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Jordan Invites US Targets for Syrian Retaliation

By Nicola Nasser

Friday, September 06, 2013


Jordan’s noninterference in internal Syrian affairs is the officially declared policy, but the reported training in the country of Syrian opposition fighters, the recent visit to the country by the President of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Ahmad al-Jarba, the latter’s visit to southern Syria across the Jordanian borders and the reports about opening a SNC representative office in Amman after al-Jarba’s meeting with Nasser Judeh, and the reported infiltration of arms and “Jihadists” from Jordan into Syria are all indications that compromise Jordan’s officially declared policy of noninterference.

In April this year, Syrian President al-Assad said that Amman “is facilitating the passage of thousands of fighters into our country;” it was his first public warning to Jordan. His state TV told the Jordanians they were “playing with fire.” The Syrian newspaper Al-Thawra, also said in a front-page editorial that the Jordanian government “could not claim neutrality” anymore.

Al-Assad added that he had sent envoys to the kingdom during the preceding two months to remind Amman of the two countries' shared goal of fighting the “terrorists.” “The fire does not stop at our border and everyone knows that Jordan is exposed to what Syria is exposed to.”

In November 2005, al-Qaeda mounted a series of devastating bomb attacks at three luxury hotels in the Jordanian capital, killing some 60 people. The attacks were said to be in retaliation for Jordan hosting training centers for the new Iraqi army and police, and for becoming a de facto logistical transit base in support of the US occupation of Iraq in 2003.

This Bombardment of Syria Clichés Shows No Sign of Stopping

By Robert Fisk

Source: The Independent

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Missiles maybe. But the bombardment of clichés is real enough – and low enough quality not to do anyone any harm except for the gentlemen who utter them. Really, who writes this stuff for Kerry? There was “armchair isolationism”. Why an armchair? And who was the target of the weird reference to post-First World War US isolationism?

Was Kerry trying to turn Obama into Roosevelt after the 1941 “day of infamy” (a genuine non-cliché there from old Franklin D)? Then we had our old friend, the “state sponsor of terrorism” from the days of Saddam – no wonder a British minister mistook Assad for the executed Iraqi dictator – from House Majority leader Eric Cantor. And just listen to this from Kerry: “This is not the time to be spectators to a slaughter. Neither our country nor our conscience can afford the cost of silence.” Yup, it’s alliteration, folks (spectators/slaughter, country/conscience/cost).

And then yet once more – how tired can you get of this mulch? – Kerry also felt he could compare Assad to Hitler. This is preposterous. Over a hundred thousand Syrians may well have died in this terrible war. But Hitler started a war that may have killed 70 million. Does Kerry maybe think that Hitler is still alive? The late Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin thought that when he fantasized in a letter to Ronnie Reagan when he was invading Lebanon in 1982 that he felt he was advancing on Berlin (Arafat was the man in the bunker). And not long ago the now Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told us all that the crackpot president of Iran (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at the time) was “worse than Hitler”. So let’s have it just one more time: HITLER IS DEAD.

And get this. Obama is not asking America to go to war, but to “degrade and deter” Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons. We first got “degrade” in the 1991 Gulf war, then we got it again when Nato fired weapons at Milosovic’s chums in Serbia (targets, you may remember, that included a TV station, an express train and a hospital). And “the costs of inaction are greater and graver still” – this from Democratic chairman of the Senate committee, Robert Menendez. But is this true? When Saddam used gas against the Kurds of Halabjah, the US did not see this as a ‘grave cost’ to the nation. Indeed, it waited years before condemning it because Saddam was our mate at the time.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/this-bombardment-of-syria-clich-s-shows-no-sign-of-stopping-by-robert-fisk.html

Who Has the Power to Make War on Syria?

By Tim Holmes

Source: New Left Project

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

.....In reality, Washington’s actions in Syria will reflect its broader goal of securing regional dominance. They want, notes analyst Paul Rogers,

a pro-western Syria that would severely constrain Iranian influence in the region and end any notion that a 'Shi’a crescent' could be established—from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, through Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This is akin to the neo-con dream of 2001-03, which believed that regime termination in Iraq would form the western counterpart of a pincer against Iran, complementing Afghanistan’s role to the east.

But the US has failed to win a dominant position for pro-western groups amid Syria’s disunited rebel factions, and instead confronts the “growing power of extreme Islamist paramilitaries”. Some “realists” therefore suggest Obama fuel the civil war deliberately, adjusting the flow of weapons to prevent either side winning. But Washington is equally unprepared to let Syria fragment, leaving large areas under jihadist control. The “chemical-weapons controversy”, then, “might provide a means to hasten Assad’s end and avert this outcome.”

The US media take official claims about the chemical attacks at face value; but the available evidence is shaky at best. It is clear an attack took place; less clear who perpetrated it. The Syrian regime has little obvious incentive to cross Obama’s “red line” and provoke retaliation. The Office of the Director for National Intelligence lacks “proof Assad ordered chemical weapons use”, while those “panicked calls” from a Syrian commander to the field only cast doubt on the regime’s complicity. Many question whether such attacks merit a response if the wider Syrian bloodbath does not.

Military options range from pointless to “extremely dangerous”, and are generally both. A 2012 paper in the Journal of Peace Research found “that military interventions in favor of the rebel faction … tend to increase government killings of civilians by about 40%”. This supports an “academic consensus” that outside involvement makes civil wars longer, more bloody, and more difficult to resolve peaceably. The “worst results typically involve multiple external actors with conflicting objectives”—as in Syria.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/who-has-the-power-to-make-war-on-syria-by-tim-holmes.html

Obama’s Turn to Congress: More Deception on Syria - Paul Street

Wednesday, September 04, 2013



Forget that the United States has repeatedly used chemical and even radioactive weapons against civilians. Forget that the U.S. stands in the vanguard of modern petro-capitalism’s gassing of all life on Earth through wildly excessive global carbon emissions that increasingly pose a grave threat to human survival. And that the United States policy makers have long felt entitled by America’s supposed “exceptionalism” to violate international rules and horrify “the global community” with abject impunity.

The administration knows further that most Western policy and opinion makers share its “patent lack of sympathy for confidence in the Syrian popular uprising” (Achcar) and that responsible intelligence links raise serious doubts about the notion that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad actively ordered the chemical weapons attack of August 21. Along the way, besides the fact that Obama’s attacks will kill civilians and the risk of broad regional spillover and catastrophe, there’s the tricky matter of Russian president Vladimir Putin reportedly making strange noises about attacking Saudi Arabia if the West attacks Syria. Putin has sent Russian warships into the Mediterranean, raising the specter of escalating U.S. tensions with what is still the world’s second leading nuclear weapons power.

In his race to war, Obama and his leading CML and humanitarian-imperialist advisors and operatives (Susan Rice and Samantha Power) must feel a little bit like the cartoon character Road Runner, caught ten yards off a cliff and realizing that there’s no solid ground underneath. With no safety net and fig leaf for imminent war crimes on offer from the UN, NATO, the Arab League, or even from the British junior partner in mass Muslim-killing, the Nobel Peace Prize-mocking president is gambling that Congress will grant him one. If the attack turns out to be yet another example of the longstanding futility of Washington’s belief that it can militarily manage the world from the banks of the Potomac, he can deal Congress in on the shame of the latest imperial fiasco.

The U.S. and its Commander in Chief feel that their use-of-deadly-force credibility is on the line, like a Mafia don compelled to generate some corpses to prove that he is still worth fearing. Reduced to missile-attacking and bombing a rogue state to maintain imperial authority, Obama remains poised to make Syria the eighth majority-Muslim country with which the U.S. has been at war during his term as president .

In Rush to Strike Syria, U.S. Tried to Derail U.N. Probe


How Intelligence Was Twisted to Support an Attack on Syria


William Blum - on Syria. 'The Anti-Empire Report #120'


So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!

Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10

Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.

The Lie of "Limited" War Against Syria

The Lie of "Limited" War Against Syria

By Shamus Cooke

August 30, 2013 "Information Clearing House - The rats are jumping ship. Obama's strongest allies can't stomach the stench of lies that are the foundation of the war effort against Syria. Even England, whose entire foreign policy is reduced to asking "how high?" when the U.S. says "jump,” opted to stay grounded for Obama's war drive.

The Arab League, too, having long been considered a puppet show by U.S. foreign policy, has cut its strings. The UN Security Council — after having learned not to trust Obama in Libya — also refuses to give permission for an attack. Which leaves France — the former colonial master of Syria — to fill England's shoes as the token "important" European nation to give the attack a thin coat of "international" support. But England's insolence will surely make an impression on the French public, who voted in a "socialist" president, presumably not to act as a warmonger.

Obama has offered zero evidence that the Syrian government is responsible for the most recent chemical weapons attack. UN investigator Carla Del Ponte blamed the U.S.-backed rebels for a previous chemical weapons attack, so if one were to presume guilt, it would flow towards the rebels.

While foreign nations instantly recognized Obama's war song as a plagiarism of President Bush's lyrics used to attack Iraq, sections of the American public have been fooled by Obama's mellowing tone. The soft, reassuring sound of "limited strikes" that will last "hours, not days" has a calming effect on the nerves of the American public, who are essentially being told that Syria needs a light slap on the wrist for being "bad,” after which everything will return to normal; no U.S. troops need die. No big deal, really.

But, of course, any military action in the Middle East is a big deal. With each new war the U.S. wages in the region tensions rise, self defense preparations are made, and regional alliances are readied to act as deterrents. The nations not aligned with U.S. foreign policy — and there are many — are desperate to stop the U.S.' bloody march across the Middle East.

Full Article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36039.htm


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Malala's Forgotten Sisters

Girls as young as 5 are still being sold into marriage in Pakistan. And no one will stop it.


KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA, Pakistan — At only 12, Nazia lives in expectation of the worst. As I step through the doorway of the humble compound her parents share with two other families in the Pashtun lands of northwest Pakistan, her small, fragile body trembles unwittingly. She knew I was coming, but learned too young to trust no one.

So she became determined that Pakistan should know everything. Minallah's first award-winning documentary, "Swara: A Bridge Over Troubled Water," portrayed the mother and daughter from Matta. The film made its way to the highest echelons of the political system: In 2004, the Pakistani parliament passed an amendment to Pakistan's penal code making swara a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Since then, around 60 decisions made by jirgas involving swara girls have been prevented by local courts, though in most tribal areas the law still does not apply.

As an old woman, Rafaqat can walk freely on the streets, her torn veil barely covering her long, gray hair. Well known in the village, mothers secretly contact her to report about swara cases. When she gets a call, she immediately brings in Minallah.

In one such case, Minallah reached the jirga before it had begun. Appropriately veiled, she stepped into the circle of men holding a copy of the Quran. "I am sure you know that the Quran says it is anti-Islamic to give girls as compensation," she lectured them.

Full Article: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/07/12/malalas_forgotten_sisters_girls_marriage_pakistan?page=0,0

Pumpcast News

Bolivarian Education in Venezuela

By Ken Jones

Friday, July 12, 2013

I never heard the words “accountability” or “high stakes testing” once in a recent educator delegation to Venezuela. As a U.S. professor of teacher education, I seldom have discussions about education policies and realities in my own country without confronting these fraught concepts. But in the schools and educational systems of Venezuela? Not part of the discussion.

The dialogue there is more about education as a human right and what the government is responsible to provide. It’s not about outcomes, as we might say, but more about access and opportunity. What our small group from the U.S. encountered was a wealth of testimonials, not testing.

In Venezuela, by contrast, education reform means inspiring local and diverse approaches that work from the premise of empowering the people working in the schools. It operates through an ethic of internal responsibility and collectivism, increased public funding, and government-sponsored local decision-making. The rationale is to build greater cooperation at the community level. The effect is inclusionary. It is a socialist model, framed in terms of “good living.”

One evening in Venezuela, as a few of us were discussing what we see as the tragic attacks on public education in the United States, one person asked where we could see hope. I answered, “In Venezuela.”

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/bolivarian-education-in-venezuela-by-ken-jones
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