Washington’s threat of an attack on Syria not only has prompted Iran to consider retaliatory action, but sources tell WND that the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah also would be unleashed. These sources who are close to the Lebanese group said that if the scale of a U.S. military strike shifts the balance of power on the ground in favor of the “terrorists” – meaning the Islamist militant foreign fighters in Syria – or intends to change the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, then “all hell will break loose.” Sources say that the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which is next door to Syria, has begun to evacuate non-essential personnel out of concern for a possible spill-over of the conflict in Syria should there be an attack. While Hezbollah looks upon itself as a resistance group, the United States, European Union and Israel regard it as a terrorist organization. Sources say that the Sunni opposition in Syria, along with its ally, the Islamist militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, also may use the attack to coordinate its own attacks on Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon due to the resistance group’s support for al-Assad. In recent months, there already have been two significant car bomb explosions in the Hezbollah stronghold of south Beirut. Recent intercepted messages suggest that Iran also plans an attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq if the U.S. launches a military strike on Syria, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, reportedly had a message intercepted that called on all Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups in Iraq to prepare for a forceful response to a U.S. strike on Syria. Yet, Iranian officials deny that Tehran was planning attacks in Iraq against U.S. interests.
Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for the Iranian United Nations mission, said the allegation, based on alleged intelligence reports, was only to “provoke Congress.” “We should remember that relying on U.S. intelligence reports from anonymous officials will repeat the tragedy of Iraq,” Miryousefi said. He was referring to the intelligence used by then-Secretary of Defense Colin Powell before the United Nations in 2003 making a case for U.S. action against Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction program. Following the U.S. invasion which occurred a month later, it was discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that the intelligence was a mix of deceptive communications among Iraqi officials to make the Iranians believe Iraq still had WMD to prevent future attacks. Iran and Iraq were embroiled in a major conflict from 1980-1988. Plans to unleash Hezbollah come as it continues to fight against the Syrian opposition, especially Islamist militant foreign fighters inside Syria. Sources believe that a U.S. airstrike inside Syria also could be aimed at Hezbollah, prompting its leadership to order its commanders to prepare for a U.S. attack, even if Congress doesn’t approve a resolution sought by President Barack Obama to undertake action against Syria’s chemical weapons delivery capabilities. However, the president as commander-in-chief can initiate an attack without congressional approval, under the War Powers Resolution of 1978, with certain reporting requirements.
There is some controversy among Obama’s national security advisers whether the president will act absent congressional approval. Some say he won’t act without Congress’ okay. At a news conference following the G20 meeting, however, the president suggested that such a discussion went beyond his intentions to undertake a “limited” military strike against Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. There also are reports out of the Pentagon that it has enlarged the original “limited” targeting that could be more widespread than previously planned. Sources believe it is meant to give the Syrian opposition, which has suffered numerous military defeats, more of a battlefield advantage with the objective of ousting al-Assad. In preparation for a much wider military campaign in Syria, sources say that many Hezbollah members have vanished from their Lebanese homes, turned off their cell phones to prevent intelligence agencies from monitoring their movements through electronic means and are heading into Syria to prepare to fight. If there were to be a U.S. attack on Syria, sources believe that Hezbollah would mount an attack on Israel from Syria as opposed to Lebanon. Because of Hezbollah’s worldwide outreach, the group has continuously warned that any attack on Syria would result in an attack not only on Israel but against the U.S. and its interests in the Middle East and North Africa.WND
If the United States takes part in a military strike on Syria, the Air Force will likely be using bombs designed specifically for the destruction of chemical and biological weapons. If successful, these weapons would “vaporize” stockpiles of deadly agents and stop any particles from being inadvertently released into the air. Military.com reports that the U.S. Air Force has spent years developing “Agent Defeat Weapons,” which are designed to target and destroy stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. An Air Force spokeswoman told the defense website that the munitions are named “PAW,” or Passive Attack Weapon, and “CrashPad” (Prompt Agent Defeat), both of which would be delivered by F-15 or F-22 fighter jets and B-2 or B-1 bombers. The CrashPad is a high-heat explosive bomb designed to incinerate chemical agents before they can be harmful, according to Defense Department officials documents. “When you hit something at high velocity, what you get is a flash of incredible heat in a confined area extremely fast. That can vaporize everything in small area,” Daniel Goure, vice president of Virginia-based think tank Lexington Institute, told the website. The Washington Times
BREAKING NEWS: Western naval sources reported Friday that a Chinese landing craft, the Jinggangshan, with a 1,000-strong marine battalion had reached the Red Sea en route for the Mediterranean off Syria. According to DEBKAfile, Beijing has already deployed a number of warships opposite Syria in secret. If the latest report is confirmed, this will be the largest Chinese deployment in the Middle East in its naval history. Debka
Politico has an eye-opening piece today revealing the extent to which the White House is staring defeat in the face over Syria. According to the influential Washington-based publication, President Obama doesn’t have the votes in the House of Representatives to secure a win, with large-scale opposition among Republicans, and lukewarm backing among Democrats:
If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big. That’s the private assessment of House Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides who are closely involved in the process. If the Senate passes a use-of-force resolution next week — which is no sure thing — the current dynamics suggest that the House would defeat it. That would represent a dramatic failure for Obama, and once again prove that his sway over Congress is extraordinarily limited. The loss would have serious reverberations throughout the next three months, when Obama faces off against Congress in a series of high-stakes fiscal battles. If Obama doesn’t get Congressional backing for military action, he could still go ahead with strikes against Syria, but it would be a huge political gamble. It would probably be a bridge too far for a president with sinking approval ratings, and his party facing crucial midterm elections in 2014. A defeat in Congress would be a massive blow to the Obama presidency, as well as to the president’s personal credibility, and could well amount to the biggest humiliation of his career so far.
Here are several key reasons why Obama is in trouble over Syria:
1. The president hasn’t made a convincing case why a Syria intervention is in the US national interest. He has also sent a confusing message over his ‘red line’ over Syria’s use of chemical weapons, declaring in Sweden that this wasn’t his red line, but that of the international community.
2. Public opinion is hugely sceptical over a Syrian intervention, with Members of Congress inundated with calls from constituents wary of war. There is very little public appetite for another war in the Middle East, not least one where the goals and objectives are unclear.
3. President Obama’s international coalition for military action is looking pretty pathetic, with only France signing up. The British have wisely decided to stay out, and no other NATO allies have stepped forward to offer military assistance. Obama looks increasingly isolated on the world stage, and that matters to US lawmakers. America remains the world’s only superpower, but it always prefers to go to war with allies at its side. As Margaret Thatcher once put it, “the United States needs friends in the lonely task of world leadership.”
4. The Obama administration’s case hasn’t been helped by extremely bad publicity for Syria’s rebel movement, some factions of which are aligned with al-Qaeda. A searing piece in The New York Times this week revealed (with video footage) the brutal execution of captured Syrian government forces by Islamist militants. There has also been significant coverage in the American media of rebel attacks on Christian villages, imagery that hardly plays well in Middle America.
5. Secretary of State John Kerry has been a liability, not an asset, for President Obama. Kerry has been entrusted with leading the Administration’s charge for war, making the case before the House and Senate, as well as the American public. Kerry, however, has been a notorious appeaser of the Assad regime, and worked tirelessly to undercut efforts by the Bush Administration to isolate Assad’s Baathist dictatorship. Photographs of Kerry intimately dining with the Assads in Damascus have hardly helped his case.
6. Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has remained largely silent on the Syria issue. One of her aides claims she is backing Obama’s push for war, but she hasn’t taken to the airwaves to support the president. Whatever her reasons for staying Mum, Clinton’s absence has probably lost the president some Congressional backing among Democratic waverers.
7. Obama’s campaign on Syria hasn’t been helped by declining support among Americans for his overall foreign policy. The “Obama doctrine” has been a striking failure on the world stage, from the disastrous Russian “reset”, to the lack of US leadership in the Middle East. The president’s handling of international affairs is increasingly viewed negatively by Americans, with just 41 percent of voters backing his foreign policy according to a recent poll.
8. Barack Obama simply doesn’t come across as a war leader, one who instills confidence both at home and abroad. He has a well-earned reputation for apologising for his country on foreign soil, and extending the hand of friendship to America’s enemies, from Tehran to Khartoum. His traditionally Jimmy Carter-esque approach simply doesn’t square with his new found desire to start bombing a foreign land. In the eyes of the American people, he’s not exactly General Patton. The Telegraph
BREAKING NEWS: The Russian navy has sent four more ships to the eastern Mediterranean, near the Syrian coast, as the United States considers launching a military offensive against the Arab country. The SSV-201 Priazovye reconnaissance ship, escorted by two landing ships, Minsk and Novocherkassk, had already passed through Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a source from the Saint Petersburg-based central naval command as saying on Friday. A third landing ship was just making a short stop to lift “special cargo” in Novorossiysk in the Black Sea, the report added without elaborating on the cargo. ”The ship will make call in Novorossiisk, where it will take on board special cargo and set off for the designated area of its combat duty in the eastern Mediterranean,” the source said. The news agency also said that Moscow will also send destroyer Smetlivy to the eastern Mediterranean soon. Russia’s anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev, the Neustrashimyy-class frigate and three landing ships, Alexander Shabalin, the Admiral Nevelsky, and the Peresvet, are already in the eastern Mediterranean, the report revealed. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow has its own plans to deal with the possible US war on Syria. ”We have our own ideas about what we would do and how we would do it if the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise,” he said. “We have our plans, but it’s too early to talk about them.”
The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the chemical attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation. On August 31, US President Barack Obama said he has decided that Washington must take military action against the Syrian government, which would mean a unilateral military strike without a UN mandate. Obama said that despite having made up his mind, he will take the case to US Congress. But he added that he is prepared to order military action against the Syrian government at any time. On Wednesday, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 in favor of a resolution authorizing the Obama administration to attack Syria. The resolution would limit military action against Syria to a period of 60 days, with the possibility of a 30-day extension. It also bans the use of US ground troops. Obama administration officials have embarked upon an extensive lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill, where US lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are expected to vote on a military action against Syria after they return from recess on September 9. Press TV
The United States of America stands exposed in the eyes of the entire world as the number-one terrorist threat to the future of humanity. Many have known this fact already, but now it is universally clear. As the US prepares to launch an overt war on Syria (the covert war has been raging for 30 months), the vast majority of humanity can finally see through all its decades of pretense and conceit as the world’s model of democracy and international law. And what they see is the ugly opposite. The US is a terrorist state that holds international law, democracy and human rights in utter contempt. It is ready, as it always has been, to kill countless civilians for its selfish political ambitions. That is the conventional definition of “terrorism”. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad made a profound point recently when he said that his country has faced aggression for more than two years, but only now is the real enemy revealing itself – the US and its minions. But the US terrorist state is not just being called out over Syria. It is being revealed as the enemy to the entire world. From past wars in the Caribbean, Central America, Philippines, Vietnam and Indochina, through coups and covert ops in Iran, Iraq, Africa, to recent killing fields in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, the historical picture is now complete.
All these conflicts and many more – too many to mention here – integrate into one indisputable truth. The US is the world’s biggest terror state. If it is not dealt with definitely, then the future of the world is in peril more than ever. In previous crimes of aggression, the US ruling elite could invoke the spurious cover of “a coalition of the willing”, or the abused authority of the United Nations or NATO. It was able to do that through deployment of lies, fabrications and a supine mass media that would lend credibility to the mendacity. Now, thanks to alternative, critical media and instant global communications, the American lies don’t work any longer. In an instant, they are exposed; just like the attempt in the last few hours of US Secretary of State John to frame up Syria over alleged chemical weapons use. The New York Times, BBC and the usual Western media mouthpieces for imperialist propaganda dutifully facilitated Kerry and his US state terrorism with bombastic, important-sounding headlines: “Kerry lays out evidence against Syria”. There was hardly a critical question raised, even though there are grounds for dozens such questions. Years ago, that kind of herd-think might have been enough to buy the US warmongers enough time to launch a war – but not any more. Within minutes of Kerry’s supposedly definitive condemnation, statements, articles, tweets and blogs were pulling the charade asunder, showing that apart from Western-media-amplified bombast, Kerry was not saying anything of value. It was just another risible repetition of earlier hyperbole and empty rhetoric. Or in short, lies.
The people of the world have reached a critical mass of intolerance towards the rogue terror states of the US, Britain, France, Israel and a few other accomplices. We have watched their relentless mass murder and exploitation of fellow humans in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We have witnessed how this tiny group of state terrorists imposes on the vast majority of humanity their vile criminality and in the process then insult us with grotesque lies and justifications. We have seen how these rogue states have stolen land, poisoned people’s water, burnt their crops, dispossessed their homes, assassinated families with aerial drones and ground drones in the form of death squads. They have committed all these shocking crimes with lies and impunity to the point where now these state terrorists are operating in more than one country simultaneously in a permanent state of relentless war, pushing the very future of humanity to the brink. However, despite this lawlessness and gangsterism, the people of the world are fighting back. This week the British parliament voted against the London government’s arrogance to provide its usual criminal special relationship to the Americans. In the execution of past war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – to mention a few – Washington could rely on the trusty British imperialists to give a veneer of “coalition of the willing”.
British premier David Cameron’s plans to repeat the criminality by backing Washington’s plans to bomb Syria were dealt a crushing blow by the British parliament voting against any such military action. Cameron was forced to withdraw. The vote in the British parliament is not so much a sign of ethics among Britain’s political class. It is more a reflection of the global awakening among ordinary citizens that this insane state terrorism must stop. The French government has also backed off earlier bellicose bravado, with French President Francois Hollande belatedly calling for a “peaceful, political solution” over the Syrian crisis. Even Washington’s reliable Canadian puppet Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that his country will not be getting involved military in Syria. It is also reported that 10 members of the NATO alliance – one-third of the total – are not willing to support American strikes. This latter grouping comprises the usual minions of the US. And we haven’t even yet acknowledged the more strident opponents, such as Russia, China, Iran and the majority of nations elsewhere in Asia, Africa and the Americas. The people of the world have had it with elite Western rulers acting as terrorists who are holding humanity to ransom. The rulers are presiding not only over military terrorism. They are inflicting economic, social and ecological terrorism with their bankrupt capitalist smash-and-grab system. That system has reached the point of meltdown and that is why we are being pushed into relentless wars – in order for the rulers and their politician puppets to corner the remaining resources. The ultimate solution to end the wars is for the people to overthrow the economic system that US and Western elite rulers preside over. The insane criminality of the US rulers over Syria is exposing this historic challenge facing humanity. After the British parliamentary setback the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said: “Our approach is to continue to find an international coalition that will act together. It is the goal of President Obama and our government… whatever decision is taken, that it be an international collaboration and effort.” Can you believe how ridiculous these American puppets sound? What the deluded Americans do not seem to realize is that they are on their own. The only entities willing to support their aggression on Syria is Saudi Arabia and Israel. So, how’s that for credibility? The only support Washington can muster is from a feudal, sword-wielding, head-chopping regime and a criminal pariah genocidal state. Coalition of the Willing? More like Coalition of the Killing. Press TV
The United States has withdrawn all non-emergency embassy workers and their families from Beirut and warned Americans against travel to Lebanon amid looming military strikes on Syria, the State Department said Friday. “Given the current situation in Syria and the region, as well as potential threats to U.S. Government facilities and personnel, we are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution to protect our employees and their families, and local employees and visitors to our facilities,” the State Deparment said Friday. “The Consulate General in Adana has been authorized to draw down its non-emergency staff and family members because of threats against U.S. government facilities and personnel,” the department said, advising US citizens to defer non-essential travel to southeastern Turkey. Debka
As debate grows over the extremism of some armed factions battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, an incendiary illustration on the Facebook page of one such group leaves little doubt where its leaders envision the uprising ending – with masked Islamic fighters marching through Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Capitol burns in the background. The image is one of eight photos posted on the official Facebook page of the “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,” a small armed Sunni rebel faction fighting with the Free Syrian Army, the main umbrella military organization of the opposition forces. Two other photos posted on the group’s page feature the widely recognized black flag of the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group, which operates freely in Syria. Evan Kohlmann, a senior partner with the security firm Flashpoint Intelligence and an NBC consultant on terrorism, who discovered the image on Facebook and provided it to NBC News’ investigative unit, said Al-Aqsa has not been designated as a terrorist group by the United States. But he noted that it fights alongside another Free Syrian Army force, the Tawhid Brigade, that has been linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, one of two rebel factions labeled terrorist groups by the U.S. government. More
While the United Nations worries about a local shooting in Florida, in Egypt, a group of Islamists who back their nation’s ousted leader, fellow Islamist Mohammed Morsi, have taken over the town of Dalga where 20,000 Christians now live under oppression, fear, and violence. Already, a 1600 year old monastery has been burned and looted, 40 Christian homes and businesses have been attacked (looted and burned), including the home of an 80 year-old priest: Armed men can be seen in the streets, and nearly every day Islamists hold rallies at a stage outside the police station, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. Most Christians remain indoors as much as possible, particularly during the rallies. They say they are routinely insulted on the streets by Muslims, including children. Christian women stay home at all times, fearing harassment by the Islamists, according to multiple Christians who spoke to the AP. Most requested that their names not be published for fear of reprisals.
“The Copts in Dalga live in utter humiliation,” said local rights activist Ezzat Ibrahim. “They live in horror and cannot lead normal lives.” None of the town’s churches held Mass for a month, until Wednesday, when one was held in one of the monastery’s two churches. About 25 attended, down from the usual 500 or more. ”They don’t want to see any Christian with any power, no matter how modest,” Yoannis said of the hard-liners now running Dalga. “They only want to see us poor without money, a trade or a business to be proud of.” President Obama’s rush to “stabilize” Egypt by calling for the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak and immediate elections afterward, is widely seen as a crucial factor in bringing Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood to electoral power. Almost immediately Morsi attempted to seize dictatorial power by upending the Egyptian constitution. The military responded with a coup and now the nation’s minority Christian communities are being victimized in this power vacuum. Breitbart
Tens of thousands of North Korean prisoners have “disappeared” from an enormous gulag situated in a region where there were known food shortages, prompting fears that they may have starved to death before it closed last year, according to a human rights think tank. Camp 22, a vast labor camp that sprawled across 700 square miles –- making it larger than Los Angeles –- used to hold around 30,000 prisoners, the Washington, D.C.-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) said in an August report entitled, “North Korea’s Hidden Gulag: Interpreting Reports of Changes in the Prison Camps.” But that dwindled to only 3,000 in the months before its closure at the end of 2012, it said. At around the same time there were reported food shortages in the area, raising the possibility that large numbers of inmates starved to death, according to investigators from HRNK. Defectors told them that as many as 8,000 prisoners may have been transferred to other camps, leaving a shortfall of up to 22,000 – and there are no suggestions that any inmates were released, according to the report. ”North Korea’s 2009 currency devaluation (whereby camp authorities were reportedly unable to purchase food in markets to supplement the crops grown in the camps), combined with bad harvests, resulted in the death of large numbers of prisoners after 2010,” it said.
The report details the situation in penal colonies called kwan-li-so — literally translated as “managed places” — as Kim Jong Un consolidated his power after taking over as leader from his father, Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011. HRNK, which gathers information from defectors, including former guards and survivors of prison camps, as well as examining satellite imagery, is demanding an inquiry into the fate of the prisoners. ”If even remotely accurate, this is an atrocity requiring much closer investigation,” concluded the report’s author David Hawk, a former United Nations human rights official and executive director of Amnesty International USA. HRNK co-chair Roberta Cohen echoed his appeal. “An accounting of the fate and whereabouts of all of North Korea’s political prisoners, including those missing and those who have died in detention should be of highest priority to the U.N. commission of inquiry and the entire international community,” she said in a statement. ”International arrangements should be negotiated for the entry of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) into the camps,” she said. Prisoners at Camp 22 mined coal that was shipped to the Chongjin thermal power plant to provide electricity for the Kimchaek steel mills. The camp also had extensive collective farm areas for growing corn, potatoes, beans and numerous vegetables, according to the report. But while satellite imagery shows that some activity farming and mining activity remains in the area, it stated that it is considerably smaller than in years gone by. The report disclosed that two camps have been closed in the past year but that up to 130,000 individuals are still being held in penal labor colonies. ”They are deemed ‘wrong-thinkers’, ‘wrongdoers’, or those who have acquired ‘wrong knowledge’ or have engaged in ‘wrong associations,’” it said. ”Through this vast system of unlawful imprisonment, the North Korean regime isolates, banishes, punishes and executes those suspected of being disloyal to the regime,” the report added. More
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — President Barack Obama, facing hardened international opposition to a strike against Syria and returning home to a skeptical American public, will address the country Tuesday to make his case. Obama made the announcement Friday at a press conference before leaving a summit of the Group of 20 world powers in Russia. He said that Syria’s use of chemical weapons “isn’t just a Syrian tragedy. It’s a threat to global peace and security.” Failing to respond “would send a signal to rogue nations, authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations that they can develop and use weapons of mass destruction and not pay a consequence,” Obama said. “And that’s not the world that we want to live in.” He said he would tell Congress and the public in coming days that any American strike would be “limited and proportionate.” He did not directly answer a question about whether he would go forward with an attack without the approval of Congress. Military officials told NBC News that the White House asked the Pentagon for an expanded list of potential targets in Syria, and one senior official warned that it could represent “mission creep.”
Asked about the report in St. Petersburg, Obama called it “inaccurate” and declined to elaborate. The G-20 gathering was meant to focus on economic matters but overshadowed by the crisis in Syria. Obama said that most leaders addressed with him that Syrian leader Bashar Assad launched a chemical attack but were divided about whether to respond with force. At a tense, four-hour working dinner Thursday night, Obama underlined the need to uphold the international ban on chemical weapons. The United States says Assad, more than two years into a civil war, gassed 1,400 people to death, including more than 400 children, in a rebel-controlled neighborhood Aug. 21. “It’s prohibited in active wars between countries,” Obama said of the use of chemical weapons. “We certainly don’t do it against kids.” As the summit concluded, the Turkish prime minister said “almost all” the leaders there agreed on the need for some action against Syria. And the French president said he backed Obama’s call for an American-led strike. But there were no signs of any broad consensus. Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an Assad ally, for 20 minutes on Friday, but Putin said their positions had come no closer. “We understood each other, we listened to each other,” Putin said. “We didn’t agree with each other’s arguments, but we could hear them. We tried to find an agreement towards a peaceful settlement of this crisis.” The Italian prime minister suggested that Obama’s pitch had failed to break the deadlock over the issue, posting on Twitter after dinner that “the divisions about Syria were confirmed.” And China repeated its opposition. “A political solution is the only right way out for the Syrian crisis, and a military strike cannot solve the problem from the root,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said, according to state news. “We expect certain countries to have a second thought before action.” Ben Rhodes, a White House spokesman, said as the summit concluded that Obama never expected consensus “if Russia, for instance, is at the table.” He said that the goal was still to get the most nations possible behind a response. “We believe that there are a majority of countries here who understand the importance of the issue, understand who is accountable for the use of chemical weapons, and appreciate that there needs to be international response,” he said.
The United States has essentially given up on winning approval for a strike from the United Nations Security Council, where China and Russia are permanent members and each hold veto power. Meanwhile, the State Department withdrew all non-emergency Embassy workers and their families from Beirut, Lebanon, a step it said it was taking “given the current situation in Syria” and potential threats to American interests. The State Department also gave Embassy workers in part of Turkey the option to leave. The department issued a warning on Thursday against all non-essential travel by U.S. citizens to Iraq because of concern about kidnapping and terrorist violence. Obama returns to face a deeply skeptical public and an uncertain future for any vote by the full houses of Congress on authorization of military action. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly passed authorization earlier this week. Both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans have come out against intervention, and polls show that the American public has strong reservations about further U.S. involvement in the Middle East. “I knew this was gonna be a heavy lift,” Obama said in St. Petersburg. “For the American people, who have been through over a decade of war now, with enormous sacrifice in blood and treasure, any hint of further military entanglements in the Middle East are gonna be viewed with suspicion.” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was one of the yes votes in the Foreign Relations Committee, faced hostile questions from constituents at a town hall-style meeting on Thursday. NBC World News
BREAKING NEWS: A Russian warship carrying “special cargo” will be dispatched toward Syria, a navy source said on Friday, as the Kremlin beefs up its presence in the region ahead of possible US strikes against the Damascus regime. The large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov will on Friday leave the Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol for the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, from where it will head to Syria’s coast, the Interfax news agency quoted a source from the Saint Petersburg-based central naval command as saying. ”The ship will make call in Novorossiisk, where it will take on board special cargo and set off for the designated area of its combat duty in the eastern Mediterranean,” the source said.
The source did not specify the nature of the cargo. Russia has kept a constant presence in the eastern Mediterranean during the Syrian crisis. In recent days Russia has made steps to beef up its naval grouping in the region. The Russian destroyer Smetlivy will soon join the group in the region as well as the destroyer Nastoichivy, Interfax has said. The anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev has already entered its zone of operation as the flagship of the current rotation of the Mediterranean grouping, a military source has told the news agency. Already in place in the eastern Mediterranean are the frigate Neustrashimy, as well as the landing ships Alexander Shabalin, the Admiral Nevelsky and the Peresvet. They are expected to be joined by the large landing ships Novocherkassk and Minsk and the missile cruiser Moskva. The reconnaissance ship Priazovye is also on its way to join the group. The US already has a strong naval presence in the region and any US military action against Syria is widely expected to be launched from the sea. Yahoo News
A Washington-based group that works to separate God from government is demanding that officials in Florida remove several images from their city seal, due to their perceived Christian symbolism. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AUSCS), led by Barry Lynn, an attorney and licensed “minister” in the United Church of Christ, recently sent a letter to officials in DeLand, Florida about the matter after receiving a complaint from a local resident. The organization is not releasing the name of the complainant, whom they state has asked to remain anonymous. At issue are the images of a cross, a heart and an anchor on the seal, which appear on city documents, buildings and vehicles. “If you look around with this particular collection of things, the heart, cross and anchor, you find it commonly used as a representation for the Christian theological virtues of faith, hope and charity,” Ian Smith, an attorney with AUSCS, told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “We tried to do some research about why these particular symbols were chosen as a seal and we didn’t find anything that would make us think they were chosen for anything other than a Christian theological purpose.” But city officials say that the seal is historic–dating back to its adoption in 1882–and is not an endorsement of religion. “The seal was voted on March 1882, the day it was incorporated. So, it’s an important part of our history,” wrote City Manager Michael Pleaus in a statement. “We will not stop using the seal.” He stated that no one has ever complained about the seal. City attorney Darren Elkind agreed, opining that most residents would not view the seal as the city’s promotion of Christianity. AUSCS has given the city 30 days to respond to its request. While it did not threaten a lawsuit, reports state that the matter could be fought in the courts if DeLand officials do not comply. Reaction to the controversy has been mixed. “We atheists are taking over. We will remove all this mythology from our government,” wrote one commenter named Mike. “You dinosaurs are on your way out.” “This country was never founded on any religious principles. It was founded on neutrality and secularism,” another named Dev stated. “No to religion in government.” “I’m an agnostic atheist,” wrote a third commenter, “and I had no idea a heart and anchor were Christian symbols.” “I say we remove the heart because it discriminates against the other internal organs. And ditch the anchor because I’m offended by anything that pertains to water activities,” joked a resident named Candice. “Anyone else see how ridiculous this sounds?” “It’s time all of America gets together and stands up against these thugs and bullies,” declared a man named John. “A symbol of a cross has been our American heritage for over 250 years. … It’s time all of America stands up and stops all this silliness about politically being correct; do what is right, and stand up for your our rights as Christians and religious followers of any kind. Stop letting the minority crowd, the ludicrous people in this great country, change what we stand for.” Christian News Network
A woman in the U.K. is suing her local hospital for urging her to abort her son, who they asserted was brain dead and missing one eye, but was born without any signs of the alleged conditions. Sarah Hagan, 38, is suing City Hospital Sunderland now that her son Aaron is 15 months old and suffers from ailments stemming from a premature delivery following a botched abortion over an alleged condition that turned out to be non-existent. “It breaks my heart every day when I look at my son and think how I almost got rid of him,” she told the Sunderland Echo. After Hagan obtained a 24-week ultrasound last year, doctors told her that her child was brain dead, missing an eye, and had no chance of survival. They urged her to either take the abortion drug Mifepristone to end his life, or go to the infirmary where doctors would stop his heart and then extract him from her body. After pondering the matter overnight, Hagan followed through with her doctor’s advice and took the recommended abortion pills. However, as time passed, Hagan realized that her child was miraculously still alive. She returned to the hospital where doctors were likewise surprised that the baby had indeed survived the abortion. Hagan was then told that she must deliver her son right away. He was born weighing in at 1 pound, 7 ounces, and contrary to assertions, the baby was not brain dead, and had two bright blue eyes. “Despite what they said, he was born breathing and kicking,” Hagan told reporters. “[His] brain is on par with any other baby of his age.” However, because the child was born prematurely, he began to fight an infection and heart ailments, and later also struggled with lung problems. A cyst was discovered on his brain as well. “If I had been allowed to go longer into the pregnancy, I am sure he wouldn’t have had any of these problems,” Hagan said. The child, named Aaron, is now 15 months old and looks like any other 1 year old baby. “I still find it hard to believe they could get it so wrong–that it was just presumed my baby would not survive,” Hagan lamented. Therefore, the unwed mother of two has filed suit against City Hospital Sunderland for the suffering and distress surrounding the matter. Officials are aware of the suit, but have declined to comment at this time. “The Trust can confirm that it is aware of the legal action being taken by Ms. Hagan and her partner, and it would be clearly inappropriate to offer any detail or comment on the case at this present time,” a spokesperson told the Sunderland Echo. “When I look at him now and think what could have happened, it brings me to tears,” Hagan said. “I just want other mothers to know my story so that nothing like this happens again.” Christian News Network
San Antonio approved a measure on Thursday that outlaws discrimination against gays, despite fierce opposition from conservatives and marking a victory for Mayor Julian Castro, who is considered a rising figure in the national Democratic Party. The proposal, which added “sexual preference and gender identity” to groups protected in places such as restaurants and housing, sparked weeks of emotional debate that pitted top Republicans in the state against Castro and other supporters. ”This ordinance fundamentally is about insuring that whether you are white or black, whether you are Christian or Jew, whether you are straight or gay, this city belongs to you too,” Castro said. By approving the measure 8-3 in the city council, San Antonio joins 180 other U.S. municipalities, including four major Texas cities, to bar such discrimination, according to Paul Guequierre, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization. In Texas, Austin, Brownsville, Dallas, and Fort Worth have laws on the books that are nearly identical to the one in San Antonio. Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General and the front runner to be the next governor of the state, campaigned against the measure, as did U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, an outspoken conservative.
“This proposed ordinance runs contrary to the Texas Constitution, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Abbott said. Two public hearings in the nation’s seventh-largest city attracted hundreds of participants who invoked everything from the famous 19th century defenders of the Alamo fort in San Antonio to the 1960s black civil rights movement. Some called homosexuality a “filthy lifestyle,” and supporters said opponents were “mean spirited, and bigoted.” The Republican-led Texas Legislature has not approved similar protections statewide, and opposition to same sex marriage or civil unions is strong among Republicans, who hold every statewide office in Texas. ”This does not attempt to legalize same sex marriage,” San Antonio City Attorney Michael Bernard said. “It does not regulate anybody’s speech or action.” Gerald Flowers, a prominent San Antonio pastor, called the ordinance offensive and said it puts Christians who oppose homosexuality in the position of being permanent second class citizens. ”This thing is so central to the heart of so many people in this city that we cannot let it rest,” Flowers said. “This doesn’t end today.” The Liberty Institute, a non-profit group that advocates religious freedom, has said it may file a federal lawsuit to block the measure. Castro, who delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is seen by some Democrats as a potential future Texas governor or national politician representing a state with a rapidly rising Hispanic population. Charisma News
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More than 100 police targeted two locations of “The Twelve Tribes” in the southern German state of Bavaria, the local Augsburger Allgemeine and Spiegel Online said. The dawn raids followed “new evidence pointing to significant and ongoing child abuse by the members”, local officials were quoted as saying. In all, police withdrew from the community’s custody 28 children from one monastery near the town of Deiningen and 12 from a second location, Woernitz. The children were temporarily handed into the care of foster families. Witnesses to the raids were quoted as saying the police had met no resistance from the Christian group, which denied the allegations. Spiegel Online quoted local officials as saying a family court and youth office had received “credible, concrete and actionable information” that the “physical and emotional welfare of the children could be permanently compromised”. The US-founded Twelve Tribes said in an online statement: “We are an open and transparent community that does not tolerate any form of child abuse. Our children grow up in a loving environment and are educated in the spirit of charity.” The Telegraph
Sen Lindsey Graham warns ” Nukes In Hands Of Terrorists Could Result In Bomb Coming To Charleston Harbor”
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says he’s convinced that Syrian President Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. Graham told reporters in Goose Creek on Tuesday that taking action against Syria in response to the situation is not a question of yes or no, but rather a question of bad or worse choices. He says if there is no U.S. response, Iran will not believe America’s resolve to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Graham also says those nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists could result in a bomb coming to Charleston Harbor. He says he’s working to convince South Carolinians weary of war that the situations in Syria and Iran are linked. Graham says Syria could destabilize the entire Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children, were killed during the Aug. 21 chemical attack carried out by Bashar Assad’s regime. CBS Charlotte
A volcano the size of New Mexico or the British Isles has been identified under the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of Japan, making it the biggest volcano on Earth and one of the biggest in the solar system. Called Tamu Massif, the giant shield volcano had been thought to be a composite of smaller structures, but now scientists say they must rethink long-held beliefs about marine geology. “This finding goes against what we thought, because we found that it’s one huge volcano,” said William Sager, a geology professor at the University of Houston in Texas. Sager is lead author in a study about the find that was published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience. “It is in the same league as Olympus Mons on Mars, which had been considered to be the largest volcano in the solar system,” Sager told National Geographic. Tamu Massif is a rounded dome that measures about 280 by 400 miles (450 by 650 kilometers), or more than 100,000 square miles. Its top lies about 6,500 feet (about 2,000 meters) below the ocean surface, while the base extends down to about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) deep. Tamu Massif dwarfs the largest active volcano on Earth, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, which measures about 2,000 square miles (5,200 square kilometers). Made of basalt, Tamu Massif is the oldest and largest feature of an oceanic plateau called the Shatsky Rise in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The total area of the rise is similar to Japan or California. Sager started studying Tamu Massif about 20 years ago. He named it Tamu Massif because Tamu is short for Texas A&M University, where the scientist worked at the time; massif is French for “massive” and is a scientific term for a large mountain. Scientists had known about the Shatsky Rise since the early 20th century, when it was first mapped, he explained. “We knew it was a big mountain range, but we didn’t know what the structure was like or how it formed,” said Sager. He added that Tamu Massif is different from classic seamounts, the volcanoes that protrude off the ocean floor around the world by the tens of thousands. Tamu Massif is much larger, with a much more gentle slope than classic seamounts, Sager said. Near the summit of Tamu Massif, the slope is only around one degree, he said. Down the flank the slope is half a degree, and it’s even less than that near the base. (The average slope of a staircase is 40 degrees, and an easy ski slope is about 10 degrees.) ”If you were standing on the massif, you would have a hard time knowing which way is down,” said Sager.
Finding an Unusual Structure
Scientists had thought the giant Shatsky Rise formed over time as a composite of several volcanoes that grew together, in a process similar to the way the big island of Hawaii was made by the outpourings of five separate volcanoes that were in close proximity. But when Sager and colleagues looked at seismic data of Tamu Massif, they were surprised at what they found. “We saw what appear to be lava flows going out from the center of the volcano in all directions, with no obvious large secondary source of volcanism, so that was a surprise,” Sager said. The team also performed geochemical analysis on core samples taken from the massif. They found that the huge structure appeared to be made out of the same rock, of the same age. So the scientists concluded that Tamu Massif was created by a single volcano, and probably over a relatively short period of time of a few million years. The volcano went “extinct,” meaning inactive, shortly after it formed, Saged added. That was probably in the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous period, about 145 million years ago. “If what they are saying is correct, that is truly a massive volcano,” said Brian Jicha, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin who has received funding from National Geographic to study the formation of the Aleutian Islands. “There are a lot of these oceanic plateaus, so if some of them really are just volcanoes, this paper might begin to change the way we think oceanic plateaus are built, and maybe even some of the continental basalt plateaus,” said Jicha, who was not involved in the study. Sager agrees that more work is needed on other oceanic plateaus. “There could be around a dozen of these things out there,” he said about the possibility of more large shield volcanoes under the sea. Sager noted that although Tamu Massif currently appears to be the largest single volcano on Earth, there are still larger volcanic complexes, such as the Siberian Traps, which may hold other mysteries. Those features were likely made up of molten rock from different sources, he said, unlike Tamu Massif’s formation according to the new theory.
How Did the Volcano Form?
Sager said scientists are still trying to work out the details of how Tamu Massif formed. He said it seems likely that the spot on the seafloor had the right mix of elements, including a boundary of three tectonic plates, thin crust, and a source of hot magma below that was able to bubble up to the surface. The molten rock poured out, and then built up a wide, gradual rise as it cooled. Precisely how the magma made it to the surface is an open question. Perhaps a blob of the rock got superheated, and then rose to the surface due to buoyancy. Or, cracks in the overlying crust could have opened, allowing molten rock to spill out. The next step will be more work to figure out what the source of the magma was, said Sager. He would like to go back and measure the magnetic properties of the rock, using a ship that is equipped with GPS. The data will give him a better idea how the lava spread out, he said. Jicha added that “if it is indeed really one volcano, and the case is fairly compelling, the amount of magma that had to go through the lithosphere [crust] is off the charts.” “Not only does [Tamu Massif] give us a new wow in the form of a giant new volcano, but it gives us new insight into a building block of an oceanic plateau,” said Sager. He’s not sure if the new volcano will help scientists better understand Olympus Mons on Mars, but noted that “we can see the surface of Mars better than we can see the bottom of the ocean.” Tamu Massif, he said, “has been hiding out for 145 million years because it found a good place to hide.” National Geographic
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration is considering a plan to use U.S. military trainers to help increase the capabilities of the Syrian rebels, in a move that would greatly expand the current CIA training being done quietly in Jordan, U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Thursday. Any training would take place outside Syria, and one possible location would be Jordan. The officials said no decision had been made, but that discussions were going on at high levels of the government. It comes as the Obama administration prods Congress to authorize limited military strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government in retaliation for a deadly Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack. The proposal to use the U.S. military to train the rebels – something the administration has resisted through more than two years of civil war – would answer the demands of some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to do more to train and equip the Syrian opposition. President Barack Obama in June decided to provide lethal aid to the rebels, but so far none of that assistance has gotten to the opposition. Officials said Thursday that talk about a military training mission has increased but that there have been no specific Pentagon recommendations forwarded to the White House on how big it should be or how many troops it should involve. The CIA has been training select groups of rebels in Jordan on the use of communications equipment and some weapons provided by Gulf states. The new discussions center on whether the U.S. military should take over the mission so that hundreds or thousands can be trained, rather than just dozens.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plan publicly. Any new training program conducted by the U.S. military would take time to put in place and likely would not begin until after any potential military action had been taken in response to the recent chemical weapons attack. It would require getting approvals from the host country, finding appropriate locations, getting the right number of personnel in place to conduct the training and setting up a vetting system to insure that instruction was not provided to any rebel groups that may not be friendly to the U.S. The Pentagon already has at least 1,000 troops in Jordan, including trainers working with Jordanian forces. The U.S. left about a dozen fighter jets and a Patriot missile battery there after a recent training exercise. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told Congress that the U.S. military would be prepared to do more training for the Syria opposition if needed. In response to questioning Wednesday during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Syria, Dempsey said he was “mostly supportive of helping the opposition by their development, by their training and equipping, not by becoming their military arm.” He provided more details in a July letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services, in which he laid out military options in response to the chemical weapons attack. That letter was sent before Obama announced plans to go to Congress to seek authorization for military strikes in Syria that would be limited in time and scope and would involve no U.S. troops on the ground there. He said the U.S. could provide between several hundred and several thousand trainers, with a cost of as much as $500 million a year, depending on how large the training mission became. Noting that it would require using “safe areas” outside Syria, he said the risks included “extremists gaining access to additional capabilities, retaliatory cross-border attacks, and insider attacks or inadvertent association with war crimes due to vetting difficulties.” In hearings this week, some members of Congress complained that the Obama administration has not done enough for the rebels, while others strongly opposed any American military involvement in Syria. Lawmakers warned Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Americans are weary of war and are not willing to spend more money and risk more lives. U.S. officials continue to say that any likely military action would be limited and bear no resemblance to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even the short military operation in Libya in 2010. Instead, it would center on cruise missiles fired from U.S. ships – including submarines – in the Mediterranean Sea. There also is no enthusiasm for sending U.S. pilots into Syrian airspace. If additional military assets are needed in order to strike a larger number of targets inside Syria, the U.S. could use long-range bombers, which could fire missiles without crossing into the country’s airspace. France also has a dozen cruise missile-capable fighter aircraft at military bases in the United Arab Emirates and the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti. MyWay
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has warned the Obama administration against any proposed military strike on Syria. Khamenei, who wields the ultimate authority in Iranian affairs, said Washington would “certainly suffer loss” if it attacked Bashar al-Assad’s forces. ”In the case of Syria, the chemical attack is a pretext. The Americans try to play with words and pretend that they’ve become involved in this case for humanitarian aims. ”The Americans are making mistakes in Syria and they have felt the impact and will certainly suffer loss,” the Iranian leader said. A similar view was later echoed by Iran’s recently elected president Hassan Rohani who said a US strike on Syria would not help anyone including America’s key allies in the region. Throughout the two-and-a-half-year long turmoil in Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militant group, have strongly backed the Assad regime. US authorities said they had intercepted an order from Iran to target American interests in the Middle East if Syria were attacked. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US diplomatic facilities in Iraq, Lebanon and other volatile countries have been kept on high alert following Iran’s order. The US embassy in Baghdad is said to be among the key targets for retaliation. The Iranian order to Shiite militant outfits in the region is believed to have emerged from the chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force. The US State Department has also issued a fresh travel advisory note to Americans visiting Iraq about possible attacks. International Business Times
The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria, officials said, amid an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region. Military officials have been trying to predict the range of possible responses from Syria, Iran and their allies. U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran’s fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where American warships are positioned. U.S. officials also fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. While the U.S. has moved military resources in the region for a possible strike, it has other assets in the area that would be ready to respond to any reprisals by Syria, Iran or its allies. Those deployments include a strike group of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and three destroyers in the Red Sea, and an amphibious ship, the USS San Antonio, in the Eastern Mediterranean, which would help with any evacuations. The U.S. military has also readied Marines and other assets to aid evacuation of diplomatic compounds if needed, and the State Department began making preparations last week for potential retaliation against U.S. embassies and other interests in the Middle East and North Africa. U.S. officials began planning for a possible strike on Syrian regime assets after the Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus in which the U.S. says Syrian government forces killed over 1,400 people using chemical weapons.
The U.S. military has prepared options for an attack and beefed up its military resources in the region, including positioning four destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean. That process slowed last weekend when President Barack Obama said he would first seek an authorization for using military force from Congress. A delay in a U.S. strike would increase opportunities for coordinated retaliation by groups allied with the Assad government, including Shiite militias in Iraq, according to U.S. officials. The destroyers positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean are equipped with—in addition to Tomahawk missiles that could be used against Syria—the Standard Missile-3, which could be used to intercept ballistic missiles should Iran launch a retaliatory strike, officials said. Israel has so far been the focus of concerns about retaliation from Iran and its Lebanese militant ally Hezbollah. The commander-in-chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps said last week that an attack on Syria would lead to the “destruction of Israel.” The State Department issued a new alert on Thursday warning against nonessential travel to Iraq and citing terrorist activity “at levels unseen since 2008.” Earlier this year, an alert said that violence against Americans had decreased. That reassurance was dropped from the most recent alert. The Iranian message, intercepted in recent days, came from Qasem Soleimani, the head of Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, and went to Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups in Iraq, according to U.S. officials. In it, Mr. Soleimani said Shiite groups must be prepared to respond with force after a U.S. strike on Syria. Iranian officials didn’t respond to requests for comment. More
The potential of strategic US strikes in Syria has sparked fears Damascus’ chemical weapons could fall into the wrong hands if the government is toppled. A recent congressional report says 75,000 troops would be needed to safeguard the WMD caches. The Congressional Research Center (CRS) report, issued just one day before the alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb, was compiled with the aim of “responding to possible scenarios involving the use, change of hands, or loss of control of Syrian chemical weapons.” It states that Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles, which a French intelligence report recently estimated at over 1,000 tons, have been secured by Syrian special forces. “Due to the urgency of preventing access to these weapons by unauthorized groups, including terrorists, the United States government has been preparing for scenarios to secure the weapons in the event of the Assad regime’s loss of control,” the document reads Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, 2012, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned the ouster of Assad would present a scenario “100 times worse than what we dealt with in Libya.” In order to secure the 50 chemical weapon and production sites spread across Syria, in addition to storage and research facilities, “The Pentagon has estimated that it would take over 75,000 troops to neutralize the chemical weapons,” the document continues, citing a February 2012 CNN report. Meanwhile, a resolution backing the use of force against President Bashar Assad’s government cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a 10-7 vote on Wednesday, although section 3 of the draft ostensibly ruled out US combat operations on the ground. The wording of the text, however, could potentially allow for troops on the ground for the sake of non-offensive operations, including securing chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.
While the Senate committee initially opted to limit US military involvement in the country to 90 days with no potential of ground operations, Republican Senator John McCain joined forces with Democratic Senator Chris Coons to add a provision calling for “decisive changes to the present military balance of power on the ground in Syria.” The Obama administration’s vacillations on Syria were perhaps best exemplified by Secretary of State John Kerry. Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Kerry suggested it would be preferable to give the White House the power to send in ground forces in the event that Syria “imploded” or if chemical weapons were at risk of being obtained by extremists. “I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country,” he told the committee in the run up to the vote. After being told by Senator Bob Corker – the top Republican on the committee – his sentiments regarding boots on the ground were not “a very appropriate response,” Kerry quickly backtracked. “Let’s shut the door now,” Kerry said. “The answer is, whatever prohibition clarifies it to Congress or the American people, there will not be American boots on the ground with respect to the civil war.” Having cleared committee, the measure authorizing force in Syria is expected to reach the Senate floor next week. Senator Rand Paul, a republican with strong ties to the Tea Party movement, has threatened a filibuster. RT
A number of Sen. John McCain’s constituents are not happy with the Arizona Republican’s support of President Barack Obama’s plan to take military action against Syria. Voters made that much perfectly clear when they confronted him at a town hall in Phoenix on Thursday. “We didn’t send you to make war for us. We sent you to stop the war,” one man said to applause,CNN reports. Another man told McCain Congress is ignoring its duty to represent voters. “This is what I think of Congress,” he said, holding a bag of marshmallows in his hand. “They are a bunch of marshmallows. That’s what they are. That’s what they’ve become. Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It’s not our fight.” The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday afternoon passed a new use-of-force resolution that, if passed by the Senate, will give Obama authority to carry out military strikes. It also includes a loophole that may leave room for placing troops on the ground. More
Henry Gruver Had a vision around 1986 of the invasion of America and its total destruction by the hands of the Russians and the Chinese. He saw Russia moving by sea and air from the north to destroy America by nerve gas and nuclear weapons. The Russians will steal materials and will spoil the united states after the destruction. The death toll of Americans will reach over 120 million people or 60 percent of the population.
Henry Gruver 2nd vision
In this vision he and his wife were told to walk down a canyon to meet a butler that would take them to sit in front of a platform with 60 chairs. When they were seated they saw an american 4 star general and a politician off to the side talking with each other. After a minute a helicopter flew in and dropped a portable office that was blue in color down to the ground and flew away. Prince Charles came out of that office and was wearing a safari outfit. He was crying and announced to the congregation that America was at war and they had to fight with out God. The general then walked to Charles who was speaking on the platform and he said we know were at war but argued if God had anything to do with it.
During this argument a giant frog approached representing Russia and croaked white nerve gas to kill everyone in the vision.
Henry Gruver 3rd vision
Henry Gruver was looking at the island of anglesey When he was taken up into the heavens.
URGENT – UK National Service Bill Update – We Need To Get The Word Out On This…Now!