| US and Russia agree Syria chemical weapons deal in Geneva!

US and Russia agree Syria chemical weapons deal in Geneva ~ BBC.

Syria’s chemical weapons must be destroyed or removed by mid-2014, under an agreement between the US and Russia.

US Secretary of State John Kerry outlined a six-point framework under which Syria must hand over a full list of its stockpile within a week.

If Syria fails to comply, the deal could be enforced by a UN resolution backed by the threat of sanctions or military force.

The US says the Syrian regime killed hundreds in a gas attack last month.

The government of Bashar al-Assad denies the allegations and has accused the rebels of carrying out the attack on 21 August.

In a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Mr Kerry called on the Assad government to live up to its public commitments.

“There can be no room for games. Or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime,” he said.

BBC’s Paul Adams: ‘A remarkable agreement’

Mr Kerry and Mr Lavrov said if Syria failed to comply, then a UN resolution would be sought under Chapter VII of the UN charter, which allows for the use of force.

Mr Kerry said inspectors must be on the ground by November, and that the stockpiles should be removed or destroyed by mid-2014.

The six points outlined by Mr Kerry were:

  1. The amount and type of chemical weapons must be agreed and “rapidly” placed under international control
  2. Syria must submit within one week a comprehensive listing of its stockpiles
  3. Extraordinary procedures under the Chemical Weapons Convention will allow “expeditious destruction”
  4. Syria must give inspectors “immediate, unfettered access” to all sites
  5. All chemical weapons must be destroyed, including the possibility of removing weapons from Syrian territory
  6. UN will provide logistical support, and compliance would be enforced under Chapter VII

France, which was the only country willing to join the US in taking military action in Syria, welcomed the agreement.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said it was an “important advance”.

However, the military leader of the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army rejected the deal and promised to continue fighting.


Agreed target dates

  • Completion of initial on-site inspections by November
  • Destruction of production and mixing equipmentby November
  • Complete elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014

“There is nothing in this agreement that concerns us,” said Gen Salim Idriss, describing it as a Russian initiative designed to gain time for the Syrian government.

Mr Kerry said he hoped the deal would help kick-start a wider peace process.

“We could also lay the groundwork for further co-operation that is essential to end the bloodshed that has consumed Syria for more than two years,” he said.

“What we agreed on here today could conceivable be the first critical concrete step in that direction.”

Mr Lavrov suggested there could be another international peace conference on Syria by October.

“The main thing is to make sure that all Syrian sides are represented at the conference,” he said.

Over the years there have been several conferences, some of which have included the Syrian opposition and excluded the government.

More than 100,000 people have died since the uprising against President Assad began in 2011.

Millions of Syrians have fled the country, and millions more have been left homeless by the fighting.

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| Satire: KERRY SHOCKED TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!

KERRY SHOCKED TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY ~ The Borowitz Report.

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Secretary of State John Kerry said today that he was “shocked and flabbergasted” that the Russians heeded his suggestion about Syria’s chemical weapons, telling reporters, “After four decades in public life, this is the first time someone has taken me seriously.”

“Whether as a senator, a Presidential candidate, or Secretary of State, I’ve devoted countless hours to thunderous and droning speeches that people have consistently tuned out,” he said. “So naturally, to be listened to all of a sudden came as something of a shock.”

But after the novelty of not being ignored wore off, Mr. Kerry said, the Russians’ assertion that he had said something worth paying attention to “seemed like a trick.”

“You mean to tell me that after decades of spewing mind-numbing rhetoric I all of a sudden blurted out an idea worth acting on?” he said. “It doesn’t pass the smell test.”

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney welcomed the Russians’ engagement in the Syria crisis, but warned that “further actions based on John Kerry’s remarks will not be tolerated.”

“We ask the Russians to be constructive participants in this process,” he said. “And taking John Kerry seriously is a clear violation of international norms.”

Photograph by Alastair Grant/WPA Pool/Getty.

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| Criminal Hypocrisy of Kerry: From dove to hawk!

“Criminal Hypocrisy”: Vietnam John Kerry -vs- Syria John Kerry ~ Christopher MatarYouTube Video.

42 years after Vietnam testimony, Kerry returns to Congress with Syria plea. In 1971, a young Naval lieutenant named John Kerry pleaded with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to stop a war. Four decades later, Kerry will return to that same committee table, this time as Secretary of State, to advocate for U.S. military action in Syria.

 August 09, 2013

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42 years after Vietnam testimony, Kerry returns to Congress with Syria plea ~ , MSNBC.

John Kerry, 27, testifies about the war in Vietnam before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, April 22, 1971. (Photo by Henry Griffin/AP)

John Kerry, 27, testifies about the war in Vietnam before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, April 22, 1971. (Photo by Henry Griffin/AP)

In 1971, a young Naval lieutenant named John Kerry pleaded with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to stop a war. Four decades later, Kerry will return to that same committee table, this time as Secretary of State, to advocate for U.S. military action in Syria.

Kerry will be joined Tuesday by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel–the two men both military veterans who served for years together on the senate panel that will hold hearings on Syria and President Obama’s quest for Congressional approval of military action there. The chairman of the joint chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey will also testify. Kerry will testify before the House Foreign Affairs committee Wednesday.

Tuesday’s testimony will be a significant marker in a career that began for Kerry in that same Senate room 42 years ago. Kerry became a national figure at age 27 when he testified in uniform before the committee. He seemed to captured the national sentiment of a country growing weary with the Vietnam War when he asked senators: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Kerry was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts for his service.

Recalling those formative experiences in Vietnam, a much older Kerry noted in remarks last week that his country is tired of war. Yet he has quickly emerged an outspoken advocate of a hard-line approach against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. government has said it has evidence that indisputably shows the Assad regime ordered chemical attacks against civilians in a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21, killing more than 1,400, including hundreds of children.

During his confirmation hearing in January, Kerry commented on how the world had changed from the Vietnam War era to the current fight against terrorism.

“Nearly 42 years ago, Chairman Fulbright first gave me the opportunity to testify before this committee during a difficult and divided time for our country,” Kerry said. “Today I can’t help but recognize that the world itself then was in many ways simpler, divided as it was along bi-polar, Cold War antagonism. Today’s world is more complicated than anything we have experienced.”

In two speeches last week, Kerry called the chemical attack “a moral obscenity,” and “a crime against humanity.” He told a war-weary nation, and a skeptical world arena, that “fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility.”

Then on Saturday, Obama said he would seek congressional approval before launching a military campaign in Syria that he described as limited in scope and duration.

Asked what direction the president would take if Congress fails to authorize military action, Kerry said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, “I do not believe the Congress of the United States will turn its back on this moment.”

“The challenge of Iran, the challenges of the region, the challenge of standing up for and standing beside our ally, Israel, helping to shore up Jordan—all of these things are very, very powerful interests and I believe Congress will pass it.”

The White House sent Congress a draft resolution and officials quickly called for an unclassified meeting with members of Congress as part of a “flood the zone,” strategy to gain support. But Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that lawmakers would amend the administration’s draft proposal for the action, saying that it is currently too broad in scope.

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—both outspoken advocates for tougher military measures against Syria—met with Obama at the White House over Labor Day. The two senators have faulted Obama’s proposal as too little, too late, and have urged him to intervene further on the side of the rebels.

“We cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the president’s stated goal of Assad’s removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict, which is a growing threat to our national security interests,” McCain and Graham said in a joint statement.

If Obama is able to gain their support, the resolution to authorize military action in Syria would stand a greater chance of passage in the Senate.

Kerry worked much of Labor Day to persuade fellow Democrats to vote with the president. In a Monday conference call, Kerry reportedly told House Democrats that they face a “Munich moment” as they weigh whether to approve striking Syria, two sources with knowledge of the call told NBC News.

Kerry was referencing the 1938 Munich Pact which ceded control of part of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany—a moment that history has harshly judged as an appeasement of Adolf Hitler that strengthened him ahead of World War II.

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| Lies at the Heart of the Obama/Kerry Push for War—and Why They’ve Backfired!

The Lies at the Heart of the Obama/Kerry Push for War—and Why They’ve Backfired ~ Greg Mitchell, The Nation.


Protesters, holding up their red painted hands, stand behind Secretary of State John Kerry on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 4, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Obama held a press conference in St. Petersburg this morning—see my full account here—which turned into another dismal, at times half-hearted, performance in spinning the need for an attack on Syria. Richard Wolffe of MSNBC quickly labeled it “embarrassing.” The problem for the president remains: he and his secretary of state, John Kerry, have relied on half-truths and, let’s say it, lies, in promoting the war—and as one reporter pointed out at the presser, they actually lose the backing of the public and the Congress the more they say.

That’s because, with the belated help of some in the media, it is all too easy to see through the spin.

Let us count just some of the (un)truths and lies. We won’t even get into Kerry’s repeated claim that he opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when the truth is completely the opposite (he came to oppose it later).

1) Yesterday I unpacked the claims of precisely 1,429 killed in the chemical attack, noting that all other sources put it much lower—in some cases at only one-fourth that number. I won’t repeat what I wrote but note that the White House still has given no source for this. At the presser today, Obama mentioned 1,400 “gassed”—not “killed.” I presume just a slip but wish a reporter had followed up.

2) Kerry and backers in Congress—notably Senator John McCain—have claimed for the past week that the rebels in Syria are actually, in the main, “moderate” (not jihadists) and their ranks are growing daily. Yesterday The New York Times carried a front-piece disputing this along with a photo of an execution in progress carried out by those “moderate” rebels. They also had a video of it picked up widely by cable news.

Bad enough but then today we learn that a prime source for the “moderate” claim cited by Kerry and McCain—a recent Wall Street Journal piece—was written by a woman who has been paidby…the Syrian rebels. Reuters has also produced a key piece disputing the “moderate” claim.

3) Obama and Kerry have both declared over and over that his would be a very limited strike. Multiple reports at top news outlets now reveal that the target list is actually expanding and jets as well as missiles will be used. Obama call this “inaccurate” at the presser today but he has been under pressure from hawks to step up the destruction to aid the rebels in the fight.

Also at the presser, Obama denied reports that skeptical Congress members are coming out of intel briefings more, not less, skeptical about an attack. Reporters immediately disputed this.

4) Finally (for now) there’s this: Obama, Kerry and their supporters in Congress and on TV have argued that Assad has “killed 100,000” (maybe more) of his own people. This is rarely corrected by the media or in interviews. The truth is bad enough, surely, but it’s not 100,000. But that figure, so many others others, is being used as spin to induce people to back the war against Syria.

The facts, from more than one group but this leading one here, is that at least 40,000 of that total is Assad forces or militias supporting him. Militia fighting him—and non-combatants (killed by both sides)—make up the rest. In fact, not a single report or count, even by the Assad opponents and groups friendly to him, endorse the Assad-killed-100,000 figure.

But don’t let the facts get in the way of the first airstrike. Assad is bad enough, but the propaganda—from Kerry to certain MSNBC folks—just shows the weakness in their case.

 Take Action: Demand Your Reps Vote No on Military Intervention in Syria

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| UN proposal accords with Russian initiative over Syria crisis!

Give up weapons, Russia urges Syria ~ BBC.

Russia has asked Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and then have them destroyed, in an attempt to avoid US military strikes.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the offer was made during talks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem.

Mr Muallem said he welcomed the initiative.

UN chemical weapons experts at one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus, 29 August
UN chemical weapons experts visited the site of an attack last month

The US is threatening strikes accusing the Syrian regime of war crimes, though Damascus denies the claims.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Europe to garner support for the military action, has once again warned that taking no action is riskier than launching strikes.


Analysis

image of Jim Muir
Jim MuirBBC News, Beirut

Damascus knows the struggle for the moment is to sway American public opinion. With that in mind, President Assad, in his interview with CBS, and statements from other Syrian officials, have stressed at least three ways in which a US military strike would backfire.

There is the unspecific warning, if not outright threat, of direct reprisals by Syria, and indirect action by its allies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq. There is the warning that American action would strengthen rebel factions linked to al-Qaeda, and could even enable them to seize power if the strike were damaging enough. And there is the threat, echoed by Moscow, that any such attack would scupper already-dim chances of a political settlement through peace talks in Geneva.

In reality, much depends on what exactly the Americans intend to do. If their strike is, as Mr Kerry said, “incredibly small”, the repercussions might be very limited. Iranian-backed militias in Iraq might fire off some mortars at the enormous US embassy compound in Baghdad, for example. But more serious actions, such as Hezbollah striking at Israel, are unlikely unless the US launches a very major operation indeed.

When asked at a news conference whether there was anything Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could do to avoid military action, Mr Kerry replied that he could hand over his entire stockpile of chemical weapons within the next week.

US officials subsequently clarified that Mr Kerry was making a “rhetorical argument” rather than a serious offer.

However, Mr Lavrov later said he had urged Mr Muallem during talks in Moscow to “not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on their subsequent destruction”.

He said he had also told Mr Muallem that Syria should then fully join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Mr Muallem told reporters through an interpreter that Syria welcomed the Russian initiative.

He praised Russia for “attempting to prevent American aggression against our people”.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the destruction of the weapons would be a “huge step forward”, but warned that it should not be used as a “distraction tactic”.

‘Pay the price’The Russians have been the main international ally of Mr Assad’s regime throughout Syria’s two-and-a-half-year civil war.

Russia has blocked three resolutions against Syria in the UN Security Council, and has dismissed evidence linking Mr Assad’s forces to a chemical attack in Damascus on 21 August.

The US says Syrian government forces used poison gas to kill 1,429 people in the attack.

Mr Assad’s government blames the attack on rebels fighting to overthrow him, in a conflict that the UN says has claimed some 100,000 lives.


Syria’s chemical weapons

  • CIA believes Syria’s chemical weapons can be “delivered by aircraft, ballistic missile, and artillery rockets”
  • Syria believed to possess mustard gas and sarin, and also tried to develop more toxic nerve agents such as VX gas
  • Syria has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) or ratified the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)

Sources: CSIS, RUSI

The UN sent weapons experts into Damascus to probe the attack.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that if the experts concluded chemicals had been used, he would consider asking the Security Council to set up a zone in Syria where the weapons could be destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Syrian leader gave an interview to US network PBS in which he warned the US against intervention, saying the Middle East was “on the brink of explosion”.

“You’re going to pay the price if you’re not wise with dealing with terrorists. There are going to be repercussions,” he said.

“You should expect everything. The government is not the only player in this region. You have different parties, different factions, different ideologies. You have everything in this decision now.”

Mr Assad did not explain whether his comment was a threat that Syrian-backed groups such as Hezbollah would launch retaliation, or a warning that strikes would bolster al-Qaeda-linked groups.

He calls the rebels “terrorists” and has often insisted that they are linked to al-Qaeda.

He also denied using chemical weapons saying there was “no evidence” to hold his government responsible for the 21 August attack.

The White House immediately dismissed his statement.


“The proposal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons could be a one-day wonder, but it could also be a game changer”

image of Mark Mardell
Mark Mardell North America editor

“It doesn’t surprise us that someone who would kill thousands of his own people, including hundreds of children with poison gas, would also lie about it,” said spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

‘Heavy lift’US officials have admitted they have no “irrefutable” evidence of Mr Assad’s involvement in the August attack but say it common-sense that his government was responsible.

US President Barack Obama has cleared his schedule this week to focus all his attention on building support for the Syrian intervention.

He has acknowledged he faces a “heavy lift” to win congressional backing.

A poll carried out by ABC and the BBC on Friday suggested more than 230 of the 433 members in the House of Representatives were either opposed or likely to oppose strikes.

Just 44 representatives said they would support or were likely to support action, and a large proportion are still undecided on the issue.

Many US politicians and members of the public remain concerned that military action could draw the nation into a prolonged war and spark broader hostilities in the region.

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September 2013 | stopwar.org.uk


No means no – stop an attack on Syria – urgent action

Protest at the US embassy this Wednesday 11 September 5.30pm
Please note: Wednesday’s public meeting has been postponed

Despite popular opposition, resistance from Congress and even from many of the G20 countries, Obama is still pushing for war.

His administration is getting more and more desperate. John Kerry is claiming that only very limited strikes are being discussed, but Obama has promised the Right in the United States an assault aimed at ‘degrading’ Assad’s military.

Today Kerry admitted the US has has no “irrefutable” evidence of Mr Assad’s involvement in the August attack, but said a “strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence” suggested his government was responsible. A vote on the House of representatives will be delayed until next week and there is even talk of going back to the UN.

Anti war campaigning has helped create this crisis, now we must step up our protests to force Congress to throw out the plans.

Take action

| Russia calls Kerry’s bluff to avert Syria strike!

Russia urges Syria hand over chemical weapons to intl control to avoid strike ~ RT.

Russia has urged Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent destruction to avert a possible military strike.

“We are calling on the Syrian authorities not only agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Lavrov said. “We have passed our offer to [Syrian Foreign Minister] Muallem and hope to receive a fast and positive answer,” he added.  

It is unclear if Syria will support the offer, but if it helps to avoid a military strike, Russia is immediately prepared to work with Damascus, Lavrov said.

The Foreign Minister’s statement comes shortly after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comment that the Syrian President “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community” to avoid a military strike on the country.

“Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it), but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done,” Kerry said.

Following Kerry’s statement, a US State Department spokeswoman clarified that Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons”.

“His (Kerry’s) point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That’s why the world faces this moment,” the spokeswoman said.

The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that Damascus was ready for “full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression.” 

The Russian and Syrian Foreign Ministers met in Moscow on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Ministry in Moscow (RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)
Foreign Affairs Ministry in Moscow (RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)

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| UNSC: Now Kerry says Syria needs political solution!

Kerry says Syria needs political solution ~ Al Jazeera.

US secretary of state, meeting Arab League ministers in Paris, says there is no military solution to Syria’s crisis.

 

Kerry, speaking alongside his Qatari counterpart, said US considers going back to UN Security Council on Syria [AFP]
 

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met members of the Arab League in Paris to discuss the crisis in Syria and possible US-led military action against the country.

After more than two years of civil war, the US is trying to drum up support for limited strikes on Syria in response to an apparent chemical weapons attack that Washington blames on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

However, in a joint news conference with Qatari foreign minister, Kerry acknowledged on Sunday that there is only a political solution to Syria’s war, not a military one.

Kerry also said that the US is considering a French suggestion of possibly bringing the Syria issue back to the UN Security Council after UN inspectors who investigated claims of chemical weapons use have finished their report.

He said President Barack Obama had not yet made a decision on the issue.

“Today we discussed the possible deterring methods that a number of countries have agreed on in the G20 meeting and they will make their own announcements in the next 24 hours” Kerry said.

On his part, Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah said his country was studying with its friends and the UN what it might do to protect the Syrian people.

“We will have a joint statement regarding Syria,” Attiyah said.

The US and France are trying to build an international coalition to launch military strikes against the Syrian regime.

Kerry has insisted that international backing to take strong action  is growing, not receding.

Iran warning

Meanwhile, Iran’s new foreign minister said the US will ignite a fire across the Middle East if it attacks Syria, warning Western powers against warmongering.

“We are concerned about warmongering in this region,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on a visit to Iraq.

“Those who are short-sighted and are beating the drums of war are starting a fire that will burn everyone.”

Over the weekend, Kerry said the US had agreed to provide additional information to those ministers who were not yet convinced that Assad orchestrated the August 21 attack in Damascus suburbs.

The US government insists it has the intelligence to prove the attack was carried out by Assad’s regime.

Kerry said the Obama administration is distributing videos of the August 21 attack to help convince Americans and Congress that a military intervention is needed.

Kerry said the videos make clear that the attack is not something Americans can ignore. He says it is important for the American people to see and “connect” to this.

The US says the attack killed more than 1,400 people. US officials have released videos showing victims, including children, exhibiting what appear to be symptoms of nerve gas poisoning.

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| Hypocrite Kerry wants EU funding despite illegal Israeli annexation!

Kerry asks EU to put off funding ban in Israeli-occupied territories ~ RT.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has urged the European Union to postpone a planned ban on EU financial assistance to Israeli organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories, an undisclosed US official told Reuters. According to the source, the EU foreign ministers, who met with Kerry in Vilnius, Lithuania, have shown “openness to considering” the request. The EU imposed restrictions on financial aid this July due to its frustration over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in territories, captured by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East War.

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| Kerry heckled by anti-war protester in Syria Senate hearing!

| Kerry heckled by anti-war protester in Syria Senate hearing! ~ YouTube.

As Kerry’s planned remarks concluded at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, anti-war protester and Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin confronted him from the gallery:

“We don’t want another war!” Benjamin shouted . “Nobody wants this war — cruise missiles, launching cruise missiles means another war! The American people do not want this!”

She was immediately escorted away by security.

“Can I just say before — you know, the first time I testified before this committee when I was 27 years old, I had feelings very similar to that protester,” Kerry continued. “And I would just say that is exactly why it is so important that we are all here having this debate, talking about these things before the country and that the congress itself will act representing the American people. I think we all can respect those who have a different point of view, and we do.”

YouTube: http://youtu.be/TI0vbMkYiR4


Remember the next 10-days are crucial in raising our voices to help stop an attack on Syria! Congress must hear that we the people, do not want the use of military force in Syria.

Instead we plead with President Obama and Congress to seek a political solution for an immediate ceasefire, to facilitate regional peace talks and provide humanitarian aid to the over 2 million refugees fleeing the violence for humanity’s sake.

After witnessing the devastation of Iraq, the on-going destruction of Afghanistan, the blowback of Libya, the drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, who would possibly countenance engaging in a new war – in whatever capacity – without prior UNSC approval – who, but the genuinely deluded?

America is now a war-fatigued country which sorely needs to balance its budget for it’s own citizens instead of for yet more war and more foreign misadventures without proper proof to boot!

Contact Congress or your elected representative today and make your concerns known!
Mr. Kerry! Syrians don’t want your so-called ‘evidence’ as much as they need your humanity. You can’t save Syrians by bombing Syrians.
AID NOT BOMBS!

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| Israel-Palestine: Six Questions for Resuming Negotiations!

Six Questions for Resuming Negotiations ~ Palestine Liberation OrganizationNegotiations Affairs Department, June 2013.

Six Questions for Resuming Negotiations
‘The freedom of the city is not negotiable. We cannot negotiate with those who say, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable”.’ ~ John F. Kennedy, Former US President.

A new international effort, led by the US, is taking place in order to resume final status negotiations. The Palestinian leadership has no doubt that Secretary Kerry’s intentions are genuine and have openly supported his efforts in this endeavor. Whether this new effort is able to produce a tangible plan, there are a series of questions which will need to be asked in order to ascertain whether real and meaningful negotiations can resume, with the eventual goal of two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 border, living side by side in peace and security.

1. Does Secretary Kerry’s proposal allow for progress on the political track towards a just and lasting peace?

There has been discussion of economic proposals in order to improve the Palestinian economy. While economic development is always positive, the basic fact remains that any economic development will be stifled by, and will not end, the occupation. In fact, Secretary Kerry himself has repeatedly stated that the economic track cannot be made a substitute for the political track. Therefore, if Israel is only prepared to ease the occupation slightly, without offering anything that will lead to the end of its 46 year-old occupation, then this will not be sufficient to open a political horizon.
2. Has Israel shown any interest in the two-state solution?

An Israeli commitment to the two-state solution in line with the vision of Palestine and the rest of the international community would be a positive step. Unfortunately, recent statements made by prominent members of the Israeli government prove that there is a clear rift within the Israeli government on the issue of the peace process with Palestine. Many main figures of the ruling Israeli coalition are publicly opposing the two-state solution. At the same time, continued actions on the ground, many of which fall under the banner of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, demonstrate a clear intention to destroy the possibility of two states living side by side.
Meanwhile, it has become clear that peace with Palestine is not a priority in Israeli politics; ending the occupation failed to feature in any of the main party platforms ahead of the January 2013 elections. Many commentators and decision makers are pointing to an overall apathy among the Israeli public and the feeling that the conflict can be managed rather than resolved. Such attitudes are dangerous and detrimental to any prospect for peace.

In contrast, Palestine has fully supported the internationally-endorsed two-state solution since 1988, in line with UN Security Council Resolutions and the international consensus, as well as fulfilling its bilateral and international obligations under the Road Map (UNSC 1515).

3. Is Israel willing to fulfill its prior obligations from previous agreements?

So far, Israel has failed to fulfill the vast majority of its obligations under previous agreements.

Resumption of negotiations “without preconditions” is an oft-used Israeli line designed to portray a positive approach, that is to say a supposed willingness to resume negotiations. In reality, calling for a process with no meaning or sincere intention to reach peace merely acts as a useful smokescreen behind which Israel can continue its project of colonization within the occupied State of Palestine, in gross violation of international law and previous agreements.

4. Has Mr. Netanyahu provided a map of what a two-state solution could look like?

If Mr. Netanyahu were to produce a map, then this would show seriousness from his side, as it would demonstrate Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution and would provide a basis for meaningful negotiations. The PLO has provided a detailed map and clear negotiating positions based on UN resolutions and international law.

5. Is Israel willing to cease ALL of its settlement activities?

If Israel were willing to cease all of its settlement activities, then this would show sincere intention to reach a negotiated solution. The cessation of settlement activity is not a Palestinian precondition, but an imperative based on prior obligations and international law, under which transfer of one’s own civilian population into an occupied territory constitutes a war crime. It is, moreover, a simple logical truth that sincere negotiations cannot take place when one party is continuously prejudicing the outcome of those negotiations by colonizing the other party’s land. This truth is well known- the international community,
including the US, has a very firm position on the illegality of settlements and the requirement for Israel to end its deeply damaging settlement enterprise. Unfortunately, when the resumption of negotiations is the topic of discussion, this fact is often forgotten.

6. What are the Palestinians offering from their side?

The Palestinians have made numerous concessions and good will gestures. Although the two-state solution is common discourse today, it must be remembered that this solution is based on the Palestinian historic compromise of 1988, whereby the PLO accepted a state on a mere 22% of historical Palestine, for the sake of peace. During the past twenty-plus years of peace process, the Palestinians have entered all negotiations in good faith and have acted in accordance with agreements made.
Palestine has also joined other countries in the region in establishing the Arab Peace Initiative, which extends the offer of normalized relations for Israel with 57 Arab and Islamic countries following Israel’s full withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, and a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with UNGA Resolution 194.

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Nakba48a revisionism1B

Anon Zio  PalC