During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces had surprised Israel and were fast approaching the edge of the steep Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 war. It seemed as if Syrian armor and infantry would retake Golan, then pour down into Israeli Galilee.
Soviet recon satellites observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho missiles out of protective caves and onto their launch pads. At the same time, Israel was seen loading nuclear bombs on their US-supplied F-4 fighter-bombers at Tel Nof airbase.
Believing Israel was about to use nuclear weapons against Syria and Egypt, Moscow put huge pressure on both to rein in their advancing forces. Damascus, already in range of Israeli artillery on Golan, ordered its armored forces on Golan to halt, allowing Israel to mount powerful counter-attacks and retake the strategic heights.
Shouldn’t the days of European leaders enlisting the help of American presidents to sell unpopular ideas to their citizens be long over? They should. But evidently, they are not.
Barack Obama arrived in Europe last week, bursting with words of wisdom and friendly advice. He was welcomed enthusiastically by the leaders of the United Kingdom and Germany. Less enthusiastic, however, was the reception from the citizens of those countries.
Trouble in paradise?
In Germany, Obama arrived to tens of thousands protesting the hugely unpopular TTIP trade deal between the US and Europe, which is currently going through its 13th round of negotiations — negotiations which, by and large, have been carried out in secret between Brussels and Washington. TTIP is being sold as a vehicle to reduce tariffs and remove regulatory barriers to trade between the US and Europe — but protesters in Germany and elsewhere see the deal as a Trojan horse. They are worried that the jobs, growth and prosperity promised by its proponents will fail to materialize and that the arrangement will leave Europe at the mercy of wealthy multinationals who will degrade environmental and food standards to have them fall in line with the more lax approaches favored by the US. Essentially, they are justifiably unhappy with a deal which would give the US and big business greater control over EU regulatory laws.
NATO Prepares Four Battalions for Russian Border
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that NATO is preparing to deploy four battalions -- approximately 4,000 troops -- to Russia's western border. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work was in Brussels today to announce the Western military escalation on Russia's border, which he claimed was in response to Russian military exercises near the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Five Minutes Five Issues: War Spending, Hawaii Drugs, Sanders Delegates, 28 Pages, Hastert Sentencing
A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted today. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.
In Syria, US Rejects Russia Call to Name al-Qaeda Allies 'Terrorist'
The total muddle that is US policy toward Syria continues to astonish. This week we saw the spectacle of a State Department Spokesman telling us that President Obama's promise to not put US boots on the ground in Syria, was never a promise not to put boots on the ground in Syria. Yes, it was funny to see him squirm, but there is nothing funny about the past five years of disastrous policy in Syria. Particularly considering the thousands killed once the US decided that "Assad must go" and began sending in fighters to make that happen.
State Department Jokesman: 'Obama Never Said No Boots on Ground in Syria!'
Watching State Department Spokesman John Kirby spar with one of Washington's last real journalists, AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee, is one of the best tickets in town. From his claims that "the entire international community" is demanding that Syria's Assad step down -- which earned a guffaw from Lee -- to his claim that the Syrian people have the right to live any way they choose as long as Washington agrees with their choice, John Kirby is the absolute epitome of the clueless Washington foreign policy establishment. He is the Baghdad Bob of the US State Department.
Breaking: Obama to Announce Major US Escalation in Syria
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that tomorrow (Monday) President Obama will announce that he is quintupling the number of US troops inside Syria. From the current 50 troops the US admits are operating in Syria, the US will raise the total to 300 under the guise of increasing efforts against ISIS in the country.