“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."

Friday, August 22, 2014

“These developments are even more worrying as they coincide with a major escalation in Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

U.S. says Russia must pull convoy from Ukraine or face more sanctions


Russian convoy crosses into Ukraine

(Reuters) - The United States demanded Moscow remove an aid convoy it sent into rebel-held eastern Ukraine without permission on Friday, accusing Russia of a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of its former Soviet neighbor and threatening more sanctions.
Moscow, which has thousands of troops close to the Russian side of the border, warned against any attempt to "disrupt" the convoy, which it said was purely humanitarian. It did not say what action it might take if the Ukrainian military intervened.
NATO's top military commander said the movement of trucks looked like a disguised attempt to reinforce separatist forces.
The Western defense alliance said Russian troops had been firing artillery across the border and within Ukraine in a major escalation of military support for pro-Moscow rebels since mid-August, a de facto charge that Russia was already waging war.
White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said that if the convoy was not pulled out, the Russians would face "additional costs".
"We have seen the use of Russian artillery in Ukraine in the past days," he said, when asked about the NATO statement.
Moscow denies backing the rebels militarily but the United States and European Union have imposed sanctions and the Kremlin has retaliated, renewing some of the chill of the Cold War. NATO has deployed extra troops in member states bordering Russia, including former Soviet Baltic states and ex-communist Poland.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the entry of the trucks without Kiev's permission as a "flagrant violation of international law". But a senior security chief said Ukrainian forces would let them pass to avoid "provocations".
Kiev called on international allies to unite in "a decisive condemnation of illegal and aggressive actions" by Russia.
NATO also said Russia risked further international isolation. It has ruled out intervening militarily on behalf of Ukraine, which is not a member, and Europe has been reluctant to step up sanctions due to trade ties and its need for Russian gas.
Russia said it was not breaching international law and that Russian President Vladimir Putin had told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone call Moscow had been unable to wait any longer for Kiev's green light to help people in distress.
Merkel, who also spoke to Poroshenko, expressed her great concern, praising the Ukrainians for a "prudent" reaction and calling for a speedy ceasefire and shoring up of the frontier.
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Merkel and the two leaders agreed that sending the convoy into Ukraine was a "provocation" by Russia and called on Moscow to remove the convoy, the White House said in a statement.
They also expressed concern that the large numbers of Russian troops on the Ukraine border, the presence of Russian military in Ukraine, and Russian shelling of Ukrainian territory "represent a dangerous escalation," the White House said.
The U.N. Security Council met on Friday and British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters after the meeting that no country had come to Moscow's defense, while many council members called the crossing of the aid convoy an "illegal and unilateral" action by Russia. (Full Story)

Poroshenko said more than 100 trucks had crossed the border, and only some had been checked earlier by Ukrainian officials inside Russian territory. Other Ukrainian officials said only 34 or 35 of them had been properly checked.
Repeating earlier suspicions by Kiev that the aid cargo could be used to support the separatists, the foreign ministry said: "Neither the Ukrainian side nor the International Committee of the Red Cross knows the content of the trucks. This arouses special concern."
A Reuters witness said the white-painted trucks had crossed onto Ukrainian soil and headed towards the rebel stronghold of Luhansk escorted by a small number of separatist fighters.
The presence of the Russian trucks could force Ukrainian troops encircling Luhansk to rein in their offensive against the rebels there, because if they hit one of the Russian vehicles, that could give Moscow justification for a full-scale invasion.
Any lull in fighting that resulted would give a badly needed respite to the rebels in Luhansk, who have been facing defeat, and allow them to regroup.
The news that the convoy had finally crossed into Ukraine dominated Russian TV news and was certain to have further boosted Putin's standing at home.
But it equally cast a shadow over a meeting next Tuesday with Poroshenko and the European Union in the Belarusian capital of Minsk which has held out prospects of a breakthrough to end the confrontation.
Mikhail Denikin, chairman of the village council in Izvaryne, on the Ukrainian side of the border, stood by the road waving a large Russian flag as the trucks drove past.
"Big thanks to Russia. Our brothers did not forget us. We are brothers. That is the most important thing. We are Slavs, we are together," Denikin told Reuters Television.
A traffic police officer on the Russian side of the border, who had been escorting the aid convoy within Russian territory, said the entire convoy of about 260 trucks had passed into Ukraine. He said it was possible they would cross back into Russia on Friday evening after delivering their cargo.
"We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine," Ukrainian state security chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko said in a statement to journalists. Asked whether Ukraine would use air strikes against the convoy, Nalivaychenko said: "Against them, no."
But Ukrainian authorities said the convoy would pass through an area where the rebels were firing so its security could not be guaranteed. Interfax news agency said later that the first trucks had reached rebel-held Luhansk.

The largely Russian-speaking Donetsk and Luhansk regions both declared independence after a plebiscite deemed illegal by Kiev. The regions have seen intense fighting in recent weeks as rebels have been driven back into pockets.
Moscow, at odds with Ukraine since pro-Western protests overthrew a pro-Russian president in February, had earlier expressed impatience with delays with the convoy, which left the Moscow region around Aug. 13.
"We warn against any attempts to disrupt this purely humanitarian mission," the Russian foreign ministry said. "Responsibility for any possible consequences of provocations ... will lie, completely and entirely, with those who are prepared to further sacrifice human lives for the sake of their ambitions and geo-political ploys."
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which both Moscow and Kiev had agreed should supervise the convoy, said it was not escorting it "due to the volatile security situation".
The entry of the trucks ran counter to the arrangement agreed with the ICRC and was a clear violation of the border, said Sebastien Brabant, spokesman for the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.
NATO went a step further. "These developments are even more worrying as they coincide with a major escalation in Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces," Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
NATO Military Commander General Philip Breedlove compared the convoy to Russian humanitarian and peacekeeping moves in Georgia, Moldova and Crimea. "We have seen how they proved to be deceptions," he said.
Kiev has been using troops, artillery and air power to try to quell a separatist rebellion that broke out soon after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March.
The last few weeks have seen a string of rebel defeats in a conflict that has killed more than 2,000 people.
A Reuters cameraman said it had been possible to see inside some of the vehicles on Friday. The cargoes visible consisted of cardboard boxes with tinned food, pallets of bottled water, generators and other supplies.
Poroshenko said on Thursday he would call on Putin to rein in pro-Russian separatists when the two meet next week and told the Kremlin chief he had "a strong country, a strong army".
Merkel is scheduled to visit Kiev on Saturday to show her support for Poroshenko - but diplomats say she is also bearing a message that he should consider calling a ceasefire so as not to incur a backlash from Putin.
In Donetsk, pro-Russia separatist Denis Pushilin, guarded by men who identified themselves as Chechens, handed out aid –sugar, tea, canned beef and rice – and envelopes of money to three families in a state building in the city center. The aid, collected in Russia by Russian citizens, was not connected to the aid crossing the border on Friday, Pushilin said.
"Hopefully soon we’ll be able to start handing out aid to hundreds if not thousands of more families in need."
Rebels brought two destroyed Ukrainian armored personnel carriers to Donetsk’s central Lenin Square to display on Sunday, when rebels plan on parading prisoners of war through the streets of the city as a counterpoint to festivities planned in Kiev as part of Ukraine’s Independence Day.
After four months of fighting in the industrial, Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, the area faces a humanitarian crisis, lacking supplies of food, medicine and clean water.

(Additional reporting by Alessandra Prentice and Richard Balmforth in Kiev,; Thomas Grove in Donetsk, Christian Lowe in Moscow, David Alexander in Washington,; Robert-Jan Bartunek and Martin Santa in Brussels and Steve Holland in Edgartown,; Massachusetts; writing by Ralph Boulton and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Andrew Heavens,; Dan Grebler and Eric Beech)


  1. Reporters and officials at the border said all of about 260 trucks in the convoy had crossed the border by Friday afternoon. Russian outlet LifeNews showed footage of men unloading bags from the trucks in Luhansk, where it said 100 trucks had arrived. It also reported some mortar fire had landed near the convoy in the city although other reports said the convoy had not been targeted.

    The head of Ukraine's security service, Valentin Nalyvaichenko, described the crossing of the border as a direct invasion but ruled out the use of force against the convoy. Nalyvaichenko argued that the convoy's drivers were Russian military forces members trained to drive combat vehicles and the half-empty trucks would be used to move weapons and bring the bodies of Russian fighters out of Ukraine.

    Russia's move is sure to complicate peace talks between the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, set to take place on Tuesday in Minsk.

    Western leaders fear the convoy could serve as a pretext for direct Russian intervention in the conflict between government forces and pro-Russia rebels which has been raging for the past four months in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, suspicions Moscow has dismissed.

    In a phone call with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Putin said in the light of Kiev’s "obvious stalling", Russia had decided to send the convoy in because further delays would have been unacceptable, according to a Kremlin statement.


  2. Lithuania says its honorary consul in the rebel-held city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine has been murdered by “terrorists” there.

    Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius tweeted with "deep sorrow" that "Mr Mykola Zelenec kidnapped & brutally killed by terrorists there".

    Ukraine routinely calls the pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk "terrorists".

    The news came amid reports that some Russian aid lorries had reached Luhansk without any permission from Ukraine.

    There has been no comment from the rebels yet on the Lithuanian diplomat's death.

    Lithuania is among the most vociferous EU member states in its criticism of Russian actions in Ukraine. The EU and US accuse Russia of fomenting the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.


  3. Russia-Lithuania tensions

    Mr Linkevicius described the entry of the Russian aid convoy into eastern Ukraine as "a blatant violation of international law", echoing Ukraine's condemnation of the move.

    The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session at Lithuania's request to discuss the issue.

    The Ukraine crisis has heightened tensions between Russia and the three Baltic republics - including Lithuania - which used to be Soviet republics governed from Moscow.

    Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, lambasted the Lithuanian delegation on Friday.

    He scorned "the indefatigable delegation of Lithuania, which is always torpedoing all productive, constructive initiatives we've had in the Security Council".

    He said Lithuania had amended a Russian proposal calling for a ceasefire while the aid was distributed in Luhansk. He said the Lithuanian delegation "sent in amendments where they dropped the reference to Russia and included a reference to the European Union, and then dropped the reference to a ceasefire".

    At the UN, he added, “the Lithuanian delegation starts working, and of course we know the division of labour - the US and UK are not far behind".


  4. You can bet the farm Netanyahu will take full advantage of this and the ISIS crisis and continue Israeli aggression against Gaza.

    Hopefully the US will get support from our real allies in Europe to deal with ISIS.

    1. Sure that 4 year old Jewish toddler that was blown to hamburger by Hamas was just a prop...

    2. Netanyahu started this. Hi is predictable and true to his Russian roots.

    3. He and Putin are both taking advantage of the grown ups that have to deal with ISIS.

    4. "Netanyahu started this"

      Honest to Christ.......

      "This" was started 1,400 years ago, you silly ninny.

    5. (see reference to killing all the Jews on earth in The Hamas Charter with its reference to the Koran)

  5. Sunni lawmakers pulled out of talks on forming a new Iraqi government after militants attacked a Sunni mosque in a volatile province outside Baghdad during Friday prayers, killing at least 64 people.

    It was not immediately clear if the attack was carried out by Shiite militiamen or the Islamic State extremist group, which has been advancing into the ethnically and communally mixed Diyala province and has been known to kill fellow Sunni Muslims who refuse to submit to its leadership.

    But Sunni lawmakers pointed to powerful Shiite militias, and two major parliamentary blocs pulled out of talks on forming a new Cabinet, setting up a major challenge for prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite who is struggling to form an inclusive government that can confront the militants.

    The blocs affiliated with Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al-Mutlak demanded that outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the main Shiite parliamentary bloc hand over the perpetrators within 48 hours and compensate the families of victims “if they want the political process and the new government to see the light of day.”

    The joint statement blamed the attack on ``militias'' in an apparent reference to Shiite armed groups allied with the government. Sunni lawmakers could not immediately be reached for further comment.

    An army officer and a police officer said the attack on the Musab bin Omair Mosque in Imam Wais village, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Baghdad, began with a suicide bombing near the entrance, after which gunmen poured in and opened fire on the worshippers.

    Officials in Imam Wais said Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen raced to the scene of the attack to reinforce security but stumbled upon bombs planted by the militants, which allowed the attackers to flee. Four Shiite militiamen were killed and thirteen wounded by the blasts.

    A total of at least 64 people were killed in the attack and more than 60 wounded. Al-Maliki has called for an investigation.

    The officials said Islamic State fighters have been trying to convince two prominent Sunni tribes in the area - the Oal-Waisi and al-Jabour - to join them, but that they have thus far refused.



    1. {...}

      Suicide bombings

      Virtually all suicide bombings in Iraq are believed to have been carried out by Sunni militants, but Shiite fighters used the tactic in Lebanon during that country's civil war. In the chaotic aftermath of a major attack it is often not immediately clear how it was carried out or who was responsible.

      Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

      Since early this year, Iraq has been facing an onslaught by the extremist Islamic State group and allied Sunni militants. The crisis has worsened since June, when the group seized Iraq's second largest city of Mosul, in the north.

      In Diyala, Islamic State fighters have clashed with Kurdish forces guarding disputed territory claimed by the Kurdish regional government in the north. The extremist group pushed Kurdish forces out of the town of Jalula earlier this month after heavy fighting.

      The Islamic State group has also clashed with Shiite militiamen and security forces loyal to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. At the height of Iraq's sectarian bloodletting in 2006-2007 the province was among the country's most lethal areas.

      If the attack proves to have been carried out by Shiite militiamen it would deal a major blow to al-Abadi's efforts to reach out to the country's Sunni minority, whose grievances are seen as fuelling the insurgency.

      Al-Abadi has until Sept. 10 to submit a list of Cabinet members to parliament for approval, but such deadlines have often passed without action because of political wrangling.

      Sunni insurgency

      On Friday Iraq's top Shiite cleric again called upon national leaders to settle their differences in a “realistic and doable” manner and swiftly form a new government to confront the Sunni insurgency.

      Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the next government should be made up of candidates who care about “the country's future and its citizens” regardless of their ethnic and religious affiliations.

      Al-Sistani warned that politicians’ “demands and conditions could derail the forming of the new government.”

      The reclusive cleric's remarks were relayed by his representative, Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie, during Friday prayers in the Shiite holy city of Karbala.

      Al-Karbalaie also called for urgent aid to be airlifted to residents of a small Shiite town which has been besieged by Sunni militants in northern Iraq.

      About 15,000 Shiite Turkmen in the town of Amirli have been under a tight siege and are running out of food and medical supplies. The town is located about 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of Baghdad.

      The United States launched airstrikes this month to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces looking to reclaim territory seized by the Islamic State group.

      U.S. Central Command said Friday that it conducted three new airstrikes around the Mosul Dam, where clashes with militants continue nearly a week after Iraqi and Kurdish forces retook the sprawling facility with U.S. air support.

      Since Aug. 8, the U.S. has launched a total of 93 airstrikes, of which 60 were near the Mosul Dam, Centcom said.



  6. Russia Moves Artillery Units Into Ukraine, NATO SaysAUG. 22, 2014

    There has been a “major escalation in Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen of NATO said in a statement. “Russian artillery support — both cross-border and from within Ukraine — is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces,” Mr. Rasmussen added.


  7. There is no question that this is a Russian attack on Ukraine.

    The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has warned that separatists are shelling a possible route that a Russian humanitarian convoy could take to Luhansk.

    "Attempts to establish contact between the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Russia, which is critical to ensure security for the convoy’s route, have failed, despite all attempts from the Ukrainian. Please note that terrorists are shelling the convoy’s possible route with mortars," the statement from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

    Russia announced earlier on Aug. 22 that it was sending in a convoy of trucks with humanitarian aid into Ukraine without Kiev's approval.

    In a statement Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on Russia to bring events surrounding the convoy "back into the international legal framework."

    The statement also said that the convoy's entrance into Ukraine without approval was illegal and in violation of international agreements.

    New York Times reporter at the border checkpoint in Izvaryne, Andrew Roth, confirmed via Twitter that the last of the humanitarian convoy trucks had crossed into Ukraine from Russia.

    "There is absolutely doubting the plan. Russia's forces inside Ukraine will attack it with artillery and rockets, then blame it on the ATO forces. Moscow's modus operandi never changes. It has been one false flag operation after another. Someone should tell those poor suckers driving the lorries that they are about to be slaughtered by their own government.”

  8. Hamas kills 21 suspected informers
    Human rights bodies condemn 'extra-judicial executions' while death of four-year-old in Israel threatens escalation of conflict

    Hamas has turned its anger over Israel's assassination of three military commanders against alleged collaborators in Gaza, killing 21 people in a little over 24 hours and warning that the "same punishment will be imposed soon on others".

    The suspected informers – including two women – were killed in three batches in a campaign codenamed "Strangling Necks". Three were killed on Thursday, 11 at a disused police station early on Friday, and another seven shot dead in public outside a mosque in Gaza City shortly after noon prayers.

    Yep, just the same as ISIS.

    Both Hamas and ISIS's ideology are the same as Nazi Germany, aside from Islam.

    1. A short while later, a Hamas rocket landed just 12 meters (about 39 feet) from a packed Kindergarten in the western Negev.

      What no screams of outrage by the UN?

      Don't hold your breathe.

  9. Fuck off and fuck Israel. There are bigger worries. This is an invasion. You now have Russian military lorries, painted white with Russian personnel on Ukrainian land without authorisation and without permission. Putin is hoping that they will be attacked, so that he can use this as an excuse " For military assistance to help the besieged humanitarian aid convoy" It is a classic set up, and 24th August is Ukrainian independence day, Coincidence? somehow i do not think so.

    1. LOL

      Get over yourself Nigel.

      Russia and Ukraine are swapping spit... Nothing new here...

      As for "fuck"off Israel? Who do you think has propped up Syria for 3 years? Iran? RUSSIA.

      Invasion... wow big words...

      What do you call what Iran has done to iraq, syria and lebanon?

  10. Ahh, just another slow news day. Wake me up when Justin Bieber, or the Kardashians do something.

    1. You can’t make this stuff up.

    2. No wonder Obama keeps playing golf. He doesn’t know where to start.

  11. I just looked in on your blog. What a fabulously intellectual and enlightened poster you are. It is no wonder you are always here. Lying is the Russian and Israeli way of life. Which is why both countries are in such god awful messes.

  12. My apologies, my comment was directed at “Occupation”.

    1. I'd look at your blog but you don't have one..

      Rat has invented a NEW persona again..

      Nigel the homo....

    2. :):):):)

      By the way, I kinda like the name "Strangling Necks" for a killing campaign.

      This may be the first spark of creativity that has ever come out of Gaza and Hamas !

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I would almost lay odds that I'm going to wake up in the morning, and find out that we have sent B-2's to bomb the hell out of ISIS in Syria.

    2. WE have to make a deal with Iran and Syria. Play the cards you are dealt.

    3. Can you imagine the look on Obama’s face when he gets the call that Netanyahu is on the phone.

    4. I'm not so sure that Netanyahoo can "call" Obama.

    5. Read this. It does not look good:

      Islamic State extremists rampaging through Iraq have now turned their sights back towards Syria, where only a besieged airbase stands between the terror group and a rush for the Mediterranean coast that could split the country in two.

      The attack on the Tabqa airbase in eastern Syria comes as Isis continues to move back towards areas it controlled north of Aleppo until February. Using weapons the group looted from abandoned Iraqi military bases, Isis has returned with a vengeance to the area, stunning regional powers with its rapid advances.

      Less than three months after taking Iraq's second and fourth biggest cities, much of Anbar province and the Syrian border, the group is establishing itself with extraordinary speed as a regional power that will determine the fate of both countries. There are growing fears across the Middle East that no regional military can slow the group's momentum.

      Isis now controls a swath of land slightly larger than the UK, from Aleppo to central Iraq, and holds sway over a population of at least four million people. The group's rapid ability to organise and consolidate continues to splinter a fractured body politic in Iraq and Syria and is fast causing ramifications for the broader Middle East.

      "The Islamic State is now the most capable military power in the Middle East outside Israel," a senior regional diplomat said on Friday. "They can determine outcomes in a few days that the Syrian rebels took two years to influence. Their capacity is in sharp contrast to the Syrian regime, which is only able to fight one battle at a time and has to fight hard for every success.

      "In the first two months of its life, the so-called Caliphate has achieved unparalleled success. It is in the process of creating foundations for substantial financial, military and political growth. It is the best equipped and most capable terror group in the world. It is unlike anything we have ever seen."

      Isis has surrounded the Tabqa airbase in Raqqa province from all sides, trapping 800 to 1,000 Syrian troops and airmen who have used the base to attack mainstream opposition groups in the north of the country for the past two years.

      Despite Isis gradually subsuming parts of the opposition in northern Syria, the Syrian regime had not attacked the terror group until it launched its offensive into Iraq on 10 June. Since then, Syrian jets have bombed 30 targets in Raqqa, which had been a command hub for Isis for the past 18 months.

      "They did not bomb the [Isis] headquarters until June and even then only after it had been evacuated. We are all paying the price now,” the Kurdish intelligence chief Masrour Barzani told the Guardian this month.



    6. {...}
      Syrian reinforcements have rushed to defend Tabqa, but doing so will be difficult. Every other regime facility in eastern Syria has fallen over the past year and there is little chance of holding Tabqa without external help.

      If Tabqa falls, Isis will have a relatively clear run towards Syria's fourth city, Hama, around 300 miles to the west. Hama is within a contiguous strip linking Damascus to the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartous, which earlier in the Syrian civil war were designated a de facto rump state that could be defended by loyalists.

      Of more immediate concern, though, is the fate of the country's second city, Aleppo, which is almost surrounded by regime forces who, with the help of a relentless barrel-bombing campaign in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, have pushed the mainstream opposition to the edge of defeat.

      A revitalised Isis threatens to change that dynamic. Using armoured vehicles supplied by the US to the vanquished Iraqi army, Isis has taken 12 villages in the Aleppo countryside in the past fortnight and is threatening to turn its guns on the opposition at the same time as it tries to engage the Syrian regime.

      "For Isis, it is crucial to control such a long stretch of border with Turkey, because it wants to continue the influx of foreign fighters," the western diplomat said. "Aleppo is the key to all of northern Syria. The group has led large numbers of forces from Anbar to Aleppo in preparation for this battle. They are being led by the senior emir, Abu Wahib."

      Western leaders have indicated that a key strategy in tackling Isis will involve trying to deprive Isis of the support of the 20 million Sunni Arabs who live between Damascus and Baghdad. But the difficulties of that approach was underscored on Friday when Shia militia shot dead dozens of Sunni in a village north of Baghdad.

      Morgue officials said 68 people died in the settlement 40 miles from Baquba, in one of the deadliest such attacks this year. It is the multiplicity of such attacks that has persuaded Sunni Iraqis that they stand a better chance working with Isis than with the Shia-dominated Iraqi state.

      "Sectarian militias entered and opened fire at worshippers. Most mosques have no security," lawmaker Nahida al-Dayani told Reuters. "Some of the victims were from one family. Some women who rushed to see the fate of their relatives at the mosque were killed."

      A Sunni tribal leader, Salman al-Jibouri, said his community was prepared to respond in kind. "Sunni tribes have been alerted to avenge the killings," he said.

    7. Deuce ☂Fri Aug 22, 10:39:00 PM EDT
      WE have to make a deal with Iran and Syria. Play the cards you are dealt.

      You play checkers and the Persians invented chess.

      Iran has set you up and you are too ignorant to see it...

      Play nice with Iran?



    8. Israelo-fascist distortions and lies about Iran are nothing new. Israel and their US trollops, the Neocons, panicked after 911 when Iran started helping the US against the Taliban. We need Iranian and Syrian cooperation to deal with ISIS. Israel under the Israelo-fascist, Netanyahu will do everything to impede that end and get far more Americans killed than the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. You can bet the occupied farm on it.

  14. What a difference a year makes. Around this time last year, the West was gearing up for military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was accused of carrying out chemical weapons attacks on his own people.

    That intervention never came to pass, not least because domestic public opinion in countries such as Britain and the United States was opposed to further entanglements in the Middle East.

    Now, the U.S. is contemplating extending airstrikes on Islamic State militants operating in Iraq in Syria — fighters belonging to a terrorist organization that is leading the war against Assad. The Islamic State's territorial gains in Iraq and continued repression and slaughter of religious minorities there and in Syria have rightly triggered global condemnation. "I am no apologist for the Assad regime," Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, told NPR. "But in terms of our security, [the Islamic State] is by far the greatest threat."

    The irony of the moment is tragic. But to some, it doesn't come as much of a surprise. Many cautioned against the earlier insistence of the Obama administration (as well as other governments) that Assad must go, fearing what would take hold in the vacuum.

    One of those critics happened to be Russian President Vladimir Putin, who warned against U.S. intervention in Syria in a New York Times op-ed last September. He wrote:

    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.

    Some of the crises Putin catalogs have worsened anyway, no matter American action or inaction. But Putin's insistence was couched in a reading of the conflict in Syria that's more cold-blooded than the view initially held by some in Washington. "Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country," Putin wrote, suggesting that the nominally secular Assad regime, despite its misdeeds, was a stabilizing force preferable to what could possibly replace it.

    Putin decried the growing Islamist cadres in the Syrian rebels' ranks:

    Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria?


  15. The NY Times headlines say it all:

    U.S. Weighs Direct Military Action Against ISIS in Syria
    A top national security adviser to President Obama said the United States was “not going to be restricted by borders” to protect its interests, including possibly pursuing direct military action in Syria.
    Britain Rejects Calls to Join With Syria to Defeat ISIS

    Faulted for ISIS’ Rise, Syria’s Assad Is Urged to Act

    Accused of letting ISIS gain territory, President Bashar al-Assad is being pressed to prioritize defeating the jihadist group.

    Russian Military Opens Fire in Ukraine, NATO Says
    NATO officials said that the Russian military had moved artillery units inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces.
    U.S. Says Chinese Jet Confronted Navy Plane
    The Chinese plane flew within 30 feet of the Navy aircraft on Tuesday in international airspace just off the Chinese coast, the Pentagon said.

  16. From the "Never say Never" dept:

    If we do decide to bomb the IS holes while they're congregated around Tabqa, it might look a whole lot more like boobie's "carpet bombing" wetdream than the precision strikes that we've seen in Iraq - for several pretty obvious reasons.

    1. It would look a lot easier if we had a whole slew of Stealthy laser-pointing drones.

    2. I guess it's not that big a thing, though. We can, obviously, turn Syria's lights on, and off, at will.

      Oh, Lord, God, please don't let us find that bunch of assholes clumped up in a field big enough to send the B-52's in on an honest-to-god "carpet bombing" mission. I'd have to find another blog to bother. :)

  17. As the matter of international law, armistice lines are not territorial boundaries. The Franco-Prussian War and WWI are excellent illustrations, as are those of Judea and Samaria in 1950.

    During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops were surrounding Paris, which afforded excellent viewing of the Paris Commune. The boundary lines changed as directed by the peace treaty.

    1. Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

      “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

      Even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
      “We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” Oren said in the interview.

  18. Rufus IIFri Aug 22, 10:35:00 PM EDT

    I would almost lay odds that I'm going to wake up in the morning, and find out that we have sent B-2's to bomb the hell out of ISIS in Syria.

    Yes ! Rufus it would indeed look something like the option I presented - "carpet bombing" - which was misrepresented by The One Here Who Saved Uncountable Lives by selling end of life life old gas bag......he he he

  19. I have been researching the Missouri law.

    There is not a chance in hell that Officer Wilson is going to be convicted of anything in Missouri if he has ever a broken fingernail over the incident.......

    Federal law is different.

    Who is this 'Nigel' fellow? Is that really rat.......or that queer from that TV series about upscale 'life' in Seattle ?

    1. if he has even a broken fingernail over the incident.......

    2. R. Gas Bag is a racist.

      He ALWAYS blames the white guy.


    Next Saturday the Mighty Vandals of Idaho take on the University of Florida.

    Expect a slaughter of ISIS proportions........beheaded and crucified Vandals all over the field........

    Again this year I shall be hoping for a perfect 0-12 year for my beloved Vandals, and shall be routing for the opposing teams the entire season.

    The odds are good ........

    The odds would be rock solid if only Coach Quart had been hired........

    1. Is it routing for a team or rooting for a team? Cached
      Jun 12, 2010 · Happy Thanksgiving Everyone....What football team are you routing for? Question about team USA? Baseball fans with more than one team in your city or area -?

      It is routing.

      Hogs root in Mississippi.

  21. Calm restored in Ferguson, support for officer builds...

    WIRE: What happens if no charges?

    Officials brace for exoneration...

    Milwaukee Sheriff: Holder Needs to Apologize to Cops.........drudge


  22. New Hampshire Senate race between Shaheen and Brown is now statistical tie -


  23. Hannity just put on an hour's conversation with a mixed group of people, including MLK's niece, on the subject of race in America which was excellent.

    Everyone agreed all police should have 'go' camera's on their uniforms as standard equipment.

  24. ISIS at work -

    Tough viewing. Taken from that racist site, American Thinker.

    Here is the article, which is about propaganda - it uses and misuses.