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IMG_0440Lily Flowered Tulip, 'Ballerina', Darwin Hybrid Tulip 'Orange Queen'. Longwood Gardens.  
May, 2013.  Photo by: joanneleon



Steely dan - Any major dude will tell you



News & Opinion


What would you like to bet that this will not change the drumbeat for U.S. air strikes, more weapons and training for rebels, more boots on the ground (yes we have them, despite the misleading statements by our government), all in the name of toppling yet another government, whether the majority of people in Syria want it or not.  They just want the killing to stop and want to return to some semblance of normalcy.  Who has an incentive to use chemical weapons? The Syrian government who knows it will bring intervention by force, or the people who want intervention and larger, more powerful weapons to be brought in, to speed up the overthrow of the government?

U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator

(Reuters) - U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.

The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.

"Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated," Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.

"This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities," she added, speaking in Italian.

Israeli airstrikes may have exposed Syrian flaw, U.S. officials say

WASHINGTON — Recent Israeli strikes inside Syria may have exposed weaknesses in the regime’s air defenses and could embolden the U.S. and its allies to take more steps to aid rebels fighting the regime there, said lawmakers on Sunday.

“The Russian-supplied air defense systems are not as good as said,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." Leahy, who heads the appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, said the Israeli defense forces were using American-made F-16 Fighting Falcon jets to launch the missiles against Syrian targets.

“Keep in mind the Israelis are using weapons supplied by us,” Leahy said. “They have enormous prowess with those weapons.”

Government-controlled media in Syria reported that Israel launched a strike near Damascus early Sunday, apparently marking the third such attack this year.

Syria Blames Israel for Fiery Attack in Damascus

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Syrian government publicly condemned Israel for a powerful air assault on military targets near Damascus early Sunday, saying it “opened the door to all possibilities,” as fear spread throughout the region that the country’s civil war could expand beyond its borders.

The attack, which sent brightly lighted columns of smoke and ash high into the night sky above the Syrian capital, struck several critical military facilities in some of the country’s most tightly secured and strategic areas, killing dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace, a high-ranking Syrian military official said in an interview.
[...]
One senior Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he did not think that Israel was entering a war with Syria and suggested that Syria was unlikely to respond. Mr. Assad “has his own problems,” the official noted. “He doesn’t need Israel in the mess.”

In Washington, the reported Israeli attacks stoked debate about whether American-led airstrikes were the logical next step to cripple the ability of the Syrian president to counter the rebel forces or use chemical weapons. That was already being discussed in secret by the United States, Britain and France in the days leading to the Israeli strikes, according to American and foreign officials involved in the discussions, with a model being the opening days of the attacks on Libya that ultimately drove Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from power.
[...]
The airstrikes shocked residents of Damascus, a relative bubble of security, literally shaking some out of bed. It was a display of firepower far greater than any seen near the capital in two years of war.

Moon of Alabama.
The Angry Arabs Will No Longer Fight Against Syria

It took As'ad AbuKhalil, the Angry Arab, two years to come to his senses and to acknowledge his errors:

This was never a “revolution”. I among other leftists in Lebanon signed a petition early on after the events in Deraa in which we denounced the regime and mocked and dismissed its narrative of armed groups roaming the country and shooting at people. I now figure that I was dead wrong: I do believe that armed groups were pre-prepared and armed to strike when orders (from Israel and GCC countries) arrive. They had a mission and it had nothing to do with the cause of liberation of Syria from a tyrannical regime.
It was quite obvious that the insurgency in Syria was preplanned and manage from professional outside forces. Why did it take so long to recognize that?



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