US, France, UK, Turkey, Italy prepare for military intervention in Syria

Despite public denials, military preparations for intervention in the horrendous Syrian crisis are quietly afoot in Washington, Paris, Rome, London and Ankara. President Barack Obama is poised for a final decision after the Pentagon submits operational plans for protecting Syrian rebels and beleaguered populations from the brutal assaults of Bashar Assad’s army, debkafile’s Washington sources disclose.

This process is also underway in allied capitals which joined the US in the Libyan operation that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in August, 2011. They are waiting for a White House decision before going forward.

Full article: US, France, UK, Turkey, Italy prepare for military intervention in Syria  (DEBKAfile)

Deciphering The Meaning Of Damascus For Moscow – Analysis

On Feb. 4, 2012, Russia vetoed the draft resolution that was presented to the UN Security Council regarding the condemnation of the violent acts in Syria.

Even though, in accordance with Moscow’s demands, many amendments were made to the resolution, which was drafted by the Arab League and supported by the West, the resolution was vetoed by both Russia and China. The resolution condemned the Damascus government, requested that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turn his duties over to his assistant and further requested that the violent acts against civilians end. Russia objected to the resolution on the grounds of the text being “biased” and because it did not condemn the armed opposition. As Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, stated, “It is unacceptable to hold the government solely responsible for the violent acts.” Moscow also claims requesting that Assad step down means a regime change, and a regime change is still not acceptable to Russia. After the vetoed resolution, the common point of criticism in international public opinion toward Russia is that Moscow has been green-lighting the continued bloody conflicts in Syria. After the UN Security Council meeting on Feb. 4, the meeting on Feb. 7 between Lavrov and Assad was highly anticipated. The aim and result of this diplomatic endeavor by Russia, which repeatedly stated that a diplomatic solution is a must in Syria, was impatiently awaited by all actors.

Full article: Deciphering The Meaning Of Damascus For Moscow – Analysis (Eurasia Review)

Iran’s nuclear, terror offensives meet slow US-Israeli responses

Shrugging off Western sanctions and Israeli recriminations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played a starring role in a widely televised spectacle by inserting his country’s first domestically-made fuel rod into the Tehran Research Reactor Wednesday, Feb. 15. The scene came after the announced cutoff of Iranian oil exports to six European countries – Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal. Two hours later, the Iranian oil ministry challenged the announcement, spoiling the show by attesting to differences in high regime ranks.

By this show, Tehran thumbed its nose at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call on the world Wednesday to set red lines for Iran’s nuclear program and denounce its terrorist activity. “If Iran’s aggression is not halted, it will ultimately spread to other countries,” he told the Knesset.

Tehran paused only briefly in its multi-pronged offensive to deny Israeli charges of an Iranian hand behind the bombing attacks on its diplomats in New Delhi, Bangkok and the Georgian capital of Tbilisi this week, in which an Israeli woman was injured.

Full article: Iran’s nuclear, terror offensives meet slow US-Israeli responses (DEBKAfile)

Merkel Campaigns for Sarkozy Presidential Election

The campaign is driving the two most powerful nations in mainland Europe closer together. EU President Herman Van Rompuy said the debt crisis is now causing a “Europeanization of national political life.”

The Associated Press writes: “The cross-border campaigning reflects a more concerted effort toward the erosion of national sovereignty that leaders like Merkel see as the way for debt-laden Europe to survive in a world increasingly dominated by Asian economic powers such as China.”

Mr. Sarkozy’s competitor, Socialist François Hollande, would oppose everything that Chancellor Merkel is trying to do in Europe—which is pushing her to forcefully support Sarkozy.

Meanwhile, if Sarkozy wins the election, he will be in Merkel’s debt. He is already pushing France to follow Germany’s lead. This support in the election makes France even more subordinate to Germany.

The German-led EU has overturned governments in Greece and Italy. Now Chancellor Merkel is trying to keep a friendly one in power in France. Germany’s dominance of Europe is made clearer every day.

Full article: Merkel Campaigns for Sarkozy Presidential Election (The Trumpet)