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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Clinton-Rebels VS Obama-Iran

BLUF: Hillary Clinton encourages Saudi backed rebels in Syria. She shows them more respect than she has ever shown to US military and veterans. Obama continues to provide tacit support to Iran by not calling them out over their supporting Assad.

Here we have American Secretary of State Clinton "directing" rebel groups in Syria. Or has she, as some reports state, suggested a different tack? Either way Clinton has put American suggestion out there publicly for the rebels, who are not just anti-Assad but anti-Iran. This would get them more support from, among others, Saudi Arabia. Obama, conversely, has shown by not acting that he supports Iranian ends in the region. Those of you who have read my blog have seen this illustrated already.

Unfortunately for US policy and the rebel groups, a house divided cannot stand.  I say this as Assad and Obama have shown that they support Iranian goals. Now Clinton is showing support for Saudi goals. These two MUST be trying to start a regional war there.

"There has to be a representation of those who are in the front lines fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom."

It's too bad Hillary does not feel the same way about veterans in America. We have all seen the authorized lists of the potential home-grown terrorists that include US Veterans. 

Meanwhile, Russia and China both oppose any effort from the West. The two countries continue to work against the US in blocking resolutions, undermining Western policies, and isolating our few allies.

Clinton directs rebel groups in Syria

Syrian rebels open talks in Doha as bombing hits Damascus
Top news: Syrian rebel groups began negotiations in Doha over forming a united political front. The talks come shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that the Syrian National Council has outlived its usefulness and should be integrated into a larger umbrella opposition group which would allow greater coordination between fighters in Syria, exile groups, and the opposition's foreign backers.

The SNC, which has been frequently consumed by infighting over the course of the campaign against Bashar al-Assad's government, is attempting to reform itself to become more exclusive in order to head off a challenge from the new U.S.-backed coalition, the Syrian National Initiative. Expectations that the meeting will end in a successful resolution are low.

Meanwhile, back in Syria, a massive bombing hit near an Army compound in Damascus. Opposition activists say the bombing was likely the work of the Ahfad al-Rasoul Brigade, an Islamist militant group. Rebels also captured an oil field in Eastern Syria on Sunday.

ZAGREB (Reuters) - The United States called on Wednesday for an overhaul of Syria's opposition leadership, saying it was time to move beyond the Syrian National Council and bring in those "in the front lines fighting and dying".

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, signaling a more active stance by Washington in attempts to form a credible political opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said a meeting next week in Qatar would be an opportunity to broaden the coalition against him.

"This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but who, in many instances, have not been inside Syria for 20, 30, 40 years," she said during a visit to Croatia.

"There has to be a representation of those who are in the front lines fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom."

Clinton's comments represented a clear break with the Syrian National Council (SNC), a largely foreign-based group which has been among the most vocal proponents of international intervention in the Syrian conflict.

U.S. officials have privately expressed frustration with the SNC's inability to come together with a coherent plan and with its lack of traction with the disparate internal groups which have waged the 19-month uprising against Assad's government.

Senior members of the SNC, Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups ended a meeting in Turkey on Wednesday and pledged to unite behind a transitional government in coming months.

"It's been our divisions that have allowed the Assad forces to reach this point," Ammar al-Wawi, a rebel commander, told Reuters after the talks outside Istanbul.

"We are united on toppling Assad. Everyone, including all the rebels, will gather under the transitional government."

Mohammad Al-Haj Ali, a senior Syrian military defector, told a news conference after the meeting: "We are still facing some difficulties between the politicians and different opposition groups and the leaders of the Free Syrian Army on the ground."

Clinton said it was important that the next rulers of Syria were both inclusive and committed to rejecting extremism.

"There needs to be an opposition that can speak to every segment and every geographic part of Syria. And we also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution," she said.

Syria's revolt has killed an estimated 32,000. A bomb near a Shi'ite shrine in a suburb of Damascus killed at least six more people on Wednesday, state media and opposition activists said.


The meeting next week in Qatar's capital Doha represents a chance to forge a new leadership, Clinton said, adding the United States had helped to "smuggle out" representatives of internal Syrian opposition groups to a meeting in New York last month to argue their case for inclusion.

"We have recommended names and organizations that we believe should be included in any leadership structure," she told a news conference.

"We've made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice which must be heard."

The United States and its allies have struggled for months to craft a credible opposition coalition.

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has said it is not providing arms to internal opponents of Assad and is limiting its aid to non-lethal humanitarian assistance.

It concedes, however, that some of its allies are providing lethal assistance - a fact that Assad's chief backer Russia says shows western powers are intent on determining Syria's future.

Russia and China have blocked three U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at increasing pressure on the Assad government, leading the United States and its allies to say they could move beyond U.N. structures for their next steps.

Clinton said she regretted but was not surprised by the failure of the latest attempted ceasefire, called by international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi last Friday. Each side blamed the other for breaking the truce.

"The Assad regime did not suspend its use of advanced weaponry against the Syrian people for even one day," she said.

"While we urge Special Envoy Brahimi to do whatever he can in Moscow and Beijing to convince them to change course and support a stronger U.N. action we cannot and will not wait for that."

Clinton said the United States would continue to work with partners to increase sanctions on the Assad government and provide humanitarian assistance to those hit by the conflict.

Russia, Syrian opposition slam US calls for new leadership against Assad
By Julian Pecquet  - 11/02/12 11:59 AM ET
Russia joined Syria's main exiled opposition group on Friday in accusing the Obama administration of picking and choosing the people it wants to run Syria if President Bashar Assad falls.

The comments come after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said the United States will propose its own list of individuals and organizations as part of a multinational conference in Doha, Qatar, next week aimed at trying to create a unified rebel front. Clinton said the main exiled opposition group, the Paris-based Syrian National Council, was made up of people who haven't been in the country in decades and does not represent the various groups currently fighting on the front lines against Assad.

The Syrian National Council denounced Clinton's statement on Friday, the Agence France-Presse wire service reported.
“Any discussions aimed at passing over the Syrian National Council or at creating new bodies to replace it,” the group said in a statement, “are an attempt to undermine the Syrian revolution by sowing the seeds of division.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry also lambasted the United States, the AFP reported, saying Clinton's comments violated an agreement reached with Russia and others over the summer to support a transition government approved by the Syrian people. 

“We heard direct orders [from the United States] about what the Syrian opposition should do to form a 'government in exile,' and about who should join such a government – up to specific people," the Russian ministry's statement said. “They are bluntly making clear that they see the Syria conflict being settled exclusively on their terms.”

The United States is expected to back a new coalition, called the Syrian National Initiative, during the meeting in Doha. The initiative is being pushed by Syrian dissident Riad Seif, a former member of parliament and businessman who has put forward a plan for a new leadership council.

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