Thursday, July 16, 2015

Obama Takes Aim at AIPAC

Didn't call 'em by name, but he didn't have to:

“My hope is that everyone in Congress also evaluates this agreement based on the facts, not based on lobbying.”

Related: Iran Deal No Good

"Obama encourages lawmakers to OK Iran deal; Says failure could lead to arms race, Middle East war" by Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis New York Times   July 16, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama directly addressed critics who said the deal threatened Israel, saying that America’s closest ally in the Middle East has “legitimate concerns” about whether Iran emerges with a greater ability to back terrorism and disrupt its neighbors.

“You have a large country, with a significant military, that has proclaimed that Israel shouldn’t exist, that has denied the Holocaust, that has financed Hezbollah,” Obama said. “There are very good reasons why Israelis are nervous about Iran’s position in the world, generally.”

Related: White House reportedly offers to boost military aid to Israel after Iran deal 

Who didn't $ee that coming? 

Should more than make up for the $150 billion Iran is getting to destroy Israel (let me think about that for a minute).

But Obama insisted that “those threats are compounded if Iran gets a nuclear weapon” and he chastised the critics of the deal —including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Republicans in Congress — for ignoring the facts of the deal and for failing to offer a viable alternative.

“I’m hearing a lot of talking points being repeated,” Obama said. “What I haven’t heard is what is your preferred alternative?

“My hope is that everyone in Congress also evaluates this agreement based on the facts,” he added, “not on politics. Not on posturing. Not on the fact that this is a deal that I bring to Congress, as opposed to a Republican president. Not based on lobbying.”

Taking on one of the prime criticisms of the deal, Obama defended the inspection regime that underlies it, insisting that despite the fact it could take up to 24 days for international inspectors to gain access to sites where they feared Iran might be trying to covertly develop a weapon, the system was the most vigorous ever negotiated.

You mean, like Israel did after stealing the materials and plans from the U.S.?

“The nature of nuclear programs and facilities is such, this is not something you hide in a closet; this is not something you put on a dolly and wheel off somewhere,” Obama said.

Especially with all the spy drones and NSA data collection efforts.


Critics of the inspection and verification regime are actually arguing that no system would be sufficient to prevent Iran from getting a weapon, Obama said. “What you’re really saying is that you’ve got to apply military force to guarantee that they can’t have a nuclear program,” he said.

And that wouldn't stop them either -- even if they were actually building a weapon, which they are not. Yet the framing by Jewish War Pre$$ implies they already have one.

In responding to a question about how the Iran deal fits in with his long-term goals for the Middle East, Obama described a set of modest achievements that he hopes to be able to pass on to the next president.

Proving the plan is already in place and the campaign promises mean nothing.

He said that he hoped the United States would be “on track” to defeating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and that the extremist group is “more contained” than it is now. He said he hoped to have “jump-started” a process to resolve the civil war in Syria.

IS is contained now?

“If we’ve done those things, then the problems of the Middle East will not be solved,” he conceded. He said the region’s long-term problems have to be solved by the people who live there. But he added that he hoped to “provide that next president at least that foundation for continued progress.”

Here is your neo-con playbook.


I feel like I'm being held hostage by division.


"Netanyahu, Britain’s foreign secretary spar over Iran deal; Media briefing turns into testy back-and-forth" by Tia Goldenberg Associated Press  July 17, 2015

JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister and the British foreign secretary publicly sparred over the nuclear deal with Iran on Thursday, veering off prepared comments to exchange sharply different positions toward the agreement.

The encounter reflected two world views: Western powers hope the deal can eventually moderate Iran and bring it back into the international community, while Israel believes Iran will use any newfound legitimacy as cover to strengthen militant groups and further destabilize the Middle East.

Well, no, that would be the USraeli-assisted ISIS™ for the moment, but the big destabilizer is this:

"Nuclear-armed Israel could obviously destroy Iran several times over. Even if Iran someday acquired a weapon, that prospect would be a powerful deterrent to its use." 

A scary one, too. T

The "debate" is a circus, and I must admit I was shocked to see such a thing in print. Maybe he snuck it in there, and the e-mails and calls may come, but you have to give 'em some props when they dare step outside the box. Hope they don't get in trouble for stating an obvious truth that the pre$$ and ma$$ media don't like to discuss while implying Iran already has a bomb.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had battled unsuccessfully to scuttle what he called ‘‘a bad deal’’ emerging from the talks, insisting that any sanctions relief would provide a ‘‘cash bonanza’’ making it easier for the Islamic Republic to continue to support Israel’s enemies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian group Hamas, and meddle in proxy conflicts in the region. 

Yeah, uh, speaking of CA$H BONAN$As.....

After the deal was announced Tuesday, Netanyahu condemned it as a ‘‘stunning historic mistake,’’ and said military action remains an option. Opposition legislators in Israel have rallied around Netanyahu against the deal, and Netanyahu’s chief political rival, Isaac Herzog, announced he would travel to the United States to lobby for a compensation package to ensure Israel’s military advantage in the region.

Blackmail, extortion, call it what you want, backed up by the threat of military action in which the U.S. will be drawn simply by its presence in the region. 


At their media briefing, Netanyahu and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond each read from prepared notes before engaging in an awkward back-and-forth that extended what is usually a standard, brief public appearance with visiting officials into a spirited debate.

Hammond pushed back on Netanyahu’s criticisms, stressing that the deal was only intended to place limits on Iran’s nuclear program and not address its conduct in the region.

I would put London on alert.

The exchange came a day after Hammond told the British Parliament that Israel wants a ‘‘permanent state of standoff’’ with Iran, and suggested that it wouldn’t have welcomed any kind of nuclear deal.

Netanyahu told Hammond that his assessment was wrong.

Means it was, in fact, right.

In his appearance with Hammond on Thursday, Netanyahu expressed concern that the deal does not seek to link sanctions relief and Iran’s conduct.

Netanyahu told Hammond, ‘‘We would have wanted to see a deal that says the following.”


Oh, I'm sorry, what'd he say?

"WikiLeaks records show Saudis’ fixation on Iran; Officials aimed to curb spread of Shi’ite Islam" by Ben Hubbard and Mayy El Sheikh New York Times   July 17, 2015

BEIRUT — For decades, Saudi Arabia has poured billions of its oil dollars into sympathetic Islamic organizations around the world, quietly practicing checkbook diplomacy to advance its agenda.

Wow, was that a quick (and hypocritical; how do you think U.S. gets its way?) turn by the propaganda pre$$. Once again, the Israeli entrapment operation known as Wikileaks comes out with a very timely release to now put the onus on the Saudis. 

But a trove of thousands of Saudi documents recently released by WikiLeaks reveals in surprising detail how the government’s goal in recent years was not just to spread its strict version of Sunni Islam — though that was a priority — but also to undermine its primary adversary: Shi’ite Iran.

That version of Islam is, you know, beheadings as capital punishment and all the things the "terrorists" are for. Good way to keep a war going and then turn it on someone who has nothing to do with it and is the enemy of the same.... wow, does this stuff get convoluted, almost as if it is meant to confusion as we wade through the bulls***.

The documents from Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry illustrate a near obsession with Iran, with diplomats in Africa, Asia, and Europe monitoring Iranian activities in minute detail and top government agencies plotting moves to limit the spread of Shi’ite Islam. 

Someone once pointed out, and indeed they are correct, that the Wikileaks and Snowden operations never expose Israel. Oh, there is a leak and one-day wonder here and there, and some of that is the Jewish-owned pre$$ censorship; however, it's in there and on deep cover its part of the agenda. I don't trust it, even when it seems good. There is some other mind-manipulating angle and it's usually buried pretty quick. 

The scope of this global oil-funded operation helps explain the kingdom’s alarm at the deal reached Tuesday between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program. Saudi leaders worry that relief from sanctions will give Iran more money to strengthen its militant proxies. But the documents reveal a depth of competition that is far more comprehensive, with deep roots in the religious ideologies that underpin the two nations.

The documents indicate an extensive apparatus inside the Saudi government dedicated to missionary activity that brings in officials from the foreign, interior, and Islamic affairs ministries; the intelligence service; and the office of the king.

Bin Laden was one such CIA-Duh mi$$ionary.

Recent initiatives have included putting foreign preachers on the Saudi payroll; building mosques, schools, and study centers; and undermining foreign officials and news media deemed threatening to the kingdom’s agenda.

You know, those "conspiracy-theory-type" people.

At times, the king got involved, ordering an Iranian television station off the air or granting $1 million to an Islamic association in India.

“We are talking about thousands and thousands of activist organizations and preachers who are in the Saudi sphere of influence because they are directly or indirectly funded by them,” said Usama Hasan, a senior researcher in Islamic studies at the Quilliam Foundation in London. “It has been a huge factor, and the Saudi influence is undeniable.”

While the documents do not show any Saudi support for militant activity, critics argue that the kingdom’s campaign against Shi’ites — and its promotion of a strict form of Islam — has eroded pluralism in the Muslim world and added to the tensions fueling conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.

The Saudi government has made no secret of its international religious mission, nor of its enmity toward Iran. But it has found the leaks deeply embarrassing and has told its citizens that spreading them is a crime.

It said last month that the documents were related to an electronic attack in March on the Foreign Ministry that was claimed by the Yemeni Cyber Army, a little-known group believed to be backed by Iran. WikiLeaks mentioned the attack when it released the documents.


And they gave 'em to Wikifront, 'er, leaks?

While Saudi Arabia says that some of the documents were fabricated, many contain correct names and telephone numbers, and a number of individuals and associations named in them verified their contents when reached by reporters.

That could very well be, and verification by reporters doesn't much matter, not in this day and age.

The trove mostly covers the period from 2010 to early 2015. It documents religious outreach coordinated by the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, an interministerial body that King Salman dissolved in a government overhaul after his ascension this year.

The Foreign Ministry relayed funding requests to officials in Riyadh; the Interior Ministry and the intelligence agency sometimes vetted potential recipients; the Saudi-supported Muslim World League helped coordinate strategy; and Saudi diplomats across the globe oversaw projects.

Together, these officials identified sympathetic Muslim leaders and associations abroad; distributed funds and religious literature produced in Saudi Arabia; trained preachers; and gave them salaries to work in their own countries. 

Is this anything we didn't already know for years? Why shine it up and make new now? What agenda is at work?

One example of this is Sheikh Suhaib Hasan, an Indian Islamic scholar who was educated in Saudi Arabia and worked for the kingdom for four decades in Kenya and in Britain, where he helped found the Islamic Sharia Council, according to a cable from the Saudi Embassy in London whose contents were verified by his son, Hassan of the Quilliam Foundation.

The fear of Shi’ite influence extended to countries where Muslims are small minorities, like China, where a Saudi delegation was charged with “suggesting practical programs that can be carried out to confront Shi’ite expansion in China.” 

Okay, good; that's one more reason not to have a war with them.

And documents from the Philippines, where only 5 percent of the population is Muslim, included suggested steps to “restrict the Iranian presence.”


You know, this is all very interesting because the New York Times just sat down with the Saudi king.

Related: Yemen Picking Up Again

"Airstrikes weaken Yemen rebels during ‘truce’" by Ahmed Al-Haj Associated Press  July 13, 2015

SANA, Yemen — Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition targeting Shi’ite rebels and their allies struck several Yemeni cities on Sunday, with combat raging near the strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait despite a declared truce, military and security officials said.

Some 500 troops loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, along with allied militias, were pushing to take areas near the strait, the officials said. 

The GROUND INVASION BEGAN while everyone was talking about Iran.

In a statement, the forces said they were operating under air cover by the Saudi-led coalition and had destroyed antiaircraft batteries and killed dozens of rebel troops.

The officials also said a military base in the capital, Sana, was hit, adding that warplanes also bombed a cement factory in Amran province, wounding 10 people. Other officials who oppose the rebels said they had been storing weapons in the factory.

The security officials said strikes also hit the cities of Saada and Dhamar, while ground fighting continued in Aden, Taiz, Dhale, and Marib despite the truce that began midnight Friday.

Hospital officials say the fighting in Taiz killed six civilians and wounded about 20.

More than 3,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the airstrikes began in March. The fighting pits the rebels, known as Houthis, and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants, and loyalists of Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia.

That sort of says it all, doesn't it?

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief journalists.


"25 killed, at least 50 injured in Yemen as Saudi coalition airstrikes continue" Associated Press  July 14, 2015

SANA, Yemen — An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting Yemen’s Shi’ite rebels and their allies struck a poor residential area in the capital of Sana on Monday, killing 25 civilians and wounding at least 50, according to the rebels and medical officials.

The strike hit the slums of the Sawan neighborhood in eastern Sana early in the morning, said the rebels, known as Houthis.

Obama helped with the aim.

Smoke billowed from the area in Sawan, which is a few hundred yards from a military camp used by the rebels. Hospital officials said there were women and children among the casualties. Yeah, we know that.

The wars, unfortunately, are all too real. A lot of the rest is pure propaganda and fiction, staged and scripted events described as real, or false flag fakes.

Airstrikes also hit other parts of Sana and 10 Yemeni provinces on Monday, according to local officials.

The strikes and ground fighting in Yemen have continued for the third day since the start of a UN-brokered truce between the rebels and the country’s internationally-backed government-in-exile and its allies.

The Saudi-led coalition has said it is not bound by the truce because of a lack of commitment by the Houthis. 

(Blog editor shakes his head; we see who the villains are at this time)

In Sawan, several buildings were damaged and ambulances were ferrying the wounded while rebel gunmen cordoned off the area.

Ahmed Nasser, a resident who lives nearby, said he heard the explosion and stayed indoors, fearing more strikes.

Yemen’s conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthis and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh against an array of forces, including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants, and loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is backed internationally.

On the ground, security officials said clashes continued between the Houthis and their rivals in the cities of Aden and Taiz.

At least 3,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the strikes began and as the ground fighting continues.


"Saudi-allied forces retake Yemen city; Exiled officials visit Aden with rebels in retreat" by Ali al-Mujahed and Hugh Naylor Washington Post  July 17, 2015

SANA, Yemen — Militiamen allied with Saudi Arabia appeared Thursday to have driven Houthi rebels out of most of Aden, prompting members of the country’s exiled government to make their first visit in months to the southern port city.

The militiamen have made broad gains in the city since Tuesday, dealing a blow to the Houthis. The Shi’ite Muslim insurgents have besieged Aden for months.

The advances by the militiamen may give momentum to Saudi plans for reinstalling the embattled president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. They also marked a rare tangible gain for a Saudi-led coalition that has conducted airstrikes for nearly four months but been unable to significantly drive back the rebel forces.

Then those 3,000 souls murdered for nothing!

‘‘Hadi delegated this group to return to Aden to work to prepare the security situation and ensure stability ahead of a revival of the institutions of state in Aden,’’ a local official told the Reuters news agency after the members of the exiled administration arrived by helicopter at a military air base.

The Houthis toppled Hadi’s government in February, triggering all-out war and forcing him to flee to Aden. A month later, Hadi escaped to Saudi Arabia and the Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes against the insurgents. Saudi Arabia, a Sunni powerhouse, views the Houthis as proxies for its chief regional enemy, Shi’ite Iran.

On Thursday, Houthi forces in Aden faced a sudden assault by pro-Hadi militiamen, who may have received training in Saudi Arabia. Residents said later that the Houthis have withdrawn from most areas of the city.

Saif Ali Hassan, a 56-year-old doctor, said the Houthis have all but lost charge of the city. ‘‘They are surrounded in a few areas of the city, and they are getting hit hard by coalition airstrikes, which have helped the resistance fighters,’’ he said, speaking by phone.

During the assault, residents said, the militiamen used heavy weapons and armored personnel carriers. The fighters, from the Popular Resistance militia, took Aden’s airport Tuesday and the city’s port a day later.

Houthi rebels, however, appear to still hold the presidential palace and other areas, residents said.

Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a senior Houthi official in the Yemeni capital, Sana, acknowledged the setbacks in Aden but said the rebels are fighting to take back ground lost in recent days.


Where is the U.N.?


Al Qaeda shifts tactics, now working with local rebels; In Yemen, a softer approach to governing