"What is becoming increasingly clear is that Assad wasn't behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in an eastern suburb of Damascus. The evidence gathered by U.N. inspectors may lead to pro-al-Qaida operatives in the resistance movement.
The purpose of such an operation would be to further discredit Assad's regime and sabotage peace talks." De Borchgrave
When I saw this section of Arnaud De Borchgrave's column yesterday, I contacted him so as to know this was his opinion or that of the Russians. He assures me that this is his opinion. pl
And might there be repercussions, if that is the case?
Well that sure gives Obama one hell of a reason to stonewall on the budget since this is going to blow up in his face when that issue is settled. The Republicans in Congress should pass a one year extension on funding and then start subpoenaing Kerry, Clapp, Alexander, Rice, Power et al. and let them have some more rope. (Public hearings only, none of this star chamber crap they have been doing.)
Unrelated: Vo Nguyen Giap has died at age 102.
So, the tripe we’ve been fed so far is that Assad would be crazy to launch a chemical attack on his own people, and now it’s the Saudi/Al-Qs that are crazy enough to gas their own for political gain. The SW-Asians, all of them, are beyond reasoning. No American politician should waste capital on them. Deal with our own crazies.
The Saudis do not consider Syrians “their own,” and AQ would think they were sending them “home” early. pl
You should read what the Saudis have been doing( or helping) to the Shi’a community in Qatif KSA, the Houthis in Northern Yemen and the Shi’a in Bahrain.
The Middle Easterners, starting with Israel and the Saudis, appear to have a knack for finding somebody else to do their dirty work when they can’t handle it themselves.
Think of Chalabi – he didn’t manage to overthrow Saddam himself, so he allied himself with the US where there were people eager to do that for him. Or take the Lebanese who are rightfully notorious for that sort of manoeuvring.
With the Saudis it starts with hiring Asian servants to do their laundry since physical work is beneath them and it ends with the Pakistanis (apparently, Pakistani troops organised by Prince Bandar, helped put down the protests in Bahrain*) they hire for doing some actual fighting where Jihadi irregulars would make too much of a mess.
The Israelis have of late grown fond on sending the US on their various errants that please America’s sense of exceptionalism. Take the Israeli insistence that the US must hate Iran, too, or holocaust. Consider Bibi’s outrage when he didn’t have his way with Obama – he started moping publicly and sided with Romney in the last US presidential campaign.
A Saudi black op aimed at having the US bomb Assad to tip the scales in a war the Saudi funded opposition appeared bound to lose at the time seems about just to fit in.
In that company the Iranians and their allies come across as outright trustworthy, rational and reliable.
Alas, unlike Podhoretz I hope and pray the US makes peace with Iran already, before the lunatics in Netanyahoo’s government succeed in spoiling the enterprise with a couple of timely assassinations or some other dirty trick.
In terms of economic potential the Iranians beat any of their neighbours hands down, with Turkey being the only exception. They make a more formidably ally than enemy.
Mr De Borchgrave by all reporting is very well respected . I still believe that we have a self correcting administration here – that the Realist will win the day in the end , at least in not intervening in Syria.
An excellent suggestion public hearings live on C- Span .
Not going to happen. It has been clearly established that there is no penalty, legal or political, for lying to the American people.
This is all true but there is a fly in the ointment: the disposition of the West Bank as well as the Al Haram Al Sharif.
The fact that the two-state solution is dead guarantees that the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot won’t be able to bury the hatchet anytime soon.
But let us leave the United States and move on to the European Union; why is EU collectively waging a financial, commercial, business, economic, political war against Iran?
What is in it for them in sanctioning a good customer and a good supplier?
During the last US election the Obama administration didn’t follow up on the Anand plan because that would have been politically exploited by an opponent who was already accusing Obama of being ‘soft on Syria’.
“According to some officials involved, perhaps the greatest tragedy of Syria is that, some 80,000 lives ago, President Obama might have had within his grasp a workable plan to end the violence, one that is far less possible now. But amid the politics of the 2012 presidential election—when GOP nominee Mitt Romney regularly accused Obama of being “soft”—the administration did little to make it work and simply took a hard line against Assad, angering the special U.N. Syria envoy, Kofi Annan, and prompting the former U.N. secretary-general to quit, according to several officials involved.”
That moronic ‘bomb’ = ‘tough’ and ‘not bomb’ = ‘soft’ in US political ‘discourse’ is already a murderous liability with devastating consequences for unfortunate bystanders like the Syrians. It is also mindless posturing devoid of meaning. If anything, Democrats are even more eagerly murderous than their Republican counterparts if the epidemic of drone strikes under Obama is any indication.
All this doesn’t suggest hope and change in US Iranian relations.
“In that company the Iranians and their allies come across as outright trustworthy, rational and reliable.”
Exactly. For some reason American policy elites cannot resist siding with crazies who embroil them in pointless, futile and counterproductive wars. And their amplifiers in the media cheer them on at every misguided step.
But rest assured, these folks have domestic affairs, like the budget, well in hand. Just trust them!
Hope springs eternal.
I think that the EU stance is unwise and I wish it to change.
But lets be diagnostic: I see it being the result of the Western consensus building on Iran. Institutions like the German Marshall Fund or the German Atlantic Association are part of that. There are many more. Naturally, this consensus has crept into EU policy vis a vis Iran.
Germany for instance still does have some good trade relations with Iran, to the extent that US sanctions on businesses dealing with Iran allow for that.
I’d like to see that to return. US sanctions on Iran have effects beyond Iran.
Example: US economic sanctions have led to meat being more expensive in Iran, which has reduced butchering, which reduced Iranian exports on sheep bowels, which are being imported by German sausage makers, resulting in the end in higher sausage prices here. Indirectly, consumers pay for the US obsession with crippling economic sanctions on Iran with increased prices here.
Or take this: Siemens OS’es for factories will never be looked at the same way after Stuxnet. Even when Germany didn’t collude with the US or Israel in such endeavours, this puts us at a competitive disadvantage.
In essence what is required is changing the western narrative, which has been US dominated. We may have a chance, but I don’t put my hopes up. Obama is craven, and as it goes, he is the significant player here.
The EU can be for normalisation all they want, without the US playing ball this isn’t leading anywhere, and it significantly degrades the chance that the Israelis will eventually fall in line.
If the US don’t reduce their sanctions, EU normalisation with Iran will put EU companies in jeopardy in the US, be it through drastic fines, even criminal charges against executives, or those odd political harassment lawsuits (read: legal extortion) that US law allows for being filed against them (usually launched by private parties in for the money).
In the end it is the cold calculation which is the bigger market – the US or Iran, and that is probably where the choice is being made.
Re: Secondary effects – with US-Iranian relations on ice sine 1978, the US lost trade as leverage. The only way with which the US were able to ratchet up pressure was to penalise third parties, like EU companies, trading with Iran. The lever is of course that when they operate in the US, which about all globally operating companies do, they are subject to US law, and law enforcement.
But of course the US didn’t leave it there. Some time ago the Obama administration offered the Iranians sales of aircraft spares for civilian airliners as a ‘concession’. Under international aviation law, in the interest of aviation safety, the US are ***obliged*** to do that. It is not choice, or gesture of good will. It takes some gall to call following up on that obligation a ‘concession’. Speaks volumes about self image though.
British financial sanctions on Iran work on the same idea of penalising third parties, with the lever being London City as a trading hub.
Thank you for your comments.
Now, what is wrong with German Marshall fund?
What is the genesis of their analysis posture in regards to Iran?
Do you know?
And then what I am hearing really is that EU or EU states are not sovereign; their destiny is being determined in Washington D.C.
Which basically means that as international actors they are not worth much.
Am I wrong in my surmise?
I brought up the German Marshall Fund as a generic antlanticist institution through which America projects influence and their political orthodoxy. I don’t know their take on Iran.
As far as EU sovereignty is concerned, it is still a confederation that prefers to rule by consensus in order to dispel concerns of domination. As a result, for instance, smaller countries are disproportionally represented at the EU when compared to larger countries.
The EU is not yet a state and there is no consensus on whether it is going there or ought to be going there. Insofar, one cannot readily equal the EU and the US as players. They are both too structurally different for that.
The US can, and do, play divide and rule with the EU, which is a structural weakness of the EU as an international player. The classic example was ‘Old Europe’ vs ‘New Europe’ of 2002.
And then there is France and the UK.
And vis a vis the US – the US still does have a formidable leverage in economic matters. That cannot be ignored. And the US have never been shy to use that to the fullest.
And then there is Israel as a factor.
As far as Germany is concerned, what the Israelis usually do with us is to drag our visitors to Yad Vashem, so that, once at the negotiating table, they feel al miserable in light of what they just saw, and then Bibi says something like: “Support us unconditionally on Iran or Holocaust,” before demanding some more U Boats for free. That would about be their SOP. We don’t dare protest too fiercely no matter what crap Israel cooks up next because we still feel guilty.