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Jihadist rebel clashes kill 50 in Syria’s Aleppo

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to launch a rocket towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, beside Al-Safira area in Aleppo countryside October 10, 2013. (Reuters)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Al Arabiya

Almost 50 fighters have been killed in three days of skirmishes between jihadists and mainstream rebels in the Syria’s second city of Aleppo.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the violence began on Thursday between militants of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and a battalion linked to the Arab and Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), both of which are fighting to overthrow Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

“At least 30 fighters from the Ababil Brigade and 14 from ISIL have been killed in combat, and that toll could rise further,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman said, according to AFP.

Rahman said that fighting broke out in several district of the city, with ISIL making gains in several areas.

Since July last year, Aleppo’s east district has been held by the rebels, and the west has been held by forces loyal to Assad.

Violence has for some time plagued Syria’s biggest cities.

On Friday, Syrian army troops and pro-Assad Shiite fighters killed at least 70 people as they captured two southern suburbs of Damascus.

The conflict in Syria began in March 2011, when peaceful protests calling for political change were met with a massive crackdown from the Syrian regime.

It has since developed into an all-out war with many fragmented opposition groups, with ongoing violence forcing millions of people to flee their homes.

 

(With AFP)

Teargas fired at clashing rival factions in Egypt’s Alexandria

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Cairo university students and members of the Muslim Brotherhood carry a banner with the four-fingered symbol of Rabaa, representing the six-week sit-in in Cairo that was disbanded by the military on August 14. (Reuters)

Friday, 11 October 2013

Al Arabiya

Police fired tear gas to break up clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria on Friday, Reuters reported security sources as saying.

Since the overthrow of Mursi by mass protests on July 3, Egypt has been gripped by turmoil. Muslim Brotherhood supporters calling for Mursi’s reinstatement worked to organize almost daily protests in the streets.

Meanwhile, an Islamist alliance urged its supporters to stay away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square during protests Friday to avoid more bloodshed after a week in which nearly 80 Egyptians were killed.

The alliance, which demands bringing Mursi back to power, called “for marchers to evade places of bloodshed, be it Tahrir or other squares,” Agence France-Presse quoted its statement as saying.

The alliance said its appeal follows calls made by several intellectuals and political forces as marches to the iconic square “will lead to more bloodshed.”

The alliance had repeatedly called on its supporters to march on Friday towards Tahrir, the main symbol of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising that toppled former strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

“We are just limiting our marches” on Friday, the alliance said, adding it “preserves the right to protest in all squares including Tahrir, Rabaa and Nahda in the coming weeks.”

Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares were sites of a brutal crackdown by security forces on Mursi’s supporters on August 14. Hundreds of people were killed in some of the worst carnage in Egypt’s modern history.

Since the bloody August 14 crackdown, more than 1,000 people have been killed across Egypt, while more than 2,000, mostly Islamists, have been detained.

(With Reuters and AFP)

Turkish PM Erdogan says Assad is a terrorist, not a politician

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

“Assad is a terrorist who uses state terror,” Erdogan told Turkish paper Hurriyet. (File photo: Reuters)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Al Arabiya

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, calling him a terrorist for having killed “110,000 of his own people.”

“Assad is a terrorist who uses state terror,” Erdogan told Turkish paper Hurriyet, after a meeting with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in Ankara.

“I don’t regard Bashar Assad as a politician anymore,” Erdogan said. “A person who killed 110,000 of his own people is a terrorist.”

The remarks came after Assad warned on Saturday that Turkey would “pay dearly” for supporting opposition fighting to “overthrow his regime,” in an interview with Der Spiegel.

“In the near future, these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey. Turkey will pay very dearly for its contribution,” Assad said in the interview.

During the interview, Assad expressed harsh criticism against Erdogan, saying he was a “liar” who “supports terrorists.”

Referring to a comment by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about the success of the start of a chemical weapons cleanup in Syria and Assad’s compliance in the operation so far, Erdogan was skeptical about his congratulatory tone.

“You are a human being and me, too. How can we appreciate the behavior of a person who killed 110,000 people, I ask you. The result of either chemical or other types of weapons is death. Then how can we appreciate this? I cannot imagine a person who appreciates this. I don’t think Mr. Kerry made such statement. If he made it, he would be contradicting himself,” Erdogan was reported as saying.

Erdogan, along with French President Francois Hollande, was one of the most staunch supporters of U.S. military intervention in Syria following the August 21 chemical attack that took place in a suburb of Damascus, leaving hundreds dead.

Libya says it summoned U.S. envoy over seized al-Qaeda suspect

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Libi is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. (AFP/ Al Arabiya illustration)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Al Arabiya

The Libyan government summoned U.S. ambassador Deborah Jones to seek clarification over the capture of an alleged al-Qaeda operative by American special forces earlier this week, the foreign ministry announced on Tuesday.

“Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani summoned the ambassador of the United States on Monday morning to ask for answers to several questions relating to the case” of Abu Anas al-Libi, a ministry statement said, according to Agence France-Presse.

An elite U.S. interrogation team is now questioning the senior al-Qaeda figure who was captured in Tripoli on Saturday and then taken onto a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

Libi is being questioned by the U.S. High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, an inter-agency group created in 2009 and housed in the FBI’s National Security Branch, according to Reuters news agency.

He is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians.

He was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million reward and has been accused in a U.S. federal court in New York for allegedly playing a key role in the East Africa bombings.

Libya said it had demanded an explanation from Washington on Sunday for the “kidnap” of Libi in an unauthorized commando raid on its territory.

“The Libyan government has been following the reports of the kidnap of one of the Libyan citizens wanted by the authorities in the United States,” a government statement said according to AFP.

“As soon as it heard the reports, the Libyan government contacted the U.S. authorities to demand an explanation.”

The government underlined its “desire to see Libyan citizens tried in their own country, whatever the accusations leveled against them.”
(With AFP and Reuters)

Iran pressed to give new proposals on nuclear program

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and Hassan Rowhani (C) are being pushed to offer new proposals. (File photo: AFP)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Al Arabiya

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Iran to present new nuclear proposals on Monday, rebuffing Tehran’s position that foreign powers are blocking the impasse.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday that the previous foreign offer, made by the “P5+1” group at two meetings in Kazakhstan before the June election of moderate President Hassan Rowhani, was no longer valid, Agence France-Presse reported.

While welcoming the recent diplomatic rapprochement, Kerry said the ball remained in Iran’s court.

“The group of six put a proposal on the table at Almaty and I don’t believe as of yet Iran has fully responded to that particular proposal. So I think we are waiting the fullness of the Iranian difference in their approach now,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.

“So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that will fully disclose how they will show the world that their program is peaceful.”

The proposals made in Kazakhstan required the suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment at the 20 percent level it says it needs for a medical research reactor, and to halt enrichment at its underground plant at Fordo near the central city of Qom.

A new round of talks are due in mid-October in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1, which comprises of the five U.N. Security Council permanent members, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.

The talks will be the first formal talks between the U.S. and Iran since a phone call last month between Rowhani and President Barack Obama, the first direct contact between presidents of the two countries since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

“We are encouraged by the outreach,” Kerry said, according to AFP, but stressed that actions will make the difference.

(With AFP)

‘Most wanted’ terrorist Abu Anas al-Libi captured by U.S. forces

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

This image provided by the FBI shows al-Qaeda official Abu Anas al-Libi on their wanted list. (AFP)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Al Arabiya

U.S. forces have arrested Libyan al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi on Saturday, following a military raid in the streets of Tripoli.

Libi was allegedly involved in the 1988 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left more than 200 people dead.

He was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million reward and has been accused in a U.S. federal court in New York for allegedly playing a key role in the East Africa bombings.

“As the result of a U.S. counterterrorism operation, Abu Anas al-Libi is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military in a secure location outside of Libya,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement according to Agence France-Presse.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said the arrest showed the United States’s determination to hunt down those responsible for terrorism.

“We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.

Kerry also said the raids should make clear that “those members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations literally can run, but they can’t hide.”

Libya said it had demanded an explanation from Washington Sunday for the “kidnap” of a citizen in an unauthorized commando raid on its territory.

“The Libyan government has been following the reports of the kidnap of one of the Libyan citizens wanted by the authorities in the United States,” a government statement said according to AFP.

“As soon as it heard the reports, the Libyan government contacted the US authorities to demand an explanation.”

The government underlined its “desire to see Libyan citizens tried in their own country, whatever the accusations leveled against them.”
A source close to Libi told AFP he was captured by armed men in Tripoli as the operation took place in broad daylight in the knowledge of the Libyan government, a U.S. official told CNN.

But Libyan security services denied the claim, saying they were unaware of any kidnapping or arrest of the man, reported AFP.

The capture of Libi, who was born under the name Nazih Abdul Hamed Al-Raghie puts an end to a 15-year man hut. He will be brought to the U.S. to face trial.

“Capture of Abu Anas al Libi would represent major blow against remnants of al Qaeda’s core,” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote on Twitter, according to AFP.

Libi and other al-Qaeda members have allegedly discussed an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi as early as 1993.

He is said to have conducted visual and photographic surveillance of the embassy and allegedly planned in 1994 to attack the mission as well as the building then housing the United States Agency for International Development in the Kenyan capital, along with British, French and Israeli targets.

In a separate raid, a U.S. Navy SEAL team seized a senior leader of the al-Shabaab militant groupfrom a seaside villa in Somalia on Saturday in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall last month, the New York Times quoted U.S. officials as saying.

(With AFP)

Somalia’s al-Shabaab says British, Turkish forces attacked its base

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

The Somalian militant group claimed that “Westerners” attacked one of its coastal bases. (File photo: AFP)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Al Arabiya

Somalia’s Islamist militia al-Shabaab said on Saturday that a dawn raid at its strongholds in the small town of Barawe in the south of the country was carried out by British and Turkish special forces.

The commander of the British force, it said, was killed during the attack and four other SAS operatives were critically wounded. One Turkish soldier was also wounded, according to a statement by Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military operation spokesman.

The statement by the militia could not immediately be independently verified and Turkish special forces said they did not take any part in the attack, according to a foreign ministry official.

A resident of Barawe – a seaside town 240 kilometers south of Mogadishu – told Agence France-Presse by telephone that heavy gunfire woke up residents before dawn prayers. An al-Shabaab fighter who gave his name as Abu Mohamed said “foreign” soldiers attacked a house, prompting militants to rush to the scene to capture a soldier. Mohamed said that effort was not successful.

The international troops attacked a two-story beachside house in Barawe where foreign fighters lived, battling their way inside, said Mohamed, who said he had visited the scene. Al-Shabaab has a formal alliance with al-Qaeda, and hundreds of foreign fighters from the U.S., Britain and Middle Eastern countries fight alongside Somali members of al-Shabaab.

 

(With Reuters and AFP)

Saudi FM welcomes Iran’s dialogue call but expects action

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Iran’s openness initiative is welcome but that concrete measures are what matters. (Al Arabiya)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Al Arabiya

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom welcomes Iranian statements for openness toward the Gulf, but that concrete measures on the part of Tehran are what will be considered.

Al-Faisal made the statements during a ceremony in Rome to commemorate 80 years of Saudi-Italian diplomacy.

The meeting between the Saudi minister and his Italian counterpart called fir strengthening economic, political and cultural ties between both countries.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said Italians and Europeans are interested in observing Saudi Arabia’s role in dealing with regional and international affairs.

Last month, Rowhani said that “a key aspect” of his “commitment to constructive interaction entails a sincere effort to engage with neighbors.”

He called for closer ties with Saudi Arabia, hailing the kingdom as a “friend and brother” of Iran,” state-sponsored Tasnim News Agency reported.

He was addressing a meeting of Hajj officials in Tehran saying that his government is “willing to remove trivial tensions from the path (of bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia) in order to fulfill bilateral and the Islamic world’s interests.”

“This issue (expansion of ties) has been emphasized both in the Saudi king’s congratulatory letter to me and in my letter to thank him,” Rowhani added.

The relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been tense during the administration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries have conflicting approaches to regional issues in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

The tension between the two major Mideast powers intensified when the United States foiled in October 2011 an Iranian-linked plot to assassinate Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington.

The incident was referred to as “Iran assassination plot” in the media and was named by the Federal Bureau of Investigation “Operation Red Coalition.”

Mursi supporters clash with Egypt riot police

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Supporters of deposed President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood clash with anti-Mursi protesters during a march in Shubra street in Cairo October 4, 2013. (Reuters)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Al Arabiya

Thousands of supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi took to the streets nationwide on Friday, clashing with security forces amid reports of gunfire in central Cairo, Al Arabiya television reported.

Brotherhood supporters, who have been protesting to re-install Mursi, clashed with police on the road leading to the pyramids in the suburb of Giza.

Protesters marched toward the Defense Ministry and presidential palace in Cairo, in defiance of the crackdown on the Brotherhood.

Meanwhile, thousands of the movement’s loyalists marched through a Cairo suburb toward the site of a former protest camp that was cleared by security forces in August, Reuters reported.

Soldiers and policemen boosted their presence around Rabaa al-Adaweya mosque, the larger of the Brotherhood’s two former Cairo sit-ins, as the march approached, Reuters reported the state news agency as saying.

A Reuters witness said an Egyptian army vehicle fired live rounds in the direction of Brotherhood supporters who had been pushed away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square by security forces.

Egypt’s Health Ministry said one protester was killed and 14 others injured in the clashes.

Mahmoud Abde Erradi, a journalist from Youm7 newspaper, told Al Arabiya from Cairo that the clashes erupted when Brotherhood members attempted to storm the square.

He denied security forces have opened fire on protesters, saying that tear gas was used to disperse protesters who attacked public properties.
(With Reuters)

Column One: America and the good psychopaths

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

JPost

By CAROLINE B. GLICK

10/03/2013 23:51

Israel the party pooper is Obama’s greatest foe, because it insists on basing its strategic assessments and goals on the nature of things even though this means facing down evil.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani Photo: Reuters
In his speech on Tuesday before the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to get the Americans to stop their collective swooning at the sight of an Iranian president who smiled in their general direction.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the premier warned, “I wish I could believe [President Hassan] Rouhani, but I don’t because facts are stubborn things. And the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.”

He might have saved his breath. The Americans weren’t interested.

Two days after Netanyahu’s speech, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a rejoinder to Netanyahu. “I have never believed that foreign policy is a zero-sum game,” Hagel said.

Well, maybe he hasn’t. But the Iranians have.

And they still do view diplomacy – as all their dealings with their sworn enemies – as a zerosum game.

As a curtain raiser for Rouhani’s visit, veteran New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkins wrote a long profile of Iran’s real strongman for The New Yorker. Qassem Suleimani is the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is the most powerful organ of the Iranian regime, and Suleimani is Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s closest confidante and adviser.

Rouhani doesn’t hold a candle to Suleimani.

Filkin’s profile is detailed, but deeply deceptive.

The clear sense he wishes to impart on his readers is that Suleimani is a storied war veteran and a pragmatist. He is an Iranian patriot who cares about his soldiers. He’s been willing to cut deals with the Americans in the past when he believed it served Iran’s interests. And given Suleimani’s record, it is reasonable to assume that Rouhani – who is far more moderate than he – is in a position to make a deal and will make one.

The problem with Filkin’s portrayal of Suleimani as a pragmatist, and a commander who cares about the lives of his soldiers – and so, presumably cares about the lives of Iranians – is that it is belied by the stories Filkins reported in the article.

Filkins describes at length how Suleimani came of age as a Revolutionary Guard division commander during the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988, and how that war made him the complicated, but ultimately reasonable, (indeed parts of the profile are downright endearing), pragmatist he is today.

As the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Suleimani commands the Syrian military and the foreign forces from Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq that have been deployed to Syria to keep Basher Assad in power.

Filkins quotes an Iraqi politician who claimed that in a conversation with Suleimani last year that the Iranian called the Syrian military “worthless.”

He then went on to say, “Give me one brigade of the Basij, and I could conquer the whole country.”

Filkins notes that it was the Basij that crushed the anti-Islamist Green Revolution in Iran in 2009. But for a man whose formative experience was serving as a Revolutionary Guards commander in the Iran-Iraq War, Suleimani’s view of the Basij as a war-fighting unit owes to what it did in its glory days, in that war, not on the streets of Tehran in 2009.

As Matthias Kuntzel reported in 2006, the Revolutionary Guards formed the Basij during the Iran-Iraq War to serve as cannon fodder. Basij units were made up of boys as young as 12.

They were given light doses of military training and heavy doses of indoctrination in which they were brainwashed to reject life and martyr themselves for the revolution.

As these children were being recruited from Iran’s poorest villages, Ayatollah Khomeini purchased a half million small plastic keys from Taiwan.

They were given to the boys before they were sent to battle and told that they were the keys to paradise. The children were then sent into minefields to die and deployed as human waves in frontal assaults against superior Iraqi forces.

By the end of the war some 100,000 of these young boys became the child sacrifices of the regime.

When we assess Suleimani’s longing for a Basij brigade in Syria in its proper historical and strategic context – that is, in the context of how he and his fellow Revolutionary Guards commanders deployed such brigades in the 1980s, we realize that far from being a pragmatist, Suleimani is a psychopath.

Filkins did not invent his romanticized version of what makes Suleimani tick. It is a view that has been cultivated for years by senior US officials.

Former US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker spoke at length with Filkins about his indirect dealings with Suleimani through Iranian negotiators who answered to him, and through Iraqi politicians whom he controlled.

Crocker attests that secretary of state Colin Powell dispatched him to Geneva in the weeks before the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to negotiate with the Iranians. Those discussions, which he claims involved the US and Iran trading information about the whereabouts of al- Qaida operatives in Afghanistan and Iran, could have led to an historic rapprochement. But, Crocker maintains, hope for such an alliance were dashed in January 2002, when George W.

Bush labeled Iran as a member of the “Axis of Evil,” in his State of the Union address. Supposedly in a rage, Suleimani pulled the plug on cooperation with the Americans. As Crocker put it, “We were just that close. One word in one speech changed history.”

Crocker told of his attempt to make it up to the wounded Suleimani in the aftermath of the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in 2003. Crocker was in Baghdad at the time setting up the Iraqi Governing Council. He used Iraqi intermediaries to clear all the Shi’ite candidates with Suleimani. In other words, the US government gave the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards control over the Iraqi government immediately after the US military toppled Saddam’s regime.

Far from convincing Suleimani to pursue a rapproachment with the US, Crocker’s actions convinced him that the US was weak. And so, shortly after he oversaw the formation of the governing council, Suleimani instigated the insurgency whose aim was to eject the US from Iraq and to transform it into an Iranian satrapy.

And yet, despite Suleimani’s obvious bad faith, and use of diplomacy to entrap the US into positions that harmed its interests and endangered its personnel, Crocker and other senior US officials continued to believe that he was the man to cut a deal with.

The main take-away lesson from the Filkins profile of Suleimani is that US officials – and journalists – like to romanticize the world’s most psychopathic, evil men. Doing so helps them to justify and defend their desire to appease, rather than confront, let alone defeat, them.

Suleimani and his colleagues are more than willing to play along with the Americans, to the extent that doing so advances their aims of defeating the US.

There were two main reasons that Bush did not want to confront Iran despite its central role in organizing, directing and financing the insurgency in Iraq. First, Bush decided shortly after the US invasion of Iraq that the US would not expand the war to Iran or Syria. Even as both countries’ central role in fomenting the insurgency became inarguable, Bush maintained his commitment to fighting what quickly devolved into a proxy war with Iran, on the battlefield of Iran’s choosing.

The second reason that Bush failed to confront Iran, and that his advisers maintained faith with the delusion that it was worth cutting a deal with the likes of Suleimani, was that they preferred the sense of accomplishment a deal brought them to the nasty business of actually admitting the threat Iran posed to American interests – and to American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Expanding on Bush’s aversion to fighting Iran, and preference for romanticizing its leaders rather than acknowledging their barbarism, upon entering office Barack Obama embraced a strategy whose sole goal is engagement. For the past five years, the US policy toward Iran is to negotiate. Neither the terms of negotiation nor the content of potential agreements is important.

Obama wants to negotiate for the sake of negotiating. And he has taken the UN and the EU with him on this course.

It’s possible that Obama believes that these negotiations will transform Iran into a quasi-US ally like the Islamist regime in Turkey. That regime remains a member of NATO despite the fact that it threatens its neighbors with war, it represses its own citizens, and it refuses to support major US initiatives while undermining NATO operations.

Obama will never call Turkey out for its behavior or make Prime Minister Recep Erdogan pay a price for his bad faith. The myth of the US-Turkish alliance is more important to Obama than the substance of Turkey’s relationship with the United States.

A deal with Iran would be horrible for America and its allies. Whatever else it says it will do, the effect of any US-Iranian agreement would be to commit the US to do nothing to defend its interests or its allies in the Middle East.

While this would be dangerous for the US, it is apparently precisely the end Obama seeks. His address to the UN General Assembly can reasonably be read as a declaration that the US is abandoning its position as world leader. The US is tired of being nitpicked by its allies and its enemies for everything it does, he said. And therefore, he announced, Washington is now limiting its actions in the Middle East to pressuring its one remaining ally, Israel, to give up its ability to protect itself from foreign invasion and Palestinian terrorism by surrendering Judea and Samaria, without which it is defenseless.

Like his predecessors in the Bush administration, Obama doesn’t care that Iran is evil and that its leaders are fanatical psychopaths. He has romanticized them based on nothing.

Although presented by the media as a new policy of outreach toward Tehran, Obama’s current commitment to negotiating with Rouhani is consistent with his policy toward Iran since entering office. Nothing has changed.

From Obama’s perspective, US policy is not threatened by Iranian bad faith. It is threatened only by those who refuse to embrace his fantasy world where all deals are good and all negotiations are therefore good.

What this means is that the prospect of Iran becoming a nuclear power does not faze Obama. The only threat he has identified is the one coming from Jerusalem. Israel the party pooper is Obama’s greatest foe, because it insists on basing its strategic assessments and goals on the nature of things even though this means facing down evil.

Kerry says U.S. talks with Iran must be based on concrete steps by Tehran

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Reuters, Tokyo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that the United States hopes to engage with the new Iranian administration, but Tehran must first prove it is willing to end the stand-off over its nuclear weapons program.

If Iran intends to be peaceful, “I believe there is a way to get there,” Kerry told a news conference in Tokyo after a meeting of U.S. and Japanese defenses and foreign ministers.

Kerry expressed hope that engagement with President Hassan Rowhani’s government can succeed but said nothing would be taken at face value.

Discussions would be based on a series of steps that guarantee “we have certainty about what is happening,” Kerry said.

In a charm offensive at U.N. meetings in New York last week, Iran expressed willingness to resolve the 10-year-old dispute with the United States over its nuclear program, a move that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed as a ruse concocted by a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

Addressing Netanyahu’s concerns over talks with Iran, Kerry said: “We are firmly determined that Israel’s security remains paramount.”

He dismissed suggestions that the United States was being played by Iran.

“There is nothing here that is going to be taken at face-value and we’ve made that clear,” Kerry said. “The
president has said, and I have said, that it is not words that will make a difference, it’s actions, and the actions are clearly going to have to be sufficient.”

The United States, Israel and other countries accuse Iran of using its nuclear program to try to develop the capability to produce weapons. Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes only.

Russian embassy in Libya under attack

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Al Arabiya

Gunmen attacked the Russian embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Wednesday, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

The sound of gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades could be heard around the embassy, the correspondent added.

No further details were immediately available.

[Developing Story]

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