Category Archives: WMD

Trump Facing the Ghosts of Iraq and Colin Powell: Seeking Another Slam Dunk in the Persian Gulf from Pompeo…….

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“US intelligence officials are under pressure from the White House to produce a justification to declare Iran in violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement, in an echo of the politicisation of intelligence that led up to the Iraq invasion, according to former officials and analysts. The collapse of the 2015 deal between Tehran, the US and five other countries – by which Iran has significantly curbed its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief – would trigger a new crisis over nuclear proliferation at a time when the US is in a tense standoff with North Korea. Intelligence analysts, chastened by the experience of the 2003 Iraq war, launched by the Bush administration on the basis of phoney evidence of weapons of mass destruction, are said to be resisting the pressure to come up with evidence of Iranian violations……….”
The Guardian

I had thought nobody would want to be another Colin Powell, an honorable military general who was essentially tricked by the Neocons into lying to the United Nations Security Council about Iraq’s WMD before the 2003 war.

But I may have been wrong: UN Ambassador Nikki Haley seems willing to go to any length to make a phony point about Iran’s nuclear program, to satisfy the boss. But then she was a South Carolina politician until just six months ago, which means she is used to anything goes. But unfortunately for the stubborn Neocons and warmongers Haley does not have the trust and credibility of a Colin Powell, a respected general tested by the fires of war. She is becoming more and more a female Trump.

There is another missing tool for the Neocon warmongers who yearn for another military brawl in the Persian Gulf. Nobody is willing to provide the “Slam Dunk” seal of approval Donald Trump will need to create another North Korean-style problem on the Persian Gulf. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been eerily and professional correctly silent on this issue. Unlike the CIA heads of the past 25 years who eagerly sought TV cameras and microphones.

My guess is that the US Intelligence professionals are not willing to be used as unprofessional tools of the politicians anymore. Not even as tools of of a loud-mouthed leader, not even the loudest American mouth of the past hundred plus years.


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Logical Thinking of Kim Jong Un: Heeding the Lessons of Iraq, Libya, and Iran……..

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In the beginning…..
Donald Trump ignored North Korea and its petulant young dictator. Mr. Trump has been focusing on his “other” foreign policy issues. In fact up to recently he has been taking a long victory lap celebrating his own alleged self-styled loot of billions of Saudi oil money during his coronation by desperate Arab and Muslim princes and potentates in Riyadh last May. All he had to do was tell them that he does not care about human rights and that Iran exports terrorism (but apparently not the nice Wahhabi type of terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda and AQAP and Nusra).

Trump has also been focusing on the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), since before the election. Trump of course does not know much about it, that it is a good deal for all sides according to international consensus (with the exception of the ruling princes of Saudi Arabia, the Empire of Bahrain, Israel, and the paid-for US Congress). Apparently the one draw-back of the Iran deal for Trump, the Republican Party, (and hawkish Democrats) is that it is a signature achievement of President Barack Obama. So Mr. Trump had promised to revisit the deal, perhaps to “withdraw” the USA from it. His first National Security Chief Mike Flynn, a Turkish agent and possibly a Russian agent as well, threatened more serious action against Iran. Before Trump was forced to fire him.

Among the Iranians themselves there are many who are also disappointed by how the nuclear deal has turned out. And by the ratcheted up threats from Washington and the nearly monthly new sanctions being voted by the US Knesset Congress and Senate. They also remember what happened in Iraq and Libya.

Back to Kim Jong Un: he could not be denied his share of American attention for long. He is that kind of dictator. Not long after Trump was inaugurated Kim started tossing around warhead-capable medium-range and long-range missiles. He or his henchmen also murdered a young American student-captive in Pyongyang.
And one more thing that can be unforgivable from my point of view: he gave Dennis Rodman another opportunity to be seen on network news.

Kim Jong Un also certainly well remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  Apparently Saddam had given up his WMD, but Iraq was invaded and he was overthrown anyway.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi gave up his WMD and paid billions in “compensation” to Western citizens and corporations. He was attacked and overthrown by NATO. He and one of his sons were allowed to be tortured and killed by some rebels. Now Libya is a failed and divided state.

Kim must have started thinking:

  • Gaddafi (of Libya) gave up WMD. He also gave up billions of dollars to Western countries and to victims of the Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in 1988. But what did he get? His new friends in NATO overthrew him then got him killed as soon as they got a chance. He and one of his sons were tortured and murdered by possibly the same people who later murdered four American diplomats in Benghazi. His country is now a failed state beset by Islamic Fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect and by tribal infighting.
  • Iran heeded world power demands and reduced its nuclear program- and according to IAEA and world intelligence services it is abiding by the JCPOA Nuclear Deal. And Iran now is being seriously threatened by Donald Trump who is also hopelessly trying to form a futile alliance of hapless Arab and Muslim despots and potentates against it. These are mostly the countries whose citizens have actually committed terrorism in the Middle East and in the West. And both houses of the US Congress keep piling up sanctions against Iran, Kim knows….

If I were Kim, I would possibly perhaps per chance think that it is not just the WMD and nuclear stuff that the West, and the US government, has a beef with. Maybe it goes beyond that. If Iraq and Libya were attacked after they gave up their WMD, and if Iran is being threatened after it reduced its nuclear capability……
You get the drift: Kim will think that as soon as he gives up his nuclear and missile program, he might as well give up the ghost….

And it is hard to blame him for thinking along these lines, if you think about it (or you can start reading this post from the beginning)……..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Who to Believe on Future Syrian WMD Allegations: the Trump White House or Bashar Al Assad?…….

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“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing a chemical weapons attack that would result in the “mass murder” of civilians, the White House said Monday, warning the regime would pay a “heavy price” if it goes ahead…….. “The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement. “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.” Assad, backed by his ally Russia, has strongly denied the allegation that his forces used chemical weapons against the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun, describing it as a “100 percent fabrication”……..”


It is not a theory anymore: it is a fact. Whenever the Syrian Jihadist rebels are losing some serious ground someone, either the United States government (or occasionally British or French sources), come up with “evidence” that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons (WMD). All based on”reliable” sources on the ground in Syria: meaning Syrian Jihadi rebel sources. Possibly all of it corroborated by by reliable “allied” intelligence sources in some Persian Gulf kingdom, and maybe some Western reporter in Istanbul or Riyadh or even Beirut.

Could be true, the reports are accompanied with photos and video clips, which regime supporters claim are staged or doctored. But anything can happen in the bloody killing fields of Syria. Apparently somebody has been repeatedly playing with chemical weapons in (or over) some of the besieged Jihadi-held parts of Syria. This has been the pattern for several years, a pattern that started in recent years, as soon as the rebels began to lose ground to the Assad regime and its allies. Is the limited, alleged small-scale use of chemicals really helping the Assad regime that much? I doubt that it is worth the trouble nowadays, so I have doubts about it. It has now become like a matter of determining which came first: the chicken of the egg?

Usually the accusations (and retaliation) come after the alleged fact. This time the Trump White House claims that Assad is “thinking” or “planning” to use chemical weapons. Normally the losing side in a war is tempted to use chemical weapons, as Saddam Hussein’s Baathists used Western-supplied WMD against the Iranian forces and against Kurdish civilians during the 1980s. The winning side in a war rarely uses WMD, it has not happened since 1945.

Now Mr. Trump is getting involved deeper into a predictable Syrian quagmire, just as he is getting deeper into the certain Yemeni quagmire. Possibly both for a price to be paid by one or two oil potentates. And he is setting the stage to get the American media that he despises on his side.
His White House now claims they have foresight, that some bird must have told them Assad will use WMD soon. Perhaps along the eastern border with Iraq? Or maybe at one of the last strongholds of the Jihadis inside Syria. The New York Times reports that the new White House claim took US military leaders by surprise. National intelligence and even White House National Security officials refused to comment on the surprising and unprecedented statement by Sean Spicer. UN ambassador Nikki Haley was also reported yesterday to have threatened to hold Iran responsible if Assad uses chemical weapons, although it is not clear why she did not threaten Russia as well. (Hint: Russia, like North Korea, has nuclear weapons).

The question now is: how credible are any new allegations by the Trump White House these days? Especially about matters of war and peace, but not just those? A sign of the times, no? Sad….


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

From Iraq to Syria to Iran: the Quest for a Smoking Gun or a Mushroom Cloud or a Slam Dunk or……..

      


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“A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed. A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government…………..”

Could this be a case of déjà vu all over again (Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc)?Could we be revisiting the same story again this year or next in Iran? You betcha it could and we could.

It is true that this does not prove anyone’s innocence or guilt in the Sarin gas attacks. Yet the suspicion of the whole Sarin claim was there from the outset, at least as far as I am concerned. Even some UN WMD official suggested earlier that the rebels may have used Sarin, but then she went silent. The story and video clips were broadcast initially in Saudi semi-official Alarabiya network, in both cases of reported gas use. Western media picked it up quickly and it became “the story” of the time. The U.S. Congress took it from there.
 

I have expressed doubt from the beginning, and not only because I automatically suspect almost anything that is publicized by Saudi media (I do, I also suspect many things that are published in official Iranian media). Several things did not smell right, were neither halal nor kosher, including the timing: these claims (and revelations) always cam right after the Syrian opposition had suffered big military defeats or were about to be ejected from strategic positions (Qusayr, etc). It also did not make sense to use WMD to kill a few dozen civilians, when bombing and bullets had done the same grizzly “job” in the past without an international outcry and outrage. But all this is not new: I and others have pointed this out during the past year.

No wonder the Obama administration for long insisted on only saying that “Sarin was used in Syria“, without specifying the regime or the opposition as the user. That lasted until it came under pressure from congressional microphone-macho type (of both parties) and the Saudi princes and potentates.
This new report is not conclusive, yet neither were the other reports, apparently. But the long quest continues: for the Smoking Gun, the Mushroom Cloud, the Slam Dunk, the Lost Ark………


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Hersh on WMD of Choice: Syrian Sarin and French Haute Cuisine………..

      


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A Kenny G Holiday

“Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad…………..”

The story of Sarin use in at least two cases this year was broken through the semi-official Saudi Alarabiya network (a network that is owned and operated in Dubai by an in-law of the late King Fahd). These stories always came out at critical times for the Syrian opposition groups, usually after big defeats on the battlefield: for example one story broke out just after the regime victory as Qusayr. Saudi Alarabiya as usual broke the story through an interview with “activists” who supplied a video. Western media adopted the story with gusto: CNN practically declared its own war. The governments of the USA, Britain, and France jumped on the story, again. The French, always good at cooking food and occasionally cooking up evidence, quickly confirmed the use of Sarin. The French and British governments immediately implicated the Assad regime. The Obama administration seemed more doubtful and was relatively more honest: it often avoided pointing the finger at any one side, merely saying that “Sarin was used in Syria”.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Syrian Activists on WMD: If at First You do not Succeed………

      


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Syrian Activists and Saudi media on WMD: “If at First You don’t succeed, try again and……….

“Opposition activists again accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of using poison gas in Syria’s civil war on Thursday, and said victims had been discovered with swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth. The activists told Reuters two shells loaded with gas hit a rebel-held area in the town of Nabak, 68 km northeast of Damascus, on a major highway in the Qalamoun region. They reported seven casualties……….. They reported seven casualties. Separately, the Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union also accused Assad’s forces of using poison gas..………….”

After which Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Al-Yamama, leader of the Syrian opposition and putative future viceroy for Syria, will also declare refutable evidence of Syrian regime use of poisoned gas. The Islamic Heritage Revival Society, Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Saudi Religious Police, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, and the Ringling Brothers (and Barnum & Bailey) will also confirm the use of WMD in Syria. Alarabiya and Asharq Alawsat and Mad Magazine will now headline the gruesome incident. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich), head of the House Intelligence (this did not use to be an oxymoron) is considering a demand for action. The French and British governments will offer to confirm the use of poison gas.
 
Qalamoun is the site of an ongoing battle that will very likely lead to the ejection of the opposition groups from another strategic area. Remember, the claims of the use of WMD got louder and accelerated after regime forces defeated the opposition in Qusayr earlier this year.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Chemical Baskerville of Syria: WMD Experts Skeptical about U.S. Claim on Sarin……

      


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“Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny. “It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark,” said Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies. “It’s not just that we can’t prove a sarin attack, it’s that we’re not seeing what we would expect to see from a sarin attack.” Foremost among those missing items, Zanders said, are cellphone photos and videos of the attacks or the immediate aftermath……………..”

So where is the evidence? The WMD expert said: “It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark”. He was not talking about anybody in the U.S. Senate, a lot of barking there last week.
Anyway, almost everybody is skeptical about the WMD story, even the Syrian “activists” who probably manufactured and provided the evidence, even the French and British who knowingly pretended it was “evidence”. Even the democratically elected Saudi king and Qatari shaikh. Only a couple of U.S. senators and the compliant dumbed-down US media actually believe it was real.
As for me, I am not just skeptical, I know that they know that we all know that it was manufactured evidence.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com



How Clinton and Willful Europeans Got Obama into the Syrian War: the Lame Fool “Wuss” that Roared…….

      


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“What happens when you don’t intervene in Syria? Bill Clinton said that Obama risks looking like a ‘wuss,’ a ‘fool,’ and ‘lame’ by sitting on the sidelines………. “

Wednesday night Bill Clinton was reported in an interview to have opined that if Mr. Obama did not intervene in Syria, he would look like a “Wuss”, a “Fool”, and “Lame”. No doubt Bubba was taunting Obama, possibly having heard from Hillary and his own leftovers in the National Security team (female and possibly male). Possibly having heard from his pals and big contributors among Persian Gulf potentates.
Now what guy, including a US president, would not be stirred by these words (Wuss, Fool, and Lame)? So, next day Obama said that, yes, these funny French (and British) Sarin samples he had doubted for months are real. The Syrian regime has used Sarin: used a WMD several times and ended up killing more than 100 people. Not sure why he did not use bullets which are less controversial and cheaper than using Sarin several times to kill a mere 100+.
The mainstream US media were ready: they have been ready for months for two wars, Syria and Iran. Nay, the media have been ready for three wars, I forgot Lebanon. Just as they were ready for the liberation of Iraq (2003) and Panama (1989), and the Dominican Republic (1965), and Vietnam, all the way back to Spanish Cuba after the USS Maine was blown up.
As for the European part, I just add the following links to earlier posts:


WMD: How Qusayr and Syrian Activists and Willful European Leaders Revived the Doubtful Sarin Issue

A Grain of Salt: Cameron, Hollande, and the Free Syrian Salafi Army Have Sarin Evidence

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com



Did McCain Try to Hijack US Policy on Syria and the Middle East?……….

      


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Thursday we heard from the networks that the Obama administration has bought the French and British ‘discovery’ and now believes the Syrian forces had used Sarin, a form of WMD. No sooner was this news on the networks than they shifted to the Senate floor; that McCain and Graham were going to deliver the speeches that Obama or Jay Carney should have delivered. No doubt the networks were alerted by McCain and Graham, hoping to force Obama’s hand and to spin the news the way they prefer. Effectively they tried to hijack the administration’s foreign policy on Syria and the wider Middle East. Before the administration announced the news, the two senators declared it and detailed what policy the US government is going to follow and should follow.
The news was that the administration now believes that the Syrians used Sarin on “several occasions” and that between “100 to 150” people died. Nobody seems to have thought about this last fact: used “several time” and killed just over “100”. Now what kind of weapons of MASS destruction is used to kill only a handful of people each time? All that was lost in the noise all over the media and the social media. The social media are smarter, because average people can now opine and average people are smarter (on average) than the news-hungry media types. Most of the doubt over this new shift was expressed in the social media.


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Syria and Iraq: On Chemical Weapons and Cluster Bombs and Their Use when Necessary…………

         


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“Syria accuses rebels of using chemical weapons. Residents of an area that has been reportedly targetted with chemical weapons in Syria were said to be showing symptoms including breathing difficulties in an incident that could cross US “red lines” on intervention in the conflict. Britain said on Tuesday it was aware of media reports about a chemical weapons attack in Syria, adding that the use or proliferation of chemical weapons there would demand a serious response from the international community. Syria’s regime accused rebel fighters of firing a chemical weapon at a town…………………”

Cute. First the FSA gangs repeatedly accused the Assad regime of using chemical weapon, that was a few weeks ago. Even some schmuck at the American embassy in Turkey got into the act and confirmed that false report, as I recall. Now the regime is returning the favor and accuses the FSA gangs of using chemicals. I never believed either side on this, the politically motivated British response notwithstanding.
Nobody has used chemical weapons in the Middle East since the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein used them against Iraqi Kurds and against Iranian forces in the war. Nobody “important” objected at that time”: it was deemed necessary and maybe even democratic (small D). Now, as for cluster bombs, the next best thing…………

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com