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11.10.05

News Articles, Syria, The U.N.

Syria balks at U.N. Resolution, but promises cooperation


Three stories on Syria’s reaction to the introduction and passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1636.

First, on the events at the U.N., two like-named stories from CNN…

Nov. 1: CNN – Syria rejects U.N. Resolution

Nov 2: CNN – Syria rejects U.N. Resolution

The first story is more in-depth, but the second one has some unique content, including the statement below from Condi Rice:

The resolution is under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which holds open the ultimate possibility of the Security Council considering the use of force with failure to comply.

Speaking in Monday’s meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the resolution “made it clear that failure to comply with these demands will lead to serious consequences from the international community.” She called the Chapter 7 resolution “the only way to compel the Syrians” to cooperate.

It’s worth noting that Syria had, at the request of the U.N.’s Hariri bombing probe leader Detlev Mehlis, created its own commission to investigate the bombing, with a presidential order to cooperate with the U.N. investigation. This occured days before the U.N. resolution.

That fact is noted in the last paragraph of the first, longer story, but it is not mentioned at all in the shorter story– the one with the Rice quote about “the only way to compel” Syria’s cooperation.

The first article has a lot more quotes of the actual debate surrounding the resolution.

Sorry if that was a confusing way of introducing the two articles. :-\

The third, which I’m archiving here in full, deals with Syria’s stated plans to comply with the resolution.

I’ll be tying all this Syria stuff together shortly…there’s just a lot to get caught up on there, news-wise. And it keeps developing.


Syria to allow investigation of officials

Syrian ambassador to London says Syria will let U.N. Investigators into Hariri’s killing question Syrian officials in Damascus on their own

-New Agencies

Syria will let U.N. Investigators trying to identify the killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to question Syrian officials in Damascus on their own, the Syrian ambassador to London said.

U.N. Chief Investigator Detlev Mehlis has complained that Syrian security figures interviewed in Damascus last month appeared to give only prepared responses. The Syrians had insisted that other officials attend the interviews.

“There shouldn’t be a problem to meet with them as witnesses any time,” The ambassador, Sami Khiyami, told Reuters.

“Mehlis can meet them completely alone, even choose a place in Damascus with a U.N. Flag,” He said, adding that the investigators would be free to produce their witnesses at the interviews, while keeping their identities secret if necessary.

Mehlis, who pointed to Syrian and Lebanese involvement in the assassination in an interim report in October, also accused Damascus of failing to cooperate properly with his mission.

Khiyami said his understanding of the Security Council resolution was that Mehlis must get the approval of a council committee before naming anyone as suspects in Hariri’s killing.

Asked if Syrian President Bashar Assad would agree to be interviewed for the investigation, the ambassador said: “Let us not forget that he is the symbol of the country. Mehlis can ask to meet him, and I don’t think there should be a problem, but there is no other way to meet the president but to ask for an audience.”

Mehlis is expected soon to request interviews with Syrian officials, including members of Assad’s inner circle such as his his brother Maher Assad, a key military commander, and his brother-in-law and military intelligence chief Assef Shawkat.

Syrian investigating committee calls for informants

Also Friday, the Syrian judicial committee investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister called Friday for the public’s help, urging anyone with information related to the February 14 bombing to come forth, Syria’s official news agency said.

The call came a day after the committee, headed by Syrian Prosecutor-General Ghada Murad, met for the first time since President Bashar Assad ordered its creation on October 29.

The decision to set up the committee came after U.N. Investigator Mehlis called on Syria to conduct its own probe into the assassination to work with the international investigation.
Read the rest of this entry »

11.09.05

Site Admin, The PNAC Opposition

Thanks


This message was another part of a major update that was sent out to e-mail subscribers recently…


First, I want to thank the handful of folks who responded to the old on-site plea for contributions to get the site updated and expanded. Your support helped get PNAC.info fixed up and back on the job.

Second, I want to thank all the people who have linked to and referenced PNAC.info in the two and a half years since it’s been launched. I’ve only been able to go back a few months in the logs so far, but it’s safe to say that hundreds and hundreds of websites have linked to ours, and that’s not counting posts on forums and message boards, or blog comments. Just under 250 of those sites are now thanked on our web site, via the link list on the right side of the page. There are probably at least another 250 links still to be reciprocated. It’s been great to see how frequently PNAC.info is being mentioned or discovered. New people are linking to the site every day.

Keep in mind that I haven’t directly asked for links or promotion help since the first month or so, back in April 2003–so all this word-spreading has been done by folks taking the initiative on their own. Thanks everyone!

Last, I want to thank all the folks around the Internet who have taken up the cause of spreading the word about the PNAC, the neoconservative movement, and its connections with the current administration, and with America’s foreign policy. There are literally dozens of websites and focus areas dedicated to educating folks about this stuff now, and it’s safe to say that it has made a difference. Awareness of these issues is much more widespread than it was two years ago, and while I can’t summarize all the new developments within one sentence, let’s just say that the neoconservatives are not in as strong of a position as they were when this site started, or when we were last updating it. All of the sites set up to alert people and spread the word have to get some of the credit for that.

11.09.05

News Articles, Research Materials, Syria, The U.N.

U.N. Resolution on Syria and Hariri assassination investigation


CNN has a summary of the main action points if the recent U.N. Securinty Council resolution on Syria. Generally it insists that Syria cooperate fully with the U.N. investigation team that is looking into the killing of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (and 20+ others, via car bombing) this past February.

Here’s more, courtesy of CNN/Reuters:

  • The resolution threatens to consider “if necessary” unspecified “further action” against Syria if Damascus does not cooperate fully with the U.N. commission that Mehlis heads.
  • Cooperation includes a demand that Syria detain officials or other individuals the U.N. commission suspects of “involvement in the planning, sponsoring, organizing or perpetrating of this terrorist act” and make them available for questioning.
  • The U.N. commission can determine the location and circumstances for interviewing Syrian officials.
  • The measure puts a ban on travel and a freeze on overseas assets of individuals designated as suspects by the commission or the Lebanese government in planning, organizing or carrying out the assassination. But such sanctions are subject to approval by Security Council members, any one of which can object to the submission of a name.
  • The Security Council will extend the mandate of the U.N. commission beyond December 15 if Lebanon requests it.
  • The measure invokes Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes a council resolution mandatory for all U.N. members and lays the groundwork for punitive measures.

  • We’re storing a copy of a PDF version of the entire Resolution 1636 here at PNAC.info. It can also be found at its original location on the Security Council’s 2005 resolutions page.


    In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

    11.08.05

    News Articles, Outside Commentary, Syria

    U.N. Demands Syria’s Cooperation


    More on the developing Syria saga, from Voice of America News.

    Note this statement by Secretary of State Rice:

    “With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.â€?

    There’s another nation in the Middle East that was being characterized in much the same way, prior to being invaded by the U.S. Another thing happened before the U.S. invaded Iraq as well, and that was the passing of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Iraq comply with UN weapons inspections and disclosure requirements or face “serious consequences”. This one against Syria threatens to consider further action if necessary. My next post will be a summary of the resolution.


    U.N. Demands Syria’s Cooperation

    04 November 2005

    U.N. Demands Syria’s Cooperation (MP3) audio clip
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    The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution that calls on Syria to cooperate in the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Mr. Hariri was an opponent of Syria’s nearly three-decades long occupation in Lebanon. He and twenty other people were killed in a February 2005 car bombing in Beirut.

    A report prepared for the U.N. Security Council implicated both Lebanese and Syrian high-ranking officials in the murders. The report said Syria failed to cooperate and that several Syrian officials tried to mislead investigators by giving them false or inaccurate information.

    The resolution demands that Syria detain any officials or individuals that U.N. investigators suspect of involvement in the Hariri murder and make them available for questioning. It also bans travel for individuals designated as suspects in the assassination and freezes their overseas assets.

    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.N. Security Council resolution “sends a strong signal to Syria�:

    “The resolution tells the Syrians in no uncertain terms, in very strong language, that they should not interfere in Lebanese affairs in any way. . . . .it allows the Council to come back to consider further action should that be necessary; should Syria not comply.�

    The resolution, said Ms. Rice, “is the only way to compel the Syrian government to accept the just demands of the United Nations and to cooperate fully with the investigationâ€?:

    “With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.â€?

    Secretary of State Rice says Syria needs to make “a strategic decision” to change its behavior. “Until that day comes,â€? she said, “we in the international community must remain united.”

    The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.


    In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

    11.08.05

    Site Admin

    PNAC.info is Back in Action


    This message was part of a major update that was sent out to e-mail subscribers recently…


    As many of you have noticed, there hasn’t been very much new posted at the PNAC.info site in quite some time. And to call that an understatement would be an understatement in itself.

    There’s not much I can do about that except to apologize for letting the site languish for so long. Any way I can think of to explain or justify the situation sounds belabored to me, and while there are many practical and technical reasons for the delay, the bottom line is that it was my responsibility, and I have not met that responsibility for some time. I most definitely apologize.

    As I hope you’ve gathered by now, PNAC.info is back on the job–and ready to finish what we started!

    The site has been moved to a new software, and all of the old entries have been imported. The visual style is very different than before. For now, the home page has many of the same elements as the old version, so that folks don’t get too disoriented. In the coming weeks, the site will be evolving from that setup, growing into more of a functional powerhouse. For now, the good news is that it’s back, it’s looking slick, and it’s got new updates — with many, many more to come.

    Let’s just say I aim to make it worth the wait. 🙂

    11.08.05

    Outside Analysis, Outside Commentary, Research Materials

    Reference Materials for “Debating Empire”


    Professors Jennifer Jackson and Steve Macek at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois have a course this semester titled “Debating Empire”. The reason we knew about it is that they included PNAC.info among the reference links for that course. The reason I’m telling you is that they have also compiled a hefty page of links to essays, articles, and other research materials relating to the subject of the United States and empire. There are writings from Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain, a speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., and essays from folks as far ranging in viewpoint as Arundhati Roy and Charles Krauthammer. There looks to be a few dozen resources and documents. I’m sure many of them will end up with their own entries here at PNAC.info in due time, but for now, you can just dig in yourself.

    Reference Materials for “Debating Empire”

    Note: It certainly appears at first glance that the folks who set up that page are coming from a particular side of the debate, and I assume that, on the whole, the resources there lean toward the anti-empire side of the debate. I just wanted to make it clear that we’re aware the page is not fully objective (and probably left-leaning), but I’m including it anyway because the documents on the page can speak for themselves, and I can tell just at a glance that many of them will have much useful to say on this topic.

    11.08.05

    Research Materials

    (Extensive) Documents for the Study of American History


    This is only tangentially related to our purposes here, but we do intend to add historical research materials here when they are relevant to the issues at hand. U.S. History is obviously relevant, and this page has the most comprehensive collection of original texts from U.S. history that I have ever seen. It’s quite astounding, actually, how many items they have linked to there. It appears to be every major presidential address, plus every major law and treaty, plus every state’s constitution, plus every major political essay, and so on. And I mean “and so on.” Going back to the year 1400, no less.

    Check it out:
    Documents for the Study of American History

    11.06.05

    News Articles, Syria

    Much Ado About Syria, Pt.4– Syria: U.S. troops killed Syrian soldier


    Here are two different stories about the same news item– namely, the report that a Syrian general who was giving a tour of their border security efforts told reporters that Syrian troops have been fired upon on more than one occasion, and killed on at least one, by U.S. troops.

    Both articles touch upon most of the same elements: that Syria has made overt efforts at border security and is showing them off to dispel accusations to the contrary; that the U.S. was willing and ready to do whatever it felt necessary in that area in pursuit of its anti-terror aims; and things are hot at the Iraq/Syria border. This last point is addressed more in the Telegraph (UK) article than in the USA Today/AP article.

    For what it’s worth, the AP writer apparently was unable to pin down the Syrian general’s full name, and, given that the Telegraph does have a full name, I’m inclined to think they have it right. Which one has his rank right is anyone’s guess.


    Syria accuses US of launching lethal raids over its borders
    By Harry de Quetteville in Baghouz
    telegraph.co.uk
    (Filed: 29/10/2005)

    Syria has accused the United States of launching lethal military raids into its territory from Iraq, escalating the diplomatic crisis between the two countries as the Bush administration seeks to step up pressure on President Bashar Assad’s regime.

    Major General Amid Suleiman, a Syrian officer, said that American cross-border attacks into Syria had killed at least two border guards, wounded several more and prompted an official complaint to the American embassy in Damascus.

    He made the allegations during an official press tour of Syrian security forces on the Iraqi border, which the US claims is a barely guarded passage into Iraq for hardcore foreign jihadis.

    While showing off what he said were beefed-up Syrian border measures designed to blunt those criticisms, including new police stations and checkpoints, Maj Gen Suleiman alleged that his own border forces had come under repeated American attack.

    “Incidents have taken place with casualties on my surveillance troops,” he said, near the Euphrates river border crossing between Syria and Iraq. “Many US projectiles have landed here. In this area alone, two soldiers and two civilians have been killed by the American attacks.”

    The charge follows leaks in Washington that the US has already engaged in military raids into Syria and is contemplating launching special forces operations on Syrian soil to eliminate insurgent networks before they reach Iraq.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    11.06.05

    Outside Commentary, Syria

    Much Ado About Syria, Pt.3– Rep. Ron Paul: “Prepare for a broader war in the Middle East”


    Representative Ron Paul, the respected Republican congressman from Texas, provided one of the most resounding statements of alarm about the aims and machinations of the neoconservative movement, in his widely-distributed speech “Neo-conned”.

    Now he’s here to let us know what’s staring us in the face, in the form of what he sees as the U.S.’s next target for regime change– Syria.

    Dr. Paul hits it right on the head so many times in this piece that I will just let it speak for itself.


    HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
    BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
    October 26, 2005

    We Have Been Warned

    We have been warned. Prepare for a broader war in the Middle East, as plans are being laid for the next U.S. led regime change– in Syria. A UN report on the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafig Hariri elicited this comment from a senior U.S. policy maker: “Out of tragedy comes an extraordinary strategic opportunity.â€? This statement reflects the continued neo-conservative, Machiavellian influence on our foreign policy. The “opportunityâ€? refers to the long-held neo-conservative plan for regime change in Syria, similar to what was carried out in Iraq.

    This plan for remaking the Middle East has been around for a long time. Just as 9/11 served the interests of those who longed for changes in Iraq, the sensationalism surrounding Hariri’s death is being used to advance plans to remove Assad.

    Congress already has assisted these plans by authorizing the sanctions placed on Syria last year. Harmful sanctions, as applied to Iraq in the 1990s, inevitably represent a major step toward war since they bring havoc to so many innocent people. Syria already has been charged with developing weapons of mass destruction based on no more evidence than was available when Iraq was similarly charged.

    Syria has been condemned for not securing its borders, by the same U.S. leaders who cannot secure our own borders. Syria was castigated for placing its troops in Lebanon, a neighboring country, although such action was invited by an elected government and encouraged by the United States. The Syrian occupation of Lebanon elicited no suicide terrorist attacks, as was suffered by Western occupiers.

    Condemning Syria for having troops in Lebanon seems strange, considering most of the world sees our 150,000 troops in Iraq as an unwarranted foreign occupation. Syrian troops were far more welcome in Lebanon.

    Secretary Rice likewise sees the problems in Syria– that we helped to create– as an opportunity to advance our Middle Eastern agenda. In recent testimony she stated that it was always the administration’s intent to redesign the greater Middle East, and Iraq was only one part of that plan. And once again we have been told that all options are still on the table for dealing with Syria– including war.

    The statement that should scare all Americans (and the world) is the assurance by Secretary Rice that the President needs no additional authority from Congress to attack Syria. She argues that authority already has been granted by the resolutions on 9/11 and Iraq. This is not true, but if Congress remains passive to the powers assumed by the executive branch it won’t matter. As the war spreads, the only role for Congress will be to provide funding lest they be criticized for not supporting the troops. In the meantime, the Constitution and our liberties here at home will be further eroded as more Americans die.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    11.06.05

    News Articles, Syria

    Much Ado About Syria, Pt.2– U.S. Weighed Military Strikes; Syria Gets Surly


    While the U.S. considering military strikes may be the more startling news in this next article, I didn’t find it to be the most interesting. More interesting is the fact that Syria has become increasingly aggravated by the U.S. government’s constant one-two punch of demands and disses, which has been going on for quite a long while now. As you can see in the article, this constant rain of disapproval and pressure has gotten on Syria’s nerves to the point where they have withdrawn their cooperation in security and intelligence operations, saying that they will gladly resume cooperation if they can just get some public appreciation for the significant help they apparently have provided in matters related to the “war on terror” and the war in Iraq.


    US weighed military strikes in Syria
    Yahoo! News

    NEW YORK (AFP) – The United States recently debated launching military strikes inside Syria against camps used by insurgents operating in neighboring Iraq, a US magazine reported.

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice successfully opposed the idea at a meeting of senior American officials held on October 1, Newsweek reported, citing unnamed US government sources.

    Rice reportedly argued that diplomatic isolation was a more effective approach, with a UN report pending that may blame Syria for the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.

    The United States has accused Damascus of allowing insurgents to move arms and fighters across the Syrian border into Iraq and of destabilizing the region.

    US troops in Iraq have been waging an offensive in recent weeks against insurgents in western towns near the Syrian border.

    The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said last month that “our patience is running out” with Syria.

    The same article also reported that Syria had ended all security and intelligence cooperation with the United States several months ago after growing frustrated with persistent public criticism from Washington.

    Syria’s ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, told Newsweek that his government continued to detain Islamic extremists and remained willing to resume cooperation if the public bashing stopped.

    “We are willing to re-engage the moment you want but one condition,” the magazine quotes Moustapha as saying.

    “You have to acknowledge that we are helping.”

    Moustapha also confirmed an account from a US intelligence official that Damascus had been angered when Washington exposed one of its operatives.

    While criticizing Syria in public statements, the United States had privately praised Damascus for handing over the half brother of Saddam Hussein, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, earlier in the year, the magazine reported.

    Moustapha said Syria could do more to assist the United States if intelligence was shared as in the past.

    The magazine reported that some US intelligence officials believed Washington now was losing out on vital information. Syrian cooperation in the last few years allegedly had helped avert two possible attacks against US targets, including a Navy base in Bahrain.

    One unnamed intelligence official told the magazine that US pressure on the Syrian leadership could prove counter-productive and that Washington may be “radicalizing the country.”

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