“Assad foes cannot set conditions for Syria talks: Russia” Reuters


""We categorically oppose … affirmations that the conference should become a kind of public act of capitulation by the government delegation, with the subsequent handover of power in Syria to the opposition," he said in remarks published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website."  Lavrov quoted in Reuters


Morning Joe Scarborough, the dumbest man in morning television, said today that the Syrian government is "one of the two worst enemies of the United States in the Middle East."

Say what?

Joe has been living in New York City for a long time now.  I guess there is something in the water… No, Joe, Syria is viewed by ISRAEL as one of its two greatest enemies in the Middle East.  Israel and the US are two different countries, Joe.  Separate sovereign countries usually have at least some differing interests.  Tell me. Joe, how is Syria a major threat to the US?  Terrorism?  When was that?  Where was that?  Remind me.

In any event, Russia has made it clear now that it will not accept a phony conference in which the Syrian government show up to surrender  Sounds like "check" to me.  "Mate" is coming.

Is there anyone left in government who has an actual grasp of the concept of the "art of the possible?"  Ah!  I take that back.  I heard Obama say that the Chiefs have tried to talk sense to him.  pl  



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29 Responses to “Assad foes cannot set conditions for Syria talks: Russia” Reuters

  1. Bill H says:

    “Is there anyone left in government who has an actual grasp of the concept of the “art of the possible?” Ah! I take that back. I heard Obama say that the Chiefs have tried to talk sense to him.”
    If you mean, as I assume you do, the military JCS, then I would mention that under our constitution the military is not supposed to be “in government” as you suggest. Which does not negate your point. No, there is no one left in government with any sense of what is possible. They navigate based on their dreamy little desires, which will get other people killed, not them.

  2. Matthew says:

    Col: But we are told that the Russians are “isolated.” See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/17/us-g-idUSBRE95F0JK20130617

  3. turcopolier says:

    Our constitution does not say that. The armed forces are part of the Executive Branch of the government. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces (not the US). The Chiefs (JCS)are confirmed in office by the senate and are the commander in chief’s principal military advisers. This is their statutory duty. pl

  4. The beaver says:

    yeah , that what Stephen Harper from Canada has been saying since Sunday:
    The PM whose only worries about the ME are the survival of Israel and the death of Iran.
    The spin meisters of his comm dept have made sure that all the agencies got a copy of his speech to deflect troubles at home , especially the crooks he has appointed at the Senate.

  5. jonst says:

    so we’re now on the side of suicide bombers? And the Times tries to spin the story like this is some kind of legitimate, or at least, semi legit tactic?
    This is who we are gonna be sending arms/intel to? Yeah, yeah, I know, not to these guys…to the good FSA guys.

  6. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    Ever the romantic I still believe that Gen Dempsey & Sec of Defense Hagel will counter balance all the bad advice of those that say we must intervene in Syria. And I the end of the day we do not go to war again in the ME .

  7. Fred says:

    Perhaps the Prime Minister can send Canada’s army to Syria instead of volunteering ours.

  8. Medicine Man says:

    Ha! I’m sure Putin is shuddering at the thought of the stern talking to he’s going to get. Hilarious.
    How can Putin be isolated when half of the civilized world, including China, all think that the US is overreaching on this?

  9. crf says:

    One thing about all the Syria hype is that allows the commentariat to avoid the fact that Iran has a new moderate President, with a serious chance to positively resolve the nuclear weapons issue, while retaining and advancing Iran’s nuclear energy ambitions, including the manufacture of light-water reactor nuclear fuel.
    I don’t think it is an accident that (the Western puppet state of) Canada is trying to completely discredit Russia an equal negotiating partner. It’s a way for the West to shut it out of future Iranian negotiations. (Similarly, note how Brazil and Turkey were shut out.)
    Nobody in the west cares about Syria, except as a way to manoeuver their policy vis-a-vis Iran. That fact that it is Russia that disagrees with the West is a large reason why this meaningless internal conflict is being trumped up.

  10. The beaver says:

    A couple of interesting and edifying articles:
    “Let them kill themselves quietly
    Op-ed: We shouldn’t give Arabs a reason to unite around their only common denominator– hatred towards Israel”
    Alex Fishman
    Assad must not win
    Op-ed: If Syrian army defeats rebels, US will lose remainder of its credibility, deterrence power in the Middle East

  11. CK says:

    What odds are you offering on your wager?

  12. jonst says:

    Please define “moderate”, in a policy sense….what are his “moderate” policies? Not simply that the media in the West says he is a moderate.

  13. confusedponderer says:

    Today’s FAZ ran a full page interview with Assad today, on page 6 no less, and it can be found here in english:

  14. Matthew says:

    Fred: I sense that you really, really dislike foreigners being free with American lives and American money. If only our politicians felt the same way.

  15. Matthew says:

    MM: With wisdom like this, how can we lose? See http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/06/18/in-defense-of-obama-on-syria/
    Some people have learned nothing from the Iraq Debacle. Of course, the Hez crossing the Rio Grande to attack the Houston Galleria has a pedigree. President Reagan warned us that the Sandinistas were threatening Harlingen, Texas.
    New wine, old wineskins.

  16. Tyler says:

    American politicians thinking of America wthey’re busy deciding how to divide the country up for the new brown underclass of the world to swarm in.
    What a quaint thought, thinking of Americans first instead of the rest of the world.

  17. Fred says:

    The power within Iran’s government is the Supreme Leader, not the President.

  18. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I don’t see much “moderate” in the new Iranian leader–he strikes me as, in some sense, even more of an insider than Ahmedinejad. I don’t see him giving real ground on matters of import to Iran’s perceived security needs–i.e. nuclear capability. If anything else, he might argue that, since he is a “moderate” rather than a hothead like his predecessor, he should be able to go forward with furthering his country’s nuclear technology.

  19. scott s. says:

    Con 1/6/2 does provide “No Person holding any Office “under the United States” shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office” though it appears there is also specific provision for leaving or perhaps taking a leave of absence to accept a military commission “No Senator or Representative shall … be appointed to any “civil Office under the Authority of the United States”, which shall have been created, …” (leaving aside what difference if any intended by “under the US” vs “under the authority of the US”). The creation of the War Dept by statute in 1789 provides no specific direction on the duties of the Secretary (presumably the Pres as CINC has full authority to define). The original Board of War and Ordnance established by 2d Continental Congress and patterned after the British War Office was primarily administrative, and headed by military officers (such as MG B. Lincoln), though the similar creation of the War Dept under the United States in Congress Assembled in 1785 (after demobilization and creation of a “peace establishment” for the Army of a single regiment with Henry Knox, who had been the General in Chief, as Secretary) did specify that the Secretary at War had the power and duty “to direct the arrangement destination, and operation of such troops as are or may be in service…” I suppose because with such as small standing army there wasn’t any other command structure available.

  20. Jackie says:

    When Obama said the Chiefs tried to talk sense to him he wasn’t talking about the Kansas City Chiefs. They really stink! And I live here.

  21. Alba Etie says:

    No odds , no wager, gas is way to expensive and consumes all of my disposal income .

  22. Tyler says:

    “Is the President of Iran Persian” is the new “Is the Pope Catholic?”

  23. Charles I says:

    nonetheless the end result reported tonight after Harper’s hectoring is crowing about a statement lauding G8 agreement after all to work towards a transition conference, a statement that does not mention the current government of Syria.
    “G8 leaders meeting in Northern Ireland have backed calls for Syrian peace talks to be held in Geneva “as soon as possible”.
    After adopting a statement, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the leaders had managed “to overcome fundamental differences”.
    But no timetable for the Geneva talks was given.
    The statement does not mention what role Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could play in the future.
    Vladimir Putin: “Russia and the US…will be in charge of preparing the underlying principles of the settlement” . . .
    Earlier on Tuesday, the Kremlin insisted that each of the Syrian sides at the Geneva talks should be able to select their own delegations, sidestepping questions about whether this could leave open a role for Mr Assad. . .
    The seven-point document says that any future transitional government should be “formed by mutual consent”.
    same old same old.

  24. AK says:

    “I heard Obama say that the Chiefs have tried to talk sense to him.”
    Would that this were a possible outcome, Colonel….Anybody out there ever try to talk sense to someone who is committed to a non-sensible perception of the situation? A hysterical teenage girl in a state of apoplexy upon hearing that her latest boy crush kissed another girl? A belligerent drunk who wants to have a go with the total stranger who gave him funny look? An American President and his policy advisers itching oh so badly for a new war to fight?
    As my old man used to say, “It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing. You’re wasting your time and annoying the pig.”

  25. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Yet, with every new Pope, there are (mostly non-Catholic) people who expect him to give up Catholicism. Would they expect any less of an Iranian president?

  26. Stephanie says:

    I have the impression he is plainly more of a “moderate” choice than Ahmedinejad and I trust he’ll meet with at least a cautious positive response should he make friendly overtures. If he does and is ignored/repelled, the Iranian people may draw the not unreasonable conclusion that it doesn’t matter who they vote for and they are facing an implacable enemy.
    Of course, the Iranian leadership have only to look to Libya to see what happens to those who bargain away their nuclear program for purposes of making nice with the West.

  27. Kyle_Pearson says:

    Citing Wikipedia as some sort of “proof” that the government of Iran accords with one’s own prejudices is really foolish.
    There should be a verb for “citing Wikipedia in a useless fashion.” I suggest Wikiwack. As in:
    “Fred, when you try to use Wikipedia to explain to the rest of us how the Iranian government works, you’re Wikiwack.”
    Simply put: no, “The Supreme Leader” does not hold dictatorial control over Iran’s government and people. The interaction between the Supreme Council and the elected government is subtle and delicate. Generally speaking, Iran’s Supreme Council is more like a proactive version of the U.S.’s Supreme Court: it has the power of adjudication and declaration, but — by design — its capacity to reach conclusive decisions is starkly and powerfully limited by the variety and number of its participants.
    Finally, the “Supreme Leader” is basically a person who is elected in an manner very much like the U.S. Supreme Court Justices are “confirmed” (and, like the Justices, is confirmed for life). Most importantly, however, as Shiism traditions indicate, the precise limits of the “Supreme Leader” are negotiable and very much up to debate.

  28. Medicine Man says:

    It would be nice to think (like Sullivan’s reader) that Obama is intent on resisting any US entanglement in Syria. I can’t read the guy’s mind, so I just don’t know.
    And of course people have learned nothing from Iraq. There has never been an accounting for how Iraq turned out; which is just how the decision makers prefer it, I suspect.

  29. harry says:

    Hope and change……..
    Utterly shameless.

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