Saturday, December 28, 2013

War watch December 28 , 2013 -- Israel , Iran , Afghanistan and Syria in focus -- Did Secretary of State John Kerry dare to offer that the infamous spy Jonathan Pollard could be release to Israel Officials - without President Obama's prior approving such a move - who is in charge ? Iran set to move toward direct Iran - US talks ? UK Army Chief Disputes Cameron’s Call for Afghan Pullout - who's in charge ? Syrian Army Killed 60 Islamist Rebels North of Damascus - Syria Army taking charge on the battlefield....


( Kerry must think he's President or something , right  ? )

Report: Kerry Offered Pollard Release to Israel

Officials: Obama Hadn't Approved of Idea

by Jason Ditz, December 27, 2013
Reports swirling around the Israeli press say that Secretary of State John Kerry has offered to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard and secure his departure to Israel if the Israeli government doesn’t renege on the promised releases of Palestinian detainees.
The Channel 10 report cited unnamed Israeli sources saying Kerry made the promise, but that he conceded he hadn’t asked Obama about it, and Israel doubts Kerry can actually get Obama to approve.
Other reports simply said Kerry had agreed to “consider” the release, but hadn’t promised to actually do so. The prisoners are scheduled to be released over the weekend.
Neither the White House nor the State Department was willing to comment on the report, and it seems unlikely that the US would agree to such a release merely for Israel agreeing not  to renege on past promises.
US prepares to pay Netanyahu back for Iran campaign, using Palestinian issue as bludgeon
Binyamin Netanyahu braces for personal US backlash on Iran
Binyamin Netanyahu braces for personal US backlash on Iran
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis Dec 28, 2013, 12:31 PM (IDT)
DEBKAfile reports: US and Israeli intelligence analysts have no doubt that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas stands in the way of a negotiated peace accord with Israel, because he is sure he can get more by diplomatic manipulation and anti-Israel propaganda. Yet the Obama administration is planning to hold Binyamin Netanyahu to blame for the impasse in the talks by depicting him as a serial denier of peace and political failure. This is intended as payback for his bid to turn Congress against Obama’s policy of détente with Iran.

Key Khamenei Aide Calls for Direct US-Iran Talks

Says P5+1 Talks Should Also Involve Side Talks With Everyone

by Jason Ditz, December 27, 2013
In comments that suggest a major rebuke to Iran’s hardliners, Ali Akbar Velayati, a top foreign policy aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressed support for bilateral talks with every P5+1 member nation, including the United States.
“We aren’t on the right path if we don’t have one=-on-one talks with the six countries,” Velayati warned, saying he believes having only the talks with the P5+1 as a whole supports an idea of “unity” against Iran.
Hardline politicians have opposed the P5+1 talks themselves, and have been harshly critical of the Rouhani government for even broaching bilateral contact with the US after decades of acrimony.
Velayati’s comments are a de facto Khamenei endorsement for the idea, and mean it will be almost impossible for hardliners to suggest that the idea is not acceptable as part of Iranian policy.

UK Army Chief Disputes Cameron’s Call for Afghan Pullout

Predicts Taliban Will Retake 'Captured' Territory

by Jason Ditz, December 27, 2013
In an interview today with the Daily Telegraph, British Army Chief Sir Peter Wall undercut Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent “mission accomplished” comments, which came with a call for an Afghan pullout.
While Cameron claimed a “basic level of security” meant British troops could “come home with their heads held high,” Sir Peter predicted the Taliban would retake “captured” territory.
Though he didn’t directly talk about the size of a military presence he’d want to see, he made it clear that he believes the Taliban is “disrupted” and needs to be “assimilated,” in what could be a long process.
The Cameron government has been eager to end its costly military involvement in Afghanistan, and hopes to have the last of its 5,200 troops out by the end of 2014. Though the US is in talks to keep its troops “through 2024 and beyond,” it is widely believed the Cameron government won’t be joining them in any major way.

Report: Syrian Army Killed 60 Islamist Rebels North of Damascus

Troops Ambushed Rebels Near Maaloula

by Jason Ditz, December 27, 2013
A major ambush occurred today near the contested Christian town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, and reports suggest the Syrian Army has killed as many as 60 Islamist rebels.
The town of Maaloula has repeatedly changed hands between rebels and the Syrian military, and fighting has continued in the surrounding countryside. Today’s ambush appears to targeted rebel reinforcements from another town in the area.
The fighters belong to the Liwa al-Islam, one of the Salafist factions in the rebellion, and the group reported that about 400 fighters were involved, with 60 dead and dozens wounded.
Details on the Syrian civil war continue to be difficult to confirm with no independent media on the ground, though both the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian state media told much the same story today.