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Syria Drama In the Making - the Bush and Obama Years 2005-2013

by Oui Wed Oct 23rd, 2013 at 07:49:58 AM EST

In hindsight one of the best diaries that predicted the Neocon foreign policy, continued under Obama and Ms Clinton, to "democraticize" Syria and bring freedom to the Syrian people. A regional catastrophy in the making. Please let no one write the Obama administration isn't culpable for the human suffering inside Syria and the six million displaced persons and refugees. Neocon Stephen Hadley had a position within USIP and making US foreign policy under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ms Clinton used her "knowledge" of Serbia and Kosovo and challenged the world community in Syria by-passing international law. What a quagmire in the new Middle-East. The year 2005 was marked by renewed upheaval in Lebanon, the assassination of Rafic Hariri while under occupation and rule by Syria. The European Union and the US were in talks with Bashar al-Assad for government reforms. New economic agreements and transformation were agreed upon and Israel held secret meetings to settle the Golan Heights issue.

Hadley asked Italy/Turkey/France for Regime Change in Syria (2005)

NSC Chief Hadley asked Italy for a Bashar Replacement and @EuroTrib   by susanhu on Oct. 23, 2005

National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley asked the Italians to help with regime change in Syria:

I have it on good authority that Steven Hadley, the director of the US National Security Council, called the President of the Italian senate to asked if he had a candidate to replace Bashar al-Asad as President of Syria. The Italians were horrified. Italy is one of Syria's biggest trading partners so it seemed a reasonable place to ask! This is what Washington has been up to.

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Heading for Damascus and the military option (Reuters)

The new United Nations Mehlis report linking top Syrian officials, including Assad family members, [Is now known to be false - Oui] to the killing of Lebanon's leading reformer eight months ago has sparked a "transformation" in how the world is willing to deal with Damascus, which Washington wants to cultivate, said a senior U.S. policymaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity because diplomacy is ongoing - Joshua Landis.

"Out of tragedy comes an extraordinary strategic opportunity," the official said. "This murder changed everything." Former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri was killed Feb. 14, 2005.

The long-term U.S. goal is to break the 35-year hold of the Assad family and allow Syrians to freely pick a new government. But in the short term, the administration is somewhat reluctantly opting to let the U.N. investigation and the subsequent judicial process, combined with punitive U.N. sanctions, erode Assad's power -- and see if he then changes Syrian practices in the region, U.S. officials said. -- Joshua Landis

Let's take this in. Hadley is calling the Italians, asking for a name as a replacement figurehead? Stunning.

Continued below the fold ...

This Stephen Hadley? Whose ass is about to be indicted? Who was a member of the infamous WHIG group that sold the Iraq war? Who has his smudgy mitts all over the Niger forgery story and connived with Karl Rove to smear ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife?

Yup, that Stephen Hadley. In BooMan's "Holy Crap: My Pre-Indictment Stress Syndrome is Acting Up " he quotes Larry Johnson: "My friend told me that Hadley fully expects he will be indicted."

Landis's SyriaComment.com has become one of my must-reads. He writes well. He travels to Beirut regularly. He talks to international reporters daily. And Landis talks to Syrians on the streets of Damascus.

We're not playing "DOOM" here, for chrissakes. You have to know the territory. As Patrick Lang -- a former DIA Chief of the Middle East and Terrorism as well as first professor of Arabic Languages at West Point -- pointed out last night here in "Syria and the Stone Wall":  

    "The Syrian government has a long established and time tested methodology for dealing with external demands placed upon it. It ignores them."

Further, as Joshua Landis logically notes, what can Syria possibly do to placate the Bush administration? "Bashar cannot possibly do what Washington is demanding of it -- give family members to an international court. My guess is that the regime will stick together on this."

Turkish Press reports that ''both Ankara and western capitals [are debating] by whom al-Assad can be replaced. This matter was also discussed during (U.S. President Bush's national security adviser) Hadley's visit to Ankara."

Professor Landis has come into possession of a "most extraordinary letter from Syria's Ambassador in Washington Imad Mustapha to Congresswoman Sue Kelly." The letter from Rep. Kelly and 100 House members is highly critical of Syria. Prof. Landis has posted the ambassador's reply, [editor's note, by susanhu] [The ambassador's reply letter to Congress is up now.] and makes some key observations.

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A Syrian refugee girl, with a poster of Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, attends a protest against Bashar al-Assad at a refugee camp (Reuters)

 Turkey should have thought twice on Syria: analysts

Obama and Kerry have broken with 35 year policy of doing Israel and Saudi's bidding in the Levant. The major shifts in the region are quite impressive. The US decision not to do a bombing raid on Syria was crucial. I have long advocated Iran would be a better long-term ally to the West than the House of Saud. The policy decisions of the last 60 days have opened this opportunity.

The Bush years and the decision to invade Iraq was the moment the bald eagle lost its feathers and the Saudi King was confronted with a Shia majority government as northern neighbor. Saudi Arabia changed policy and began overt funding and supplying arms to the Sunnis in Iraq. In Lebanon and Syria the Gulf states were already heavily involved with investments and meddling in domestic politics.

Wahhabist teachings in mosques intensified the Sunni/Shia divide to undermine the Assad regime. In Lebanon the House of Saud was split in support for Rafiq Hariri (King Fahd) and Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal (crown prince Abdullah). New Saudi King Abdullah won out.

Dark Prince Bandar was sacked as US Ambassador in 2005, reasons unknown to me. He has made a come-back to lead the jihadists in the Syrian civil/sectarian war. Saudi Prince Bandar reportedly threatened Russia with terror activities during the Sochi games, so nothing new here to see by threatening the Levant and counter US policy.

WikiLeaks: BAE secret papers reveal threats from Saudi Prince Bandar

(Guardian) Feb. 15, 2008 - Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed.

See also the BAE 'Al Yamamah' scandal. Bribes likely used to fund covert ops, read: global jihadists.

Posted earlier in Tikun Olam -  Iran and Syria: Best of Times, Worst of Times

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2013 at 10:41:05 AM EST
'I'd Dump the Israelis Tomorrow': Ex-CIA Analyst Michael Scheuer

(TOI) -  One of the witnesses before Congress was an ex-CIA analyst and operations officer Michael Scheuer. In his appearance - which is on YouTube here - he argues that al-Qaeda's hatred towards the West is driven by western policy and actions in the Middle east, as opposed to a more generalized cultural or religious animosity. If you listen to Scheuer's testimony, you can see he is not spouting anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist or pro-Palestinian rhetoric. While he is rather eccentric, Scheuer bases his opposition to the American alliance with Israel on the purely Realpolitik argument of the US needing to disentangle itself from ties to both Israel and the Middle East more broadly. In fact, it is worth noting that Scheuer considers the US alliance with the Saudis to be far worse to the US from a policy perspective.

The one map that shows why Syria is so complicated

(WaPo) - The map, from Columbia University's really exceptional Gulf/2000 Project, shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of the Levant, the part of the Middle East that's dominated by Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each color represents a different group. As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap.

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Each color represents an ethnic or religious group. (Michael Izady / The Gulf/2000 Project at Columbia University)

Ethnic and linguistic breakdowns are just one part of Syria's complexity, of course. But they are a really important part. The country's largest group is shown in yellow, signifying ethnic Arabs who follow Sunni Islam, the largest sect of Islam. Shades of brown indicate ethnic Kurds, long oppressed in Syria, who have taken up arms against the regime. There are also Druze, a religious sect, Arab Christians, ethnic Armenians and others.

Syria is run by Alawites, a minority sect of Islam whose members include President Bashar al-Assad and many in his inner circle. They're indicated in a greyish green, clustered near the Mediterranean coast. Although Alawites make up only 12 percent of the Syrian population, they are playing a crucial role in the war, fighting to prop up Assad's regime.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 26th, 2013 at 03:17:05 PM EST
Mention about Syrian Kurds is wrong, they have been fighting Al Qaeda jihadist in northeastern part of the country for quite some time.

Syria Kurdish militias battle al Qaeda fighters, driving civilians across border into Iraq

(CBS News) - Aug. 28, 2013 - Kurdish militias battled al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in northeastern Syria in the latest round of heavy fighting that has helped fuel a mass exodus of civilians from the region into neighboring Iraq, activists said.

Clashes between Kurdish fighters and Islamic extremist rebel groups have sharply escalated in Syria's northern provinces in recent months. The violence, which has left hundreds dead, holds the potential to explode into a full-blown side conflict within Syria's broader civil war.

Around 30,000 Syrians, the vast majority of them Kurds, have fled the region over a five-day stretch and crossed the border to the self-ruled Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Another 4,000 made the trek across the frontier Tuesday, said Youssef Mahmoud, a spokesman for the UNHCR in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Syria Kurdish fighters seize border post from Islamists

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Oct 26th, 2013 at 05:01:14 PM EST
Censorship "De Telegraaf" [google translation]

Right-wing Dutch national newspaper refused my comment on the I-P issue. A politician from the far-right Christian Conservative party (CU) requested less funding for the Palestinian Authority. Joël Voordewind accused the PA of using funds to sponsor terror against Israel.

In my comment, I wanted to place Voordewind's bias in some perspective to the 95% of posts who agreed with him. The moderator notified me my comment was refused! This is a novelty for me.

Joël Voorewind talks about prayer for peace in Jerusalem and the bond of Christians with Israel. There is yet hope as many commenters agree with him. Voordewind speaks the language of the occupier, Avigdor Liberman and Bibi Netanyahu who are proponents of a Palestinian state in Jordan. Inside the PA there is corruption, that's a fact. The accusation of MP Voordewind (CU) is dated from the Arafat period. Europe and the US spread funds through the World Bank: "Other income is freed to secure the salaries of the Al-Aksa Martyrs and other militants."

De Telegraaf has no problem with speeches by Geert Wilders in Tel Aviv calling for the transfer of Palestinians to Jordan.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 03:13:09 PM EST
"Financial Aid Goes to Palestinian Terrorists"

THE HAGUE (Dutch News) Oct. 12, 2013 - Questions will be raised in parliament over whether EU subsidies to the Palestine Authority go to terrorists.

Yossi Dagan, vice-chairman of the West Bank Regional Council said 40 percent of the EU subsidies to the Palestine Authority is spent on salaries of convicted Palestine terrorists. He told a meeting of MPs that these terrorists each received 2,000 euros a month.

Dagan and his compatriate Shay Attias who teaches public diplomacy in Israel, spoke to the group on the invitation of the small Christian party SGP.

Yossi Dagan leader of Homesh First

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 30th, 2013 at 03:16:59 PM EST
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