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The boston massacre, the spot, the gulf of tonkin, wmd's & all that jazz

shock

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THE BOSTON MASSACRE, THE SPOT, THE GULF OF TONKIN, WMD'S & ALL THAT JAZZ

In 1914 the gift by Germany to Turkey of two battleships was the final consideration that brought Turkey into the war on the side of the Central Powers
and it was the defeat of the Central Powers that was the final determinant in Turkey's lost of her empire.

Today, with Iraq destabilized, and the attempted destabilization of Syria by the West and the GCC now well underway,
Turkey has been bought again,
this time by the West (think NATO-the EU and the US)
and by means of the promises of the West
that Turkey will become the hub
for the transfer of CA. ME and Gulf oil and gas to the West.

SHOCKLEY
 

mememe

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Today, with Iraq destabilized, and the attempted destabilization of Syria by the West and the GCC now well underway,
Turkey has been bought again,
this time by the West (think NATO-the EU and the US)
and by means of the promises of the West
that Turkey will become the hub
for the transfer of CA. ME and Gulf oil and gas to the West.

SHOCKLEY[/SIZE]

SA and Qatar announced that since UN does not support open aggression against Syria, UN can be ignored and aggression can start by "Arab countries".

Then, after a pep-talk mrs Clinton gave Erdogan, Assad suddenly bombed Turkish territory. Just to give Erdogan an excuse to seek parliamentary permission to go after Syria officially.

And since Iran reaffirmed its obligations towards Syria, the chances are Iran will step in in defence of Syria against Turkey.

Now, Turkey is NATO member. And once Assad will retaliate and Iran will come to Syria's assistance, it can be looked upon as "...an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force,..".

BINGO! No UN resolution will be needed for NATO heavy-weights to roll across Syria AND to attack Iran!
 
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waltky

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Turkey Deploys Tanks as Syria Tension Continues...
:eusa_eh:
Turkey Moves Tanks to Hilltops Overlooking Syria
Oct 13, 2012 - PM accuses UN of repeating Bosnia mistakes
Turkey’s government threatened to respond to any further attacks by Syrian forces, after shelling across the frontier last week killed five Turkish citizens. “Turkey will retaliate if Syria violates its border again,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a news conference today in Istanbul. “We will do what’s necessary. We hope Syria won’t repeat its previous violation of the border.” Turkey yesterday deployed tanks and missile-defense systems on hilltops overlooking Syria, the state-run Anatolia news agency said, hours after Turkish jet fighters were scrambled to confront a Syrian helicopter that came close to the border. Turkey has threatened to target Syrian forces if they pose a security risk, following the downing of a Turkish fighter jet by Syria in June.

Turkey’s ties with Syria, once an ally, dramatically deteriorated over Turkish backing for Syrian rebels fighting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey fired artillery in response to Syrian shelling that killed the five people in the Turkish border town of Akcakale on Oct. 3. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, of which Turkey is a member, on Oct. 9 called the attack on Akcakale “a flagrant breach of international law,” and assured the Turkish government of the alliance’s military support if it’s attacked. Davutoglu spoke after holding talks with Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Istanbul. He didn’t comment on the discussions.

Rebels Advance

Rebel forces in Syria today captured the village of Azmarin in the province of Idlib, near the Turkish border, Anatolia reported. Syrian forces were also attacking the rebel-held village of Derkush in Idlib with tanks and ground forces, the state-run Turkish news agency said. Turkey shelters 99,500 refugees in camps along the border, and another 14,000 Syrians are waiting to cross into the country, according to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry. Syrian security forces killed 42 civilians today, the U.K.- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement. At least 33 soldiers also died in fighting across the country, it said. Rebels lost three fighters when they attacked a military convoy in Idlib province, the Observatory said on its Facebook page.

Syrian forces “eliminated a large number of terrorists” in fighting in the northwestern commercial hub of Aleppo, the government-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported. The army also fought rebels who “cut off roads” in Idlib, killing and injuring some of them, the news service said. Syrian rebels in Aleppo shot down a government MIG jet, the rebels’ Free Syrian Army said on its Facebook page. Footage was posted by rebels showing the wreckage of the aircraft on flames and armed men surrounding it and shouting God is great. The Observatory for Human Rights in Syria confirmed the rebels’ claim and said the jet had bombed the town of Khan al- Asal in the suburbs of Aleppo.

Source
 

waltky

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Granny says, "Dat's right - an' tell `em if dey don't quit armin' Assad, we'll give `em some o' dem Stinger missiles to fling at the helicopters Russia been supplyin' `em with like we did in Afghanistan...
:tongue:
Russia: Syrian Rebels Have US-Made Anti-Aircraft Weapons
October 24, 2012 — Russia’s senior general says that rebels in Syria have acquired shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, including a model made in the United States. General Staff Chief Nikolai Marakov says that officials need to determine who supplied the weapons to Syria’s opposition.
Interfax news agency quotes General Nikolai Marakov as saying "that militants fighting Syrian government forces have portable missile launchers of various states, including American-made Stingers.” He did not make any direct accusation of how the rebels acquired the weapons.

In Washington, the Pentagon had no immediate comment. In the past, the U.S. government has denied supplying Syrian rebels with weapons or having any information that American-made weapons are in the hands of rebel forces. Marakov’s comments are part of a back and forth between Moscow and Washington regarding the conflict in Syria.

Russia has blocked three attempts in the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions against its long-time ally, saying dialogue with both the opposition and the government of President Bashar al-Assad is necessary for peace.

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waltky

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Granny says, "Syria tryin' to make a regional war out of it...
:mad:
Look at how Syria neighbors are drawn into its war
Nov 12,`12 - Syria's neighbors are increasingly being drawn into the country's civil war in a variety of ways, whether militarily or due to an exodus of Syrians fleeing the fighting at home. The spillover has raised concerns that the nearly 20-month-long conflict between Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and rebels trying to topple him could endanger the entire Middle East.
Here is a look at how neighboring states are being affected by Syria's bloodletting:

TURKEY

Turkey has struck the Syrian military repeatedly in response to shelling and mortar rounds from Syria since Oct. 3, when shells from Syria struck the Turkish village of Akcakale, killing two women and three children. The incident prompted NATO to convene an emergency meeting and Turkey sent tanks and anti-aircraft batteries to the area. Turkey's military has also scrambled fighter jets after Syrian helicopters flew close to the border. There are about 120,000 Syrian refugees sheltering in Turkish camps, with up to 70,000 more living in Turkey outside the camps. Thousands more wait at the border, held up as Turkey struggles to cope with the influx. Turkey also hosts much of the opposition and rebel leadership. Turkey has called for a buffer zone in Syria where the opposition and civilians would be protected, a step that would likely require international enforcement of a no-fly zone. Russia and China have blocked robust moves against the Syrian regime at the U.N. Security Council, and the United States has been reluctant to use its military in another Mideast conflict.

ISRAEL

Israel on Monday became the second country to strike the Syrian military, after Turkey. An Israeli tank hit a Syrian armored vehicle after shells from fighting in Syria exploded in Israel-controlled Golan Heights. A day earlier, Israel fired a warning shot near a group of Syrian fighters. Syrian shells have exploded inside the Golan several times in recent weeks damaging apple orchards, sparking fires and spreading panic but causing no injuries. In early November, three Syrian tanks entered the Golan demilitarized zone, and in a separate incident an Israeli patrol vehicle was peppered with bullets fired from Syria; no one was hurt in the incident and the Israeli military deemed it accidental. There is concern in Israel that Assad may try to spark a conflict with Israel, opening up the potential for attacks by Lebanon's militant Hezbollah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel has also warned that Syria's chemical weapons could be turned on the Jewish state. Still, while no friend of Assad, Israel is also worried that if he is toppled, Syria could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists or descend into sectarian warfare.

LEBANON

Mortars and shells from the Syrian side regularly crash in Lebanon, causing several casualties, though Lebanese forces have never fired back. More dangerously, Syria's conflict has heightened deep rivalries and sectarian tensions in its smaller neighbor. Lebanon is divided between pro-Assad and anti-Assad factions, a legacy of the nearly three decades when Damascus all but ruled Lebanon, until 2005. Assad's ally, the Hezbollah militia is Lebanon's strongest political and military movement. On Oct. 19, a car bomb assassinated Lebanon's top intelligence chief, Wissam al-Hassan. Many in Lebanon blamed Syria and Hezbollah for the assassination. The northern Lebanese city of Tripoli has seen repeated clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites - the Shiite offshoot sect to which Assad belongs. Battles in the city in May and August killed at least 23 people total and wounded dozens. The kidnapping of Lebanese Shiites in Syria by rebels has also had repercussions in Lebanon. In May, Shiites blocked roads and burned tires in protest over the abductions, and later in the summer a powerful Shiite clan took 20 Syrians and a Turk in Lebanon captive in retaliation, all of whom have since been released. Lebanon also shelters about 100,000 Syrian refugees.

JORDAN

See also:

Israel reports 'direct hits' on Syrian target
Nov 12,`12 -- Israeli tanks struck a Syrian artillery launcher Monday after a stray mortar shell flew into Israel-held territory, the first direct clash between the neighbors since the Syrian uprising began nearly two years ago.
The confrontation fueled new fears that the Syrian civil war could drag Israel into the violence, a scenario with grave consequences for the region. The fighting has already spilled into Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. "We are closely monitoring what is happening and will respond appropriately. We will not allow our borders to be violated or our citizens to be fired upon," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday in a speech to foreign ambassadors.

While officials believe President Bashar Assad has no interest in picking a fight with Israel, they fear the embattled Syrian leader may try to draw Israel into the fighting in a bout of desperation. Israeli officials believe it is only a matter of time before Syrian rebels topple the longtime leader. The conflict has already spilled over into several of Syria's other neighbors - whether in direct violence or in the flood of refugees fleeing the bloodshed. More than 36,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, according to estimates by anti-Assad activists.

On Monday, a Syrian fighter jet bombed a rebel-held area hugging the border with Turkey three times, killing 15 to 20 people, according to a Turkish official. Separately, eight wounded Syrians died in Turkey, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Potential Israeli involvement in Syria could be far more explosive. The bitter enemies both possess air forces, tanks and significant arsenals of missiles and other weapons. Although the Israeli military is more modern and powerful, Syria has a collection of chemical weapons that could wreak havoc if deployed. Fighting between the countries could also drag in Syria's close ally, the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah, or Islamic militant groups in the Gaza Strip on Israel's southern flank.

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waltky

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Rebels Seize Air Base Near Damascus...
:clap2:
Syrian rebels capture air base near Damascus
Nov 26, 2012 - Fighters destroy regime helicopters before withdrawing
Syrian rebels captured a helicopter base just outside Damascus Sunday in what an activist called a "blow to the morale of the regime" near President Bashar Assad's seat of power, while the bombardment of a village near the capital killed at least eight children. Activists said the children were killed when Syrian warplanes bombed the village of Deir al-Asafir just outside the Damascus. The village is close to suburbs of the capital that has been witnessing clashes, shelling and air raids between troops and rebels over the past months. The Britain-based Syrian observatory for Human Rights said the bombardment of the village killed eight children. Another activist group, the Revolution Command Council said 10 children were killed when warplanes struck the village as they played outdoors.

An amateur video showed two girls lying dead in a street while the bodies of two bloodied dead boys were in the back seat of a car parked nearby. Several other wounded children were seen rushed for treatment. Another video showed the bodies of two dead boys inside what appeared to be a makeshift hospital as others received treatment from injuries while lying on the floor. The activist videos appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting about the events depicted. Syria restricts the access of reporters. Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 with an uprising against Assad's regime, inspired by other Arab Spring revolts. It quickly morphed into a civil war that has since killed more than 40,000 people, according to activists. Hundreds of children have been killed since the crisis began, according to activists.

The air base takeover claim showed how rebels are advancing in the area of the capital, though they are badly outgunned, making inroads where Assad's power was once unchallenged. Rebels have also been able to fire mortar rounds into Damascus recently. The director of the Observatory, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said rebels seized control of the Marj al-Sultan base on the outskirts of Damascus on Sunday morning. He said at least 15 rebels and eight soldiers were killed in the fighting that started a day earlier. The rebels later withdrew from the base. Rebels appear to be trying to take over air bases and destroy aircraft in order to prevent the regime from using them in attacks against opposition forces around the country.

The rebels have no protection against the attack helicopters and fighter jets that have been blasting their positions. Rebels have been attacking air bases in different parts of Syria, mostly in the northern regions of Idlib and Aleppo. In the battle at the base outside Damascus, Abdul-Rahman and Damascus-based activist Maath al-Shami said rebels destroyed two helicopters with rocket propelled grenades and captured a tank. They say the base, which is on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, houses several radar positions. "This is a blow to the morale of the regime, because it is close to the heart of the capital," said Abdul-Rahman, referring to the base that is about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from Damascus.

More http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-rebels-capture-air-near-damascus-140725464.html

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Did Syria drop cluster bombs on a playground near Damascus?
November 26, 2012 - Syrian jets hit a playground outside of Damascus with cluster bombs, killing 10 children, according to Syrian opposition activists. A video purports to show the carnage. Syria denies that it uses cluster bombs.
A Syrian government air strike on a rebel-held village near Damascus killed 10 children on Sunday as they played outdoors, opposition activists said, and video footage showed residents collecting young bodies torn by shrapnel. The children went out after a lull in fighting in Deir al-Asafir, a village 12 km (8 miles) east of Damascus, when fighter jets struck, activists and residents said. Video footage taken by activists showed the bodies of two young girls, one wearing purple, the other red, on the street in the village, with wounds to their neck and head. A sobbing woman picked up one of the girls up and hugged her lifeless body.

Another two dead boys, hit in the head and face, were shown on the backseat of a car. Men picked up the bodies of two other children while a larger body lay next to the front wheel of a vehicle. "None of those killed were older than 15 years old. There are two women among 15 people wounded, mostly hit as they were inside the courtyards of their houses," said Abu Kassem, an activist in the village told Reuters. "There were no fighters inside Deir al-Asafir when the bombing occurred. They operate on the outskirts. This was indiscriminate bombing," he said.

11-26-12-Syria-cluster-bombs_full_380.jpg

Cluster bombs, which activists said were fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, are displayed in Taftanaz near the northern province of Idlib November 14, 2012. Syria has said it does not have any cluster bombs.

Abu Kassem said the munitions dropped by the fighter jets were cluster bombs. Other footage showed a row of what appeared to be unexploded small bombs. "We collected 70 of these so far," one man said. Syria has barred most reporters from the country making it hard to verify the report. Syrian authorities made no comment on the report, but official media have said the army has been on the offensive to "cleanse" the area of what the government calls terrorists.

Earlier this month, the U.N. political affairs chief told the Security Council of credible reports that the Syrian military has used cluster bombs in fighting the 20-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic rule. The Syrian army has denied a Human Rights Watch report issued in October that Assad's forces have used cluster bombs, saying it did not possess such weapons. Cluster bombs are banned under a 2010 U.N. treaty, though Syria, like Israel, Russia and the United States have not signed the pact.

Source
 
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waltky

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Syria Turns Off the Internet...
:eusa_eh:
Internet down nationwide in Syria
Nov 29,`12 -- Internet services were down across Syria on Thursday as rebels and government troops waged fierce battles near the Damascus airport, wounding two Austrian peacekeepers and forcing international airlines to suspend flights.
Activists accused the government of pulling the plug on the Internet, and warned the move may signal the regime is readying a major offensive on rebel fighters. The government denied the Internet was down nationwide, but offered conflicting reasons for what it said were only regional outages - terrorists and a technical failure. The blackout, which two U.S-based companies that monitor online connectivity confirmed as nationwide outages, is unprecedented in Syria's 20-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad. Regime forces have suffered a string of tactical defeats in recent weeks, losing air bases and a hydroelectric dam, and the Internet outage may be an attempt by the government to dull any further rebel offensives by hampering communications.

Authorities also often cut phone lines and Internet access in select areas where regime forces are conducting major military operations to disrupt rebel communications. Activists in Syria reached Thursday by satellite telephone confirmed the blackout, and said cellphone services were also down in select areas. Renesys, a U.S.-based network security firm that studies Internet disruptions, said in a statement that Syria effectively disappeared from the Internet at 12:26 p.m. local time. "In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet," Renesys said. It added that the main autonomous system responsible for Internet in the country is the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, and that "all of their customer networks are currently unreachable."

Akamai Technologies Inc., another U.S-based company that distributes content on the Internet, also confirmed a complete outage for Syria. Syrian state TV it was caused by a technical failure, only affected some provinces and that technicians were trying to fix the problem. The pro-government Al-Ikhbariya station, meanwhile, quoted the information minister as denying the government was behind the blackout and saying "terrorists have targeted the Internet cable, which caused an interruption of the service in several Syrian cities."

With pressure building against the regime on several fronts, and government forces on their heels in the key fight over the northern commercial hub of Aleppo, rebels have been trying to push their way back into Damascus after being driven out after a July offensive. On Thursday, opposition fighters were battling government troops near the city's international airport, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, forcing the military to shut the road to the airport.

MORE

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U.S. still weighing whether to arm Syrian rebels
November 29th, 2012 - The United States is closely watching how rebel forces operate inside Syria, and what their end objectives might be as the Obama administration weighs whether or not to provide arms to the Syrian opposition.
"Will providing arms to the opposition convince the people who support [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, in many cases because they are afraid of their own existence, or will it simply lead to more fighting - that is the question that we are considering," Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, said during a panel discussion in Washington on Thursday on the crisis in Syria. "Arms are not a strategy, arms are a tactic," Ford said about the deliberation the administration is undertaking on the question, and that a "military solution" is not the best path forward for Syria. "The president has never taken the provision of arms off the table," he said. "And so, as we think about our policy of sending arms or not, and today we do not, we want to make sure that tactic plays into and helps us achieve a strategy of enabling the Syrian people to reach a political solution."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday the United States is not providing surface-to-air missiles, which have been seen used by the rebels. The United States has not provided any support to the armed opposition, said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. "Our position on assistance to the Syrian opposition has not changed. The United States remains committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people and providing non-lethal equipment and training to unarmed, civilian-led opposition groups," Vietor said in an e-mail.

The question comes as the international community studies a new umbrella group comprised of Syrian opposition elements fighting for political change inside Syria. The United States has not yet endorsed the group as the legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition. Both the Britain and France have made that recognition already. "We would like to see them continue to develop as an organization, as a coalition that are making real progress and I expect that our position with them will evolve as they themselves develop," Ford, who was present at the group's unveiling in Qatar earlier this month said Thursday. "I want to be very clear that we welcome the establishment of the coalition and that we will work with them." Obama administration officials told CNN a decision has yet to be made on whether to formally recognize the opposition group. Officials say an upcoming meeting later this month of the so-called "Friends of Syria" group in Marrakesh, Morocco, would be a logical date for an announcement.

But that recognition would be contingent on the group strengthening its organizational structure, and forming technical committees on issues such as health and agriculture that could go about the process of establishing government structures in parts of the country that are liberated and putting in place a template of governance that would represent the broad cross-section of religious and ethnic groups inside Syria. "That is an opportunity for them," an administration official told CNN about the upcoming meeting. "They know that the world is going to be seeing them at the Friends of the Syrian people meeting, so we'll just have to see how much progress they make between now and then." And while efforts to strengthen the Syrian opposition continue, the continued presence of extremists exploiting the situation is still a major concern for the United States.

More http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/29/u-s-still-weighing-whether-to-arm-syrian-rebels/
 
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waltky

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Here come the scuds, here come the scuds...

Assad troops fired Scud missiles at Syrian rebels, says US
Wednesday 12 December 2012 - Nato and US officials say short-range missiles detected looked like Scuds, as Syrian opposition wins international recognition
Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad's regime have fired Scud missiles at rebel fighters in Syria, according to US and Nato officials, in what appears to be a further escalation of the conflict. In Brussels, a Nato official expanded on a report in the New York Times, saying that a number of short-range ballistic missiles had been launched inside Syria. "Allied intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets have detected the launch of a number of unguided, short-range ballistic missiles inside Syria this week … Trajectory and distance travelled indicate they were Scud-type missiles," said the Nato official.

Meanwhile, Syria's new opposition body received full political recognition from more than 100 countries on Wednesday in a move that takes it a step closer to being declared a government-in-exile. The nascent organisation, known as the Syrian National Coalition, immediately reached out to the country's Alawite community, a core Assad constituency which has largely remained loyal to the regime throughout the 21-month crisis.

Chastened by criticism that opposition members had done little to convince minorities that they have a stake in a post-Assad Syria, the coalition's new leader, Moaz al-Khatib, called on Alawites to rise up against regime rule. "We send a direct message to the Alawite brethren," he said. "The Syria revolution is extending its hand to you, so extend your hand back and start civil disobedience against the regime because it repressed you like it repressed us." The coalition's messages at the "Friends of Syria" meeting in Morocco were carefully tailored to a receptive audience that pledged around $250m (£150m) in aid – $100m each from Qatar and Saudi Arabia alone.

However, while denouncing the extremism that has crept into some elements of the armed opposition, Khatib, a former imam of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, called on the US to reconsider its move to designate the Jabhat al-Nusra group as a terror organisation. "The decision to blacklist one of the groups fighting the regime as a terrorist organisation must be re-examined," Khatib, told the meeting in Marrakech. "There is nothing wrong with fighting in the name of Islam. He added: "We can have ideological and political differences with certain parties, but the revolutionaries all share the same goal: to overthrow the criminal regime of President Bashar Assad."

More Assad troops fired Scud missiles at Syrian rebels, says US | World news | The Guardian
 

waltky

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Granny says, "Dat's right - let Russia clean up the mess dey helped to create...

As Syria unravels, Russia sends navy squadron to Mediterranean
December 18, 2012 — A Russian navy squadron has set off for the Mediterranean amid official talk about a possible evacuation of Russians from Syria.
The Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the ships will rotate with those that have been in the area since November. Russian diplomats said last week that Moscow is preparing plans to evacuate thousands of Russians from Syria if necessary. The ministry did not say whether the navy ships are intended for an evacuation. The Interfax news agency, citing unidentified naval sources, reported that the navy command wants the ships to be on hand for the task if needed. It said the mission's duration will depend on the situation in Syria. Last week, a senior Russian diplomat said for the first time that Syrian President Bashar Assad is losing control and the rebels might win the civil war, a statement that appeared to signal that Moscow has started positioning itself for an endgame in Syria. But the Foreign Ministry disavowed Mikhail Bogdanov's statement the next day, saying his words were misinterpreted and that Moscow's position on the crisis hasn't shifted.

Russia's base in the Syrian port of Tartus is its only naval outpost outside the former Soviet Union. Moscow has been Assad's main ally, shielding him from international sanctions over a brutal crackdown on an uprising that began in March 2011 and turned into the civil war, killing more than 40,000 people. The squadron of five ships that sailed from the Baltic Sea base of Baltiysk includes a destroyer, a tugboat, a tanker and two large amphibious vessels that could evacuate hundreds of people. Another group of three navy ships departed Tuesday from Severomorsk, the main base of Russia's Northern Fleet on the Kola Peninsula. While their official mission is anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden, the ships will sail past the Syrian shores and may linger there if need be.

Earlier this year, Russia sent several ships to Tartus on a mission to evacuate its personnel and equipment, but authorities decided then that the situation in Syria didn't require such a move yet. The latest naval deployment comes as the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that two Russians were kidnapped alongside an Italian in Syria and that their captors have asked for a ransom for their release. The three, who worked at a Syrian steel plant, were kidnapped late Monday on the road between Tartus and Homs. The ministry identified those kidnapped as V. V. Gorelov, Abdesattar Hassun and Mario Belluomo and said the kidnappers have contacted the Hmisho steel plant by telephone and demanded a ransom for their release. It did not specify the amount.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, said "all necessary steps are being taken in Syria and other countries that may influence the situation," according to Interfax. The kidnapping of foreigners has been rare, but as Syria descends further into chaos the abduction of Syrians has become increasingly common across many parts of the country. Most of those kidnappings appear to have sectarian motives, part of tit-for-tat attacks between rebels and pro-regime gunmen. But there have been many cases of gunmen capturing wealthy people for ransom or settling personal scores.

As Syria unravels, Russia sends navy squadron to Mediterranean | CNS News

See also:

US pulls war fleet from Syrian water. Ahmadinejad cancels Turkey visit
December 16, 2012, Shortly before the deployment of two American Patriot missiles manned by 400 US servicemen for defending Turkey against Syria was announced Thursday, Dec. 13, Washington quietly recalled from Syrian waters the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its strike group and the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready group and the 2,000 Marines on their decks.
This US fleet, now on its way to home base, stayed opposite the Syrian coast from the third week of November ready to take part in direct US intervention in the Syrian conflict. Now that the American warships are gone, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet task force, which docked at the Syrian port of Tartus on Dec. 5, is the only war fleet remaining around the Syrian coast. According to debkafile’s intelligence sources, the Russian ships came to deliver a large consignment of arms for Bashar Assad’s army, although Russian sources claimed the vessels put into port for minor repairs and refueling.

US naval, air and marine forces pulled back from the eastern Mediterranean, to be replaced American-manned Patriot missile interceptors just as Syria became engulfed in another peak wave of violence. This deeply perturbs Syria’s neighbors, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They all fear Assad’s Scud missiles fitted with chemical warheads are pointed at them, no less than rebel forces, and he will have no qualms about shooting or dropping them against any of those neighbors if he becomes desperate. Their intelligence agencies believe the Syrian ruler is just as likely to direct chemical weapons against US military facilities on their soil. Although the five governments are not openly criticizing the Obama administration, a senior Turkish officer in Ankara said to debkafile’s sources that America’s action in removing its naval forces from the eastern Mediterranean is “hard to understand and unacceptable to Ankara.”

This is especially so, he said, in view of the discovery, reported by US official sources Friday, that the Syrian ruler has a larger chemical arsenal than previously believed – several dozen bombs and shells loaded with the lethal chemical sarin. To appease the Turks, our sources report that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta paid a short visit Friday, Dec. 14, to the big air base in southern Turkey where US strike aircraft are stationed alongside Turkish warplanes. Panetta also conferred with Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel and senior US commanders, including NATO chief, Adm. James Stavridis. The admiral said after the meeting: “Over the past few days, a handful of Scud missiles were launched inside Syria, directed by the regime against opposition targets. Several landed fairly close to the Turkish border, which is very worrisome.” In the view of debkafile’s military sources, President Barack Obama decided to pull the formidable warship fleet away from the neighborhood of Syria in an effort to defuse the military tensions rising between Iran, Turkey and Syria.

He also hoped that the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s scheduled visit to Turkey Monday, Dec. 17, for talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, would be a useful opportunity to achieve some sort of understanding with Iran over the Syrian crisis.
However, Tehran had other ideas. Saturday, Iran’s chief of staff Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, raised regional temperatures when he referred to the NATO Patriot missiles posted along Turkey’s border with Syria as “meant to cause a world war. They are making plans for a world war, and this is very dangerous for the future of humanity and for the future of Europe itself," he said. Sunday, Ahmadinejad slammed the door on any hoped-for understanding with Ankara by his last-minute cancellation of his trip to Turkey in view of the peril of war – further escalating the stresses radiating from Syria’s 21-month uprising.

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waltky

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New envoy just as ineffective as the old envoy...
:eusa_eh:
UN Syria Envoy to Meet Assad as Death Toll Rises
Dec 23, 2012 - A top United Nations official plans to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad today to discuss the 21-month uprising, a day after an opposition group said government warplanes bombed a bakery and killed 94 people.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN Special Envoy on Syria, plans to meet Assad to discuss international efforts toward a cease-fire. Brahimi entered Syria via Lebanon yesterday and traveled to Damascus, said Press TV, the state-run Iranian television network, without citing anyone. Assad won’t stand down and won’t be offered asylum in Russia, according to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The civil war has cost more than 44,000 lives since March 2011, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian warplanes hit a bakery in the town of Halfaya near Hama, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said in an e- mailed statement. Abu Al-Qassim al-Hamawi, an activist from Hama, told al-Jazeera television in a telephone interview that hundreds of people had been waiting in line to buy bread. In all, the committees said, 184 people were killed by government forces across the country yesterday.

Negotiations are the only way to halt the increasingly intensive fighting, the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria said Dec. 20. Violence has “increased dramatically” in and around major cities, particularly Damascus, the capital, and Aleppo, the commercial hub, the commission said in its latest update. It found numerous incidents of torture, summary executions and attacks on cultural property. In a bid to revive mediation efforts, Russia has invited Brahimi to Moscow this month, according to Lavrov. It has also asked Mouaz al-Khatib, head of the united Syrian opposition grouping, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, to hold talks with Russian representatives to discuss a peaceful solution, he said.

Assad, whose forces have suffered recent setbacks at the hands of the rebels, last month vowed that he wouldn’t flee. He approved the nation’s 2013 budget of 1.383 trillion pounds ($19.5 billion), Syrian state-TV said yesterday. Syria is “the last stronghold of secularism and stability in the region,” Assad said in an interview with Russian state broadcaster RT last month. “I have to live and die in Syria.”

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Syria jets kill tens as international envoy visits
Dec 23,`12 -- A government airstrike on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people on Sunday, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country's civil war.
The strike on the town of Halfaya left scattered bodies and debris up and down a street, and more than a dozen dead and wounded were trapped in tangled heap of dirt and rubble. The attack appeared to be the government response to a newly announced rebel offensive seeking to drive the Syrian army from a constellation of towns and village north of the central city of Hama. Halfaya was the first of the area's towns to be "liberated" by rebel fighters, and activists saw Sunday's attack as payback. "Halfaya was the first and biggest victory in the Hama countryside," said Hama activist Mousab Alhamadee via Skype. "That's why the regime is punishing them in this way."

The total death toll remained unclear, but the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 60 people were killed. That number is expected to rise, it said, because some 50 of those wounded in the strike are in critical condition. Amateur videos posted online Sunday showed residents and armed rebels rushing to the scene. One stopped to cover a mound of human flesh lying in the street with his coat. More than a dozen dead or seriously wounded people lay in the street near a simple, concrete building, some in puddles of blood. Near its front wall, bodies jutted from a pile of dirt and rubble on the sidewalk.

Rebels screamed in distress while trying to extract the bodies, while others carried away the wounded. It was unclear from the videos if the building was indeed a bakery. Nearly all the dead and wounded appeared to be men, some wore camouflage, raising the possibility that the jet had targeted a rebel gathering. For the past week, rebels have been launching attacks in the area, most notably in the nearby village of Morek, where they hope to seize control of the country's main north-south highway, preventing the regime from getting supplies to its forces further north in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.

On Saturday, one rebel group threatened to storm two predominantly Christian towns nearby if their residents did not "evict" government troops they said were using them as a base to attack nearby areas. The activist accounts could not be independently verified due to restrictions on reporting in Syria. The Syrian government does not respond to requests for comment on its military activities. The attack coincided with the start of a two-day visit by Lakhdar Barhimi, who represents the U.N. And the Arab League, to meet with top Syrian officials. Brahimi has made little apparent progress toward ending Syria's crisis since assuming his post in September, mostly because the sides appear more interested in fighting it out than in sitting down for talks.

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waltky

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US Troops Ready To Take On Syria...
:cool:
US troops arrive in Turkey to begin operating Patriot batteries
Fri Jan 4, 2013 - A group of US troops have arrived in Turkey to begin operating Patriot missile batteries along the border with Syria.
Turkish media reported on Friday that the 27-member team of US military forces had arrived in the southeastern city of Gaziantep. The team will also inspect the site of the batteries. On December 21, 2012, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Patriot missile batteries will be installed near the southeastern cities of Adana, Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed orders to authorize deploying the Patriots and about 400 troops to Turkey on December 14. Washington will provide two out of six such batteries, while Germany and the Netherlands will each contribute two.

kaffash20130104043437477.jpg
A Patriot missile battery

All the six Patriot batteries are scheduled to be operational near the Turkey-Syria border by the end of January. The NATO military alliance approved a request by Turkey for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles in the border region on December 4. However, thousands of Turkish people held demonstrations against the military plan later.

In addition, Syria also censured the Turkish request, calling it another act of provocation by the government of Erdogan. The New York Times reported on November 28, 2012, that the US administration “is considering deeper intervention to help push [Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad from power.”

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Billo_Really

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SA and Qatar announced that since UN does not support open aggression against Syria, UN can be ignored and aggression can start by "Arab countries".

Then, after a pep-talk mrs Clinton gave Erdogan, Assad suddenly bombed Turkish territory. Just to give Erdogan an excuse to seek parliamentary permission to go after Syria officially.

And since Iran reaffirmed its obligations towards Syria, the chances are Iran will step in in defence of Syria against Turkey.

Now, Turkey is NATO member. And once Assad will retaliate and Iran will come to Syria's assistance, it can be looked upon as "...an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force,..".

BINGO! No UN resolution will be needed for NATO heavy-weights to roll across Syria AND to attack Iran!
You can't use Article 51 as justification for an invasion of Syria when we're funding al Qaeda cells in that country to stir up unrest against the Assad government. We are providing material support to rebel groups in order to destabilize their government and create a mythical humanitarian crisis. And if we do invade, it won't be Iran we'll be squaring off with, it will be Russia and China. Are you prepared to risk all life on planet earth in over Syria?
 

mememe

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You can't use Article 51 as justification for an invasion of Syria when we're funding al Qaeda cells in that country to stir up unrest against the Assad government. We are providing material support to rebel groups in order to destabilize their government and create a mythical humanitarian crisis. And if we do invade, it won't be Iran we'll be squaring off with, it will be Russia and China. Are you prepared to risk all life on planet earth in over Syria?

Situation have changed since I posted that comment...

US/civilisedcommunity can't move onto their next target without finishing Syria off. Fortunately for Syrians, US economic realities and Syrian decisive victories over "opposition" gangs in the past two months may considerably slow down "civilised community".

As for invasion of China or Russia, I can't see it. More likely (and it is already happening) "civilised" will try to destabilise and dismember Russia from within (in a manner the Soviet Union was dismembered). Only there is a difference this time: general population is aware of it.
 

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