Somewhere in the Middle East, right now, Putin and Assad are sharing cigars and cognac around a roaring fire, with the melodious sound of laughter rising into the night sky as they high-five each other over an 8×10 glossy of Obama. ‘Red line’ indeed.
WASHINGTON — The ambitious U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough just days ago, hit its first delay Wednesday with indications that the Syrian government will not submit an inventory of its toxic stockpiles and facilities to international inspectors by this weekend’s deadline.
The State Department signaled that it would not insist that Syrian President Bashar Assad produce the list Saturday, the end of a seven-day period spelled out in the framework deal that Washington and Moscow announced last weekend in Geneva.
Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that “our goal is to see forward momentum” by Saturday, not the full list. “We’ve never said it was a hard and fast deadline.”
It wasn’t clear whether Syrian officials needed more time to complete a formal declaration of their chemical arms, or whether the disarmament deal itself was in trouble.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry had described the date as the first of several “specific timelines” that would indicate whether Syria is committed to the deal that he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had worked out.
“We agreed that Syria must submit within a week — not in 30 days, but in one week — a comprehensive listing,” Kerry said Saturday. He said the U.S. would allow “no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance.”
Senior Obama administration officials had praised Russia for persuading Assad’s government to relinquish its lethal chemical arsenal, one of the world’s largest, by mid-2014 in a deal to avoid U.S. missile strikes in retaliation for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack that the U.S. says killed more than 1,000 people.
But Moscow’s ability or willingness to push its ally in Damascus to meet the first deadline in the deal now is being questioned.
Kerry and Lavrov sought last weekend to portray the two powers as united. The gap between them, however, has become more apparent and is threatening to snarl efforts to craft a United Nations Security Council resolution that lays out how Syria is to meet its obligations.
The resolution needs to be complete before the first steps can be taken to impound and either remove or destroy Syria’s arsenal. Diplomats said Western countries split with Russia in a meeting Tuesday over Western demands for tough enforcement of the agreement.
Diplomats hope to complete the resolution by Friday, but if they fall short the work may be delayed further next week because of the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international body based in The Hague, is expected to take several days to complete its analysis of the Syrian “initial declaration,” and then will submit its report to the United Nations. source – LA Times
Conspiracy theory overload
When you add up the numbers, a very disturbing picture of Obama’s presidency begins to unfold. He was elected as the “racial uniter”, the Nobel Peace Prize president who was going to “stop the rise of the oceans” and “heal our planet.”
Yet his 4 and one half years of occupying the desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue hide a sinister statistic – America has had 15 mass shootings since he became president, and today’s massacre at the Navy Shipyard now brings that total to 16. And since this is a list of shootings only, it does not include the Boston Bombing Massacre that Obama used to roll out martial law for a 24-hour period in Boston.
How do you explain that?
A list of the 15 American mass shootings since 2009:
1). December 14, 2012 — Newtown, Conn. – 27 dead (including gunman). The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, leaving 27 dead — including 20 young children. President Obama gave an emotional address, calling for “meaningful action”
2). September 27, 2012 — Minneapolis, Minn. – 7 dead (including gunman), 2 injured. Andrew John Engeldinger, a recently laid off employee of Accent Signage Systems, entered the office building and opened fire. (No public comments from the president.)
Lebanese daily says 20 trucks crossed into Iraq last week, bearing equipment and material used for manufacturing chemical weapons
Syria has moved 20 trucks worth of equipment and material used for the manufacturing of chemical weapons into neighboring Iraq, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal reported on Sunday. The government in Baghdad has denied allegations that it is helping the Syrian government conceal chemical stockpiles.
The report came just a day after the United States and Russia struck a deal stipulating that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime would destroy its chemical arsenal to avert an American military assault.
The newspaper reported that the trucks crossed the boundary separating Syria with Iraq over the course of Thursday and Friday. Border guards did not inspect the contents of the trucks, which raises suspicions that they contained illicit cargo, according to Al-Mustaqbal.
Al-Mustaqbal, a publication that has long been affiliated with anti-Syrian political elements in Lebanon, quoted a spokesperson for Iraq’s interior ministry, Saad Maan, as saying that security forces were deployed along the border and were checking all vehicles coming into the country.
“Iraq today is not Saddam Hussein’s Iraq,” he said. “It is not an Iraq which resorts to the use of chemical weapons against its own people or against its neighbors.”
“These accusations are all rumors and are useless and no one believes them,” he said. Last week, the head of the Free Syrian Army told CNN that opposition intelligence indicated Assad was moving chemical arms out of the country.
“Today, we have information that the regime began to move chemical materials and chemical weapons to Lebanon and to Iraq,” General Salim Idriss told CNN.
“We have told our friends that the regime has begun moving a part of its chemical weapons arsenal to Lebanon and Iraq. We told them do not be fooled,” Idris told reporters in Istanbul.
“All of this initiative does not interest us. Russia is a partner with the regime in killing the Syrian people. A crime against humanity has been committed and there is not any mention of accountability.” source – JPost
Is Obama the most inept president in recent memory, or is he carrying out a hidden agenda?
From Wash Post: President Obama declared that the United States is still prepared to act militarily to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons despite the decision to pursue a diplomatic deal and not strike Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons.
Obama spoke in an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” taped Friday before the United States and Russia agreed on a plan to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control in order to avoid military strikes.
But Obama said Iran should not interpret the diplomatic response — coming after he threatened to use strikes — as suggesting that the United States wouldn’t attack Iran to stop the development of nuclear weapons.
“I think what the Iranians understand is that the nuclear issue is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue, that the threat . . . against Israel that a nuclear Iran poses is much closer to our core interests,” Obama said. “My suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn’t draw a lesson that we haven’t struck [Syria] to think we won’t strike Iran.”
Obama said, however, that what the Iranians should draw from this episode is that it is possible to resolve this type of disagreement diplomatically.
“My view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact you can . . . strike a deal,” he said, confirming that he had communicated with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by letter.
Obama also defended his approach to the Syrian crisis, acknowledging that it has been turbulent, but insisting that it has achieved the right results.
The comments come after a number of lawmakers and foreign policy experts on both sides of the aisle have criticized Obama for first making the case to go to war in Syria, then deciding to ask Congress for approval, and then making the case for strikes to a prime-time audience while also announcing that he would first give a Russian diplomatic proposal a chance to work.
In response to those criticisms, Obama said he is less interested in style than results.
“I think that folks here in Washington like to grade on style. And so had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear, they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy. We know that, because that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq war,” Obama said.
He added, “I’m much more concerned about getting the policy right. . . . As a consequence of the steps that we’ve taken over the last two weeks to three weeks, we now have a situation in which Syria has acknowledged it has chemical weapons, has said it’s willing to join the convention on chemical weapons, and Russia, its primary sponsor, has said that it will pressure Syria to reach that agreement. That’s my goal. And if that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right.”
Obama also played down differences with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Russia and the United States work together to resolve the Syria standoff.
“Mr. Putin and I have strong disagreements on a whole range of issues,” Obama said. “But I can talk to him. We have worked together on important issues. . . . This is not the Cold War. This is not a contest between the United States and Russia.”
Obama plans to pivot back to a focus on the economy this week ahead of major fiscal battles in Congress, and he said he could change the direction of the economy — including the upward path of inequality — if Congress would let him.
Asked if a president just couldn’t stop inequality, he responded, “I think the president can stop it. The problem is that there continues to be a major debate here in Washington.”
While he acknowledged that government can’t overcome every trend in the market, policy that invests in the economy “pushes against these trends. And the problem that we’ve got right now is you’ve got a portion of Congress whose policies don’t just want to you know, leave things alone; they actually want to accelerate these trends.” source – Wash Post
Balance of power in the Mideast has taken a crazy shift
Like some bad reality show spinning out of control, the Obama presidency is being humiliated and disrespected every which way from Sunday. Starting with Putin’s viscous smack-down of Obama over military intervention in Syria, it has only grown worse and worse. Now comes the cherry on the sundae – Assad, propped up by big bully Russia, has taken to dismissively ordering Obama and America around through news interviews. Ouch.
And of course, when all the smoke clears, it’s always about Israel (see red bold text below)
From Examiner: President Obama must promise not to arm rebel forces or Syrian dictator Bashar Assad will not hand over his chemical weapons, the embattled leader told a Russian state media outlet today while demanding that Israel also surrender its nuclear arsenal.
“When we see that the U.S. genuinely stands for stability in our region, stops threatening us with military intervention and stops supplying terrorists with weapons, then we will consider it possible to finalize all necessary procedures and they will become legitimate and acceptable for Syria,” Assad told RIA News.
Obama asked Congress to postpone a vote authorizing use of military force in Syria after Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to broker a deal whereby the U.S. would not attack the Assad regime if he surrendered his chemical weapons.
Assad said that the Middle East won’t have peace until Israel also surrenders its weapons of mass destruction.
“If we really want stability in the Middle East, all the countries [in the region] must honor the agreements. And the first country to do so is Israel because it possesses nuclear, chemical and biological weapons – all types of weapons of mass destruction,” source – Washington Examiner
Petrus Romanus: The History of the Black Pope and the Jesuit Order
Adolfo Nicolás, otherwise known as the Jesuit ‘Black Pope’, is a mystery man who almost never steps out of the murky nether-world of end times intrigue. But when US president Barack Obama said he was going to launch a missile strike on Syria, Adolfo Nicolás spoke up. Within 24 hours, Obama had backed down.
Now you know why they call the ‘Black Pope’ the most powerful man in the world.
From NCR: WASHINGTON – A U.S. military strike on Syria would be an “abuse of power” that should be “condemned and rejected,” the global leader of the Jesuit order of Catholic brothers and priests has said.
Jesuit Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, who leads the some 17,000 member order that counts among its ranks Pope Francis, adds his voice to a chorus of Catholic prelates around the world sharply criticizing the attack in an interview made public Wednesday.
“With all respect for the people of the United States, I think that a military intervention like the one being planned is itself an abuse of power,” states Nicolás in the interview. “The US has to stop acting and reacting like the big boy of the neighborhood of the world. This leads inevitably to abuse, harassment and bullying of the weaker members of the community.”
Nicolás, a native Spaniard whose superior general role in the past has been referred to as the “black pope” because of its influence around the world, also says such a military strike would question the authenticity of the United States’ Christian heritage.
Before critiquing the proposed U.S. strike in Syria, Nicolás says he does not usually make comment on political situations, but that “in the present case we are dealing with a Humanitarian situation that exceeds all the limits that would ordinarily keep me silent.”source – National Catholic Reporter
Iran is ramping up its threats to the United States even as the American effort against Iranian client state Syria has ground to a crawl.
President Obama made his case to the American people and the world community Tuesday night that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad must not be allowed to escape the consequences of using chemical weapons on civilians as the two-year-long Syrian civil war drags on.
Iran, a staunch ally of the Assad regime, is warning that any military action against Syria will cause a military and terrorist reaction on U.S. targets and allies. Despite overwhelming evidence from the horrific August 21 sarin gas attack that killed more than 1,400 civilians, hundreds of them children, Iran says it won’t sit idly by if the U.S. attacks Syria.
For now, Obama said in an East Room address Tuesday night, he will delay any proposal to Congress authorizing a punitive strike if diplomatic efforts result in Syria agreeing to verifiable destruction of its chemical weapons cache. Obama warned that to not act against Syrian atrocities would give the green light to Iran to develop nuclear weapons and terrorists to use chemical weapons.
But if diplomacy fails, unintended consequences could result from a U.S. assault. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both should know that all options are on the table, including the destruction of Haifa and Tel Aviv, should the U.S. attack Syria, Iran has declared.
That blunt warning came in Mashregh News, the Islamic Republic’s official media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit, in an alarming commentary last week.
“Despite the analysis by some in the country (Iran),” Mashregh wrote, “the U.S. posture and its saber-rattling are just a psychological war against Syria. The fact is that the current military preparation of the (U.S.) enemy points to a military confrontation and today we are facing a complete security and military scenario.”
Mashregh said the most important part of this scenario is how Iran would respond to a limited attack on Syria. The goal of the American strategists is not to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for the use of chemical weapons or even Russian President Vladimir Putin, a strong supporter of Syria, but rather to impose a “small military punishment” against Iran.
If Iran is going to respond to such U.S. aggression, “the response must be firm, decisive and powerful,” Mashregh said. The Islamic regime’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday warned that America was sure to “suffer loss” should it attack Syria. source – Daily Caller