a well-run military organization that is very careful in choosing its targets and the optimum moment to attack them."

By Patrick Cockburn

London Review of Books
August 21, 2014 [posted Aug. 6]

      As the attention of the world focused on Ukraine and Gaza, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured a third of Syria in addition to the quarter of Iraq it had seized in June. The frontiers of the new Caliphate declared by ISIS on 29 June are expanding by the day and now cover an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark, Finland, or Ireland. In a few weeks of fighting in Syria ISIS has established itself as the dominant force in the Syrian opposition, routing the official al-Qaida affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, in the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, and executing its local commander as he tried to flee. In northern Syria some five thousand ISIS fighters are using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army in Mosul to besiege half a million Kurds in their enclave at Kobani on the Turkish border. In central Syria, near Palmyra, ISIS fought the Syrian army as it overran the al-Shaer gasfield, one of the largest in the country, in a surprise assault that left an estimated three hundred soldiers and civilians dead. Repeated government counter-attacks finally retook the gasfield but Isis still controls most of Syria's oil and gas production. The Caliphate may be poor and isolated but its oil wells and control of crucial roads provide a steady income in addition to the plunder of war.

      The birth of the new state is the most radical change to the political geography of the Middle East since the [==>] Sykes-Picot Agreement [<==] was implemented in the aftermath of the First World War. Yet this explosive transformation has created surprisingly little alarm internationally or even among those in Iraq and Syria not yet under the rule of ISIS. Politicians and diplomats tend to treat ISIS as if it is a Bedouin raiding party that appears dramatically from the desert, wins spectacular victories, and then retreats to its strongholds, leaving the status quo little changed. Such a scenario is conceivable but is getting less and less likely as ISIS consolidates its hold on its new conquests in an area that may soon stretch from Iran to the Mediterranean.

      The very speed and unexpectedness of its rise make it easy for Western and regional leaders to hope that the fall of ISIS and the implosion of the Caliphate might be equally sudden and swift. But all the evidence is that this is wishful thinking and the trend is in the other direction, with the opponents of ISIS becoming weaker and less capable of resistance: in Iraq the army shows no signs of recovering from its earlier defeats and has failed to launch a single successful counter-attack; in Syria the other opposition groups, including the battle-hardened fighters of al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, are demoralized and disintegrating as they are squeezed between ISIS and the Assad government. Karen Koning Abuzayd, a member of the U.N.'s Commission of Inquiry in Syria, says that more and more Syrian rebels are defecting to ISIS: ‘They see it's better, these guys are strong, these guys are winning battles, they were taking territory, they have money, they can train us.' This is bad news for the government, which barely held off an assault in 2012 and 2013 by rebels less well trained, organized and armed than ISIS; it will have real difficulties stopping the forces of the Caliphate advancing west.

      In Baghdad there was shock and terror on 10 June at the fall of Mosul and as people realized that trucks packed with ISIS gunmen were only an hour's drive away. But instead of assaulting Baghdad, ISIS took most of Anbar, the vast Sunni province that sprawls across western Iraq on either side of the Euphrates. In Baghdad, with its mostly Shia population of seven million, people know what to expect if the murderously anti-Shia ISIS forces capture the city, but they take heart from the fact that the calamity has not happened yet. ‘We were frightened by the military disaster at first but we Baghdadis have got used to crises over the last thirty-five years,' one woman said. Even with ISIS at the gates, Iraqi politicians have gone on playing political games as they move ponderously towards replacing the discredited prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

      ‘It is truly surreal,' a former Iraqi minister said. ‘When you speak to any political leader in Baghdad they talk as if they had not just lost half the country.' Volunteers had gone to the front after a fatwa from the grand ayatollah, Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shia cleric. But these militiamen are now streaming back to their homes, complaining that they were half-starved and forced to use their own weapons and buy their own ammunition. The only large-scale counter-attack launched by the regular army and the newly raised Shia militia was a disastrous foray into Tikrit on 15 July that was ambushed and defeated with heavy losses. There is no sign that the dysfunctional nature of the Iraqi army has changed. ‘They were using just one helicopter in support of the troops in Tikrit,' the former minister said, ‘so I wonder what on earth happened to the 140 helicopters the Iraqi state has bought in recent years?'

      Probably the money for the missing 139 helicopters was simply stolen. There are other wholly corrupt states in the world but few of them have oil revenues of $100 billion a year to steal from. The sole aim of many officials has long been to get the largest kickback possible and they did not much care if jihadi groups did the same. I met a Turkish businessman in Baghdad who said he had a large construction contract in Mosul over the last few years. The local emir or leader of ISIS, then known as al-Qaida in Iraq, demanded $500,000 a month in protection money from the company. ‘I complained again and again about this to the government in Baghdad,' the businessman said, ‘but they would do nothing about it except to say that I could add the money I paid al-Qaida to the contract price.' The emir was soon killed and his successor demanded that the protection money be increased to $1 million a month. The businessman refused to pay and one of his Iraqi employees was killed; he withdrew his Turkish staff and his equipment to Turkey. ‘Later I got a message from al-Qaida saying that the price was back down to $500,000 and I could come back,' he said. This was some time before ISIS captured the city.

      In the face of these failures Iraq's Shia majority is taking comfort from two beliefs that, if true, would mean the present situation is not as dangerous as it looks. They argue that Iraq's Sunnis have risen in revolt and ISIS fighters are only the shock troops or vanguard of an uprising provoked by the anti-Sunni policies and actions of Maliki. Once he is replaced, as is almost certain, Baghdad will offer the Sunnis a new power-sharing agreement with regional autonomy similar to that enjoyed by the Kurds. Then the Sunni tribes, former military officers and Baathists who have allowed ISIS to take the lead in the Sunni revolt will turn on their ferocious allies. Despite all signs to the contrary, Shia at all levels are putting faith in this myth, that ISIS is weak and can be easily discarded by Sunni moderates once they've achieved their goals. One Shia said to me: ‘I wonder if ISIS really exists.'

      Unfortunately, ISIS not only exists but is an efficient and ruthless organisation that has no intention of waiting for its Sunni allies to betray it. In Mosul it demanded that all opposition fighters swear allegiance to the Caliphate or give up their weapons. In late June and early July they detained between 15 to 20 former officers from Saddam Hussein's time, including two generals. Groups that had put up pictures of Saddam were told to take them down or face the consequences. ‘It doesn't seem likely,' Aymenn al-Tamimi, an expert on jihadists, said, ‘that the rest of the Sunni military opposition will be able to turn against ISIS successfully. If they do, they will have to act as quickly as possible before ISIS gets too strong.' He points out that the supposedly more moderate wing of the Sunni opposition had done nothing to stop the remnants of the ancient Christian community in Mosul from being forced to flee after ISIS told them they had to convert to Islam, pay a special tax, or be killed. Members of other sects and ethnic groups denounced as Shia or polytheists are being persecuted, imprisoned, and murdered. The moment is passing when the non-ISIS opposition could successfully mount a challenge.

      The Iraqi Shia offer another explanation for the way their army disintegrated: it was stabbed in the back by the Kurds. Seeking to shift the blame from himself, Maliki claims that Erbil, the Kurdish capital, ‘is a headquarters for ISIS, Baathists, al-Qaida, and terrorists.' Many Shia believe this: it makes them feel that their security forces (nominally 350,000 soldiers and 650,000 police) failed because they were betrayed and not because they wouldn't fight. One Iraqi told me he was at an iftar meal during Ramadan ‘with a hundred Shia professional people, mostly doctors and engineers and they all took the stab-in-the-back theory for granted as an explanation for what went wrong.' The confrontation with the Kurds is important because it makes it impossible to create a united front against ISIS. The Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, took advantage of the Iraqi army's flight to seize all the territories, including the city of Kirkuk, which have been in dispute between Kurds and Arabs since 2003. He now has a 600-mile common frontier with the Caliphate and is an obvious ally for Baghdad, where Kurds make up part of the government. By trying to scapegoat the Kurds, Maliki is ensuring that the Shia will have no allies in their confrontation with Isis if it resumes its attack in the direction of Baghdad. ISIS and their Sunni allies have been surprised by the military weakness of the Baghdad government. They are unlikely to be satisfied with regional autonomy for Sunni provinces and a larger share of jobs and oil revenues. Their uprising has turned into a full counter-revolution that aims to take back power over all of Iraq.

      At the moment Baghdad has a phony war atmosphere like London or Paris in late 1939 or early 1940, and for similar reasons. People had feared an imminent battle for the capital after the fall of Mosul, but it hasn't happened yet and optimists hope it won't happen at all. Life is more uncomfortable than it used to be, with only four hours of electricity on some days, but at least war hasn't yet come to the heart of the city. Nevertheless, some form of military attack, direct or indirect, will probably happen once ISIS has consolidated its hold on the territory it has just conquered: it sees its victories as divinely inspired. It believes in killing or expelling Shia rather than negotiating with them, as it has shown in Mosul. Some Shia leaders may calculate that the U.S. or Iran will always intervene to save Baghdad, but both powers are showing reluctance to plunge into the Iraqi quagmire in support of a dysfunctional government.

      Iraq's Shia leaders haven't grappled with the fact that their domination over the Iraqi state, brought about by the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein, is finished, and only a Shia rump is left. It ended because of their own incompetence and corruption and because the Sunni uprising in Syria in 2011 destabilized the sectarian balance of power in Iraq. Three years on, the ISIS-led Sunni victory in Iraq threatens to break the military stalemate in Syria. Assad has been slowly pushing back against a weakening opposition: in Damascus and its outskirts, the Qalamoun mountains along the Lebanese border and Homs, government forces have been advancing slowly and are close to encircling the large rebel enclave in Aleppo. But Assad's combat troops are noticeably thin on the ground, need to avoid heavy casualties and only have the strength to fight on one front at a time. The government's tactic is to devastate a rebel-held district with artillery fire and barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, force most of the population to flee, seal off what may now be a sea of ruins, and ultimately force the rebels to surrender. But the arrival of large numbers of well-armed ISIS fighters fresh from recent successes will be a new and dangerous challenge for Assad. They overran two important Syrian army garrisons in the east in late July. A conspiracy theory, much favored by the rest of the Syrian opposition and by Western diplomats, that ISIS and Assad are in league, has been shown to be false.

      ISIS may well advance on Aleppo in preference to Baghdad: it's a softer target and one less likely to provoke international intervention. This will leave the West and its regional allies -- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey -- with a quandary: their official policy is to get rid of Assad, but ISIS is now the second strongest military force in Syria; if he falls, it's in a good position to fill the vacuum. Like the Shia leaders in Baghdad, the U.S. and its allies have responded to the rise of ISIS by descending into fantasy. They pretend they are fostering a ‘third force' of moderate Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and ISIS, though in private Western diplomats admit this group doesn't really exist outside a few beleaguered pockets. Aymenn al-Tamimi confirms that this Western-backed opposition ‘is getting weaker and weaker'; he believes supplying them with more weapons won't make much difference. Jordan, under pressure from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, is supposed to be a launching pad for this risky venture but it's getting cold feet. ‘Jordan is frightened of ISIS,' one Jordanian official in Amman said. ‘Most Jordanians want Assad to win the war.' He said Jordan is buckling under the strain of coping with vast numbers of Syrian refugees, ‘the equivalent of the entire population of Mexico moving into the U.S. in one year.'

* * *

The foster parents of ISIS and the other Sunni jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, and Turkey. This doesn't mean the jihadis didn't have strong indigenous roots, but their rise was crucially supported by outside Sunni powers. The Saudi and Qatari aid was primarily financial, usually through private donations, which Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, says were central to the ISIS takeover of Sunni provinces in northern Iraq: ‘Such things do not happen spontaneously.' In a speech in London in July, he said the Saudi policy towards jihadis has two contradictory motives: fear of jihadis operating within Saudi Arabia, and a desire to use them against Shia powers abroad. He said the Saudis are ‘deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shiadom.' It's unlikely the Sunni community as a whole in Iraq would have lined up behind ISIS without the support Saudi Arabia gave directly or indirectly to many Sunni movements. The same is true of Syria, where Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to Washington and head of Saudi intelligence from 2012 to February 2014, was doing everything he could to back the jihadi opposition until his dismissal. Fearful of what they've helped create, the Saudis are now veering in the other direction, arresting jihadi volunteers rather than turning a blind eye as they go to Syria and Iraq, but it may be too late. Saudi jihadis have little love for the House of Saud. On 23 July, ISIS launched an attack on one of the last Syrian army strongholds in the northern province of Raqqa. It began with a suicide car-bomb attack; the vehicle was driven by a Saudi called Khatab al-Najdi who had put pictures on the car windows of three women held in Saudi prisons, one of whom was Hila al-Kasir, his niece.

      Turkey's role has been different but no less significant than Saudi Arabia's in aiding ISIS and other jihadi groups. Its most important action has been to keep open its 510-mile border with Syria. This gave ISIS, al-Nusra and other opposition groups a safe rear base from which to bring in men and weapons. The border crossing points have been the most contested places during the rebels' ‘civil war within the civil war.' Most foreign jihadis have crossed Turkey on their way to Syria and Iraq. Precise figures are difficult to come by, but Morocco's Interior Ministry said recently that 1122 Moroccan jihadists have entered Syria, including nine hundred who went in 2013, two hundred of whom were killed. Iraqi security suspects that Turkish military intelligence may have been heavily involved in aiding Isis when it was reconstituting itself in 2011. Reports from the Turkish border say ISIS is no longer welcome, but with weapons taken from the Iraqi army and the seizure of Syrian oil and gasfields, it no longer needs so much outside help.

      For America, Britain, and the Western powers, the rise of ISIS and the Caliphate is the ultimate disaster. Whatever they intended by their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and their efforts to get rid of Assad in Syria since 2011, it was not to see the creation of a jihadi state spanning northern Iraq and Syria run by a movement a hundred times bigger and much better organised than the al-Qaida of Osama bin Laden. The war on terror for which civil liberties have been curtailed and hundreds of billions of dollars spent has failed miserably. The belief that ISIS is interested only in ‘Muslim against Muslim' struggles is another instance of wishful thinking: ISIS has shown it will fight anybody who doesn't adhere to its bigoted, puritanical, and violent variant of Islam. Where ISIS differs from al-Qaida is that it's a well-run military organization that is very careful in choosing its targets and the optimum moment to attack them.

      Many in Baghdad hope the excesses of ISIS -- for example, blowing up mosques it deems shrines, like that of Younis (Jonah) in Mosul -- will alienate the Sunnis. In the long term they may do just that, but opposing ISIS is very dangerous, and, for all its brutality, it has brought victory to a defeated and persecuted Sunni community. Even those Sunnis in Mosul who don't like it are fearful of the return of a vengeful Shia-dominated Iraqi government. So far Baghdad's response to its defeat has been to bomb Mosul and Tikrit randomly, leaving local people in no doubt about its indifference to their welfare or survival. The fear will not change even if Maliki is replaced by a more conciliatory prime minister. A Sunni in Mosul, writing just after a missile fired by government forces had exploded in the city, told me: ‘Maliki's forces have already demolished the University of Tikrit. It has become havoc and rubble like all the city. If Maliki reaches us in Mosul he will kill its people or turn them into refugees. Pray for us.' Such views are common, and make it less likely that Sunnis will rise up in opposition to Isis and its Caliphate. A new and terrifying state has been born.


4. ISIS/ISIL & "Sykes-Picot" (±Radical± Perspective)

          ["...] the ISIS has made a big deal out of declaring the end of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which divided the region between British and French interests at the end of World War I [..."]
         ["...] ISIS has made a big deal out of declaring the end of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which divided the region between British and French interests at the end of World War I. Having declared their "Islamic State," ISIS claims to have destroyed the status quo by militarily and, to much notice, symbolically erasing the border between Syria and Iraq. The claim is laughable: a ragtag "army" of perhaps 17,000 fighters couldn't have achieved that without some significant outside help, not only from the Saudis and the Qataris but, decisively, from Washington. [..."]
         ["...] We abolished Sykes-Picot by effectively putting an end to Iraqi statehood. The process was completed when Washington subsequently allied with Iraq s Sunni tribesmen in a vain hope to avoid the break up of Iraq and drive Al Qaeda out of the country. What happened, instead, was that the Sunni tribesmen's brothers across the by-then-virtually-nonexistent border were drawn into the Iraqi arena, where they took up the fight against Baghdad and their American backers. [ ..."]

ISIS: Made in Washington, Riyadh" and Tel Aviv
There's more than one Dr. Frankenstein responsible for this monster
by Justin Raimondo, August 25, 2014

The Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) is being touted as the newest "threat" to the American homeland: hysterics have pointed to Chicago as the locus of their interest, and we are told by everyone from the President on down that if we don't attack them" i.e. go back into Iraq (and even venture into Syria) to root them out" they'll soon show up on American shores.

How is this supposed to work? Well, you see, that monster who beheaded James Foley had a British accent, and there are reports of more than a few Brits (and Americans) traveling to Syria to fight on behalf of ISIS. So these jihadi "internationalists" could always just fly back to either Britain or the US, where another 9/11 would shortly be in the works.

Let's put aside the FBI statement that, while Americans abroad may be in some unspecified degree of danger, ISIS represents "no credible threat" to the continental United States. If we take the ISIS-threatens-us-at-home war propaganda seriously we have to believe Western law enforcement agencies, with all the tools at their command" including near total surveillance of online and telephonic communications worldwide" have no idea what dubious characters have traveled to Syria via, say, New York or London, and would in any case be powerless to prevent their return.

In short, we have to invade yet another country (or two) because our own post-9/11 security arrangements are virtually nonexistent" in spite of having spent untold billions on building them up.

Can that really be true?

If we step back from the hysteria generated by the beheading of US journalist James Foley, what's clear is that this new bogeyman is the creation of the United States and its allies in the region.

ISIS didn't just arise out of the earth like some Islamist variation on the fabled Myrmidons: they needed money, weapons, logistics, propaganda facilities, and international connections to reach the relatively high level of organization and lethality they seem to have achieved in such a short period of time. Where did they get these assets?

None of this is any secret: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the rest of the oil-rich Gulf states have been backing them all the way. Prince Bandar al-Sultan, until recently the head of the Kingdom's intelligence agency" and still the chief of its National Security Council" has been among their biggest backers. Qatar and the Gulf states have also been generous in their support for the Syrian jihadists who were too radical for the US to openly back. Although pressure from Washington" only recently exerted" has reportedly forced them to cut off the aid, ISIS is now an accomplished fact" and how can anyone say that support has entirely evaporated instead of merely going underground?

Washington's responsibility for the success of ISIS is less direct, but no less damning.

The US was in a de facto alliance with the groups that merged to form ISIS ever since President Barack Obama declared Syria's Bashar al-Assad "must go"" and Washington started funding Syrian rebel groups whose composition and leadership kept changing. By funding the Free Syrian Army (FSA), our "vetted" Syrian Islamists, this administration has actively worked to defeat the only forces capable of rooting out ISIS from its Syrian nest" Assad's Ba'athist government. Millions of dollars in overt aid" and who knows how much covertly? " were pumped into the FSA. How much of that seeped into the coffers of ISIS when constantly forming and re-forming chameleon-like rebel groups defected from the FSA? These defectors didn't just go away: they joined up with more radical" and militarily effective" Islamist militias, some of which undoubtedly found their way to ISIS.

How many ISIS cadres who started out in the FSA were trained and equipped by American "advisors" in neighboring Jordan? We'll never know the exact answer to that question, but the number is very likely not zero" and this Mother Jones piece shows that, at least under the Clinton-Petraeus duo, the "vetting" process was a joke. Furthermore, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) may well have been on to something when he confronted Hillary with the contention that some of the arms looted from Gaddafi's arsenals may well have reached the Syrian rebels. There was, after all, the question of where that mysterious "charity ship," the Al Entisar, carrying "humanitarian aid" to the Syrian rebels headquartered in Turkey, sailed from.

Secondly, the open backing by the US of particular Syrian rebel groups no doubt discredited them in the eyes of most Islamist types, driving them away from the FSA and into the arms of ISIS. When it became clear Washington wasn't going to provide air support for rebel actions on the ground, these guys left the FSA in droves" and swelled the ranks of groups that eventually coalesced into ISIS.

Thirdly, the one silent partner in all this has been the state of Israel. While there is no evidence of direct Israeli backing, the public statements of some top Israeli officials lead one to believe Tel Aviv has little interest in stopping the ISIS threat" except, of course, to urge Washington to step deeper into the Syrian quagmire.

In a recent public event held at the Aspen Institute, former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren bluntly stated that in any struggle between the Sunni jihadists and their Iranian Shi'ite enemies, the former are the "lesser evil." They're all "bad guys," says Oren, but "we always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren't backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran." Last year, Sima Shine, Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs, declared:

"The alternative, whereby [Assad falls and] Jihadists flock to Syria, is not good. We have no good options in Syria. But Assad remaining along with the Iranians is worse. His ouster would exert immense pressure on Iran."

None of this should come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been following Israel's machinations in the region. It has long been known that the Israelis have been standing very close to the sidelines of the Syrian civil war, gloating and hoping for "no outcome," as this New York Times piece put it.

Israel's goal in the region has been to gin up as much conflict and chaos as possible, keeping its Islamic enemies divided, making it impossible for any credible challenge to arise among its Arab neighbors" and aiming the main blow at Tehran. As Ambassador Oren so brazenly asserted" while paying lip service to the awfulness of ISIS and al-Qaeda" their quarrel isn't really with the Arabs, anyway" it's with the Persians, whom they fear and loathe, and whose destruction has been their number one objective since the days of Ariel Sharon.

Why anyone is shocked that our Middle Eastern allies have been building up Sunni radicals in the region is beyond me" because this has also been de facto US policy since the Bush administration, which began recruiting American assets in the Sunni region as the linchpin of the Iraqi "surge." This was part and parcel of the so-called "Sunni turn," or "redirection," in Seymour Hersh's phrase, which, as I warned in 2006, would become Washington's chosen strategy for dealing with what they called the "Shia crescent" " the crescent-shaped territory spanning Iran, Iraq, Syria, and parts of Lebanon under Hezbollah's control, which the neocons began pointing to as the Big New Threat shortly after Saddam Hussein's defeat.

The pro-Sunni orientation of US policymakers wasn't reversed with the change of administrations: instead, it went into overdrive, especially after the much-vaunted Arab Spring. Both Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, and David Petraeus, who had yet to disgrace himself and was still CIA director, lobbied intensively for more support to the Syrian rebels. The Sunni Turn took a fateful turn when the Three Harpies of the Apocalypse" Hillary, Susan Rice, and now UN ambassador Samantha Power" hectored Obama into pursuing regime change in Libya. In this case the US and its NATO allies acted as the Islamist militia's air force while supplying them with arms on the ground and diplomatic support internationally.

Yet even as Libya was imploding from the effects of its "liberation," the neocons and their "liberal" interventionist allies in the Democratic party" and in the highest reaches of the Obama administration" were building support for yet another fateful "Sunni turn," this time in Syria. Caving to this pressure, the Obama administration decided to act on accusations of poison gas supposedly used by Assad against the rebels to directly intervene with a bombing campaign modeled along Libyan lines. Only a huge public outcry stopped them." ISIS could never have been consolidated in the form it has now taken without the strategic disaster of Washington's "Sunni turn." While the US may have reason to regret this harebrained strategy, it is far too late for that" and it looks to me like our "allies" in the region, including Israel, aren't about to turn on a dime at Obama's command.

Last year around this time Vladimir Putin very publicly warned against the scenario we are seeing unfold in the Middle East:

If Assad goes today, a political vacuum emerges" who will fill it? Maybe those terrorist organizations. Nobody wants this" but how can it be avoided? After all, they are armed and aggressive.

Now that Putin's prediction has come to pass, we're too busy confronting him in Ukraine" and dreaming of the day we can do to him what we did to Assad" to acknowledge it. But you can hear the gears of our policymaking machine screaming in protest as Washington does an abrupt about-face and starts cooperating with Assad" previously denounced as the latest edition of Adolph Hitler" by sharing intelligence enabling the Syrian army to target ISIS positions.

We have always been at war with Eurasia. Or is that Eastasia? I forget.

The lesson of all this?

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to intervene. And deceive " this administration has not only been lying to the American people about the nature of the Syrian "liberators" we've been funding with their tax dollars, they also been deceiving themselves. The Sunni Turn has turned on them, and with a vengeance.

The ancient Greeks had a word for the particular sin committed by our political class: they called it hubris a mindset generated by the belief that humankind can defy the gods and get away with it. Yet the divine pantheon of Olympus had a way of giving these malefactors their comeuppance: they sent the goddess Nemesis to avenge such sacrilege" and she was relentless in her pursuit. The word nemesis has come down to us to mean "the inescapable agent of someone's or something's downfall" " and that is as succinct an explanation of the origins of ISIS as we are likely to come across.

Okay, so the anti-interventionists told us so" but now what? What should the United States do about ISIS now that they've taken over half of Syria and a third of Iraq?

The answer is: let Assad, the Iranians, the Turks, and, yes, the Russians take care of it, since they are the states directly threatened by the growth of the so-called Islamic State. Why should we fight their war for them?

Contrary to the War Party's hebephrenic appeals to intervene, inaction on our part is key to the destruction of ISIS. The Grand Caliph of the Islamic State would like nothing more than to be able to portray ISIS as the valiant opponent of a US reentry into the region. It would be a tremendous propaganda victory for them to be able to frame their cause in this context because the result would be a successful international recruiting drive that would fill the ranks of the Islamic State's army even as hundreds are killed by US drones and missile strikes.

By letting nature take its course and permitting Iraq's predatory neighbors to gobble up the charred remains of the Iraqi state we destroyed, we can solve a problem we created in the first place, albeit not without incurring the inevitable cost of our initial error" which was invading Iraq in the first place.

[==>] ISIS has made a big deal out of declaring the end of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which divided the region between British and French interests at the end of World War I. Having declared their "Islamic State," ISIS claims to have destroyed the status quo by militarily" and, to much notice, symbolically" erasing the border between Syria and Iraq. The claim is laughable: a ragtag"army" of perhaps 17,000 fighters couldn't have achieved that without some significant outside help, not only from the Saudis and the Qataris but, decisively, from Washington.

We abolished Sykes-Picot by effectively putting an end to Iraqi statehood. The process was completed when Washington subsequently allied with Iraq's Sunni tribesmen in a vain hope to avoid the break up of Iraq and drive Al Qaeda out of the country. What happened, instead, was that the Sunni tribesmen's brothers across the by-then-virtually-nonexistent border were drawn into the Iraqi arena, where they took up the fight against Baghdad" and their American backers.

ISIS didn't blast [==>] Sykes-Picot [<==] to pieces: we did, and now we must live with the consequences. Nemesis has taken her pound of flesh.

The best course now is to learn the lesson every child has to absorb before he can attain adulthood in more than merely a physical sense: actions have consequences. Applied to the Middle East, this lesson can only have one meaning: stay out and keep out.



5. ISIS/ISIL 2 (±Radical± Perspectives)

"Is it the end of Sykes-Picot?" 23 May 2014

"Just Foreign Policy" 5/28: Aid to Syrian rebels challenged; how did Obama change drone policy?

      8) Is it the end of Sykes-Picot?
Patrick Cockburn on the war in Syria and the threat to the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn, London Review of Books, 23 May 2014

      For the first two years of the Syrian civil war foreign leaders regularly predicted that Bashar al-Assad's government would fall any day. In November 2011, King Abdullah of Jordan said that the chances of Assad's surviving were so slim he ought to step down. In December last year, Anders Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general, said: 'I think the regime in Damascus is approaching collapse.' Even the Russian Foreign Ministry – which generally defends Assad – has at times made similar claims. Some of these statements were designed to demoralise Assad's supporters by making his overthrow seem inevitable. But in many cases outsiders genuinely believed that the end was just round the corner. The rebels kept claiming successes, and the claims were undiscriminatingly accepted.

      That Assad's government is on its last legs has always been something of a myth. YouTube videos of victorious rebel fighters capturing military outposts and seizing government munitions distract attention from the fact that the war is entering its third year and the insurgents have succeeded in capturing just one of the 14 provincial capitals. (In Libya the insurgents held Benghazi and the whole of the east as well as Misrata and smaller towns in the west from the beginning of the revolt.) The Syrian rebels were never as strong militarily as the outside world supposes. But they have always been way ahead of the government in their access to the international media. Whatever the uprising has since become it began in March 2011 as a mass revolt against a cruel and corrupt police state. The regime at first refused to say much in response, then sounded aggrieved and befuddled as it saw the vacuum it had created being filled with information put out by its enemies. Defecting Syrian soldiers were on television denouncing their former masters while government units that had stayed loyal remained unreported and invisible. And so it has largely continued. The ubiquitous YouTube videos of minor, and in some cases illusory, victories by the rebels are put about in large part to persuade the world that, given more money and arms, they can quickly win a decisive victory and end the war.

      There is a striking divergence between the way the Syrian war is seen in Beirut – just a few hours' drive from Damascus, even now – and what actually appears to be happening on the ground inside Syria. On recent trips I would drive to Damascus, having listened to Syrians and non-Syrians in Beirut who sincerely believed that rebel victory was close, only to find the government still very much in control. Around the capital, the rebels held some suburbs and nearby towns, but in December I was able to travel the ninety miles between Damascus and Homs, Syria's third largest city, without any guards and with ordinary heavy traffic on the road. Friends back in Beirut would shake their heads in disbelief when I spoke about this and politely suggest that I'd been hoodwinked by the regime.

      Some of the difficulties in reporting the war in Syria aren't new. Television has a great appetite for the drama of war, for pictures of missiles exploding over Middle Eastern cities amid the sparkle of anti-aircraft fire. Print journalism can't compete with these images, but they are rarely typical of what is happening. Despite the iconic images Baghdad wasn't, in fact, heavily bombarded in either 1991 or 2003. The problem is much worse in Syria than it used to be in Iraq or Afghanistan (in 2001) because the most arresting pictures out of Syria appear first on YouTube and are, for the most part, provided by political activists. They are then run on TV news with health warnings to the effect that the station can't vouch for their veracity, but viewers assume that the station wouldn't be running the film if it didn't believe it was real. Actual eyewitnesses are becoming hard to find, since even people living a few streets from the fighting in Damascus now get most of their information from the internet or TV.

      Not all YouTube evidence is suspect. Though easily fabricated, it performs certain tasks well. It can show that atrocities have taken place, and even authenticate them: in the case of a pro-government militia massacring rebel villagers, for instance, or rebel commanders mutilating and executing government soldiers. Without a video of him doing so, who would have believed that a rebel commander had cut open a dead government soldier and eaten his heart? Pictures of physical destruction are less reliable because they focus on the worst damage, giving the impression – which may or may not be true – that a whole district is in ruins. What YouTube can't tell you is who is winning the war.

      The reality is that no one is. Over the last year a military stalemate has prevailed, with each side launching offensives in the areas where they are strongest. Both sides have had definite but limited successes. In recent weeks government forces have opened up the road that leads west from Homs to the Mediterranean coast and the road from Damascus south to the Jordanian border. They have expanded the territory they hold around the capital and trained a militia of sixty thousand, the National Defence Force, to guard positions once held by the Syrian army. This strategy of retrenchment and consolidation isn't new. About six months ago the army stopped trying to keep control of outlying positions and focused instead on defending the main population centres and the routes linking them. These pre-planned withdrawals took place at the same time as real losses on the battlefield, and were misinterpreted outside Syria as a sign that the regime was imploding. The strategy was indeed a sign of military weakness, but by concentrating its forces in certain areas the government was able to launch counterattacks at vital points. Assad isn't going to win a total victory, but the opposition isn't anywhere close to overthrowing him either. This is worth stressing because Western politicians and journalists so frequently take it for granted that the regime is entering its last days. A justification for the British and French argument that the EU embargo on arms deliveries to the rebels should be lifted – a plan first mooted in March but strongly opposed by other EU members – is that these extra weapons will finally tip the balance decisively against Assad. The evidence from Syria itself is that more weapons will simply mean more dead and wounded.

      The protracted conflict that is now underway in Syria has more in common with the civil wars in Lebanon and Iraq than with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya or the even swifter regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia at the start of the Arab Spring. The civil war in Lebanon lasted 15 years, from 1975 to 1990, and the sectarian divisions which caused it are as marked as ever. In Iraq, 2006 and 2007 are usually described as being the worst years of the slaughter – three thousand people murdered every month – but sectarian killings began immediately after the US invasion in 2003 and haven't stopped since. According to the UN some seven hundred Iraqis were killed in April: the highest monthly total since 2008. Syria is increasingly resembling its neighbours to the west and east: there will soon be a solid bloc of fragmented countries that stretches between the Mediterranean and Iran. In all three places the power of the central state is draining away as communities retreat into their own well-defended and near autonomous enclaves.

      Meanwhile, foreign countries are gaining influence with the help of local proxies, and in so doing the rebels' supporters are repeating the mistake Washington made ten years ago in Iraq. In the heady days after the fall of Saddam, the Americans announced that Iran and Syria were the next targets for regime change. This was largely ill-informed hubris, but the threat was real enough for the Syrians and Iranians to decide that in order to stop the Americans acting against them they had to stop the US stabilising its occupation of Iraq and lent their support to all of America's opponents regardless of whether they were Shia or Sunni.

      >From an early stage in the Syrian uprising the US, Nato, Israel and the Sunni Arab states openly exulted at the blow that would soon be dealt to Iran and to Hezbollah in Lebanon: Assad's imminent fall would deprive them of their most important ally in the Arab world. Sunni leaders saw the uprising not as a triumph of democracy but as the beginning of a campaign directed at Shia or Shia-dominated states. As with Iraq in 2003, Hezbollah and Iran believe they have no alternative but to fight and that it's better to get on with it while they still have friends in power in Damascus. 'If the enemy attacks us,' Hossein Taeb, a high-ranking intelligence officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, recently said, 'and seeks to take over Syria or Khuzestan' – an Iranian province – 'the priority is to maintain Syria, because if we maintain Syria we can take back Khuzestan. But if we lose Syria we won't be able to hold Tehran.' Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, made it very clear in a speech on 30 April that the Lebanese Shia also see Syria as a battleground where they can't afford a defeat. 'Syria,' he said, 'has real friends in the region and the world who will not let Syria fall into the hands of America, Israel or takfiri groups.' He believes the very survival of the Shia is at stake. For many in the Middle East this sounded like a declaration of war: a significant one, given Hezbollah's experience in fighting a guerrilla war against the Israelis in Lebanon. The impact of its skill in irregular warfare has already been witnessed in the fighting at Qusayr and Homs, just beyond Lebanon's northern border. 'It probably is unrealistic to expect Lebanese actors to take a step back,' a study by the International Crisis Group concludes. 'Syria's fate, they feel, is their own, and the stakes are too high for them to keep to the sideline.'

      The Syrian civil war is spreading. This, not well-publicised advances or withdrawals on the battlefield, is the most important new development. Political leaders in the region see the dangers more intensely than the rest of the world. 'Neither the opposition nor the regime can finish the other off,' Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, said earlier this year. 'If the opposition is victorious, there will be a civil war in Lebanon, divisions in Jordan, and a sectarian war in Iraq.' Of these countries, the most vulnerable is Lebanon, given the division between Sunni and Shia, a weak state, porous borders and proximity to heavily populated areas of Syria. A country of four million people has already taken in half a million Syrian refugees, most of them Sunnis.

      In Iraq, the Syrian civil war has reignited a sectarian conflict that never entirely ended. The destabilising of his country that Maliki predicted in the event of an opposition victory has already begun. The overthrow of Saddam brought to power a Shia-Kurdish government that displaced Sunni rule dating back to the foundation of the Iraqi state in 1921. It is this recently established status quo that is now under threat. The revolt of the Sunni majority in Syria is making the Sunni minority in Iraq feel that the regional balance is swinging in their favour. They started to demonstrate in December, modelling their protests on the Arab Spring. They wanted reform rather than revolution, but to the Shia majority the demonstrations appeared to be part of a frighteningly powerful Sunni counter-offensive across the Middle East. The Baghdad government equivocated until 23 April, when a military force backed by tanks crushed a sit-in protest in the main square of Hawijah, a Sunni town south-west of Kirkuk, killing at least 50 people including eight children. Since then local Sunni leaders who had previously backed the Iraqi army against the Kurds have been demanding that it leave their provinces. Iraq may be disintegrating.

      The feeling that the future of whole states is in doubt is growing across the Middle East – for the first time since Britain and France carved up the remains of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War. 'It is the end of Sykes-Picot,' I was told repeatedly in Iraq; the reference was to the agreement of 1916 which divided up the spoils between Britain and France and was the basis for later treaties. Some are jubilant at the collapse of the old order, notably the thirty million Kurds who were left without a state of their own after the Ottoman collapse and are now spread across Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. They feel their moment has come: they are close to independence in Iraq and are striking a deal with the Turkish government for political rights and civil equality. In March, the Kurdish guerrillas of the PKK declared an end to their thirty-year war with the Turkish government and started withdrawing into the mountains of northern Iraq. The 2.5 million Kurds in northern Syria, 10 per cent of the population, have assumed control of their towns and villages and are likely to demand a high degree of autonomy from any postwar Syrian government.

      What will the new order in the Middle East look like? This should be Turkey's great moment in the region: it has a powerful military, a prospering economy and a well-established government. It is allied to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in supporting the Syrian opposition and is on good terms with the US. But these are dangerous waters to fish in. Three years ago, Ankara was able to deal peaceably with Syria, Iraq and Iran, but now it has poisonous relations with all three. Engagement in Syria on the side of the rebels isn't popular at home and the government is clearly surprised that the conflict hasn't yet ended. There are signs that the violence is spilling over Turkey's 510-mile frontier with Syria, across which insurgent groups advance and retreat at will. On 11 May, two bombs in a Turkish border town killed 49 people, almost all Turkish. An angry crowd of Turks marched down the main street chanting 'kill the Syrians' as they assaulted Syrian shopkeepers. Arab politicians wonder whether the Turks know what they are getting into and how they will handle it. 'The Turks are big on rhetoric but often disappointing when it comes to operational ability,' one Arab leader says. 'The Iranians are just the opposite.' The recent deal between the government and Turkey's Kurds could easily unravel. A long war in Syria could open up divisions in Turkey just as it is doing elsewhere.

      When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it changed the overall balance of power and destabilised every country in the region. The same thing is happening again, except that the impact of the Syrian war is likely to be less easily contained. Already the frontier dividing the western deserts of Iraq from the eastern deserts of Syria is ceasing to have any physical reality. In April, al-Qaida in Iraq embarrassed the rebels' Western supporters by revealing that it had founded, reinforced with experienced fighters and devoted half its budget to supporting al-Nusra, militarily the most effective rebel group. When Syrian soldiers fled into Iraq in March they were ambushed by al-Qaida and 48 of them were killed before they could return to Syrian territory.

      There is virtually no state in the region that hasn't got some stake in the conflict. Jordan, though nervous of a jihadi victory in Syria, is allowing arms shipments from Saudi Arabia to reach rebels in southern Syria by road. Qatar has reportedly spent $3 billion on supporting the rebels over the last two years and has offered $50,000 to every Syrian army defector and his family. In co-ordination with the CIA it has sent seventy military flights to Turkey with arms and equipment for the insurgents. The Tunisian government says that eight hundred Tunisians are fighting on the rebel side but security sources are quoted as saying the real figure is closer to two thousand. Moaz al-Khatib, the outgoing president of the Syrian National Coalition, which supposedly represents the opposition, recently resigned, declaring as he did so that the group was controlled by outside powers – i.e. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 'The people inside Syria,' he said, 'have lost the ability to decide their own fate. I have become only a means to sign some papers while hands from different parties want to decide on behalf of the Syrians.' He claimed that on one occasion a rebel unit failed to go to the rescue of villagers being massacred by government forces because they hadn't received instructions from their paymasters.

      Fear of widespread disorder and instability is pushing the US, Russia, Iran and others to talk of a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Some sort of peace conference may take place in Geneva over the next month, with the aim at least of stopping things getting worse. But while there is an appetite for diplomacy, nobody knows what a solution would look like. It's hard to imagine a real agreement being reached when there are so many players with conflicting interests. Five distinct conflicts have become tangled together in Syria: a popular uprising against a dictatorship which is also a sectarian battle between Sunnis and the Alawite sect; a regional struggle between Shia and Sunni which is also a decades-old conflict between an Iranian-led grouping and Iran's traditional enemies, notably the US and Saudi Arabia. Finally, at another level, there is a reborn Cold War confrontation: Russia and China v. the West. The conflict is full of unexpected and absurd contradictions, such as a purportedly democratic and secular Syrian opposition being funded by the absolute monarchies of the Gulf who are also fundamentalist Sunnis.

      By savagely repressing demonstrations two years ago Bashar al-Assad helped turn mass protests into an insurrection which has torn Syria apart. He is probably correct in predicting that diplomacy will fail, that his opponents inside and outside Syria are too divided to agree on a peace deal. He may also be right in believing that greater foreign intervention 'is a clear probability'. The quagmire is turning out to be even deeper and more dangerous than it was in Iraq

"Cynical Calculations" 8/11/2014

Cynical Calculations
How ISIS Finally Became Obama's Enemy

      Suddenly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has become a threat worthy of American missiles. For almost two years President Obama completely ignored the biggest and most brutal terror group in the Middle East, allowing it to balloon into a regional power. No matter how many heads it severed or how much territory it conquered, ISIS just couldn't draw Obama's attention.

      As ISIS was conquering ever-expanding territories Obama was supposedly waging a "war on terror" around the globe, drone-bombing any would-be bogeyman in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc. But when a real bogeyman emerged, Obama ignored it, and so did the U.S. media, which instead followed Obama's warmongering gaze to Ukraine, while plagiarizing the president's endless excuse-making for Israel's genocidal conduct in Gaza.

      For well over two years ISIS and other al-Qaeda-style groups have been the main driving force in the Syrian war that has claimed over 170,000 lives, with millions made refugees. And now, suddenly, Obama wants to intervene for "humanitarian" reasons to fight ISIS. But the actual reason that ISIS attracted Obama's missiles is that the terror group did something unforgivable: It has finally threatened "U.S. interests," whereas before the interests of ISIS and Obama were perfectly aligned.

      The indefatigable Middle East journalist Patrick Cockburn was dumbfounded by the lack of government and media attention ISIS has gotten, as the group expanded its power over huge regions of Syria and Iraq, now threatening Lebanon. Cockburn exasperatedly writes:

      "As the attention of the world focused on Ukraine and Gaza, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured a third of Syria in addition to the quarter of Iraq it had seized in June …The birth of the new [ISIS] state is the most radical change to the political geography of the Middle East since the [==>]Sykes-Picot Agreement[<==] was implemented in the aftermath of the First World War. Yet this explosive transformation has created surprisingly little alarm internationally…"

      Similar surprise was displayed by Noah Bonsey, a Syria expert at the International Crisis Group, who couldn't understand the free hand Obama was giving ISIS:

      "The U.S. has the clout and capacity to build partnerships capable of reversing ISIS gains, but seems to lack the necessary vision and will."

      And finally from The New York Times:

      "Even after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seized Fallujah and other territory in the western part of the country [Iraq] at the beginning of the year and marched through Mosul and toward Baghdad by summer, the president expressed no enthusiasm for American military action."

      Or any action for that matter.

      While ignoring ISIS' destruction of Syria and invasion of Iraq, U.S.-led NATO issued non-stop warnings about Russia possibly invading Ukraine. But of course there were no such warnings issued — or attention paid — to Israel's invasion of Gaza.

      And whereas Obama didn't lift a finger to stop the Israeli invasion, he recently stated that the U.S. has a "unique opportunity" to stop an ISIS massacre in Iraq; thousands of Gazans must be rolling in their freshly dug graves.

      Obama's inconsistent approach to foreign policy has confused many an analyst, who see no logic in the president's approach to military intervention. Even Obama's former deputy Secretary of State recently commented:

      "Nobody has the sense about why [intervention] in some cases and not in others… His [Obama's] last news conference just leaves you scratching your head. Yeah, we can't do everything. But what matters to us?"

      In reality, however, there is a definite logic to Obama's foreign policy, where he has been disgracefully consistent throughout his presidency. For example, after Obama publicly targeted the Syrian government for destruction had no qualms about using ISIS and the other al-Qaeda-linked groups as proxies in the fight.

      These terror groups were encouraged to grow exponentially in their fight against al-Assad, with Obama knowing full well that Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allied Gulf States were sending mountains of money, guns, and fighters to the jihadists. There was simply was no one else effectively fighting al-Assad, a dynamic that has artificially lengthened a war that would have ended years ago, while creating the environment that ISIS thrived in. Much of the money and guns that Obama shipped to the "moderate" Islamists rebels of course found its way into the hands of the jihadists, since thousands of moderates have since joined ISIS.

      The more that ISIS did for the U.S. in Syria, the less Obama gave it attention, a very powerful form of passive political support. When ISIS invaded Iraq from Syria, Obama barely batted an eyelash, making excuse after excuse about why the U.S. couldn't send the Iraqi government military equipment to fight ISIS. Imagine, however, if Saudi Arabia or Israel were invaded by a terrorist organization? Obama would have green-lighted F-16 bombing raids in minutes.

      Obama's lack of concern for the ISIS invasion of Iraq was ideologically linked to his inaction in Syria: Obama wants regime change in both nations, and is using ISIS as a de facto ally in both cases. This became quickly obvious with Obama's response to the ISIS invasion of Iraq; he simply criticized the Iraqi government for not being more inclusive; meanwhile ISIS butchered its way through giant regions of Iraq and subjected the survivors to a more brutal totalitarianism than the U.S.-allied dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

      Further political support was given to ISIS by U.S. politicians, who essentially accepted ISIS as the ruler of the newly conquered Iraqi territories; these politicians instantly referred to Iraq as being "de facto partitioned," meaning that ISIS had created a separate Sunni region that would be complemented by Shia and Kurdish regions.

      Coincidentally, this "partition" plan just happens to be the official plan of Vice President Joe Biden, who for a while has advocated a "soft partition" of Iraq, an idea as ludicrous as a "partial" nuclear attack. As long as ISIS was "de facto" helping achieve Biden's partition plan, Obama was fine with ISIS' murderous rampage. And now the media informs us, unsurprisingly, that Biden's plan has officially been "gaining momentum" in Washington D.C.

      But then ISIS went too far. The red line that ISIS finally crossed was their attack against the U.S. allied Iraqi Kurds. The Kurds govern their own oil-rich autonomous zone in Iraq, and have been steadfast U.S. supporters. The New York Times talks openly about the real, non-humanitarian motive of Obama attacking ISIS:

      "Mr. Obama has been reluctant to order direct military action in Iraq [against ISIS] while [Iraqi] Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains in office, but in recent weeks there have been repeated pleas from the Kurdish officials for weapons and assistance as ISIS militants have swept across northwestern Iraq."

      The Times re-enforced this perspective when talking about the views of Representative Adam Smith of Washington State:

      "…he [Smith] supported intervening on behalf of the Kurds, as opposed to the unpopular Baghdad government. "The Kurds are worth helping and defending" [said Smith]."

      There you have it. The thousands who have been slaughtered by ISIS in Syria and other parts of Iraq weren't "worth defending," but the Kurds are different, since their leaders are U.S. allies. This sums up U.S. foreign policy in a nutshell, which has absolutely nothing to do with "humanitarianism." Gazans are allowed to be slaughtered, Syrian's massacred, and half of Iraq torn to shreds while Obama has busied himself with making threats to Russia.

      The logical of U.S. military intervention is completely based on a cynical calculation meant to boost U.S. military and corporate power abroad, by any means necessary.

      Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action ( He can be reached at

"Obama prepares to escalate war in the Middle East" 09/08/2014

Obama prepares to escalate war in the Middle East

By Patrick Martin
8 September 2014

      President Obama will use a nationwide television address Wednesday night to argue for a major escalation of the US military intervention in the Middle East, according to an interview broadcast Sunday morning.

      The immediate target of the escalation is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as ISIL, which has overrun much of western and northern Iraq, threatening the US-backed puppet regime in Baghdad.

      Speaking on NBC's “Meet the Press” program, Obama began by answering interviewer Chuck Todd's question, likely rehearsed in advance, “Are you preparing the country to go back to war?”
      Obama's response was a qualified “yes.” He said, “I'm preparing the country to make sure that we deal with a threat from ISIL. Keep in mind that this is something that we know how to do. We've been dealing with terrorist threats for quite some time.”
He cited the attacks on Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan's tribal area, conducted with drone-fired missiles that have taken the lives of hundreds of civilians, as well as last week's attack in Somalia that killed the top leader of the Islamist Al-Shabaab organization.

      As Todd noted, Obama has scheduled the nationally televised address on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington.

      Obama previewed the alarmist and warmongering character of this speech by telling the NBC interviewer that compared to Al Qaeda, “ISIL poses a broader threat because of its territorial ambitions in Iraq and Syria.”
      Given that the Bush administration used the 9/11 attacks as the pretext for invading and occupying Afghanistan, invading and occupying Iraq, and launching a frontal assault on democratic rights within the United States, the declaration that ISIL “poses a broader threat” has the most ominous implications.

      Whatever specific military plans Obama chooses to discuss Wednesday—the speech will likely conceal more than it reveals—the Pentagon is already drawing up options for military actions in both Iraq and Syria, including not only bombing and missile strikes, but also the mobilization of US ground troops.

      In a further extension of the new US role in Iraq, US warplanes struck targets in the western province of Anbar Friday and Saturday for the first time since the US withdrawal in 2011. Bombers hit ISIS positions near the Haditha dam on the Euphrates River, which is still controlled by the Iraqi Army but under attack from Sunni fighters.

      Obama dropped a further hint of the direction in US policy, telling “Meet the Press” that for the last several months US operations have been preparatory and defensive, including surveillance of ISIS forces and blunting ISIS offensives in northern Iraq. “The next phase is now to start going on some offense,” he said.

      Obama added that he would meet with congressional leaders on Tuesday and give his television address the following day “to describe what our game plan's going to be going forward.”

      Obama claimed, “(T)his is not going to be an announcement about US ground troops. This is not the equivalent of the Iraq war.”

      Obama is following the example of the Bush administration in lying to the American people. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and alleged ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Obama is lying about the scale of the renewed American military intervention.

      Obama is pledging “no boots on the ground” even as US Special Operations forces and combat “advisers” have already been deployed in the hundreds, and the total US military force in Iraq has already topped 1,100.

      Obama admitted there was no evidence of any threat to the American people from ISIS, but he employed the same type of scare tactics made notorious by Bush and Cheney. He called the Islamist group “an organization that, if allowed to control significant amounts of territory, to amass more resources, more arms to attract more foreign fighters, including from areas like Europe, who have Europeans who have visas and then can travel to the United States unimpeded, that over time, that can be a serious threat to the homeland.”

      While declaring that he would consult with Congress and demand funding for stepped-up military operations in the Middle East, Obama denied that he needed congressional approval for his actions. “I'm confident that I have the authorization that I need to protect the American people.”

      He said his Wednesday night television address “will allow Congress, I think, to understand very clearly and very specifically what it is that we are doing, but also what we're not doing. We're not looking at sending in 100,000 American troops.”

      What the White House and Pentagon evidently hope to do is combine US bombing of ISIS with ground attacks by Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq, while US-backed “rebel” forces such as the Free Syrian Army are built up to provide a counterweight to ISIS in Syria. When and how the US military assumes a direct role in Syria still remains to be determined.

      A major concern of the White House is that any strikes against ISIS in Syria might indirectly aid the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Obama reiterated in his “Meet the Press” interview that the US goal in Syria remains the removal of Assad, whose main allies are Iran and Russia.

      Obama hailed the formation of a ten-nation US-led “coalition” of imperialist powers to back the renewed intervention in Iraq. The first ground troops produced by this coalition came in the form of a small group of “military advisers” supplied by Canada, while Australia, Britain and France are providing air support.

      The administration continues to be under pressure from its right-wing opponents in the Republican Party, who are demanding a much quicker escalation, including immediate attacks on ISIS targets in Syria.

      Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would participate in the White House meeting Tuesday, calling on Obama to present plans for military action in both Iraq and Syria.

      In an interview with the Times of London, former Republican Secretary of State Henry Kissinger urged Obama to “launch an all-out attack” on ISIS, saying that air strikes should “not make any distinction between Syria and Iraq.” He added, “There can't be any debate any more about fighting them.”

      The 91-year-old Kissinger, architect of countless war crimes in Vietnam, as well as such atrocities as the 1973 CIA-backed military coup in Chile, has been a leading figure among strategists for US imperialism for more than half a century. His most recent book, World Order, was favorably reviewed in Sunday's Washington Post by none other than Hillary Clinton, who wrote, “Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state.”

"How Assad helped the rise of his 'foe' ISIL" 9/3/2014

[vfp-all] Re: ISIS: a new rationale for U.S. intervention?
9/3/2014 6:27 PM

How Assad helped the rise of his 'foe' ISIL
Syria's dictator wants to force the West to choose between him and the fundamentalists of Isil

By David Blair, Chief Foreign Correspondent
4:58PM BST 22 Aug 2014

      As he wages a ruthless struggle to hold power, the evidence suggests that Mr Assad has quietly cooperated with his supposed enemies and actively helped their rise.

      The thinking behind this apparently perverse strategy is simple. Mr Assad wants to force his own people and the West to make an unpalatable choice: either he stays in place, or Syria falls into the hands of Isil's fanatics. When push comes to shove, Mr Assad thinks that most Syrians and the Western powers will back him over the fundamentalists.But this plan will only work if Isil is the most powerful rebel force. The signs are that Mr Assad has done his best to make this come true.

      As recently as 2012, Isil was a marginalised movement confined to a small area of Iraq. Then Mr Assad emptied Sednaya jail near Damascus of some of its most dangerous jihadist prisoners. If he hoped that these men would join Isil and strengthen its leadership, then that aspiration was certainly fulfilled. A number of figures in the movement's hierarchy are believed to be former inmates of Syrian prisons, carefully released by the regime.

      By 2013, Isil had managed to capture oilfields in eastern Syria. But to profit from these assets, they needed to find a customer for the oil. Mr Assad's regime stepped in and began buying oil from Isil, thereby helping to fund the movement, according to Western and Middle Eastern governments.

      Having provided Isil with talented commanders, courtesy of his prison amnesties, and filled its coffers with oil money, Mr Assad then chose to focus his military campaign on the non-Islamist rebels. Every town and suburb held by the Free Syrian Army was relentlessly pounded from the air and ground. A year ago, the regime even used poison gas against insurgent strongholds in Damascus.

      But Isil enjoyed a curious degree of immunity from these onslaughts. Until the last few weeks, Syria's air force had scarcely bothered to bomb the town of Raqqa, which serves as the unofficial capital of Isil.

      "The regime was very happy to see Isil rise and it has helped their narrative that they face an extremist al-Qaeda type enemy against which all force is justified," said Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding. "The evidence stacks up that they were definitely encouraging this sort of movement."

      The signs are that Isil has returned the favour. Instead of trying to bring down Mr Assad, Isil has concentrated on fighting the non-Islamist rebels. When the movement reached what may prove to be the apex of its military strength earlier this year, Isil did not advance on Damascus and try to overthrow the regime. Instead, it chose to invade northern Iraq and trigger the current crisis.

      Like many Middle Eastern dictators before him, Mr Assad hopes that the West will accept him as the only available bulwark against the very fanatics who he has helped and protected. Put bluntly, he wants to be an arsonist and a fireman at the same time. The question is whether he will get away with this time-honoured ploy


6. ISIS/ISIL "Peace Blog on Whether to Attack ISIL" 9/11/14

September 11th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

["...] U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, who said it was “almost condescending” though I'd omit the “almost.”) ..."

Constitution Schmonstitution! Let's go ahead and have a (we won't call it a war) on ISIS/ISIL


      Quick trivia question – on what subject was Barack Obama a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School?

      Birthers might say “Islam” but it was in fact Constitutional Law. So he knows full well, and at times has shown he understands, that the U.S. Constitution clearly assigns the power to declare war to Congress, not the president. The best example of this was just over a year ago when he surprisingly but wisely concluded he needed to come to Congress for authorization to bomb Syria, then even more wisely never even went to Congress when he realized he had scant public and Congressional support (and his pal Vladimir Putin also helped save his hash by convincing Syria to divest itself of chemical weapons).

      So now the president wants to continue to bomb the radical forces of ISIS (or ISIL as the Administration calls them) in Iraq (and likely, ironically, Syria again) and says he'd “welcome” Congressional support but he does not need it. (When I heard that line in his speech last night I reacted the same as U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, who said it was “almost condescending” though I'd omit the “almost.”)

      Earlier this week it appeared very unlikely Congress, eager to duck accountability for okaying what is a surefire quagmire-to-be, impatient to campaign for re-election in November's midterm elections or wrapped up in other dysfunctional and/or partisan squabbles (take your pick, and for some Members of Congress it is “all of the above”) would schedule a vote on any type of war authorization bill before adjourning later this month.

      However, now there are rising calls for Congress to do its job and vote on authorizing a new war from the Progressive Caucus, some Libertarians and others in the House and a growing gaggle of Senators from across the political spectrum. Anyone who would hazard a guess as to how such a vote would turn out would be someone not worth listening to at this point (especially since a war authorization might be subject to all manner of currently unknowable limitations or conditions that would affect the support it would draw). We may well learn more next week about a possible Congressional vote.

      There's no question such a vote is required. The president is just plain wrong on this point, and not just about Congress, but also he is ignoring international law requiring United Nations Security Council approval. Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic Policy and Research and Just Foreign Policy laid it out clearly in an article for The Hill.

      Take the UN requirement first:

      “Just as the U.S. Constitution provides a check on the president's authority to wage war, at the international level there is the law of the United Nations, which is supposed to govern the use of force in international relations. Article 2 of the U.N. charter, to which the U.S. is a signatory, prohibits the use of military force against other nations unless authorized by the Security Council. There are exceptions, for threats of imminent attack, but the U.S. is not under imminent threat of attack and no one has claimed that it is.”

      Then the Congressional one:

      “…the United States is still a constitutional democracy, or is intended to be one; and under our Constitution (and the War Powers Resolution) it is still the Congress that has to decide if the country is going to war.”

      Ah the War Powers Resolution, dating to 1973, an attempt by Congress during the Vietnam War to curtail presidential war making run amok. The Obama Administration has been until now complying with the WPR's requirement to notify Congress of ongoing military action, even though the WPR does not grant the president authority to bomb in Iraq.

      Says who? Former eleven term U.S. Representative from Illinois Paul Findlay (the federal building in Illinois's state capital, Springfield, is named for the man), one of the main authors of the War Powers Resolution. Testify Brother Findlay (from a news release by our colleagues at the Institute for Public Accuracy):

      “Our elected leaders are acting like jelly fish. Members of Congress must decide whether to bomb Iraq or Syria, or both. The president has no authority to bomb either country. He violates the Constitution with every bomb he sends to Iraq. Ordering acts of war is too serious a decision to leave to one man. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

      “We just marked the 50th Anniversary of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which I voted for and which President Johnson used to dramatically escalate the Vietnam War. I never intended that Resolution to be a blank check for war against Vietnam. Yet that is exactly what Johnson used it for.

      “As a consequence, in 1973, I helped draft the The War Powers Resolution and my vote helped override President Nixon's veto.

      “Enforcement of limits on presidential employment of war powers deserves the vigilance of each member of Congress. Each member should consider enforcement a grave personal responsibility. War measures that today seem inconsequential can lead to larger involvements tomorrow. Their ultimate size and duration are unpredictable, as we found in our costly war experiences in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

      “Just recently, Congress stood by as the President ordered bombings in Iraq. Then two U.S. citizens were killed. Rather than using their deaths as a rallying cry for more war, they should be a warning of the negative consequences of war. It's no accident that the framers deemed the decision of war-making too important to be made by one person.

      “If the president orders acts of war in the absence of congressional approval, he risks impeachment by the House of Representatives for usurping a power the Constitution reserves exclusively to the Congress. If Obama wishes lawfully to order airstrikes in the territory of Iraq or Syria, he must first secure a resolution of approval from Congress.”

      Would love to see this man debate his fellow Illinoisan/commander in chief, yes?

      Returning to the matter at hand, exactly what does the president cite for his purportedly existing “I don't need no stinkin' Congressional vote” legal authority to bomb Iraq and soon Syria?

      Until yesterday the Administration had not said, exactly, but I had a hunch it was the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Congress granted President George W. Bush just after 9/11, which only U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee voted against. Sure enough, last night an unnamed “senior Administration official” confirmed this in response to a reporter's question on a conference call. After stating Congress could specifically authorize military action against ISIS/ISIL, said official stated the following:

      “But, to be clear, we do not believe the President needs that new authorization in order to take sustained action against ISIL. We believe that he can rely on the 2001 AUMF as statutory authority for the military airstrike operations he is directing against ISIL, for instance. And we believe that he has the authority to continue these operations beyond 60 days, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, because the operations are authorized by a statute. So we welcome congressional support.”

      This is, to be polite, garbage, especially from an administration which has previously advocated repeal of that law (and said it would not rely on that nor on the 2003 AUMF for the Iraq war for its legal authority). Here is what the 2001 AUMF authorized a different president to do:

      “…the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized,committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

      How a reasonable person would conclude this applies to the current situation in Iraq and Syria is anyone's guess, especially since ISIS/ISIL and al Qaeda have split and are at each others' throats, though many peace activists and Constitutional scholars have long feared broad presidential war-making powers would be claimed under this AUMF. At best, it is a highly dubious proposition that this AUMF applies because ISIS/ISIL is an offshoot of al Qaeda, which carried out the 9/11 attacks.

      The salient point is the Obama Administration should be forced to make that case, if that's what it believes to be its war-making authority now, to the public and Congress. Oh yeah and not just the legal authority question, it also needs to convince the Congress and the country that we absolutely need to get involved in another Middle East war. That's what democracy looks like.

Action Alert and Press Release on U.S. Bombing in IraqIn "Blowback"

President Obama: Stealing Time from The Faulty Plan (His Own)In "Obama"

Excellent Talking Points on Syria from our colleague Phyllis Bennis...In "Middle East"

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 3:53 pm and is filed under Congress, Iraq, Obama Administration, Syria, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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3 Responses to Constitution Schmonstitution! Let's go ahead and have a (we won't call it a war) on ISIS/ISIL

      Jerry "Peacemaker" says:

      September 11, 2014 at 6:09

      Excellent article clearly stating the United Nations' and constitutional process required before presidents can carry out acts of warfare.


      Jay Levy says:

      September 11, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Actually the president should be much more concerned with ICELESS (as in global warming) than ISIS. Let him declare war on the latter and we will give him 100 percent support.


      Jay Levy says:

      September 11, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      OOPs, I meant the former.



7. ISIS/ISIL: Research & Misc

[] [Keywords:] Rsrc: "Sykes-Picot agreement"

[] Rep. Jim McDermott on ISIS
President Obama as “almost condescending”

      [] Go2Menu: UTube

      [] McDermott on ISIL, President Obama | MSNBC Hardball 9 8 14 McDermott on ISIL, President Obama | MSNBC Hardball 9/8/14 - Congressman McDermott discusses the latest news on ISIL and President Obama's upcoming announcement regarding a strategy to deal with the terrorist group. [Among many others on the video];


8. Syria 2012-2014 -- Notes (by the editor), Discussion, References

Feb'12 to Sep'13
(Most in 2013, Generally in Reverse-Chronological Order)

 [] If Not Get Congressional Approval
      [] Who Most Invested in "NOT"
 [] If Gets Congressional Approval
       [] If Attacks, keeps it Simple~
       [] If Attacks, gets complicated

[] Political costs to progressive cause [n.9/3/13]
[] Another Motive for attack: gets the Iraqi Refugees to return home ("two million people have left the country") [n.9/3/13]

[] Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile

Syria by Lebanon, Palestine, Israel -- Damascus-centered

Added at Letters to Senators & Rep @ 8/30~/13
      It is much more likely that the only players in Syria who want US involvement enough -- to do exactly what would everyone knows would cause that -- is Alcaida. As for the question of HOW Alcaida accessed the weaponry, OR accessed and coerced anyone within any one of those units that have such weaponry, is a matter of tactical capability, but certainly not one of improbability.
      As for getting rid of biological weapons made by Russia and stored in Syria -- not talking "only" about your basic chemical weapons -- that is another question. However, cruise missiles are likely one of the worst ways to go about dealing with the former, not to mention the latter.
      What are we "REALLY" planning or already doing? Who knows, but I hope maturity is not too far outside the realm of actual input into this situation. ...

      [===> AutoContent:] ...Creative diplomacy is the best way to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons. I urge you to work for a ceasefire, to pressure Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Turkey, to halt the flow of weapons, and to pressure Russia and Iran to do the same.

on Israeli Extremists/Fascism

      There are some governments in the world that feel totally surrounded by enemies, and act like it. They're not easy to relate to sometimes, but we try to be compassionate. Until they become totally run by some of the most paranoid power-crazy folks on the planet, who make victims out of people who just trying to survive. Probably because their ancestors were treated that way some generations before, but these folks think it's still going on, and apparently always will. In psychology we call that the martyr - composed of three sub-personalities - the rescuer, the persecutor, and the victim. The more pathological of this group are Syrial murderers who believe at the time that they are rescuing someone. Just in case you ever needed to know. [n.9/11/13] re: "To all the New Yorkers, to all the American citizens, to all the people, whose lives were negatively impacted by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, United With Israel, is sending prayers of strength and healing to you from the Holy City of Jerusalem."

On "Praise for Obama"

      He did initiate his talk with the same recount of the analysis of the evidence, with emotional emphasis (in spite of much disagreement that analysis (not to mention disregarding evidence that doesn't fit that analysis). Now, Ok, he needed to address those folks who want revenge on whomever did the terrible deed - and they're more than motivated to say that's Assad (per my plentiful previous posts on the subject so I won't repeat that here). And YES, thank you, he did provide that support for the better direction we are now taking - so far. AND if he sticks with that, gives it a good go as the Brits say, I'll begin to think he's not being blackmailed by the Neo-Cons (or worse things going on). And Kerry is not looking terribly encouraging on this working things through with the Russians and UN, et-all. Not yet anyway. I want President Obama to do as well in foreign policy and domestic surveillance realms as he does in the others - but he's not even come close yet. Peace Prize? uhmmmm, well... that could be a stretch unless he gets rid of that Neo-Con influence. I'd love to see that happen though. Just trying to be fair here. But I believe we are going to need to let him know what we want, persistently. [fcbk, to Ashley Breanne Waggoner, "Closing Arguments" for 9/11/13, n.9/11/13]

Abbrev.Notes on Post Russia Intervention Obama Speech

[9/10/13, Tue, 6:06p]
[AND Richard N. Haas's comment]
      [4-6min] "reasons for" military action, describg attack, still claiming "proof" was by Assad [6:11p~:] ...took this debate to congress, but whether to focus on home needs [6:14p~] what citizens want [6:16p~] Assad no threat, Israel can defend itself, so why involved... Because Alcaida will draw strength; world policeman? Assad/Russia responded. tooEarly2tell... but has potential to remove chemWeap w/o force, so ask congress to postph vote until... [6:18p~] Opp for UN 2Rpt on their findings Keep military posture untill... [6:20p~] for --yrs US has been anchor for security, askg each house to vary it's usual position on these things. Ideals and princp at stake in Syria, US not worlds policeman, but if/when mod.risk can keep children fr/being gassed, should take the risk.
      [] Richard Haas, PresOfCounc.OnForeignRltns: still shouldve asked for vote so would go for "planB" when diplomacy doesn't work, come forthe w/spec requirments and timetable for when they are met, Obama contradictg the cost-of-prev.attack argument
      [] _?_: Karl Levin Quoted; threat has to be there, now draftg new res. to apply pressure plus work w/diplomcy; preAuthForce in case Diplom falls apart.
      [] Chris vanHollan (HouseEem): cmpelling case for course of action incl. "no doubt" Assad did it; moral, legal, & nat.Sec. case laid out; he & (Repub) Jerry Coneley draftg prop in House... vry limited use of force auth in case of... to make sure do not get embroiled; re motives of Russia/Syria: important we test it, not dismiss it, persue dipl bcause it would work in good ways (noted); timeframe: undr this prop would have 30 days to resp. but no requ to do so. if Syria didn't put arms under internat control, & if Assad used chem again & proven, this could also take action; All this due to Obama's lead
      [] Peter Galbraith, formr Ambassdor to Croatia: if can pull it off can avert foreign Polcy fiasco. Obama & Samantha Power 2UN to get resolution/agreement; Cldv avoided Iraq war if we had waited for UN inspectors as we would seem to have intended here, and would by the current diplomacy decision [?and resolutions being drafted by congress now?]
      [] Richard Haas, PresOfCounc.OnForeignRltns?? debating Galbraith about whether chem arms be neutralized under current dipl: actually made statement about some of the chemical weapons now under rebel-held areas, including in areas under Alcaida hands!!!!
      [] French want Ch7, Russia want hands off
      [] Congressman fr/NewYork: disagree with pres about auth.2 attack, war powers of exec.branch; dont agree w/risk assesmnt, risk of escalatn; or in whose hands chemWeapons end up in; reject that we have to strike Syria in order to uphold America securty; do supt dipl track, can make a diff, in Russia's interest to get mediated settlement, yield to concessions is sufficient price to pay
      [] Ambassador Christopher Hill, corbell schl of Internat studies: not able to lay out case of after bombing then what; Russia 2day very diff to wrk w/, but still dipl is way to go
      [] ++: News gal Michelle: Russia found way to unite US Congress


at Rep. Jim McDermott's Page in response to some comments

[Who to believe and why?]

      1. American News is not always the most accurate. If the BBC and the various most prestigious news outlets of 3 to 5 European countries disagree about the basic facts and present at least as credible evidence as our government does, yet in at least sufficient doubt about the results of our "analysis", and show more consistency with how they do that, not to mention what they say... well, my little detective mind says I may have some weighing of the evidence to do.
      2) If you have a foreign policy that is congruent with your domestic surveillance policy that is congruent with the corporations that have always made money from war and which were also very consistently profitable when the most war-making regime in US history was prevailing... then I tend to think that the same powers-that-be that were prevailing then are still prevailing, that the purposes that were aimed for then are still being aimed for. (And I referenced that above).
      3) When I add all that up, I'm thinking I should feel the same way about attacking Syria as I thought about attacking Iraq - the evidence has not been fully presented, mainly because it doesn't support the idea that Assad did the deed. It does support, by as much evidence if not more, certainly by MOTIVE, MOTIVE, MOTIVE, that Alcaida did, likely with munitions supplied by Saudi Arabia, with Israel and AIPAC providing moral, military, and/or monetary support for US elected officials. (Also referenced above)


[ on Richard Haas's !?GAFF?! (as on the Citizen Momentum Page) n.9/11/13]
      I'm not totally sure it was Richard Haas, President Of Council On Foreign Relations, that made the revealing !?GAFF?!, relative to stated policy, that is, that ***some of the chemical weapons are under rebel-held areas, including in areas under Alcaida hands!!!***. It was in the Public Radio (per KUOW) interviews for commentary follow-up for President Obama's new Syria-Diplomacy announcement.

      The Alcaida-link statement was made (as if everyone knew this, without any come-back by anyone afterwards) as he (Haas, I think) was apparently responding to what Peter Galbraith had said about whether chemical arms could be neutralized under the President's just made current diplomatic strategy for Syria. Galbraith, a former Ambassador, had just said that if we can pull it off, we can avert a foreign Policy fiasco, also including that we could have avoided the Iraq war, if we had waited for UN inspectors as we would seem to have intended here, and would do so by the current diplomacy decision.

      The point being (of course), that there is much more validation of the who-done-it (and who-did-not) evidential data as presented in my posts further above. And there is this: "White House Mum on Rebel Chemical Weapons Use" by Bryant Jordan,, Sep 10, 2013;

      Also Interesting: "U.S. Troops Oppose Striking Syria, Online Survey Suggests" By Mark Memmott An online survey of 750 active-duty U.S. troops suggests that opposition to striking Syria is "more intense" among military personnel than among the American public. Military Times, a publication and news site owned by Gannett Co. (not the federal government) reports.;"> Congressman Jim McDermott is having A Listening Session on Our Options in Syria, Sunday night. ([===]

at fcbk McDermott Listening Session Ref Addition

[9/6/13] at fcbk McDermott Listening Session 1

      On the one hand, if I were the only one around to defend someone when he was getting bullied, I'd feel obliged to help, with force (to the minimum degree necessary), even with my strong Buddhist leaning beliefs. Talking about when there's no time to call the cops, etc. Here, it's not like anyone else that can actually help is "around" the Syrian people but us. ON THE OTHER HAND, this is a trap, hand made by those strong forces (AIPAC, Israel, various corporations) who want us to get into it with Iran. Now we're talking about amplification that's going to effect a one great big heck of a lot more populations - as well as the Syrian people, God Bless their hearts. It's a trap, even as compelling as it may be to the decent folks unafraid of a fight when it LOOKS like there's no choice.

      Seals & Special forces? IF there ever was a call for a means of destroying weapons that terrorists could use against whole populations from a distance, and do that without starting a war... And that's one big set of ifs, well...

      If we get into it with Assad, Iran will come in (with missile strikes against our ships, etc), then Israel will see that as the excuse they've been begging for, not to mention the Neo-Cons that haven't gone away any more than AIPAC has (kind of same people, duh) as they (various Neo-Cons) are still in some key positions of leverage. The Iraq war will look like a minor civil war compared to what would happen next - all over the Middle-East, then Southern Europe, then... Yes, it's an extremely juicy looking steak for those who have always made profits from war. They've already stolen our shirts. Just say no....

      "Shirts" doesn't quite connote the symbolism I had in mind, considering how many Iraqi & Afghani soldiers and innocents, American soldiers, the PTSD and long-term damage all involved will suffer with, some of which leading to more violence... along the way of breaking the financial backs of all concerned. How many hearts do we need to break? [n.9/5/13, ed.9/6/13]
      [Added 9/6/13 ==>] Speaking of "Shirts" and more potential heart break, Bernie Sanders delivered another great one (was interviewed) on the Tavis Smiley Show today (9/6/13).

      And all I noted above, by the way, does not presuppose we are in, need to be in, or have to plan for, a position of doing nothing. If we had used the NSA the way it was best intended, and not allowed Cheney and crew to set it up for abuse via the Patriot Act, we would have a much better means of positioning ourselves strategically and diplomatically. Yes, that's referring to the whole time - since when we would then have not cooked that intel for Iraq, as well as to many irrevocable events since then. And Ok, in one sense that's water over the bridge, coulda-shouda-woulda.

      But in the better sense, PRO-ACTIVELY, with some getting real with, and healing of, our past (no easy matter, but the sooner the better), and moving on from there, we can still make a difference. We don't have to sit on our arses, even if we don't start WWIII by doing the Syria-Iran thermo-chemical backlash trip to wasting a multi-continent expanse. We would have, still can have, allies in diplomacy if we go about this right. And our "corporate contingent" may have to shift their priorities a bit (and get out of the way, maybe stop buying off elected officials as related to certain political issues, at least for a time) so we can make it happen. Because...

      Even if we somehow "contained" the Near East after leveling "only Iran", there are still all those sons and daughters who watched their parents die at our hands in Iraq, Yemen, et-all, then Iran, maybe Syria, and because we "world leaders" couldn't keep our missiles in our pants, and in a few years, they will be coming "of age" - already psychologically prepped for militarization, that is. I'm thinking of a better path than that. How about you?

      Good references & resources (thanks to those who have done the real work) are indispensable, of course. Such back-up for my perspectives have been noted via the PolyPsyList archives and "Political Reference page", the links and some context for which are included at the ChaliceBridge.Com Updates page (
And there's this:

[9/6-7/13] on Alcaida as potential culprits; other motives
Well, as needed, all I learned from watching forensic science type detective shows ;-):
      Even if Alcaida was not who accessed that weaponry (or accessed someone in those Syrian units with that). I say that based on basic logic (?) about who would be motivated to do that chemical attack. Besides Israeli right-wingers who want to bring the US in for an attack on Iran. I just can't see Assad virtually begging the US to attack by doing the deed. As for the question of HOW Alcaida accessed the weaponry, OR accessed and coerced anyone within any one of those units that have such weaponry, is a matter of tactical capability, but certainly not one of improbability.
      Further, there is this from Kevin Zeese at Counterpunch.Org (just a few quotes from the case he makes):
      "...What could go wrong? Syria has the ability to defend itself and attack US military vessels. Iran and Russia have already indicated they will be drawn into the conflict. Threats of retaliation are already being made and troop movements are occurring. Russia is moving two additional naval ships, a missile cruiser and a large anti-submarine vessel, into the Mediterranean to strengthen its presence in case of a US attack. Russia and Saudi Arabia have exchanged threats over Syria. Russia threatening an attack on Saudi Arabia if the US attacks Syria with President Putin ordering a 'massive military strike' against Saudi Arabia in the event that the West attacks Syria. Saudi Arabia is threatening Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia at the Olympics. ...Iran, Syria and Hezbollah have threatened to retaliate against Israel and other US allies in the Middle East in the event of a US attack on Syria. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, told the Tasnim news website, that an attack on Syria 'means the immediate destruction of Israel.' ...What is the Obama administration doing to investigate the reports that in fact it was Saudi Arabia that provided the chemical weapons that was used to the rebels? Multiple witnesses are making these claims. Is Obama going to go to war without investigating this possibility? Maybe he has the wrong target and it was not Assad who is responsible? ..."
      and "HOW INTELLIGENCE WAS TWISTED TO SUPPORT AN ATTACK ON SYRIA" By Gareth Porter, Truthout, September 3, 2013

      Well, I provided some other considerations further above. [whoops, no, they are below, since this is reverse chronology] No one can know it all, but a little homework keeps me up on things I want to keep up on. I've been watching Syria for a few years, keep special watch on a few people who post what I consider a trustworthy best on lists that generally keep up on these kinds of things. I've been re-posting these select articles 4 or 5 since last week or so in particular at my PolyPsyList. The archives are open for public viewing:

fb Additions (REFS)

      [] Quote from The Onion: “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.” (pic: or (
      [] Now HERE are some great reasons
      [] [n.9/7/13]
Secret Agenda in Syria? Larry Summers and Cronies Opening the World to Criminal Banksters
Iraq and Libya have been taken out, and Iran has been heavily boycotted. Syria is now in the cross-hairs. Why? Here is one overlooked scenario. [more ...]


(not "only") bio-weaponry in Syria,
& Related Issues

EMAIL Discussion between the editor and 'Discusser'

      * Proposed Strikes Violates International Norms
      * The Special Unit that didn't
      * Signs Of Manipulation
      * The Saudi's & "false impression of 'airtight case'"

[===]===[ April 19 and 29, 2013 facebook Posts ( ===[===]
written in response to some fb friends; paragraphs re-arranged
so as to introduce a) the main point of the email discussion,
part of which preceded this post, Much of which followed it,
and b) a key point relative to the build-up of ISIL (and possibly more)
[=== === === === === === === === ===]

facebook post on April 29, 2013 - to introduce the main point:

          ...Those ["]bio-weapons["] need to be destroyed before ANYone does ANYthing else with them. The USSR experimented, then their government became incapable of protecting it from terrorists, hence its storage (with our compliance and maybe some help) in what was impregnable Syria at the time due to the nature of it's government, good ole Frenemy, Israel close at hand, etc. Well, (if I've been reading all this correctly, and what I'm putting here is as sufficiently accurate as it certainly would explain a lot of things otherwise not, then...), I repeat, we just need to destroy those weapons. It's not impregnable anymore and the only ones it secret from anymore is regular folk, And so the only reason I'm writing this here is that too many hints [that "it" was not just relatively "conventional" bio-weaponry that the USSR had been experimenting with, per a program on public tv/radio] have been put out in the last year & a half. I hinted at this on facebook over a year ago, thinking that someone higher up might get a clue, since if I could read the situation then, and so many more clues since then would certainly seem to confirm, then so it could also be read by those of our worst nightmares, and now those folks are too close to the situation. And so it just needs to be taken care of. Hello? [and I can add this here now since it would seem that the particular situation I refer to was finally remedied in the Fall of 2013]

          ...[Related? (Supremist Extremists, Texas Murders, and...] My FB response & post note re: "School Holds First Integrated Prom The Daily Beast Event in Georgia funded entirely by donations" ( copyd fr/post by [a friend] at Fb:
          "First Integrated Prom..." FIRST!? That's Way Scary. Maybe a result of the Southern Poverty Law Center having just nabbed one of more powerful white supremest organizations a few months ago. Just before all those weird murders of hi-level folks in Texas. And that fertilizer plant fire that took out so many 1st responders, but which was called an accident by the authorities, which assessment was also backed up by the president. Ahhh, good thing we have short memories and sufficient supply of those resources that properly mis-manage our hormones and neurotransmitters, or we'd have to feel responsible, and then helpless because of lack of enough you-know-what to change anything, then guilty, then have to go back into denial. See, we have shortcuts (and Rush Limbaugh) for all that! Hot Dang. [Thanks to Isis for posting this on her page]

          Of course, we could heal ourselves. But that would require breaking a few habits. Hardest thing for a human to do, you know. Especially for those addicted to substances. Especially when we make fun of or legally scapegoat those who actually take responsibility and do the therapy that will facilitate that. But there are ways... and it does take persistence... and you will catch hell if you stand up against those who profit from existing disfunction... but if our souls are permanent, if we were created to learn by our mistakes, experience & Free Will, no matter how many lifetimes it takes... then we'll just come back to the same old tests anyway. Fear of Death? Which one? Pain is worse than death. Death is nothing. We know we're supposed to keep trying till we get it right. Do we REALLY think global warming isn't real, that the patterns of increasing tumult mean nothing? Do we really think we're supposed to lie down and do nothing about this except give it to the profiteers, die, go to heaven, and that's all there is? What GOD of any compassion, not to mention intelligence for a good design would have that be what we're supposed to believe all our life? Not to mention lifetimes? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!! (I know, I'm back to ranting again. But I know we can do better than this. C'mon folks! One day at a time, but please...)
          Is there a relationship between the above events (besides the integrated prom), the Boston Marathon, and the President's recent and most surprising flip-flops? I know, Islamists extremists and White Supremacists would have to ALSO be a little confused if working with each other, of course, UNLESS they shared a common goal, OR a sufficiently common enemy. Well, someone had to ask the question.
          ...Amazing the things we have to ask for and keep a straight face with as if these things aren't what good-hearted AND Sane folks would naturally ask for. I provide logical explanations for why in spite of my feeling that anyone with a brain and a sense of morality should automatically know why. But the world we live in, particularly since 9/11, seems to require this. After all, the president we used to trust to at least stand up for the most basic resources just gave some of them away (referring to the social security, of course), gave them because of people who have been elected to maintain their "terrible-two's" behavior (due to impaired development at 2 years old where they say "No" to everything). I guess it's also due to their 13 yo behavior (phase of testosterone management) that is so magnetic to the ignorant and immature, impressionable by such as Rush Limbaugh, not to mention easy to fall prey to work for the corporate resource hogs, Neo-Cons, and such. Well, there I go ranting like I thought I was going to convince someone who hadn't figured this out long ago. Apologies as needed. Love you guys, Thanks for being you.

AND facebook post on April 19, 2013 - a key point relative to the build-up of ISIL (and possibly more):

What does the Boston Marathon tragedy have to do with Iraqi Refugees?
          Nothing actually. But what occurred to me was the question of what we are doing with/for the very young Iraqi refugees, those who have seen their homes and families destroyed or disrupted, and who have come or will come to America, and who will be coming "of age" in the next decade or so. That is, of that age where they are learning to deal with authority figures.
          And speaking more directly about those who may not learn that so well. And about preventative maintenance.
          I've been asking on this day - that the two young Chechen men have created such havoc in the Massachusetts area, a few days after having set off the bombs at the Boston Marathon.
          I am speaking as a therapist, thinking of about 10 years from now, with the implication being there is a real need to assist in the healing of psychological damage to young Iraqis, where, how, and to the extent this applies, perhaps especially with those here(?), and before it's too late.
          How about Iraq War Veterans who have healed themselves sufficiently, taken on a bit of a different path in life (certainly in terms of politics), and have skills in working with others in the social sciences arena? The organizations, (Collateral Repair Project, and Soldier's Heart (which actively works with veterans) also comes to mind.
          It all just hit as one of those "Canary in the Coal Mine" events - we can take advantage, or just wait and let it hit. Why not the former!? (for once?)
          By the way, as a gestaltist and Veteran for Peace, I'm in no way suggesting minimizing the (TOTALLY understandable) anger. But facilitating their channeling it constructively. The Chechen men in Boston were not even directly affected by US foreign policy, but I can understand their projecting their feelings toward the US, though not those kinds of actions, of course. And the feelings could've been dealt with long ago, but we are not trained to recognize the signals yet. I don't suspect many will be able to, but in the case of my initial suggestion here, that "canary" is recognizable, and should be fairly obvious what will happen if not followed up upon. And soon enough for such to work. Thanks again!
          I have my ideas about what works best, but it's probably going to require a lot of therapists in a lot of places, so whatever works is what works. And a "sit down" with some creative, therapy-knowledgeable folks, as well as those who know how to pull all that together and help implement it in communities in the best way...

[=== === === === === === === === ===]
[===]===[ Fall 2013 ]===[===]
[=== === === === === === === === ===]

The following discussion is Generally in email-quoted-style REVERSE-CHRONOLOGY.

      This includes many references in discussion to, as well as full prints of, articles put out by Mark Jensen of UFPPC, prolific editor/publisher (in compiling and forwarding the more important news publications around the world on any current political issue) -- on the SNOW listserve before it was retired, still prolific to his own list.

===2nd Email 2day === [9/16/13, Mon, 8:00 PM]

Subj: Re: that... [Well, 5/23 & 29 more specifically] [Re: FP: Stephen Walt asks...]
Well, 'Discusser',

      these 2 exchanges between you and I were fairly specific in where I was coming from as well as...
Thanks for your patience,

-------- Original Message --------
Re: FP: Stephen Walt asks: Is US engaged in proxy war against Iran in Syria?
Date: Wed, 29 May 2013 00:21:58 -0700
From: PolyPsyArt at
To: 'Discusser' <>

Well, 'Discusser',

      "heads up" may be a bit strong, but events may confirm within a few months. ...

=== 1st Email 2day === [9/16/13, Mon, 7:15 PM]
      Ah... ok.
      What can I say?
      For all I know, you may get any number of personally done and sent analysis sent to you and to you alone.
      But as far as I know, my analysis was the only one of those that was apparently right on - from last year to this. But if not, I'd be interested to know the other folks who thought the same thing. Or at least how many. Otherwise I might trust my intuition too much, that it might be useful to folks more often than it actually is. Maybe even get an oversized ego, and you know how those are! ;-)


On 9/14/2013 10:50 PM, 'Discusser' <> wrote:
>       Hi Chris --
>       I guess you're referring to when you sent me a message saying that "certain armaments were protected from very powerful extremist factions in Russia . . . by moving them to Syria where they could be vaulted by an unabashedly militarily powerful autocratic dictatorship. Where they are now, however, in increasing danger of falling into the hands of (other) extremists." Was that it? But I'm afraid I don't know what that refers to. Sorry if there was another message from you explaining it that I missed somehow (don't know how that could happen, there are only 115,000 messages in my mailbox!).
>       I think the Syrian imbroglio is the most complicated international matter I've ever seen -- it's really a sort of world proxy war. As I said to somebody today, I can see understand at least half a dozen different narratives proposing to make sense of it all... :-(
>       'Discusser'
> On Sat, Sep 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM, PolyPsyArt at wrote:
[9/14/13, Sat, 6p~]
      This post hit in a number of ways. Referring to the one mentioning, almost with emphasis, the bio-weaponry - apart from the chemical weaponry ("Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile").
      I don't know if you've been reading all of my posts to you, but the ones that I send directly to you --and you alone-- are different, and regarded the bio-weaponry, that till now, was apparently only very vaguely referred to in any "regular" press (if at all?).
      So, it should not surprise you (if you remember what I wrote to you), that it kind of scared me to read this, since those weapons have not been found and destroyed yet. Although I might hope they have been, and this story is just to mislead Alcaida, et-all.
      As validating of my read on the situation as all this is, it makes me wonder about what the authors of this article were thinking. We are talking about a situation here that could too easily spell the use of bio-weaponry on any population that terrorists choose - with far too much ease.
      I mean, maybe I should reprint the email I sent you months ago and in 2012 and try to get a little recognition for my capacity to read. If only to contribute to discussion between discreet but knowledgable individuals, or encourage others to get my take on things in the future.
      However, I'd rather go about facilitating this with a more mature approach, and in addition, if fortunate, simply encourage elected leaders to pay more attention to certain things, take them into consideration, etc. As I have been fairly candid in letters to McDermott and the senators about the bio-weaponry in Syria and related strategies that I felt should be considered.
      ,,, well, makes me wonder if you read what I wrote you past the first paragraph. Or if you've read down to this paragraph. I apologize if I'm wrong, and maybe we've all been in a dizzy state with the current goings-on.
      Blessings, Chris

Proposed Strikes Violates International Norms

[]Fwd: Attack Syria to uphold international norms? In fact, proposed strikes violate them
9/6/2013 12:15 AM
      President Obama is really starting to use some interesting logic lately - seems to be forgetting to tell us the whole context. Thus the article below.
      But why not be the good cop?
      Well, on the one hand, if I were the only one around to defend someone when he was getting bullied, I'd feel obliged to to help, with force (to the minimum degree necessary), even with my strong Buddhist leaning beliefs. Talking about when there's no time to call the cops, etc. Here, it's not like anyone else that can actually help is "around" the Syrian people but us.
      ON THE OTHER HAND, this is a trap, hand made by those strong forces (AIPAC, Israel, various corporations) who want us to get into it with Iran. Now we're talking about amplification that's going to effect a one great big heck of a lot more populations - as well as the Syrian people, God Bless their hearts. It's a trap, even as compelling as it may be to the decent folks unafraid of a fight when it LOOKS like there's no choice.
      And, yeah, there are those special forces, and IF there ever was a call for a means of destroying weapons that terrorists could use against whole populations from a distance, and do that without starting a war... And that's one big set of ifs, well...
      But it's a matter of scale (at least)
      If we get into it with Assad, Iran will come in (with missile strikes against our ships, etc), then Israel will see that as the excuse they've been begging for, not to mention the Neo-Cons that haven't gone away any more than AIPAC has (kind of same people, duh) as they (various Neo-Cons) are still in some key positions of leverage. In any case, the Iraq war will look like a minor civil war compared to what would happen next - all over the Middle-East, then Southern Europe, then... Yes, it's an extremely juicy looking steak for those who have always made profits from war. They've already stolen our shirts. Just say no....
      Except that "Shirts" doesn't quite connote the symbolism I had in mind, considering how many Iraqi & Afghani soldiers and innocents, American soldiers, the PTSD and long-term damage all involved will suffer with, some of which leading to more violence... along the way of breaking the financial backs of all concerned. How many hearts do we need to break?
      -Chris ChaliceBridge.Com ChaliceBridgeUpdates

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: WSJ: Attack Syria to uphold international norms? In fact, proposed strikes violate them
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2013 21:32:56 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
To: Jensen, Mark

OBAMA MAKES INTERNATIONAL CASE FOR SYRIA ACTION By Peter Nicholas (Stockholm) and David Gauthier-Villars (Paris); Wall Street Journal September 4, 2013

The Special Unit That Didn't

[9/5/13, Thu, 12:03:22 PM]
         Remember that exchange we had last Spring (ok, it was my idea about it) about a way to go in and and taking out those weapons in Syria (especially the bio-weapons) WITHOUT causing but few causualties if any ?? EG: without amplifying the war, let alone engaging Israel and Iran? Well, I just heard on KUOW about a special unit that was -- last Spring -- created and trained to do just that (except they only mentioned *chemical* weapons).
         The guy, a current or ex-military specialist, with an officer's rank, in dealing with chemical weaponry, described with some detail about what they would do, strategically, in the field, based on various situations in the past which he described, including the related politics (Reagan with Iraq and Iran in the 80's).
         Sorry, 'Discusser', I didn't remember the details, but I suspect within a few days you will read an article on it.
         OK, so... why did they essentially lay out the strategy (overall) for solving the Syria problem- if were done with that strategy - in a public radio interview, by a high-level military expert ? My take on that is because IPAC (via Neo-Cons - same club, more highly placed in Pentagon, etc) found out about it, and took this amount of time to make sure that that strategy was not going to be the way we went. Because, of course, that wouldn't get them the war with Iran they've been working on for so long.
         We can say it's Obama, but I think the Neo-Cons have him by the balls anyway, and I don't think he fully realized what he was getting into. Maybe, but I doubt it. But I do know in my bones that the Neo-Cons (and their forerunners, especially Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and the Bush family - the hit squad of the power elite) had the overall priority down (since the 60's at least) with regard to how Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, et-all was going to play out over there. For reasons we knew a while back, etc. I think that Obama was focused on other things in terms of goals and objectives, and he was at least as likely blind-sided by parts of the job as reality presented it -- after he got the job and tried to effect certain things he found he could not -- as he was likely to have been willing to deal from the git-go.

      For now, Chris

[On 9/4/2013 7:38 PM, PolyPsyArt at wrote:]
          > -Yeah, I think it's a disease that lurks the Whitehouse. Israel feeds it. I heard they have modern weaponry too. Quite a few for those who "go victim" every time they persecute. Where's the *rescuer* component of the martyr triad?
         > For the first miniscule transition in healing, could we at least bomb someone WITHOUT OIL for once? > I hear the Congo has a big atrocity problem and is providing essential minerals for smart phones. > Oh, wait, the atrocity is mostly due to that provision. > But we've turned things to our advantage before! > Oh well, maybe we can eventually get enough mature people in congress to do away with the presidency, just have a parliment, then socialism. Or something...
         > ("...Something like 6 MILLION have died in Congo in the last decade, and one of the main drivers of that conflict is the quest for the rare metals needed to produce miniaturised electronics – like smartphones and iPads. ..." -Sarah Irving)
         > CHOICES: Denial, Pay Attention and Cry for Humanity, Pay Attention and Laugh at Humanity, Laugh & Cry & Protest.
         > Thanks again for those posts, 'Discusser'!
         > For now, -Chris
> [On 9/4/2013 2:52 PM, 'Discusser' <> wrote:]
>> Hi Chris --
         >> Yeah, Obama seems to be so used to bombing at will that it's his first inclination. "Syria has modern weaponry." Just think of that !
         >> 'Discusser'
>> On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 12:06 AM, PolyPsyArt at wrote:
>> Yup, ...

Signs Of Manipulation

Fwd: US 'intelligence assessment' on Syria shows signs of manipulation
[9/4/13, Wed, 12:16 AM]
         Yup, that "evidence" is looking a bit shaky... and I've been reading about more and more motivations or "payoffs" for the behaviour that so many financial interests are having the President ask us to condone. (AIPAC is spending LOTS of money on this; oil & gas interests, banks get a tidy amount of the profits made by those who sell weaponry, etc)
         Dave Lindorff mentioned some questionable White House assersions not included below, including about the administration saying that "Multiple streams of intelligence indicate that the regime executed a rocket and artillery attack against the Damascus suburbs in the early hours of August 21." Note 1: That's been going on for years. Then the White House says that these rocket and artillery attacks included "rocket launches from regime controlled territory early in the morning, approximately 90 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack appeared in social media." Note 2: This is about rockets that land within seconds of launch, explode on impact. Where cell phones and other "social media" would be prevalent. EG: Why "90 minutes" (!) from that rocket launch before the "first report" of a chemical attack?
         In fact, some are saying that the President gave us some fairly good hints that the evidence was shaken together (if some of us were paying attention to certain details, did the research, and published it - which some did.) Of course he didn't do that on purpose (but how would we know?).
         And there's this:
         And Maps with article here about the difficulty of the situation "... As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap. Ethnic and linguistic breakdowns are just one part of Syria's complexity, of course. But they are a really important part. ..."
Thanks again, -Chris ChaliceBridge.Com ChaliceBridgeUpdates

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: TO: US 'intelligence assessment' on Syria shows signs of manipulation
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2013 22:24:11 -0700
From: Mark Jensen

The Saudi's & "false impression of 'airtight case'"

Another Great article from Mark below.
         We want to believe that the otherwise indisputably cruel Syrian leadership is responsible. But just in case they are not ... I was "liking" Alcaida or Mossad for this crime (loads of motivation at least), but this article illumines another possibly much more likely culprit...
         In any case, how much "convincing" will it take to get American's support, without actual proof it's Assad's guys? Afterall, people tend to like things simple, and there's that two week memory dynamic... (Even though France's repeating what we say is still the same amount of inconclusive evidence. If you watch CSI you know what that means.)
         Most of us would like to think that we know who will vote for approval, and who will vote against. Even though we know there are both more and less conservative elements among the Repubs, as well as Dems. We could ask, who would want to see us attack *without* congressional approval? (eg: Who would want the President to look really bad in this?) I'm thinking we might be surprised that Libertarians aren't the only elected officials who won't approve, but that might include some who would --otherwise-- vote pretty hawkishly. Things are going to get interesting, methinks.
         Astrologically there is a "Cardinal Cross" configuration through next Spring or more. In 1984, my astrologer described the resulting dynamic as like being pulled by four horses - in four different directions. The good side of it is the multiple paradigms available for perceiving most any situation. Other than that, it's just a lot of work and requires a lot of paying attention. "Cardinal" means "initiatory", generally referring to "creativity". But it also refers to "initiation", or in this case, constant testing. Yes, Things are going to get interesting, methinks.
- Chris, ChaliceBridge.Com PolyPsyUpdates

PS: Ref. from previous sending:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: WP: Under construction: false impression of 'airtight case' against Syria
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2013 15:49:52 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
By Anne Gearan and Karen Tumulty, Washington Post, September 2, 2013

[===]===[ ]===[===]
Subj: Obama's Impeachment Trap by KEVIN ZEESE
[Sent 8/30/13, Fri, 3:45~ PM]
Some points definitely worth consideration by Kevin Zeese, indicating some extremely dangerous times afoot.">">
         Not covered by Zeese: Even if Alcaida was not who accessed that weaponry (or accessed someone in those Syrian units with that). I say that based on basic logic (?) about who would be motivated to do that chemical attack. Besides Israeli right-wingers who want to bring the US in for an attack on Iran. I just can't see Assad virtually begging the US to attack by doing the deed. On the other hand, if Assad was convinced [^] the attack would be carried out without congressional approval [x^](by Russia, et-all), then motivation might be had.
         Remember that before this attack, there was "only", the ongoing waring between tribes in their revolution (so rare in the Middle-East, right?), plus the possibility of chemical weapons use (in spite of constant reminders the US would retaliate), and the added threat of the likelihood of war with Iran, that had everyone's attention. Or was there something else to explain why we were so attentive over the last 3 years?
         -Thank you, Chris
PS: There's a letter writing op at RootsAction.Org ...[below]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: UFPPC statement: The mendacity of hope
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2013 00:38:00 -0700
From: Chris Pringer
To: 'Discusser' <>

Hi 'Discusser',
         Yup. Last week I completed the transition of the "Obama Momentum Page" to "The Citizen Momentum" page. That had begun a few months ago, changing the title. But last week, I actually changed the file name - and all ref-links to it from other pages at the site, except for noting the process of changes in the site's update page (PolyPsy section).
         The Citizen Momentum page's "Momentum" section - which has been a kind of solitary blog, my own little journal on the president's policies and such. I was also holding out some hope, but always focusing on what we could do, not what we could expect from the whitehouse, etc. Per the header on the page and that section from the beginning.
         Tonight, I added a new entry there, beginning with title, "Charging Snowden with Espionage AND Chilling News Publishers)" then "What Snowden actually did was to expose inappropriate espionage - tactics, strategies, and what he believes were events that were examples of that. For the U.S. government to charge him with espionage only shows how much fear there is of exposure of wrongful espionage on the part of various factions, departments, and/or individuals in the U.S. intelligence realm. AND the sloppiness thereby that led to holes in NSA network, that are being used by careless and/or unwarranted investigators, not to mention hackers, not to mention the conflict of interest (blackmail potential) due to all the above..."
         I stepped it up a bit and later included "The timing of all this coinciding with events in Syria, IMO, has to do with our relations with Russia, with how and where certain armaments were protected from very powerful extremist factions in Russia (known by all world governments to be ever-more unpredictable during the USSR-to-Russia transition) by moving them to Syria where they could be vaulted by an unabashedly militarily powerful autocratic dictatorship. Where they are now, however, in increasing danger of falling into the hands of (other) extremists. And those particular armaments, IMO, simply need to be destroyed so they can never be used by anyone ever."
         I had previously included that chart on the "holes" and related abuse, and today added an improved version of the story for describing an example of that kind of abuse.

Well, so much for security and safety,
Take care and thanks for your work,

On 6/20/2013 11:43 PM, 'Discusser' <> wrote:
>       UFPPC statement: The mendacity of hope

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[29 May 2013]
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: FP: Stephen Walt asks: Is US engaged in proxy war against Iran in Syria?
Date: Wed, 29 May 2013 00:21:58 -0700
From: PolyPsyArt at
[To: 'Discusser' <>

Well, 'Discusser',
         "heads up" may be a bit strong, but events may confirm within a few months.
         And my opinion about destroying the weapons was not a wish for war, or even an involvement in the overt sense (!), and certainly not for the taking of life. Am pretty sure It can be done relatively quietly, with sufficient effort. That is, given that the facilities are still guarded by Assad's men, and with their safe exit before the weapons' full destruction, and all previous noted considerations taken in, then all can be taken care of.
         But will personalities involved give it the necessary effort? That is my main question. Call it a prayer.
         Thanks again, -Chris

[=== 29 May 2013 === === === === === === === ===]
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: FP: Stephen Walt asks: Is US engaged in proxy war against Iran in Syria?
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 17:55:09 -0700
From: PolyPsyArt at
[To: 'Discusser' <>

      Thanks for your notes in analysis and refs!
      May I suggest one more element for consideration?
      I May've mentioned this to you about 2 years ago (in email), or strongly hinted at it, because that's when I heard or read the 3rd reference that seemed to indicate HIGH likelihood that ... (ok, ya' ready?)...
      It's not just "chemical" weapons, but the highly engineered bio-weapons - those that comparitively, render nerve gas to the fire-cracker level of danger.
      The relationship between Syria and Russia/USSR has been more than tanks & jets. And when that arsenal was transferred out of the hands of questionable officials in transitioning USSR-Russia (weaponized bio-weaponry much more easily transportable than nuclear), and into a land where a totalitarian fascist monarchy ruled and could create fortresses and arsenals with such security.
      Well, the US intel/gov probably figured correctly that this was more impregnible than could be found anywhere on the continent, not to mention here, let alone would we want that transported here. And so likely cooperated in the deal.
      Ok, now we have that stronghold monarchy being increasingly threatened, not just by tribal warfare or the usual "rebels" (whichever you want to call it), but AlCaida.
      It would seem on the face of it, that if all that were the case, Russia would be happy to see the most dangerous weapons destroyed, regardless of who does it (us or them), but they've always been paranoid, depending primarily on defensive weapons and spies (we played up the offensive weaponry so as to get the political clout to outspend them).
      What is the US's current strategy? Well, I can only hope that it is to fully destroy those weapons - either by special forces and/or very "sure" air strikes for each facility. And of course any such plans would not be publicized, but no military strategist in the area would likely be surprised. And, in my opinion, the only thing that's slowing them down is the timing - politics included. And after Obama's speech... which made special provision, if you will, for those cases where there was no way to get the terrorists to court, etc... So I'm guessing that if any AlCaida purposely or accidently gets near one of those facilities... or can be said to have... then we'll find out all about it after the fact, after we've "saved the world" one more time.
      I know those weapons are somewhere, and the above, and a feel for how these folks think just makes a lot of logical sense to me. But then I grew up reading about war, weapons, spys, strategies, and such, and then 3rd year in USMC, after smoking a LOT of best stuff in the world at the time, I started reading about psychology, Eastern or other eclectic philosophy, consciousness...).
      That was pretty much my take on the three refs of two years ago. The 1st was a story on the revelation of the super-secret research by the USSR (on KUOW, January? 2011). The 2nd and 3rd were about the changes in Syria, and I got as much from how they said it, as what they actually said or wrote.
      AND add that to what you said. Although I have a few very small doubts about how much Iran has to do with it, EXCEPT with regard to the IPAC, the Israeli relationship (blackmail by the only country on the continent more paranoid than Russia), and the remnants of the Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft appointees in all the wrong places. Which, of course, nullifies a lot of my doubting. But anyway...
      I've only been *publically* writing about this for a few months now. Only because the cat was pretty much out of the bag when they started talking about bio-weapons. Maybe AlCaida thinks that means only your usual local theater warfare level stuff- but I doubt it now. And STILL, I think it might not be wise to publish all of this, particularly about the current US strategy (just in case I'm right, I may live simply, but beats the hech out of being the last one sent to Guantanamo :-), so just between you and I, then, ok? Thanks.
      Thanks for your well referenced notes! (as always)

On 5/22/2013 9:51 PM, Mark Jensen wrote:
>       COMMENTARY: Stephen Walt asks: Is US engaged in proxy war against Iran in Syria?
>       [Frankly, we find it a little hard to believe that it was only yesterday that it occurred to Prof. Stephen Walt, a foreign policy "realist," to "wonder whether U.S. involvement in that conflict isn't more substantial than I have previously thought."[1] -- As for us, we've been "wondering" ( )
>       for the past eighteen months. --Mark]
>       or
> 1.
> By Stephen M. Walt
> Foreign Policy
> May 22, 2013
>       Permit me to indulge today in a bit of speculation, for which I don't have a lot of hard evidence. As I read this article ( ) yesterday on Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian civil war, I began to wonder whether U.S. involvement in that conflict isn't more substantial than I have previously thought. And then I did a bit of web surfing and found this story, ( ) which seemed to confirm my suspicions. Here's my chain of reasoning:
>       1. The Syrian conflict has become a proxy fight between the opposition and its various allies (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Turkey, etc.) and Bashar al-Assad's regime and its various outsider supporters (Iran, Russia, Hezbollah).
>       2. For Washington, this war has become a golden opportunity to inflict a strategic defeat on Iran and its various local allies and thus shift the regional balance of power in a pro-American direction.
>       3. Israel's calculations are more complicated, given that it had a good working relationship with the Assad regime and is concerned about a failed state emerging next door. But on balance, a conflict that undermines Iran, further divides the Arab/Islamic world, and distracts people from the continued colonization of the West Bank is a net plus. So Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won't object if the United States gets more deeply engaged.
>       4. Consistent with its buck-passing instincts, Barack Obama's administration does not want to play a visible role in the conflict. This is partly because Americans are rightly tired of trying to govern war-torn countries, but also because America isn't very popular in the region and anyone who gets too close to the United States might actually lose popular support. So no boots on the ground, no "no-fly zones," and no big, highly visible shipments of U.S. arms. Instead, Washington can use Qatar and Saudi Arabia as its middlemen, roles they are all too happy to play for their own reasons.
>       5. Since taking office, Obama has shown a marked preference for covert actions that don't cost too much and don't attract much publicity, combined with energetic efforts to prosecute leakers. So an energetic covert effort in Syria would be consistent with past practice. Although there have been news reports that the CIA is involved in vetting and/or advising some opposition groups, we still don't know just how deeply involved the U.S. government is. (There has been a bit of speculation in the blogosphere that the attack on Benghazi involved "blowback" from the Syrian conflict, but I haven't seen any hard evidence to support this idea.)
>       6. In this scenario, the Obama administration may secretly welcome the repeated demands for direct U.S. involvement made by war hawks like Sen. John McCain. Rejecting the hawks' demands for airstrikes, "no-fly zones," or overt military aid makes it look like U.S. involvement is actually much smaller than it really is.
>       To repeat: The above analysis is mostly speculative on my part. I have no concrete evidence that the full scenario sketched above is correct, and I don't know what the level of U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war really is. But that's what troubles me: I don't like not knowing what my government is doing, allegedly to make me safer or to advance someone's idea of the "national interest." And if you're an American, neither should you. If the United States is now orchestrating a lot of arms shipments, trying to pick winners among the opposition, sending intelligence information to various militias, and generally meddling in a very complicated and uncertain conflict, don't you think the president owes us a more complete account of what America's public servants are or are not doing, and why?

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[===]===[ Placemarker for April 29, 2013 facebook Post/Rant ( ===[===]
[written in response to some fb friends; paragraphs re-arranged]
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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [snow-news] ToI,AFP,R: Turkey, Syria massing forces at border
Date: Wed, 04 Jul 2012 16:42:55 -0800
From: Drum44Peace at
To: 'Discusser' <>, SNOW

          When I first heard about this, I was thinking, Wow, these testosterone-addicted war lords just never change...
      And then countered myself with, "And if that's not the only reason, what could be?" Besides the "stuff" built up between those two nations over time.

      And it occurred to me that it would provide the perfect cover for protective support for teams of Ranger working in the northern areas of Syria. And when those helicopters were flying in, well, they were looking for, if not on attack runs against, those teams.


      So, it's been the PKK? And no one can win against them since, with no nation state of their own, they've at least four different nations to work out one place or another for their militants to run to, creating political safe-havens out of any given complex of relationships between those nations and their neighbors.

      And everyone in the Middle-East that studies war (and who can't there?), knows this. I'm guessing most people in southern Europe know this. But Americans are, as usual, kept in the dark by these news reports and the officially published reports and retorts so practiced by heads of state.

      And since the Pentagon know this as well as anyone... how about those Rangers, given how they'd feel about NATO being as hamstrung as they are, how the corporations feel about that oil there, how the media keeps feeding us the reports which can't help but engender our compassion for those suffering there. And there are many suffering there.

      Remember when wars were simpler, primarily about hatred, resource aquisition, occassional rescuing of damsels in distress? Now it's about hyper-sophisticated strategies for fueling and/or creating hatred, facilitating resource aquisition, and illumining our "responsibility" for rescuing damsels in distress. Oh, AND maintaining "our presence" essentially out of responsibility for our buddies - who got there due to the first three reasons. Remember when "Presence" was a sacred word, pertaining to relationship with the Divine, or at least with the most cherished or respected friends for intentions equated with the Divine?

Ah well... Thank you, Chris Pringer,

Mark Jensen wrote:
> NEWS: Turkey, Syria massing forces at border
>       [Syria has massed "approximately 170 tanks near the Turkish border . . . northeast of Aleppo," the *Times of Israel* reported Friday.[1] -- Yoel Goldman put the tanks 20 miles from the border, but AFP reported that according to Syrian rebels they are only ten miles away.[2] -- The day before Turkey had sent anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers, and other "fortifications" to the border, Yoel Goldman said.[1] -- The Pentagon, however, downplayed the situation and praised Turkey for its "very measured approach" to the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria on Jun. 22, AFP reported.[3] -- Complicating the situation is Syria's effort to counter Turkish threats by comforting PKK Kurdish rebels to operate against Turkey inside Syria.[4] -- (Kurds form the largest stateless ethnic group in the world, having been cheated ouf of a polity in post-WWI settlements; they have been struggling for greater freedom for a century.) -- The PKK has been "assassinating Kurdish leaders who want to join the armed opposition within Syria," according to a UNHCR report, Mitch Ginsburg said. -- Bashar al-Assad is thus hoping to mount a credible threat of turning Turkish Kurdistan into a war zone in the event of Turkish intervention in Syria, since, as Jon Hemming reported for Reuters in March, "Though Turkey has the second biggest army in NATO, it has failed to quash the PKK in 27 years of bitter fighting. More than 40,000 militants, soldiers, and civilians have been killed in the conflict. Turkey, the United States, and the European Union all list the PKK as a terrorist organization."[5] -- But the plan could backfire if Turkey uses it as an excuse to invade: "As a response to these developments, the Turkish national security council has been discussing the establishment of a Turkish security zone within Syria," Ginsburg noted.[4] --Mark]

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: US et al. should stay out of Syria (Joshua Landis)
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 14:14:56 -0800
From: Drum44Peace at
To: Mark Jensen , SNOW

Thanks for the post Mark,

      That Landis states the 100,000 number of Iraqi deaths, indicates he gets his news essentially from conservative sources. That he states a hands off policy is therefore more interesting, EXCEPT that he also states, "The United States can play a role with aid, arms, and intelligence..." - which kind of suggests that, so long as we officially stay out of it, we can influence the shape of the revolution and therefore the choices of their leaders all we like.

      Note: on the one hand, (Landis's) OU at Norman is the bastion of liberality in the state (where I went to college, being from Oklahoma, by the way). On the other, professors will be independent and do you realize the statistics on religious affiliations for that state? EG: how many are evangelical Christian (over 50%). All that just makes his report the more interesting.

Mark Jensen wrote:
> COMMENTARY: US et al. should stay out of Syriaf[Joshua Landis ( ) of the Univ. of Oklahoma doesn't mind that "Washington is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria,"[1] but he draws the line at direct intervention. -- In concert with Europe and the Gulf states, the U.S. is "starving the régime in Damascus and feeding the opposition," as any observer with half a brain has figured out by now. -- But if these enemies of Assad go further and intervene directly, what will follow will be "civil war and radicalization," resulting in "a fiasco on par with Iraq and Afghanistan," Landis said, writing on the website of Foreign Policy. -- "If anyone tells you they are going to build democracy in Syria, don't buy it. Democracy is unlikely to succeed there anytime soon." -- "In all likelihood, the Syrian revolution will be less bloody if Syrians carry it out for themselves." -- In any case, "[i]n the end, Syrians must find their own way and choose their own national leaders," said the webmaster of Syria Comment, ( ) a blog about Syrian politics, history, and religion. --Mark]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Fwd: BOOK EXCERPT: H.G. Wells on the history of Syria [and East Asia]
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2012 15:07:55 -0800
From: PolyPsyArt at

More for trends analysis...
A summary of history on the whole of East Asia, actually.
Thanks again to Mark Jensen (and H.G.Wells, of course)

Thank you,
Chris Pringer,

      PS: ...

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [snow-news] BOOK EXCERPT: H.G. Wells on the history of Syria
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2012 18:07:38 -0700
From: Mark Jensen
To: Mark Jensen

BOOK EXCERPT: H.G. Wells on the history of Syria

      From the picture of the history of Syria that emerges from the excerpts copied below from H.G. Wells' *Outline of History* (rev. 3rd ed., 1921), it is apparent that the peoples of that land have for millennia been pawns in games played by foreign imperialists.[1] --Mark]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Article Summaries on Syria & Assad - Confusing News ... responsibility for solving the problems... Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 17:00:20 -0800 From: PolyPsyArt at

On Syria & Assad

      Confusing news, many views, questions, & agendas about responsibility for solving the problems...

      Below are summaries of or extracts from a few posts on Syria and Assad, by Mark Jensen and Fred Feldman of the SNOW-News list, and by [ssinsley] of the VFP-All list. They are put here in reverse Chronology (most recent 1st) for each of those 3 persons posting (in the order listed above). The article's titles from SNOW-NEWS usually are not included in these summaries, but they and the entire articles can be read at

Thank you,
Chris Pringer

[===]===[ Syria Related References Spring-June 2012 ]===[===]
[=== === === === === === === === ===], 6/12/12, 6:31 AM

[snow-news] T,4thM,WSWS: Sr. journalists accuses rebels of setting him up to be killed by Syrian gov't forces

NEWS: Sr. journalist accuses rebels of setting him up to be killed by Syrian government forces

[Last week Alex Thomson, ( ) an award-winning British journalist who has covered some twenty wars, accused Syrian rebels of deliberately sending him for propaganda purposes into a death trap where he was exposed to gunfire from Syrian forces, the London *Telegraph* reported.[1] -- “In a war where they slit the throats of toddlers back to the spine, what's the big deal in sending a van full of journalists into the killing zone?" Thomson said, according the another report posted on the website The 4th Media.[2] -- "It was nothing personal.” -- A Channel 4 spokesperson called Thomson "an incredibly experienced journalist who has covered conflicts around the world for more than two decades and has used social media to share the full detail of these assignments.” -- In a longer piece on the subject, Richard Tyler of WSWS commented: "Thomson is well experienced working in conflict areas and answers the question of why the rebels would want to kill him. 'Dead journos [journalists] are bad for Damascus,' he writes. Why they are 'bad for Damascus,' Thomson does not spell out. But his explanation is certainly the most plausible, following the maxim *cui bono* -- who benefits. In this instance, the FSA deliberately set up the news crew so they could use their deaths to provide a further pretext for Western-backed military intervention into Syria."[3] -- "Thomson is also clear that this was not an isolated incident. He concludes his blog by reporting a tweet he received: 'I read your piece "set up to be shot in no man's land," I can relate as I had that same experience in Al Zabadani during our tour.' The message was from Nawaf al Thani, a human rights lawyer and a member of the Arab League Observer mission to Syria earlier this year." -- "Thomson's account received barely any coverage in the British media, let alone internationally. Except for the blog, Channel 4 appears not to have run an item on the near-death experience of its own news crew. This same media has no problem running largely unsubstantiated accounts and photographs of the latest atrocities in Syria, all of which are attributed without evidence to the Assad regime. And there is no doubt that, had the FSA achieved its aim, the assault on the news crew would have been given prime coverage." --Mark], 6/10/2012 5:18 PM

[snow-news] SMH: 'There has to be acknowledgment that war in Syria will be much worse'

COMMENTARY: 'There has to be acknowledgment that war in Syria will be much worse'

[According to a dour analysis that appeared in Sunday's *Sydney Morning Herald*, Barack Obama will have no choice in the face of "failing diplomacy" but to overcome his "reluctance to help the rebels" and will yield to "moral and emotional pressure" to the need to "bomb the bejesus out of the presidential palace in Damascus" because "women and children are being murdered on YouTube."[1] -- "That's how it worked in Libya," Paul McGeough explained, adding: "And later on, as the rebel factions carve up the spoils of war in a country that will look more like Libya than Iraq, we'll wonder what was it all about. That's how it's working in Libya." -- But the Irish Australian journalist called for "an acknowledgment that war in Syria will be much worse than what's happening now; and that after the war, those who intervene own its aftermath -- an aspect of war that the U.S. and its allies don't do well." -- According to McGeough, "the scariest part of this venture" will be "the risk of the war oozing over Syria's borders," with a real risk of provoking a more general Shiite-Sunni war in the region. -- U.S. intervention will lack the legitimacy of endorsement by the U.N. Security Council, since Russia and China are opposed to intervention. -- And Europeans are "so deep are the craters of their respective economic disasters that they can't see Syria," according to McGeough. -- As for what will happen inside Syria, civil war is an inevitability. -- "After decades of their own Baathist regime, their Syrian counterparts were stacked with Assad loyalists -- Baathists, Alawites, and other minorities -- who would not be tolerated by a new revolutionary government. 'Their dismissal will provide fodder for a counter-insurgency, promoting greater chaos across the country,'" according to the University of Oklahoma's Joshua Landis, a leading Syria expert in the U.S. -- BACKGROUND: Paul McGeough ( ) won the 2003 Walkley Award for Journalism Leadership in 2003, and in 2010 travelled on the MV Samoud (also known as the MV Challenger I) bound for Gaza and was arrested and detained by Israeli authorities, whom he accused of "a total disrespect to the fundamentals of democracy, and the fundamentals of the rights of journalists under the Geneva Convention." --Mark], 6/7/2012 11:39 PM

[snow-news] R,UN,NYT: New massacre in Syria stirs call for 'bold & concerted action'

NEWS: New massacre in Syria stirs call for 'bold & concerted action'

[Reuters blamed "forces loyal to Syrian President Bahsar al-Assad" for a new massacre on Wednesday of "at least 78 villagers" in "the Syrian Muslim village of Mazraat al-Qubeir," including "up to 40 women and children."[1] -- But since "U.N. monitors came under fire in Syria on Thursday while trying to investigate," as Erika Solomon and Louis Charbonneau reported, all reports came from "opposition activists" in Syria. -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a strong statement to the U.N. General Assembly: "President Assad and his Government have lost all legitimacy. . . . Now is the time for the international community to take bold and concerted action . . . in the name of our common humanity."[2] -- The *New York Times* said that "There seemed to be consensus that a broader effort was required to bring pressure to bear. Mr. Annan was proposing a kind of working group to enforce his peace plan. It would include the permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France -- but remove it from the muscle-flexing over issues like military interference and sanctions that have stymied action. The group would also include regional players including Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar."[3] -- But Neil MacFarquhar and Rich Gladstone said that "The United States would not welcome inclusion of Iran because it is part of the problem, said Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations. Egypt and other key actors would also most likely reject Iran, seeing it as rewarding bad behavior, diplomats said." -- COMMENT: Given the moral urgency of the situation, why is the American ambassador to the United Nations caviling about "rewarding bad behavior" in Iran? -- If no investigators have been able to visit Qubeir, how can responsibility for the massacre be determined? -- Why should the word of "opposition activists" be accepted so unquestioningly? -- How can Ban Ki-moon hope for a positive response from the Syrian government if he declares that it has "lost all legitimacy"? -- Why is the number of women and children killed reported as an "up to" number rather than a "at least" number, and what is the source of these numbers? --Mark], 6/9/2012 2:25 PM

[snow-news] AP,AFP: Striking differences of emphasis in AP & AFP reporting on crisis in Syria

NEWS: Striking differences of emphasis in AP and AFP reporting on crisis in Syria

[Intense fighting arrived in central Damascus, the Syrian capital, late Friday and early Saturday as rebels armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades fought Syrian forces responding with tank shells, the Associated Press reported.[1] -- "[R]esidents risk[ed] their safety -- and potentially their lives -- to shelter the fighters," Bassem Mroue said. -- Meanwhile, pre-dawn shelling killed twenty, including nine women and children, in the southern city of Daraa, the cradel in March 2011 of the anti-Assad uprising. -- The still unexplained massacre of 78 in the farming village of Mazraat al-Qubair, or Qubeir, "hacked, burned, and stabbed," has contributed to a willingness to "see rebel fighters more as protectors against Assad's forces," AP said. -- But what Mroue called "[e]fforts by Western and Arab nations to help the opposition" have been "hampered by fragmentation" and "infighting" among Assad opponents; on Saturday, a meeting in Turkey to "elect a new leader nearly three weeks after its Paris-based president Burhan Ghalioun offered to step down over mounting criticism of his leadership" had been "expected late Saturday, but was postponed to Sunday with no immediate explanation." -- A *New York Times* correspondent, reporting from Turkey, said that Damascus had seen "the worst violence there since the uprising began," but like most mainstream media reporters, Neil MacFarquhar relied on wire services reports like the one just cited.[2] -- Agence France-Presse, on the other hand, curiously enough, did not even mention the fighting in Damascus and instead devoted nine paragraphs to Russian efforts to hold "an international conference, including Iran to end the bloodshed in Syria," whereas AP mentioned the Russian proposal only one paragraph of its story -- the 21st paragraph of a 31-paragraph article. -- BACKGROUND: The Associated Press ( ) is a U.S. cooperative owned by contributing newspapers and radio and television stations in the United States whose board of directors can be viewed here, ( ) whereas Agence France-Press ( ) is a government-chartered public corporation that is administered by a board of 15 members: eight representatives of the French press, two representatives drawn from AFP personnel, two representatives of French government-owned raidio and TV, and three representatives of the French government (one of these is named by the prime minister, one by the minister of finance, and one by the minister of foreign affairs). --Mark], 6/10/2012 7:12 AM

[snow-news] FAZ,NRO: Houla massacre work of anti-Assad militants, says Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

NEWS: Houla massacre work of anti-Assad militants, says Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

[*Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung*, the German newspaper that has the largest international circulation, published a sketchy report by Rainer Hermann on Friday that attributed responsibility for the massacre in Syria to anti-Assad militants in Syria.[1] -- A translation of the article by an Austrian blogger is posted below (with a few silent stylistic improvements).[2] -- Meanwhile the Houla massacre continues to be attributed to Syrian authorities by media sources like the London *Daily Mail* ( ) and Arutz Sheva, ( ) sometimes called the voice of the Israeli settlement movement, which extended blame for the massacre to Iran (e.g. "All this adds up to one, and only one thing: Iran, and Iran alone, is responsible for every murderous genocidal slaughter act Assad has committed, and will commit. Hence, Iran is already 'all in' on defending Assad, and will stop at nothing-nothing- to defend Assad's regime"). --Mark], 3/8/2012 9:54 PM

[snow-news] Ind: 'Illusions' & 'hypocrisy' fuel outsiders' opposition to Syria's Assad (Robert Fisk)

COMMENTARY: 'Illusions' & 'hypocrisy' fuel outsiders' opposition to Syria's Assad (Robert Fisk)

[Robert Fisk, it seems, has never had any illusions about the Syrian regime's powers of endurance. -- In a column published Sunday in the London *Independent*, the venerable Middle East journalist and historian denounced the "illusions" of Western leaders seeking the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and also the "hypocrisy" of gulf oil states whose rule is every bit as undemocratic as Assad's.[1] -- For Fisk, those dreaming of the establishment of genuine democracy in Syria are dreaming "the same old American dream: if a police state was ruthless, cynical, and corrupt -- and let us have no illusions about the Baathist apparatus and its panjandrum -- then its opponents, however poorly armed, would win; because they were the good guys. The old clichés clanked into focus. The Baathists were Nazis; Bashar a mere cipher in the hands of his family; his wife, Asma, variously an Eva Braun, Marie Antoinette or Lady Macbeth. Upon this nonsense, the West and the Arabs built their hopes." -- Meanwhile, "there is a distressing habit of denouncing anyone who tries to talk reality." -- Notably, Fisk appeared not to credit reports that the West has been organizing and arming Syrian rebels; he stated that the U.S., French, and British have been "refusing all military help to the rebels." --Mark], 6/2/2012 11:09 PM

[snow-news] G,B: Clashing accounts of who massacred Syrian civilians in Houla

BACKGROUND: Clashing accounts of who massacred Syrian civilians in Houla

[On Friday the London *Guardian* described its background piece on the May 25 Houla massacre as "the full story," but it was anything but that.[1] -- Martin Chulov in Beirut and Mona Mahmood reported that they "had been speaking to Houla residents and survivors to reconstruct the events of that day," but they did not explain where or how these interviews took place. -- Cited were three "elders," one of whom is a "leader in the Syrian Revolutionary Council" (a group whose actual name is the "Syrian Revolutionary Council of the Coordination Committees" and which has been described by *Small Wars Journal* as a "violent opposition faction") and three individuals who said they witnessed the massacre. -- On Saturday, another story about Houla, also by Martin Chulov, appeared in the *Guardian*'s sister paper, *The Observer*.[2] -- This article announced, in a subhead, that a Syrian air force major had "provided crucial evidence on the Houla killings." -- Maj. Jihad Raslan happened to be on leave in Houla when the massacre took place and defected to "opposition forces" as a result of what he saw, Chulov said.. -- But what did Maj. Raslan see? -- As reported by the *Guardian*, his account was confined to general statements and was devoid of anything that could be called "evidence." -- On Saturday, a rare mainstream media article, published by Bloomberg, proposed a very different version of events, calling attention to Syria's claim that the victims of the massacre were killed because their families had refused cooperate with rebel forces.[3] -- Henry Meyer and Stephan Kravchenko cited Syria's ambassador to Russia, who said that "The main aim [of the massacre] is to cause failure of the Annan plan and to provoke foreign military interference." --Mark], 6/1/2012 9:29 PM

[snow-news] B,BBC,LAT,R,CBS,DS: Putin resists growing pressure to oust Assad

NEWS: Putin resists growing pressure to oust Assad

[Meeting on Friday with French President François Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin cited resisted pressures to join the international effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Bloomberg reported.[1] -- “What is happening in Libya, in Iraq?” he said. “Did they become safer?” -- Earlier in the day, in Berlin, "Putin said Russia doesn't support either side in the Syrian conflict and believes it's too early to say Annan's peace plan has failed," Gregory Viscusi and Ilya Arkhipov said. -- The U.N. Human Rights Council, meanwhile, "said it wanted investigators to identify the perpetrators of the killings in Houla," the BBC reported.[2] -- But the *Los Angeles Times* said "the third [massacre] in a week" in Syria had occurred: "An opposition group said the bus carrying the workers was stopped at a military checkpoint, the men were ordered off and executed on the spot," but "[a] pro-government group said the men were killed by rebels because they worked in a state-run factory," Patrick J. McSonnell and Alexandra Sandels said.[3] -- Meanwhile, Nabil Elaraby, the head of the Arab League, called in a letter to the U.N. Security Council for "increasing the number of international monitors and allowing them the necessary powers to put a stop to the violations and crimes being committed," Reuters said.[4] -- Gen. Richard Myers, "a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who's now a senior military security analyst for CBS News," appeared on American television Friday morning saying that "people would look for probably the use of force" [[i]f it looks like Russia's going to be intransigent on this point," but that Syria posed "a much more difficult military problem" than Libya.[5] -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in Singapore, said he "cannot envision" the United States "taking military action in Syria without the backing of a U.N. Security Council resolution," yet he is envisioning it: "he said that all options remain on the table and that the Pentagon is planning for 'any contingency.'" -- In a column published Saturday in Beirut's *Daily Star*, Rami Khouri ( ) said he believed that Kofi Annan was now "nearing the make-or-break point of his difficult mission" in Syria[6] --Mark], 2/17/2012 11:23 PM

[snow-news] ATO: China trying to save Assad by brokering crisis in Syria

ANALYSIS: China trying to save Assad by brokering crisis in Syria

[On the eve of a visit to Syria by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, the website Asia Times Online featured an analysis of China's role in the Syrian crisis by Peter Lee, who has been following these matters for some time.[1] -- According to Lee, China is seeking a "third path": one that "eschews both regime change and perpetuation of the status quo." -- The U.S. national security state, on the other hand, has committed itself to regime change in Syria. -- The U.S. is backing a "Friends of Syria" conference in Tunisia on Feb. 24 that is being designed to "formalize a case for humanitarian intervention in Syria . . . under the 'responsibility to protect' or R2P doctrine similar to the one used for Libya," Lee said. -- But, according to Lee, the group that the U.S. and its Gulf Cooperation Council allies have chosen to back, the Syrian National Council, is "a corrupt congeries of exiles with virtually no presence inside Syria and dominated by the Sunni Islamist militants of the Muslim Brotherhood." -- There is a problem, though: Muslim Brotherhood has been exiled from Syria for thirty years in the aftermath of a power struggle that it lost, and "[t]he Brotherhood's best hope for a major, indeed dominant political role inside Syria requires regime collapse." -- However, "most countries are anxiously trying to reconcile their desire to see Assad fall with a queasy awareness that the SNC is perhaps a sectarian, Islamist train wreck ready to happen." -- "It seems the main function of the SNC is to vocally implore -- and thereby justify -- foreign intervention in Syria." -- Lee saw in a recent Op-Ed in China's *Global Times* a warning to Russia that China has no intention of backing a proxy war in Syria between Russia and the anti-Assad contingent, but is willing to act as a mediator in the conflict. -- "In other words," Lee concluded, "maybe the real opposition in Syria is someone we've never heard of. And maybe that's a good thing." -- In a different version of the same article posted on his website a day earlier that contains some idential passages, Peter Lee said that "My take on the situation is that the United States is willing to let the GCC chew up Syria as a consolation prize for not going all out on regime change against Iran. China, I feel, has a diametrically opposite mindset: it thinks it has placated Saudi Arabia adequately on Iran (mainly by hosing Iran on energy pricing and not stepping up in a major way to crack the sanctions blockade that is beggaring the Iran's economy and its citizens), so they feel they have the right to be treated as grown-ups with ideas worth listening to on Syria."[2]

Fred Feldman, 4/11/2012 8:06 PM

New York Times op-ed
To Stop the Killing, Deal With Assad

IN the wake of the recent Friends of Syria conference, the United States and Middle Eastern powers that include Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are stepping up aid to armed resistance groups in Syria. Under American leadership, the conference pledged $100 million to provide salary payments to rebel fighters.
... ...
The six-point plan offered by Kofi Annan, the United Nations intermediary, is a good starting point. But both sides have to treat a cease-fire seriously, and any arms embargo would have to apply equally to each party. Crucially, real negotiations would have to include Iran and Russia. Both have stakes in the Assad government; their involvement in an inclusive mediation process could set the stage for concessions by the government.

Some will argue that we shouldn't engage with the Syrian government or its backers. But further isolation tells the Assad government and its social constituencies that their only options are victory through mass violence or annihilation.

By relying exclusively on coercion through sanctions and threats, the practical effect of the current American approach has been to squeeze out all other diplomatic options and to make a proxy war (with local and international players on both sides) the only remaining possibility.

If we are really interested in protecting the civilian population - rather than using this as a strategic opportunity to flip regional alliances - the benefits of a negotiated transition are clear. It may not reinforce our geopolitical position, but it will help safeguard ordinary Syrians caught in the cross-fire.

Asli U. Bali is an acting professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Aziz F. Rana, an assistant professor of law at Cornell, is the author of "The Two Faces of America

Fred Feldman, 6/10/2012 6:37 AM

[snow-news] NYT: Assad's response to Syria unest leaves his sect divided

Introductory comment: This article is clearly structured to present Assad as the only villain in the piece, in line with the slavish submission of the US "liberal media" to official war propaganda.

What it really shows is the deepening sectarian degeneration of the conflict. This is being deliberately fostered by the massive intervention of the US-NATO-Gulf monarchies, backed by such dependent groups as the Syria National Council and the Free Syria Army.

Note the way the article presents the issue of the murder of opposition Alawites. It is clear from the context that these attacks are coming from the increasingly sectarianized opposition, but the Times -- more than ready to blame killings on Assad wherever possible -- says nothing about this.

The very fact that they did not even suggest that the killings were Assad's work is a strong signal that some forces in the anti-Assad camp are killing anti-Assad Alawites.

Among other things, the US-opposition bloc have marginalized minorities in the opposition and others (regardless of nationality or religious belief) opposed to sectarianism and foreign intervention. These generally favor peaceful protest and negotiations, which are rejected by the US and company and increasingly by top UN officials. (Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has formally read Assad out of the human race.)

The US-led bloc expects that an openly or covertly Sunni chauvinist regime will be a reliable ally against Iran and Hezbollah, and that, even under Islamist rule, a divided and devastated Syria will present no challenge to Israeli military hegemony in the area.

The WORST possible outcome (a best outcome does not seem in the offing yet) would be victory of the US-NATO-Saudi-Syria National Council-Free Syria Army bloc.

Hands off Syria! Fred Feldman

ssinsley@... 6/3/2012 6:57 PM
[vfp-all] Putting Syria into Some Perspective: The Holy Triumvirate

"The clinical megalomania of the Holy Triumvirate can scarcely be exaggerated & never prosecuted" By William Blum

Next on their agenda: the removal of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. As with Gaddafi, the ground is being laid with continual news reports — from CNN to al Jazeera — of Assad's alleged barbarity, presented as both uncompromising and unprovoked. After months of this media onslaught who can doubt that what's happening in Syria is yet another of those cherished Arab Spring "popular uprisings" against a "brutal dictator" who must be overthrown? And that the Assad government is overwhelmingly the cause of the violence.
As to the current violence in Syria, we must consider the numerous reports of forces providing military support to the Syrian rebels — the UK, France, the US, Turkey, Israel, Qatar, the Gulf states, and everyone's favorite champion of freedom and democracy, Saudi Arabia; with Syria claiming to have captured some 14 French soldiers; plus individual jihadists and mercenaries from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, et al, joining the anti-government forces, their number including al-Qaeda veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are likely behind the car bombs in an attempt to create chaos and destabilize the country. This may mark the third time the United States has been on the same side as al-Qaeda, adding to Afghanistan and Libya.

tri3Stratfor, the private and conservative American intelligence firm with high-level connections, reported that "most of the opposition's more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue." Opposition groups including the Syrian National Council, the Free Syrian Army and the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights began disseminating "claims that regime forces besieged Homs and imposed a 72-hour deadline for Syrian defectors to surrender themselves and their weapons or face a potential massacre." That news made international headlines. Stratfor's investigation, however, found "no signs of a massacre," and declared that "opposition forces have an interest in portraying an impending massacre, hoping to mimik the conditions that propelled a foreign military intervention in Libya." Stratfor added that any suggestions of massacres are unlikely because the Syrian "regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario. Regime forces have been careful to avoid the high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds."


9. Syria Refs - Sep'13 & Jan'14

Lies about who sent those chemical rockets

Subject: McC: More indications US lied about August chemical weapons attack in Syria
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2014 15:56:37 -0800 From: Mark Jensen
      BACKGROUND: More indications US lied about August chemical weapons attack in Syria
[The Lloyd-Postol report on the chemical weapons attack in Syria in August 2013, suggesting that the U.S. intelligence report about it was incorrect and that the assertions made by a White House intent on making a case for war were false, continues to reverberate. -- On Wednesday, McClatchy Newspapers reported that "A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated. -- What's more, the rocket supposedly used by the Syrians did not appear in the inventory of weapons that Syria has turned over to be destroyed, Matthew Schofield said. -- "[T]he authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket's [trash-can-on-a-stick] design, its likely payload, and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad." -- A coauthor of the report, Theodore Postol, ( ) a 67-year-old MIT professor with military connections, said: "The administration narrative was not even close to reality. -- Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct." -- The other coauthor of the report disputed the claim that the Syrian rebels did not have the capacity to manufacture the weapon used in the attack: "The Syrian rebels most definitely have the ability to make these weapons." -- "I think they might have more ability than the Syrian government." -- "Both said they were not making a case that the rebels were behind the attack, just that a case for military action was made without even a basic understanding of what might have happened." -- BACKGROUND: -- For more on this matter and on the *New York Times*'s muted mea culpa regarding its reporting, see here. ( ) --Mark]

Refs 9/11/13

      [WSJ: Obama to pursue diplomacy as Senate puts off vote on Syria indefinitely from Mark Jensen, sent 9/10/2013 10:53 PM] OBAMA HOLDS FIRE ON SYRIA, WAITS ON RUSSIA PLAN By Carol E. Lee and Janet Hook ** President Presses Case for Syria Strikes but Asks Congress to Delay Votes ** Wall Street Journal September 10, 2013>:
      [MJ's Summary:] After a day of "fast-moving developments," in a fifteen-minute televised address to the nation President Barack Obama "told Americans Tuesday he would pursue a newly energized diplomatic course to try to resolve the standoff with Syria, but he insisted that the U.S. must conduct military strikes, if needed, in response to the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons," the *Wall Street Journal* said.[1] -- Obama said he would ask Congress to "postpone a vote on a resolution to authorize military force, which he looked likely to lose," Carol E. Lee and Janet Hook said. -- (Sen. Reid said the vote has been postponed "indefinitely.") -- "Instead he said he would reserve the option of military strikes while pursuing a Russian proposal for Syria to hand over its chemical-weapons under an international agreement." -- "Syria for the first time directly admitted that it possesses chemical weapons and said it would cease their production and disclose the locations of the stockpiles to the international community, including the United Nations and Russia, which is at the center of the negotiations." -- This occurred when "Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said in a statement he read to a pro-regime Lebanese TV station, al-Mayadeen, that Damascus would cease production of chemical weapons and disclose the locations of its stockpiles to the United Nations, Russia, and others." -- "[A] dispute emerged quickly among members of the U.N. Security Council over how such a measure could be enforced, with France seeking language that leaves military action on the table and Russia rejecting such a move." --Mark]

U.S. Troops Oppose Striking Syria, Online Survey Suggests Credit Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Members of the U.S. Marine Corps listen to President Obama during his visit to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in August. By Mark Memmott An online survey of 750 active-duty U.S. troops suggests that opposition to striking Syria is "more intense" among military personnel than among the American public. Military Times, a publication and newssite owned by Gannett Co. (not the federal government) reports [n.9/11/13]

"White House Mum on Rebel Chem Weapons Use" by Bryant Jordan,, Sep 10, 2013>

Russia's nimble footwork on Syria 11 September 2013 Last updated at 05:09 ET

Kerry's Meeting With Russian Is Next Key Moment In Syria Crisis By Mark Memmott 4:03 am Wed September 11, 2013 Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 6:00 am From the NPR Newscast: Jean Cochran rounds up the latest news about the crisis in Syria Now that President Obama has made his case to the nation for holding Syrian President Bashar Assad responsible for a chemical weapons attack last month near Damascus, the next key moment in the quickly evolving crisis appears to be Thursday's meeting in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Lessons From Libya On How To Destroy Chemical Weapons By editor Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 11:50 am When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, one of the broader goals was to send a strong deterrent message to other dictators who might have weapons of mass destruction (even if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein didn't). Recent events in Syria show that President Bashar Assad didn't heed the warning. But Libya's Moammar Gadhafi did.

U.S. Fleshes Out Russian Plan For Syria's Chemical Weapons 4:54 am Wed September 11, 2013 The situation is growing more complicated as the U.S. delves into a Russian proposal to make Syria turn over its chemical weapons. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona has supported limited U.S. military intervention in Syria. McCain talks to Steve Inkseep about whether the Russian proposal will work.

Obama's Shift On Syria: A Show Of Strength Or Fear? Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 8:00 am One line President Obama might have borrowed for his speech to the nation Tuesday night was a famous one from John F. Kennedy's inauguration address: "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate." Always admired as a fine turn of phrase, what meaning does this have in our own time? Perhaps it might have helped Obama make the turn from indicting the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons to explaining why he backed off his own earlier threat of military retaliation against Syria.


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*Structure*, or the felt need for it is, IMO, the underlying basis of fundamentalism (of any belief system), which is the basis of extremism, which is the basis of most terrorism we hear about today. Also with sections on Socio-Political Empathy, Attitudinal Healing, Political Evangelicals, Christian Fascism, related complexities & confusions.

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