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The “Assad v. al-Qaeda” narrative may not be what it appears

The “Assad v. al-Qaeda” narrative may not be what it appears

There are very good arguments against intervention in Syria, even if I disagree with the conclusions reached from those arguments.  I haven’t denigrated those who disagree, although I can’t say the same is true in reverse.

Unfortunately, regardless of how you come out on the issue, many people are buying into a media narrative which seeks to minimize the brutality of the Assad regime and the threat it poses, and to create a false choice of “Assad v. al-Qaeda.”

First, The NY Times ran a story and video of Syrian rebels executing Syrian soldiers, Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West:

NYT Brutality of Rebels

This scene, documented in a video smuggled out of Syria a few days ago by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings, offers a dark insight into how many rebels have adopted some of the same brutal and ruthless tactics as the regime they are trying to overthrow.

As the United States debates whether to support the Obama administration’s proposal that Syrian forces should be attacked for using chemical weapons against civilians, this video, shot in April 2013[*}, joins a growing body of evidence of an increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers.

The story and video were spread far and wide, including in the conservative media, to bolster the case that “the rebels” were even worse than the Assad regime.  The Daily Beast noted how the Times’ story was a turning point in the debate, Syria Video Turns the Debate on U.S. Intervention.

Daily Beast NYT article syria

But then there were the corrections, including this from the Times:

Correction: September 6, 2013

An article on Thursday about the brutal and ruthless tactics adopted by some rebel groups in Syria misstated the date of a video that showed a band of rebels executing seven captured Syrian soldiers. The video, which was smuggled out of Syria by a former rebel, was made in the spring of 2012, not April 2013.

That’s important.  This was a video which was shot 18 months ago, but the source apparently didn’t tell The Times that fact. It also turns out that the “rebel” group is a splinter group with little influence, as reported by Politico:

That error, which the Times corrected on Friday, is being cited by supporters of the Syrian opposition as evidence that the Times report misrepresented the rebels — a significant charge given the video’s role in the debate over the proposed military strike against Syria.

The Times report cites a source who says that Abdul Samad Issa, the Jund al-Sham rebel commander who led the execution, received weapons from the Western-supported Supreme Military Council. But the SMC was founded in December 2012, at least six months after the execution took place.

In a statement to Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog, the Washington-based Syrian Support Group, which is pro-intervention, said “the SMC has no previous or current relationship with Jund al-Sham and, contrary to the New York Times article, the group is not shown within the SMC’s or SSG’s delivery records as having received supplies from the SMC command.”

I don’t doubt the increasing influence of al-Qaeda elements on the battlefield, or its brutality.

In fact, I’ve lamented the fact that Western indecision has left us only with bad choices between Assad and rebels in which al-Qaeda affiliated groups play a role.  But we can have that debate without media manipulations meant to convey false information through old videos.

In fact, the media gives far less attention to the brutality of the Assad regime apart from the use of chemical gas.  The civil war has seen the widespread use of rape, torture, executions and the wholesale destruction of cities by the Assad regime.

You may say “who cares?,” but then don’t use the 18-month old video for your argument against taking action in relation to chemical weapons.

Was this manipulation of The Times an accident?  Did some ex-rebel miraculously appear on The Times’ doorstep with the video supposedly “smuggled out” of Syria even though the video was 18-months old? It seems doubtful.

As The Times itself reported last April, supporters of Assad have an organized public relations campaign designed to sway public opinion by portraying the rebels as all al-Qaeda:

NYT Syria Plays on Fears

As Islamists increasingly fill the ranks of Syrian rebels, President Bashar al-Assad is waging an energized campaign to persuade the United States that it is on the wrong side of the civil war. Some government supporters and officials believe they are already coaxing — or at least frightening — the West into holding back stronger support for the opposition.

Confident they can sell their message, government officials have eased their reluctance to allow foreign reporters into Syria, paraded prisoners they described as extremist fighters and relied unofficially on a Syrian-American businessman to help tap into American fears of groups like Al Qaeda.

And there were more headline-grabbing stories which were less than they seemed.

Russia announced that it had filed a 100-page report with the U.N. proving that the rebels were responsible for a March use of chemical weapons previously attributed to Assad forces.

That garnered headlines far and wide, as if the number of pages mattered, but you had to read deep into the story to learn that the report has not been released (emphasis added):

McClatchy Russia 100 page report headline

Russia says a deadly March sarin attack in an Aleppo suburb was carried out by Syrian rebels, not forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, and it has delivered a 100-page report laying out its evidence to the United Nations.

A statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website late Wednesday said the report included detailed scientific analysis of samples that Russian technicians collected at the site of the alleged attack, Khan al Asal in northern Syria. The attack killed 26 people.

A U.N. spokesman, Farhan Haq, confirmed that Russia delivered the report in July.

The report itself was not released.

Then NBC reported that a Facebook page for a rebel faction contained an image of the U.S. Capitol burning.  But again, you had to read deep into it to see that this was, at best, some fringe group whose connection to the main rebel opposition is attenuated:

NBC al-Aqsa Facebook Page

As debate grows over the extremism of some armed factions battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, an incendiary illustration on the Facebook page of one such group leaves little doubt where its leaders envision the uprising ending – with masked Islamic fighters marching through Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Capitol burns in the background.

The image is one of eight photos posted on the official Facebook page of the “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,”  a small armed Sunni rebel faction fighting with the Free Syrian Army, the main umbrella military organization of the opposition forces. Two other photos posted on the group’s page feature the widely recognized black flag of the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group, which operates freely in Syria.

Evan Kohlmann, a senior partner with the security firm Flashpoint Intelligence and an NBC consultant on terrorism, who discovered the image on Facebook and provided it to NBC News’ investigative unit, said Al-Aqsa has not been designated as a terrorist group by the United States. But he noted that it fights alongside another Free Syrian Army force, the Tawhid Brigade, that has been linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, one of two rebel factions labeled terrorist groups by the U.S. government.

None of this is meant to downplay the threat of al-Qaeda related groups in Syria.

It is meant to let you know that there appears to be a conscious effort to manipulate the news cycle into forcing the West to choose between Assad and al-Qaeda, and that is the choice Assad wants you to have to make.  But that may not be the only choice.

We should identify American interests based on the facts we can prove as to what happened with the use of chemical weapons.  Calculations based on “Assad versus al-Qaeda” are unreliable.

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Comments

Sure: Let’s get into proving facts when all the players’ religion implores them to lie to infidels.

Both…all…sides in this mess are quite capable of projecting lies to the Western world.

Given that is true, and given that no faction in the United States has shown any ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, I see NO clear…or even clear-ish…path on which we may tread in intervention.

I like Palin’s formulation: Let Allah sort it out.

And let us remain prepared to have actual evidence support any action we may contemplate, with a very jaundiced eye toward military intervention.

…Western indecision has left us only with bad choices…

True. That’s why we should stay out of it, which is arguably another bad choice. Instead of choosing sides based on empty promises before/during the conflict, we should make is clear that we will choose sides based upon the actions during/after the conflict.

Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

workingclass artist | September 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

“Previous reports had indicated that the attack on the town was carried out by al Qaeda-linked rebels. While it’s true that the al Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra group was attacking the village alongside the extremist Ahrar al Sham, it’s now clear that the Free Syrian Army also participated in the attack…”

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/09/07/Syrians-Rebels-Kerry-Called-Moderate-Post-Videos-Of-Their-Attack-On-Christian-Town

This is an Alexandrian knot, and here’s the sword with which to cut it:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/us-military-planners-dont-support-war-with-syria/2013/09/05/10a07114-15bb-11e3-be6e-dc6ae8a5b3a8_story.html

“So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.”

The. Plan. Is. Stupid.

workingclass artist | September 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

There are other ways the US can support Israel then allying with Al Qaeda aren’t there?

How do you know who is a so-called splinter group?

Any U.S. military action inside of Syria is very bad policy and will only encourage the politicians who are pushing it. The time for action has long passed. This administration has seriously fumbled the ball and can not recover. They have no Plan “B” either.

This post at CI explains it very clearly and in few words. http://collegeinsurrection.com/2013/09/hillsdale-student-syria-at-home-the-perils-of-progressivism/

If you think things are bad now just start firing missiles into Syria.

There are no Good Guys in Syria.

Picking a side is picking the side of a bad guy.

Let Allah Sort It Out, Not Obama.

    There are no good guys in Syria, just bad guys and worse guys. I don’t trust anyone to provide reliable and accurate information about what is what and who is who.

    I see no compelling reason for the United States to get involved.

>>”You may say “who cares?,” but then don’t use the 18-month old video for your argument against taking action in relation to chemical weapons.”

I haven’t heard many advising that we abstain make either of those arguments.

This is an impossibly confusing and hazardous mess with no US interest, and if we’ve learned anything in the past 10 years with respect to our Middle eastern forays it should be to NOT commit ourselves to further investment of blood and treasure especially in a theater of such contention and confusion. If the moral imperative to do something over the use of chemical weapons is so great, engage the vaunted “international community” and use diplomacy.

Experience, reason and any cost-benefit analysis all argue for staying out.

Professor, take heart in stating your obviously well-thought-out views. I understand where you are coming from.

As I said days ago here, I stand with Israel and whatever is best for her.

It isn’t clear to me that Obama intervening in Syria’s internal fight is in Israel’s best interests.

Your thoughts?

    Admiral Ackbar in reply to VotingFemale. | September 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I agree with you on that point. But I’m not sure why you are assuming all the professor cares about is how this effects Israel, when he didn’t even mention that once in this article.

    It seems a lot of people are playing into this false dilemma that the Obama administration and many in the media are creating. That this issue is about Israeli security when it is certainly not.

    I see this as the Obama trying to set up Israel as the fall guy for his plans which will be largely ineffective at best, disastrous at worst.
    Israel is always in danger from an imminent attack. They are prepared and can handle themselves.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/kerry-warns-u-s-inaction-in-syria-puts-israel-in-danger-israel-says-it-can-handle-it-20130904

    As far as this article and the difficult questions are concerned, the world should not let Assad or any dictator slaughter their citizens with impunity. And if the “international community” and the UN are going to be their usual flaccid selves, well we might start thinking of other options. Despite the sides that I’ve seen been drawn in the past week, I still think there are difficult choices to make here.

    All said, I still prefer Kissinger’s plan of dismantlement, even if it is just a pipe dream…

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/08/29/lawrence-solomon-kissingers-good-option/

    Ah well…I can still dream.

      I wasn’t implying what you are inferring.

      If I am reading the Professor correctly, he is putting America’s best interests ahead of Israel’s.

      If Assad is attacked by Obama, Israel is promised a retaliatory strike by both Assad & Iran.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to VotingFemale. | September 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    My thought is that bastard, Obama, would put boots on the ground in Syria and then order them to retake the Golan Heights and return it to Al Qaeda in Syria, then threaten Israel into retreating back to whatever lines make the Arab Muslims happy. I’ve been heartened by the rise in Arab Christian support for Israel.

Here we are “before” the upcoming Tuesday Oval Office speech.

I wonder if Comedy Central is also working on one?

There’s a very interesting article today, that says, Hollywood’s flummoxed. They don’t know HOW to address negative feelings towards a Black man.

Doesn’t mean Obama isn’t facing a crisis (of his own making.) And, it doesn’t mean that shooting missiles won’t make him a laughing stock.

If you’ve learned nothing else, Obama freaks out when the audience laughs.

Since we don’t know the future, we can only assume some of the “problems” on his plate, now, grow bigger?

For politicians, by the way, the biggest crisis revolves around money. When they can’t draw it in thru a straw … and gobble up enormous sums of money.

So, here ya go. How much will Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google “donate to the democrats?” Hasn’t their reputations been thrown to the wolves? Backdoors. And, everything? If you ran a big corporation where you’ve been exposed colluding against your customers … you wouldn’t call your lawyer on the phone? (At least that, no?)

The curtain keeps rising. When will citizens of the United States be satisfied that they “know the whole truth?”

Professor, I have noted a rather remarkable shift in the writing style of your posts, lately.

Is it due to pressure to nuance the expression of views you feel your commenter base will find difficulty in agreeing with?

It is someone else writing them in your behalf?

Is your health Ok?

There’s manipulation on both sides. Kerry peddled pro-resistance info from a supposedly unbiased source, but the Daily Caller found that the author works for a resistance front group. The Saudis have a strong interest in our attack, going to the point of offering to pay for it. What other efforts are they funding?

If we go in, it doesn’t end until regime change. Don Warier Rumsfeld knows what he’s talking about there. What price will we pay for that? Will the outcome be better than Iraq and Libya?

Last but not least, we’ve helped turn the Middle East into a living hell for Christians. If improving their lives were the goal, what would be the best policy? I’m still a no vote.

Putin has, in effect, drawn a red line also. As opposed to Obama, Putin is a serious person. We do not need a proxy war with Russia over Syria. And we certainly do not want to match Obama against Putin.

As a commenter points out above, there appears to be an absence of a clearly defined and obtainable objective with these proposed strikes. To my mind, that means we ought not to do it until we DO know what we want to accomplish and have a reasonable chance of accomplishing it.

The administration announced a while ago that it would begin sending arms to Assad’s opponents. Have they done that?

In addition to the Jewish nation in the region which is our ally, the US is a mostly Christian nation. The well-being of Christian and other minorities in the Middle East should be one of our concerns.

Conservatives are patriots. When we see an American president in trouble, we tend to see his problems as our own.

Which makes it hard to know how to react to Obama’s troubles in Syria.

I am going to make an unusual case here that Obama’s Syrian stumbles actually benefit the United States and the civilized world.

If that sounds odd — well, it is.

I can think of only one precedent: Jimmy Carter’s punch in the nose from Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, which caused American voters to elect Ronald Reagan instead.

excerpted from American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/09/are_obamas_syrian_stumbles_good_for_america.html

Professor stop the quibbling.

Stop pretending that there is objective fact to be rendered indeed from chaos and cannibalism.

Stop pretending that the NYT is an objective “newspaper of record.”

Stop pretending that the Islam is the putative “religion of peace” – today.

Stop pretending that the West can bring peace by negotiation or force of arms, until there is a counter reformation of Islam.

Stop pretending that the vast majority of violence in Islam is Muslim-on-Muslim, and that the West can disentangle the Gordian Knot of their perfervid internecine hatred.

Above all stop pretending that being “nice” to them will mollify them toward love. This is at bottom a religious war, and we are by theology unbelievers, infidels.

Respect the limits of our national security interest.

This Administration was twice elected – after 9/11 to avoid use of force to fight attackers abroad, and consequently voted to fight them in the US, indeed not defend the extraterritorial US at embassies and naval ships; hence by implication we have voted for strict and intrusive domestic surveillance as the only alternative national defense strategy.

Unfortunately, we must live – and suffer – with the choice we have. There’s “no app” that’s going to work to avoid the dire consequences of the choice that was made to empower and incompetent Administration.

    Yost?

    *I* don’t see the Professor saying any of these things in this post you are alleging.

    You come off, in my observation, as assuming and pushy and frankly you rouse my Mama Bear instincts.

    The Professor is saying the Media is split between taking sides with Assad and taking sides with the opposition and that neither side is being accurately portrayed by the differing media factions.

    Personally, I don’t “back” either one side or the other… its like choosing sides in a fight between Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson.

    Screw them both.

    What I have seen the Professor say is that a badly diminished office of the US Presidency in the eyes of her friends and enemies is a very serious situation and that alone gives reason to pause in partisan gamesmanship to consider the situation from a much higher altitude.

    -VF

    Eddie_Yost said:

    Professor stop the quibbling.

    Stop pretending that there is objective fact to be rendered indeed from chaos and cannibalism.

    Stop pretending that the NYT is an objective “newspaper of record.”

    Stop pretending that the Islam is the putative “religion of peace” – today.

    Stop pretending that the West can bring peace by negotiation or force of arms, until there is a counter reformation of Islam.

    Stop pretending that the vast majority of violence in Islam is Muslim-on-Muslim, and that the West can disentangle the Gordian Knot of their perfervid internecine hatred.

      Eddie_Yost in reply to VotingFemale. | September 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      My dear “Voting Female”,

      I regret that you have misapprehended my comment, and presume an antagonism toward the good Professor’s views, when I dispute his engagement with the NYT shallow and erroneous analysis that equivocates views that are not equivalent or indeed capable of resolution for the objections raise. The NYT is ignorant and biased. Why have truck with their opinions – to engage is to submit to stupidity – prancing ignorance and assumed “truth.”

      Your loyalty to the good Professor is commendable and worthy, but in this instance misplaced and misunderstood. Stop playing (quibbling with) the NYT’s game and and following their rules, or you too will be nothing more than their stooge. Indeed, their paradigmatic analysis has fostered this truly pathetic leader. What rational human would consider Mr. Obama competent to Administer the United States of America. None indeed, because we are the electoral majority hold irrational beliefs;and hence we – and they shall suffer for decades, and there is nothing we can do to avoid the pain.

        Yost, you can shove your quotations around my username and your condescending attitude.

          Eddie_Yost in reply to VotingFemale. | September 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm

          Has the NYT or other MSM, acknowledged, reported or considered the “101” overriding geo-strategic goal of Russia since Peter the Great has been a establishing a warm water port in the Med? Now, Russia has what is referred to as a “naval supply and maintenance base” in Tartus, Syria, and doubtless Putin wants to “reset” it as a full air-sea naval base to circumvent the Turkish Straits, an historic font of war and conflict for Russia. Tartus is a tactical advantage presently, which can/will change the balance of power in the Levant. (Study the geography and muse the consequences.)

          “Reset” buttons can lead to other buttons being pressed – and quickly. And, Obama has been lacking an ability to decide “pressing” matters. He indeed has been a dawdler and procrastinator. (Umm? I wonder how many “incompletes” are in his grade transcripts?)

          Eddie_Yost in reply to VotingFemale. | September 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

          The above was not intended as a reply, but a separate post.

Clarification: “Stop pretending that the West can bring peace by negotiation or force of arms, until there is a counter reformation of Islam.” The reformation of Islam occurred with the coalescence of the Wahhabi doctrine with the Saudi monarchy – It is the various manifestation of that doctrine that promotes violence against the Shia, Sufi, Alawi, Baha’i and other sects divergent from the Wahhabi first, and then Christians, Jews and Hindi. It is remarkable how often one reads of the Friday services of the “religion of peace” are the start of violence.

It was most remarkable that during the Iraq War that the NYT and its fellow travelers reported of the “foreign fighters” in Iraq and yet failed to report that the majority of those fighters were Saudi, that crossed the vast unprotected border with Irag, albeit the deaths of those “foreign fighters” were reported daily in the Saudi press and commemorated at Saudi mosques. Our media chose to blink the border and the reports, and focus on “foreign fighters from tiny and remote Chechnya as point of origin.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Eddie_Yost. | September 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Islam and the Koran, unreformed or not, promotes violence against Judaism and Christianity. Before Wahhabism, Mohammed slaughtered the Jews of Medina. So, there’s yet to be a reformation in Islam, and there will not be. The Wahhabis do us the favor of telling us what Islam really is, as Mohammed invented it.

Professor – let’s ignore the rebels for a minute. What threat does Assad pose to the USA? What is the “vital interest”? And, if Assad poses a sufficient threat to justify the US attacking him, then:
(1) why don’t we just kill him instead of bomb a few of his military sites? After all, if *he* is the threat, why not solve the root of the problem?
(2) Why are Iran, China and Russia not a bigger threat to the US? I look at Chinese hacking, Iranian positions on the use of nuclear weapons (and their active program in developing them)?
(3) if China, Russia and Iran are bigger threats, why are we not attacking them first?

Now, let’s look at the “RTP” argument. (1) If that were valid, why wasn’t it valid over the last 2 years, when over 100,000 civilians have been killed? (2) If we are in RTP mode, then why are we not also going to attack the rebels as well, to deter them from wiping out Christian villages? (3) Doesn’t RTP justify and demand “boots on the ground” so that we can set up refugee camps, provide medical care, etc.? It would appear the Obama administration’s position is that “kill them with bullets and away from the video cameras” is completely acceptable behavior.

Both arguments have huge logical flaws, which makes me think that neither actually apply. Until someone can clearly articulate a reason for intervention (and define what ‘winning’ means, then I can’t support military action.

At least Bush had a clear goal: democracy in Iraq. Now one may argue that massive mistakes were made, and that Iraq wasn’t ready for democracy. But at least he had a reason, and a clear definition of success.

And to me, the goal was worth trying for.

so I supported Iraq.

But Obama has to meet the same requirements:
(1) justification
(2) clear goal
(3) clear plan to achieve goal

AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action

Pro-Israel lobby says 250 activists will meet with their senators and representatives in Washington in a bid to win support Congressional support for military action in Syria.

http://www.haaretz.com/misc/tags/AIPAC-1.476964

Several report that there are more moderate elements is certain regions, perhaps separated geographically. (The more militant and active fighters may be al Qaeda types) The moderates may not be saints, but could perhaps be incentivized to work with US, and keep Assad in check, IF the smarter CIA guys, or old military were running the show.

BUT …

In Iran 2009 Obama denied the greens any help.

In Libya he waited for al Qaeda to arrive, then helped get rid of Gaddafi, but failed to secure the armories. Later with al Qaeda flags flying over government buildings, Obama and Hillary blamed that video, after rejecting cries for stronger defenses from our ambassador.

In Egypt Obama insisted on quick elections, and swore the Muslim Brotherhood would be fine. Now we have the military back, no thanks to Barack. Only AFTER the military regained power from the MB did he consider curtailing the jets and tanks.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, things fell apart as Obama announced the date of our departure. The deal was sealed as he failed to leave enough forces to hold our gains (SOFA). He essentially surrendered what we’d won, and the incidents of locals turning on us increased. Hillary’s promise to the women of Afghanistan, that she would not leave them vulnerable to a returning Taliban … proved false.

In Iran our drone goes down and Obama delivers the tech to Iran, rather than going in to destroy it. At that point he didn’t even want to do that much … might provoke a war. Of course Iran was already at war with us, sending troops into help the Taliban in Iraq.

Our CIA and military could perhaps find the moderates and support them in their regions, to at least maintain a level of rebellion to Assad. BUT Obama never supports the moderates, either backing down to, or actually supporting the radicals of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has replaced the generals that won in “Bush’s war”, with his administration full of hard left radicals.

My calculations are not Assad versus al Qaeda, but rather American interests versus “God Damn America” Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood leanings. The Afghan women, the Egyptian moderates, Israel and many others have learned they can’t trust Obama. When he wields power, the wrong people win.

    Yet we never hear about Obama’s “my muslim faith” comment.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Midwest Rhino. | September 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    You make these lacks by Obama sound unintentional. In each and every instance, I assure you they are all intentional. How could Al Qaeda’s engineers work on countering US drones if they did not have one?

      Midwest Rhino in reply to Juba Doobai!. | September 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Well actually, I think the body of my post’s evidence hints they may not be unintentional, including the “God Damn America” part.

      But it is still circumstantial. You can “assure me”, but give me concrete evidence please. I don’t really see evidence that Obama is one of them, so much as he thinks the US is too powerful. His racist Chicago church, and/or his Chicago organized crime connections, keep that power by maintaining instability.

      Hillary got her half million in Saudi jewelry, so I’m sure Obama sees an opportunity there. But the public union “internal army” with Lerner and Holder attacking constitutionalists is Obama’s home. Other than that, manufactured crisis is his modus operandi. His syndicate is in Chicago, not Iran … as I see it.

      Of course unions have communist ties, and his first mentor F.M. Davis, was communist. So the union seal has international ramifications, as Cesar Chavez’s fans (including Jeb Bush’s son) attest to. Obama’s Chicago church praised Farrakhan, but Obama seems most closely tied to union thugs. But being president has allowed him to network with the most powerful “players”. I just don’t see “Muslim” as the best explanation.

      But I just know what I read on the internet. 🙂

have you seen the video of the Syrian Rebel leader cutting out the heart of a dead Syrian soldier and eating it? We don’t belong in Syria. Let the Muslims kill each other off. And do you really believe anything this lying black Muslim President says anymore. His red line and now wasn’t his red line.

Oh and don’t forget the claim it was a video that caused the four Americans to die in Benghazi.

On the IRS scandal, Obama, We can’t allow this to happen. Months later, Phony scandals.

This is the leader that wants to start another war in Syria. Why? Because the Muslim brotherhood are leading the Syrian rebels. Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. This has been proven fact but our liberal media won’t ever reveal this.

Check out this video of the Syrian or Al-Qaeda leader cutting out the heart and eating it. Does anyone really want America to get involved with these animals? Not me.

http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/video-syrian-rebel-cuts-out-soldiers-heart-and-eats-it-nsfw/#.UitxfMasjlU

When idiots like McCain are caught playing poker during a hearing on Syria, what more proof do we want that our government is corrupted and hell bent on starting another war to prop up support for the its Muslim leader.

I thought Obama had a red line when it came to Iran? Seems that lines been crossed a thousand times now.

Sorry Professor, I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I can not in good conscience provide aid/assistance/relief nor any limited standing to Islamic jihadist like AQ or MB, which “degrading” their opponent would unquestionably do. If Israel hadn’t come out and said they could take care of themselves, I might have been conflicted. They haven’t and I’m not.

its simple.
either we play the worlds policeman and use our military to enforce our will using any and all weapons we have to ensure OUR citizens safety or we stay out when we have nothing to gain.
we should not be mercenaries for anyone let alome the UN.
if we do attack syria I say drop nukes and no boots.

Very little of what happens in Syria ever gets out.

One way, is the videos the jihadi’s post on their own websites for recruitment and propaganda.

The website Jawa Report was created a long time ago to combat cyber jihad.

Take a stroll down this page, then tell me things are not what they appear.

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/cat_syria.php

Serious question: where is the Arab League in this?

Appealing to universal organization (like the UN) and lofty principals (like killing civilians, use of chemical weapons or “war crimes”) is – er – appealing. Makes one feel all righteous and above it all. Rarely do only those sources produce an answer with the virtue of possibly working.

Besides, if you want to know what’s really going on with the screaming couple across the street you ask the neighbors, not the inspector from downtown who stopped by with a clipboard yesterday. (How this applies to humint vs. sigint I’ll only mention.)

Subotai Bahadur | September 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Let me add to Eddie_Yost’s post something that I found by chance last night. Making the as yet unproven assumption [I’ll address that below] that one side or the other in Syria used nerve agents; it is alleged that such is a crime because of the “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction”.

Syria, last time I looked, is a Westphalian nation-state. As such, it is not to have foreign states interfere with its internal affairs, in the absence of either a declaration of war or violation of international treaty.

Look at the Convention cited above. Look at the list of countries that have signed it. Granting that not all who have signed it have ratified it to bring it into force, but look at the signatories. Is Syria there? No!

There are 7 nations who are not formally part of the Convention. Of that 7, Israel and Myanmar have signed and are going through their ratification process. Angola, Egypt, North Korea, South Sudan, and Syria have not signed at all.

Since if chemical weapons were used, they were used by Syrians, against Syrians, within the sovereign borders of Syria; what legal basis is there for a foreign country to intervene inside Syria?

That is not to say that anyone on either side are either the “good guys” or even marginally acceptable in civilized company. They all are ambulatory anal orifi and wastes of protoplasm. But where is the legal basis for committing an unprovoked act of war on Syria, risking a regional or wider war, risking a nuclear confrontation at several levels, and incidentally trashing what remains of the US Constitution? What national interest or threat to the United States justifies it?

Now, as far as the reality of the use of nerve agents, as alleged. In the absence of chemical analysis by unbiased third parties detecting, say, the breakdown products of the nerve agents [autopsies being not available as will be noted below] I have to go with looking at the video evidence presented to attempt to justify the claim of the use of a nerve agent. I will, by the way, accept the report of the UN inspectors for that analysis.

Now, looking at the videos and pictures of the reported victims, my skepticism is based on the nature of nerve agents. They are not like chlorine, phosgene, or other war gases. They are functionally Raid™ for people. A single, miniscule, droplet on the skin is fatal. And it is a mist of those droplets that coat the skin and clothes. It takes time for the gas droplets to break down, and they are deadly on contact until they break down.

The pictures shown of purported nerve agent victims have been prepared for Islamic burial and are shrouded. Islamic funerals are, if possible, done by sundown on the day of death, and otherwise within 24 hours. The process of getting to those shrouds is to start as soon as possible after death and involves stripping the clothes [contaminated] off the [contaminated] body, binding bodily orifices and any wounds to minimize leakage, ritually washing [wudu] the body an odd number of times [preferably at least 3], the last with aromatic oils, and then dressing the hair. Then the body is shrouded for burial.

Those preparing the body, unless in CBW suits, will die too.

If people are dying from handling the bodies, it is not likely that others are going to be either volunteering to do it, or afterwards walking around the shrouded bodies with just face masks on for protection.

There is an alternate cause of death that has been suggested, and it should be investigated.

Interesting commentary WRT the SAA 155th Brigade, 4th Division.

It may come to pass that the fatalities ascribed to Sarin were, in fact, due to ethylene oxide, the major component of fuel air explosive ordnance.

These weapons are rocket launched, with a dispersal charge used to create a mist cloud over the landscape. Then, at the last split second, a detonating charge is used to ignite the inflammable mist to create a spectacular fireball.

The favored mist is made of ethylene oxide, a chemical common to industrial chemistry. It’s also extremely toxic. If it is not lit off, then its very vapor will kill.

Symptoms of ethylene oxide poisoning are identical to those described by the MSM at the scene.

Unlike Sarin, EO blows away quickly. So it’s possible to perform the Islamic burial rites upon the dead. This would explain the agitprop photos up loaded to the Web.

The unit in question — see the link — is shown launching Iranian style rockets consistent with FAE. These are also known as thermobaric warheads. It’s a system used by the US military, BTW.

There may not have even been a nerve agent employed, but it may be a dud FAE round. Fuel Air Explosives are NOT banned by any treaty.

So why, in the name of whatever Deity is turning the crank this week [and the entire lineup in the dugout] are we about to start WW-III before sorting this out?

Subotai Bahadur

    Brilliant post Subotai Bahadur.

    “They all are ambulatory anal orifi and wastes of protoplasm” <— Priceless!

    From what I recall, Sarin is a non persistent agent. That’s why it’s so “popular”. Gas the population and then your forces can move in without risk.

    jayjerome66 in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | September 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    “Those preparing the body, unless in CBW suits, will die too.”

    As you suggest, we don’t have certainty at this point if sarin was used (maybe the UN Inspectors will clarify that) but your contention above is way overstated.

    Although follow-up studies of the Tokyo subway sarin attacks in 1995 showed ‘secondary exposure’ to first responders (firefighters and police) the rates were low: only 9.9% for those who pulled victims from the subway and/or transported them – and none of those first responders were wearing protective equipment – they didn’t know it was a sarin attack.

    There were higher rates of secondary exposure at the hospital for those who came in closer, more prolonged contact with victims, about 23% of those health-care people reported symptoms; and escaping sarin trapped in or under a persons clothing resulted in some of those exposures.

    But there were no reported secondary exposure deaths from sarin in Tokyo. And the majority of the secondary effects suffered were relatively mild: runny noses, watery eyes, blurred vision, some with symptoms of rapid breathing and diarrhea.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that though sarin is extremely fatal when it first vaporizes, it evaporates quickly, from the environment and from body surfaces; therefore secondary exposure to victims is generally a low or moderate threat to those who come in contact with them.

    If that’s true, preparing the bodies of the Syrian victims for Islamic burial wouldn’t be anywhere near as dangerous as you purported it to be, lending credibility to the sarin scenario.

I’ve been resisting this thought, BUT the Reptilian Alien Overlords’ contrail chemicals polluting my Precious Bodily Fluids won’t let me block the voices from the abduction implants powered by Illuminati HAARM signals leaking through my tinfoil hat. (Also Atlantis, Druids, Stonehenge, and Syria harbors a convergence of magnetic meridians, where the Ancient Astronauts built one of their gold extraction pyramid systems & agricultural gen-modded slave hominid farms.)

Is this all just cover, creating an opportunity to blow up evidence of the US arming folks in Syria (& worse), out of Libya?

I propose on the basis of my abandoning the search for any sense on this issue The Reptilian Alien Illuminati Test:

When claiming the Reptilian Alien Illuminati did it makes more sense than any other story just stop until you get a clue.

“Narratives” don’t win debates.

Obama has to worry about the “blow back,” now.

His whole image can be destroyed. Just based on what he says.

My guess? He tries to dance away.

Oh. And, he thanks the Pope.

What are the alternatives to Assad? If we weaken his regime or take him out, who steps in to fill the vacuum?

These are questions that weren’t asked in Egypt and Libya. With obvious results.

Wm, from where I stand, Al Qaeda vs Assad/Syria = Sunni vs Shi’a. You know what? I don’t give a damn; let them kill each other and let their demon Allah sort it out.

Here’s why: Whether Sunni or Shi’a, they will kill Jews and Christians because we don’t believe as they do and reject Islam. Whether Sunni or Shi’a, they are in the US to dominate, not assimilate. Whether Sunni or Shi’a, they will lie to us to advance their agenda because the Koran says it’s okay. Whether Sunni or Shi’a, they are taught not to make friends who are not Muslim. Whether or Sunni or Shi’a, today they will go into Israel or the USA and receive medical treatment; tomorrow, they will gladly kill Jews and Americans.

Whether Sunni or Shi’a, the Koran has created the hellholes in which they live. They believe in it. They kill people who reject it. Let them live in the hell created by their ideology.

This sounds harsh. Yes, it is. However, you live and die by your beliefs. I live and die by Christianity. If the people in Syria want different, let them convert. They have a choice: Judaism or Christianity. If they reject, well, let their false god Allah sort them out. The USA should not intervene until such time as Syria and Iran attacks us with chemical or biological weapons.

Brutality is a way of life over there. They’ve been killing each other for two thousand years and they aren’t about to stop, no matter what we do.

Anyone who replaces Assad will be every bit as brutal. If he’s so awful, let the Syrians remove him.

Not one more dime…not one more drop of American blood to that sandbox. Let Allah sort it out.

Who had the most to gain by letting the world seeing pictures of children poisoned by chemical agents? Assad? Rebels? Who?

Who has the most to gain by convincing the U.S. to attack Assad? Assad? Rebels? Who?

Too many years of Paliwood (most of which were linked to by this website) make me skeptical of images of women and children as victims of an attack.

The fact is Obama is again in a self-serving salvage mode. The difference this time he has taken himself center stage to the international community where he is being judged lacking and he cannot let the world define him with this most shinning screw-up on international diploma. His Advisors, Kerry, Hagle, Dept. of Defense have all been given their walking orders on how he wants this to come down.

On Monday he will be doing interviews with anchors from all 3 network news and 3 cable news (PBS, CNN and FOX). On Tuesday he is going to try again from the Whitehouse to push out his message on why Syria needs to “have a shot across the Bow”. He will open his mouth and whether you hear his message or not, agree or not, the most important part will be HE will be listening to himself, absolve himself, with mindless justification ( as he is known to do) of any connection to his actions while informing the wayward Congress he has the authority to do what he wants. Whether Congress votes up or down or takes a pass, Obama is going to take us into the Syrian conflict.

You know, Wm, there’s a price to be paid for “death to America, death to Israel” even after we have given generously to Islamic nations in their time of trouble. We are tired and fed up of Muslims, of their constant slaughters of us and each other, of their constant state of grievance, of their constant threats, of their constant progress in pushing Shari’a down our throats. I think we are tired of them, and, God help us, their constant and abiding hatred, often covered up with phony smiles, have made us sometimes ignore “do good to them that despitefully use you”. We are tired of them, Wm. Just plain and simple tired, fed up, and disgusted. That’s why so many of us are saying let them kill each other resulting in fewer of them to try to kill us. For that, I ask God’s forgiveness, but that’s where I am. That’s where I stand. Right now, I can do no other.

What happens if missiles fly?

Most Americans don’t like the job Obama’s doing.

If missiles fly, will there be a sense of shame over the land? Or really ANGER! MLK never “dreamed” this dream.

I can’t believe Obama goes ahead with firing into Syria.

Yeah, Harry Reid gets things passed! He got the “stimulus” through (and it only hurt the country.) He got ObamaCare through. And, it only hurt the country.

Why would Obama hit the “send” button? To wag the dog.

With N.S.A. now exposed, the bully boys decide to up the ante?

Nixon got impeached in this country.

Maybe, the “courtesy” to Obama will be done at the UN?

By whatever means this dunce gets to go flying out of his office, it works for me.

The “other” zinger.

If Obama goes against the will of the American people … what will that do to his party’s label?

And, what if one of the American vessels lobs a Tomahawk, only to have the Russians send back a missile that takes the ship down?

You know, the one thing I don’t see is our American press coming to the aid of a war monger.

I don’t even see him gaining good press when he goes out to play golf.

And, I do see his “speech” being turned around by comedians, just like Nixon’s “V” hand waving didn’t end with his helicopter departure. Tricky Dick is still there after all these years.

America’s interests? It’s been no secret those ruling this country seek the opposite. The US has only one functioning political party today. That party represents the Beltway. America and Americans have no one to represent them. “Again and again, the American people are forced to confront the fact that its ruling class is not on its side.” (subhead, Public Safety) 10/20/11, “The Lost Decade,” Codevilla. A greater humanitarian tragedy is taking place in Mexico which shares a 2000 mile border with the US. Spengler said, Mexico would be Syria if it hadn’t had the option of moving its rural poor to the US, fully one fifth of its population. 70,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006. ‘Only’ 4200 were killed in the first 4 months of the new president’s term. The Zetas run Mexico’s coal mines which run all along the Texas border. The Tea Party’s historic efforts to save this country weren’t only trashed and wasted they were viewed with deep contempt. Far from having this country in mind, the horrified GOP solidified its ties with democrats and used their help to defeat the pro-America Tea Party in 2012.

As soon as somebody articulates how Assad is different now than he has been for years, there is no national security interest of ours that is imperiled. At any rate, we have one of his neighbors (Israel) to keep an eye on him.

Of course Jugears couldn’t count on Israel, though, since he has spent most of five years dissing the Jews and otherwise threatening them that they might be alone if the fecal matter strikes the bladed rotating device.

As soon as s/b until. My bad.

Subotai Bahadur | September 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Sanddog
jayjerome66

Re: Persistence of Sarin. Sarin has relatively low persistence, but that is relative.

From: Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders [WISER]
http://webwiser.nlm.nih.gov/getSubstanceData.do?substanceID=151displaySubstanceName=Sarin&selectedDataMenuItemID=76

ATMOSPHERIC FATE: According to a model of gas/particle partitioning of semivolatile organic compounds in the atmosphere(1), sarin, which has a vapor pressure of 2.9 mm Hg at 25 deg C(2), is expected to exist solely as a vapor in the ambient atmosphere. Vapor-phase sarin is degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals(SRC); the half-life for this reaction in air is estimated to be 9.6 hours(SRC), calculated from its rate constant of 4.0X10-11 cu cm/molecule-sec at 25 deg C(SRC) that was derived using a structure estimation method(4). The UV absorption spectrum of sarin in cyclohexane solution do not exhibit any absorption above 290 nm(5); therefore, sarin is not expected to degrade through direct photolysis in the environment(SRC).

Half life meaning the time when half of it would be degraded. At 9.6 hours half of it would still be there. At 19.2 hours, one quarter of it would be there.

The difference between secondary exposures in Tokyo and Syria could be accounted for by the amount and means of attack. In Tokyo, each train was attacked with app. 900 ml. of Sarin in bags that were dropped on the floor and punctured with umbrella tips and allowed to evaporate. Not exactly as efficient a method of wide dispersal as an artillery round or rocket warhead with bursting charge. An aerosol attack in Tokyo would have killed and contaminated more people.

That is, of course, assuming it was a Sarin attack. As noted, that point is in question.

Subotai Bahadur

[M]any people are buying into a media narrative which seeks to minimize the brutality of the Assad regime and the threat it poses, and to create a false choice of “Assad v. al-Qaeda.”

What’s the real choice?

(I personally don’t care how “brutal” the Assad regime is. We are not the world’s police force. Our bodies, our blood.)

[…] Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has up a great post today on “The “Assad v. al-Qaeda” narrative may not be what it […]

It is impossible to trust the information/ the transparency/ the disclosure/ the plan/ the judgment/ the ability to perform/ the consequence of an administration that considers the enemy is us.

HT to janitor: http://thetruthwins.com/archives/72-types-of-americans-that-are-considered-potential-terrorists-in-official-government-documents

Professor,

You’re completely right about al Qaeda, the Rebels, and how Syria and Russia are using hyperbole to propagandize against intervention. I totally agree with you on this.

The problem is that it’s a Sunni versus all the other Syrians war. The Christians are on the side of Assad. That says a lot about the rebels don’t you think?

The sad thing is that this has been going on for well over two years now, so “an 18 month old video” is actually relevant. I don’t think a “who’s more brutal?” schematic is helpful because both sides are brutal: both engage in rapes, tortures, sodomies, beheadings, burnings, slaughter. It was the same “rebels” who sodomozided, burned, and tortured Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi, the same ones who beheaded Daniel Pearl, who have done unspeakable things throughout the world, including on American soil in 2011. It’s what they do, how they act, who they are. Christians are being mass murdered on a daily basis by the “rebels”; including children and babies. Is it really less offensive because they are burned or stabbed or shot rather than gassed?

If the objective is to manage the chemical weapons in Syria, then why aren’t we going in with that objective? So far, the stated objective is to retaliate for the use of gas (though it’s still not clear that the “rebels” don’t have and haven’t used it, as well) and to (and this is the important part) use a show of force to act as a deterrent to Iran and North Korea (per Petraeus today). So we act alone (well, with France’s support) to slap Assad’s wrist and thump our chests? When the very real consequences of doing so include engaging both Russia and China in a hot war? Does anyone really think the insane leaders of either Iran or North Korea will be intimidated by a “surgical strike” against Syria? It makes no sense to me.

Mister Natural | September 8, 2013 at 1:06 am

perhaps we should employ the same strategy we used
during the iran-iraq war of the 1980’s:
just let them slaughter each other ’til their evil heart’s content.
we need to keep our powder dry for the mullahs in iran

A year ago, splinter group, little influence.

So?

It doesn’t matter one whit. Yesterday, a year ago, important group, unimportant group, government, splinter, whatever, it does not matter from our point of view. The answer is still, “No.”

IMO, deciding whether to intervene in the Syria war, for any reason at all, is like an Old West US marshal deciding that he’d rather have Frank than Jesse in charge of James gang.

Even stipulating that the regime did use chemical weapons as alleged, there are many more considerations, some of which I outlined here, “Just War and Syria Strikes, Part One.”

So, what is the point, here?

Everyone knows that the Al Assad regime is a brutal, repressive thugocracy. Everyone knows that the rebels were never patriotic boyscouts and have become even worse due to the introduction of extreme Muslin radicals who hate the West and the U.S. What no one has been able to explain, is why the U.S. should ignore international law and practice and go to war with Syria? For, an unprovoked attack upon the nation of Syria IS an act of war under international law. And, that makes it perfectly acceptable for the allies of Syria to engage the United States on Syria’s side.

So, disregarding all of the controversy over who is better in the Syrian civil war, let’s see a moving argument for going to war with Syria and her allies over the incident described.

Does the evidence support the claim that the Syrian government used WMD. The evidence suggests that some type of chemical/gas was used.

Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs in his August 26 World Tribune article ‘Mounting evidence raises questions about Syrian chemical weapon attack’ makes the case that the US/Saudi/Qatari supported rebels were advised on August 14 to prepare to take advantage of a major event which will lead to the intervention of the US.

Additionally, “Meanwhile, additional data from Damascus about the actual chemical attack increases the doubts about Washington’s version of events. Immediately after the attack, three hospitals of Doctors Without Borders (MSF: médecins sans frontières) in the greater Damascus area treated more than 3,600 Syrians affected by the chemical attack, and 355 of them died. MSF performed tests on the vast majority of those treated.

MSF director of operations Bart Janssens summed up the findings: “MSF can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack. However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events — characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers — strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent.” Simply put, even after testing some 3,600 patients, MSF failed to confirm that sarin was the cause of the injuries. According to MSF, the cause could have been nerve agents like sarin, concentrated riot control gas, or even high-concentration pesticides. Moreover, opposition reports that there was distinct stench during the attack suggest that it could have come from the “kitchen sarin” used by jihadist groups (as distinct from the odorless military-type sarin) or improvised agents like pesticides.”

Bodansky goes on to highlight that the administration was touting the positive test results from a Beirut hospital of an alleged victim who was paid to go to Beirut for testing. Unfortunately, the victim left the hospital (with his money) before being tested.

http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/08/28/mounting-evidence-raises-questions-about-syrian-chemical-weapon-attack/

Has the NYT or other MSM, acknowledged, reported or considered the “101″ overriding geo-strategic goal of Russia since Peter the Great has been a establishing a warm water port in the Med? Now, Russia has what is referred to as a “naval supply and maintenance base” in Tartus, Syria, and doubtless Putin wants to “reset” it as a full air-sea naval base to circumvent the Turkish Straits, an historic font of war and conflict for Russia. Tartus is a tactical advantage presently, which can/will change the balance of power in the Levant. (Study the geography and muse the consequences.)

“Reset” buttons can lead to other buttons being pressed – and quickly. And, Obama has been lacking an ability to decide “pressing” matters. He indeed has been a dawdler and procrastinator. (Umm? I wonder how many “incompletes” are in his grade transcripts?)

Meanwhile, a small group of Syrian anti-Islamists get caught in the crossfire because the regime they despise and the potential next regime.

Meet the new boss… same as the old boss…

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