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  • Syria in Crisis: Ravi Zacharias on Turmoil in the Middle East [Video]

    09/14/2013 4:26:44 PM PDT · by SoFloFreeper · 6 replies
    RZIM.org ^ | 9/13/13 | Ted Burnham
    Ravi Zacharias was recently in studio to record a radio interview for “Let My People Think”. At the end of the program, Bob Ditmer asked him about the conflicts and turmoil in the Middle East. What’s the big picture? What is it that we’re not seeing? What is happening to Christians and the church during these times? Ravi answers these questions and paraphrases Winston Churchill’s remark, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all other forms of government.”
  • Kerry: ‘I Want to Thank President Putin’

    09/14/2013 5:03:12 PM PDT · by Sub-Driver · 34 replies
    Kerry: ‘I Want to Thank President Putin’ September 14, 2013 - 7:03 PM By Terence P. Jeffrey (CNSNews.com) - Secretary of State John Kerry said today that he wanted thank Russian President Vladimir Putin for pursuing a diplomatic solution for dealing with the problem caused by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad controlling and using chemical weapons. “I want to thank President Putin for his willingness to pick up on the possibility of negotiating an end to Syrian weapons of mass destruction,” Kerry said today in Geneva, where along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov he announced a deal to...
  • Beheaded in front of children, Assad's thugs are dragged to their doom and butchered like animals

    09/14/2013 5:11:50 PM PDT · by Laissez-faire capitalist · 80 replies
    Daily Mail UK ^ | 9/13/13 | Nick Enoch
    ...Warning; Graphic content A Syrian boy is held by the hand as he walks past the body of a beheaded Islamic militant loyal to Assad. An unnamed photojournalist was given rare access to the public execution in the town of Keferghen in the north of the country. @LeJournal/SIPA/Rex Features ... A group of young children sit on a wall as they stare at the dead body. The severed head of a militant is held aloft. The photographer witnessed four executions on August 31. @LeJournal/SIPA/Rex Features
  • The Syrian Chemical Weapons Deal Is Nothing More Than A Face-Saving Stalling Tactic

    09/14/2013 5:14:33 PM PDT · by lbryce · 14 replies
    http://www.businessinsider.com/syria-chemical-weapons-agreement-2013-9 | September 14, 2013 | Chris Murphy
    The U.S. and Russia have reached a deal to hand over Assad's chemical weapons stockpiles to the international community for their removal and destruction. This move allows the U.S. to save face, and it has at least temporarily postponed a U.S. military attack on Syria. But the Syria problem is obviously far from solved. In all likelihood, the complete removal and destruction of chemical weapons is a pipe dream.
  • Selling the message: How PR firm helped place controversial Putin op-ed

    09/14/2013 5:21:19 PM PDT · by Innovative · 12 replies
    CBS News ^ | Sept 14, 2013 | CBS News
    The column made its way into the newspaper with the help of leading American public relations firm Ketchum, which has offices across the globe and represents some of the world's most prominent brands, as well as the Russian Federation. The firm was responsible for getting Putin's editorial placed in the Times. According to Justice Department filings, Ketchum was paid $1.9 million by the Russian government during the first six months of this year. It got another $3.7 million for public relations work for Gazprom, the oil and gas company controlled by the Kremlin
  • McCain, Graham blast Syrian chemical weapons deal

    09/14/2013 6:44:11 PM PDT · by markomalley · 30 replies
    AP ^ | 9/14/2013 | DARLENE SUPERVILLE
    Two Republican senators who are among President Barack Obama's sharpest foreign policy critics on Saturday blasted a Syrian chemical weapons agreement as "an act of provocative weakness" by America that will embolden enemies such as Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon. The House Democratic leader said the deal, under which Syria will be expected to put its stockpile of chemical weapons under international control before they ultimately are destroyed, represented "significant progress" in efforts by the U.S. to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction. "What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies...
  • Maher: America’s Syria Policy Makes Us ‘Look Like George Zimmerman’

    09/14/2013 6:53:04 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 17 replies
    Mediaite ^ | September 14, 2013 | Matt Wilstein
    For his final New Rule of the night, Bill Maher returned to Syria and this week’s 12th anniversary of 9/11. With the country on the verge of bombing another Muslim country, Maher said, “America must stop asking, ‘Why do they hate us?’” “We’re starting to look not so much like the world’s policeman, but more like George Zimmerman,” he explained. “Itching to use force and then pretending it’s because we had no choice.” As much as he hates chemical weapons, Maher said, “We have to stop bombing Muslim countries if we ever want to feel safe from terrorism in our...
  • Wall Street Journal sat on knowledge of O’Bagy’s link to Islamists

    09/13/2013 12:19:46 AM PDT · by Nachum · 20 replies
    Daily Caller ^ | 9/12/13 | Charles C. Johnson
    Contrary to claims from its editorial pages editor, a Wall Street Journal editor knew of Elizabeth O’Bagy’s connections to the Islamist Syrian Emergency Task Force and took at least three days to publish a clarification. “We were not aware of Elizabeth O’Bagy’s academic claims or credential when we published her Aug. 31 op-ed, and the op-ed made no reference to them,” editorial pages editor Paul Gigot told Politico in a statement on September 11. “We also were not aware of her affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, and we published a clarification when we learned of it,” Gigot wrote....
  • Pro-Syrian opposition ‘analyst’ fired for lying about credentials

    09/12/2013 5:36:06 AM PDT · by moonshinner_09 · 4 replies
    foxnews.com ^ | September 11, 2013 | foxnews.com
    A Washington scholar whose writings on Syria were touted by top U.S. officials in making the case for a military strike has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for allegedly lying about her education credentials. The development comes after Elizabeth O'Bagy's credibility and objectivity had come under scrutiny over her work with a Syrian opposition advocacy group. The institute, where she had worked as a senior analyst, on Wednesday posted a terse statement on its website claiming she also misled the organization about having a Ph.D. "The Institute for the Study of War has learned and...
  • Meet the Syrian Islamist Organization Controlling Senator McCain’s Agenda

    09/05/2013 7:50:08 AM PDT · by maggief · 32 replies
    Frontpage Mag ^ | September 4, 2013 | Daniel Greenfield
    A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal ran a high profile article from one Elizabeth O’Bagy arguing that the majority of the Syrian rebels were actually moderates. Senator McCain mentioned Elizabeth O’Bagy’s op-ed during the Senate hearings, when he wasn’t playing poker, and tweeted it. That should come as no surprise, considering that O’Bagy is credited with arranging McCain’s infamous photo op with the Syrian rebel leadership. The Wall Street Journal lists O’Bagy’s role as the Institute for the Study of War. It leaves out the fact that she is the political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force...
  • McCain’s [Obama's, Kerry's, O'Bagy's] Moderate Rebel Army: We’ll Quit If You Take al Qaeda Away

    09/06/2013 1:00:31 PM PDT · by thouworm · 8 replies
    NRO ^ | Sept 4, 2013 | Andrew McCarthy
    The deputy to General Salim Idriss — the Free Syrian Army commander Senator McCain would have us back — has announced that the mujahideen rebels’ supreme council will disband unless the West drops its demands to steer clear of violent jihadists and refrain from attempting to take over the Assad regime’s chemical weapons stocks. The Foreign Policy report is excerpted by Weasel Zippers, including this:
  • Kerry's student spinner fired after WND report Resume fraud exposed after researcher cast Syrian

    09/11/2013 8:16:07 PM PDT · by Nachum · 46 replies
    wnd ^ | 9/11/13 | Chelsea Schilling
    Five days after WND first broke the news that the strategy by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Secretary of State John F. Kerry to cast members of the Free Syria Army as “moderates” among the Syrian rebel forces was the brain-child of a Wall Street Journal researcher, the analyst has been fired from a Washington think-tank for lying about her qualifications. As WND reported, Elizabeth O’Bagy, 26, had claimed she was pursuing a Ph.D. in Arab studies and political science at Georgetown University and working on a dissertation on woman’s militancy. In his Sept. 3 testimony before the Senate Foreign...
  • Who funds Syrian rebel advocate O’Bagy and the Syrian Emergency Task Force? You do

    09/09/2013 5:29:04 AM PDT · by markomalley · 1 replies
    The Syrian Emergency Task Force the pro-rebel lobbying outfit that employs widely quoted intervention advocate Elizabeth O’Bagy as its political director, receives funding from the U.S. Department of State and related government contractors. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller earlier last week, O’Bagy explained how she got paid. O’Bagy has been roundly condemned for working for a pro-Syrian lobbying group at the same time she was casting the Syrian rebels in a positive light. She works as an analyst at the neoconservative think tank, the Institute for the Study of War. “Most of the contracts that I’ve been...
  • Controversial Syria Researcher Fired Over Doctorate Claim (O'Bagy)

    09/11/2013 9:48:05 AM PDT · by Dysart · 52 replies
    Buzzfeed ^ | 9-11-13 | Susannah George
    A young researcher whose opinions on Syria were cited by both Senator McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry in congressional testimony last week has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for allegedly faking her academic credentials. The institute issued a statement on its website concerning the researcher, Elizabeth O’Bagy: The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University. ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately. O’Bagy and her op-ed drew scrutiny last...
  • Digital Page-Shredding on SETF’s Website? (O'Bagy in bed with Muslim Brotherhood)

    09/11/2013 11:31:13 AM PDT · by logi_cal869 · 11 replies
    Shoebat.com ^ | 9/10/2011 | Ben Barrack
    (Note: This pre-dates the revelation of O'Bagy's termination over her lie) There have definitely been some changes over at the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) website since Senator John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry put an op-ed by the group’s political director under a national spotlight last week. It began when McCain pointed to a Wall Street Journal article by Elizabeth O’Bagy in a September 3rd Senate Committee hearing. Kerry then referenced it in a House Committee hearing the following day. (snip) Of course, the ISNA is a Muslim Brotherhood group in America. In fact, when it comes...
  • WSJ op-ed writer Elizabeth O’Bagy fired for resume lie

    09/11/2013 10:37:42 AM PDT · by Hoodat · 157 replies
    The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday. “The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.” O’Bagy told POLITICO’s Kate Brannen...
  • WSJ op-ed writer Elizaeth O'Bagy fired fo resume lie

    09/11/2013 4:51:15 PM PDT · by yldstrk · 1 replies
    politico ^ | 9-11-13 | McKenzie Weinger and Kate Brennan
    The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-ed piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday. “The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”
  • Did John McCain let the Cat out of the O’Bagy? (an O'Bagy/McCain retrospective)

    09/11/2013 5:29:38 PM PDT · by RoosterRedux · 27 replies
    shoebat.com/ ^ | 9/7/2013 | Ben Barrack
    Elizabeth O’Bagy is listed as a Political Director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. SETF lobbies Congress on behalf of the Syrian rebels. During a Senate hearing this week, Senator John McCain, perhaps the most vocal supporter of the Syrian rebels in Congress, pointed to an op-ed by the twenty-six year-old O’Bagy that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 30th. He then asked Secretary of State John Kerry, who agrees with him, if O’Bagy’s assertions were correct... *snip* Georgetown University is under the very strong influence of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin...
  • Embattled Syria analyst vouched for rebel group that depicted burning US Capitol (O'Bagy)

    09/13/2013 7:13:29 AM PDT · by RoosterRedux · 35 replies
    FoxNews.com ^ | 9/13/2013
    Elizabeth O’Bagy, a pro-Syrian opposition analyst whose credibility has come under fire, might have even more explaining to do – as court documents show she once vouched for a rebel group whose website displayed extremist and anti-American images. Among the pictures was one showing a burning U.S. Capitol. O’Bagy was fired earlier this week by the Institute for the Study of War for allegedly lying about her academic credentials. Her writings had been used by U.S. officials to bolster their case for military action against the Assad regime. O’Bagy discussed the rebel group in question in a June 19, 2013...
  • McCain and Graham denounce US-Russian deal "the start of a diplomatic blind alley."

    09/14/2013 1:44:02 PM PDT · by sunmars · 37 replies
    U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on the U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria: “What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement – they see it as an act of provocative weakness on America's part. We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon. “Without a U.N. Security Council Resolution under Chapter 7 authority, which threatens the use of force for non-compliance by the Assad regime, this framework agreement is meaningless. Assad will use...
  • Obama Insists: Assad must Step Down

    09/12/2013 9:13:36 AM PDT · by Rusty0604 · 57 replies
    Arutz Sheva ^ | 09/12/2013 | Adam Ross
    Leading Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai has reported that the U.S. administration will demand that any agreement made with Syria should commit President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, and commit the remaining parties to working towards a cease-fire agreement. Reportedly, the new U.S. demand has been met with fury in Syria, where regime officials claim such a move would ride roughshod over the "democratic rights" of the Syrian people to elect their own leader. Sources close to the Syrian President were quoted as saying: "Not Iran, Russia and not the United State can decide who the Syrian President will be, " adding,...
  • Putin the Peacemaker?

    09/14/2013 9:21:09 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 10 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | September 14, 2013 | Steve Deace
    In the geo-political game of “Survivor” the former KGB agent pretending to be president has out-witted, out-lasted, and out-played the former community organizer pretending to be president. As a result, the end-game of President Obama’s latest foreign policy folly is to allow the world’s most sophisticated gangster, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, to go legit and perhaps bring his nation mired in a thugocracy since the fall of the Soviet Union back to global relevancy. The Left has complained for more than a decade that it wasn’t fair for the United States to be the world’s lone superpower. Apparently they decided...
  • Michele Bachmann, Louis Gohmert, and the dangers of foggy 9/11 memories [Read with Barf Bag]

    09/14/2013 10:16:15 AM PDT · by SoFloFreeper · 17 replies
    Dallas Morning News ^ | 9/11/13 | Tod Robberson
    ...Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota joined fellow tea partying Reps. Louie Gohmert, sadly of Texas, and Steve King of Iowa on a trip to Egypt, where they praised the restoration of military dictatorship and the overthrow of a democratically elected government... Bachmann didn’t just stop with that misportrayal of American values. She somehow managed to confuse Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood with the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks (Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda for those who don’t remember), and congratulated Egypt’s military leader for holding them at bay. “We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed around the world. We stand against...
  • Fidel Castro applauds Russian proposal on Syria

    09/14/2013 8:42:20 AM PDT · by Olog-hai · 22 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Sep 14, 2013 11:15 AM EDT
    Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has published an article applauding a Russian-backed proposal to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. … Castro also lauds Russia as a “brave country” that “stayed firm before the unusual pretension of the government of the United States, threatening to launch an overwhelming attack against the Syrian defenses.” …
  • Obama Falls Right Into Putin's Trap (Moscow Times)

    09/14/2013 6:46:54 AM PDT · by Innovative · 51 replies
    The Moscow Times ^ | Sept 12, 2013 | Michael Bohm
    President Vladimir Putin loves to set traps for U.S. President Barack Obama. The only thing Putin loves even more is when Obama falls smack into one. Trap No. 1. Putin set his latest trap Monday with a seemingly attractive proposal to have international monitors identify and destroy Syrian President Bashar Assad's vast stockpile of chemical weapons. If Obama falls for this one, he and international monitors will be jumping through hoops for years The only question is why was Obama also smiling when he met Putin in St. Petersburg. Regardless of which trap Obama falls into, the last smile and...
  • Spain: Jihadists Threaten Catalonia over Burqa Ban

    09/14/2013 9:41:50 AM PDT · by george76 · 12 replies
    Gatestone Institute. ^ | September 13, 2013 | Soeren Kern
    A jihadist group affiliated with Al Qaeda has threatened to carry out terrorist attacks in Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeastern Spain that is home to the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe. The threats were issued by a group called "Africamuslima" in response to efforts by Catalonian lawmakers to increase surveillance of radical Salafists seeking to impose Islamic Sharia law in Spain and other parts of Europe. Catalonia -- a region of 7.5 million people centered on the Mediterranean city of Barcelona -- is home to the largest Muslim population in Spain. Most of the estimated 450,000 Muslims...
  • "Syria is not a Country"

    09/14/2013 9:50:37 AM PDT · by US Navy Vet · 5 replies
    That phrase passed my lips last night on “AC360 Later”, in a heated and, I thought, really interesting discussion. I was pounced on as prejudiced or misinformed or even channeling neoconservatism. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain what I mean by that.
  • Canada’s FM: Syria should not be given time

    09/14/2013 8:51:32 AM PDT · by Olog-hai · 18 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Sep 14, 2013 6:52 AM EDT
    Canada’s foreign minister John Baird is calling Syria’s offer to begin providing information on its chemical arsenal 30 days after it signs an international convention banning such weapons “ridiculous and absurd.” Baird said Syrian President Bashar Assad could not be given extra time. Baird said: “This is a man who up until a week ago denied that they had any such weapons.” …
  • Syrian warplanes strike Damascus: residents

    09/14/2013 7:03:48 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 6 replies
    Reuters ^ | September 14, 2013 | by Oliver Holmes
    Syrian warplanes struck rebel-held suburbs of the capital on Saturday and government forces clashed with insurgents on the frontlines, residents and opposition activists said. "The warplanes are very busy this morning," said a journalist working in central Damascus who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons. Activists said the strikes were focused on Berze, a northeastern part of central Damascus, where rebels have been on the offensive to push further into the city.
  • British Have Premier Industrial Position on F-35

    09/13/2013 8:22:06 PM PDT · by sukhoi-30mki · 3 replies
    AIN Online ^ | SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 | CHRIS POCOCK
    British Have Premier Industrial Position on F-35 The premier position of the UK aerospace industry on the Lockheed Martin F-35 program was highlighted by a briefing and presentation at the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) show in London this week. Some 500 British companies are involved in producing “15 percent of each of the 3,100 F-35s that will be built,” according to Steve O’Bryan, vice president for F-35 program integration at Lockheed Martin. The company has calculated that the program will secure 24,000 high-technology jobs in the UK through 2039. BAE Systems lead for F-35 production Chris Robson said...
  • Contenders Vie For British AEW Helicopter System

    09/13/2013 8:16:06 PM PDT · by sukhoi-30mki
    AIN Online ^ | September 13, 2013 | CHRIS POCOCK
    Contenders Vie For British AEW Helicopter System British plans for a new AEW helicopter system were in focus at the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) show in London this week. Lockheed Martin UK (LMUK) and Thales will compete for the requirement named Crows Nest, to provide a replacement for Royal Navy’s current Sea King Mk7 airborne surveillance and control (ASaC) helicopters, and be deployable on the UK’s two forthcoming aircraft carriers. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has specified that the Crows Nest system of radar and consoles be capable of rapid mounting on, and removal from, the Navy’s...
  • Are terrorists setting U.S. wildfires? Ex-NSA official: Al-Qaida ignited California blazes

    09/11/2013 8:11:39 PM PDT · by Nachum · 70 replies
    wnd ^ | 9/11/13 | Joe Kovacs
    As the 2013 season of devastating wildfires continues to rage across the American West, the question of arson as a form of major terrorism is again being raised. Already this year, 35,440 reported fires have burned a total of 3.9 million acres, with a quarter-million acres scorched the iconic Yosemite National Park. Large blazes continue to burn in several states, with six alive in Idaho, five each in California and Montana, and one each in Alaska, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas and Washington. The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, says at this time last year, 45,278 fires had burned 7.9...
  • Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile [Our Boy-President Taken For A Buffoon!]

    09/13/2013 4:04:22 PM PDT · by Steelfish · 3 replies
    Wall St. J ^ | September 13, 2013 | ADAM ENTOUS, JULIAN E. BARNES and NOUR MALAS
    September 12, 2013 Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile Assad Regime Has Moved Weapons to as Many as 50 Sites By ADAM ENTOUS, JULIAN E. BARNES and NOUR MALAS A secretive Syrian military unit at the center of the Assad regime's chemical weapons program has been moving stocks of poison gases and munitions to as many as 50 sites to make them harder for the U.S. to track, according to American and Middle Eastern officials. The movements of chemical weapons by Syria's elite Unit 450 could complicate any U.S. bombing campaign in Syria over its alleged chemical attacks, officials...
  • Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile

    09/13/2013 9:48:54 AM PDT · by mojito · 14 replies
    WSJ ^ | 9/13/2013 | ADAM ENTOUS, JULIAN E. BARNES AND NOUR MALAS
    A secretive Syrian military unit at the center of the Assad regime's chemical weapons program has been moving stocks of poison gases and munitions to as many as 50 sites to make them harder for the U.S. to track, according to American and Middle Eastern officials. The movements of chemical weapons by Syria's elite Unit 450 could complicate any U.S. bombing campaign in Syria over its alleged chemical attacks, officials said. [....] The unit is in charge of mixing and deploying chemical munitions, and it provides security at chemical sites, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies. It is composed...
  • The One Simple Premise at the Root of Every Obama Conspiracy

    09/13/2013 3:51:35 PM PDT · by Jim Robinson · 47 replies
    Atlantic Wire ^ | Sept 13, 2013 | By ELSPETH REEVE AND PHILIP BUMP
    President Obama's pitch for a military strike in Syria looked so politically clueless that he left supporters and foes alike scratching their heads: What was he thinking? For some, the answer was obvious. Because every conspiracy theory ever concocted about the President — from him being a secret Muslim agent sent from Kenya to take over the government to gay-sex-and-cocaine binges in the backseats of limousines — all make perfect sense if you simply accept the foundational supposition that Obama hates America. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Sunday, Norman Podhoretz argued that Syria showed the swift collapse of...
  • President's brother key to Syria regime survival

    09/13/2013 3:04:47 PM PDT · by EBH · 6 replies
    AP ^ | 9/13/13 | BARBARA SURK
    "He is known to be a merciless butcher," said Mohammed al-Tayeb, an opposition activist speaking by Skype from the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, among the areas pounded by the 4th Division's assaults. Within President Bashar Assad's circle of trust, Maher Assad has advocated an uncompromising response throughout the uprising. "From the beginning, Maher was convinced that the uprising must be put down before any talks take place," said Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. "The life of the regime depends on Maher's ability to prevent the rebels from infiltrating Damascus...
  • British college drops Muslim veil ban amid outcry

    09/13/2013 12:28:17 PM PDT · by george76 · 31 replies
    AFP ^ | 9/13/2013
    One of Britain's biggest colleges on Friday dropped a ban on Muslim face veils after thousands of people signed a petition against the rule. Birmingham Metropolitan College said on Facebook it would change its policy to allow "individuals to wear specific items of personal clothing to reflect their cultural values". The college had earlier said it would require "the removal of hoodies, hats, caps and veils so that faces are visible", a policy that won support from Prime Minister David Cameron. It would in effect have banned the niqab, a face veil worn by some Muslim women which covers everything...
  • Assad Demands End to U.S. 'Threats'

    09/12/2013 3:07:11 PM PDT · by lbryce · 19 replies
    Wall Street Journal ^ | September 12, 2013 | JAY SOLOMON in Geneva and GREGORY L. WHITE
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted that the U.S. give up its "policy of threats" and halt arms shipments to rebels before his government turns over its chemical weapons, as U.S. and Russian delegations began talks in Geneva aimed at forging a road map for the shutdown of the weapons program. Mr. Assad's comments, in his first public statement on the Russian proposal that Syria hand over its chemical weapons to an international monitors, underlined the distance between Syria and its backers in Moscow on one side and the U.S. and its allies on the other. Before starting their discussions, Secretary...
  • Exclusive: U.S. total of Syrian gas deaths could include bomb casualties - sources

    09/12/2013 6:23:37 PM PDT · by markomalley · 14 replies
    Reuters ^ | 9/12/2013
    One of the most precise and dramatic details cited by the Obama administration as proof that Syrian forces used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack was the death toll, which an official U.S. government assessment put at 1,429 people, including 426 children. The number, first released by the White House on August 30, was underscored by Secretary of State John Kerry in a fiery indictment of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, describing videos of what he said were victims of the attack, which Syria denies. "Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children...
  • What’s so bad about how Vlad impaled us at The Times?

    09/12/2013 5:08:47 PM PDT · by markomalley · 19 replies
    Legal Insurrection ^ | 9/12/2013 | William A. Jacobson
    I was fortunate to have been mostly off the grid today and thereby missed the rage and fury about Vladimir Putin’s Op-Ed in The NY Times pissing all over the concept of American Exceptionalism: 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. I understand the...
  • White House responds to Putin's NYT op-ed [ Obama hands Security of the US to Russia ]

    09/12/2013 5:06:30 PM PDT · by NoLibZone · 20 replies
    CNN ^ | Sept ,12,2013 | Jake Tapper
    On the eve of an all-important pow-wow in Geneva, where Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart will talk over a plan for stripping Syria of chemical weapons, The New York Times published a stern, and at times standoffish op-ed from their brand new contributor: Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin is now fully invested in Syria’s CW (chemical weapons) disarmament,” a senior White House official told CNN's Jake Tapper, when asked to respond to Putin’s op-ed. In that opinion piece, Putin speaks directly to the American people and says, among many things, that there is "every reason to...
  • House Intel Chair Volunteers Arab League to Help Secure Chemical Weapons

    09/12/2013 5:51:43 PM PDT · by markomalley · 9 replies
    National Journal ^ | 9/12/2013
    Despite calling the available options to secure Syria's chemical weapons "pretty awful," House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said it was possible to transfer the country's massive stockpiles to international control—especially with Arab League troops on the ground."I do think you can get a good percentage of them, because the Assad regime is also worried these things could fall in the wrong hands and could be used against the regime," Rogers told the Intelligence and National Security Alliance summit on Thursday.President Obama this week asked a wary Congress to postpone a vote authorizing force to punish Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad for...
  • Sen. Ted Cruz: ‘We Need A Hundred More Like Jesse Helms’ In Senate

    09/12/2013 9:21:01 AM PDT · by SoConPubbie · 22 replies
    Mediate.com ^ | 9:28 pm, September 11th, 2013 | Josh Feldman
    Senator Ted Cruz spoke at an event for the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, and amidst what was a strong foreign policy speech, Cruz got a little personal and talked about the late Republican Senator Jesse Helms, the first politician Cruz ever gave money to. Cruz touted all the “crazy things” Helms said, not as a negative, but as a positive, declaring that the Senate could use “a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.”Cruz recalled how he sent ten dollars to Helms when he was a kid, joking that he “may have been Jesse Helms’ single largest donor...
  • Ted Cruz: I’m ‘somewhere in between’ McCain and Paul on foreign policy

    09/12/2013 10:00:55 AM PDT · by SoConPubbie · 41 replies
    Washington Post ^ | September 11 at 6:13 pm | Sean Sullivan
    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said Wednesday he considers his views on foreign policy to be “somewhere in between” the poles of libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and hawkish GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.). “I agree with Rand Paul that we should not intervene militarily in Syria, because it’s not in defense of our U.S. national security interests,” said Cruz during a question-and-answer session following a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. But, Cruz added, he also agrees “with John McCain that if Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons that we...
  • Assad forces said to use poison gas in new Damascus attack

    09/12/2013 4:29:15 AM PDT · by don-o · 75 replies
    The Times of Israel ^ | Seo\ptember 12, 2013 | Asher Zeiger
    Syrian rebels claim that the army of President Bashar Assad again used poison gas in an attack on rebel forces in the Damascus area Thursday, an Israel Radio report said. The report was based on rebel sources, who said the attack took place in the Jobar neighborhood of the capital. The rebel sources said they could not tell what kind of chemical weaponry had been used, but that it was a poison gas of some kind, and was causing injuries, including breathing difficulties.
  • “This is not a game”: Kerry rejects Assad’s timeline for WMD compliance at meeting with...

    09/12/2013 4:25:43 PM PDT · by markomalley · 38 replies
    Hot Air ^ | 9/12/2013
    But … it is a game. That’s the whole point. If the White House takes this disarmament charade seriously at the UN with demands that Assad turn over his arsenal expeditiously and verifiably, it’s going to put Obama right back in the war box the way Ryan Lizza described this morning. Russia’s proposal is attractive to him because it’s a charade, because it can be slow-walked and fudged at the UN while Congress and the American public gradually forget about Syria. To turn this from kabuki into a semi-serious process defeats the purpose.Granted, Kerry has no choice but to talk...
  • Putin a Hypocrite with Blood on His Hands

    09/12/2013 12:40:32 PM PDT · by TangledUpInBlue · 66 replies
    CNN ^ | 9/12/13 | Frida Ghitis
    There he goes again -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, portraying himself as the world's champion of peace and democracy. And, of course, doing it at America's expense. This time, Putin's PR machine managed to get him an op-ed in The New York Times, just in time for the start of talks in Geneva, Switzerland, over a plan to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. The column is so filled with hypocrisy, inaccuracies and even veiled threats that it's hard to know where to begin. Putin chastises the United States, which has stumbled badly in Syria, for considering an attack because a...
  • Assad moving chem weapons to Iraq and Lebanon, Syria opposition Gen. Salim Idriss claims to Amanpour

    09/12/2013 1:22:32 PM PDT · by CMB_polarization · 38 replies
    CNN blog ^ | September 12th, 2013
    The head of the opposition Free Syria Army, General Salim Idriss, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that he has intelligence that the Assad regime is moving its chemical weapons out of the country. “Today we have information that the regime began to move chemical materials and chemical weapons to Lebanon and to Iraq,” General Idriss told Amanpour from inside Syria. It’s a huge claim that would fundamentally shift everything U.S. intelligence officials have in the past said they believe about the situation in Syria, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports.
  • Sen. Cruz: Don't Think Obama 'Has the Authority' For Syria Strike Without Congressional Approval

    09/09/2013 3:03:05 AM PDT · by lbryce · 7 replies
    Yahoo News ^ | September 8, 2013 | Benjamin Bell
    Full Title:Sen. Ted Cruz: I Don't Think President Obama 'Has the Authority' to Order Syria Strike Without Congressional Approval Contradicting President Obama's assertion, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said this morning on "This Week" that the president does not have the authority to order a military strike on Syria without Congressional approval. "I don't think he has the authority," Cruz told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "It would be contrary to the Constitution," he added later, when Stephanopoulos asked him if acting without Congressional approval would be an impeachable offense, as some republicans have suggested.
  • Hunter: Obama Inviting Impeachment If He Strikes Syria Without Congress

    09/09/2013 3:11:25 AM PDT · by lbryce · 25 replies
    Washington Times ^ | September 3, 2013 | Stephan Dinan
    Rep. Duncan Hunter said Tuesday that President Obama would be breaking the law and even inviting impeachment if he went ahead with strikes on Syria after a congressional rejection. “I think he’s breaking the law if he strikes without congressional approval,” Mr. Hunter, a California Republican, told The Washington Times. “And if he proceeds without Congress providing that authority, it should be considered an impeachable offense.” Mr. Obama this weekend sent Congress a draft resolution authorizing use of force to take out Syria’s facilities for weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons.