Sunday, September 08, 2013

Region of Conflict

News Update on Syria: September 9/10 => further down

Breaking News: Obama accepts Russian plan of a chemical weapons' control by international monitors as Syria's government declares its will to cooperate, even to halt poison gas production. However, it remains unclear whether such plan is realistic in the frame of fierce fighting in Syria's civil war.

Obama's speech to the U.S. nation tonight can be evaluated by an ad-hoc opinion poll among speech watchers. It shows an increase of support for inevitable military action within a war-tired nation as well as strong confidence in a diplomatic solution that might be now at hand:

In my last blogspot, some days ago, I dealt with the crisis in Syria. On this occasion, I presented some visitors to "blueprint news" interested in the Syrian subject and who came from most exotic places all over the world.

Today, I'm dealing with some visitors and their field of interest and who came from the actual region of conflict which is stretching from the Mediterranean to the heights of Afghanistan and Pakistan. That region includes Iran which is being regarded by the West as an ally to the Syrian regime and a supporter of militant Islamists in Lebanon and Palestine. All of the following visitors came during the last few days and weeks:


A visitor from the Emirate of Qatar who loaded latest information about Syria:

A visitor from Iraq interested in Syria news and who visited the same blogspot:

The following photos of victims from the reported gas attacks in Syria had to be added as they are taken from video material shown to members of the U.S. Congress in the effort to convince them of military action against Syria.

This came about the same time when questions of congressmen were answered by foreign secretary John Kerry, defense secretary Chuck Hagel and General Dempsey on September 4. President Obama was absent on that meeting because of his participation on the G-20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

While official support of U.S. Senate and House on Capitol Hill is still uncertain, Barack Obama is trying to activate his European allies for support of a rather unilateral action in the frame of blocked decisions in the UN Security Council. War with Russia is considered to be unlikely by the Obama administration, even though Russia blocked the UN Security Council and declared that chemical weapons might have been used by Syrian rebels. In addition, Russia sent warships for observation into the Mediterranean where a fleet of U.S. and British warships has already been deployed.

Quotations from the hearing before U.S. Congress on September 4:

Kerry: We are acting cautiously. We are not getting into Syria's civil war.

Kerry: Russia won't go to war over Syria.

Dempsey: There's a risk of escalation if we do nothing.

Kerry: Inaction will undermine our credibility. If we do nothing, Pyongyang,
Tehran, Damascus will celebrate.

Kerry: Strike will impact Iran's thinking.

Syria News Update on September 9:

Russia urges Syria to hand over control of chemical weapons. [USA Today, September 9, 2013]

Syria News Update on September 10:


A delegation from Syria's internal opposition group is going to visit China these days.

中国外交部发言人洪磊在10日的例行记者会上 …

On today's regular press conference of China's foreign ministry, the ministry's spokesman Hong Lei said that a delegation from Syria's internal opposition group "Coalition for a Nationwide Dialogue" was going to visit China these days at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs. The Syrian delegation comprises six members. During their visit, the delegation will be received by leading officials of the foreign ministry and related ministries for an exchange of views on the Syrian situation.

[Source: People's Network 人民网 on September 10, 2013]

- Breaking News - NBC News on September 10 -

by Alastair Jamieson, Albina Kovalyova and Keir Simmons, NBC News

"... President Barack Obama has agreed to discuss Russia's proposal that Syria hand over chemical weapons, the White House said Tuesday after Damascus confirmed it would accept such a deal.

Talks will begin at the United Nations later Tuesday, a White House official told NBC News, even as Obama prepares to address Congress -- and the American people -- to make the case for authorization to use military strikes if diplomatic solutions fail.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.S., France and Britain would propose a U.N. Security Council resolution shortly.

Earlier, Syria Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told NBC News in Moscow that he hoped acceptance of the "peaceful solution" would "put an end to the war."

The building momentum behind Russia's plan, which had already been endorsed by China and Iran, came only 24 hours after Secretary of State John Kerry raised a weapons handover at a news conference in London.

Obama said Monday that the Russia plan offered a potential path that averted U.S. military strikes, but Kerry cautioned that the only reason the Russia solution has "potential legs at all" is because of a credible threat of force.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday, saying that the Obama administration will not wait for very long on a possible Syrian chemical weapons proposal. "Nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of a hanging," Kerry told a congressional committee Tuesday. He said Obama would look at the plan but added: "We’re waiting for that proposal, but we’re not waiting for long.” Kerry said it had been the “credible use of force” by the U.S. that has “for the first time brought this regime to even acknowledge that they have a chemical weapons arsenal,” adding that the threat of military action “is more compelling if the Congress stands with the commander in chief.”

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel echoed that line, saying the Russia deal "could be a real solution to this crisis," but added: "We must be clear-eyed and ensure it is not a stalling tactic by Syria and its Russian patrons."

Senior senators - including John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. - announced they were working on a new plan that would authorize the president to use force only if Syria did not comply with a U.N. resolution to remove chemical weapons by a pre-determined deadline.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announces Tuesday that he will not be voting in favor of a resolution to use U.S. military force in Syria. But even as they discussed their move, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to military strikes against Syria. And Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Kerry's successor in the Senate, said he would not support the use of force resolution passed by the committee, calling it too broad.

The president traveled to Capitol Hill shortly after noon Tuesday to meet with the Senate Democratic Caucus and Senate Republican Conference before delivering an address to the nation from the East Room of the White House at 9:01 p.m. ET.

Kerry said that despite a Senate delay on a vote after the Russians made their proposal, "nothing has changed" on the administration request for congressional action, though he said the president may talk to congressional leaders about timing of a vote.

In a further development, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin said the Russian president had discussed the weapons handover plan with Obama at last week’s G-20 summit.

That shed a different light on Kerry’s mention of the plan at a news conference in London on Monday. That had previously been characterized by spokesman Jen Psaki as an off-the-cuff “rhetorical argument.”

Obama's case for limited airstrikes targeting Assad's regime was boosted early Tuesday when a Human Rights Watch report blamed Syrian government forces for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack that killed hundreds of people. The U.S.-based rights group said it had reached its conclusion after analyzing witness accounts, remnants of the weapons used and medical records of victims.

Human Rights Watch report: Syrian government is likely responsible for chemical attack. HRW said it did not believe the attack could have been carried out by rebels or other “terrorists” as a smokescreen, as suggested by Assad. "Human Rights Watch and arms experts monitoring the use of weaponry in Syria have not documented Syrian opposition forces to be in possession of the 140mm and 330mm rockets used in the attack, or their associated launchers," the report added.

Russia’s diplomatic solution appeared to be gathering momentum internationally -- as an attractive option for many U.S. allies who agree with the White House stance against chemical weapons but who are reluctant to be drawn into another Middle East military conflict.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are working with other senators on an alternative resolution to dealing with Syria and its chemical weapons. NBC News' Kasie Hunt reports.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained his proposal during a pre-planned 14-minute phone call to John Kerry as the U.S. secretary of state flew from London to Washington Monday.

U.S. officials said Kerry expressed concern that it would be hard to verify whether Syria had complied with any such plan, or to know if the regime had still kept some of its chemical weapons stockpiles.

Adding to international concern, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency reported that Syrian jets bombed the border town of Tel Abyad on Monday, prompting yet more Syrians to seek refuge in Turkey. Thousands had already flooded across the border, leaving authorities struggling to cope. ..."


A visitor from Lebanon who loaded an earlier blogspot
that deals with the dangers of a future World War III:


A Syrian visitor reminds us of a sad ending of Ramadan (August 2012) which
many Syrian refugees had to experience in their Turkish or Jordanian camps:

- City of the Lost - [The New Yorker / Letter from Jordan, August 26, 2013]


A Jordanian visitor loaded another blogspot hinting at
a scenario of mutual threats in the Iranian conflict:


A reminder from Egypt of the presidential elections in 2012 that brought Moh. Morsy
into office. I was surprised to learn how many visitors from the Arab world had loaded
blogspots related to Morsy, even after his destitution by Egypt's military one year later.


And finally, there comes a download by Afghan authorities in Kabul
dealing with a Taliban attack of U.S. Airbase Baghram in May 2010:

The Baghram attack on May 19, 2010, was accompanied by first news on secret negotiations between Taliban leaders and Afghan government envoys on the remote paradise of the Maldives.

By the way, today's government request came from the same internet access point in Kabul as another request on August 17, 2013. That time's subject was chasing Al-Qaeda in Mali.

Choice of localized visitors to "blueprint news" during 48 hours on August 8/9, 2013:

A rare visitor from Cuba whose interest is electronic warfare in Syria:

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