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dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
September 9, 2013

10 offers of moral support...no offers of military support.

On Friday, leaders from 10 countries - Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom — released a statement in line with the U.S.
condemnation of Syria’s use of chemical weapons, calling for “a strong international response” but not mentioning military action. And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Saturday a European Union statement that also offered moral support but not military support.

Pressed on whether there are any countries willing to provide military equipment or assistance, McDonough continued to point to statements of moral support.

“We have plenty of support. I’m not going to get into who's going to do what in any particular operation. We feel very good about the support we have,” he said.


September 9, 2013

@RepPeterDeFazio: Tally from constituents calling my office, emailing, and writing about #Syria:

@RepPeterDeFazio: Tally from constituents calling my office, emailing, and writing about #Syria: 1135 opposed to U.S. action, 18 for. http://t.co/bNeV7nX6L3

September 9, 2013

Hillary Clinton to speak on Syria

The former Secretary of State says she supports Obama in going before Congress.
By MAGGIE HABERMAN | 9/8/13 11:02 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton will make her first public remarks about Syria on Monday when she makes a visit to the White House for an unrelated event, a Clinton aide told POLITICO.

The comments, the first since an unidentified aide said last week that the former Secretary of State supports President Obama in going before Congress to get support for a limited strike against Syria, will come after she meets privately with Obama at the White House, the aide said.

She will then appear at an event related to wildlife preservation at the White House, an event where her daughter, Chelsea, is part of the program. Clinton is expected to address Syria at the beginning of the event, in fairly brief remarks, the aide said.

She’s expected to make longer remarks about the issue the following evening, when she gives a speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be honoring her.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/hillary-clinton-syria-96451.html#ixzz2eMpgzQJ1

September 9, 2013

Critics see contradictions in Obama administration's Syria claims (diff. sales job to R's, D's & TP)

WASHINGTON –- The planned military strikes on Syria would be “targeted, limited” and wouldn’t seek to topple the government of President Bashar Assad or even force it to peace talks.

They would also be punishing and “consequential” and would so scare Assad that he would never use chemical weapons again.

U.S. airstrikes would change the momentum on the battlefield of the Syrian civil war. But the war will grind on, unchanged, perhaps for years.

As administration officials lay out their case in favor of a punitive attack on Syria, they have been making all of these seemingly contradictory contentions, confusing supporters and providing rhetorical weapons to their opponents.

The contradictions stem from the basic challenge the White House faces: how to reassure the large anti-war contingent in the Democratic Party, as well as conservative opponents of overseas intervention, that strikes won’t open the way to another war, while convincing hawks and more militant internationalists that the strikes will do enough to make the mission worthwhile.


September 9, 2013

Syrian defector says Assad has lost direct control, CW control fractured, in hands of Alawites.

"The man overseeing the chemical weapons in general is Ali Mamlouk, but effective control of the weapons is becoming fragmented," Sheikh, who served for almost two decades in chemical weapons units, told Reuters from an undisclosed location in northern Syria. "Assad himself has lost overall command and control." Mamlouk, on a list of Syrians targeted by EU sanctions since 2011, was promoted last year to head national security after its chief was killed in a bombing in Damascus. Considered to be a member of Assad's inner circle, Mamlouk is one of two Syrian officers indicted last August in Beirut for allegedly plotting to incite sectarian violence in Lebanon. Efforts to reach Mamlouk for comment were unsuccessful.

Sheikh said the arsenal is now in the hands of chemical weapons-trained loyalists of Assad's Alawite clan, a Shi'ite offshoot sect, and is being used for limited attacks that have killed dozens of rebels.

"Most of the chemical weapons have been transported to Alawite areas in Latakia and near the coast, where the regime has the capability to fire them using fairly accurate medium range surface-to-surface missiles," Sheikh said.

Some chemical munitions remain in bases around Damascus, and have been deployed with artillery shells. "It is a matter of time before fairly large warheads are used," he said.

A US official, asked about Sheikh's comments, told Reuters: "This is one concerning scenario we're taking a close look at." Reports of use of chemical weapons in the battlefield have become more frequent in recent weeks. A U.N. team of inspectors has been denied access and has been unable to verify the claims.


September 8, 2013

The fact that the admin is using death videos, not the actual satellite images and transcripts

they say underlines their case is frankly suspicious.

We know the sources, we have heard the admins summary and interpretation, so why can't we see it all for ourselves?

This is the heart of their evidential case, but no Senator, no Representative is allowed to see this?

I am curious if even Secretary Kerry has seen it or the President himself? Or has it been kept from them for plausible deniability.

They need to show what they have.

September 8, 2013

Dem rep. says Obama should 'withdraw' authorization request

Dem rep. says Obama should 'withdraw' authorization request
Ashley Killough

(CNN) – The president should cancel his request for Congress to approve U.S. military strikes in Syria, Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said Sunday.

"If I were the president, I would withdraw my request for the authorization at this particular point," the congressman from Massachusetts said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't believe the support is there in Congress."

McGovern argued people tend to view war "as a last resort," and he disagreed with the notion that "we're at that point."

"I would step back a little bit. We have some other issues we have to deal with in Congress, domestic and international," McGovern told CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley. "But I think at this point if he were asking for my advice, I'd say withdraw the authorization."


September 8, 2013

McDonough said it’s “common sense” that the Syrian regime carried out the deadly chemical weapons

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” McDonough said it’s “common sense” that the Syrian regime carried out the deadly chemical weapons attack last month that the U.S. government says left more than 1,400 dead in a Damascus suburb. He added the Obama administration feels “very good about the support” it has from other countries, though he wouldn’t say whether any of that support goes beyond moral backing.

McDonough, speaking about the August chemical attack, said the fact that the materials were delivered by the kind of rockets that the regime has, and on-the-ground videos of people dying without physical wounds, are key points of proof.

But he stopped short of providing a direct link between al-Assad and the alleged chemical weapons attack.

“Now do we have irrefutable, beyond reasonable doubt evidence? This is not a court of law, and intelligence does not work that way,” McDonough said, adding common sense says "he is responsible for this. He should be held accountable.”


September 8, 2013

McDonough says attack on Assad regime would send message to Iran

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that an impending U.S. attack on Syria would send a message to Iranian leaders that they should not feel free to develop nuclear weapons.

“This is an opportunity to be bold with the Iranians,” McDonough said on NBC’s Meet the Press.


September 8, 2013

Syrian forces may have used gas without Assad's permission: paper

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Syrian government forces may have carried out a chemical weapons attack close to Damascus without the personal permission of President Bashar al-Assad, Germany's Bild am Sonntag paper reported on Sunday, citing German intelligence.

Syrian brigade and division commanders had been asking the Presidential Palace to allow them to use chemical weapons for the last four-and-a-half months, according to radio messages intercepted by German spies, but permission had always been denied, the paper said.

This could mean Assad may not have personally approved the attack close to Damascus on August 21 in which more than 1,400 are estimated to have been killed, intelligence officers suggested.

Germany's foreign intelligence agency (BND) could not be reached for comment.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/08/us-syria-crisis-germany-idUSBRE98707B20130908?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

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