Tag Archives: America

Open Thread for January 1, 2016…ISIS is NOT winning…..

While the media screams about the ISIS sympathizers attacks in Paris and California…..

And Republican Presidential candidates take turns to get up and say the US is losing the war against ISIS militants…..

The truth is more complicated…..

But the bottom line is the militants have lost ground and influence in Syria and Iraq….

President Obama may not be beating  his chest with the news ….But despite the increase in those who are committing acts of violence in the militants name….The ISIS forces ARE being pushed back by several different groups in Iraq and in Syria….

Those groups include the Kurds, Shia militia backed by American airpower and more american military advisors and Syria’s military backed by Russian air power….

The Middle East is being rearranged by all this fighting and the goal of  destroying ISIS probably isn’t going to be necessary …..

That because the local militants are gaining more power and will restore the natural push-pull that was going on prior to George W. Bush’s interference in the region that destabilized things….

We may not like authoritarian leaders there…

But that type of control maybe the ONLY way to bottle up the WIDESPREAD blood letting that has been the recent history of the region….

And should keep outside armies from sending their men and women in harms way….At least not as many anyways?

A war seen by the United States as primarily aimed at preventing future terrorist attacks in America is being prosecuted for very different reasons by the diverse assortment of Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni fighters battling in both Iraq and Syria, often in pursuit of competing agendas that work to subvert the goal of defeating the militants.

In northern Iraq and Syria, Kurds are busily carving out the borders to new Kurdish enclaves. Shiite militias, now the most powerful force in Iraq, are extending their reach deep into traditionally Sunni areas of northern Iraq. The Syrian government is focusing its energies on reclaiming land seized by its opponents during the five-year-old rebellion against it, while deeply divided Syrian rebels in turn are fighting a two-front war to hold their ground against both the government and the Islamic State.

In this fragmented landscape, the Islamic State is but one of a multitude of groups competing for territory and dominance over the collapsed nation states of Iraq and Syria — a symptom as much as a cause of the scramble for power unleashed by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the 2011 revolt in Syria.

The Islamic State may or may not be vanquished soon — and a string of defeats inflicted in recent months in northeastern Syria, northern Iraq and most recently Ramadi have raised hopes that its demise may be closer than had been thought…..

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Can Russia find a way back into the West’s good graces thru Bombing ISIS?

In reaction to the Paris attacks?

The French have been looking to add countries to the on going efforts to work against the Islamic State…..

With it’s military now involved in proping up Syrian Presidentr Assad….Russia has also said it would join efforts against ISIS…..

A LOT of America and other military types are unsure what to think on this…..

And could it lead to Russia starting to mend it’s fences with President Obama and the West?

France, Russia and the U.S. moved beyond talk of cooperation and into the far more difficult realm of action Tuesday, as the “grand and single coalition” French President François Hollande called for to combat Islamic State began coming into view.

Mr. Hollande telephoned his Russian counterpart to discuss possible joint plans, and made arrangements to visit Washington and Moscow next week to pursue the formation of a major new alliance. France launched a third round of airstrikes Tuesday night against Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, while waves of Russian warplanes and cruise missiles struck the same area.

The effort could yet dissolve, as major problems—especially the legacy of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and discord over Syria’s future—haven’t gone away. The involvement of Arab allies with overlapping and uneven agendas complicates regional diplomacy.

But among the signs of potential progress, Russia gave Washington advance notice of its airstrikes Tuesday—the first time it had done so since the Russian bombing campaign started Sept. 30.

Moscow’s determination on Tuesday that a bomb had destroyed a Russian jetliner last month over Egypt accentuated the appearance of common cause…

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The US needs Iran….

I have been meaning to write this post for a while….

The media is out with the revelation that President Obama has written a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei empowering him and his country to make a deal with America and its Allies to NOT develop a nuclear bomb in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Iran….

The letter is actually President Obama’s FOURTH one the leadership of Iran…..

The fact that an American President IS writing letter’s to Iran’s power elite just makes sense for American Foreign Policy in the Middle East…

One would image that overtime President Obama gets a National Security briefing about ANYTHING  in the Middle East , or even other places there is a mention of Iran…

In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen….There are Iranian factors involved…..

Those actions serve to protect Iranian interests and make sure Iran has made its influence in the area felt….

It is NO secret that Iran has a foreign policy to protect its religious friends and to extend influence ….Most countries do that….

But in a masterful chess move…The country has been  able to leverage its power with its effort to develop nuclear power…..

The by product of that power could be the development a nuclear bomb….

That is something ONLY Israel has in the Middle east and frankly EVERYBODY over there is VERY worried about Iran with a nuke….

And so the United States , which has worked for  peace in the area for over a half a century finds itself in a quandary ….

With the vision of the Iranian takeover the US embassy still fresh in some of Congresses leaders minds….

A US President that was kid when that happened now finds the path to solving several issue in that region of the world thru an uneasy but essential collaboration with Iran….

While the media has been quite about this….

It is already happening….

AL Jazeera has reported on recent Iraq Army and local Sunni militants being ‘advised ‘ by Iranian military troops…Just as the American’s are doing…

Iranian military assets have spotted across the border in Iraq Sunni Militant operations elsewhere….

But this posses a political problem for President Obama with Israeli whose leader Prime Minister Netanyahu is deadeyes against trusting ANY deal with Iran….

The Israel Prime Minister is not with reason in his feeling as Iran has stalled any serious talks about a deal up to now in hopes that it’s scientists could make a break thru in their nuclear efforts….

Iran would greatly like to a nuclear bomb…THAT IS clear…..

Israel and the US have actually gone after several Iranian scientists and employed cyber attacks against the Iran computers inside their nuclear efforts….

The differences in Foreign Policy goals have caused Obama and Netanyahu to at times scrap….

But President Obama NEEDS Iran…

And in the end as we all watch?

He is gonna do just whatever he can to move past the animosity between the two countries in his effort to get Iran’s help in the Middle East….

The US Congress will not stop him….

He’s already leaked that he will go around them….

The American President is trying to get to a place that could help the West….And Iran deal TOGETHER with things in the Middle east….

And that needs Iran to get on board….

There is NO other way put this…..

Mr. Obama’s letter was worded generally; it did not get into specific negotiating points. But it appeared intended to drive home to the hard-liners in the Iranian leadership that the elements now under negotiation offered Iran a way to sign a deal and still be left with a small nuclear enrichment capability. Those elements include an informal agreement with Russia to convert Iran’s low-enriched uranium into reactor fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial nuclear reactor

But Ayatollah Khamenei has not backed away from his demand that in seven years or so Iran would begin a tenfold increase in its nuclear enrichment capability. That would reduce its “breakout time,” the time required to make one bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium, to weeks.

Iran has lived up to all of the provisions of a temporary agreement with the West it signed a year ago. But a report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday confirmed that it has thwarted inspectors seeking information about suspected experiments and designs that would point to a military use of its nuclear program.

The report indicated that Iran is producing low-enriched uranium steadily but slowly. Its current stocks of reactor-grade fuel, if converted into highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium, would be enough to produce more than a half-dozen weapons. It is unclear how much of that fuel will be shipped to Russia if the current negotiations are successful….

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Turkey wants Assad and some Kurds gone MORE than it cares about ISIS….

The media spotlight on the battle for Kobani, Iraq is highlighting a problem on President Obama’s war on terrorism….

The town which sits on the Turkish border is under a sustained attack by ISIS forces who are keenly aware that Turkey isn’t in any hurry to help the Kurds trying to hold the town….

The same sentiment is shared by other’s in Iraq and Syria…..

The ‘others’ would rather fight against the regime of the President of Syria that fight ISIS…..

And THAT is a problem for the President’s pledge to NOT use American troops in the direct fight against ISIS…The the Islamic State KNOWS this….

“There’s growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border,” a senior administration official said. “After all the fulminating about Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe, they’re inventing reasons not to act to avoid another catastrophe.

“This isn’t how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone’s throw from their border,” said the official, who spoke anonymously to avoid publicly criticizing an ally.

Secretary of State John Kerry has had multiple phone calls in the last 72 hours with Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, and foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to try to resolve the border crisis, American officials said.

For Mr. Obama, a split with Turkey would jeopardize his efforts to hold together a coalition of Sunni Muslim countries to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. While Turkey is not the only country that might put the ouster of Mr. Assad ahead of defeating the radical Sunnis of the Islamic State, the White House has strongly argued that the immediate threat is from the militants.

But if Turkey remains a holdout, it could cause other fissures in the coalition. It is not only a NATO ally but the main transit route for foreigners seeking to enlist in the ranks of the Islamic State.

Ultimately, American officials said, the Islamic State cannot be pushed back without ground troops that are drawn from the ranks of the Syrian opposition. But until those troops are trained, equipped and put in the field, something that will take some time, officials said, Turkey can play a vital role.

Analysts say the Kurds of Kobani are being held hostage as Mr. Erdogan seeks to wrest concessions not only from Washington but also from Kurdish leaders, his longtime domestic foes.

The aim, said Soner Cagaptay, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is to weaken Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., in peace talks with the Turkish government.

Turkey also wants the Kurdish fighters to denounce Mr. Assad and openly join the Syrian insurgents fighting him. But the fighters and local political leaders accepted control of Kurdish areas when Mr. Assad’s forces withdrew earlier in the Syrian war, and have focused more on self-rule and protecting their territory than on fighting the government. In some places they have fought alongside government troops.

The impasse leaves Kobani isolated…..

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A call for Vietnam to join the US against China….

Who would think that almost 50 years after the US and Vietnam fought, that the country would have to consider seeking the help of America?

Actually….Looking at other countries that American has fought?

It’s a natural….

Japan, Korea and Germany are some of America strongest political and economic partners…..

Ho’s [ Ho Chi Minh ] sympathies with the United States and its platform of self-determination for all peoples went as far back as the Paris Peace Conference after World War I. Beginning in World War II, the Americans were the only foreign army to fight by Ho’s side against fascism in Indochina; the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) helped to train and set up the first Vietnamese-American guerrilla unit at the end of 1944.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
It wasn’t a coincidence that Ho’s inaugural address, when he declared the creation of an independent Vietnam in September 1945, referred to America’s Declaration of Independence. He saw the noble values of democracy, freedom, equality and justice as the most important guiding principles for Vietnam.

In a series of eight letters and telegrams to President Harry S. Truman, and three to Secretary of State James F. Byrnes in 1945-46, Ho denounced French colonialism and clearly stated “our goal is full independence and full cooperation with the United States” and expressed the Vietnamese people’s admiration for “the American people whose fine stand for the noble ideals of international Justice and Humanity, and whose modern technical achievements have so strongly appealed to them.”

Regrettably, most of his letters were ignored. History is littered with many such missed opportunities. In this case, there were disastrous consequences.

When young Americans aimed their weapons at Vietnamese in a little country on the other side of the Pacific, they did it in the belief that it was their duty to stop the “red wave.” On the Vietnamese side, young men and women sacrificed their lives fearlessly on the Ho Chi Minh Trail with guns and tanks provided by the Soviet Union and China — our so-called dear socialist brothers. But tragedies usually begin with misguided ideology and illusions of friendship. A peace treaty with the Soviet Union, signed in 1978, did little to help Vietnam during its border war in 1979 with China.

The fundamental issue facing Vietnam today is to choose the right strategic partners. Japan, and to a lesser extent South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and other smaller Asian nations offer good case studies. American atomic bombs devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but postwar Japan still chose the United States as its key ally and economic partner and adopted core American values as its guiding principles……

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Russia worries about its Economic Future…..

While the world focuses on Russia and the Ukraine squaring off in the media….A more serious discussion is going on…..

Russia has economic problems….

It economy is beginning to recede , while it trades with Europe (which recovering from its recession)  they have been sitting on their hands with the American’s trying to get sanctions, and several in the EU having second thoughts….

Russia just signed a big oil deal with China…But that won’t get them money for a few years….

The old Soviet Satellite countries are broke also….

Russian President Putin may have made himself good domestic poll numbers from the flexing on the East Ukraine….But even he has to be worried about the financial stability of his country….

President Obama has made a point and gotten attention through the use of ‘sort power’ on the economic front….

A panel at an annual economic forum here was deeply divided over the direction of the Russian economy. The isolationists in the group favored relying on state banks for its financing needs. Others called for Russia to deepen its ties with China, while a different contingent said global trade and commerce remain critical.

A question projected on a wall loomed large in the debate: “What is to be done?”

On the verge of recession, Russia stands at a critical crossroads.

President Vladimir V. Putin just struck a major gas deal with China, but the first profits will not flow for years. European and American financing is drying up while the crisis in Ukraine unfolds, and Russia’s own businesses and wealthy individuals are sending money abroad. With oil prices flat and the flight of capital from Russia, the International Monetary Fund projects that Russia’s economy will grow a meager 0.2 percent this year.

Most years, Russian officials use the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, held in the country’s second largest city, to woo foreign investment, with the city’s eerily beautiful period of white nights, or around the clock sunshine, acting as a selling point for delegates. The event usually attracts the global business elite from a variety of industries: energy, finance, manufacturing, media and aerospace.

This year is different. The Obama administration dissuaded many chief executives of American companies like PepsiCo, Alcoa and ConocoPhillips from attending. Even many German chief executives stayed home, in spite of Germany’s extensive trade ties to Russia. Olaf Koch, director of the hypermarket chain Metro, was the only major head of a German company to attend, saying he felt responsible for the well-being of Metro’s 22,000 employees in Russia.

Instead, the meeting was largely dominated by officials, policy wonks and executives from Russia, as well as Chinese investors.

Organizers put a brave light on the snubs. About 6,500 people attended, including 609 foreign and Russian chief executives, organizers said. Robert Dudley, the American head of British energy giant BP, planned to be there.

The focus at the event has shifted, too. In the past, Russia has been trumpeted as a resource-rich country with strong potential. Discussion turned on the subtleties of stimulus policies, or whether emerging markets should have more of a voice in global economic decision-making. This year, the debate centered on whether Russia even needs Western finance, hinting at the return of a heavily state-dominated economic system….

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China is closing in fast on becoming the World’s Largest Economy?

…from Bloomberg….

China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy, while India has vaulted into third place, ahead of Japan, using calculations that take exchange rates into account.

China’s economy was 87 percent of the size of that of the U.S. in 2011, assessed according to so-called purchasing power parity, the International Comparison Program said in a statement in Washington yesterday. The program, which involves organizations including the World Bank and United Nations, had put the figure at 43 percent in 2005.

Changes in methodology contributed to the speed of China’s rise and India jumping to third-biggest in 2011 from 10th in 2005. Purchasing power parity seeks to compare how far money goes in each country. Using market rates, U.S. gross domestic product was $16.2 trillion in 2012, compared with China’s $8.2 trillion…..

Source….

Note….

CNN does NOT agree that China will SURPASS the American Economy anytime soon….

As a matter of fact the Chinese economy is faltering now while the American economy crawls ahead….

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The Ukraine troops take back airport from pro-Russian protestors in Eastern Ukraine…

Breaking…..

<strong>Ukraine Military Is Said to Clash With Pro-Russia Militants in East</strong>

The Ukrainian military stormed an airport 25 miles north of this eastern city on Tuesday, beginning what the president called a military operation to confront pro-Russian militants in the eastern part of the country.

A column of armored personnel carriers flying the Ukrainian flag entered the airport late in the afternoon, local reporters there said. The convoy was met by a crowd of pro-Russian militants that the soldiers tried to push back by firing in the air, they said. The Ukrainian soldiers quickly took control of the facility, while the commander sought to persuade the militants to leave, they said, describing the situation as more of a “mob scene” than a gunfight…..

“On Tuesday morning, in the north of Donetsk region, an antiterrorist operation began,” the Ukrainian speaker of Parliament and acting president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, told Parliament in the capital, Kiev. “It will be carried out in stages, and responsibly and in a balanced manner. The goal is the defense of citizens of Ukraine.”

Mr. Turchynov, who has asserted in recent days that Russian soldiers have joined the Ukrainian militants who have seized police stations and the entire town of Slovyansk, said the country was confronting a “colossal danger” but offered the assurance that “there will be no civil war.”

The appearance of the Ukrainian Army in the east of the country and the looming threat of war that it carried sent the Russian stock market down sharply on Tuesday morning. The Russian prime minister, Dmitri A. Medvedev, warned of the risk of bloodshed in Ukraine’s eastern provinces.

The Ukrainian troops were not moving by early afternoon on Tuesday. Ahead of them in Slovyansk, scores of armed men maintained their hold on the police and domestic security service building and the City Hall. They have barricaded the roads and, locals say, placed snipers on roofs.

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Note…

What will the Russian’s do?

What will NATO, The Europeans and American Do if the Russian’s step in?

What will everyone else with a promise from the three above do if they DO NOT Do anything?

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The East China Sea could become a flashpoint…

The escalating situation between China and everybody else over the East China Sea area could become THE problem even the Middle East isn’t….

That is because over there….We’re talking about established militaries and treaties that require the United States to get involved even if one of the parties does Hundreds  of BILLIONS of dollars in trade every year…

Suddenly, naval assets and air patrols are the currency of a shadow conflict between Washington and Beijing that the Obama administration increasingly fears could escalate and that American officials have said could derail their complex plan to manageChina’s rise without overtly trying to contain it. As in the Cold War, the immediate territorial dispute seems to be an excuse for a far larger question of who will exercise influence over a vast region.

The result is that, as the Chinese grow more determined to assert their territorial claims over a string of islands once important mainly to fishermen, America’s allies are also pouring military assets into the region — potentially escalating the once obscure dispute into a broader test of power in the Pacific.

Now a maritime outpost that had modest strategic significance is taking on enormous symbolic import. South Korea, which has broader concerns about China’s regional power, is building a new naval base for 20 warships, including submarines, arguing that it has to protect vital shipping lanes in the East China Sea for its exports — including many electronics headed to China.

The Japanese, after largely depending on American bases on Okinawa to back up their own limited patrols in the area, plan to build a new army base by 2016 on a small, inhabited island near the disputed islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

The Japanese are also planning to deploy more F-15s and radar planes to Okinawa and a new helicopter carrier, and, for the first time, have considered buying unarmed American drones to patrol the area, part of a three-year-long shift in military strategy to focus on their southern islands and on China. That is part of a fundamental change in the national mind-set toward a Japan that is more willing and able to defend itself than anytime since World War II, in part because of doubts about America’s own commitment to the region.

As Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. left on Sunday for a trip that will take him to the capitals of all three major contestants — Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing — the administration’s public message is that all sides need to cool down and keep nationalistic talk from making a tense situation worse……

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Iran doesn’t want to stop it’s enrichment efforts….

It’s been like that from the jump…..

While the media and the Diplomats got all excited in the last few days over a Iranian stop in its nuclear program for a letup in sanctions, the same sticking point is there….

Iran want to continue doing it’s enrichment ….

It seems that Americans are willing to get half a loaf on this with reporst that Obama is secretly releasing access to some money for the Iranians as a show of good faith in exchangfe for just talks….

The French it’s reported have NOT been as accommodating to trhe Iranians….

Somebody has to not let Obama ‘give away the store ‘ as he tends to do back home with Congress. when doing deals…

Iran’s refusal to suspend work on a plutonium-producing reactor and downgrade its stockpile of higher-enriched uranium were standing in the way of an interim agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for easing of sanctions, France’s foreign minister said Saturday.

A Western diplomat in Geneva for the talks told The Associated Press that the French were holding out for conditions on the Iranians tougher than those agreed to by the U.S. and France’s other negotiating partners, raising doubts a final deal could be struck Saturday.

The French position was confirmed by another Western diplomat. Both gave no specifics and demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the diplomatic maneuvering.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius remarks to France-Inter radio were the first to provide some specifics on the obstacles at the Geneva talks, now in their third day. He spoke by telephone from Geneva, where he, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and counterparts from Britain, and Germany negotiating with Iran consulted on how to resolve the obstacles at the talks.

Fabius mentioned differences over Iran’s Arak reactor southeast of Tehran, which could produce enough plutonium for several nuclear weapons a year once it goes online….

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President Obama Syria Update 9/3/13….He gets the House leadership’s backing…He’ll get an Ok from Congress…

Ok….

I was wrong….

I did NOT think President Obama would get a ‘Consent’ vote on military Action in Syria….

I Now think he will…..

I KNOW he’ll get the Senate’s majority….

But in last few minutes I have learned that Both Speaker of the House Boehner and House Majority Leader Cantor, Both establishment Republican’s WILL back the President….Along with House Majority Leader Pelosi  who has indicated she’s supporing the President….

photo…Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

President Obama met with members of Congress on Tuesday, including Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Nancy Pelosi.

I’m gonna say that they….Unlike David cameron can count and have enough of their memebers on board that they can come out backing the President on this and not be out onba limb like the President was….

President Obama seems have have turned a political mistake into a plus here….

The French now will wait for the US Congress to give a Obama the Green light…..

I wonder if the Brit’s will reconsider even as Cameron says no right now…..

House Speaker Backs Obama’s Call for Strike Against Syria

Speaker John A. Boehner said on Tuesday he would “support the president’s call to action” in Syria after meeting with President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., giving the president a crucial ally in the quest for votes in the House…..

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LEADER CANTOR STATEMENT ON SYRIA AND REGIONAL CONFLICT

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor today released the following statement on Syria and the regional conflict following his meeting with President Obama at the White House:

“I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria. While the authorizing language will likely change, the underlying reality will not. America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States….

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France to await US Congress vote before action on Syria

French President Francois Hollande says he’s waiting for a decision from the US Congress on possible military action in Syria and insists France won’t strike against Bashar Assad’s regime alone.

The French leader and President Barack Obama have been the two most outspoken world leaders on the need to respond to a suspected chemical weapons attack Aug. 21 near Damascus that killed hundreds of people….

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UK ‘to lead world’ on aid for Syrian refugees

The UK will “lead the world” in getting humanitarian aid to refugees in Syria, David Cameron has vowed.

The prime minister repeated his assurance that there will not be another vote in Parliament on military action after MPs rejected it last week.

But he said the Commons defeat does not mean he can “do nothing” to help those affected by the two-year civil war.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said MPs should reconsider military action if the US opts to launch strikes.

But Mr Cameron appeared to rule out such an option, saying: “I think Parliament spoke very clearly and it’s important to respect the view of Parliament, so I am not planning to return to Parliament to ask again about British military action.”

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The effort to against Islamist Terror groups in Africa….

Fresh from their efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan….The NATO countries and others along with America are starting a effort to bolster up Africa countries against militants that have the Middle East for more fertile grounds in the ‘Dark Continent’….

It is one of the poorest regions on the planet, and it is still grappling with an exodus of fighters and weapons from Libya after the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government; the rise of Al Qaeda’s regional arm and affiliated groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria; and the attacks on a sprawling desert gas plant here in Algeria in January, as well as two suicide strikes in neighboring Niger last month.

In January and February, the French chased out Islamists allied with Al Qaeda who had taken over the northern half of Mali last year, helping clear the path for elections there next month. But senior counterterrorism officials now fret that the campaign scattered a hodgepodge of remaining fighters to a new sanctuary and staging area in southern Libya, where the government in Tripoli has no control.

“We all are really concerned by the growing threat,” said Mohamed Kamel Rezag Bara, a special adviser to Algeria’s president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The two-day meeting here in this seaside city was organized by the Global Counterterrorism Forum, an organization of 29 countries and the European Union created two years ago with the State Department’s support to act as a clearinghouse of ideas and actions for civilian counterterrorism specialists.

One of the forum’s five areas of focus is the Sahel, with wealthier Western, Middle Eastern and Asian nations partnering with some of the continent’s poorest countries to address a range of issues.

In this week’s closed meetings, officials discussed border surveillance, enhanced intelligence and police cooperation, the rule of law, arms trafficking and undercutting terrorists’ financial networks, according to a conference agenda and interviews with more than a dozen participants.

“What’s encouraging is that the regional countries here recognize what kind of assistance they need and are able to define that,” said Michele Coduri, chief of the Swiss Foreign Ministry’s international security section. “That’s not always been the case.”

Terrorism experts estimate that about half of the $120 million paid in ransoms to terrorist groups worldwide since 2004 have gone to Al Qaeda’s branch here and affiliated groups, providing a steady stream of funds to pay fighters, buy increasingly sophisticated weaponry and underwrite Qaeda operatives elsewhere.

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Britain and Frnace allege Syria HAS used chemical weapons….

Uh, OH…..

If this IS true….

It’s gonna put President Obama in a bit of a box….

The American President has said out-loud that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government WOULD be a ‘game changer’…..

Did he mean it?

The European accounts are in part aimed at countering accusations by the Syrian government that opposition forces had fired chemical weapons during fighting in the town of Khan al-Asal near Aleppo on March 19, killing 26 people, including Syrian troops.

European diplomats acknowledge that Syrian forces may have been exposed to chemical agents during the attack, but they say it was a “friendly fire” incident in which the troops were hit when a government shell missed its opposition target.

The Syrian government has seized on the incident to make its case that opposition forces have introduced chemical weapons into the civil war.

A day after the alleged attack, Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, invited the world body to send an “impartial” technical team to the country confirm the opposition’s use of chemical weapons. Russia strongly endorsed the Syrian request.

The U.N. chief agreed to establish a fact-finding team, but the effort has since been bogged down over a dispute about the scope of the investigation, with Russia backing the Syrian request for a limited probe into the Aleppo incident, and key Western powers, including Britain, France and the United States, proposing a broader investigation that examines the possible use of chemical weapons throughout Syria.

U.N. inspectors have not yet been permitted into the country.

President Obama has warned that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “game changer” for the United States…..

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Michelle Obama: “For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I’m Really Proud of My Country”

A DSD Highlight…..

By Jaketapper

Feb 18, 2008 8:24pm

Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin today, would-be First Lady Michelle Obama said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

Then in Madison, she said, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”

(Watch the video of this second comment HERE.)

Some conservatives out there (HERE for instance) seem to find Mrs. Obama’s quote offensive, wondering why a 44 year old woman never felt proud before today.

Asked for a response to the remark, Obama campaign spox Bill Burton said, “Of course Michelle is proud of her country, which is why she and Barack talk constantly about how their story wouldn’t be possible in any other nation on Earth. What she meant is that she’s really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who’ve never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grassroots movement for change.”

What do you think?

– jt

(Note: After I found even more video of her comments, I added an extra sentence and a link to a longer video excerpt.)

UPDATE: After a confusing interlude where the Obama campaign insisted she’d only made the Madison remark, not the Milwaukee one, this blog post has been corrected.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2008/02/michelle-obam-1-2/

It’s of course not Mrs Obama’s remarks themselves which contrasts with Rush Limbaugh’s (that he was for the first time ashamed, rather than proud, of his country), but rather the reactions.

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An Analysis of the Israeli problem with Iran’s bomb aspirations…..

Israeli Prime Minister Netyahu at the UN in Sept. 2012 displaying a diagram of the Iranian Nuclear Program progress…..photo…veteranstoday.com

A factual assessment of the issue of what to do about Iran trying to acquire a nuclear bomb capability….The piece describes the Israeli internal differences in the time table for action on the Iranian’s…The need to stop butting heads with the Obama administration….Israel’s ability to handle an Iranian attack and the issue of the other Middle East countries…The piece leaves a solution up in the air…..

It WILL have to be addressed some time in the middle of 2013 the author reasons….

Israeli Prime Ministers walk back recently on his UN speech about attacking Iran in favor of sanctions seems to be a acknowledgement of the pieces time table…..

The problem will NOT go away…..

The US and Israel are currently holding join anti Misssle excesizes in Israeli as I do this piece….

Finally….

President Obama has pledged in this Monday’s debate that ‘Iran Cannot obtain a nuclear bomb’ and ‘Israel is a ally of the US who the US WOULD feel duty bound to help should it be attacked….”

…..from Aviation Week……

October 22, 2012

Bill Sweetman Washington and David Eshel Tel Aviv

“We don’t think nuclear weapons are useful,” remarked John Hamre, a former U.S. deputy defense secretary, at a symposium in Omaha, Neb., in summer 2009. “We think they are dangerous. But most countries think they are useful.”

That’s an important statement to remember as the face-off continues in the Middle East between a nation that everyone knows has nuclear weapons, but does not admit it, and a nation that claims to not be developing nuclear weapons but acts as if it is. To say that Israel and Iran have their differences is a monumental understatement, but the actions of both are similar in their lack of transparency and the mixed and contradictory signals.

To some extent, these signals spring from real disagreements. In Israel, there are two opposing camps. One is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who hold that Israel must bomb Iran’s nuclear sites in the near future. The other follows former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, director of the Israel Security Agency from 2005-11, who make the case that Israel absolutely should not bomb Iran, or at least not before the U.S. presidential election next month.

Between these camps, two polarized schools of thought emerge. The mainstream of government leaders—for the most part politically to the right—maintain that a nuclear bomb in the hands of a radical religious regime like Shiite Iran—which openly says Israel must be wiped off the map—poses an existential threat to Israel’s national security. Therefore, if bombing Iran could indeed prevent that country’s obtaining a nuclear capability, it is the correct strategic move.

In the government’s view, the persistent claim that an attack on Iran will cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames is incorrect, because Israel’s self-defense capabilities can keep Iran at bay. Israel’s leaders assure their people that whoever portrays what transpires the day after the strike as a war that will cost the lives of tens of thousands of Israelis is overstating the threat. There are those who expect that the Sunni Arab world will not be sorry to see such a strike, and that the Iranian response will be measured, calculated and absorbable.

Retired air force general and former chief of military intelligence Amos Yadlin is more critical in his outlook.

In his view, the decisive year to act is not 2012 but 2013, maybe even early 2014….

More….

Note…

It is this Dog’s opionon that the US and Israel should use ANY means to NOT use stratigic milkitary means to put Irans’ nuclear progam back from where it will be in 2013….But I am not niave enoufgh to discount a Israel led and US supported military strike (NOT Invasion to criple the Iranian Nuclear Bomb program) ….It MAY j

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Diplomacy in Cannes….Talk and Politics…

 BY  

Cable from France:

Sarkobama

Like it’s the late 1770’s.

Sarkozy:

You are President Obama, who means hope for the entire world,” Sarkozy said in French. “You have many friends here.”

Obama:

“I understand clearly the affection with which you’ve once again described our alliance and the friendship between our peoples. So, thank you, Nicolas, my partner, mon ami.”

Full story….

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