“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, December 06, 2012

"Syria stresses again, for the tenth, the hundredth time, that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against its people. We would not commit suicide," Faisal Maqdad

Syria calls chemical weapon reports 'pretext for intervention'
Bashar al-Assad's deputy foreign minister said that even if Syria had chemical weapons, it would not use them on its own people. 'We would not commit suicide,' he said.
By Erika Solomon, Reuters / December 6, 2012

Western powers are whipping up fears of a fateful move to the use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war as a "pretext for intervention," President Bashar al-Assad's deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

Sources have told CBS News the US has detected signs that Syria's government is preparing chemical weapons for possible use, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets in Ireland with Russia's foreign minister. CBS News' Margaret Brennan reports.

He spoke as Germany's cabinet approved stationing Patriot anti-missile batteries on Turkey's border with Syria, a step requiring deployment of NATO troops that Syria fears could permit imposition of a no-fly zone over its territory.
"Syria stresses again, for the tenth, the hundredth time, that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against its people. We would not commit suicide," Faisal Maqdad said.
US President Barack Obama and other NATO leaders have warned that using chemical weapons would cross a red line and have consequences, which they have not specified.
Mr. Assad would probably lose vital diplomatic support from Russia and China that has blocked military intervention in the 20-month-old uprising that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
A senior Russian lawmaker and ally of President Vladimir Putin said Syria's government is incapable of doing its job properly, a sign that Moscow may already be trying to distance itself from Assad.
"We have shared and do share the opinion that the existing government in Syria should carry out its functions. But time has shown that this task is beyond its strength," Vladimir Vasilyev, who heads President Putin's party group in the State Duma lower house, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
Syria's Maqdad said Western reports the Syrian military was preparing chemical weapons for use against rebel forces trying to close in on the capital Damascus were simply "theater."
"In fact, we fear a conspiracy ... by the United States and some European states, which might have supplied such weapons to terrorist organizations in Syria, in order to claim later that Syria is the one that used these weapons," he said on Lebanon's Al Manar television, the voice of Hezbollah.
"We fear there is a conspiracy to provide a pretext for any subsequent interventions in Syria by these countries that are increasing pressure on Syria." 
Exactly what Syria's army has done with suspected chemical weapons to prompt a surge of Western warnings is not clear. Reports citing Western intelligence and defense sources are vague and inconsistent.
The perceived threat may be discussed in Dublin on Thursday when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meet international Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to try to put a UN peace process for Syria back on track.
The talks come ahead of a meeting of the Western-backed "Friends of Syria" group in Marrakech next week which is expected to boost support for rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr. Brahimi wants world powers to issue a UN Security Council resolution calling for a transitional administration.
In addition to the possible use of chemical bombs by "an increasingly desperate" Assad, Mrs. Clinton said Washington was concerned about the government losing control of such weapons to extreme Islamist armed groups among the rebel forces.
US officials said Washington was considering blacklisting Jabhat al-Nusra, an influential rebel group accused by other rebels of indiscriminate tactics that has advocated an Islamic state in Syria and is suspected of ties to al-Qaeda.
An explosion in front of the Damascus headquarters of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent killed at least one person on Thursday, Syrian state television said.
It blamed "terrorists from al-Qaeda" – a term often employed to refer to rebel forces.
Meanwhile, activists said the army pummeled several eastern suburbs of Damascus, where the rebels are dominant, with artillery and mortar fire. The suburbs have also been cut off from the city's water and electricity for weeks, rebels say, accusing the government of collective punishment. 
Rebels say they have surrounded an air base 2.5 miles from the center of Damascus, a fresh sign the battle is closing in on the Syrian capital.
They also said they were battling soldiers on the road to Damascus International Airport, 12 miles out of the capital where several airlines have canceled flights due to security concerns.
Mr. Maqdad, in his interview on Thursday, argued that reports of such advances were untrue: "What is sad is that foreign countries believe these repeated rumors."
But residents inside the capital say the sound of shelling on the outskirts has become a constant backdrop and many fear the fight will soon come to Damascus.
The Western military alliance's decision to send US, German, and Dutch Patriot missile batteries to help defend the Turkish border would bring European and US troops to Syria's frontier for the first time in the civil war.
The actual deployment could take several weeks.
"Some countries now are now supplying Turkey with missiles for which there is no excuse. Syria is not going to attack the Turkish people," Maqdad said.
But a veteran Turkish commentator, Cengiz Candar of the Radikal newspaper, said Ankara fears Syria's 500 short-range ballistic missiles could fall into the wrong hands.
The government is "of the view that Syria was not expected to use them against Turkey, but that there was a risk of these weapons falling into the hands of 'uncontrolled forces' when the regime collapses," he wrote.


  1. . is also worth noting, as we observe the vast apparatus of searches and screening, that the Transportation Security Administration’s assistant administrator for global strategies has admitted that those expensive and cumbersome whole-body scanners have not resulted in the arrest of a single suspected terrorist. Not one...


    1. The obvious retort being that the 'terrorists' have been deterred from that line of attack as you can equally argue that not one terrorist attack has succeeded in making it through the whole-body scanner.

    2. .

      Right, Ash, and if we institute full body probes we can assure we will stop even more terrorists.


    3. yeppers, while you are keen to open the gates to all and sundry - terrorists come on down, have a seat - some coffee perhaps, or a martini?

    4. .

      You are an idiot, Ash.

      You should come on down. You'd fit right in with the sheeple that seem to form the majority here.


    5. heh heh, while obviously a balance must be found the notion that one has a "right" to board an aircraft unencumbered is a silly one.

    6. In other words - it is a very different issue than warrantless wiretapping.

    7. .

      Balance is the key word.

      The scanners were a reaction. It was the TSA covering their colective ass, nothing more. I've never seen any official data put out showing the safety of these machines. The TSA are already pulling the x-ray versions of the machines and storing them in warehouses. The chief maker of the machines is currently under investigation for offering up false informatioon.

      Yet, the sheeple are out there bleating "Thank you, sir. May I have another."

      Full Body Scan


  2. Just what we need, another country to destabilize in the Middle East.

    As if we haven’t shed enough of our political freedoms, can you imagine the inevitable consequences to the US as we swell the armies of AQ and we suffer the next attack? It is criminal idiocy to keep interfering in the affairs of others.

    We haven’t learned our lessons yet in Egypt, Iraq and Libya and we need to fulfill the Neocon dream in Syria?

    You have to be a liar or insane to believe that Syria is a threat to Turkey. Dragging the US into another fabricated unconstitutional war should end in criminal trials.

    1. Syria is a stable nazi-like nation, one that supports Iran, Hezbollah and the most crazed Palestinian terror groups on the planet.

      Now on the otherhand, a Moslem brotherhood band of sunni jihadist nazis are fighting against them.

      great choices.

      maybe just burn the entire nation, it's fake nationalistic culture to the ground.

      The Kurds can slice off a nice slice off the top...

      The remaining can be divided into cantons of clans, they can attach themselves to other similar groups on the other sides of english/french drawn borders..

  3. CAIRO — Egypt descended deeper into political turmoil on Thursday as the embattled president, Mohamed Morsi, blamed an outbreak of violence on a “fifth column” and vowed to proceed with a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution that has prompted deadly street battles between his supporters and their opponents.


    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.


    CEYLANPINAR, Turkey — In plain view of the patrons at an outdoor cafe here in this border town, the convoy of gun trucks waving the flag of the Syrian rebels whizzed through the Syrian village of Ras al-Ain. They had not come to fight their primary enemy, the soldiers of Bashar al-Assad’s government. They had rushed in to battle the ethnic Kurds.


    As Syria implodes, shock waves from the sectarian conflict are being felt in Baghdad, where a beleaguered Iraqi government is struggling to maintain a hard-won but fragile stability.

    Iraq has said it is trying to play a neutral role in the conflict next door. But escalating violence, involvement by regional players, and the Shiite-led government’s unique fear of a more hostile successor than the Syrian president appears to have made neutrality impossible.

    “We think the regime is finished, but we are afraid of what comes next,” says a senior Iraqi official who asked not to be identified.


    Riots Hint at Potential Chaos in Tunisia's Future

    RABAT, Morocco December 6, 2012 (AP)
    Five days of riots last week in a town in Tunisia's impoverished interior wounded hundreds of people and deepened the rift between the two most powerful forces in this North African country: the moderate Islamist ruling party and the main labor union.

  4. The U.S. is abandoning its loyal friends in Afghanistan

    By Marshall Wilde, Published: December 6

    The writer is a lawyer and served as Chief, Rule of Law, for ISAF.

    The United States has abandoned our most effective and loyal friends in Afghanistan by deliberately failing to implement the Afghan Allies Protection Act. In 2011, I served as the chief adviser on rule of law for the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul (ISAF). I witnessed the heroism and steadfast courage of our Afghan employees as they resisted threats from the Taliban and from their own government. Now, as we draw down and leave them vulnerable, our government refuses to follow its own laws to save them.

    1. .

      What's new? We have been doing the same thing since Vietnam. at least. South Vietnam, the Hmong, the Iraqi's, Afghanistan, you name it, all the 'wars of choice' we have entered, solicited allies, and then left them to pound sand when we left.


  5. ISLAMABAD: Around 71 percent of the total amount worth $3.172 billion disbursed by the United States under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB) Act was off-budget assistance for Pakistan in the last three years, official sources in the Finance Division confirmed to The News. Both Pakistan and the US confirmed that a major chunk of money continued to pour outside the government of Pakistan’s channel.

    Of the $3.172 billion received under the KLB act, Islamabad obtained $922 million, or 29 percent, through on-budget assistance in the last three years.

    “The total amount disbursed to Pakistan from October 2009 to September 30, 2012, since the adoption of the KLB legislation, is around $3.2 billion. If you’d like the exact figure, it’s $3.172 billion,” said spokesperson of the US Embassy in an email message.

  6. (Reuters) - Five men were killed in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Thursday during sectarian clashes between gunmen loyal to opposing sides in neighboring Syria's civil war, residents said.

    Ten people have now died in sporadic clashes in the city since Tuesday, the latest bout of violence that has roots in Lebanon's own 15-year civil war but which has intensified as Syria's conflict polarized Lebanese society.

    Tripoli is a majority Sunni Muslim city and mostly supports the uprising in Syria, but it also has an Alawite minority and street fights between Sunni and Alawite gunmen have erupted several times since the revolt began.

    1. Excellent.

      Lebanon should be nationally dismembered.

  7. And from our greatest of allies in the area, Saudi Arabia:

    The Saudis have released so many of the terrorists that they “rehabilitated” that stories like these are almost not worth mentioning, but Sulayman al-Alwan is a bit different because the 9/11 Commission Report links him directly to the attacks of September 11.

    According to the head of one of the training camps in Afghanistan, some were chosen by unnamed Saudi sheikhs who had contacts with al Qaeda. Omari, for example, is believed to have been a student of a radical Saudi cleric named Sulayman al Alwan. His mosque, which is located in al Qassim Province, is known among more moderate clerics as a “terrorist factory.”

    So what happened to the head of this terrorist factory who mentored and chose one of the 9/11 hijackers?

    Sulayman al-Alwan has been “reformed” in the Saudi prisons. He’s out and ready to take on the world. He was the spiritual advisor to 9-11 hijacker, Abdul Aziz al Omari. And since that time can be seen on radical videos preaching religious justifications for violent jihad against the West.

    Saudi Arabia, our greatest ally in the War on Terror. Or Al Qaeda’s greatest ally in the war on us.

    1. Yes America is great pals with the Saudis...

      Makes you proud?

  8. Security and Defense: Iran strike in the spring?

    Brilliant idea. It should be the crème de la crème of sound policy and political judgement.

  9. meanwhile back at the ranch

    Victim count stands at 310 for the year

    Philadelphia passed a tragic threshold over the past weekend, when the number of homicides in the city climbed to 310, and most of the victims were African Americans.

    Yet, despite the fact that one of the victims was a five-year old boy, despite the fact that over the years several of the murder victims were innocent bystanders — some advocates lament that there seems to be no collective outrage from the African-American community over the loss of so many lives, many of whom were in their teens and early twenties.

    Statistics show and court documents confirm that almost all of the murderers have a history of arrests and incarcerations, as do many of the victims. Statistics also bear out the fact that with very few exceptions, the shooters are using illegally obtained firearms. There is also evidence indicating a strong connection between the high rate of public school dropouts and crime. Yet again, beyond the candlelight vigils held by grieving family members, there is a deafening silence in the Black community over the violence and the social factors driving it, say social activists.

    1. Excellent. the herd thinning it'sself out...

      darwin would be proud

  10. Maybe, just maybe, we should mind our own business and clean up our internal security threats.

    1. When I count up 'Neo-con' wars I count one, Iraq Round II. And that is iffy, since darn near everybody voted for it. Saddam had violated some many resolutions and such everybody was tired of the s o b. Take a look at those old clips that show so many important democrats warning about WMDs in Iraq. Iraq Round I was to push Saddam out of Kuwait, via UN Resolution. Everything else is on Obama's watch. Taking a look at it, one might conclude what he is really doing is trying to weaken the United States.

      Yup, I think Syria has gas. Some of it gotten from Iraq perhaps. He might use it, too. Go ahead and believe Hezbollah if you wish.

    2. ummm, dude, there is more to "everybody" than Americans. While the Americans followed Bush lemminglike into Iraq most of the rest of the world did not with Canada being just one example.

  11. "In fact, we fear a conspiracy ... by the United States and some European states, which might have supplied such weapons to terrorist organizations in Syria, in order to claim later that Syria is the one that used these weapons," he said on Lebanon's Al Manar television, the voice of Hezbollah.
    "We fear there is a conspiracy to provide a pretext for any subsequent interventions in Syria by these countries that are increasing pressure on Syria."

    The Voice of...Hezbollah

    Always an excellent source.

    1. Who exactly are we to stick our nose into every middle eastern country's problems?? Afganistan just got done telling us basically they don't want us helping them? When are we gonna wake up and let those people deal with their own problems and maybe we can deal with ours??

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. They shouldn't have fucked with us in the first place. Remember Osama? He and Mullah Omar were quite good buds. Launched an attack on us from there. Killed about three thousand of us.

    4. .

      And how has that worked out for us Bob?

      I guess we sure showed them.


    5. Afghanistan aint the middle east.

  12. The crucial point is this:

    As tens of millions of U.S. voters were choosing Barack Obama in 2008, in part because he was promising to end the war in Iraq, a powerful cross-section of Washington elites, Neocons, AIPAC and MSM were drafting an aggressive blueprint for a future U.S. strategy in the region that stretched from North Africa to Central Asia and that the Pentagon was then still calling the “arc of instability.” (No irony intended) And the key plank in this strategy was a program to create the conditions for a military strike against Iran.

    1. If you were an Israeli you might think differently. People would have promised you time and again that they were out to wipe you and yours off the map.

    2. Jenny cant think differently...

      She thinks Israel should not be..

      If only the Jews were dead we could have peace...


    3. .

      But then, we're not Israeli's, Bob.

      Just as I never thought of myself as a Berliner just because Kennedy gave us "Ich bin ein Berliner".


    4. no but America USED to stand with Liberal Democracies that shared our values.

      Now maybe the people of America share it but the 17.5 of actual voters put obama back in charge.

      now we stand with the moslem brotherhood

    5. .

      no but America USED to stand with Liberal Democracies that shared our values.

      Interesting that you would mention liberal democracies. I expect Mr. Collucci would agree with you.

      Replace UN and NATO with DAN

      There was a movement to form a 'League of Democracies' back in the early 2000's. It seemed like a great idea to me. However, a lot has changed since then.

      The Times They are a Changing


  13. Can we just let them kill each other? No one can make them make peace but themselves.

  14. Not a bad idea. Anything to weaken Islam or an Islamic state. We should see Libya in two, Iraq in three, Syria in four or something. Made sense to Joe Biden and Teresita on Iraq, and me too.

  15. Heh, George Zimmerman sues NBC News for defamation. Might win too.

    He ought to ask for acquittal on the grounds he hasn't gotten a speedy trial while he's at it.

  16. December 7, 2012
    Two tales of pleas for help ignored, and two different reactions
    Stu Tarlowe

    In New York City, a man thrown onto the subway tracks tries frantically to clamber back onto the platform. For 20 seconds or so (which surely seemed like an eternity) no one lifts a finger to help, as the train bears down on him and ultimately kills him.

    A photographer (who evidently felt bound - like the crew of the Starship Enterprise -- by some "Prime Directive" forbidding interference) documents the tragedy. He proffers all manner of excuses for his behavior.

    Across the nation a great hue and cry is raised; people are outraged that such a thing could be allowed to happen.

    In Benghazi, Libya, American consular personnel are attacked by a mob equipped with military-grade weapons. For some 7 hours (which surely seemed like an eternity) their government, from the president on down, fails to heed their pleas for help; ultimately, four of them are slain, at least one after being tortured.

    The attack is documented by live video which is watched by those who could order deployment of rescue and counterattack forces, but who nevertheless decline to lift a finger. Later they proffer all manner of excuses for their behavior.

    Across the nation the reaction is ho-hum. The majority of the populace (largely the same majority that re-elected the president) remains unfazed and indifferent.

    Feel free to draw your own conclusions about 21st Century America.

  17. Replies
    1. Yep under Obama the value of a US passport has dropped by 30%