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Russian MP Says Obama ‘Clones’ Bush in Drive For War

MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) – The United States is moving towards war with Syria, a senior Russian lawmaker said Sunday lashing President Barack Obama as “clone” of George W. Bush in his drive for war.

“Obama is restlessly heading towards war in Syria like Bush was heading towards war in Iraq. Like in Iraq, this war would be illegitimate and Obama will become Bush’s clone,” Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian lower house’s international committee, said on Twitter.

His remarks came after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday the White House is studying different military options against Syria.

"President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that and we are prepared to exercise whatever option - if he decides to employ one of those options," Reuters quoted Hagel as saying.



Interesting noise coming out of Russia concerning Syria...stay tuned

Russia: Don't Turn Syria Into Another Iraq

Source: CBS NEWS

By DAVID MORGAN / CBS NEWS/ August 25, 2013, 2:11 PM

(CBS News) The Russian Foreign Ministry today drew a parallel between reports that Syrian government forces has used chemical weapons and claims by the administration of President George W. Bush that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction - claims which lead to a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq a decade ago.

In a statement reported by Reuters, Moscow warned against assigning blame without a full investigation by U.N. inspectors of Wednesday's alleged toxic gas attack on the eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital. Moscow's warning came after a U.S. officials said the Obama administration has "very little doubt" the Assad regime in Syria is guilty of deadly chemical weapon use.

Russia also warned the U.S. against taking unilateral military actions toward the Assad regime.

"We once again decisively urge (the United States) not to repeat the mistakes of the past and not to allow actions that go against international law," the foreign ministry said.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57600013/russia-dont-turn-syria-into-another-iraq/

Poll || Most Americans Oppose Intervention In Syria Even If Chemical Attack Confirmed

Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days - just as Syria's civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans' resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East.



Al-Qaida Vows To Strike At Hezbollah For Lebanon Bombings

Al-Qaida's North African branch blamed Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah for twin bombs that hit the northern city of Tripoli on Friday and threatened retribution, a US-based intelligence monitoring website reported on Saturday.

Although al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is not operational in Lebanon, its statement shows a growing regional hatred against Hezbollah by radical Sunni Muslim groups and a wider, deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East.

AQIM said in tweets it knew "with certainty" that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah was responsible for the attack that killed more than 42 people in Tripoli.

"That vile party... should know that it will meet retribution soon," AQIM said, according to the SITE monitoring service.

Hezbollah, which was once lauded by both Sunnis and Shi'ites for its battles against Israel, has lost support from many Sunnis since it joined Syrian President Bashar Assad's side in his 2 1/2-year-old fight against a majority Sunni uprising.



Shelah: 'Jewish And Democratic State' An Oxymoron

Yesh Atid faction chairman Ofer Shelah continued making public statements in opposition of his party on Friday, coming out against “nationality bills” like the one proposed by MK Ruth Calderon.

“Even in its best version, so-called ‘nationality bills’ are unnecessary, and unnecessary legislation should not be passed. In its worst versions, its a harmful bill for our shared lives in this land and for our image abroad,” Shelah wrote on Facebook regarding the proposals to legally define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Shelah’s Facebook post came days after Justice Minister Tzipi Livni appointed Hebrew University law professor Ruth Gavison to write a “constitutional provision” on Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not approve of the appointment.

Earlier this year, Livni vetoed Calderon’s bill and another proposal on the topic by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) and MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.



Constitutional Tweaks May Empower Mubarak-Era Politicians In Egypt

CAIRO | Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:10am EDT

(Reuters) - Changes suggested by Egypt's army-backed rulers would scrap Islamic additions to a constitution forced through under deposed President Mohamed Mursi and revive a voting system dating back to his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Islamists and liberals have voiced alarm about the proposals made by a constitutional committee set up by the generals who removed the Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi on July 3 amid widespread protests against Egypt's first freely elected leader.

The army has suspended the constitution adopted under Mursi late last year. It had been endorsed by a referendum after he grabbed extraordinary powers to ensure its passage, igniting some of the bloodiest street protests of his turbulent year in power.

Now an army-installed government is revising a document faulted for embedding Islamic influence in lawmaking and for short-changing human rights, especially of women and minorities, including Christians who form some 10 percent of the population.

The changes drafted by a 10-member committee - and leaked to the media on Wednesday, the same day a court ordered Mubarak freed from jail - are part of an army roadmap back to democracy.



Merkel raps China, Russia for neutering UN stance on Syria inspectors

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised Damascus allies China and Russia for blocking a Western-backed UN text demanding that inspectors probing chemical weapons use in Syria be given unfettered access.

Her comments were made in an interview with Focus magazine, extracts of which were published on Saturday, even as a top UN envoy arrived in Damascus to discuss the terms on an enquiry into the alleged chemical attacks.

"Unfortunately, the opposition of Russia and China thwarted a formal statement by the UN Security Council calling for them (the inspectors) to be granted full access," Merkel said.

A draft supported by the United States, Britain and France and calling for the powers of UN inspectors to be reinforced was circulated at a council meeting on Wednesday, in the wake of fresh allegations that chemical weapons had been used in Syria.

But according to diplomats, the council's two other permanent members China and Russia, blocked it and only agreed to a weaker statement.



Greenpeace Ship Defies Russia, Enters Arctic Route To Protest Against Oil Drilling

Greenpeace has deployed its icebreaker through an Arctic shipping route to protest against oil drilling in the fragile ecosystem, defying Russian authorities, the group said Saturday.

The Russian transportation ministry immediately accused the Dutch-flagged vessel of “crudely” violating Russian and international law.

Earlier this week Greenpeace said Russia had refused the permission to enter the Northern Sea Route on several occasions citing concerns about the icebreaker’s ability to withstand thick ice.

The global environmental group has called the move “a thinly veiled attempt to stifle peaceful protest.”

In defiance of the Russian authorities, the Greenpeace said its ship Arctic Sunrise entered the Northern Sea Route early Saturday to protest plans by the country’s top oil firm Rosneft and its US partner ExxonMobil to drill near the Russian Arctic National Park.



Manning Gender Preference Puts US Media in Quandary

WASHINGTON, August 23 (RIA Novosti) – Bradley Manning, the US Army private now in prison for leaking classified military secrets, has launched a pivotal nationwide debate for journalists with what would seem to be a relatively straightforward request: “He” now wants to be known as “she.”

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” Manning said in a sworn statement read Thursday by his attorney, David Coombs, on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun,” Manning wrote, adding, “I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”
The statement had a handwritten signature that read “Chelsea E. Manning.”

But for a prison inmate facing a lengthy term behind bars, it’s just not that simple.
The request itself may well challenge societal discomfort and push US military policies far beyond the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” standard that, until September 2011, barred declared homosexuals from serving in the military.



Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

“Meet the Press” on NBC

• Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
• Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D)
• Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)
• Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

“Face the Nation” on CBS

• Lewis
• Booker
• Former Secretary of State Colin Powell

“This Week” on ABC

• Lewis
• Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young (D)

“Fox News Sunday” on Fox

• Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
• Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), ranking member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
• Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R)
• Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)

“State of the Union” on CNN

• Lewis
• Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
• Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean
• Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)

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