Harper commmentary to pass on

I received the following email this evening, with an invitation to pass it along to others.  I make no claim of accuracy but from past experience, the author is generally well informed.  It certainly tracks well with events of the past week.  pl


"From a series of meetings in Washington today with a number of contacts, I have reached the following conclusions regarding an imminent U.S. attack on Syria.

First, as of late Friday afternoon, Aug. 23, President Obama concluded that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons in the Aug. 21 attack in a Damascus suburb.  At that point, the White House put out a statement to select reporters from an "unnamed senior White House official" making it clear that the President was convinced of the Syrian government's use of CW.


By Tuesday morning, the Obama strategy and timetable had shifted and some hardened decisions had been made.  Track I was abandoned because it would take too much time to go to the UN Security Council when there was near-certainty that Russia and China would veto.  By then, enough European, Arab and other allied states had agreed to back a retaliatory action that it was felt there was enough credible international support to attack soon.  


Although JCS Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opposed military action, once the President made the decision, the objectives of the Pentagon shifted to controlling the targeting decisions and limiting the possibility of an all-out war.  For Obama and his inner circles of advisors (Rice, Jarrett, Axelrod, Power, Michelle Obama), the level of military attack had to be sufficient to avoid Republican attacks for only making a symbolic response to the alleged CW attacks, while avoiding a major escalation or a clear intervention to give the rebels a decisive edge.  It appears that cruise missile attacks are planned, to target command and control sites and storage facilities for missiles, other delivery systems, and possibly some CW.

Secretary of State Kerry has spoken with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and has informed him of the American plans, along with reassurances that the United States is not targeting any Russian strategic interests in Syria or seeking regime change.  The Russians were told that the U.S. is convinced Assad's forces used chemical weapons, and the U.S. actions are in retaliation for the Syrians crossing Obama's "red line."  One source indicated that there is some tacit agreement from the Russians that, so long as the attack is so limited, they will not escalate.  This is, of course, a very risky proposition, given the degeneration of U.S.-Russian relations of late. It is likely that there are also military-to-military back channels communicating this message as well, although I do not have details.
There is no clear assessment of how Iran will respond, and what impact this will have on the new Rowhani government in Tehran.

Israel and the Israel Lobby have been pressing for such U.S. action since last week.  Israel believes that the longstanding cease-fire deal that they had with Syria is over, given the penetration of both Al Qaeda and Hezbollah networks inside Syrian territory.  Last week, rockets were fired into northern Israel and Israeli intelligence concluded that the rockets were fired by Al Qaeda linked rebel factions.  Israel wants the United States to take care of the Syria crisis fast, because the status quo is intolerable for Israeli security.

It would appear that these limited strikes by the U.S. are imminent, and that they could likely occur before President Obama leaves early next week for St. Petersburg for the G-20 heads of state summit. 



Comments are welcome.  pl

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52 Responses to Harper commmentary to pass on

  1. FB Ali says:

    I find this ‘information’ quite credible. It strikes me as the likely course of events, both past and to come.
    It also raises the question whether the US has been ‘played’ by the Israelis. Once they decided that Assad has to go, they needed him to go quickly, since the longer the war lasts the greater the chances of the jihadis being the replacement. The quickest way to end the regime is to bring the US into the war. Obama’s “red line” provided an easy way to do that.
    Of course, it is one thing to intend a limited engagement, and quite another to stick to that intention. Events have a way of taking charge.

  2. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Not being a native speaker of English I have the following questions:
    1-It seems like the attack is going to be “somewhat limited” but not “too limited”. Such a farce will achieve exactly what?
    2-I cannot decipher “Israel wants the United States to take care of the Syria crisis fast” statement. What is the optimal “fast” resolution to such a crisis?
    3-What if Assad holds the zionists responsible for this attack and unloads his arsenal on them in retaliation for this operation? Is everyone sure that he will have enough left over to make it worthwhile for him to desist?
    The opposition Turkish press is not very vocal on this issue at all and the Turkish population-those who oppose the erdogan regime- are dead set against any involvement.
    Ishmael Zechariah.

  3. The Twisted Genius says:

    So, this whole sordid Broadway show is all about us dancing to the Israeli fiddler… once again.

  4. A. Pols says:

    And so it goes, once more down the Rabbit Hole. The impulse to “do something” once again drives our govt. to do the wrong thing,which can only result in a worse outcome for most Syrians and a worse outcome for us. More money spent that we don’t have, and another country run by Islamist crazies. The recent Russian comment about “A Monkey playing with a hand grenade” seems apt, and also funny is some American reaction to the comment as being racist….

  5. twv says:

    “For Obama and his inner circles of advisors (Rice, Jarrett, Axelrod, Power, Michelle Obama)”
    I really feel better now, knowing such a collection of seasoned and smart foreign policy experts are on the job.
    Don’t you feel better already?
    People get the government they deserve.

  6. mbrenner says:

    All makes sense except for the Israeli calculation. If they are worried by the growing presence of al-Qaeda and other salafist elements, then how does a weakening of assadimrpove the situation? As to Hezbaullah, they are on the other side which would be weakened. But they will not disappearnor can we foresee a new government strong enough to assert its sovereign over the entire country. Unless the Israelis anticipate asecond phase of intervention whereby outside parties will impose and oversee terms of resolution that neutralizes both the salafists and Hezbullah. Are they voluntering?

  7. Medicine Man says:

    What is the possibility that the central piece of intelligence supporting this intervention is a fabrication? There is only one source, Israel, and they have their own national interests to advance. Isn’t it common practice to test unverified information against multiple sources? Is the administration going to consult the US IC to confirm this?

  8. joe brand says:

    The Obama administration has delayed, cancelled, and waived pieces of the Affordable Care Act, which Congress passed and the president signed. Now, having used military force in Libya without congressional approval, the president intends to use military force in Syria, again without congressional authorization. Can we just stop pretending that we have three co-equal branches of government, and grant the emperor his laurels?

  9. First, Obama would not go to Congress for authorization under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution. Select leaders of Congress would be informed, but no Congressional consent would be sought.
    If we had a Congress with a spine, this deliberate violation of Congress’s authority to declare war should be grounds for impeachment. There isn’t the fig leaf of an authorization of military force, or this somehow being a defensive maneuver.

  10. tunde says:

    I had heard about the unit 8200 intercepts but had seen it was attributed to Debka so decided not to regurgitate them on this site. The Independent had earlier been used as a willing vehicle to try to smear Snowden et al by outing the presence of a UK ELINT station in the ME. Perhaps that station was off-line because i don’t get how the ‘coalition’ would need to rely on Israeli intercepts to engage in such a far-reaching and unforseen in consequence action such as undertaking military action in Syria. Not having served in the military, how does such an order percolate down the chain of command (if there is one) ? Were euphenisms interpreted as being orders that led to deploying CW ? Why can’t the world see the intercepts (since we all know we’re being spied on already) ? There is a significant credibility question here, quite apart from those encouraging DC to act to preserve some hitherto undefined (in geopolitical terms) appearance of muscular global authority.
    Also, how does this tally with Prince Bandar’s highly pregnant phrase that an ‘escalation’ on the Syria front was imminent, as quoted when he visited Putin in early August ?
    I would v much like your thoughts (hope they make sense).

  11. Indignation says:

    No Congressional consent, no funding, no legal justification to attack. Yes, I’m sure we will start bombing on Saturday night.
    80% of America would confuse Ghouta with cheese. Right, Miley?

  12. If David Cameron is taking the U.K. to war on the basis of SIGINT from Mossad, it had better be published asap, and it had better be good. When MailOnline recycled Israeli claims that Bashir Assad’s brother was behind the attacks, the top-rated comment – with 592 endorsements – said that the Israeli source ‘took away what little credibility this article had.’ The fourth best, with 402 endorsements, read ‘confirmation that the Israeli government is the source of this information, immediately tells us it can be discounted as untrue!’
    (See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2403312/Ruthless-brother-President-Assad-accused-chemical-weapons-attack-killed-1-200-Syrians.html#comments )
    If indeed it is accurate that Obama is trying to steer a path between a symbolic response which will leave him politically vulnerable, and avoiding risks of major escalation or ‘a clear intervention to give the rebels a decisive edge’, how difficult is this likely to be?
    One would have thought that the Syrian commanders, with advice both from the Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Russians, all of whom have relevant expertise, would have been planning for this kind of scenario for some considerable time. How far is possible, with a combination of ‘maskirovka’ and other measures, to limit the effect of Western airstrikes?
    There may well be very good grounds for believing that the Syrians are not likely to be as successful as the Serbs turned out to be. If however initial American attacks have limited effect, one would have thought that the pressures to escalate could be strong.

  13. Kerim says:

    It is telling that the two gentlemen with combat experience were seemingly opposed to military action.
    The proof of culpability of the Syrian Government has still not been made public.
    The media circus is in full hysteria mode, they’re not even interested in seeing “proof”.
    The kids are in control, and are going to punish this big bully in Syria for not playing ball. So everyone can see that they’ve got hair on their chest.

  14. Poul says:

    Hmm, how many of the choosen targets will be something Israel wishes to see destroyed and how many targets will suit the FSA?

  15. jonst says:

    The ‘status quo” is ALWAYS unacceptable to the Israelis and the Lobby. One might say that THAT dynamic, the unacceptability of the status quo IS the status quo.

  16. Bandolero says:

    You may want to check this report of Focus – a major German news magazine – apperaring 24.08.2013. Quote:
    Nach Erkenntnissen israelischer Geheimdienstkreise ist der syrische Präsident Bashar al-Assad für den Giftgasanschlag bei Damaskus verantwortlich. Eine Einheit des Militärnachrichtendienstes Amam, die auf Funkspionage spezialisierte „Unit 8200“, kontrollierte zur Zeit des Gasangriffs die Kommunikation der syrischen Armee. Ein früherer Mossad-Offizier sagte FOCUS, die Auswertung habe eindeutig ergeben, dass der Beschuss mit Giftgas-Raketen von syrischen Regierungstruppen erfolgt sei.

  17. Alba Etie says:

    Are any Senior Leadership resignations expected in protest of these planned ‘limited strikes “in Syria ? General Martin J Dempsey has been outspoken in his opposition to military action in Syria – might he resign ? Is there any chance at all that the ‘limited strikes ” will not occur . And as related matter is the entity known as the Electronic Syrian Army ( ?) – that has recently hacked the AP Twitter account that put out a false statement that ” there was explosions at the White House -and the President was injured “that caused a near market panic cause for concern – when Assad pushes back after the strikes ? I think this same group took over the NYTimes website yesterday .

  18. RetiredPatriot says:

    So many problems with this course of events. Among them this: Obama would not go to Congress for authorization under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution. Select leaders of Congress would be informed, but no Congressional consent would be sought. In a Congress this controlled by Israeli PAC money, there’s no doubt he’d get any and all authorization he asked for. To not ask only furthers the objective of solidifying the imperial presidency.
    And, given Harper’s comments, I retract my earlier observation that Israel would serve as a brake on the rolling train. If true, they (once again) seem to be firmly in the engineer’s seat. Perhaps this is their new way of forcing their over-sized client to attack their real target Iran?

  19. Thanks Harper and your info looking increasingly accurate!

  20. GulfCoastPirate says:

    How does launching a few cruise missiles ‘…take care of the Syria crisis fast’ and why do the Israelis think the US has the capability to do this with a few missile strikes?
    Also, the administration says their ‘proof’ that Assad carried out the attacks is he is the only actor with the capability since he has his own missiles yet now we hear that the Israelis have determined that the AQ types also have missiles and have launched them into Israel.
    Something smells fishy.

  21. Harper says:

    I am certain that the Israelis are hoping that once the US is dragged so directly into the Syria imbroglio, Washington will be compelled to “finish the job.” This will mean not only ousting the Assad regime, but also taking prolonged counterinsurgency action against the jihadists, to “fix” the final outcome. General Dempsey and now General Anthony Zinni (in this morning’s Washington Post) warned that if the US is drawn into the maelstrom, we will still be stuck when Obama leaves office, whether by near-term impeachment or by simply running out his second term. The parallels to Kosovo are obviously striking. We were supposed to be conducting a limited punitive strike but wound up with an 80 day bombing campaign. Tony Blair at the time of the NATO 50th anniversary summit was pressing for the US to send ground troops in to expedite the mission’s completion. Clinton objected so it was all done through the KLA and other surrogate forces.

  22. The beaver says:

    Alba Etie
    correct ; NYT was hacked by ESA yesterday

  23. luisfernando says:

    Thank you very much. To see where this comes. Richard Haass, CFR president said after Syria had to prepare for Iran.
    Syria Did not Yakhnot Iskander missiles to shoot down ships and U.S.?
    Now Russia says it wants to ensure their sites. Do not you trust USA?

  24. eakens says:

    Interesting. Apparently 5 days is too long to render evidence of the attack as being credible from the UN inspector’s perspective, but on our end, evidence “may be” released “as soon as Thursday”. WTH are they waiting for?
    Sounds like the evidence is coming from the DEA!!

  25. mo says:

    Why has this post been so redacted fron its original?

  26. MartinJ says:

    In summary:
    We dont know what the chemical agent was that was employed
    We dont know who made the delivery system
    We dont know where it was fired from
    We dont know from whence it came
    Yet the US and UK and France are all going to bomb the regime.

  27. eakens says:

    And the hypocrisy begins at 0:55….

  28. robt willmann says:

    As was the subject of the previous post below, “The smoking gun comes from ….”, the Times of Israel comes out and says it–
    The lead paragraph–
    “While Israel will almost certainly take no direct part in a military strike, Israeli intelligence information is widely believed to have played a central role in enabling the US’s adamant conviction that Assad’s regime fired chemical weapons at civilians outside Damascus last Wednesday ….”
    The next paragraph–
    “A large delegation of senior Israeli security officials is currently in Washington holding talks with top administration officials led by US National Security Adviser Susan Rice.”
    And the headline: “Israeli intelligence seen as central to US case against Syria”.
    The article is dated 27 August and is quite a puff piece.
    The Israeli government must be rolling on the floor laughing at how easy it is to manipulate the “top administration officials led by US National Security Adviser Susan Rice”.

  29. toto says:

    Meh. Limited action to incapacitate Assad’s ability to deliver CWs? Russians won’t escalate? “Not giving the rebels a decisive edge” and “no regime change” ?
    I’m OK with this.
    From recent rumours, it thought the administration was trying to help the “right” rebels win, both against Assad and the “wrong” rebels – a losing proposition IMO. If Harper’s assessment is accurate, my understanding was incorrect – much to my relief!

  30. turcopolier says:

    Harper is a guest author. I have a right to edit his material for format and I have. pl

  31. mo says:

    Of course you do Sir. My curiosity was based on whether there had been new information that led to the removal of the “Israeli aspect” of the post.

  32. If BHO were able to get a vote on Syria in the HOUSE my guess is that it would fracture further the TEA PARTY!

  33. ZG says:

    “For Obama and his inner circles of advisors (Rice, Jarrett, Axelrod, Power, Michelle Obama), …”
    I thought Axelrod left Obama’s employ last year to work as a journalist. How could he be in Obama’s inner circle deciding whether the US commits an act of war against a no-threat sovereign nation a quarter of the way across the planet?

  34. Medicine Man says:

    I wonder about your second point too. I seem to remember Hezbollah having the capacity to drop rockets on Israel, so how does the means of delivery implicate Assad beyond question?

  35. Stephanie says:

    “Secretary of State Kerry has spoken with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and has informed him of the American plans, along with reassurances that the United States is not targeting any Russian strategic interests in Syria or seeking regime change.”
    The Russians received similar assurances over Libya.
    An NYT article that offers not terribly persuasive reasons why Assad might have resorted to chemical weapons at this juncture:

  36. Matthew says:

    Stephanie: If the Russians believe Kerry’s assurance, then the Russian deserve to lose their strategic interests in Syria.

  37. confusedponderer says:

    I just heard Nicholas Burns say: … the US has a dog in the fight in Syria because #1 the poor Syrians are being brutalised by the Assad regime, #2 because of Israel, and #3 because of Iran and Iran’s ally Hezbollah, and America’s adversary Russia.
    I found notable the use of the word ‘adversary’.
    Probably, for Burns the cold war never ended, and probably that the Syrian people don’t matter for more than being a prop for his grand strategery games – what an opportunity – whack Iran, Hezbollah and Russia at the same time! Obviously, by all means the US must give it a shot!

  38. turcopolier says:

    Nicholas Burns is just another pretty boy foreign service whore. pl

  39. Larry Kart says:

    Colonel — I hold no brief for Mr. Burns the “pretty boy foreign service whore,” but “whatever his last name was originally” strikes me as beneath you. Is not the man quite capable of being what you say he is with out also being what you imply he is? BTW and FWIW, Burns is a member of the Sovereign Knights of Malta, a lay Catholic religious order with which I believe you are familiar.

  40. turcopolier says:

    Larry Kart
    OK. I take it back. Sorry. pl

  41. Fred says:

    The NYT is rather disingenuous.
    “further terrorizing rebel supporters, projecting confidence by defying the international community, or simply wanting to raise the military pressure on some of the most stubborn and strategic pockets of rebel fighters and their backers.”
    The rebel supply lines were cut with the recapture of Homs are surrounding areas as well as cities further to the West. That negates a need for placing ‘more’ military pressure on them since they are effectively cut off. The supporters of the rebels (financial and equipment) are in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, killing Syrians will not terrorize them. Assad was already negotiating with native Syrian rebels to either change sides or at least become neutral. Gassing Syrian’s eliminates that possibility immediately, that gains more rebel support, not less. The ‘most stubborn’ rebels – the foreign jihadis – they believe they are on Gods side. They aren’t going to get terrorized or change sides. Gassing a suburb doesn’t kill enough of them to outdo all the negatives.
    Where is the actual proof? This is all conjecture to encourage America to enter into a war that a number of the usual suspects have been demanding for many years.

  42. jonst says:

    Let’s just say Burns ain’t no Kennan…..of course not many were. But he, Burns, is a lightweight….true?

  43. Popsmoke says:

    With all due respect Mr. Kart,
    Sir Nicholas Burns being a Knight of Malta should be ashamed of himself. First SMOM is a Catholic Religious Order not just a Catholic Lay Order, that would be the Knight of Columbus. Being a Knight of Malta, one takes a series of oaths and vows. One of those is to be subservant to Clergy and Rome. Unless he paid his $3000 inital fee and his $1500 annual dues just to join the “Beltway Fair Haired Bozy Club” and yes sir SMOM has a lot of those while some are not even Catholic.
    The Eastern Catholic Church in Syria has come out against outside military intervention. Even Our Holy Father has pleaded for talks. As a Knight Sir Nicholas should have taken notice. While he is over looking the humanitarian disaster our intervention will cause. That sir, should be Sir Nicholas’s very first concern.
    Sir Nicholas should be concerned thatbthis administration better have more than UTube, Israeli Unit 8200s intel and couple of NGOs who could not tell the difference between a BB Gun and a ICBM before we send in any of our smart pencils for surgical strikes with target files that benefit who? Israel? Or the Syrian People? Oh yes, or maybe Sir Nicholas can tell us where our own IC is? NSA, NRO, MSIC, CIA, DIA and the plethoria of another intel agencies? What do they have? Or were they all on vacation this month? Budget cuts got them working a 26 hour weeks? Our birds in orbit not working?
    Besides when do we have the moral right to to tell other countries not to use CW when we sir have a history of using weapons and still stockpile and use weps like phosphorus and DU munitions, including cluster weps and landmines with cards yes? So is Sir Nicholas going to tell me that these types of weps are any different than CW? The same applies to Israel. Or has he forgotten Gaza? By the way, Israel? When are we going to force them into the NPT? Or are their nukes any different than our nukes or anyone elses nukes? Or are nukes different than CW? Oh yeah when is Israel going to ratify the CWC? Or did they forget they signed the convention while using phosphorus a poison….
    Lastly, POTUS has a constutional obligation to seek approval of the Congress in this case. We have not been attacked and its getting old that any president and I don’t care the party decides when they wish to use our militray without accountability. Any Knight Of Malta I know would be very displeased with that alone.
    All Respects Mr. Kart

  44. elkern says:

    Maybe Burns just knows which side of his bread is buttered. Looks to me like the MSM is trying to sell a us load, but we’re not buying. I was reading some CNN thing yesterday which said that American public opinion on a potential attack on Syria was “mixed”; when I clicked the link to see the stats, I found that “mixed” means that 9% support it.
    That’s a pretty weak drink.

  45. Larry Kart says:

    Popsmoke — Sorry if I was wrong about the Sovereign Knights of Malta, but the phrase “lay Catholic religious order” is how the the Sovereign Knights of Malta is characterized in the Wikipedia entry for the organization. If I’m wrong, so is Wikipedia — and it wouldn’t be the first time for either of us.

  46. turcopolier says:

    Larry Kart and popsmoke
    I am not a member of SMOM, but I am an invested member of EOHSJ and know something of the military-religious orders. Both groups are confraternal orders of chivalry that date from the Latin period in Jerusalem and Palestine. The two groups are under the protection of the papacy. EOHSJ is actually part of the papal household and though less well known has primacy of place. EOHSJ is a mixed lay/clerical establishment. SMOM is a religious order like the Jesuits, Benedictines and the like. They have some lay brothers but the men who run the thing are in vows like a Franciscan friar. These are called “Knights of Justice.” None of the SMOM knights are priests although they have priests in th eorder as chaplains. pl

  47. Popsmoke says:

    Colonel Lang,
    There are only three Papal Orders of Knighthood under protection of the Pope. SMOM is one of them. I believe you belong to one the others (Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre). The SMOM is rather unique and different from the others. The election of the grand master must be approved by the Pope who is the Orders “Superior” and the Pope appoints a Cardinal as Prelate of the Order. Additionaly SMOM hold Diplomatic Status and Members can travel and do travel with a Maltese Diplomatic Passport. It has many diplomatic mission and many countries in return have diplomatic mission in return to the Order in Malta.
    This gives SMOM a very special ranking to the Universal Church. As far as I know. No other Papal Order of Knighthood hold this type of status and ranking. With the Pope as the Orders Superior his order is order. Knights can take various vows as they do in other Religious Orders to include, poverty, chasity and obedience.
    Priests of the order are normally ranked as Honorary Cannons of the Order…I believe the same as the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. This is what I was referring to…
    With High Regards…

  48. turcopolier says:

    I am surprised that you think you know more about this than I. Perhaps I could send you a photograph of my “diploma” from the Grand Master of EOHSJ. There are not three orders of knighthood under papal protection. There are two. The Order of St. Mary of the Teutons (the Teutonic Knights) is virtually extinct and should not be counted. These two orders are as as I said. SMOM and EOHSJ. They both are; personal honors, titles and organizations. EOHSJ essentially raises and disburses the monies need to maintain a Catholic church presence in Israel/Palestine, Jordan, southern Lebanon up to Jouniya and Cyprus. These are the ancient territories of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Among the activities funded are; parishes, schools, creches, orphanages, a seminary, Bethlehem University, old folks homes and the like. Many of these activities provide services to Muslims as well. For example BU is 60% Muslim in its students. SMOM (the Hospitallers) continue their focus on medical matters. There are no Canons of the Holy Sepulchre in EOHSJ. The order originated as a guard for the Canons of the Holy Sepulcher as well as an an honorific for senior barons of the kingdom but at present there are no Canons of the Holy Sepulchre. Priests are allowed to be knights up to a certain level in EOHSJ. The comment in the wiki on this is incorrect. There are other “orders” of papal knghthood but they are not organizations. They are individual honors. The Order of Christ and the Order of St. Gregory would be examples. SMOM has the status of a sovereign entity because it actually ruled Rhodes and then Malta for hundreds of years. That does not make SMOM less subject to the authority of the pope. EOHSJ as a part of the papal household participates in the extra-territorial privileges of the Vatican under the Lateran Treaty of 1929. pl

  49. Popsmoke says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I am not in competition with you and yes there are several additional orders but as you note those are of a different ranking within our Church the SMOM, EDSHJ and the Teutonics while the Church Orders all do their share in support. However you mistake my point. My point was SMOM is more than just a Catholic Lay Order and its members are subject to direct authority of their Grand Master and especially their Superior, Our Holy Father.
    But Its been 15 years since I worked for then Archbishop McCarrick and his Regional Bishop David Aries. So forgive me if my memory of details lapses. As I hold you in high regard I hold those Orders of our Church with extreme regard for their service. But in Sir Nicholas’s case if one is going to take a stand that opposes the directives of his Order and its Superior. Then one must make sure that one removes his cover…so.to speak… It just goes aganist the grain..
    With High regards..

  50. rhack says:

    Well, I’ve explained this here before.
    1) Israel wants a war with Iran.
    2) Israel can’t have a “cheap” war with Iran without taking out Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon. Because otherwise Israel will have to deal with Iranian, Syrian AND Hizballah missiles. This will keep the Israeli electorate in bomb shelters for most of every day, hurting the economy and ticking off said electorate who might vote out the Likud in the next elections…Netanyahu doesn’t want that.
    3) As Colonel Lang has said in the past, the only way to do that is to take out Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley.
    4) Only way to do that is cross Syrian territory, which means engaging Syrian forces, which means a two-front war and casualties.
    5) BUT IF Syria were already under attack by the US and NATO – a la Libya – then Syrian forces would be degraded and pinned down allowing an Israeli force to cross Syrian territory and enter the Bekaa Valley from the flank.
    6) A US/NATO air campaign will also get rid of the very Syrian missiles and aircraft which could threaten Israel in an Iran war.
    7) This was the plan since day one of the Syria crisis which is proven by the fact that the US inserted UN Chapter 7 language into the first three UNSC Resolutions – which is why Russia and China vetoed them.
    8) Then the US had the insurgents fire into Turkey and had Turkey fire back to get Syria to retaliate – but Syria didn’t.
    9) Then the US had the insurgents fire into Israel and had Israel fire back to get Syria to retaliate – but Syria didn’t.
    10) That left them with the “chemical weapons” ploy – except Assad didn’t use chemical weapons.
    11) That left the US and Israel with “false flag” operations conducted by insurgents which the US has ADMITTED training in the handling of chemical weapons!
    12) And here we are…
    I have been saying that the US and NATO would attack Syria by the end of this year. Regardless of how the present situation pans out, we would seem to be on track.
    Once the US and whatever allies it can gather have degraded Syria’s forces sufficiently, Israel will use some “Hizballah is getting chemical weapons from Syria” BS excuse to attack Lebanon, sending one armored division into Syria to protect the flank of a second armored division which will go up and over in the Bekka Valley, along with a third armored division which will go up through Southern Lebanon as in 2006.
    Except this time Israel will commit all its forces to an all-out effort to dislodge and remove Hizballah from southern Lebanon, seize and/or destroy as many of Hizballah’s missile arsenal as they can, and push Hizballah far enough north so that its remaining missiles can not cover all of Israel.
    Once Syria and Hizballah have been sufficiently degraded so that they cannot be effective actors against Israel in an Iran war, then Israel will start the Iran war – and Obama will delightedly commit the US to support Israel in that war.

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