Thursday, October 13, 2005
well now, we may have something to look forward to.. according to livescience, the weather over the next 100 years (like we'll make it that far..) is gonna get bigger and bigger. the earth is getting warmer.. and no, i'm not a global warming nut.. the earth is getting warmer because the sun is getting hotter !! see, it's not that SUV or your dairy cow's methane.. but the sun is getting hotter, brighter.. the earth is getting warmer.. and warmer earth = bigger weather.
according to this article in livescience, there will be a 10-20% increase in rain and snow.. and the biggest storms will be where air masses converge.. texas ?? anyway, the long and the short of it is this - along with your illegal immigration, floundering president, homeland terrorism and supreme court nominees, you can add some more big weather to your future.
there is an article recently in the arizona republic talking about how the language gap in public schools is widening.. the illegal immigration problem is obviously exacerbating this problem. in the border schools in san diego, many students LIVE IN MEXICO !! and attend US PUBLIC SCHOOLS. help me understand how their tax dollar contributions are assisting in paying for teachers, materials and facilities. states are going to go bankrupt trying to keep up. students don't even try to learn.. parents don't speak english and typically all of the children are from low income homes with mutliple children and little supervision. education is not a priority, meaning that this problem will just multiply as these children have children and repeat the process again and again. state leaders have to put their mark on their education systems and prevent this from happening. free education is far from it.. and when more and more people are using resources and not contributing to society and the tax base, it has to be stopped.
texas gov. rick perry has just come out stating that there is an emergency in the state.. he's going to move forward with plans to utilize the texas national guard.. all of this in response to the lack of assistance from washington.
border states have been suffering for some time.. i really credit the minutemen for bringing visibility to something we in border states have known for some time. since their project took off, the nation has begun to face the issues head on. citizens are taking the issue in their own hands because no one else will.
the leftists have come out calling them vigilantes.. the aclu has sent their throngs of unemployed activists to monitor them.. even the president has had some choice words against these citizens.. but because this cause is just and important, the fire that has been started will not soon be quelled. as a matter of fact, we're seeing some democrats jump to the right of republicans on this issue for political gain. the people are fed up.
we really need to examine the leadership of our president here. he knew first hand about the issue when he was governor of texas.. however, out of political 'necessity', he turned a blind eye toward to the problem.. endearing him to business leaders as well as the hispanic community. heck, he even spoke in spanish in multiple settings in the state. g-dub has talked extensively about the political capital he earned in the past election, but with the actions in his second term, that capital has been expended on meaningless things. he is losing his conservative base in this term.. he is losing credibility among those who supported him most.. his closest ally in texas, rick perry is now coming out and sounding the alarm.. yet again, nothing is done on the border issue.
with out of control spending, a bad israel policy, a bad immigration policy and with the recent nomination of his buddy harriet to the supreme court, he is going to be a president without a nation.. alienating the people who put him in power and also facing down a vitriolic left who wants him out of power.. that combination could spell a disastrous last years of his presidency.. rove and company need to get a pulse from the base and act on it. if this course continues, bush will be rendered inept and lame.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
syria is back at the top of the blog.. in response to the united states speculating that we may attack inside syrian borders to stop the flow of non-iraqi's streaming in to iraq to man the insurgency, they have borrowed from their baathist bretheren to spout off some hyperbole.. 'the gates of hell will open' if the usa attacks, says one official.
now, i'm not sure exactly where the gates of hell are located.. apparently they're under syrian control, however. this is typical sabre rattling in the middle east.. all with one caveat.. for those Christians out there who take a literal interpretation of the Bible, there is an interesting little prophesy about the destruction of Damascus.. (the burden of Damascus as it is commonly known) Isaiah 17 (The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap) outlines the destruction of Damascus - which is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.. which, by the way, has never been destroyed up to this point in history.
now, fast forward to today.., we have a situation where syria continues to funnel insurgents through their borders.. we have syria and iran funding hizbullah which is threatening israel.. i would presume that any action against syria would result in an attack on israel, which wouldn't be beneficial for syria to say the least.. especially if syria utilizes chemical or biological weapons. (they have their own stash in addition to the possible cache of iraq's that were rumored to have been shipped to syria prior to the iraqi liberation)
here's the article from the daily star in lebanon:
Syria warns 'gates of hell will open' if U.S. attacks
By Leila Hatoum Daily Star staff
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
BEIRUT: In the latest official Syrian comment on the increasing pressure on Damascus, Premier Naji Otari said "all the gates of hell will open on the U.S. if it attempts to attack Syria." Otari was replying to a report this week in Newsweek magazine revealing that Washington had debated launching military strikes inside Syria against camps used by insurgents operating in Iraq.
Citing unnamed government sources, the magazine reported that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had managed to block the proposal during a meeting of senior U.S. officials on October 1.
Speaking to reporters in Shanon, Ireland, on a four-nation tour, Rice said: "I am not going to comment on internal deliberations in the administration."
Otari also accused Lebanese officials of being unable to make an independent decision, saying they were answerable to the French and U.S. ambassadors to Lebanon.
Addressing his Lebanese counterpart Fouad Siniora, the Syrian premier said: "Apparently Siniora forgot all of what we have discussed when he visited Damascus after his recent return from a visit to the U.S."
Siniora had held talks with several officials in Damascus to resolve a border dispute between the two countries in June.
Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported yesterday Otari had refused to answer repeated phone calls from Siniora on Monday.
The paper quoted unidentified "informed Syrian sources in Damascus" as saying the Assad regime believes Siniora has reneged on promises he made to the Syrian president during a visit on July 31.
The regime is particularly outraged over Siniora's allegation in a recent interview with The Washington Post that all of Lebanon is convinced that Syria engineered the Hariri murder.
In other related media responses to the mounting pressure on Damascus, Syrian daily Tishrin said in an editorial yesterday that Washington is criticizing Syria to cover its own policy failures in the Middle East.
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Welch had warned the Assad regime Sunday that it was not heeding calls to change its behavior in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
Welch has been touring the Middle East, meeting with leaders in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He is expected to hold talks with Lebanese officials today.
"Barely a day passes without such accusations as if Syria has become an excuse for the
U.S. faults in the region," the editorial said.
Separately, Detlev Mehlis, the German prosecutor heading the international investigation into Hariri's murder, was expected to reach Beirut late last night from Larnaca, where he is placing the final touches on his report according to sources close to the Lebanese judiciary.
Mehlis moved his base of operations to the Cypriot port town early in the day citing security concerns.
But the source said: "Some experts from Mehlis' team are still in Lebanon, and Mehlis will join them for further discussions with Lebanese officials before presenting his report."
The nature of Mehlis' report has spurred mounting speculations, fears and an ongoing public row between Lebanese and Syrian officials.
In local developments, Lebanese Justice Minister Charles Rizk held several meetings with various ambassadors to Lebanon in which he tried to gather support for an extension of the international investigation's term to allow it to provide support for the Lebanese judiciary.
The UN team's mandate is set to expire on October 25. UN chief Kofi Annan has refused an oral request from Siniora made last week, saying he would only consider an official written request from the government.
In the meantime, the Center to Protect Journalists in New York has presented a letter to Annan asking him to include the attacks Lebanese journalists May Chidiac and Samir Qassir in Mehlis' mission.
"The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the UN Security Council to expand its probe into the murder of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri to include the alarming attacks against Lebanese journalists," the letter said.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
LONDON [MENL] -- Iran was said to have designed a nuclear warhead for the Shihab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile.
The United States has briefed several nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency of an Iranian program to develop a nuclear warhead for the Shihab-3. Diplomatic sources said the U.S. briefers asserted that from 2001 to 2003 Iran designed and developed a circular warhead that could detonate at an altitude meant to ensure optimal damage.
An empty nuclear warhead was said to have been installed on the Shihab-3 for two missile tests in mid-2004. The sources said the warhead appeared similar to a Soviet-based intercontinental missile deployed by Moscow in the 1960s.
The sources said that in August the U.S. delegation briefed such countries as China, India, Russia, and South Africa ahead of last month's IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna. They said the briefing helped persuade some members to either support or abstain in the vote on a British resolution to refer the Iranian nuclear file to the United Nations Security Council. India supported the British resolution, which did not set a date for the submission of the Iranian file.
never has saying something that is a part of our every day vocabulary fostered such world wide fear.. what did the bird do ?? the bird flu. i mean flew.. but i do mean flu. as i catch up on the events going on around the world, there are a couple of things in common.. the first is terrorism.. terrorism, terrorism everywhere. we've got young white muslims giving a new meaning to BOOMER sooner in oklahoma.. bombs at georgia tech and ucla.. new york subway bombings (which turned out to be a hoax).. and when we turn to page 2, it's bird flu.
there is a virus called H5N1 - much less catchy than some of the other virus names we have to talk about.. (hanta virus & W97M.Pacol.A to name a couple) anyway, so we have this bird flu, which once again originates out of southeast asia - (see SARS) and we have some radical action being taken by governments in asia and even europe to try to keep it from spreading further. now the united states has begun preparation for a virus that is spread by birds to humans by contact. if you have chickens in your back yard, you may have a problem.. the rest of us - no sweat, right ??
apparently that is not the case.. with chicken wings on every corner and chick-fil-a and KFC across every street - we may get the flu from our chicken sandwiches.. no, ok, that's hyperbole too..
legitimately, there is a fear that this virus will mutate and will be able to spread from person to person. . now THIS could be a serious problem. if that were to become the case, there would be significant economic and human impact.. PETA's cries of killing chickens will go unheard. it's good to see that the usa is starting to plan ahead for a possible world pandemic. it's interesting to think of what would come of our nation if we were to have widespread quarantines, freedom of travel being restricted..
there has been other hysteria associated with things like y2k and SARS (i was in toronto for the SARS phenomenon) and there hasn't been much that has come from that in a global sense.. so hopefully this will be another minor bump in the road.. however, should it unfold in to something more sinister, it would be a good idea to have a couple of weeks of food on hand just in case..
as a matter of fact, just go read ,this from the WHO.. not 'the who' but the other WHO.. world health organization.. they have prepared a statement on strategic actions just for you.
reflecting on all of the ills that billy brought on our country would take too long and i only have so much time to type, but some of these latest stories coming from louis freeh's new book are astonishing. clinton dismisses freeh as a gop stooge, which is typical, however, it appears as if these stories are being substantiated by foreign leaders.. if ever there was evidence of negligence, if not utter failure, in protecting this country against terror, this is it.. crestfallen over monica, clinton fails.
According to two sources close to former Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, ex-president Bill Clinton was on the verge of tears over legal woes brought on by the Monica Lewinsky scandal during a Sept. 1998 meeting with Crown Prince Adbullah - and spent almost no time discussing the Khobar Towers bombing case.
The Saudi account backs claims by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who told CBS's "60 Minutes" last night that Clinton failed to press Abdullah during the meeting for cooperation in the Khobar case.
Interviewed by the New Yorker in May 2001, two Saudi officials noted that Prince Bandar was present during the meeting. And Bandar's version, according to those same Saudi sources, contradicts the claim by former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger that his old boss vigorously pursued Khobar during the meeting.
"Clinton, by many accounts, was almost crying," the New Yorker said, based on interviews with the Saudis.
Bandar "remembered the crown prince consoling Clinton about his legal troubles. At one point, the crown prince, who was wearing a black robe, said to Clinton, 'All those who attack you and are making such a big issue out of this' - the Lewinsky affair - 'should be like the lint on my robes. One should just throw them off.'"
Addullah promised Clinton that he would "talk to people on the Hill and tell them they should respect the Presidency and not wipe the floor with it" over the Lewinsky case.
The Saudi sources said that while Clinton did eventually mention Khobar, "It was along the line of 'Would you be kind enough to continue cooperation?' "
to recount the terror on US interests under clinton: WTC 1993, Riyad carbomb @ US military headquarters, Khobar towers 1996, Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 1998, USS Cole & the pakistani shooting of CIA agents in 1993 in Virginia.
Abdullah was stunned that Clinton had demonstrated so little interest about a bombing that had killed 19 U.S. airmen.
According to the New Yorker: Bandar had warned him to expect some "very important questions" about Khobar, but Clinton had not raised them.
"What's going on?" the bewildered Saudi leader asked his U.S. ambassador.
The effect of this meeting, Bandar's associates told the New Yorker, "was to persuade the crown prince that the [Khobar] case was no longer of great importance to the United States."
Clinton also refused to kill or take in to custody OBL 2 times.. for a man obsessed with his legacy, he certainly left one for none of us to forget.
Monday, October 10, 2005
colorado is getting it's first big snowstorm.. 20 inches in some places !! while those of us in texas can only dream of such greatness.. the people in colorado probably wish they were here in the 75 degree weather..
A powerful storm that dropped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of Colorado knocked out power Monday to thousands of people, closed an 80-mile stretch of a major highway and trigged rock slides in the foothills.
Authorities said a 60-year-old Denver woman died after an 8-inch- diameter tree limb snapped off and struck her. No other details were available.
Authorities closed the main east-west route across Colorado, Interstate 70, from Denver east to Limon. Seventy miles of U.S. 24 from Limon southwest to Colorado Springs were also closed. A day earlier, the Red Cross opened a shelter for stranded travelers.
The storm cut off power to 25,000 homes and businesses in Denver when power lines snapped and transformers failed, Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Henley said.
"You could hear them popping," said Tom Hartman, who was shoveling snow outside the Schlessman Family YMCA in Denver when the transformers began to crackle and die.
Power had been restored by Monday to about 2,000 homes and businesses in Breckenridge.
Dozens of schools closed or were opening late, including three in the Denver area that closed because of power failures.
Two children were hospitalized with minor injuries after a school bus slid backward down a steep embankment south of Denver, Douglas County schools spokeswoman Carol Kaness said.
In southwestern Colorado, rain associated with the storm system was believed to have triggered two rock slides in San Miguel County, including one that shut down a lane of Colorado 145 near Telluride. No injuries were reported. Steady rain also caused two rock slides in Boulder Canyon northwest of Denver, forcing the closure of one lane of Colorado 119 and damaging a car. No one was hurt.
The National Weather Service had predicted up to 4 feet of snow in the southern Colorado mountains, but some of the snow melted and the precipitation turned to rain, leaving an accumulation of about a foot.
Snowfall amounts ranged from 20 inches in Breckenridge to 12 inches in Strasburg, about 20 miles east of Denver.
"I'm not going outside this morning," said Veronica Burke, associate manager of the Village Inn restaurant in Monument, near the 7,400- foot-high summit of Monument Hill between Denver and Colorado Springs.
The wind was blowing so hard, she said, it was hard to tell how much snow had fallen.
El Paso County Search and Rescue was called to help drivers who got stuck on snowy county roads east of Colorado Springs.
"We've got people out trying out the four-wheel-drive vehicles, and they're finding out they don't work very well," spokesman Steve Sperry said.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter Sunday for stranded travelers in Silverthorne after multiple accidents closed westbound Interstate 70 between Copper Mountain and Vail Pass for 2 1/2 hours late Sunday. Earlier, several tractor-trailers jackknifed on eastbound I-70 approaching the Eisenhower Tunnel.
A fire broke out near Keystone after the heavy, wet snow helped bring down a power line, but it was quickly put out. Wind and falling tree limbs downed other lines in the mountains, causing sporadic outages, Henley said.
here is the article:
Shield Law Sponsor Lugar: Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos
By Mark Fitzgerald
Published: October 10, 2005 4:17 PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS Bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists under the proposed federal shield law, the bill's co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), told the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Monday afternoon.Lugar emphasized, however, that debate is not yet closed on how to define a journalist under the proposed law. "As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along," he said in response to a question from Washington Post Deputy Managing Editor Milton Coleman. "Are bloggers journalists or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?"According to the first draft of the Free Flow of Information Act of 2005, the "covered person" protected by the bill's terms includes "any entity that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means and that publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical in print or electronic form; operates a radio or television station (or network of such stations), cable system, or satellite carrier, or channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier; or operates a news agency or wire service." The legislation also covers employees, contractors or other persons who "gathers, edits, photographs, records, prepares, or disseminates news or information for any such entity."A key reason some journalists oppose the popular federal shield proposal is fear that giving Congress the power to define who is and isn't a journalist could lead effectively to the licensing of journalists.In other remarks about the legislation at IAPA's 61st General Assembly, Lugar acknowledged that the legislation could amount to a "privilege" for reporters over other Americans."I think, very frankly, you can make a case that this is a special boon for reporters, and certainly for their role in freedom of the press," he said. "At the end of the day what we will come out with says there is something privileged about being a reporter, and being able to report on something without being thrown into jail."Lugar said he was inspired to write the legislation by the jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller. "I've known Judy Miller for many years," he said, adding that they became close when she was reporting on his efforts to dismantle the former Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal.The bill is necessary to help the United States regain its status as an "exemplar" of press freedom, Lugar told the IAPA. "Even as we are advocating for free press (abroad)... we'd better clean up our own act," Lugar said.
October 05, 2005
Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.
The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.
“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture.
The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.
Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.
But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.
The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the 17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the Copernican view of the solar system. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing ancient literature to the Bible.
In the document, the bishops acknowledge their debt to biblical scholars. They say the Bible must be approached in the knowledge that it is “God’s word expressed in human language” and that proper acknowledgement should be given both to the word of God and its human dimensions.
They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways “appropriate to changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries”.
The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”
They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.
“Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.”
Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children”, a passage used to justify centuries of anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had “tragic consequences” in encouraging hatred and persecution. “The attitudes and language of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians.”
As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.
Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.
The bishops say: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.”
In their foreword to the teaching document, the two most senior Catholics of the land, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh, explain its context.
They say people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has real value, what can be trusted and what is really true.
The new teaching has been issued as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the place of Scripture in revelation. In the past 40 years, Catholics have learnt more than ever before to cherish the Bible. “We have rediscovered the Bible as a precious treasure, both ancient and ever new.”
A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It’s a Boy. Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: “There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.
That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic Christian teaching.”
Two generals were in Moscow on the same day, September 26: the head of Israel’s National Security Council Maj.-Gen (Res.) Giora Eiland and the Syrian chief of staff General Ali Habib. Both also called on the Russian chief of staff, Gen. Yuri Baluyevski. The Syrian general came out of his meeting with a brilliant contract for the sale of the advanced Iskander SS-26 surface missile. The Israeli general ran into a blank wall when he tried to persuade the Russian to withhold the missile from the Assad regime. Last January, when the deal was first broached, the Bush administration stepped in and obtained a promise from president Vladimir Putin to call off the sale, as did Israel’s Ariel Sharon during the Russian president’s visit in May.
Putin has broken those pledges.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 224 revealed in its detailed report on September 30 -
For a speedy delivery in the first quarter of 2006, the Syrians paid cash.
The value of the transaction is unknown but it certainly runs into hundreds of million dollars, given that Syria has purchased 26 of the most advanced missile of its kind in use anywhere in the world.
The United States and NATO have code-named the Iskander SS-26 “Stone.” They have nothing in their missile arsenal to match its unique attributes.
With a 400-km range and a 480-kilo warhead composed of 54 elements, the missile hits a target within a 20-meter radius. Two missiles with a range of 280km are mounted on each launch pad. The system can be used against small and large targets alike, easily overcoming air defenses. It is almost impossible for existing electronic weapons systems to prevent the Iskander’s launch because of its speed and high flexibility. Its targets are found in mid-flight by satellites, accompanying airplanes, conventional intelligence centers or a lone soldier directing artillery fire. Targets may also be found by feeding photos into the missile’s computer by means of a scanner.
The self-direction device functions even in fog, darkness or storms. The name Iskander is Alexander (the Great) in the Turkoman language. Weighing 3,800 kilos it is operated by a crew of three. It comes in two versions: the 500-kilo version provided the Russian Army and the 280-kilo missile sold to Syria.
So impressive is the Russian “Stone”, that in 2004, the Americans sought to include it in various treaties signed with Russia for precluding the manufacture and sale of certain weapons. Moscow balked. A Western missile expert says: “Even a small quantity of these missiles is capable of radically changing the balance of strength in local conflicts.” It is a strategic weapon for countries with a small area like Syria.
Nine months ago, on January 12, 2005, Moscow “leaked” the news of a big new arms deal with Syria that included the following missiles: the Iskander SS-26, SA-10 Grumble ground-to-air, and SA-18 Grouse (Igla 9K38) shoulder-launched anti-air missiles capable of hitting objects at an altitude of 3,600 meters and range of 5,200 meters.
Israeli raised the ceiling over this transaction as radically shifting the balance of strength between the Jewish state and Syria. Washington embarked on a quiet diplomatic dialogue to deter Damascus from acquiring the new hardware, maintaining it posed a threat to the US army in Iraq.
After weeks of palaver and pressure, president Vladimir Putin and defense minister Sergei Ivanov relented and promised Washington and Jerusalem to withhold the Iskander SS-26 from Syria. The other items would have their aggressive options “neutered” and rendered fit for defensive use alone.
It is now clear that Putin’s promise to the Americans and Israelis to withhold the missile’s sale was no more than a time-winning ploy until an opportunity presented itself to go through with the transaction.
DEBKAfile’s military experts add four points:
1. Assad had need of a sop to his armed forces if he intends to go through with the exercise DEBKA revealed earlier, to follow in Muammar Qaddafi’s footsteps and make his peace with Washington. The Syrian ruler will demonstrated that he is the only Middle East leader capable of providing his army with a weapons system as sophisticated Iskander SS-22. This may divert the generals from plotting to overthrow him if he throws some of his top security officers to the wolves over the Hariri assassination.
2. Putin’s motivation in breaking his promises to Bush and Sharon is his fundamental urge to show Washington and Paris they are not the only players in the Middle East and Syrian-Lebanese arena. He hopes by the missile sale to prevent the Assad regime from collapsing.
3. The Bush administration refrained from interceding in the deal this because, as DEBKA revealed before, the White House has not yet decided finally whether to finally topple Assad or let him survive. Washington’s silence on the missile sale points to the latter option.
4. Israel’s failure to stop the delivery even after the kudos Sharon collected over the pullout from Gaza means that the country’s basic security situation and international influence remain unchanged by the sacrifice of its strategic presence in Gaza.