MoA – March 2012

Obama Raises The Price Of Oil

After careful analysis of oil prices and months of negotiations, President Obama on Friday determined that there was sufficient oil in world markets to allow countries to significantly reduce their Iranian imports, clearing the way for Washington to impose severe new sanctions intended to slash Iran s oil revenue and press Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Open Thread 2012-09

Open Thread 2012-08

NYT Misrepresents UNSC Statement On Syria

Overcoming months of bitter division, the United Nations Security Council delivered a diplomatic setback to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Wednesday, unanimously embracing efforts by Kofi Annan, the former secretary general, to negotiate a cease-fire in the year-old Syrian conflict, funnel aid to victims and begin a political transition. … The plan closely resembles an Arab League proposal that Mr. Assad has rejected. … Russia s endorsement of the statement is an embarrassment for Mr. Assad , who has refused to negotiate with his political opponents and has characterized the uprising as a terrorist crime wave. … Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had expressed anger over Russia s support for Mr. Assad, praised the Security Council s action as a positive step.

  • The Annan plan does not by far resemble the Arab League proposal which called for the immediate step down of Assad
  • The Russian endorsement is not an embarrassment for Assad but is consistent with its 5-point plan which China and Bashar Assad endorsed
  • Assad has not refused to negotiate though the rebels rejected Annan\’s plan
  • Clinton\’s praise is just hiding that she lost the cause

The United States and its Arab and European partners have pressed for passage of an Arab League proposal that would have required Assad to yield considerable powers to a transitional government. But Russia, backed by China, recently vetoed a resolution endorsing that plan, insisting that the Syrian government should remain central to any negotiations on a political settlement in Syria.

The Syrian Rebellion One Year On

Armed opposition elements have carried out serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today in a public letter to the Syrian National Council (SNC) and other leading Syrian opposition groups. Abuses include kidnapping, detention, and torture of security force members, government supporters, and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabeeha. Human Rights Watch has also received reports of executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians.

Turkey seems to be the only country fully focused and devoted to toppling al-Assad s regime. Talks of establishing a buffer zone or a safe haven to protect fleeing Syrians and leading the international community in imposing more pressure are part of this policy. Such interventionist policies would not only break the image Turkey has built in the region but are also inconsistent with its general foreign policy principles, the main pillar of which is peace.

Open Thread 2012-07

The “Nightmare” Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Top US policy makers are coming to grips with the realization that the assumptions on which the ISAF\’s exit from Afghanistan were based are unlikely to be fulfilled. Pentagon contacts tell us that behind Defense Secretary Panetta s hurried visit to the country following the killings of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier lies a deep debate in Washington about the timelines of the mission. Officials had hoped that at the forthcoming May 20-21 NATO summit in Chicago it would be possible to announce a credible strategy for the Afghan endgame. They are now increasingly gloomy that this and that, instead, an accelerated withdrawal will take place, with few guarantees of continuing stability inside Afghanistan . One senior Pentagon officer put it to us this way: We are revisiting the Soviet nightmare. For President Obama, the Afghanistan confusion seems unlikely to damage him politically. With the Republican presidential candidates also calling for expedited withdrawal, Afghanistan does not appear likely to feature as a controversial election issue at least at this juncture.

WaPo: Those Dead And Wounded Afghans Do Not Exist

KABUL Twelve Turkish soldiers were killed Friday when their helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kabul, officials said. It was the deadliest incident for international troops in Afghanistan so far this year.

Abdul Qadus, a local resident, said there were two helicopters in the air passing through the area when one of them, all of a sudden, went down, hitting a house.

Afghanistan – Towards The Exit Without Negotiations

A memorandum of understanding which was agreed upon earlier was not yet fulfilled when an American representative presented a list of conditions in his latest meeting with the Islamic Emirate which were not only unacceptable but also in contradiction with the earlier agreed upon points. So it was due to their alternating and ever changing position that the Islamic Emirate was compelled to suspend all dialogue with the Americans. We must categorically state that the real source of obstacle in talks was the shaky, erratic and vague standpoint of the Americans therefore all the responsibility for the halt also falls on their shoulders.

How False Human Rights Claims Create War

The London-based human rights group issued a report Wednesday based on interviews with 25 Syrians who said they endured torture in various detention centers before fleeing across the border to Jordan.

Afghanistan Is Not A Land Of Isolated Incidents

The alleged slaying of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan will not affect plans to turn over security operations to local troops, NATO and member countries said as they called for a quick investigation into the deaths.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul went into lockdown as the violent protests entered a second day over Quran burnings. U.S. Embassy said in its official Twitter feed. … “This is not who we are. These are very, very isolated incident , General Allen said nervously as he tried in vain to placate reporters who see this as a big story … U.S. Embassy in lock down over Quran burning as Marine guards go on high alert – February 22 2012

Afghanistan s President Hamid Karzai says the killing of four French soldiers by an Afghan army soldier was an “isolated and individual” action and did not represent the anger of the Afghan people. Killing of French troops an isolated incident , says Afghan President Karzai – Jan 21, 2012

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed condolences on Friday for the four French soldiers that were shot and killed by an Afghan solider, but said the attack is an “isolated” incident.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the two French soldiers had been deliberately fired on by an Afghan soldier present at their position in the Kapisa valley. … The ” isolated incident ” would not affect the process of eventually handing over responsibility for security to Afghan forces, the minister said in a statement, adding that his thoughts were with the families of those killed and their fellow service members. 2 French soldiers killed in Afghanistan attack – December 29 2011

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier allegedly killed his Australian colleague whilst on guard duty today, May 30, 2011. Another Australian soldier died during a Chinook\’s hard landing on a resupply mission within hours of the initial incident. … Australians have mentored thousands of Afghans in the past 6 years and whilst this is seemingly an isolated incident , such Afghan sentiment towards mentoring troops is on the rise. Two More Australian Soldiers Die In Afghanistan – May 30 2011

International Security Assistance Forces confirmed one Afghan civilian was killed by an ISAF servicemember in the Ali Sheng district of Laghman province Sunday. … “We take allegations of civilian casualties very seriously and we will conduct a thorough investigation of this isolated incident ,” said Maj. Patrick Seiber, Combined Joint Task Force – 101 and Regional Command – East spokesman. ISAF investigates death in Laghman – September 27 2010

In a possibly isolated incident , ISAF recently attacked a convoy of cars in Takhar, a small province in northeast Afghanistan. They remain adamant that they killed some previously unknown insurgent figure. One of the occupants of those cars, however, was a candidate running parliament he was injured, and several of his companions were killed. Half the violence, twice the fraud: The Afghan elections – September 20 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan A seemingly routine training practice in marksmanship went fatally wrong on Tuesday when an Afghan Army sergeant turned his weapon on an American trainer and a gunfight began. When it was over, the sergeant, two American trainers and an Afghan soldier who had been standing nearby lay dead. … General Patton said that he was uncertain about the motives of the Afghan sergeant, but that the military considered it an isolated incident . Gunfight Kills 2 Americans Who Trained Afghan Army – July 20 2010

The attack came under the cover of darkness at 2.45am, when Gurkhas on duty in the operations room of a British army patrol base in Helmand province were cut down by fire from an Afghan comrade.

An Afghan policeman opened fire on British soldiers in the volatile southern province of Helmand, killing five before fleeing, authorities said Wednesday, raising concerns about discipline within the Afghan forces and possible infiltration by insurgents. … Presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said it was an isolated attack.

As expected, the U.S. military quickly denied that the video released on Sunday by Al Jazeera is evidence that our troops proselytizing Muslims in Afghanistan, claiming that what was shown in the video was an isolated incident , and that the chaplains statements were taken out of context. Rights Group Uncovers Other Cases Of Military Proselytizing Christianity to Muslims – March 8 2009

Open Thread 2012-06

Drunk Soldiers\’ Have Fun By Murdering Afghan People

An American soldier wandered outside his base in a remote southern Afghan village shortly before dawn Sunday and opened fire on civilians inside homes, killing at least 16, Afghan and U.S. officials said . … Officials shed no light on the motive or state of mind of the staff sergeant who was taken into custody shortly after the alleged massacre.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, March 11 (Reuters) – Western forces shot dead 16 civilians including nine children in southern Kandahar province on Sunday, Afghan officials said, in a rampage that witnesses said was carried out by American soldiers who were laughing and appeared drunk.

The Haditha killings (also called the Haditha incident or the Haditha massacre) refers to the incident in which 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women and children were killed by a group of United States Marines on November 19, 2005 in Haditha, a city in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar. All those killed were civilians. … An initial Marine Corps communique reported that 15 civilians were killed by the bomb\’s blast and eight insurgents were subsequently killed when the Marines returned fire against those attacking the convoy. However, other evidence uncovered by the media contradicted the Marines\’ account. … The investigation claimed it found evidence that “supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot civilians, including unarmed men, women and children”, according to an anonymous Pentagon official.

U.S.-Turkish Air Exercise Part Of Bigger Plan For War On Syria

The French Air Force has organized a large-scale, weeklong exercise with the British Royal Air Force – which is expected to send over Tornado fighters, aerial tankers and AWACS aircraft – as part of the enhanced cooperation agreed between the two countries, an Air Force spokesman here said Jan. 13.

Due to the current international events, exercise Southern Mistral has been suspended.

3/9/2012 – KONYA, Turkey (AFNS) — The Turkish and U.S. air forces continue to combine their air assets and share tactics in large-force employments during Exercise Anatolian Falcon 2012 here March 5-16 . …

SEAD, the 480th FS\’s specialty, is any action taken to deter enemy surface-to-air missiles or anti-aircraft artillery. The objective is not the destruction of the ground-based threats but to subdue those threats until an air mission is complete. … For Anatolian Falcon 2012, each air mission has an objective such as the destruction of a plotted target or the defeat of enemy aircraft. Mission planners assign groups of aircraft-specific tasks, either offensive counter air, SEAD or ground attack.

The Obama administration and its allies and international partners have begun serious discussions about potential military involvement in Syria, even as they continue to press for nonviolent solutions to the carnage there.

  • Incite demonstrations against the foreign government
  • Have special operations snippers shoot at the demonstrators to turn them towards violence
  • Have a trained rebel force of extremists come in from the outside and supply money, weapons and communication equipment to anyone who wants to fight
  • Implement paralysing economic sanctions against the foreign government
  • Embed western media with the armed rebels to run an information campaign against the foreign government as “killing its own civilians”
  • Make exiles form an alternative government that can be recognized as legitimate
  • Prepare your air forces to fight against the foreign government troops
  • Spread rumors of air-attacks against the rebels to justify a “no-fly zone”
  • Should the rebels not be able to win on their own reinforce them with “no-fly zone” air attacks and more weapons

McClatchy On Israel\’s Nuclear Iran Scare Campaign

  • The systematic campaign to incite war on Iran started, more or less secretly, immediately after Iraq was defeated in the first Gulf war.
  • When in 2006 the U.S. was on the verge of defeat in Iraq the anti-Iran campaign was turned into a public one.
  • Israel\’s plans are political, not military. Israel will not attack Iran but wants the U.S. to do the job.
  • The nuclear issue is not the real issue. The real issue is to achieve regional hegemony in the Middle East for the U.S. as much as for its junior partner Israel.
  • That requires to destroy Iran\’s military and economic capacity (see Iraq) or regime change towards a U.S. friendly dictatorship.

Shimon Stein, a former Israeli ambassador to Germany and former head of arms control at the Foreign Ministry, said that Israel slowly developed its outreach and media efforts on Iran over more than two decades.

On the morning of May 9, 2006, Amos Yadlin, Israel\’s head of military intelligence, walked away from his parliamentary committee meeting with a sense of triumph. He knew he had successfully shifted Israel\’s national agenda. … Yadlin\’s statement that morning was calculated to garner the most attention possible, and it did. The next day, it was on the front pages of all of Israeli\’s daily newspapers. Within months, Israeli politicians would pick up the refrain and begin routinely referring to Iran as an “existential threat.” It is an expression Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly fond of .

On a drawing pad in his office, Alon, a senior Israeli military intelligence officer, sketches out the possible scenarios facing Israel and Iran. … “Maybe once a week someone calls me wanting to know the possibilities. How would we launch a military strike on Iran? What type of aircrafts would we use? What kind of bombs? Would we alert our allies in advance? Would it work?” he said. “Lately it has been more than once a week.” … [But r]ather then a detailed military plan, Alon\’s drawing pad contained a series of flow charts on possible diplomatic and political initiatives that could be carried out as alternatives to a direct military confrontation with Iran. … Other military experts predict that the U.S. and other Western allies would lend their military might to an attack on Iran.

As Usual Facts Oppose NYT\’s Iran Reporting

The six world powers that have agreed to resume negotiations with Iran over its disputed nuclear program issued a blunt request on Thursday that the Iranians allow international inspectors unfettered access, most notably to Parchin, a large restricted military complex that the inspectors suspect may house a testing chamber for explosives used in atomic weapons triggers. … The tone of the statement also suggested that the historic sympathies Iran has received from Russia and China over its nuclear activities have diminished , as Iran has flaunted its increased ability to enrich uranium despite repeated calls for a suspension.

Three days of protracted negotiations held under the specter of war highlighted the diplomatic difficulties ahead for nations trying to ensure that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.

Iran says it will allow UN inspectors access to a secret military complex where the UN nuclear agency suspects secret atomic work has been carried out.

The Kony 2012 Campaign Is Fraud And Its Cause Is A Difficult Problem

Kony 2012 , quite dubiously, avoids stepping into the peace-justice question in northern Uganda precisely because it is a world of contesting and plural views, eloquently expressed by the northern Ugandans themselves. Some reports suggest that the majority of Acholi people continue to support the amnesty process whereby LRA combatants including senior officials return to the country in exchange for amnesty and entering a process of traditional justice . Many continue to support the Ugandan Amnesty law because of the reality that it is their own children who constitute the LRA. Once again, this issue is barely touched upon in the film. Yet the LRA poses a stark dilemma to the people of northern Uganda: it is now composed primarily of child soldiers, most of whom were abducted and forced to join the rebel ranks and commit atrocities. Labeling them victims or perpetrators becomes particularly problematic as they are often both.

This campaign is just proof that the rise of the \’White Savior Industrial Complex\’ is one of the worst developments in recent years.

U.S. Nearer To War On Syria

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. is reviewing potential military action to ease the crisis in Syria even as he cautioned that the opposition and international support aren t unified enough to intervene now.

If Attacked Iran Could Legally Make Nukes

a concept in NATO\’s policy of nuclear deterrence, which involves member countries without nuclear weapons of their own in the planning for the use of nuclear weapons by NATO, and in particular provides for the armed forces of these countries to be involved in delivering these weapons in the event of their use. … As of November 2009, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey are still hosting U.S. nuclear weapons as part of NATO\’s nuclear sharing policy.

Article I: Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; […]

“does not deal with arrangements for deployment of nuclear weapons within allied territory as these do not involve any transfer of nuclear weapons or control over them unless and until a decision were made to go to war, at which time the treaty would no longer be controlling “.

Putin Did Win – The Fraud Allegations Make No Sense

United Russia\’s share of the vote was less than all the independent polls predicted. If the party or the government it leads really manipulated the election why would that be the case? Did they really give themselves less votes than the pre-election polls have led anyone to expect?

Forecast the results of voting in the presidential elections in 2012, filed with the CEC March 2, 2012 to participate in the contest forecasts prepared on the basis of a series of surveys conducted from February 24 to March 1, 2012 on representative samples of urban and rural population of the Russian Federation, 1600 at the age of 18 years and older in 130 localities 45 regions of the country. The statistical error of the survey data does not exceed 3.4%

Russia is a big country. It is likely that there were some irregularities in this or that polling station. Such manipulations happen everywhere and that is why we have laws against them. But given the pre-election polls and the election result it is not plausible that the manipulations in Russia were organized by, or in favor of United Russia.

How Avaaz Is Sponsoring Fake War Propaganda From Syria

It seems that Syrian regime had agents among the rebels; or it seems that the Syrian regime obtained a trove of video footage from Baba Amru. They have been airing them non-stop. They are quite damning. They show the correspondent or witness (for CNN or from Aljazeera) before he is on the air: and the demeanor is drastically different from the demeanor on the air and they even show contrived sounds of explosions timed for broadcast time. I have to say that Aljazeera and the affiliated Ikhwan media win the award for the largest volume of lies in this crisis. Their lies have been rather helpful to the Syrian regime which now fills its airtime with exposing the lies and exaggerations of the Ikhwan-led Syrian opposition.

First off Avaaz sent in hundreds of thousands of dollars\’ worth of communications equipment satellite phones and internet connections known as BGANs that gave the protesters a link to the outside world.

Iran Sanctions And A Saudi Pipeline Fire

More sanction means more pain for “western” economies. As it has already shown with its recent maneuver Iran can easily inflict such pain. One does not even have to consider a full closure of the Strait of Hormuz and the economic panic and military consequences that would cause. An explosion on a pipeline in Iraq, a mishap in a Saudi refinery or one lone old mine in the Straits of Hormuz damaging an empty (even Iranian?) old tanker would be enough to push oil prices to even higher levels. Just as the U.S. uses clandestine methods, the killing of scientists and cyber attacks, to inflict damage on Iran, Iran can, if it wants to, use such methods to increase the price of oil without leaving its fingerprints.

For the first time in decades, the Eastern Saudi Arabian volatile situation has reached the vital oil sector. A pipeline between Awamiya and Safwa has been reportedly targeted, and is under fire; …

The \’Syrian Revolution\’ Is Likely Over

“The creation of the military bureau was agreed upon by all armed forces in Syria,” SNC leader Burhan Ghalioun told a news conference in Paris. “We will be like a defense ministry.”

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