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The Long Slow End of Assad?
Assad in Trouble as Last Town in Idlib Falls

Bashar Assad’s forces appear to have lost their final foothold in Idlib province, with the rebel coalition known as Jaish al Fateh, or Conquest Army, taking the city of Ariha from government forces in heavy fighting. Reuters reports:

The loss of Ariha would leave the insurgents in control of most of Idlib a region that borders Turkey and neighbors President Assad’s heartland in Latakia province on the Mediterranean coast.

The city, once home to more than 80,000 people, is strategically located on the main army supply lines between Idlib and Latakia.

This comes on top of previous victories:

The Nusra Front has made gains in northwestern Syria alongside other insurgent groups in recent weeks, seizing the city of Idlib, the town of Jisr al-Shughour and bringing them closer to government-held coastal areas north of the capital.

As we have covered throughout the week, the Assad regime, which was already suffering heavy attrition from the long war, has been in serious trouble ever since Turkey and Saudi Arabia agreed to overlook disagreements among themselves (and by and large to ignore American objections—though there have been some reports that the US and Turkey may coordinate airstrikes against Assad in some limited circumstances) and back the non-ISIS Islamist rebels in Syria, led by the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate. Over at The Washington Institute‘s blog, Jeffrey White, a former senior defense intelligence official, breaks down the effects this has had on the ground:

While the regime still enjoys advantages in terms of aircraft, heavy armor, and artillery, opposition forces are now heavily armed with weapons taken from regime forces and some key systems (e.g., antitank guided missiles) provided from external sources. Major rebel offensive actions are normally “combined arms” affairs featuring tanks, artillery, mortars and other heavy weapons working with infantry.

Coordination and cooperation among rebel forces, especially in the north and south, has also improved significantly. The rebels are acting in concert at times, in places, and on a scale they could not before. The Islamist Jaish al-Fatah in Idlib province and its allies, and the Southern Front in the south, are the best examples of this. To this must be added the ability of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, to implement its own strategy with well-conceived operations against regime forces in the east. Never before in the war has the regime faced capable and coherent forces in the east, north, and south. […]

Armed opposition logistics, a traditional weak point, appear to have improved to the point of allowing sustained offensive operations. This is a result of improved foreign assistance, reportedly from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and the opposition’s ability to acquire substantial amounts of arms and ammunition from regime forces as a result of battle. Most of the opposition’s heavy weapons have been acquired through capture either in Syria or, in the case of ISIS, Syria and Iraq.

(White’s piece provides sound strategic analysis throughout, and is well worth reading in full.)

With the Assad regime’s fortunes heading downward on almost all fronts, the next thing to look for is whether and to what extent Assad’s allies back him. Hezbollah’s chief hinted at committing more forces to the fight, and Iran may send more advisers. But if the Turks and Saudis are firm in their resolution and continue to work together, they may well be able to match whatever resources the Iranians and their friends can bring to bear.

If so, the Syrian endgame could become a more open proxy war between the Sunni Gulf powers (and Turkey, which has a separate agenda but hates having an Iranian client on its southern border) and Tehran. The consequences of such greater engagement would be both unpredictable and significant with regard to both the regional balance of power and the nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, the US continues to sit on the sidelines as the battle for one of the historic hearts of the Middle East intensifies.

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  • Ellen

    Indeed the US is sitting on the sidelines, and that is precisely where it belongs. The MidEast state system can only be sustainable and real if the final outcomes of wars are determined by the power and viability of the combatants themselves, not external forces. What has happened for the past 70 years (and particularly the past 50) is that outside forces intervene to prop up the weak, corrupt and unviable regimes and states, while the strong ones are stymied. This has led to a totally nonviable state system, whereby Arab states that have no economic or demographic reason to exist are being sustained by outside money and weapons. This money and weaponry leads to permanent warfare, and oppression of the citizens of these fake states.

    Syria is an unviable Arab state. So is Lebanon. So is Iraq. So is Gaza. So is Libya and Yemen. A PLO state in the West Bank would be unviable too. Only Turkey, a new Kurdish state, Israel, and Iran are really viable states (Egypt is demographically viable, but possibly not economically). The end result of this long war of attrition will be the survival of the fittest. The Europeans will not be happy to lose all of their clients and former colonies. And the left generally will be terribly unhappy to lose the Palestinian cause. But, ce la vie.

    • JR

      Egypt still controls Suez Canal and al-Sisi seems determined to bring tourists back and develop the economy as best as he could. Strong, stable Egypt is in a lot of people’s interest, and Israel already declared that it will sell gas from it’s off-shore fields to Egypt and Jordan.The future may not be as bleak as our worst fears.

    • Dainos

      US is NOT sitting in the sidelines.

      • JR

        So ISIS was created by Israel? Is that what you are saying?

      • George Von Herman

        brother nathaniel! or is it azazel?

    • wigwag

      Bahrain may not be a viable state and, as we are seeing, the verdict is very much out when it comes to Yemen. According to the erudite Adam Garfinkle, Saudi Arabia may not be a viable state in the Westphalian sense; at the very least, whether its viable or not, its not a “normal” state. See,

      http://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/01/29/what-the-msm-is-failing-to-tell-you/

      Adam Garfinkle has also questioned whether Iran can be considered a “state” in the way that most Westerners understand the term. He’s suggested that it is more of a multiethnic empire.

      Certainly you are right, Ellen; the Middle East is a mess primarily because of the Europeans of yesterday and every time the Europeans interfere with the Middle East today (including convincing the credulous Obama Administration to attack Libya) things get worse and worse.

      • Dan Greene

        Why is Bahrain not viable?

        Obviously Iran is a state. Garfinkle fears Iran’s capacity for regional leadership and influence so he comes up with nonsensical notions about “multi-ethnic empires.” If you mean that there are minority groups who want autonomy from the central state–Kurds, Baluchis–that’s obviously true. But that also appears to be true of the British state and the Chinese and Indian states. Israel is a classic multi-ethnic empire in a truer sense with the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza under its effective control. The minority groups of Iran at least have equal individual rights within the Iranian state.

        • JR

          “The minority groups of Iran at least have equal individual rights within the Iranian state.”
          They are??? Well, I’m sure that assessment will surprise Baha’is living in Iran.
          http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3149-a-faith-denied-the-persecution-of-the-baha-is-of-iran.html
          What about Christians? Hmmmm…. Not so much either.
          http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/15/opinion/irans-oppressed-christians.html?_r=0
          But at least women are doing OK? Oh dang it, they are not…
          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-16/iran-s-oppression-of-rights-women-worse-under-rouhani-un-says

          A for effort. F for accuracy. Try again…

          • Dan Greene

            While the Bahais (Ismaili Shia) are certainly oppressed in Iran, they are irrelevant to the notion of a “multi-ethnic empire,” because unlike ethno-national groups such as the Kurds, Baluchis and others, they have no specific territory associated with them.

          • JR

            They are a minority group in Iran that is being oppressed and doesn’t have equal individual rights to other groups. Hence, the statement “The minority groups of Iran at least have equal individual rights within the Iranian state.” is false. That’s all…

          • Dan Greene

            OK, and I guess you agree that the Palestinians are part of Israel’s “multi-ethnic empire”?

          • JR

            I wouldn’t call Israel an empire. And you’re absolutely right. There are many Arab Muslims who live in Israel who have full rights of Israeli citizens, including the right to vote. Hey, living in a democracy does have its perks.

          • Dan Greene

            Why would you not call Israel an empire when it is a Jewish state that maintains military and political control over non-Jewish populations and when it is the product of an ethnically based conquest that transformed Palestine from an area 92% Arab to a Jewish dominated state and imperial possessions?

          • JR

            Because any state that is not 100% homogeneous would fall under that definition of empire. Is Burma an empire? How about Thailand? And some Arabs in 1948 made a mistake of believing the idiots who promised to “push the Jews into the sea”. They made a mistake. Mistakes have consequences.

          • Dan Greene

            No, few states today exercise politico-military control over territories that are not officially part of that state, i.e., the West Bank and Gaza.

          • JR

            West Bank has its own security and police forces. It is ruled by PLO, not Israel.
            Gaza is ruled by Hamas, not Israel. After Hamas took over Gaza, they made a decision to spend all of their resources attacking an enemy that is technologically superior to them in every way. That was a bad decision on, their part. Bad decisions have bad consequences.

          • George Von Herman

            i have to say that “JR” is one the best perks on TAI

          • JR

            Thank you… But I want to say that without Dan “Homosexual Souls” Greene I wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. He is the star of this show, not me.

          • Dan Greene

            Why are you so unwilling to mention the “homosexual souls” quote in conjunction with the guy who actually said it? Here’s the quote again:

            “Homosexual Jews have “higher souls” than gentiles, gay or straight, the deputy minister for religious services told the Israeli daily Maariv in an article published on Friday. Even so, he would oppose any same-sex marriage bill, just as he would oppose marriage between a Jew and a gentile, said Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, a member of the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party.”

            And Rabbi Eli ben Dahan is a senior official of the new Israeli government.

          • JR

            See what I mean??? I’m just a supporting actor here. And I don’t want to elbow in on your “homosexual souls” territory. That’s yours papi, all yours. I know where I am completely overmatched.

          • Dan Greene

            Say it with me: We Americans are subsidizing a racist, anti-goy government in Israel that absolutely despises us (non-Jews that is) while demanding huge increases in the monies we are sending them.

          • JR

            Sure. Dan Greene believes that we are subsidizing a racist, anti-goy government in Israel that absolutely despises us (non-Jews that is) while demanding huge increases in the monies we are sending them.
            Dan Greene seems unaware that others don’t share his view.

          • Dan Greene

            No one has to share my view. But my view is based on the concrete evidence of just who dear Bibi is hiring as administrator of the West Bank. Judeofascism is as Judeofascism does.

          • JR

            Well, now we are getting somewhere. I’m a firm believer that everyone can construct a fictional universe and live in it to their hearts content.

          • Dan Greene

            Non-substantive. No response required.

          • JR

            But I like chatting with you. It makes me feel better about myself. And I think others get a chuckle out of it. Plus, your anti-Semitic bigotry and denial of basic facts exposes your odious ideology for a complete bunk that it is. So I’m doing good AND doing well at the same time. How Jewish of me.

          • Dan Greene

            I’m glad you feel better about yourself. I can see why you might have a self-esteem problem.

          • JR

            Come on. I already told you many times. I respond to you because there is no better way to discredit an anti-Semitic ideology that talking to an anti-Semite. You are not the intended audience here. You are more of a tool that I use.

          • Dan Greene

            The problem with your “logic,” however, is that what is actually being discredited here is the anti-goy racism of the Israeli state in the person of Rabbi Ben Dahan. At no point in this string (or others) have you been able to mount a coherent defense of the Judeoracism that is rampant in the Israeli government that we subsidize.

            But, if you can somehow feel better about yourself despite your obvious and total failure in this regard, then more power to you!

          • JR

            You harping on what one guy said may seem persuasive to you, but it really isn’t to anyone else. Hate to be the bearer of bad news.

          • Dan Greene

            And yet you seem to need to continue the conversation ad infinitum. If you really thought it was so obviously unpersuasive, you wouldn’t need to make repeated attempts to evade that point and draw the discussion in other directions.

            Your actions belie your words.

          • JR

            You are the one who keeps on bringing him up, not me. You are the star here, and I’m a supporting actor.

          • Dan Greene

            And you are the one who keeps engaging with me. No one is forcing you to do that. In this string, YOU have replied to MY initial comments–not the other way around. So, once again, both your evasiveness and obsessiveness are on display.

          • JR

            When you don’t use your comments to attack Israel, I don’t care. When you do, I will defend Israel. Simple at that.

          • Dan Greene

            OK–now all you have in front of you is the Sisyphean task of actually mounting a coherent defense of Israel’s anti-goy ministers and Judeosupremacist policies which you have so far conspicuously failed to do. Good luck!

          • JR

            You can never convince people who constructed their own reality that they are wrong. The point is to show OTHERS how delusional those people are and discredit their opinions in general. I’m fairly satisfied with the job that I did.

          • Dan Greene

            Well, OK, if you’re satisfied, then you’re satisfied.

          • JR

            Thank you.

          • Dan Greene

            No, it’s airspace is controlled by Israel, all its borders are controlled by Israel, it’s water is looted by Israel. Israel cuts off aid supplies and tax revenues when it sees fit and launches military operations into the area on its decision, not the PA’s.

            Gaza’s territorial waters are controlled by Israel and Israel has prevented building supplies from being brought in to rebuild the area following its last blitzkrieg.

            Both Gaza and the WB are open-air prison camps maintained by Israeli commandants with Palestinian Kapos nominally in charge.

            And as we know, the new Israeli administrator of the West Bank under Bibi’s new government has said:

            “Homosexual Jews have “higher souls” than gentiles, gay or straight, the deputy minister for religious services told the Israeli daily Maariv in an article published on Friday. Even so, he would oppose any same-sex marriage bill, just as he would oppose marriage between a Jew and a gentile, said Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, a member of the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party.”

            This is what empire looks like.

          • JR

            Gaza also borders Egypt. Way to omit that…. Also, no mention of building supplies being diverted by Hamas to build terror tunnels into Israel. Do you think that has anything to do with Israel’s reluctance? Do you? Do you think that? Or you don’t think that?
            on the side note, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I knew I could count on you to come up with “homosexual souls” comment. I was waiting and waiting, and it is finally here. It’s like your calling card. Now when I write “Mr. Homosexual Souls” everyone knows who I am talking about. You built your own brand from the ground up. MAn, that is some badazz guerrilla marketing. You are truly an inspiration.

          • Dan Greene

            “Gaza also borders Egypt. Way to omit that”

            Good point–the murderous coup plotter and dictator el-Sisi cooperates with Israel, though I don’t think anyone didn’t understand that.

            If European Jews had not embarked on an ethnic cleansing project of the Palestinian Arabs who constituted over 90% of the population of Palestine in 1918, before the imperially-sponsored Lebensraum campaign began, there would be no war of resistance against the Israeli state. That’s what happens when you take somebody’s land–they resist! Sorry to have to acquaint you with this basic reality.

            And as for the odious Judeosupremacist, Rabbi ben Dahan, do YOU condemn is view that non-Jews have souls inferior to Jews? Why would anyone whose loyalty is to the US (vice Israel) ever accept the fact that Jewish racism in Israel is acceptable, while Jews and shabbosgoyim like Mead spend all their time whining about “anti-Semitism?” Why should I, as a US taxpayer, subsidize an Israeli government that supports the view that the sould of non-Jews are inherently inferior to those of Jews????

          • JR

            “His view”. Correct spelling is your friend. And I don’t believe in concept of souls. So I can’t lend my expertise. And it’s souls not sould. Spelling brother. You got to learn to love it…

          • Dan Greene

            Doesn’t matter whether you, I or anyone else does or does not believe in the concept of souls. You’re an evasive little fellow, aren’t you? A senior Israeli official has insulted Americans whose tax dollars go to support Israel. He is not being held accountable, and you clearly are trying to evade the responsibility of addressing the issue

            You still can’t even bring yourself to use his name. It’s RABBI ELI BEN DAHAN.

            Why do we subsidize a government that would employ this man?

          • JR

            Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan. See, the lengths I go to make you happy? I can’t help but feel under-appreciated.

          • Dan Greene

            OK, now we’re getting somewhere. Now the next step of your 12 step program is to condemn this Judeosupremacist rabbi and all he stands for. The step after that is to condemn the Israeli government for its endorsement of his noxious ideology by putting him in a senior (or any) position. The step after that is to support a boycott of any Israeli government that includes his party, Habayit Hayehudi.

          • JR

            But to do that means sharing both your odious anti-Semitic ideology and become completely divorced from reality. Since I don’t share your ideology, and I treat reality as a friend, I’m afraid I can’t do what you want. But here’s another Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan to tidy you over.

          • Dan Greene

            So in other words you refuse to prioritize your loyalty to the US over your much deeper love of the Jewish state.

            OK, I can’t say I’m surprised.

          • JR

            What if I were to tell you that your opinion on my loyalties are completely irrelevant? And I’m extremely loyal to the US. Which is why I am so glad that our country supports the only democracy in the Middle East. Makes me proud to be an American. And I’m being completely serious here. And I’m also glad to know that Israel keeps on sharing it’s military tech with the US. Together, alliance between these two great nations is truly an inspiration.

          • Dan Greene

            Irrelevant to what? To an environment in which US policy is being systemically distorted and undermined by a pernicious and powerful lobby whose first loyalty is to another country?

            I don’t doubt you imagine that you are loyal to the US. But clearly, your unwillingness to address the contempt with which the Israeli government treats its American tax donkeys (as exemplified by ben Dahan’s words) says otherwise.

            Our support for, and alliance with, Israel have been an albatross around our neck since Day 1. It just took many decades for the truth of this strategic debacle to become clear. Although currently obscured by the Sunni-Shia conflict, we are in a long process of alienating the region and creating the basis for long-term Chinese strategic ascendancy in the ME (regardless of what happens to Assad). We are giving the game away, and we are doing that because of the malign power of Israel’s Lobby and you.

          • JR

            Dude, you made me wait this long before busting out “Jewish Lobby” card??!?!?! But the thing, the conspiracy goes WAY DEEPER than that. Did you know that if you combine a pathological hatred of Jews and an active imagination, you can imagine a connection between Jews and everything that is bad in the world? You really can!!!
            BTW, Sunni-Shia conflict has been going on for the past 1400 years. And when is this Chinese strategic ascendancy supposed to happen? Any firm dates or is this just a random conspiracy theory du jour?

          • Ellen

            Um, how about Baluchistan? How about Iranian Kurdistan? Have you ever looked at a map, or are you reciting by memory?

          • Dan Greene

            What are you trying to say? I discussed both the Kurds and Baluchis above.

          • Corlyss

            Ellen might be a fast mis-reader like I am . . . . I get into more trouble because I scan text too fast. I’m grateful when folks here hit me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper for getting it wrong on something as verifiable as misreading text There’s nothing worse than being opinionated, outspoken, and wrong on an oversight.

    • Dan Greene

      >>”The MidEast state system can only be sustainable and real if the final outcomes of wars are determined by the power and viability of the combatants themselves, not external forces. What has happened for the past 70 years (and particularly the past 50) is that outside forces intervene to prop up the weak, corrupt and unviable regimes and states, while the strong ones are stymied.”

      You mean like Europe and the Asia/Pacific 1914-45? So you would have been an “isolationist” then, I guess? Let the Europeans and the Asians sort out their issues so that the “strong states,” i.e., Germany and Japan, can do what they need to do with the weaker states and achieve their full potential (like Israel, one infers from your post, in the Middle East).

      Well, that is one way to look at it.

  • Dainos

    Mead is a coward who won’t mention the Neocon-Zionist connection. US foreign policy has been totally controlled by Zionists, and it has destabilized Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. It’s good for Israel to see Arabs kill Arabs and Sunnis fight Shias.

    True, Turkey and Iran have been supporting the rebels, but this war would have ended already if NATO hadn’t destroyed Libya, thereby allowing arms to flow from there to Syria.

    And non-Isis fighters? Most of the rebels are just as crazy as Isis.

    Mead is such a shill of Israel that he fully endorsed Israel’s destruction of Gaza.

    But he follows the Zio-American line that Assad must go because Israel doesn’t like him. Zionists cite human rights, but these are people who’ve been oppressing Palestinians forever. And US has no problems with human rights violation in Saudi Arabia.

    US is a zio-gangster state.

    • JR

      Welcome to TAI!!! You seem like a very reasonable, sane person. I’m sure you and I are going to have some fun together!

      • ljgude

        The fun is all yours. Better thee than me.

        • JR

          Oh come on… We can get to “9/11 was a Mossad conspiracy” in no time… Where’s your sense of adventure? 🙂

    • JR

      Oh come on, you can’t come in here, tease us with a post like that and disappear. BOOOOOOO!!!!!!

  • Dan Greene

    Yes, Assad has his back to the wall again as he did in the summer of 2012. He bounced back that time. We’ll see what happens this time. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel are all in a de facto alliance with al-Nusra (Al Quaeda) and that is wearing down the GoS capacity for resistance. The IS buffer state in eastern Syria and western Iraq acts to impede Iranian support to the GoS.

    Israel has been attacking targets in Syria under various spurious pretexts but all designed to cooperate with al Nusra in pursuit of the downfall of Assad.

    When Assad surrendered his chemical weapons to forestall US missile attacks in 2013, he gave up a critical strategic resource, not because he could ever really use them but because his downfall would have meant the high risk of chemical weapons falling into Islamist hands. His possession of chemical weapons served to limit that amount of aid that Israel, Jordan, Turkey et al were willing to provide Jiihadi groups. That brake on support to anti-GoS groups is now gone, and we can see the consequences.

    • JR

      Hmm, weirdly enough there were UN confirmed reports of Assad using sarin gas (chemical weapon) after he supposedly gave all of his chemical weapons up.
      And any evidence of Israel actively cooperating with al Nusra? A link to a credible news source perhaps? And no, conspiracy websites don’t count.

      • Dan Greene

        Since you are looking for evidence, how about providing some for the ludicrous charge that Syria employed sarin? That was the day that OPCW was flying into Damascus to conduct inspections. It was always almost certainly a false flag allegation designed to damage Assad.

        Israel/al-Nusra:

        First, as I said, it is a de facto alliance, but there is evidence indicative of more than that:

        “Communications increased between rebels and the Israeli army before the eruption of the southern front in Daraa and Quneitra in September, according to Quneitra opposition activist Mohammad Qasim, a pseudonym due to the sensitivity of the subject.

        “Qasim, who was active in a support capacity to the rebels during the September offensive, told Al-Monitor via Skype, “The battle to capture Quneitra on Sept. 27 was preceded by coordination and communications between Abu Dardaa, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Israeli army to pave the way for the attack. And according to an FSA commander who partly participated in this battle, the Israeli army provided Abu Dardaa with maps of the border area and the Syrian army’s strategic posts in the southern area.”

        The rebels’ battle, led by al-Qaeda’s affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, to control the Quneitra crossing took place in coordination with the Israeli army through Abu Dardaa, according to Qasim. He added, “During the clashes, the Israelis heavily bombarded many of the regime’s posts, shot down a warplane that was trying to impede the progress of the fighters and targeted other aircraft.” The media reported that on Sept. 23, Israel downed a MiG-21 Syrian military aircraft over the occupied Golan Heights during the intensification of fighting between rebel fighters led by Jabhat al-Nusra and the Syrian army.

        Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/01/syria-opposition-daraa-israel-communication-nusra.html#ixzz3bY8UGIrr

        “Sedqi al-Maqet, a pro-government Syrian activist from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, was arrested, with a military gag-order initially banning the Israeli press from reporting the case. Al-Maqet had used his residence in the Golan to report from his Facebook account in Arabic about contacts he said he had witnessed between Israeli armed forces and what he termed terrorists active in the Syrian-controlled sector of the Golan. One of these videos, aired on Syrian state TV, was used to charging him with “spying”.

        “Since those reports, there have been further confirmations of the Israeli-al-Qaeda alliance. The most oblique of these came from David Ignatius, the Washington Post associated editor and foreign affairs columnist. Earlier this month he wrote that “Jordan and Israel have developed secret contacts with members of the Jabhat al-Nusra group along their borders.”

        • JR

          Here’s that notorious right-wing rag The Guardian reporting on the UN report about use of Sarin gas.
          http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/06/sarin-gas-attack-civilians-syria-government-un

          • Dan Greene

            Give me at least a passage that you endorse from this article and your analysis, if any–not just the copy and paste. Weren’t you the one complaining about that in the past? At least I provide something more than just a link!

          • JR

            I endorse the passage that talks about UN confirming there was a sarin gas attack. That one. Evidence seems to suggest Assad used it as a way to clear out the area. It was effective. Not sure what more in-depth analysis someone like me, with very limited military experience, can provide.

          • Dan Greene

            Show the quotation.

          • JR

            Here’s the link to the UN report. Read at your own leisure. Or not…
            http://www.cfr.org/syria/un-report-chemical-weapons-use-syria/p31404

            he United Nations Mission collected clear and convincing evid ence that chemical weapons were used also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013.

            110. This conclusion was based on the following:

            Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface ro ckets, capable to carry a chemical payload, were found to contain Sarin;
            Close to the rocket impact sites, in the area where patients were affected, the environment was found to be contaminated by Sarin;
            The epidemiology of over fifty interviews given by survivors and health care workers provided ample corroboration of the medical and scientific results;
            A number of patients/survi vors were clearly diagnosed as intoxicated by an organophosphorous compound;
            Blood and urine samples from the same patients were found positive for Sarin and Sarin signature.

          • Dan Greene

            Show me the quotation.

          • JR

            “The United Nations Mission collected clear and convincing evid ence that chemical weapons were used also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013.

            110. This conclusion was based on the following:

            Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface ro ckets, capable to carry a chemical payload, were found to contain Sarin;
            Close to the rocket impact sites, in the area where patients were affected, the environment was found to be contaminated by Sarin;
            The epidemiology of over fifty interviews given by survivors and health care workers provided ample corroboration of the medical and scientific results;
            A number of patients/survi vors were clearly diagnosed as intoxicated by an organophosphorous compound;
            Blood and urine samples from the same patients were found positive for Sarin and Sarin signature.”
            If that is not the quotation you are looking for, not sure what to tell you…

            Also, real talk time… Everyone knows that Assad used sarin gas. By having you deny something that others know as a fact, I’m trying to paint you as somebody whose ideology makes him deny basic reality. And I can totally admit to that, knowing that you still will deny basic facts.

          • Dan Greene

            OK, now do you see the problem with what you have provided?

            Nowhere does it attribute the employment of the alleged weapon to the GoS.

            Your case rests on quicksand.

            The notion that Assad would have been dumping chemical weapons in the eastern part of Damascus as the inspectors from the OPCW were arriving is so ludicrous that even you, JR, should be able to appreciate it.

          • JR

            Not just me, bud. The entire world. So once again we arrived at our usual place. Do we believe UN reports, official positions of US government, etc etc etc OR do we believe Dan Greene? I dunno…. I’m gonna go out on a limb and go with conventional wisdom. BTW, I like how you keep going. I do. I really admire you. Your ability to live in your own universe is truly astounding.

          • Dan Greene

            The UN report does not support you main contention–that it was Assad and the GoS who used Sarin in Damascus in 2013.

            Yes, we are at our usual point. You are trying to advance an argument with shoddy and/or false evidence–and are failing quite miserably.

          • JR

            So everyone is wrong and YOU are right? Sweeeeeeeeet…..

          • Dan Greene

            No, YOU are wrong, as clearly demonstrated above.

          • JR

            So when Obama Administration said that Assad was using sarin gas, they were lying? Is that what you are saying? Yes, they were lying, or no, they were not lying?

          • Dan Greene

            They were telling an untruth. Whether they were consciously lying or simply making an erroneous case, I can’t say. But they provided nothing approaching concrete evidence to support the claim that Assad used sarin. So, for all intents and purposes, the answer to your question is “Yes.”

          • JR

            So anyone who doesn’t share your view of the world is either lying or wrong… Superb….

          • Dan Greene

            Anyone who can’t provide evidence and a plausible motive to support the claim that Assad used sarin while the OPCW inspectors were only a few miles away has no real case. That’s the bottom line.

          • JR

            Why do people use weapons in war? You stumped me. I don’t get it either. Maybe…. to kill enemies? To sow terror in order to weaken morale?

          • Dan Greene

            Don’t be obtuse. Any use of chemical weapons that could demonstrably have been attributed to Assad would have generated grounds for attacks on his regime (as almost happened.) Also, the summer-fall of 2013 was a high point for Assad’s military success, so the point is that there was no discernible motive for him to use chemical weapons ESPECIALLY with chemical inspectors entering Damascus that day. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

          • JR

            Well, it didn’t generate grounds for attack. Can’t use counterfactual arguments as if they were facts. And the motive was to kill and terrorize enemies. I get that you don’t think so. But both UN and major world governments believed and believe otherwise. Feel free to live in a reality where everyone is wrong and you are right. I’m not stopping you.

          • Dan Greene

            Show me the evidence you think substantiates the claim that Assad employed Sarin as charged. You have not done so yet.

          • JR

            If you are not convinced by the UN report and John Kerry showing forensic evidence at the UN, nothing can convince you. Where you go wrong is thinking that whether or not you believe in something is the ultimate deciding factor on whether or not it is true.

          • Dan Greene

            The UN report does NOT attribute the sarin use to Assad or the GoS (or to anyone specifically.)

            What is it that Kerry showed that you find persuasive?

          • JR

            This article seems pretty persuasive. I mean, it persuaded me, the UN, US government, UK government, French government. But since you are not persuaded, it is a total failure. See, I’m getting it…

          • Dan Greene

            First of all, it’s a bit dishonest of you to say “If you are not convinced by the UN report…” when the UN report says nothing to support your contention that Assad employed Sarin in East Bhouta.

            Second, I reiterate my question: What specifically that Kerry said do you find persuasive?

          • JR

            What kind of evidence would convince you? Claims by major world governments is obviously not it.

          • Dan Greene

            A “claim by a major world government” is not any kind of evidence at all. It’s a claim! Evidence is supposed to support the claim. Do you get that concept?

            It’s not a question of “what kind of evidence” I would support. You have provided no evidence of any kind to substantiate the claim in question, i.e., that Assad and the GoS employed Sarin in East Ghouta on 21 August 2013. You simply reference other claims to support the original claim and then attempt to pass that off as evidence.

            Now that’s not very intellectually honest of you, is it?

          • JR

            The United States and its allies seized on the volume of data in the report to reaffirm their conclusion that only Syrian government forces had the ability to carry out such a strike, calling it a validation of their own long-held assertions.

            Both the British and American ambassadors to the United Nations also told reporters that the report’s lead author, Dr. Ake Sellstrom, a Swedish scientist who joined Mr. Ban in the Security Council briefing, had told members that quality of the sarin used in the attack was high.

            “This was no cottage-industry use of chemical weapons,” said Britain’s ambassador, Sir Mark Lyall Grant. He said the type of munitions and trajectories had confirmed, “in our view, that there is no remaining doubt that it was the regime that used chemical weapons.
            Samantha Power, the American ambassador, acknowledged implicitly the credibility issue that has confronted the United States on Syria chemical weapons use, a legacy of the flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction that led the United States into the Iraq war a decade ago.

            “We understand some countries did not accept on faith that the samples of blood and hair that the United States received from people affected by the Aug. 21 attack contained sarin,” she said. “But now Dr. Sellstrom’s samples show the same thing. And it’s very important to note that the regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition posses sarin.”

            Since reading comprehension seems a bit less of a strength of yours than denying facts.

          • Dan Greene

            As I said above, this shows nothing. The claim here hinges on the assumption that sarin could not have been provided to a rebel groups or otherwise infiltrated into Syria. So the reasoning “We have no evidence that the opposition has sarin” is meaningless. And again, there is no credible motive for Assad to use chemical weapons on the day chemical inspectors were only a few miles away. Of course from an anti-Assad perspective, the timing and location were absolutely perfect.

          • JR

            Like I said, you don’t believe Syrian government used sarin gas and everyone else does. It’s Dan Greene vs. the world.
            Do you think there was a sarin gas attack? If yes, who do you think used it?

          • Dan Greene

            It’s obviously NOT Dan Greene vs. the world. Look at the NYT article you yourself just cited:

            “Samantha Power, the American ambassador, acknowledged implicitly the credibility issue that has confronted the United States on Syria chemical weapons use, a legacy of the flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction that led the United States into the Iraq war a decade ago.”

            The skepticism was global and ultimately contributed to the “no” vote on UK participation in the planned missile strikes on Syria in the House of Commons and on Obama’s backpedalling as well.

            Of course, the probable false flag still had tremendous strategic value to those pursuing regime change in Syria, as I said in my original post, as it ended up being the mechanism for the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal which now has the consequence of permitting much freer support to Jihadist and other opposition groups by the de facto Saudi-Turkey-Israel alliance (and others).

          • JR

            Yes, the article clearly states that Samantha Powers and the US administration believed that IN THIS CASE, the evidence was rock solid.

          • Dan Greene

            The issue is NOT what Samantha Powers believed. It was her acknowledgement of widespread disbelief in the case being made for the alleged GoS employment of Sarin.

          • JR

            No, it was about her realizing that since the WMD fiasco in Iraq, the evidence needed to be air tight. The article clearly states that SHE believed that it was. So did the UK Ambassador. So did John Kerry. So did Barack Obama.
            Out of curiosity, what do you think happened? Was Sarin used? If so, by whom?

          • Dan Greene

            If the doubt and disbelief had not been widespread, it would not have contributed so forcefully to the backpedalling of the Obama administration. In any case, once again, what Powers or Kerry believed is not evidence.

            I think sarin was probably used and that if so, it was almost certainly an attempt by some combination of opposition forces and/or their international backers to generate an incident that could be seen to justify US-led direct intervention into the Syrian civil war. The incentive for sarin use in Damascus just as chemical inspectors arrived in country was all on the anti-Assad side.

          • JR

            Sweet conspiracy theory bro… What evidence do you have to back any of that?

          • Dan Greene

            Well, the theory that GoS regime leadership used sarin and then denied using it is, of course, a conspiracy theory as well. Since any possible explanation for the use of sarin involves clandestine collective action (because no one would want to admit to having employed it), they are all conspiracy theories. So the scary “conspiracy theory” label is even more ludicrous than usual. You yourself are promoting a conspiracy theory–just a different one (and a much less convincing one) than I am.

            As for evidence, there is no conclusive evidence. If there had been, the UN report you keep citing might have made an attribution. But you asked me what I thought, and I think that the probability, based on the incentives and disincentives, is overwhelmingly on the anti-Assad side.

          • JR
          • Dan Greene

            No, once again your attempt to cobble together evidence is comical. The intercepts that Kerry says “we” collected actually came from GUESS WHO–Israel. Just as a general rule, nothing from Israel about a matter in which it has a vested interest (e.g. getting rid of Assad) should ever be taken at face value.

            And was it too much trouble for you to actually read the article you dumped on me and thereby ascertain for yourself its utter lack of concrete evidence? Here is the admission that these are claims, not evidence:

            “While unusually detailed, the assessment does not include photographs, recordings or other hard evidence to support its claims. Nor does it offer proof to back up the administration’s assertion that top-ranking Syrian officials — possibly including President Bashar al-Assad — were complicit in the attack.”

            In fact, an Israeli signals intelligence unit, the so-called Unit 8200 of the IDF was the source (claimed by Israel.) None of the original intercepts or anything else specific were ever provided for inspection. If anything, the whole intercept issue indicated Israeli complicity in an attempt to create a pretext for US intervention in Syria. the Times of Israel, quoted by Information Clearinghouse said this:

            “It was Brun, the IDF’s top intelligence analyst, who in April shocked the international community by declaring that the army was quite certain that Assad had used chemical weapons against rebel forces in Syria in March. This time, too, Israeli military intelligence has reportedly played a key role in providing evidence of Assad’s chemical weapons use. On Friday, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that the weapons were fired by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, a division under the command of the Syrian president’s brother, Maher Assad. The nerve gas shells were fired from a military base in a mountain range to the west of Damascus, the TV report said.

            The report did not state the source of its information. But subsequently, Germany’s Focus magazine reported that an IDF intelligence unit was listening in on senior Syrian officials when they discussed the chemical attack. According to the Focus report Saturday, a squad specializing in wire-tapping within the IDF’s prestigious 8200 intelligence unit intercepted a conversation between high-ranking regime officials regarding the use of chemical agents at the time of the attack. The report, which cited an ex-Mossad official who insisted on remaining anonymous, said the intercepted conversation proved that Assad’s regime was responsible for the use of nonconventional weapons.”

            No intercepts from US agencies were ever provided, and it soon became clear that this did NOT constitute any meaningful evidence whatever and the “we” that Kerry used meant “we” in the sense of the US and its “allies.”

            So rather than trying to cherry-pick information that you are clearly incapable of assessing for yourself, you’d be better off conceding that there is no conclusive evidence and that, as I said above, the incentives and disincentives that were operating during this episode strongly favor some element of the anti-Assad coalition as the culprit.

            http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-intelligence-seen-as-central-to-us-case-against-syria/

            http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36028.htm

          • JR

            I see you missed the part which had CIA, and NSA agreeing with the assessment. And how dare these fools not release sensitive intelligence data. I mean, Dan Greene demands to be convinced. BTW your ad hominem attacks on Israel are super persuasive. I get it. You are right, everyone else is wrong. I will make sure to include the fact that you don’t believe that chemical gas attack that occurred in Syria was done by the Assad regime. The inclusion of a link to a conspiracy website…. You did that just to make me smile, didn’t you? Didn’t you? Because it worked.

          • Dan Greene

            If you are going to cite the WaPo article, then quote from it so I can understand what you are talking about. Is there any intellectual dishonesty to which you will not stoop? Here is the passage that references the intel agencies:

            “The material, prepared by senior intelligence officials, was said to reflect the judgments of the CIA, National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies involved in gathering information on the Syrian conflict.”

            Notice that no one is mentioned by name, and the weasel phrase “is said to reflect the judgments of CIA, NSA, et al.” That is NOT the same thing as your claim that CIA and NSA “agreed with the assessment.”

            How comical–you whine about ad hominems and then immediately launch into an ACTUAL ad hominem by dismissing information solely on the basis of the website it is quoted from (and in any case, I also provided the Times Of Israel link.) Unlike you, I actually provided a reason to dismiss the Israeli “intelligence.” No one and no agency that anyone can actually identify ever verified it.

            Bottom line: Your attempt to convince us that US intelligence agencies put their credibility on the line by agreeing with the fraudulent dross provided by Israel is a disgrace. I’m happy to thwart your connivances once again.

          • JR

            You misunderstand what I wrote. Quoting from conspiracy websites is what I like about you. Anyway, you don’t believe what everyone else does. That’s all I needed to hear. The rest was just a way to pass time before my boss left.

          • Dan Greene

            So, one more tacit admission that you’ve gotten another beat-down and have run our of ludicrous “evidence” with which to obfuscate the facts of the matter. OK–away you run!

          • JR

            You believe conspiracy websites and not assessment of intelligence agencies. I don’t think I ever NOT admitted that.

          • Dan Greene

            What specifically is the information I am citing with which you disagree? Don’t know what “believing in conspiracy websites” means. Information is either valid or invalid. You are merely evading the issue again. It must be embarrassing to be this intellectually ill-equipped.

            And of course, as I pointed out, there was NO assessment by our (US in case that confuses you) intel agencies.

            Your attempt to claim otherwise is simply another instance of dishonesty on your part.

          • JR

            I presented evidence from major world government, intelligence agencies, and supra-national organizations such as UN. You kept on repeating that you are not persuaded and posted link to a conspiracy theory website. Then you declared yourself a winner (I wasn’t aware that convincing you was my goal) because you believe conspiracy websites. And I guess in your alternative reality you are a winner.
            I’ve said it before but you don’t seem to get it. My goal was not, is not, and never will be to convince you of anything. My goal is to amuse myself and to have you discredit yourself with absurd claims that no one other than you believes. You’re a tool I use to discredit anti-Semites. Anyone can say that anti-Semites are delusional conspiracy freaks. I can actually point to your posts spouting nonsense and posting links. Whether or not you believe what you say is irrelevant.

          • Dan Greene

            Nope, sorry. You presented unsupported claims on the one hand and vaguely/deceptively phrased citations that you attempted to use to imply the support of US intel agencies on the other. None of this amounts to evidence in any meaningful way.

            “Conspiracy.” Just the use of that weasel word says more about your intellectual dishonesty than any of your other fallacious arguments could. Stripped of any objective meaning, it simply becomes a form of ad hominem, as I said above. No argument or data can legitimately be dismissed on the grounds of “conspiracy theory.” If even that elemental bit of logic is beyond you, then you really are far gone.

            Beyond that, this last post you yours is just blah, blah, blah and merely consists of one more attempt on your part to convince yourself that you have managed to discredit something–or anything–in this string.

          • JR

            We have different definitions of success. You define success as me failing to persuade you. I define success as having you post links to conspiracy websites and have you deny things that are widely considered to be facts BY OTHERS. Not you, others. Since we define success differently it is possible for both of us to succeed on our own terms. As for what your credibility is, that is hardly a subject on which your opinion counts. Same way as my opinion on my credibility is absolutely irrelevant.

          • Dan Greene

            Yes, we certainly do have different definitions of success. My goal is the pursuit of truth and the attempt discern what is in the long-term strategic interests of the United States. Your goal is to do whatever you can for the benefit of Israel without regard for the harm it does to the US. You have admitted as much. We’ll see who comes out on top down the road.

          • JR

            You peddle obvious falsehoods like there is persecution of religious minorities in Iran and deny obvious facts like Assad’s use of sarin gas. That makes your claim that you pursue the truth somewhat hard to believe. Your view of long term strategic US interests is to not support Israel. That to you seems to be an end in and of itself. My goal is to fight anti-semitism wherever I find it. Plus, I seriously doubt I think about Israel as much as you do. So your assessment of my goals is wrong. As to who will come out on top at some unspecified point in time in the future? If it’s a contest between Dan Greene and the Jews, my money is on the Jews. Having a powerful Friend has its benefits.

          • Dan Greene

            >>”You…deny obvious facts like Assad’s use of sarin gas.”

            No intellectual integrity whatever. The overwhelming probability is that elements of the anti-Assad coalition employed sarin, as I have demonstrated repeatedly above. You are merely trying to sell the schlock that you dishonestly label and “obvious fact.” It is nothing of the kind.

            Yes, subordinating US policy to the Judeocentric fantasies of israeli political leaders and their US lobby is something that no loyal American should support.

            >>”Plus, I seriously doubt I think about Israel as much as you do.”

            Yeah, no doubt!

            >>”Having a powerful Friend has its benefits.”

            Oh, I wouldn’t say Bibi is THAT powerful.

            In any case, maybe the powerful friend is punishing a stiff-necked people. You can never tell when that’s gonna happen, can you?

          • JR

            I wasn’t referring to Bibi when I was talking about a Friend we Jews had for many centuries. He has never abandoned us. You think you can take Him on? I wish you luck.

          • Dan Greene

            I was quite able to grasp what you meant, JR.

            And here is the truth about the Friend;

            John 14:6–“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

            Maybe you are the one who is trying to take him on.

          • JR

            I’ll take my chances without the intermediaries, however well intentioned and holy they might be. But appreciate your concern nevertheless.

          • Dan Greene

            Well, we’ll all have to take our chances, won’t we? Just wanted to make sure you were aware of the Good News so you wouldn’t have to waste your time pontificating about the Friend when in fact you have forsaken Him.

            John 1:1–“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

          • JR

            I’m aware of the good news. The fact that Jerusalem is once again ours is all the proof that I need.

          • Dan Greene

            Awareness is hardly adequate. The Friend has punished you before and has the power to punish you again.

          • JR

            All of us. Never assume that you are safe from His judgment.

          • Dan Greene

            But woe unto those who reject the Good News.

          • JR

            Indeed.

          • Dan Greene

            Yea, verily.

          • JR

            Amen.

          • Dan Greene

            Christ be with you til we meet again.

          • JR

            Don’t believe in him as a son of God. Whole Jewish thing and all. I do wish that the good cheer you are sending out returns to you tenfold.

          • JR

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/world/europe/syria-united-nations.html

            The United States and its allies seized on the volume of data in the report to reaffirm their conclusion that only Syrian government forces had the ability to carry out such a strike, calling it a validation of their own long-held assertions.

            Both the British and American ambassadors to the United Nations also told reporters that the report’s lead author, Dr. Ake Sellstrom, a Swedish scientist who joined Mr. Ban in the Security Council briefing, had told members that quality of the sarin used in the attack was high.

            “This was no cottage-industry use of chemical weapons,” said Britain’s ambassador, Sir Mark Lyall Grant. He said the type of munitions and trajectories had confirmed, “in our view, that there is no remaining doubt that it was the regime that used chemical weapons.
            Samantha Power, the American ambassador, acknowledged implicitly the credibility issue that has confronted the United States on Syria chemical weapons use, a legacy of the flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction that led the United States into the Iraq war a decade ago.

            “We understand some countries did not accept on faith that the samples of blood and hair that the United States received from people affected by the Aug. 21 attack contained sarin,” she said. “But now Dr. Sellstrom’s samples show the same thing. And it’s very important to note that the regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition posses sarin.”

          • Dan Greene

            Although this quotation of yours does not explicitly say so, the idea being put forward here is that “high quality sarin” must mean that only the Syrian government could have done it. HIgh quality sarin is not hard to get if the price is right and the right people are involved. And given the number of countries who are dedicated to getting rid of Assad, and their backing of various rebel groups, there is no reason to think that “high-quality” sarin could not be acquired by others. There have been many claims (unsubstantiated as far as I know) that al Nusra was able to acquire sarin in Turkey.

            And again, while the rebels and their backers had tremendous incentive to engineer a sarin employment and attribute it to Assad, Assad himself had very little incentive to employ it under the circumstances.

  • JR

    Quick summary for everyone. Dan Greene believes there is a “Jewish Lobby” and that Assad did not use Sarin gas EVER. Let the truth ring from every bell tower!!!

    • Dan Greene

      Poor JR–getting your ass handed to you up and down the string, so you run up to the top for a little “summary.” Your final refuge, eh? What a comical little chap you are!

      • JR

        No I just want to make sure that people know what your opinions are. You are never the intended audience for any of my comments. It is more to use you as a tool to show how anti-Semites are delusional losers. You are just a tool being used to that end. If you think denying reality makes you a winner, well, that just makes my point for me, doesn’t it?

        • Dan Greene

          >>”No I just want to make sure that people know what your opinions are.”

          Of course, they could just scan the string for themselves. But, no, perhaps it’s best that you tell them what to think.

          You sure have a great strategy, JR.

          • JR

            I just summarized. Not everyone is as amused at reading your rants as I am. I’m just a humble servant spreading your word. I expected a bit more gratitude.

          • Dan Greene

            Good work, JR. Keep it up!

          • JR

            Thank you. I will…

          • Fred

            May your Friend bless you. I’m not Jewish, but I like to think He’s my Friend too.

          • JR

            He is a Friend of all the righteous and an implacable Enemy to the wicked.
            Judaism is the only religion that specifically states that all those who are righteous will be by G-d’s side on the Day of Judgement, not just those who were born Jewish.
            But your kind words are most welcome.

          • Dan Greene

            Judaism also endorses genocide of non-Jews so that Jews can have their land. Is that what the Friend really wants?

          • JR

            Moses was the last one to speak directly to Him. I’m not arrogant enough to assume to know what He may or may not want. I do know that Israel has managed to survive and thrive surrounded by mortal enemies. I think we’ll be OK.

          • Dan Greene

            But He wanted an end to ancient Israel and Judaea because of the evil done there, and they were ended. What does He have in store for those in modern times who reject the Good News?

          • JR

            Why don’t you talk to Him and ask?

          • Dan Greene

            He will make it known in His own good time.

          • JR

            He always does, doesn’t He?

          • Dan Greene

            Indeed.

  • GS

    May they akbar each other, even to the uttermost. What’s not to like in such picture? As Henry Kissinger was reported saying during the iraq-iran war, “pity they cannot both lose”. But maybe they can.

    • JR

      Thanks. I needed a breath of sanity.

      • Dan Greene

        I have to wonder whether wishing that Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims would slaughter one another “to the uttermost” is really a breath of sanity.

        Matthew 5:7–“Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.”

        • GS

          Blessed are they who bible, for they shall be bibled at. And remember that in the beginning was the word, and the word was an expletive, and an expletive was the word. Everything that has come to be, has come to be with it, and without it nothing has come to be that has come to be. And so it continues even unto this day, and more especially there. Let them continue.

          • Dan Greene

            Luke 23:34–“Forgive him Father for he knows not what he does.”

          • GS

            Well, you are spilling your seed upon an exceedingly stony ground. Therefore, stop.

          • JR

            Hey Beavis, he said “spilling seed”. Huh, huh, huh.

          • GS

            A standard combination of the sower parable and the Onan story, both scriptural.
            But returning to the topic of the current mess in syria [if one is to bible, why not?], Peter 2:22 : “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
            I prefer expressing the same thought much shorter, and with greater energy: “baboons baboinate in baboonery”.

          • JR

            You Sir are a Scholar and a Gentleman. *slow clap*

          • JR

            Preach it my brother!!! Preach it!!!! Can I get an AMEN!!!!! CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!

        • JR

          And yet you defend those who use gas to kill little children, proclaiming their innocence to further your own agenda.

          Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

          • Dan Greene

            No, no defense, just setting the record straight.

            Exodus 20:16–“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

          • JR

            Well, than you have nothing to fear. After all, who can hope to hide their true intentions from Him.

            It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.Proverbs 18:5

          • Dan Greene

            Indeed.

          • JR

            Amen.

          • Dan Greene

            Praise be.

            For it is said that there are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him…a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies…

            –Proverbs 6:16, 18

        • GS

          “Mercy”? Mercy is only for those who are worthy of it. Cf. Prince Otto von Bismarck, it is his quote.

          • Dan Greene

            See the citation from Luke below.

  • Dan

    We should be providing weapons to which ever side is losing.

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