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Saudis to Unify Hardline Islamist Groups in Syria

Salafists

The speculations about Saudi Arabia climbing down on the regime change project in Syria in tandem with the United States’ diplomatic moves following up the Russian initiative on chemical weapons, can now be laid to rest. So indeed the animated talk in hushed tones in the regional capitals that spy chief Prince Bandar Sultan, who is piloting the Saudi project in Syria might be given the sack by King Abdullah.

After carefully weighing the options, the Saudis have apparently decided to press ahead with the project in Syria, no matter the twists and turns in the US policies. The UPI has carried a special report that Prince Bandar is being assigned to work on bringing together under Saudi control the hardline Islamist groups operating in Syria. 

The Saudis are actually fighting a proxy war in Syria aimed at containing Iranian influence. There have been reports that Prince Bandar recently visited Israel. Saudi Arabia and Israel have a congruence of interests in the containment of Iran. Recently, in his UN speech Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointedly referred to Israel and some unnamed Arab states working together.
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St. Tony Does Tirana...Again

Saint Tony

War has been very good to former British prime minister Tony Blair. He has gone from humble humanitarian interventionist pushing Iraq's "liberation," to a $30 million dollar yearly income and a private $11,000/hr jet plane. What a success story!

Of course he knew full well the evidence justifying the Iraq attack was bogus. He simply instructed his spooks to "find the intelligence" to support his decision to go to war. The US, desperate to show a broad international coalition supporting the Bush Administration's own lies about Iraq, welcomed Blair's lies like a long lost brother.

In the meantime, millions died and trillions of dollars went up in smoke. Never mind, Blair soon landed a brilliant opportunity with a huge South Korean oil company that, coincidentally enough, had significant interests in the "liberated" Iraq. For some strange reason, Tony Blair fought tooth and nail to keep his new job and great success secret. What modesty!
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Is Turkey on the Cusp of Rethink on Syria?

Erdogan

Through the past two-year period of turmoil in Syria, President Bashar Al-Assad has shown himself to be a master tactician who consistently outmaneuvered his regional adversaries. Syria has a tough neighborhood. Al-Assad’s regional adversaries are formidable people in their own ways. But he invariably pre-empted them, staying one step ahead of them, repeatedly forcing them onto the back foot and throwing into disarray their best-laid plots. 

That’s what makes his latest interview last week with the Turkish television channel Halk rather significant. Al-Assad came down very hard on Turkey’s Syria policies and on Prime Minister Recep Erdogan personally. He warned Ankara of a blowback of terrorism that it has been promoting in Syria – “In the near future these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey. Turkey will pay very dearly…” 

"All that he [Erdogan] says about Syria and its people is a heap of lies, that is all ... Erdoğan is doing nothing but supporting the terrorists," said al-Assad.
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Transforming America’s Schools into Authoritarian Instruments of Compliance

School Jail

These days, it is far too easy to rattle off the outrageous examples of zero tolerance policy run amok in our nation’s schools. A 14-year-old student arrested for texting in class. Three middle school aged boys in Florida thrown to the ground by police officers wielding rifles, who then arrested them for goofing off on the roof of the school. A 9-year-old boy suspended for allegedly pointing a toy at a classmate and saying “bang, bang.”

Two 6-year-old students in Maryland suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns in a schoolyard game of cops and robbers. A 12-year-old New York student hauled out of school in handcuffs for doodling on her desk with an erasable marker. An 8-year-old boy suspended for making his hand into the shape of a gun, in violation of the school district’s policy prohibiting “playing with invisible guns.” A 17-year-old charged with a felony for keeping his tackle box in his car parked on school property, potentially derailing his chances of entering the Air Force. Two seventh graders in Virginia suspended for the rest of the school year for playing with airsoft guns in their own yard before school.
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An Opening to Iran?

Last week, for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the US president spoke with his Iranian counterpart. Their 15 minute telephone call was reported to open the door to further high-level discussions. This is a very important event.

I have been saying for years that we should just talk to the Iranians. After all, we talked to the Soviets when they actually had thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at us! The Iranians have none, according to our own intelligence services. I even suggested a few years ago that we should “offer friendship” to them. Unfortunately, so many so-called experts have a stake in keeping tensions high and pushing us to war. They did not want to hear what I was saying. It seems, though, this is beginning to change now with these recent events.
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CIA Activities in Syria: Stepped Up Aid to Islamists

Syria Rebels

According to the Washington Post (CIA Ramping up Covert Training Program for Moderate Syrian Rebels, Oct.3), the CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria, as U.S. officials said. The newspaper reports the CIA’s mission has been defined by the White House’s desire to seek a political settlement, a scenario that relies on an eventual stalemate among the warring factions rather than a clear victor.

As a result of this policy, US officials said, limits on the agency’s authorities enable it to provide enough support to help ensure that politically moderate, U.S.-supported militias don’t lose but, not enough for them to win.

The Washington Post informs that US officials spoke on the condition of anonymity and said the agency has sent additional paramilitary teams to secret bases in Jordan in recent weeks in a push to double the number of rebel fighters getting CIA instruction and weapons before being sent back to Syria. The effort led by the CIA was described as an urgent bid to bolster moderate Syrian militias, which have been unable to mount a serious challenge to Assad. The CIA is “ramping up and expanding its effort”, said a U.S. official familiar with operations in Syria, because “it was clear that the opposition was losing, and not only losing tactically but on a more strategic level”…
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Libya in Chaos Two Years After NATO's 'Humanitarian Liberation'

Libya Militia

In 2011 when Muhammar Qaddafi refused to leave quietly as ruler of Libya, the Obama Administration, hiding behind the skirts of the French, launched a ferocious bombing campaign and a “No Fly” zone over the country to aid the so-called fighters for democracy. The US lied to Russia and China with help of the (US-friendly) Gulf Cooperation Council about the Security Council Resolution on Libya and used it to illegally justify the war. The doctrine, “responsibility to protect” was used instead, the same doctrine Obama has cited for use in Syria. It’s useful to look at Libya two years after the NATO humanitarian intervention.

Chaos in oil industry

Libya’s economy is dependent on oil. Just after the war, Western media hailed the fact the oil installations were not damaged by the population bombing and oil production was near normal at 1.4 million barrels/day (bpd). Then in July the armed guards hired by the government in Tripoli suddenly revolted and seized control of the eastern oil field terminals they were supposed to protect. There is where the vast bulk of Libya’s oil is produced, near Benghazi. It goes by pipeline to tankers on the Mediterranean for export.
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What Can Be Learned From the Golden Dawn Arrests?

Golden Dawn

Greece's far right Golden Dawn party looks like a rather nasty piece of work. Supporters have been photographed in what appears to be Nazi-esque salutes; its party logo looks suspiciously like a swastika. The party has nonetheless skyrocketed to prominence in Greece in the aftermath of EU-imposed austerity programs, which have bailed out foreign speculators in Greek debt at the expense of the Greek economy.

The party, which was formed in the 1980s, came from electoral nowhere to win seven percent of the votes in the 2012 elections. Its platform is clearly populist, anti-bailout, anti-immigration. Party workers have made inroads in Greek society distributing food and other assistance to a Greek population that has seen its formerly southern European standard of living descend to third world level existence with the smugly approving oversight of Brussels.
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Mother Agnes Mariam Attacked...By Human Rights Watch!

Mere Marie Agnes De La Foi

Since when does a human rights organization take to arguing the case for a military attack that will kill scores of innocent civilians? If you are Human Rights Watch, it's all in a day's work. The US regime's favorite "human rights " organization, which once praised the Obama Administration's continuation of its predecessor's torturous CIA "extraordinary rendition" program, pulled out all stops to bolster Obama's claims that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 21st chemical attack near Damascus.

As Obama was ready to teach Syria a lesson via Tomahawk cruise missiles, Human Rights Watch stood virtually alone in the world on the president's side. The human rights group was not busy trying to help the victims or promote international diplomatic efforts to end the crisis. They were instead feverishly engaged in a convoluted effort to prove that the missiles that purportedly carried the poison gas could only have come from Syrian government positions. They had no investigators on the ground, yet they determined independent of facts that the Syrian government must have been responsible. This is the job for a human rights group? To help a president make the case for war?
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Own a Piece of Ron Paul History

In 1979, when I was headed to DC for my first full term in Congress, I bought a car to keep there. It was a 1979 Chevrolet Chevette. But this compact 4-door soon proved to be controversial. Tip O’Neill, the powerful House speaker, was advocating gasoline rationing for the rest of us, while he was chauffeured around in a Lincoln, all at taxpayer expense. And no waiting in gasoline lines for him, nor paying for it: he had his own pump in the House garage.

So my little car—which I paid for myself, of course—was parked next to the Tip behemoth for a cheeky photo. Well, you would have thought I was Ed Snowden. There was a huge blow-up. Tip even levied the ultimate punishment: he blocked pork-barrel funds for me, which I was not seeking anyway.

So this little car has some history to it. Yet it has only 69,000 miles on it. It was repainted after my youngest daughter used it at college, and has been garaged for the last 10 years. But it starts and runs, and is as cute as when Tip wanted to bomb it.
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