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Syria: The Iron in Obama's Soul

Boehner Cantor

For the first time through the two-year old Syrian conflict, the United States has mentioned the sacred cow – "boots on the ground". The Secretary of State John Kerry has pleaded that the US Congress should approve the use of American ground troops although the Obama administration may not intend to take recourse to such action. 

This is a hugely significant turning point in the fast-developing scenario of US military intervention in Syria. There was added poignancy that Kerry was speaking at a congressional hearing on Tuesday with the Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey seated beside him listening.


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Ron Paul Takes on Obama-Cultists on MSNBC

Watch Ron Paul obliterate the statists and Obama-cultists on MSNBC. "Oh isn't it wonderful that Obama came to Congress for authorization?" See RP's response for yourself. Clearly the corporate media has gotten the word from the Administration: attack all opposition. And they do as they are told. But they picked on the wrong person. 

Don't miss the condescending and hateful graphics they put in the screen -- "Father of the Fringe" "Paul-Bearers," etc. The mentality of the corporate media is that of a junior high school student.
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Libya Has Moved On...Into Lawlessness and Ruin

Libya Gun

A little under two years ago, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, urged British businessmen to begin “packing their suitcases” and to fly to Libya to share in the reconstruction of the country and exploit an anticipated boom in natural resources.

Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.


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Iraq: A Seething Boiler About to Explode

Maliki

The pressure in the boiler which Western officials affectedly call "the new democratic Iraq" is building steadily and, figuratively speaking, the needle has entered the red zone. The deepening crisis is systemic in nature, encompasses the most important areas of life and undermines the foundations of statehood. A significant part, if not most, of the responsibility for what is happening lies with the government, headed by the founder and leader of the Islamic Call Party, Nouri Kamil al-Maliki. 

In late 2011, when the last American combat troops left Iraq and the 7-year occupation ended, Baghdad many times declared its readiness to take over the administration of the country and ensure its forward development. In practice, Prime Minister al-Maliki began by quickly and energetically concentrating all power in his own hands and essentially deciding who to punish and who to pardon at his sole discretion. The head of the cabinet of ministers began purging undesirables and those who simply disagreed with the state machinery, without any particular concern for whether there was any basis for it and without scruples over his choice of means. The opposition (and others as well) had many grounds for accusing the head of the cabinet of dictatorial ambitions. 

Following the example of the representatives of the Western coalition, which declared anyone who opposed the occupation a criminal and a terrorist, al-Maliki started accusing everyone who disagreed with his actions of terrorism and collusion with al-Qaeda. The law on fighting terrorism gave intelligence and law enforcement agencies broad powers, including the right to arrest people and hold them in detention without trial solely on suspicion of "anti-government activities" or, for example, in connection with longtime membership in the now-banned Ba'ath party (although the former ruling party had members from all levels and confessions of Iraqi society). On the basis of this law the courts hand down death sentences, which are then carried out; for example, on August 19, 2013 the most recent batch of 17 "enemies of the people" were executed, including two women... 


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No War for Bernard Henri Lévy

No War for Bernard Henri LévyThe American people do not want US armed forces to get involved in the civil war in Syria. The United Nations will not back US bombing of Syria. The British Parliament does not want to get involved in bombing Syria. World public opinion is opposed to US bombing Syria. Not even NATO wants to take part in bombing Syria.  So who wants the United States to bomb Syria?

The same people who brought us the war in Iraq, that’s who.

On August 27, the Foreign Policy Initiative, a reincarnation of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) that dictated the Bush 2 administration’s disastrous foreign policy, issued its marching orders to Obama. In an open letter to the President, the FPI urged “a decisive response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s recent large-scale use of chemical weapons”.
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Call It War, Not a Shot Across the Bow

Tomahawk Submarine UK

Advocates of military action against Syria describe the use of force wholly unrealistically, relying on such terms as narrow, proportional, and surgical. President Obama says he is considering a “limited, tailored” operation to send “a shot across the bow.” His analogy fails. A shot across the bow is deliberately designed to miss an adversary, intending to send a clear and threatening warning. In contrast, Obama and his advisers plan to hit and destroy specific military targets in Syria to punish President Assad for the use of chemical weapons against his own people.

The analogy is not merely a bad one. It misleads the public, and the world, about what the Obama administration wants to do. Presidents need to talk straight to build credibility and public trust. The truth is that Obama cannot limit the consequences of a military initiative. It will be open-ended and entirely beyond the predictive capacity of his administration to anticipate what comes after the initial attack.
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Obama Nearing Point of No Return

Obama Joker

President Vladimir Putin’s remarks on the Syrian crisis, while on a visit to Vladivostok over the weekend, were his first ones since the crisis began snowballing over the United States’ moves to launch a militarily attack against the Middle Eastern country.

What is striking from the Kremlin’s transcript is that Putin spoke far more extensively than what the media reports suggested, and, second, he spoke on virtually every aspect of the explosive situation.

The timing is very important, too, as less than a week remains for the major international event G20 summit which is scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg on Thursday, bringing together the world’s top leaders, including President Barack Obama, around a conference table.
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Congressional Danse Macabre Has Begun

Danse Macabre1

The first draft of the White House's war authorization legislation was leaked today, signaling the opening round of the danse macabre, in which the bargaining and maneuvering over what Congress and the president both want -- war on Syria -- begins its public journey from conception to law.

As according to past practice, the first draft is considered "too broad" for some Members and Senators. Senator Patrick Leahy opened the bidding, emerging from a closed-door classified intelligence briefing (the kind where the doctored intercepts and phony satellite photos are spread out before Members to better help them make the "right" decision) stating that the first draft of the war authorization was "too open-ended," but that he is certain it will be amended in the Senate. 

Similarly, Republican Senator Pat Roberts felt the first draft was too open-ended but was given assurances that the White House would work with Congress to reach an acceptable version.

There will be fighting and sharp words along the way. Members will be coy and make impassioned speeches. It is all for show.

It is important to make this clear to readers: The fight is not between whether the House and Senate will pass or reject the president's request for authorization to attack, but rather what kind of force authorization will ultimately be brought to the Floor for passage.
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