Friday, September 06, 2013

Obama Fails at G20:


US President Obama failed to garner any additional support from world leaders at the G20 summit in Petersburg, Russia, as a forceful Russian President, Vladimir Putin, secured a majority of the leaders and delegations to support his line of opposition to unilateral military action against Syria in reprisal for alleged chemical weapons use by the Assad government in Damascus.
With unilateral military action against a sovereign state declared illegal by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, a stance fully supported by Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa, India, Indonesia, representing the majority of the world's population and only the usual suspects, Britain,Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar - the covert supporters of the Jihadist terror groups infesting Syria- lined up with Washington, Mr Obama was increasingly isolated in his demand for military action against Damascus as the summit proceeded. French President Hollande, all gung-ho for military action last week and making sly remarks on Britain's House of Commons decision to rule out military intervention, backed away from the Washington line and stated he would now wait for the UN inspectors reports on last month's chemical weapons incident in Damascus before taking any decision. EU President of Council, Rumpoy, also joined the Coalition of the Unwilling with a clear statement that the EU favoured using the United Nations process for dealing with the situation. A diplomatic disaster for the White House.

Domestically, public opinion in the USA is over 70% opposed to military strikes with phone calls to the White House reaching a record 500/1 against the Obama war plans. Likewise, the same high percentages, 60-70% opposition, are being recorded even in those countries like Britain and France whose leaders are backing Obama.

The US/NATO plans for regime-change in Syria based on a false extrapolation from their  "victory" in Libya two years ago when they thought the Assad Government would fall like a ripe fruit with minimum effort by them, have fallen apart as Assad held on and succeeded in resisting the jihadist terrorists they exported to Syria via their bases in Kosovo and Turkey and cross-border from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They are now using the chemical weapons slander to justify direct military intervention to topple Assad and complete their imperialist agenda for control of the Arab East. But, this has proved a huge miscalculation as world opposition by Russia, China and the bulk of non-NATO countries plus well organised peace movement protests in the US and NATO Europe has resisted the lies and propaganda which fooled some people previous to the invasion of Iraq and galvanised domestic political opposition like never before.


Russian President, Vladimir Putin, choreographed the whole show exactly as he wanted. Mr Obama was seated between Brazil and Mexico both of whom are severely pissed at Washington currently, not only because they oppose military interventions in Syria, but also
because their Governments were targets for Obama's NSA spying activities as revealed by the Snowden files given to Wikileaks, making a distinctly uncomfortable position for Mr Obama. Brazilian President, Dilma Roussef, looked stern and unfriendly at the round table in Petersburg. Rousseff was furious over the reported snooping into her personal communications and a senior government official said on Wednesday that she might cancel the state visit to the White House unless she got an apology. Brasilia even called off a trip by an advance team to Washington to prepare for the visit. A report that the National Security Agency’s massive spy program directly targeted Rousseff’s communications with top aides has brought the trip into doubt and hiked tensions between the two nations. In Brasilia, Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo said the answers given by the United States since the first allegations emerged in July have been "false."

US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has access to secret documents leaked by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, told Brazil's Globo television this week that the agency spied on Rousseff's Internet searches and Pena Nieto's emails before his election last year. In July, Greenwald co-wrote articles in Brazil's "O Globo" newspaper saying the NSA spied on Latin American allies and rivals, using electronic espionage to monitor military purchases in Venezuela, energy and drug issues in Mexico and rebel movements in Colombia.

The Mexican President had already made critical remarks about US spying activities on his way to Petersburg:

 "If it is proven that an action took place, with the use of espionage means, this is clearly not permitted and it is outside the law," Pena Nieto told reporters during a stopover in Canada before arriving in Petersburg. "There will surely be space at the G20 for some sort of meeting, either casual or informal, with the US president to make our position very clear," he said, recalling that his government has asked the United States to investigate the matter.

Before Pena Nieto was elected in July 2012, the NSA intercepted some of his phone calls, text messages and emails, including communications in which he discussed potential cabinet members, it is alleged.
Moscow’s calibrated reaction largely stems from realisation that U.S. President Barack Obama has got trapped into his own rhetoric about “red lines,” and whatever he does now will play into Russia’s hands.
Russia doesn’t have to do anything, just sit back and relax, and we’ll end up the winning side,” said Prof. Georgy Mirsky of the Moscow Institute of World Economy and International Relations. Moscow stands to gain whatever course Mr. Obama takes, Russian experts said.
“If Obama attacks Syria he will be seen fighting on the side of al-Qaeda, whose militants make up a third of the opposition forces, even according to U.S. military commanders,” said analyst Yulia Latynyna. If the U.S. attack is “limited” and “narrow,” as Mr. Obama has declared, it may even strengthen President Assad who will be able to say he has stood up to the world’s most powerful nation. Other observers think the U.S. may well slide down the slippery path of broader intervention in Syria. “Having started to take part in this campaign, the United States will be unable to get out of it without removing Bashar al-Assad. And considerations of prestige will outweigh all the doubts of those who fear chaos after a change of regime,” said Dr. Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.
At a recent press conference on Syria, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lamented a lack of “strategic thinking” in U.S. foreign policy. In contrast, Russia has repeatedly demonstrated it has strategic vision, with the situation in Iraq, Libya and Syria proving it right. Mr. Lavrov said Russia had “no plans to go to war” over Syria, but,pointedly, he didn't say Russia would not react.
Russia will continue to block any anti-Syrian moves at the U.N. Security Council, expose the illegal nature of U.S. interference and the foolishness of siding with Islamist radicals in Syria. Moscow will also cement its ties with Iran and China. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani placed a telephone call to Mr. Putin last week, with the two leaders calling for resolving the Syrian crisis “exclusively through political and diplomatic means.” The Russian and Iranian Presidents will have their first face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Kyrgyzstan in mid-September. Also, last week, China’s Ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, called on Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s sentinel for the Middle East, to discuss “further Russian-Chinese political and diplomatic interaction in connection with a sharp aggravation of the situation around Syria.”
Last, but not least, Russia will continue to arm Syria. “Russia and Iran have far more possibilities to help Assad than the other side can help rebels,” said Prof. Mirsky. “We can ship him as many weapons as he needs, while Iranians can send over its Islamic Revolution Guards as volunteers. America has no chance of winning this war.”

Syria, September 5:


While Mr Obama was hand-wringing in Petersburg, the Jihadists infesting Syria mounted another attack on a Christian town in their campaign of murderous terror against the minority religious communities in the country.
The dawn assault on the Christian village of Maaloula, about 60km north of Damascus, was carried out by rebels from the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group. At the start of the attack, an al-Nusra fighter blew himself up at a Syrian Army checkpoint at the entrance to the village.

                           The historic Christian village of Maaloula, Western Syria.
Maaloula, a mountain village some 40 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Damascus, is home to about 2,000 residents, some of whom still speak a version of Aramaic, the ancient language of biblical times believed to have been spoken by Jesus.

The suicide attack was followed by fighting between the jihadis and Syrian government forces, Eventually, the rebels seized the checkpoint, disabled two tanks and an armoured personnel carrier and killed eight Syrian soldiers in fighting. Heavy fighting around the village, which is on a UNESCO list of tentative world heritage sites – continued throughout the day, and heavy artillery echoed in the village. “The stones are shaking,” said a nun at the Mar Takla monastery. “We don’t know if the rebels have left or not, nobody dares go out.” She spoke with the Associated Press  on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Frightened residents expected the militants to return to the Safir hotel, she said, adding: “It’s their home now.” The nun said the rebels took over the Safir hotel atop a mountain overlooking the village and fired shells at it from there. "It's a war. It has been going from 6 a.m. in the morning," she said. Some 80 people from the village took refuge in the convent, which houses 13 nuns and 27 orphans, she said. The attack highlights fears among Syrian Christians that the alternative to Assad’s regime,(made up mostly of Alawites – followers of an offshoot of Shiite Islam), being promoted by the US and NATO,  would not tolerate minority religions. The nun who spoke to the AP said there were reports that the militants threatened villagers with death if they did not convert. The report could not be independently confirmed.
Maaloula has several churches and important monasteries, including Deir Mar Takla, which is visited by many Christians and Muslim pilgrims. Inscriptions found in some of the caves in the mountainside on which the town sits confirm it as one of the earliest centres of Christianity in the world, and some residents can still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Later on Thursday, government warplanes launched three air strikes on the checkpoint held by the rebels. Syria's Sana state news agency meanwhile reported that an army unit "eliminated members of a terrorist group belonging to the al-Nusra Front" north-east of Maaloula and "destroyed the tools they use in their crimes".



In fighting in Damascus, a mortar shell fired by rebels hit a sports hall, killing a member of the national tae kwon do team, 27-year-old Mohammed Ali Neimeh. Neimeh had been training for an upcoming Islamic Solidarity Tournament in Indonesia this week. In the Daraya district, several fighters fired assault rifles from behind an earthen embankment. Smoke rose from the neighborhood of Barzek after the shelling.

There were new signs of rivalry among rebel groups that have been fragmented from the start. The two main camps are the Western-backed so-called "Free Syrian Army", which portrays itself as the largest fighting group, and jihadist fighters, including thousands from outside Syria, who have become increasingly dominant, particularly in the north and sparsely populated east.

Among the jihadists, there have been several splits in recent months, particularly between those loyal to commanders in Syria and those who pledge allegiance to al-Qaeda-linked groups in Iraq. In an amateur video posted online Wednesday, a foreign fighter was seen standing among other bearded men who he says have come to Syria from Russia and the Caucasus to wage jihad, or holy war.

"Our brigade is called the Mujahedin of the Caucasus and the Levant, and we have our brothers from all over the world with us," he said in halting Russian translated into Arabic. He said his men had broken away from one of the jihadi blocs, known as ISIS, and that the group is also "independent from Jabhat al-Nusra and others."



See also: The Pope's Letter to Putin







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