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Iran War Weekly - April 21, 2013


By Frank Brodhead - Posted on 06 May 2013

Iran War Weekly

April 21, 2013

 

Hello All -- Following on the failure of the talks in Kazakhstan about Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and its allies renewed their non-diplomatic offensive against Iran this week.  Secretary of Defense Hagel was in the Middle East, most especially in Israel, to push a $10 billion program introducing more advanced offensive weapons into the Israel, Saudi, and UAE arsenals.  Like the trips of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry made two weeks earlier, Hagel’s mission is both to reassure Israel and other regional allies that the United States still considers “all options on the table,” while at the same time  pressuring Israel to defer military action against Iran and to give sanctions and negotiations more time.

 

A similarly schizophrenic stance towards Iran was on display this week in Washington, D.C.  In the Senate, Secretary of State Kerry pleaded with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not to enact another round of sanctions against Iran, just a day after the same Committee celebrated Israel’s Independence Day by passing a (non-binding) Resolution stating that the United States will assist Israel in a “defensive” war with Iran.  Meanwhile, down the hall at the Armed Services Committee, Intelligence czar James Clapper told Senators that the real purpose of sanctions against Iran was to foment domestic political unrest, ideally leading to “regime change.”  One can sympathize with Iranian policy wonks who are trying to determine just what the Great Satan is up to.

 

Divisions within the Obama administration, and between the Administration and Congress, were joined this week by a likely-to-be-influential report from the Iran Project.  The message of this report, the Iran Project’s third report, is captured in its title: “Strategic Options for Iran: Balancing Pressure With Diplomacy.”  Like its predecessors, this report is “signed on to” by a broad and slightly bi-partisan swath of the US foreign policy establishment, and strongly warns against the dangerous outcomes now likely from the current strategies toward Iran.

 

Framing (or distorting) much of the talk about Iran’s nuclear program this week was the further degeneration of the civil war/intervention in Syria.  As reported below, while the United States pledged to double its “non-lethal” aid at a just-concluded meeting of the “Friends of Syria,” the public adherence of the opposition’s main fighting group to “Al Qaeda” has thrown a monkey wrench into whatever plans exist for more overt “Western” intervention on behalf of the armed rebellion.  Both the political and military arms of the opposition are now in disarray, amidst reports of another alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government and, on tonight’s news, claims of another civilian massacre.

 

Finally, for those readers of the IWW who live in the NYC region, please check in the “Sanctions” section for news of a very interesting looking forum on sanctions against Iran, to be presented by the Iranian-American organization Havaar on April 29th.

 

Once again I would like to thank those who you who have forwarded this newsletter or linked it on your sites.  Previous “issues” of the Iran War Weekly are posted at http://warisacrime.org/blog/46383If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at fbrodhead@aol.com.

 

Best wishes,

Frank Brodhead

 

OVERVIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES

For Iran, It's Time to Take One Option Off the Table: The Nuclear Option

By Tad Daley, The Project for Abolishing War [April 15, 2013]

---- In an interview broadcast on Channel Two in Israel, Mr. Obama said that regarding American efforts to dissuade Iran from crossing the nuclear Rubicon, "I continue to keep all options on the table ... The United States obviously has significant capabilities." The most fearsome of those American capabilities, of course, remains the nuclear option. Nobody's been talking about that much recently. But if you don't think that an American nuclear first strike on Iran is not one of those "options on the table" -- Mr. Kerry evoking atomic holocaust at an event recalling history's greatest holocaust -- then you haven't been listening very closely. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tad-daley/for-iran-its-time-to-take_b_3073238.html

 

(Video) Why Sanctions?

With Flynt Leverett and Trita Parsi [esp. commenting on the NIAC report “Never Give Up, Never Give In” – on sanctions] – 20 minutes - http://on.aol.com/video/why-sanctions--517734329?icid=bottom_related_thumb_4

 

Could A Nuclear-Armed Iran Be Contained?

By Kingston Reif, Scientific American [April 18, 2013]

[FB – Of course the premise of this article – What to do if Iran in fact acquires a nuclear weapon? – is contrary to what we know so far about Iran’s nuclear program.  Nevertheless, imo a useful thought experiment.]

---- On September 4, 1962, President John F. Kennedy released a statement in response to intelligence reports of a Soviet arms buildup in Cuba. Kennedy said the United States did not have evidence "of the presence of offensive ground-to-ground missiles; or of other significant offensive capability either in Cuban hands or under Soviet direction and guidance." However, he warned, "Were itto be otherwise, the gravest issues would arise." Of course, the next month Kennedy found out that the Soviet Union was in fact deploying offensive missiles and nuclear warheads in Cuba, prompting a deep crisis that brought the planet within a hair's breadth of nuclear catastrophe. Historian Michael Dobbs writes that Kennedy later regretted making his September statement, as "[h]e was compelled to take action, not because Soviet missiles on Cuba appreciably changed the balance of military power, but because he feared looking weak." Fast forward 50 years to March 4, 2012. In a high-profile speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), President Obama declared: "Iran's leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." Obama reiterated this position last month to Israeli students in Jerusalem: "Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. This is not a danger that can be contained, and as President, I've said all options are on the table for achieving our objectives." Might Obama, like Kennedy, later regret issuing such an ultimatum?  http://thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/kingston-reif/could-nuclear-armed-iran-be-contained

 

NEGOTIATIONS

U.N. Nuclear Watchdog, Iran May Meet Again in May

By Fredrik Dahl, Reuters [April 19, 2013]

---- The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran may resume talks next month over a long-stalled investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by the Islamic state, but no date has yet been fixed, a diplomatic source said on Friday. It would be the 10th round of negotiations between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran since the discussions about what the IAEA calls "possible military dimensions" to Tehran's nuclear programme began in early 2012. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/04/19/uk-iran-nuclear-iaea-idUKBRE93I0AE20130419

 

Diplomats: Top Aide to UN Nuke Chief Unexpectedly Resigns, Suggesting Tensions Up Top

By Associated Press, [April 19, 2013]

---- A top aide to the chief of the U.N. nuclear agency has unexpectedly resigned, suggesting tensions among the organization’s top leadership, diplomats said Friday. The move by IAEA Assistant Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi comes at a critical time for the International Atomic Energy Agency. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/diplomats-top-aide-to-un-nuke-chief-unexpectedly-resigns-suggesting-tensions-up-top/2013/04/19/7175fee2-a92c-11e2-9e1c-bb0fb0c2edd9_print.html

 

IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Ahmadinejad to Visit Uranium-Rich Niger

From The Daily Star [Lebanon] [April 13, 2013]

---- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to Niger for a two-day visit, his first to the world's fourth uranium producer, the government in Niamey said on Saturday. Mohammad Nikkhah said the visit would mark a turning point in bilateral ties and would yield "excellent opportunities that will benefit both peoples". He did not elaborate but Niger is one of the world's top producers of uranium, which Iran has long been seeking to acquire for its controversial nuclear programme. http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Apr-13/213626-ahmadinejad-to-visit-uranium-rich-niger.ashx#axzz2QMAEFF7y

 

The Recent Carnegie Report on Iran’s Costly Nuclear Program

Iran’s Nuclear Odyssey: Costs and Risks

Ali Vaez, Karim Sadjadpour ReportApril 2, 2013

---- Iran’s half-century nuclear odyssey has been marked by enormous financial costs, unpredictable risks, and unclear motivations. The program’s covert history, coupled with the Iranian government’s prohibition of open media coverage of the nuclear issue, has prevented a much-needed internal debate about its cost-benefit rationale. Critical questions about the program’s economic efficacy and safety have been left unanswered. http://carnegieendowment.org/2013/04/02/iran-s-nuclear-odyssey-costs-and-risks/fvui

 

Iran’s “Nuclear Odyssey”: A Critique

By Cyrus Safdari, IranAffairs [April 19, 2013]

http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2013/04/irans-nuclear-odessy-by-vaez-and-sadjadpour.html

 

US VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES

Clapper: Iran Still Not Building a Nuclear Weapon; Purpose of Sanctions is to Foster Unrest

By Nima Shirazi, Wide Asleep in America [April 18, 2013]

--- During questioning from Senators following his prepared remarks, Clapper admitted - as a number of recent independent reports have shown - that the increasingly harsh sanctions levied upon Iran have had no effect on the decision-making process of the Iranian leadership, yet has produced considerable damage to the Iranian economy and resulted in increased "inflation, unemployment, [and the] unavailability of commodities" for the Iranian people. This, he said, is entirely the point.  Responding to Maine Senator Angus King, who asked about the impact sanctions have on the Iranian government, Clapper explained that the intent of sanctions is to spark dissent and unrest in the Iranian population, effectively stating that Obama administration's continued collective punishment of the Iranian people is a deliberate (and embarrassingly futile) tactic employed to the foment regime change. http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/04/clapper-iran-still-not-building-nuclear-weapon.html

 

US Senate Action Against Iran

Senate Committee: US Will Aid Israel if it Strikes Iran

From JerusalemPost [April 17, 2013]

---- On Israel's 65th Independence Day, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted "Senate Resolution 65," stipulating that the US will assist Israel diplomatically, economically and militarily if the Jewish state is compelled to take military action against Iran “in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.”  Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sponsored Tuesday's resolution, which garnered a bipartisan group of 79 co-sponsors. The resolution also emphasizes that the US must be committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=310011

 

Senate Dims Green-Light For Israeli Attack

By Ali Gharib, The Daily Beast [April 17, 2013]

---- With unanimous consent from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a revised version of a resolution that originally sought to green-light any Israeli attack on Iran will now pass to the hands of the full Senate. With backing from the influential Israel lobby group AIPAC and 79 co-sponsors, the non-binding resolution looks poised to pass the upper chamber. While the new language assuages some fears about the original bill, the trajectory of the stated push by one of its hawkish co-authors, Lindsey Graham, seems decidedly on track to ratchet up tensions between Iran, and Israel and the United States. The most troubling clause of the resolution itself—one that pledged unconditional U.S. support, including "military" support, for an Israeli strike on Iran—was modified in a mark-up by the committee. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/17/senate-tempers-graham-s-green-light-for-israeli-attack.html

 

Huge US Arms Deal in the Middle East

U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near

By Thom Shanker, New York Times [April 18, 2013]

---- The Defense Department is expected to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran. A weeklong visit to the region by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will culminate a year of secret negotiations on a deal that Congressional officials said will be second only to the $29.5 billion sale of F-15 aircraft to Saudi Arabia announced in 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/world/middleeast/us-selling-arms-to-israel-saudi-arabia-and-emirates.html?ref=world

 

U.S. Arms Deal With Middle East Allies Clear Signal to Iran: Hagel

From Reuters [April 21, 2013]

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/04/21/world/middleeast/21reuters-israel-usa-hagel.html?ref=world

 

The “Iran Project” Report

Strategic Options for Iran: Balancing Pressure With Diplomacy

From The Iran Project [April 2013]

http://www.scribd.com/doc/136389836/Strategic-Options-for-Iran-Balancing-Pressure-with-Diplomacy#fullscreen

 

Report Urges White House to Rethink Iran Penalties

By David E. Sanger, New York Times [April 17, 2013]

---- A panel of former senior American officials and outside experts, including several who recently left the Obama administration, issued a surprisingly critical assessment of American diplomacy toward Iran on Wednesday, urging President Obama to become far more engaged and to reconsider the likelihood that harsh sanctions will drive Tehran to concessions. In a report issued by the Iran Project, the former diplomats and experts suggested that the sanctions policy, rather than bolstering diplomacy, may be backfiring. As the pressure has increased, the group concluded, sanctions have “contributed to an increase in repression and corruption within Iran” and “may be sowing the seeds of long-term alienation between the Iranian people and the United States.” The critique comes as both Israel and Congress are urging the administration to go in the opposite direction, to put a sharp time limit on negotiations and, if necessary, to go beyond the financial and oil sanctions that have caused a tremendous drop in the value of the Iranian currency and sent inflation soaring. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/world/middleeast/report-on-iran-urges-obama-to-rethink-sanctions.html?hp

 

Ex-Officials Urge Obama: Run, Don't Walk to Iran Diplomacy

By Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor April 17, 2013]

---- Pickering is among 35 foreign policy heavyweights who signed a new report, “Strategic Options for Iran: Balancing Pressure with Diplomacy,” released on Wednesday [April 17]. It's the third report by The Iran Project, a non-profit group that seeks to promote US-Iran dialogue, resolve the nuclear crisis peacefully and encourage greater regional cooperation with Iran. The report suggests that to change this dynamic and convince Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the US goal is a nuclear deal, not regime change, the Obama administration needs to take “practical steps … that demonstrate the United States’ willingness to work with the existing government of Iran.” Among them: “Making a special and public effort to ensure that essential medicines and medical supplies reach Iran” — a suggestion previously made by others including the Iran Task Force of the Atlantic Council in a report earlier this month. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/obama-iran-project-report-negotiations.html#

 

IRANIAN VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES

Iran’s Presidential Election Heats up as Reformist Rowhani Enters Race

By Farhang Jahanpour, Informed Comment [April 12, 2013]

--- The next crucial round of Iranian presidential elections will be held on 14 June 2013. It has just been officially reported that Hassan Rowhani has declared his candidacy for the election. Rowhani is an influential reformist politician and cleric. He was the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator under President Mohammad Khatami, who negotiated successfully with the Troika of European countries, UK, France and Germany. … So far, the long, lackluster list of the candidates who have officially declared their candidacy is made up largely of the so-called Principlist wing of the Iranian politics. This term applies to the diehard conservatives who are staunch supporters of Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, who are close to the senior clerics and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), who are on the whole opposed to rapprochement with the West and particularly with the United States, and who favor a militant, confrontational attitude towards the outside world.  http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/presidential-reformist-jahanpour.html

 

The Third World, Global Islam and Pragmatism: The Making of Iranian Foreign Policy

By Walter Porsch, SWP Research Paper April 3, 2013]

---- The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the last nation states to deliberately position itself strategically and ideologically in opposition to the United States. The reasons for this lie in the history of Iran in

the twentieth century and – in the view of the regime in Tehran – in the Islamic character and specifically Persian features of the country. Thirty years after the Islamic revolution the Western world is still unsure what ideology the Islamic Republic of Iran espouses and hence which principles and goals guide its foreign policy. The spectrum of opinions ranges from mistrust of an Islamic regime and fear of religious fundamentalism to surprise at the pragmatism of Iranian foreign policy.  Depending on which of these perceptions prevails, this leads to two opposing assessments of Iran: either that its policies are dominated by religious irrationalism, which combined with the Iranian nuclear programme represents a global threat – adherents of this view believe the international community should rigorously oppose this programme; or the opposite view that ideology is only window dressing for a nation-state acting rationally in defence of its own interests. A closer look at the main priorities of Iranian foreign policy reveals that neither of these positions is tenable in itself. http://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/research_papers/2013_RP03_poc.pdf


‘A Little Feu de Joie’: The Iranian Revolution

By Adam Shatz, LondonReview of Books [April 2013]

[A review of Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and Its Consequencesby James Buchan.]
---- It’s unlikely that anyone outside Qom read The Unveiling of Secrets; even inside the seminaries few would have embraced its programme. Yet just three decades later the pamphlet’s author, Ruhollah Khomeini, helped launch a revolution against the monarchy and established himself as Iran’s supreme leader, with powers even the shah would have envied. The political landscape was transformed: the Shia of Iran, a minority in the house of Islam, had rewritten the script of revolution in the Middle East. James Buchan’s Days of God shows how a radicalised clergy took control of a popular uprising against a Western-backed dictator and set up the world’s first and only Islamic republic. Buchan tells that story as well as anyone has done, but Days of God is also an erudite reflection on three important questions: why there was a revolution, why it was Islamic and what its legacy has been. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n08/adam-shatz/a-little-feu-de-joie

 

Iranian-Americans Oppose Strike; Want Focus on Human Rights

By Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor [April 18, 2013]

---- Often viewed as hopelessly divided, Iranian-Americans are united in wanting the US government to expend more effort promoting democracy and human rights in Iran, but do not want the US to try to overthrow Iran’s government or strike its nuclear facilities, according to a new poll. The findings reflect the continuing strong ties between the large Iranian diaspora in the US — estimated to number about one million — and their homeland. More than three decades after the overthrow of the Shah, 66% of those polled said they communicate with family and friends in Iran at least several times a month, 32% have a parent in Iran and 44% a sibling there. A majority — 56% — of those polled say that the promotion of human rights and democracy in Iran should be the most important issue for US policy toward Iran. However, only 31% want the United States government explicitly to back regime change and only 15% support any recognized opposition group. Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/iranian-americans-human-rights-military.html

 

ISRAELI VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES

Officials in Israel Stress Readiness for a Lone Strike on Iran

By Isabel Kershner, New York Times [April 18, 2013]

---- With Chuck Hagel scheduled to begin his first visit to Israel as secretary of defense on Sunday, Israeli defense and military officials issued explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. … Israeli officials have been expressing growing frustration with what they view as ineffective international efforts to halt what Israel and the West see as an Iranian quest for nuclear weapons. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/world/middleeast/israeli-officials-stress-readiness-for-lone-strike-on-iran.html?ref=world

 

SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN

[FB – The Iranian-American organization Havaar is sponsoring what looks like a very interesting forum on US sanctions against Iran in New York City on April 29.  Among the speakers will be Dr. Joy Gordon, author of an outstanding book on the US/UN sanctions regime against Iraq in the 1990s, and Denis Halliday, an administrator of the UN “Oil for Food” program who quit his post in protest against the unconscionable cruelty of the program.  The forum will be held from 7 to 9 pm at the Graduate Center at CUNY, 365 5th Ave., Room 9100. For more information check out the website of Havaar (“The Iranian Initiative against War, Sanctions and State Repression”) at www.havaar.org.]

 

Iran's Economy to Grow Again in 2014 - IMF

By Reuters [April 16, 2013]

---- Iran's economy should emerge from a recession caused by international sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme, but not until 2014, a year later than previously forecast, according to the IMF. The sanctions have hurt trade and largely frozen Iran out of the international banking system since late 2011; analysts believe the country's oil exports have been roughly halved. But the International Monetary Fund said Iran was avoiding any balance of payments crisis, in a report suggesting sanctions remain far from having the "crippling" effect on the Iranian economy that US leaders have said they intend. http://www.arabianbusiness.com/iran-s-economy-grow-again-in-2014-imf-498281.html

 

Kerry Warns Congress Against Iran Sanctions

By Julian Pecquet, The Hill [April 18, 2013]

--- Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday warned Congress against forcing the Obama administration's hand in dealing with Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. Kerry urged his successor as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hawkish Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), not to pursue further sanctions for now, as the United States and five other nations negotiate with Iran. Menendez said the Senate is considering legislation to limit Iran's access to its foreign currency reserves to create a “tipping point” in the country's response to outside pressure; House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) introduced a new sanctions bill in February. http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/294751-kerry-warns-congress-off-iran-sanctions?utm

 

Iran Accused in Far-reaching Plot to Evade International Oil Sanctions

By Ben Goad, The Hill [April 11, 2013]

---- The Iranian government used a series of “small banks in out of the way places” to launder billions of dollars as part of the nation’s effort to collect oil revenue in the face of economic sanctions, the Obama administration said Thursday. The plot, which is alleged to have stretched from Turkey to the United Arab Emirates to Malaysia, involved a series of front companies that sought to move billions of dollars on behalf of Iran, including tens of millions to a firm linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to the Treasury Department. http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/administration/293469-iran-accused-in-far-reaching-plot-to-evade-oil-sanctions

 

CIVIL WAR/INTERVENTION IN SYRIA

Syria’s Six Simultaneous Conflicts

By Rami G. Khouri, Daily Star [April 17, 2013]

---- The conflict in Syria has assumed more dangerous dimensions with the latest developments along the Syrian-Lebanese border, where forces with and against both the Syrian government and Hezbollah have engaged in cross-border shelling…. The easiest way to describe the events in that region has been to speak of Sunni-Shiite fighting, or antagonisms between pro- and anti-Syrian government elements. The involvement of Hezbollah adds a significant new element to the mix, and also helps to clarify what the fighting in and near Syria is all about. It is much more than “spillover” of the Syrian war into Lebanon. The war in Syria is the greatest proxy battle of our age, and that is now clearer than ever as we see how Syria comprises a rich and expansive web of other conflicts playing out on a local, regional and global scale. The war in Syria is so enduring and vexing precisely because it is such a multilayered conflict, comprising at least six separate battles taking place at the same time.  http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2013/Apr-17/213992-syrias-six-simultaneous-conflicts.ashx

 

(Video) 'Terrorists' by Association

From Aljazeera [Inside Syria] [April 14, 2013] 25 minutes

---- Discusses Western ties to Syria's opposition amid reports that the al-Nusra front has sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidesyria/2013/04/201341483152783999.html

 

In Syria, Some Brace for the Next War

By Liz Sly, WashingtonPost [April 10, 2013]

---- As this remote corner of northeastern Syria fast slides out of government control, many Syrians are bracing for what they fear will be another war, between the relatively moderate fighters who first took up arms against the government and the Islamist extremists who emerged more recently with the muscle and firepower to drive the rebel advance. The capture last month of the city of Raqqah, Syria’s first provincial capital to fall under opposition control, consolidated the gains of an assortment of mostly Islamist-inclined groups across three northeastern provinces. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad cling to just a tiny number of scattered bases and could be ejected anytime. Yet even as the regime continues to hold out, schisms are emerging among rebel groups over ideology, the shape of a future Syrian state and control of the significant resources concentrated in this long-neglected but crucial corner of the country. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-syria-some-brace-for-the-next-war/2013/04/09/284fa018-a11d-11e2-82bc-511538ae90a4_story.html

 

Also interesting/important – Robert Fisk, “The War Has Reached Damascus, But For Now It Is Not A Warzone,” The Independent [UK] [April 12, 2013] http://www.zcommunications.org/the-war-has-reached-damascus-but-for-now-it-is-not-a-warzone-by-robert-fisk; and Rick Gladstone and Eric Schmitt, “Syria Faces New Claim on Chemical Arms,” New York Times [April 18, 2013] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/world/middleeast/Syria.html?ref=world

 

Arming the Syrian Opposition

Move to Widen Help for Syrian Rebels Gains Speed in West

By Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler, New York Times [April 10, 2013]

---- A long-debated move by Western nations to expand support for Syria’s opposition gained momentum on Wednesday, with the United States poised to increase its nonlethal aid to rebel groups and pressure building to lift a European Union embargo on sending arms to Syria. Mr. Kerry and other foreign ministers concerned with the crisis in Syria are expected to gather in Istanbul along with the Syrian opposition in 10 days to consider further steps. That session could be a venue at which the United States might make clear what additional support it is willing to provide. The European Union’s embargo on shipment of arms to Syria will expire at the end of May, unless all 27 members vote to extend it — an unlikely situation, diplomats said, given the strong opposition of Britain and France to the ban. European sanctions against the Assad government are also scheduled to expire. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/world/move-to-widen-support-for-syria-rebels-gains-speed.html

 

More U.S. Help for Syrian Rebels Would Hinge on Pledges

By Mark Landler and Michael R. Gordon, New York Times [April 19, 2013]

---- President Obama has agreed to additional nonlethal aid for Syria’s rebels, according to a senior administration official, but the United States also plans to push their political leaders to be inclusive, to protect minorities and to abide by the rule of law. Secretary of State John Kerry planned to meet with opposition leaders in Istanbul on Saturday, as well as with foreign ministers from nations that are supporting them, to discuss both what the United States plans to do to help the rebels and what it expects from them. …. In addition, Mr. Kerry said, the United States wanted the opposition to be “open to the negotiating process to a political settlement” and to “abide by rules with respect to conduct in warfare.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/world/middleeast/more-american-aid-to-syrian-rebels-with-conditions.html?pagewanted=1&ref=world

 

US prepares $130m military aid package for Syrian rebels

From The Associated Press [April 20, 2013]

---- The US readied a package Saturday of up to $130m in non-lethal military aid to Syrian opposition forces while European countries consider easing an arms embargo, moves that could further pressure the government of President Bashar al-Assad. US secretary of state John Kerry was expected to announce the plans about the defensive military supplies at a meeting Saturday that was bringing together the Syrian opposition leadership and their main international allies. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/20/us-syria-130m-military-aid-package

 

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