• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 14 september 2013

Syria 275

Syrian Complexities And The Geopolitical Context – Analysis


Syrian soldier wearing a Soviet-made Model ShMS nuclear-biological-chemical warfare mask aiming a Chinese Type-56 automatic assault rifle
SYRIAN SOLDIER WEARING A SOVIET-MADE MODEL SHMS NUCLEAR-BIOLOGICAL-CHEMICAL WARFARE MASK AIMING A CHINESE TYPE-56 AUTOMATIC ASSAULT RIFLE
September 14, 2013
By Zaakir Ahmed Mayet
The world seems to be spiraling out of control. As murder, death and wanton destruction becomes the order of the day; these realities are demonstrated in Syria. The mass slaughter occurring within the borders of Syria appeals to the humanitarian in most, except for those that seek to rain cruise missile democracy upon the Syrian populous.
Yet the Syrian issue poses a far more complex challenge in terms of decryption than the situations in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan or even Afghanistan for that matter. The Syrian revolution deviated from the precedent of peaceful protest as set by the Tunisian uprising that uprooted the dictatorship of Ben Ali. This event provided the impetus for similar action within Egypt at the time which resulted in the ousting of the military strongman, Mubarak. Regardless of whether one is in support of the view expressed by the analyst Sukant Chandan that these were in his words ‘coconut revolutions’ and nothing more than a smokescreen; it is undeniable that the defining characteristics of the Egyptian, Tunisian and Bahraini struggles were that they remained largely unarmed.

Syrian Status Quo

Although the genesis of the Syria protests may have been peaceful, the status quo today is far from that. The men, women and children appealing for democratic reforms have been replaced by armed men many of whom hail from foreign lands. The Syrian military appear to have fallen into the trap of any conventional military engaging an irregular force. As demonstrated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya or Vietnam; the only means of subduing an irregular force is via disproportionate force. Inevitably, the civilian casualties would be catastrophic. It is without a doubt that this is what is being witnessed within Syria. This mass slaughter can be described as nothing less than an atrocious sacrifice of humanity.  However, the rebel force which is not homogenous in nature has its own fair share of blood on its hands including the mass atrocities being committed against captured Syrian soldiers and civilians alike. The recent arms deal for the sum of $50 million brokered between Saudi Arabia and Israel to support the rebel movement within Syria casts tremendous doubt as to the allegiance of some factions. That coupled with the sheer barbarism of some rebel actors within Syria mimicking the actions of those rebels that conducted the horrendous assault, sodomy with a blade and subsequent murder of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya.

Geopolitical Context

- Iran

As global opinion becomes increasingly polarized into pro and anti Assad camps, the overall picture is lost in the process. In 2012, tensions rose dramatically as the US aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln passed through the Straits of Hormuz with the intention of sending a message to the Islamic Republic of Iran that force will be used against them. The passing of Israeli warships through the Suez Canal compounded this situation bringing the world to the brink of what Fidel Castro termed, “THE WORST MISTAKE IN AMERICAN HISTORY”. The possibility of war with Iran grew, the mass mobilization of US mine sweepers and three aircraft carriers made war seem an inevitability.
In a sudden move, the trajectory of the war shifted and Iran was placed on the back burner.

- Libya

Enter Libya, the Syrian case study. Just as the revolution in Libya began as a peaceful reflection of popular concern and demand, it rapidly descended into an armed bloodbath. The ‘civil war’ laid the foundations for US, French, British and Qatari ‘humanitarian intervention’ that pummeled the country into a moonscape. Recent motions tabled by the US, French, British and now Saudi Arabia sought to reproduce the Libyan reality in Syria. The end result in Libya was not humanitarian by any measure of the word. It has fallen into chaos with rival factions, tribes and gangs ripping apart the very fabric of society and perpetuating lawlessness. Amidst the confusion, large shipments of oil are leaving the ports unchecked for the benefit of foreign markets whilst the daily life is marred by murder and factional rivalry.

- Lebanon

The internal strife within Syria spreads to Lebanon which polarizes the population into pro and anti-Hezbollah. Recent comments from Israeli military analysts reflect Israeli considerations of invading Lebanon as the Hezbollah force may be taxed due to the responsibilities of manning the Syrian border to prevent cross border mayhem as well as their limited intervention during the operations in Qusayr. This consideration is in keeping with recent Israeli military operations towards the south of Lebanon in an attempt to de-mine the area making it passable for armored and military vehicles, laying the foundation for possible assault.

- Egypt and Gaza

In a sudden move, the second largest recipient of US foreign military aid, the Egyptian military ousted the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood and releases their death squads to eliminate and quell peaceful protests rejecting the military coup. The implications of this ousting for the Palestinians a short distance away in Gaza can be described as nothing other than dire.  The democratically elected government of Hamas has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood. The success of the revolution in ousting Mubarak was met with jubilation in the neighborhoods of the impoverished Gaza strip. This victory signaled a glimmer of hope that the brutal siege imposed on the coastal sliver would be lifted and a fragment of Palestinian dignity would return. The tussle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military was evidenced by the instructions to flood the lifelines of the Gaza; the tunnels, with sewage in February 2013 as reported in the New York Times. However, the recent actions are most revealing. The recent operation against Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah have been described in the words of the publication the Egyptian Daily News as the ‘largest and most violent military operation yet seen in the Sinai Peninsula’. It seems ironic that this operation takes place in the towns closest to the Gaza border. This operation is indicative of attempts to severe all lifelines to Hamas in Gaza in an attempt to weaken resistance by the movement as well as isolate Hamas and Muslim brotherhood in Egypt from each other.
Furthermore, the resistance put up against Israeli aggression during operation Pillar of Cloud conducted by Israel against the impoverish strip took most Israeli military analysts by surprise. The failure of Iron Dome to effectively neutralize all rockets as well as the precision of advanced rockets deployed by the resistance  that were primarily targeting reservist mobilization points as noted by Or Heller became a serious source of concern for Israel. The thanks given to the Islamic Republic of Iran by Ismail Haniya for their assistance in arming and training the resistance which enabled them to thwart a bloodbath in 2012 provided a further incentive for Israel to weaken Hamas and liquidate Iran.

Back to Syria

Panning back to the Syrian conflict, the attempts to draw the country into an all out war with Israel have been numerous. The strike by Israel on Syrian depot in Latakia and four other incidents as acknowledged by Israel Nation News. The most recent ballistic missile launch which was picked up by Russian early warning systems during a tense period such as this is a clear provocation as well as an attempt to spark all out war. However, the question becomes why? What has changed since Yom Kippur? The revelations by Hezbollah’s General Secretary Sayed Hassan Nasrallah that Syria provided much of the weapons which enabled the Hezbollah to effect a crushing defeat on the Zionist war machine effectively memorializing the movement as the only actor to have defeated Israel in the military domain. Furthermore, the crucial piece of the puzzle is the joint defense treaty entered into between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syrian during December 2011 as reported in Haaretz. Drawing Syria into a war would necessitate the intervention of Iran in terms of defense cooperation pact.
Based on the above, it would appear that a backdoor has been discovered to action the war on Iran as punted for in 2012. It becomes increasingly clearer that the conflict in Syria is not so much about Syria, but rather it being a stepping stone to Iran as well as destroying the supply chain of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
The glaringly obvious point begins to rise out of the muddled situation via the posing of a single question. Which country has not been touched by internal strife? The answer – Israel. It seems ironic that amidst the storm that is brewing in the region; in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and threats to Iran, Israel remains unaffected. Furthermore, the more significant observation is that the choking of Hamas, ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the taxing of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the mass disruption of Syrian weapons production destined for the resistance and the increasing attempts to draw Iran into a regional war is only in the interests of the Zionist entity.
As the geopolitics continue to play out on a grand scale, the possible handing over of Syria’s chemical stores appears to be dejavu of Muammar al-Gaddafi’s disarming in 2003. Whether or not the war on Syria takes place, the undeniable facts are that this strife serves only the interests of Israel. The resistance to Zionist oppression and occupation is weaker today than before the Syrian conflict and that Syria is the Trojan horse for Iran. The end result is far from favorable should we continue to traverse along this path. The only answer is unity and dialogue as the only country that will emerge as a super State is Israel; exacting revenge on an occupied Palestinian people with no prospects of legitimate resistance. The world faces a cataclysmic decision before it and the effects thereof to echo for centuries thereafter.
- Zaakir Ahmed Mayet is the Chairman of the Media Review Network, South Africa. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Syria 274


On Syria, Putin's Anti-War Case Outshines Obama's Call for Bombs

Russian president challenges idea of "American exceptionalism" and, despite irony, makes compelling case against war

- Jon Queally, staff writer
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, those who consider the United States of America "exceptional" above other countries—including President Obama—represent an "extremely dangerous" mindset when it comes to international relations and global peace.
The closing salvo in a sharply worded, yet conciliatory, open letter to the American people in the form of a New York Timesop-ed on Thursday, Putin suggests that amid the ongoing crisis in Syria the U.S. should maintain its leadership role in the world, but drop its claim to ultimate superiority.
Though new diplomatic efforts are underway at the United Nations over Syria's civil war, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set to begin two-day talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Thursday—a comparison of Putin's op-ed with Obama's televised address on Tuesday reveals an ironic twist for some observers who note that the former KGB official and noted authoritarian is running circles around the Nobel Peace Prize laureate when it comes to promoting a settlement in the region that doesn't include cruise missile strikes or a bombing campaign.
Putin's op-ed—an attempt "to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders," he says—argues that the world must respect the structures established by the creation of the United Nations if it wants to avoid the horrific consequences that could be unleashed if the U.S. decides to strike Syria without sanction by the international community. He writes:
No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.
The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.
In contrast, many observers took Obama's Tuesday night speech as a continued assault against international law when he indicated that he alone could still order a war against Syria.
Declaring he still "possessed the authority to order military strikes," Obama also said that U.S. forces will remain on standby "if diplomacy fails."
But, regarding his claim to have "authority" to attack Syria without international or Congressional approval, The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild called the president's assertion "ludicrous," writing:
No you don’t, Mr. President. Only Congress has the authority to declare war, and ordering military strikes would be a clear act of war, thus violating the Constitution. It would also violate the War Powers Act, which says that the President can’t engage in hostilities without a declaration of war or specific Congressional authorization unless there is “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” And Syria has done no such thing.
In a more general statement against Obama's push for war, Putin took the opportunity to "disagree" with Obama's declaration of the well-worn notion of "American exceptionalism."
In his address on Tuesday, Obama told the nation, "My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements -- it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them."
Later—calling the elevated status an "essential truth"—Obama said it was because America is "exceptional" that it might be compelled to attack Syria.
Critics, however, slammed the idea.
By expressing that sentiment, argues Common Dreams contributor Pat Lamarche, "the president rolled the clock back to 1943, claiming in that particular lifetime of U.S. actions on global security, our killings have been more righteous and had better outcomes than the anticipated actions of others. And with this distorted view of the consequences, President Obama hopes once again to use bombs to set things right."
Also writing at Common Dreams, Johnny Barber, currently in Afghanistan as a member of a delegation from Voices for Creative Non-Violence, countered Obama's remarks by saying, "With humility and resolve Americans should deal honestly with our past, with our present, and with our dire future. With modest effort and risk we can make the future safer for all children. We can do this by simply demanding accountability of our leaders and recognizing the only thing that is exceptional about America is our inability to see other’s lives as valuable as our own."
And Putin's direct challenge to the idea:
It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
And though none of this touches on the inequities and injustices found readily within Russian society—where ideas of democracy and equality under the law remain under siege—Putin's compelling narrative against U.S. aggression in Syria is worth quoting at length:
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.
No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.
The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.
We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

Paul Brill's Misdadige Opinies




Volkskrant-opiniemaker Paul Brill kan het niet verwerken dat zijn analyses over Syria keer op ker de plank missloegen. In de Volkskrant van vandaag schrijft hij:

Er is maar één manier waarop de regering-Obama gegarandeerd de regie had kunnen behouden, namelijk door onmiddellijk in actie te komen zodra ze er zelf van overtuigd was dat het Syrische regime de vermaarde rode lijn grootscheeps had overschreden.

Dus een oproep om het internationaal recht te schenden en tegelijkertijd, zoals in alle Amerikaanse oorlogen, veel slachtoffers te veroorzaken onder de burgerbevolking. In dat opzicht is Paul Brill een misdadiger, er is geen ander woord voor. Bovendien, waar baseert hij zijn mening op? De chaos in Irak, Afghanistan, en Libie? om slechts drie voorbeelden te geven. Wat voor 'regie' heeft zich daar voltrokken? Brill beseft niet wat er internationaal werkelijk speelt. Hij zwetst maar wat.

http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/6277/Paul-Brill/article/detail/3509296/2013/09/14/Niet-verlichte-autocraat-Poetin-past-het-aureool-van-vredesapostel-niet.dhtml

Boven zijn opinie staat:

Niet verlichte autocraat Poetin past het aureool van vredesapostel niet

En hoewel deze opvatting zeker juist is, past ook Obama niet het aureool van 'vredesapostel,' zoals Brill suggereert en ook niet het aureool dat Geert Mak aan Washington geeft, wanneer hij in zijn Amerika boek beweert dat de VS 'decennialang als ordebewaker en politieagent [fungeerde],' en ook niet het aureool dat Henk Hofland geeft wanneer hij met de kwalificatie komt: 'het vredestichtende Westen.' 

Wanneer worden deze propagandisten eens volwassen door te beseffen dat in het eeuwige machtspel de belangrijkste spelers zelden tot nooit 'vredesapostels' en 'ordebewakers' zijn. De internationale politiek kent geen scherpe scheiding tussen goed en kwaad. Het gaat de grootmachten om markten en grondstoffen, de rest is misdadige propaganda van mainstream journalisten als Brill, Mak en Hofland, etc.


Syria 273


U.S. and Russia Reach Deal to Secure Syria’s Chemical Arms

Philippe Desmazes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Secretary of State John Kerry and Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, in Geneva on Saturday.
GENEVA — The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
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Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.
An immediate test of the viability of the accord will come within a week when the Syrian government is to provide a “comprehensive listing” of its chemical stockpile.
“The real final responsibility here is Syrian,” a senior administration official said of the deal.
Security will be a major worry for the inspectors who are tasked with implementing the agreement; no precedent exists for inspection, removal and destruction of a large chemical weapons stockpile during a raging civil war. Mr. Lavrov said the agreement would require the cooperation of Syrian rebels and not just the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Much of the Syrian opposition is bitter about President Obama’s decision to shelve the threat of military action and to negotiate with Russia, which is a major arms supplier to the Assad government.
“This is very, very difficult, very, very difficult,” an American official said of the agreement. “But it is doable.”
At the news conference, Mr. Kerry said that “if fully implemented, this framework can provide greater protection and security to the world.”
If Mr. Assad fails to comply with the agreement, the issue will be referred to the United Nations Security Council.
Mr. Kerry said that any violations would then be taken up under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which authorizes punitive action. But Mr. Lavrov made clear that Russia, which wields a veto in the Security Council, had not withdrawn its objections to the use of force.
The joint announcement, which took place on the third day of intensive talks here, eased the United States’ confrontation with Syria.
Arms control officials on both sides worked into the night, a process that recalled the treaty negotiations during the cold war.
The issue of removing Syria’s chemical arms broke into the open on Monday when Mr. Kerry, at a news conference in London, posed the question as to whether Mr. Assad could rapidly be disarmed only to state that he did not see how it could be done.
“He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that,” Mr. Kerry said. “But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.”
Now, however, what once seemed impossible has become the plan — one that will depend on Mr. Assad’s cooperation and that will need to be put in place in the middle of a civil war.
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lavrov had a series of meeting on Friday, including a session that ended at midnight. On Saturday morning, the two sides reconvened with their arms-controls experts on the hotel pool deck, sitting under a white umbrella drinking coffee as they pored over the text of the agreement.
Before the news conference, Mr. Lavrov said that he had not spoken with Syrian officials while he was negotiating in Geneva. Obama administration officials say that Russia’s role was critical since it has been a major backer of the Assad government.
Titled “Framework For Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons,” the agreement is four pages, including its technical annexes. The agreement, which outlines procedures for “expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification,” says that the United States and Russia will submit a plan in the next several days to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which oversees compliance with the chemical weapons accord.
Peter Baker contributed reporting from Washington.

Diginotar

Ik kreeg dit vanochtend vroeg gemaild van een lezer:



14 september 2013 04:01:19 GMT+02:00


In het kader van de gedachte "Alles komt een keer bij elkaar" het volgende:

1.
dit is een oud bericht van precies twee jaar geleden over DigiNotar, maar wordt weer actueel door
link no.2
http://www.informationweek.com/security/attacks/stolen-digital-certificates-compromised/231600810
lees m.n. wat er over Iran staat

2.
dan deze, actueel, Bruce Schneier is DE security expert, site gaat uiteraard
sinds ruim een week bijna uitsluitend over de NSA:
https://www.schneier.com/
m.n. het artikel van vandaag: New NSA Leak Shows MITM Attacks Against Major Internet Services, en
dan daarin/daarbij de opmerking: "Another screenshot implies is that the 2011 DigiNotar hack was
either the work of the NSA, or exploited by the NSA."  Hier is Nederland betrokken (in dit geval
als 'slachtoffer'?).

3.
en dan deze:
http://nos.nl/nieuws/
en
http://nos.nl/nieuws/dossiers/
waar het opvalt dat er NIETS maar dan ook NIETS ooit vermeld wordt over de NSA, de GCHQ,
over evt. Nederlandse betrokkenheid (die MOET er zijn) van overheid en bedrijven, etc.




NRC:

‘NSA maakte gebruik van hack IT-bedrijf DigiNotar’

Het digitale beveiligingsbedrijf DigiNotar
Naam en logo op de gevel van het hoofdkantoor van het inmiddels failliette digitale beveiligingsbedrijf DigiNotar in Beverwijk. Foto ANP / Koen Suyk
BINNENLAND
Het afluisterschandaal rondom de Amerikaanse veiligheidsdienst krijgt een onverwacht Nederlands tintje. Het National Security Agency zou digitale certificaten van DigiNotar vervalst hebben om zich voor te doen als diensten van Google en Microsoft.
Dit blijkt uit een uitzending van het Braziliaanse tv-programma Fantastico, gebaseerd op documenten van klokkenluider Edward Snowden. De Amerikaanse veiligheidsexpert Bruce Schneier, betrokken bij de analyse van de documenten, stelt dat NSA verantwoordelijk kan zijn voor de inbraak bij DigiNotar: "De hack was òf het werk van NSA, òf is misbruikt door NSA." Schneier werkt voor het Britse telecombedrijf BT.