Moon of Alabama – 2012/03

Moon of Alabama

Open Thread 2015-23

Imperial NYT: Each FIFA Member One Secret Vote Is “Strange Electoral Math”

Mr. Blatter is widely expected to win a fifth term on Friday in a vote only miles from the luxury hotel where Wednesday s arrests took place in part because of FIFA s electoral math. The FIFA president is elected by a one-vote-per-country poll of its 209 member federations , making the many smaller countries who support Mr. Blatter an effective counterweight to his unpopularity elsewhere, most notably in Europe.

The source said FIFA president Sepp Blatter welcomed Israel s proposal but stressed it would need [chairman of the Palestinian Football Association] Rajoub s consent before removing the vote on banning Israel from FIFA s slate.

Reuters Exclusive: Russian Troops Near Ukraine’s Border

Ahead Of Israel Expulsion Vote U.S. Orders Raid On FIFA

The Palestinian group objects to Israeli teams playing in the West Bank. They also say Israel restricts movements of Palestinian players between the West Bank and Gaza as well as for international matches.

As leaders of FIFA, soccer s global governing body, gathered for their annual meeting, more than a dozen plain-clothed Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unannounced at the Baur au Lac hotel, an elegant five-star property with views of the Alps and Lake Zurich. They went to the front desk to get keys and proceeded upstairs to the rooms. … The charges allege widespread corruption in FIFA over the past two decades, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals, according to three law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the case. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and officials said they targeted members of FIFA s powerful executive committee, which wields enormous power and does its business largely in secret.

United States law gives the Justice Department wide authority to bring cases against foreign nationals living abroad, an authority that prosecutors have used repeatedly in international terrorism cases . Those cases can hinge on the slightest connection to the United States, like the use of an American bank or Internet service provider.

Rick : How can you close me up? On what grounds? Captain Renault : I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money] Croupier : Your winnings, sir. Captain Renault : Oh, thank you very much.

Anshel Pfeffer Poor Jibril Rajoub. Doesn’t look like his gimmick is going to get much attention right now #FIFA

Lack Of U.S. Air Support In Ramadi Points To Disguised Darker Aim

Islamic State fighters used a sandstorm to help seize a critical military advantage in the early hours of the terrorist group s attack on the provincial Iraqi capital of Ramadi last week, helping to set in motion an assault that forced Iraqi security forces to flee, current and former American officials said Monday.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today that last weekend’s sandstorm had not affected the coalition s ability to launch airstrikes in Ramadi, though weather was a factor on the ground early on.

American officials say they are not striking significant and obvious Islamic State targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians. Killing such innocents could hand the militants a major propaganda coup and alienate both the local Sunni tribesmen, whose support is critical to ousting the militants, and Sunni Arab countries that are part of the American-led coalition.

there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

I think our objective should be a new Sunni state out of the western part of Iraq, the eastern part of Syria run by moderates or at least authoritarians who are not radical Islamists. What’s left of the state of Iraq, as of right now, is simply a satellite of the Ayatollahs in Tehran. It’s not anything we should try to aid.

The honeymoon was a brief moment for love, away from the front lines of Syria’s war. In the capital of the Islamic State group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate,” Syrian fighter Abu Bilal al-Homsi was united with his Tunisian bride for the first time after months chatting online. They married, then passed the days dining on grilled meats in Raqqa’s restaurants, strolling along the Euphrates River and eating ice cream.

U.S. Military: Local Militia Are Bad Unless We Create Them

Afghans Form Militias and Call on Warlords to Fight Taliban

Petraeus First Big Afghanistan Gamble: Militias Local Cops

Our position has been to develop a solution that bridges between having nothing and having Afghan National Police, and this program does that, said the senior NATO official. So it s a good development and especially so since it has consensus within the Afghan government and the ownership that come with that, he said.

Open Thread 2015-22

U.S. Intelligence Predicted: U.S. Support For Rebels in Syria Would Lead To Fall of Ramadi

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

3 B: AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning … … 3 C: AQI conducted a number of operations in Syrian cities under the name of Jaish al-Nusra …

8 C: If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want , in order to isolate the Syrian regime.

western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey

create the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi

The Obama administration recently approves the shipment of heavy weaponry to the Syrian opposition after long hesitation, the US-led operation rooms in Turkey and Jordan openly encourage working with al-Qaeda to defeat Assad s army, and the new Saudi King Salman, whose country is the main funder of ISIS, openly has ramped up support to Islamists in Syria, all the while al-Qaeda makes recent gains in the northwest and south, while ISIS makes its gains in the eastern region of Palmyra.

Obama Administration Dilly-dallying On Islamic State Action

The Islamic State in Ram d yesterday. Quite amazing the coalition didn’t take them out actually. Makes one wonder about the coalitions rules of engagement. Now it “looks” as if Ram d was offered to them on a silver plate …

Meanwhile, an intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity under the ground rules of his agency offered a caution: With the anniversary of the Islamic State s declaration of a caliphate coming next month, it would not be surprising if the group sought to mount a major attack or propaganda blitz to demonstrate its capabilities, and attract additional recruits.

NYT And Kerry Use Retracted Propaganda Claim To Blame & Shame North Korea

The world is hearing increasingly more and more stories of grotesque, grisly, horrendous, public displays of executions on a whim and fancy by the leader against people who were close to him, sometimes on the flimsiest of excuses, Mr. Kerry said, referring to Mr. Kim, during a news conference in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

South Korea’s spy agency said it cannot confirm the execution of North Korea defense chief Hyon Yong Chol, hours after making the opposite claim to South Korean lawmakers.

A Movie Recommendation And Open Thread

It tells a big historical narrative that interweaves America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia. It shows how politicians in the west lost confidence – and began to simplify the stories they told. It explains why this happened – because they increasingly gave their power away to other forces, above all global finance. … [I]t is important to try and understand what happened. And the way to do that is to try and tell a new kind of story. One that doesn t deny the complexity and reduce it to a meaningless fable of good battling evil – but instead really tries to makes sense of it.

Was The Killing Of The IS Oil Minister A Combined Syrian-U.S. Operation?

Syrian army kills Islamic State’s “oil minister”-state TV

May 16 The Syrian army has killed an Islamic State leader responsible for oil-related affairs along with 40 other militants in an attack in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, Syrian state media reported.

Last night, at the President s direction, U.S. personnel based out of Iraq conducted an operation in al-Amr in eastern Syria to capture an ISIL senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf and his wife Umm Sayyaf. During the course of the operation, Abu Sayyaf was killed when he engaged U.S. forces. … Abu Sayyaf was a senior ISIL leader who, among other things, had a senior role in overseeing ISIL s illicit oil and gas operations a key source of revenue that enables the terrorist organization to carry out their brutal tactics and oppress thousands of innocent civilians. … This operation was conducted with the full consent of Iraqi authorities ..

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organisation that tracks the war, said around 19 Islamic State members had been killed in an air strike on the oil field. Twelve of the dead were foreign fighters, it said.

As Propaganda Fails Baghdadi Announces A Bigger 9/11

DAESH defeated in al-Anbar DAESH was beaten in Ramadi, Kurma, and Tharthar.#CJTFOIR

The Islamic State on Friday took control of the provincial government center of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq s largest province, in a major defeat for the Iraqi government.

“What’s happening in our land today is a direct and comprehensive Persian occupation”- Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri #Iraq in new speech Notable Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri singles out Muqtada al-Sadr and Ammar al-Hakim as some of those who could have stood up for Iraqi sovereignty. In reality, says Duri, the “opportunity has come to an end” and no one can truly express their opinion or stand against Iran. Notable Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri mentions Islamic State by name in latest speech: he says 90% of Anbar province under them & ‘armed men’. Superficial cross-sectarianism: Duri appeals to the people of Karbala too about the problem of “Safavid” schemes, militias etc. Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri says no real ‘Popular Mobilization’ (Hashd Sha’abi): just cover for Iran militias like Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Badr etc. Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri attacks those in the media who might want to portray his speech as pro-IS. Clearest distancing from IS by name yet. Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri on “Da’esh” (IS): “They declare the Ba’ath to be kuffar” Towards end of speech Duri praises the Saudi-led intervention against the Houthis in #Yemen.

He begins by castigating any Muslim who won t immigrate (hijra) to the Islamic State, and who won t wage a violent war in its defense. For al-Baghdadi, joining him is an obligation, and that there is no excuse for any Muslim who is capable of performing hijrah (immigration) to the Islamic State, or capable of carrying a weapon where he is. … He then focuses on the Arab governments that he insists are lying in their claims to represent and protect the beleaguered Sunni population. He makes specific mention of the anti-Islamic State Arab forces being trained both by regional governments such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey but also the hated West. … In his litany of complaints against perceived Sunni oppression and abdicated Arab leadership, al-Baghdadi effectively covers the globe in his attempt to be seen as the worldwide supreme leader of the Sunni. He wonders where is the protection for Muslims in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Burma, India, China, Indonesia, the Caucasus, Africa, Khorasan, and everywhere else . He then focuses on the Saudi-led air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. He dismisses the fact the main targets of the Saudi air strikes are the Shi a Houthis, and describes the effort as not a storm of resolve, rather it is the kick of a dying person. … In the speech s most bizarre segment, al-Baghdadi talks about the sadness he and his group feel at the Iraqi Sunni seeking refuge in the areas controlled by the R fidah (Shi a) and Kurdish atheists in Iraq, ignoring that it is the savagery of the group that has caused so many people to flee before its advance.

I made a mistake in reading Baghdadi’s voice message: #ISIS al-Baghdadi is preparing something very big against the West, bigger than 9/11 #ISIS Baghdadi is also giving an approximative date and could be around the coming month of Ramadan (July). I hope I am wrong but he is saying “the reaction will be huge on all Muslims living in the West”. I believe him. I have listen2 his speech 5 times. Minute 15. Moreover, other core accounts insinuate ” something big coming up “. But the “possible date” is hinted and not as explicit as his intention.

I’m not really sure we knew what we were doing when we [i.e. the U.S. government] made a statement [against Assad]

Four years after the uprising began, Syria has gained a reputation as the graveyard of political analysis, and it is well deserved. Many more confident statements, reports, and articles will undoubtedly be added to the pile before the war is over and given the extraordinary complexity of this tragic and brutal conflict, some humility would be in order before pronouncing in favor of either side.

HRW’s Kenneth Roth Continues Unfounded Accusations With Another False Picture

This is thereby at least the third time HRW is using a wrongly attributed pictures to depict current enemies of U.S. imperialism as having causing the damage the U.S. empire and/or its friends have caused.

A general view shows destruction in the Hamidiyeh neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as local popular committee fighters, who support the Syrian government forces, try to defend the traditionally Christian district on the third day of intense battles with Islamic State group jihadists on April 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GEORGE OUFALIAN

U.S. Military To Defend Feng Shui Of Southeast Asia

China said it was deeply concerned on Wednesday about a reported U.S. proposal to consider sending naval ships and aircraft toward man-made islands in the South China Sea as tensions escalate between the two nations over the vital waters. … Reclamation isn t necessarily a violation of international law, but it s certainly violating the harmony, the feng shui, of Southeast Asia , and it s certainly violating China s claim to be a good neighbor and a benign and non-threatening power, Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said in a telephone interview. … As it does for a range of regional developments, the U.S. Pacific Command has drawn up contingency plans related to China s buildup of artificial islands in the South China Sea, U.S. defense officials said.

Light Posting – Several Issues

Ali Mamlouk, the head of the country’s National Security Bureau, has been removed as the regime of Bashar al-Assad begins to show divisions over the role of Iran

Syria’s security services chief Ali Mamluk attended a meeting between President Bashar Assad and an Iranian official on Wednesday, after a newspaper claimed he was under house arrest for plotting a coup.

Analysis: If the Syrian leader is toppled, Israel would have Islamic State on its doorstep, but it wouldn’t have to face it alone; it would also mean the end of Hezbollah and leave the Golan permanently in Israel’s hands.

According to this law, the military command and the local administrations have the right to establish a regime of enhanced protection of critical facilities, to introduce labor service for able-bodied persons, forcibly confiscate private and communal property for state needs, to prohibit peaceful assemblies, meetings, marches, demonstrations and other public events, to prohibit activities of political parties, to carry out the evacuation of the population, and other actions.

[The NYT] fails to recognize the irony of officials in their central Tel Aviv military headquarters lambasting Hezbollah for embedding among civilians.

Why Is The Hersh Abbottabad Story Coming Out Now?

On August 7, 2011, I wrote, among other things:

  • The US cover story of how they found bin Laden was fiction
  • OBL was turned in by a walk-in informant, a mid-level ISI officer seeking to claim $25 million under the “Rewards for Justice” program.
  • The Pakistani Intelligence Service — ISI — was sheltering bin Laden
  • Saudi cash was financing the ISI operation keeping bin Laden captive
  • The US presented an ultimatum to Pakistan that they would lose US funding if they did not cooperate with a US operation against bin Laden
  • Pakistani generals Kiyani and Pasha were involved in the US operation that killed OBL
  • Pakistan pulled out its troops from the area of Abottabad to facilitate the American raid
  • The Obama administration betrayed the cooperating Pakistani officials
  • The Obama administration scrambled to explain the crashed helicopter when their original drone strike cover story collapsed

In increasing the kingdom s regional role, King Salman risks escalating the conflict with Iran, fueling further instability. And his support for Islamists could end up empowering extremists, just as Saudi support for the Afghan jihad decades ago helped create Al Qaeda . … King Salman has a history of working with Islamists. Decades ago, he was a royal point man and fund-raiser for jihadists going to Afghanistan , Bosnia and elsewhere.

Open Thread 2015-21

Human Rights Watch Again Accuses Syria Of “Barrel Bomb” Damage Done By Others

Unikke tv-optagelser med drone viser omfanget af del ggelserne efter Israels bombardement af Gaza i sommer.

Saudi Arabia To Indiscriminate Bomb Yemen, U.S. Reportedly Amused

Saudi Arabia has reportedly beheaded five foreigners and hung their corpses from helicopter to set an example.

According to a report published in ‘The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in the Arabian Peninsula’ on Wednesday, the men were found guilty of murdering an Indian guard and stealing his money. After their beheading, which took place in Jeddah, Saudi officials hung the bodies from a helicopter so as to deter others from committing such crimes.

Saudi-led forces carried out air strikes on Friday in Yemen’s Saada province, a bastion of Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and warned all civilians to leave a day after Riyadh promised a harsh response to cross-border Houthi attacks.

With or without advanced warning, direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects are prohibited under #IHL. #Saada #Yemen

This is essentially the same strategy Israel uses against Gaza, only on a ten times bigger scale.

John Kerry

Using Head-To-Head Polls To Decide Elections

One trick in national electioneering is to portrait the likely though narrow incumbents as the underdog in the run up to election day. Those doing the pools and the media who favor the likely winner will then propagandize a head to head race in which the opposition is slightly in front.

It’s Official: The U.S. Collaborates With Al Qaeda

The involvement of FSA groups, in fact, reveals how the factions backers have changed their tune regarding coordination with Islamists. Several commanders involved in leading recent Idlib operations confirmed to this author that the U.S.-led operations room in southern Turkey , which coordinates the provision of lethal and non-lethal support to vetted opposition groups, was instrumental in facilitating their involvement in the operation from early April onwards . That operations room along with another in Jordan, which covers Syria s south also appears to have dramatically increased its level of assistance and provision of intelligence to vetted groups in recent weeks.

In southern Syria [..] factions that vowed to distance themselves from extremists like Jabhat al-Nusra in mid-April were seen cooperating with the group in Deraa only days later.

Open Thread 2015-20

The Lies Of Anne Barnard

The Observatory said that members of at least six families were killed, along with some Islamic State fighters , and that 13 were missing.

Not a single IS fighter ” was killed in the strikes on Birmahle, said Abdel Rahman, adding that the village is inhabited by civilians only with no IS presence .

On Saturday, the Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman said the strikes hit only civilians in their homes in Bir Mhali, a mixed Kurdish and Arab village, killing 52, including seven children and nine women.

The reported deaths of the villagers also embroiled the United States in Syria s fierce ethnic rivalries, with activists pointing out that the fishing and farming village of about 4,000 Arabs has had tense relations with Kurds living nearby especially with the Kurdish People s Protection Units or YPG. … The activist, who spoke to McClatchy by Skype on condition of anonymity out of fear of both the YPG and the Islamic State, said the coalition may have received flawed intelligence about the target from its allies on the ground, a reference to YPG forces. Kurdish hostility towards Arabs in the area has been pretty clear for a long time, the activist said. Otherwise, how would you explain the Kurds burning Arab houses under their own control?

May 1 – A Terrific Day For U.S. Target Intelligence In Syria And Yemen

US-led air strikes targeting the Islamic State group killed at least 52 civilians in a village in northern Syria, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

A series of Saudi airstrikes hit a hospital and medical camp in southwestern Yemen on Friday, killing at least 58 civilians and injuring at least 67, two local Yemeni government officials said.

[W]hat we re seeing is a product of Saudi disorientation and terror at a region that could become more representative in terms of its governance, more independent in terms of its foreign policy. The Saudis are trying to prevent that kind of independence in foreign policy from emerging in Yemen, and they have yet again gone down this road with the United States to a war that has no end.

[T]he beginning of the Saudi air war five weeks ago put a stop to negotiations which were about to succeed in establishing a power sharing government in the capital Sanaa according to the UN envoy Jamal Benomar. He told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that when this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis.

Saudi Arabia told the Obama administration and Persian Gulf allies early this week that it was preparing a military operation in neighboring Yemen, and relied heavily on U.S. surveillance images and targeting information to carry it out, according to senior American and Persian Gulf officials.

The United States is expanding its intelligence-sharing with Saudi Arabia to provide more information about potential targets in the kingdom’s air campaign against Houthi militias in Yemen, U.S. officials told Reuters. … The U.S. officials said the expanded assistance includes sensitive intelligence data that will allow the Saudis to better review the kingdom’s targets in fighting that has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands since March.

[King Salman] has not only started an air war in Yemen but has given stronger backing to Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qa ida affiliate, and other jihadi groups in Syria. These have recently won several victories in Idlib province over the Syrian army and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Haykal Bafana @BaFana3 Journalists need to wake up & write about the pressure being applied by Saudi Arabia on tribes & leaders in Hadhramaut to accept AQ rule.

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