Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What is the deeper context of the Syrian sectarian civil war and increased US involvement?

[Edited & articles added, 9/4&5/12]

To arrive at a plausible explanation for why an armed struggle, such as that occurring in Syria, is taking place, and why we are involved, one must look at the historical context of the conflict and therefore at all the causes, historical events, and relationships that may have led up to it, both inside and outside of the conflict itself. So it goes without saying that one must not only look to the motivations of those historically associated with the conflict, but also of those who analyze it and either present justifications for it or arguments against it.

I try to analyze many things, including the current sectarian civil war in Syria so my motivations are fair game. I am an atheist (god forbid, of course!) and an American (yes, I'm just as patriotic is you are, even if we disagree.). I have a special fondness for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [Emphasis added]
Most Americans reject the idea that we should live under the dictates of any particular religion or religious sect. Because Americans of different religions or of no religion at all, enjoy the freedoms inherent in the First Amendment, most reject the idea that America should be set aside as a Christian state of general or specific denomination (or as a state devoted to the European ethnicity of the colonists), and both atheists and people of the Jewish religion/ethnicity, some of whom are atheists, have been at the forefront of the struggle to defend our fist amendment rights. That is why I find al Qaeda, extreme American Christian fundamentalists, the more extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Zionists similarly abhorrent (Assad, a secularist, is none of these, although he oversees a sometimes brutal authoritarian government that is perhaps not as bad as the sectarian monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, or the current military government in Egypt.)

When we look at the history of conflict in the Middle East, however, we see in recent history some movements and countries who have set people to fighting amognst each other according to religious and ethnic interests. Prior to the European Zionist program to establish a "Jewish State" in the region of Palestine, the Arabs,  Persians, and Jews got along reasonably well. After the Western Powers in charge after WWII decided that the Jewish people should be able to establish a "Jewish State" in the midst of Arab Palestinians though, things deteriorated rapidly. Suddenly, Americans were continuously coerced into supporting the tiny "State of Israel" in wars to protect Israel's interests, even when it was not necessarily in our own national interest to do so.

One wonders why. Jewish people in the United States constitute a small fraction, 2 or 3% at most, of our population (about the same as Muslims), and many Jews do not support the occupations or Zionist Israeli expansion into the states bordering Israel, which are predominantly Muslim states, like Syria. Many do not support the barbaric treatment of Palestinians that breeds such resentment in Palestine and the nearby Muslim Arab and Persian states.

One wonders why Americans have come to support the establishment of a "Jewish State" in Israel, when we whole-heartedly reject the idea that America could be officially established as a Christian, atheist, Muslim, or Jewish state. It gets confusing, because Jewishness connotes both a religion, Judaism, and an ethnicity, but you have heard much uproar at the idea that America, one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, should call itself a Christian state or a state of European ancestry.

Why then is America, or any other country, but especially America with its First Amendment, supporting the idea that Israel can declare openly that it is a "Jewish State?" Why don't they just invite the Palestinians to share in the homeland they have taken from them and have fair elections? (Answer: The Palestinians in their homeland would far outnumber the Israelis, even with all the Jewish immigration from other countries, especially if the Palestinian refugees were allowed to come home.) In particular, with reference to we Americans, why are some American Jews, who fight so strongly here for the separation of church and state, fighting so strongly for our defense of Israel, a "state" that so whole-heatedly rejects that same concept?

This situation can only occur if people are uninformed, ignore their cognitive dissonance, or if the media and Congress are heavily under the influence of those that support these notions that go against our founding principles. Just look at the fawning attention of Congress to the needs of Israel while they ignore our many pressing needs at home.

Remember that technically Israel and Syria, while reaching a ceasefire agreement after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, are still at war, and that Israel still occupies and transfers its citizens to the illegally held Golan Heights, which was taken from Syria in the 1967 war. Israel has every reason to weaken Syria because Israel is still occupying and settling their country, on the Golan Heights, in violation of international law--not that international law really means much to the rogue states of the US and Israel.

This situation is part of the reason you see the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mr. "Hope and Change," placed into a position where he thinks it is advantageous to lie openly to the American people about his certainty of a Syrian chemical weapons attack on the Syrian rebels before all the evidence is in, and to commit to an attack on Syria that can only bring us more hatred from Muslims, more hatred from the real "International Community," more terrorist activities, more suffering in Syria, while promoting an attach which would make him a war criminal once again.

I realize that some are thinking that all this frank talk about the Israeli state, Zionism, and Jews in America must only come from an "Anti-Semite," because that is exactly what you have been taught to think by the mainstream media. That's why they incessantly present programs on PBS, NPR, and other networks, about the Jewish holocaust (no capital H), instead of incessantly bringing you programs about other important genocidal activities, like our murderous wars on the Native Americans, the African slave trade, slavery in the US, the treatment of the Irish by the English during the potato famine, Colonial period massacres, the Armenian holocaust, the slaughter of millions of Russians in WWII, or the Rwandan genocide. You are not allowed to criticize Israel's criminality. That is why the media constantly demonizes people who criticize Israel with the label of anti-Semite, even though the Palestinians are Semite too. That is why they even call Jewish critics like Norman Finklestein and Israel Shahak "self-hating Jews" or anti-Semites.

I guess some will have to get up off their programmed asses and look at the real history, the owners, producers, editors, reporters and guests in the mainstream media, and the activities of the Israel Lobby (AIPAC, etc.) to figure all that out. NPR, for example, regularly features spokespeople from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israeli foreign policy think-tank. WINEP is a simply another propaganda arm of AIPAC. This morning, Renee Montagne talked "to analyst David Makovsky of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy about the degree to which concern for Israel is shaping the Obama administration's thinking on Syria." His purpose was to show that our concerns should be Israel's concerns about Iran, more than Syria. The message was that Israel is dependent on our commitments to "red lines" being kept so as to send a message to Iran, another of their sworn enemies in the neighborhood. Tonight, PBS's Newshour has Jewish pro-war Senator Carl Levin telling us what to think. A careful look at AIPAC's activities and media bias should tell people what they need to know, so I'm not going to tell you about the important Jewish friendships in my life, or the respect I have for many Jewish commentators like Glenn Greenwald, Noam Chomsky, and the rest. Just read my past posts. After all, in an irrational, emotionally manipulated, ideological, and propagandized world, the truth is no defense. Anyone who roundly criticizes Israel is by their definition an anti-Semite. That is as true as their implying that a Barak Obama attack on Syria, sans UN approval, would be legal under international law. Like their evidence for Iraq and Syria WMD, their arguments are completely bogus.

Reminder from Tom Feeley at Information Clearing House:
"We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it." - Robert H. Jackson was the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.
"To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." Robert H. Jackson was the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. 
For more about Israel, search on "Israel" in the search function at the upper left hand portion of the blog, below the Google search function.

So. . . .  Here is one of the most important articles on the historical context of the war on Syria. It comes from Global Research and provides a very important perspective from Israel Shahak. You may notice a similarity to American foreign policy in other areas, like the Balkans, when the US was busy carving up the socialist Yugoslavian state into selfish ethnic interests.

It is followed by links to many more articles on the current situation in regard to Obama's perceived need to attack Syria in our name.
“Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East
Global Research, August 26, 2013
Global Research Editor’s Note
The following document pertaining to the formation of “Greater Israel” constitutes the cornerstone of powerful Zionist factions within the current Netanyahu government, the Likud party, as well as within the Israeli military and intelligence establishment.
According to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, “the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.”  According to Rabbi Fischmann,  “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”

When viewed in the current context, the war on Iraq, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the 2011 war on Libya, the ongoing war on Syria, not to mention the process of regime change in Egypt, must be understood in relation to the Zionist Plan for the Middle East. The latter consists in weakening and eventually fracturing neighboring Arab states as part of an Israeli expansionist project.
“Greater Israel” consists in an area extending from the Nile Valley to the Euphrates.
The Zionist project supports the Jewish settlement movement. More broadly it involves a policy of excluding Palestinians from Palestine leading to the eventual annexation of both the West Bank and Gaza to the State of Israel.
Greater Israel would create a number of proxy States. It would include parts of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the Sinai, as well as parts of  Iraq and Saudi Arabia. (See map).

According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya in a 2011 Global Research article,   The Yinon Plan was a continuation of Britain’s colonial design in the Middle East:
“[The Yinon plan] is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.
Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which the Yinon Plan discusses.
The Atlantic, in 2008, and the U.S. military’s Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, which the Biden Plan also calls for, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The partitioning of Iran, Turkey, Somalia, and Pakistan also all fall into line with these views. The Yinon Plan also calls for dissolution in North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.
File:Greater israel.jpg
Greater Israel” requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states.
“The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation…  This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme.” (Yinon Plan, see below)
Viewed in this context, the war on Syria is part of the process of Israeli territorial expansion. Israeli intelligence working hand in glove with the US, Turkey and NATO is directly supportive of the Al Qaeda terrorist mercenaries inside Syria.
The Zionist Project also requires the destabilization of Egypt, the creation of factional divisions within Egypt as instrumented by the “Arab Spring” leading to the formation of a sectarian based State dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, March 3, 2013

The Zionist Plan for the Middle East 

Translated and edited by
Israel Shahak
The Israel of Theodore Herzl (1904) and of Rabbi Fischmann (1947)
In his Complete Diaries, Vol. II. p. 711, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, says that the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.”
Rabbi Fischmann, member of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared in his testimony to the U.N. Special Committee of Enquiry on 9 July 1947: “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”
Oded Yinon’s

“A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”

Published by the
Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Inc.
Belmont, Massachusetts, 1982
Special Document No. 1 (ISBN 0-937694-56-8)
Table of Contents
The Association of Arab-American University Graduates finds it compelling to inaugurate its new publication series, Special Documents, with Oded Yinon’s article which appeared in Kivunim (Directions), the journal of the Department of Information of the World Zionist Organization. Oded Yinon is an Israeli journalist and was formerly attached to the Foreign Ministry of Israel. To our knowledge, this document is the most explicit, detailed and unambiguous statement to date of the Zionist strategy in the Middle East. Furthermore, it stands as an accurate representation of the “vision” for the entire Middle East of the presently ruling Zionist regime of Begin, Sharon and Eitan. Its importance, hence, lies not in its historical value but in the nightmare which it presents.
The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.
This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme. This theme has been documented on a very modest scale in the AAUG publication,  Israel’s Sacred Terrorism (1980), by Livia Rokach. Based on the memoirs of Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister of Israel, Rokach’s study documents, in convincing detail, the Zionist plan as it applies to Lebanon and as it was prepared in the mid-fifties.
The first massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1978 bore this plan out to the minutest detail. The second and more barbaric and encompassing Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982, aims to effect certain parts of this plan which hopes to see not only Lebanon, but Syria and Jordan as well, in fragments. This ought to make mockery of Israeli public claims regarding their desire for a strong and independent Lebanese central government. More accurately, they want a Lebanese central government that sanctions their regional imperialist designs by signing a peace treaty with them. They also seek acquiescence in their designs by the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian and other Arab governments as well as by the Palestinian people. What they want and what they are planning for is not an Arab world, but a world of Arab fragments that is ready to succumb to Israeli hegemony. Hence, Oded Yinon in his essay, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980′s,” talks about “far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967″ that are created by the “very stormy situation [that] surrounds Israel.”
The Zionist policy of displacing the Palestinians from Palestine is very much an active policy, but is pursued more forcefully in times of conflict, such as in the 1947-1948 war and in the 1967 war. An appendix entitled  ”Israel Talks of a New Exodus” is included in this publication to demonstrate past Zionist dispersals of Palestinians from their homeland and to show, besides the main Zionist document we present, other Zionist planning for the de-Palestinization of Palestine.
It is clear from the Kivunim document, published in February, 1982, that the “far-reaching opportunities” of which Zionist strategists have been thinking are the same “opportunities” of which they are trying to convince the world and which they claim were generated by their June, 1982 invasion. It is also clear that the Palestinians were never the sole target of Zionist plans, but the priority target since their viable and independent presence as a people negates the essence of the Zionist state. Every Arab state, however, especially those with cohesive and clear nationalist directions, is a real target sooner or later.
Contrasted with the detailed and unambiguous Zionist strategy elucidated in this document, Arab and Palestinian strategy, unfortunately, suffers from ambiguity and incoherence. There is no indication that Arab strategists have internalized the Zionist plan in its full ramifications. Instead, they react with incredulity and shock whenever a new stage of it unfolds. This is apparent in Arab reaction, albeit muted, to the Israeli siege of Beirut. The sad fact is that as long as the Zionist strategy for the Middle East is not taken seriously Arab reaction to any future siege of other Arab capitals will be the same.
Khalil Nakhleh
July 23, 1982
by Israel Shahak
The following essay represents, in my opinion, the accurate and detailed plan of the present Zionist regime (of Sharon and Eitan) for the Middle East which is based on the division of the whole area into small states, and the dissolution of all the existing Arab states. I will comment on the military aspect of this plan in a concluding note. Here I want to draw the attention of the readers to several important points:
1. The idea that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units, occurs again and again in Israeli strategic thinking. For example, Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz (and probably the most knowledgeable in Israel, on this topic) writes about the “best” that can happen for Israeli interests in Iraq: “The dissolution of Iraq into a Shi’ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part” (Ha’aretz 6/2/1982). Actually, this aspect of the plan is very old.
2. The strong connection with Neo-Conservative thought in the USA is very prominent, especially in the author’s notes. But, while lip service is paid to the idea of the “defense of the West” from Soviet power, the real aim of the author, and of the present Israeli establishment is clear: To make an Imperial Israel into a world power. In other words, the aim of Sharon is to deceive the Americans after he has deceived all the rest.
3. It is obvious that much of the relevant data, both in the notes and in the text, is garbled or omitted, such as the financial help of the U.S. to Israel. Much of it is pure fantasy. But, the plan is not to be regarded as not influential, or as not capable of realization for a short time. The plan follows faithfully the geopolitical ideas current in Germany of 1890-1933, which were swallowed whole by Hitler and the Nazi movement, and determined their aims for East Europe. Those aims, especially the division of the existing states, were carried out in 1939-1941, and only an alliance on the global scale prevented their consolidation for a period of time.
The notes by the author follow the text. To avoid confusion, I did not add any notes of my own, but have put the substance of them into this foreward and the conclusion at the end. I have, however, emphasized some portions of the text.
Israel Shahak
June 13, 1982

For the rest of this article, see:

“Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

Global Research, August 26, 2013
Additional Reading:

This first article completely blows away (forgive the language) the Obama adminsitration's argument for war on Syria:
Point-By-Point Rebuttal of U.S. Case for War In Syria The American War Brief Is Extremely Weak

By WashingtonsBlog
PEW Poll:
Public Opinion Runs Against Syrian Airstrikes-- Few See U.S. Military Action Discouraging Chemical Weapons Use
President Obama faces an uphill battle in making the case for U.S. military action in Syria. By a 48% to 29% margin, more Americans oppose than support conducting military airstrikes against Syria in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1 among 1,000 adults, finds that Obama has significant ground to make up in his own party. Just 29% of Democrats favor conducting airstrikes against Syria while 48% are opposed. Opinion among independents is similar (29% favor, 50% oppose). Republicans are more divided, with 35% favoring airstrikes and 40% opposed. [Emphasis Added]
Washington Post--Politics
Pro-Israel and Jewish groups strongly back military strike against Syria
By Matea Gold and , Published: September 3

Many of the United States’ most influential pro-Israel and Jewish groups on Tuesday backed the Obama administration’s call for military action in Syria, putting strong momentum behind the effort to persuade reluctant lawmakers to authorize a strike against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The stances mark a new phase in the debate over how to respond to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, setting in motion a robust lobbying effort on Capitol Hill — powered  in part by the memory of the Holocaust and how the Nazis gassed Jews. After a period of conspicuous silence on the issue, major groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the  Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called for bipartisan consensus Tuesday around the use of force. . . . .
To some, US case for Syrian gas attack, strike has too many holes

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime.


By Alex Kane

September 02, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "Mondoweiss" -  A former legal official from the Bush administration has warned that the text of President Barack Obama’s resolution authorizing the use of military force on Syria is so broad that it could justify attacks on Iran and Lebanon. Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law professor who resigned from the Bush administration over its  executive overreach, wrote today in Lawfare that “the proposed AUMF focuses on Syrian WMD but is otherwise very broad” and that it “does not contain specific limits on targets.”
After Obama’s Rose Garden speech yesterday, he sent Congress the text of his proposed resolution on striking Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack on Ghouta. While Congress could modify the resolution, as it stands it’s a document authorizing the use of force on a broad array of targets and could justify deeper U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. Here’s more of Goldsmith’s analysis:
(1) Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to take sides in the Syrian Civil War, or to attack Syrian rebels associated with al Qaeda, or to remove Assad from power?  Yes, as long as the President determines that any of these entities has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and that the use of force against one of them would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the U.S. or its allies (e.g. Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons.  It is very easy to imagine the President making such determinations with regard to Assad or one or more of the rebel groups.
(2) Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to use force against Iran or Hezbollah, in Iran or Lebanon?  Again, yes, as long as the President determines that Iran or Hezbollah has a (mere) a connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and the use of force against Iran or Hezbollah would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the U.S. or its allies (e.g. Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons.  Again, very easy to imagine.
It brings to mind the AUMF passed in the aftermath of September 11. While that resolution directly concerned Al Qaeda and the Taliban, it was later broadened to justify drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia–even on targets that were clearly not part of Al Qaeda.
Should We Fall Again for ‘Trust Me’?

By Ray McGovern
September 03, 2013 "Information Clearing House - In a dazzling display of chutzpah, the White House is demanding that Congress demonstrate blind trust in a U.S. intelligence establishment headed by James Clapper, a self-confessed perjurer.

That’s a lot to ask in seeking approval for a military attack on Syria, a country posing no credible threat to the United States. But with the help of the same corporate media that cheer-led us into war with Iraq, the administration has already largely succeeded in turning public discussion into one that assumes the accuracy of both the intelligence on the apparent Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria and President Barack Obama’s far-fetched claim that Syria is somehow a threat to the United States.
Here we go again with the old political gamesmanship over ”facts” as a prelude to war, a replay of intelligence trickery from Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin to Iraq’s nonexistent WMD. Once more, White House officials are mounting a full-court press in Congress, hoping there will be enough ball turnovers to enable the administration to pull out a victory, with the corporate media acting as hometown referees.
How “Progressives” and the American “Left” are Failing Over Syria

By Shamus Cooke
 September 03, 2013 "
Information Clearing House - It’s now painfully clear that Obama’s war on Syria is a replay of Bush’s march to war in Iraq, both built on lies. Zero evidence has been put forth that proves the Syrian government used chemical weapons. On the contrary, evidence has been collected that suggests the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels are responsible for the attack.  

 If Obama wages an aggressive attack on Syria — especially without UN authorization — he’ll be committing a major international crime that will, by any standard, make him a war criminal, just like Bush before him.

And because Obama’s attack on Syria followed Bush’s logic, you’d assume that liberal, progressive, and other Left groups would do what they did when Bush went to war: denounce it unconditionally and organize against it.

But that’s not what happened. Because this didn’t happen, less accurate information was made available to the public, and fewer public mobilizations have occurred, thus re-enforcing Obama’s ability to wage an aggressive war.

There are four pieces of information that all left groups have a duty to report about Syria, but they have either ignored or minimized:

1) Obama presented zero evidence to back up his main justification for war: that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians.

2) A top UN investigator, Carla Del Ponte, blamed a previous chemical weapons attack on the U.S.-backed rebels.

3) Any attack on Syria, no matter how “limited,” has a high risk of expanding into neighboring countries if Syria exercises its right as a sovereign nation to defend itself.

4) A war against Syria will be a violation of international law, since it is not approved by the UN, and therefore will make President Obama a war criminal.


September 03, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "Politico" - -   A reference to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC was mysteriously cut from a New York Times article published online Monday and in print Tuesday. The first version, published online Monday, quotes an anonymous administration official calling AIPAC the "800-pound gorilla in the room." The original article, which is still available on the Boston Globe's site, had two paragraphs worth of quotes from officials about the powerful lobbying group's position in the Syria debate:

Administration officials said the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee was already at work pressing for military action against the government of Assad, fearing that if Syria escapes American retribution for its use of chemical weapons, Iran might be emboldened in the future to attack Israel. In the House, the majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the only Jewish Republican in Congress [Their are an additional 21 Jews in the House of Representatives who are Democrats--there are 13 Jews in the Senate, i.e., 13%, far in excess of their percentage of the US population. Chris], has long worked to challenge Democrats’ traditional base among Jews.
One administration official, who, like others, declined to be identified discussing White House strategy, called AIPAC “the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” and said its allies in Congress had to be saying, “If the White House is not capable of enforcing this red line” against the catastrophic use of chemical weapons, “we’re in trouble.”

The newer version makes no reference to AIPAC and does not include an editor's note explaining any change, other than a typical note at the end of the story noting that a version of the article appeared in the Tuesday print edition of the Times.


Russian president says that if Obama is so convinced of Syria's guilt he should bring evidence to the UN

- Jon Queally, staff writer   

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. claims about Syria's use of chemical weapons are 'absolutely absurd' and said that if quality evidence does exist it should be brought to the U.N. Security Council and be debated before the international community.
"If there are data that the chemical weapons have been used, and used specifically by the regular army, this evidence should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council," said Putin in a joint interview with the Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television. "And it ought to be convincing. It shouldn't be based on some rumors and information obtained by special services through some kind of eavesdropping, some conversations and things like that." . . . .

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