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Archive for November 5th, 2013

One Truth Behind the War in Syria: Qatari/US Natural Gas Pipeline? 

Why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria? 

Could it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad of Syria won’t let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria that ends up in Turkey as the main export port to Europe? 

 published in Men’s News Daily on Sept. 8, 2013

The Truth Behind the War in Syria: The Qatari Natural Gas Pipeline – Obama’s War for Oil

Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe.  Why is Saudi Arabia spending huge amounts of money to help the rebels and why has Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan been “jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime”? 

Well, it turns out that Saudi Arabia intends to install their own puppet government in Syria which will allow the Saudis to control the flow of energy through the region. 

Qatari Natural Gas Pipeline

On the other side, Russia very much prefers the Assad regime for a whole bunch of reasons. 

One of those reasons is that Assad is helping to block the flow of natural gas out of the Persian Gulf into Europe, thus ensuring higher profits for Gazprom

Now the United States is getting directly involved in the conflict.  If the U.S. is successful in getting rid of the Assad regime, it will be good for either the Saudis or Qatar (and possibly for both), and it will be really bad for Russia.  This is a strategic geopolitical conflict about natural resources, religion and money, and it really has nothing to do with chemical weapons at all.

It has been common knowledge that Qatar has desperately wanted to construct a natural gas pipeline that will enable it to get natural gas to Europe for a very long time.  The following is an excerpt from an article from 2009

Qatar has proposed a gas pipeline from the Gulf to Turkey in a sign the emirate is considering a further expansion of export from the world’s biggest gasfield after it finishes an ambitious programme to more than double its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, said last week, following talks with the Turkish president Abdullah Gul and the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western Turkish resort town of Bodrum.

“We discussed this matter in the framework of co-operation in the field of energy. In this regard, a working group will be set up that will come up with concrete results in the shortest possible time,” he said, according to Turkey’s Anatolia news agency.

Other reports in the Turkish press said the two states were exploring the possibility of Qatar supplying gas to the strategic Nabucco pipeline project, which would transport Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe, bypassing Russia.

A Qatar-to-Turkey pipeline might hook up with Nabucco at its proposed starting point in eastern Turkey. Last month, Mr Erdogan and the prime ministers of 4 European countries signed a transit agreement for Nabucco, clearing the way for a final investment decision next year on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.

“For this aim, I think a gas pipeline between Turkey and Qatar would solve the issue once and for all,” Mr Erdogan added, according to reports in several newspapers.

The reports said two different routes for such a pipeline were possible. One would lead from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey. It was not clear whether the second option would be connected to the Pan-Arab pipeline, carrying Egyptian gas through Jordan to Syria. That pipeline, which is due to be extended to Turkey, has also been proposed as a source of gas for Nabucco.

Based on production from the massive North Field in the Gulf, Qatar has established a commanding position as the world’s leading LNG exporter. It is consolidating that through a construction programme aimed at increasing its annual LNG production capacity to 77 million tonnes by the end of next year, from 31 million tonnes last year.

However, in 2005, the emirate placed a moratorium on plans for further development of the North Field in order to conduct a reservoir study.

As you just read, there were two proposed routes for the pipeline. 

Unfortunately for Qatar, Saudi Arabia said no to the first route and Syria said no to the second route.  The following is from an absolutely outstanding article in the Guardian

In 2009 – the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria – Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.”

Instead, the following year, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo – and earlier this year Iraq signed a framework agreement for construction of the gas pipelines.

The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans.

No wonder Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in a failed attempt to bribe Russia to switch sides, told President Vladmir Putin that “whatever regime comes after” Assad, it will be “completely” in Saudi Arabia’s hands and will “not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports”, according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.

If Qatar is able to get natural gas flowing into Europe, that will be a significant blow to Russia.  So the conflict in Syria is actually much more about a pipeline than it is about the future of the Syrian people.  In a recent article, Paul McGuire summarized things quite nicely…

The Nabucco Agreement was signed by a handful of European nations and Turkey back in 2009. It was an agreement to run a natural gas pipeline across Turkey into Austria, bypassing Russia again with Qatar in the mix as a supplier to a feeder pipeline via the proposed Arab pipeline from Libya to Egypt to Nabucco (is the picture getting clearer?). The problem with all of this is that a Russian backed Syria stands in the way.

Qatar would love to sell its LNG to the EU and the hot Mediterranean markets. The problem for Qatar in achieving this is Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have already said “NO” to an overland pipe cutting across the Land of Saud. The only solution for Qatar if it wants to sell its oil is to cut a deal with the U.S.

Recently Exxon Mobile and Qatar Petroleum International have made a $10 Billion deal that allows Exxon Mobile to sell natural gas through a port in Texas to the UK and Mediterranean markets. Qatar stands to make a lot of money and the only thing standing in the way of their aspirations is Syria.

The US plays into this in that it has vast wells of natural gas, in fact the largest known supply in the world. There is a reason why natural gas prices have been suppressed for so long in the US. This is to set the stage for US involvement in the Natural Gas market in Europe while smashing the monopoly that the Russians have enjoyed for so long. What appears to be a conflict with Syria is really a conflict between the U.S. and Russia!

The main cities of turmoil and conflict in Syria right now are Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo. These are the same cities that the proposed gas pipelines happen to run through.

Qatar is the biggest financier of the Syrian uprising, having spent over $3 billion so far on the conflict. The other side of the story is Saudi Arabia, which finances anti-Assad groups in Syria. The Saudis do not want to be marginalized by Qatar; thus they too want to topple Assad and implant their own puppet government, one that would sign off on a pipeline deal and charge Qatar for running their pipes through to Nabucco.

I know that this is all very complicated.

But no matter how you slice it, there is absolutely no reason for the United States to be getting involved in this conflict.

If the U.S. does get involved, we will actually be helping al-Qaeda terrorists that behead mothers and their infants

Al-Qaeda linked terrorists in Syria have beheaded all 24 Syrian passengers traveling from Tartus to Ras al-Ain in northeast of Syria, among them a mother and a 40-days old infant.

Gunmen from the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant stopped the bus on the road in Talkalakh and killed everyone before setting the bus on fire.

Is this really who we want to be “allied” with?

And of course once we strike Syria, the war could escalate into a full-blown conflict very easily.

If you believe that the Obama administration would never send U.S. troops into Syria, you are just being naive. 

In fact, according to Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School, the proposed authorization to use military force that has been sent to Congress would leave the door wide open for American “boots on the ground”

The proposed AUMF focuses on Syrian WMD but is otherwise very broad.  It authorizes the President to use any element of the U.S. Armed Forces and any method of force.  It does not contain specific limits on targets – either in terms of the identity of the targets (e.g. the Syrian government, Syrian rebels, Hezbollah, Iran) or the geography of the targets. 

Its main limit comes on the purposes for which force can be used.  Four points are worth making about these purposes. 

1. The proposed AUMF authorizes the President to use force “in connection with” the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war. (It does not limit the President’s use force to the territory of Syria, but rather says that the use of force must have a connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian conflict.  Activities outside Syria can and certainly do have a connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war.)

2. Second, the use of force must be designed to “prevent or deter the use or proliferation” of WMDs “within, to or from Syria” or (broader yet) to “protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.” 

3. Third, the proposed AUMF gives the President final interpretive authority to determine when these criteria are satisfied (“as he determinesto be necessary and appropriate”).  Fourth, the proposed AUMF contemplates no procedural restrictions on the President’s powers (such as a time limit).

I think this AUMF has much broader implications than Ilya Somin described.  Some questions for Congress to ponder:

(1) Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to take sides in the Syrian Civil War, or to attack Syrian rebels associated with al Qaeda, or to remove Assad from power?  Yes, as long as the President determines that any of these entities has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and that the use of force against one of them would preventor deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the U.S. or its allies (e.g. Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons.  It is very easy to imagine the President making such determinations with regard to Assad or one or more of the rebel groups.

(2) Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to use force against Iran or Hezbollah, in Iran or Lebanon?  Again, yes, as long as the President determines that Iran or Hezbollah has a (mere) a connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and the use of force against Iran or Hezbollah would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the U.S. or its allies (e.g. Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons.

Would you like to send your own son or your own daughter to fight in Syria just so that a natural gas pipeline can be built?

What the United States should be doing in this situation is so obvious that even the five-year-old grandson of Nancy Pelosi can figure it out…

I’ll tell you this story and then I really do have to go. My five-year-old grandson, as I was leaving San Francisco yesterday, he said to me, Mimi, my name, Mimi, war with Syria, are you yes war with Syria, no, war with Syria. And he’s five years old. We’re not talking about war; we’re talking about action. Yes war with Syria, no with war in Syria. I said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ He said, ‘I think no war.’

Unfortunately, his grandmother and most of our other insane “leaders” in Washington D.C. seem absolutely determined to take us to war.

In the end, how much American blood will be spilled over a stupid natural gas pipeline?

source:  http://michaelsnyder.mensnewsdaily.com/2013/09/is-the-united-states-going-to-go-to-war-with-syria-over-a-natural-gas-pipeline/

Note 1: Historically, the Wahhabi Saudi Monarchy refuses to forgive Turkey: During the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century, Sultan Mahmoud 4 ordered his nominal vassal in Egypt Muhammad Ali to quell the Wahhabi insurrection in the Arabic Peninsula. Muhammad Ali tergiversed for many years, but ended up launching two military campaigns.

The first campaign liberated Mecca from the Wahhabi tribe. The second campaign was lead by the strategist eldest son Ibrahim Pasha who eradicated and totally destroyed the Wahhabi capital in Najd.  The British were behind the support of the Wahhabi insurrection in weapons and financial means and resumed its support after Ibrahim Pasha retreated from the Peninsula.

Note 2: To save face and not having to admit a bad decision, the Emir of Qatar resigned “official power” to his son, with tacit pressures from the USA.  Practically, the Qatar project is buried and the pipeline will cross and end up in Syria. Turkey will get a secondary branch just to supply Turkey with its own needed energy.

Turkey is getting ready to face a terrible conflict on its southern and eastern borders from the extremist Islamists and from the Kurdish independent movement.

Halloween: About funky costumes, scary myths or racist opportunities?

Halloween is a time for partying, dressing up and having fun with a bit of harmless – but scary – make-believe.

For the third year, my nieces celebrated Halloween at home and invited over two dozen friends, an opportunity to getting together, and intent on looking different for a night of dancing…

DAMIEN GAYLE UPDATED his post of Oct. 25, 2011

‘We’re a culture, not a costume’:

Students launch poster campaign against ‘racist’ Halloween costumes

A group of college students are taking a stand against some costumes which can cause hurt and humiliation to people from minority ethnic groups.

Students Teaching Against Racism in Society, an Ohio University student group, have created a poster campaign to highlight the racial stereotyping all too common in Halloween party dress.

'We're a culture, not a costume': This campaign to counter racist Halloween fancy dress was created by a student group at the Ohio University called Students Teaching Against Racism
We’re a culture, not a costume’: This campaign to counter racist Halloween fancy dress was created by a student group at the Ohio University called Students Teaching Against Racism

The campaign, headlined ‘We’re a culture, not a costume’, shows images of people of different ethnic groups holding up images party-goers whose costumes they say lampoon their cultures.

Above each image, the posters read: ‘This is not who I am, and this is not okay.’

They have provoked an online row over whether the costumes are actually racist, or whether they are just in good fun.

One blogger who wrote about the posters two days ago had to disable comments on her website after she got 3,000 views and comments from ‘rude, racist people.’

On the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind blog, Melissa Sipin wrote of the campaign: ‘These posters act as a public service announcement for colored [sic] communities.

‘It’s about respect, human dignity, and the acceptance of other cultures (these posters simply ask people to think before they choose their Halloween costume).’

Sipin added: ‘What these costumes have in common is that they make caricatures out of cultures, and that is simply not okay.’

We're a culture not a costume Native American poster
We're a culture not a costume Asian poster

‘This is not who I am, and this is not okay’: The posters highlight the crass racial and cultural stereotypes that emerge in Halloween fancy dress each year

One poster shows a young Arab-American man holding up an image of a Halloween reveller wearing Arabic dress and a suicide bombers vest.

Another shows a Native American man holding a picture of two women with paint on their faces and feathers in their hair holding a sign reading, ‘Me wantum piece [sic]… not war.’

A third poster shows an Asian American woman holding up a picture of a woman dressed as a Japanese geisha girl, with silk kimono and heavy white foundation.

We're a culture not a costume African American poster
We're a culture not a costume Latino American poster

Row: Online comments have urged the students behind the campaign to ‘get a sense of humour’

On the Huffington Post, where the story has also been reported, website comments were split over whether the costumes could be judged offensive.

Many could see nothing wrong with dressing according to racial stereotypes: A user going by the screen name Masterkcb1 wrote on the site: ‘People need to get a sense of humour, and quit taking everything so seriously.

If I can’t dress like a bandito then nobody can dress like a ghost because I don’t have a tan and I find it offensive.

Note: Here are a few comments and opinions I read on FB about 3 sophisticated Lebanese women dressing up like their dark colored maids.

Racism on Halloween (hummusforthought.com)
Three very sophisticated Lebanese women clearly thought this was an appropriate costume for Halloween. After all why not? Why not dress up as black maids? It’s not like trying to dress up as Lebanese quasi-slaves…
  • Sabine Choucair what’s the big deal? instead of fighting these women this person should fight the fact of having “maids” ! Other than that, people are free to dress up the way they like in Halloween – they can take whatever is there in the society and use it!  Why don’t we find “racism blog posts” about people dressing up like Bob Marley. ps: last year i was thinking to dress up like a “Lebanese woman” (how racist of me )
  • Joanna Choukeir Hojeily you have a really good point, but a Lebanese woman chooses to dress up the way she does. Domestic workers do not have that choice, and that dress code is not representative of their fashion or their colour. A maid can be of any ethnicity. Why did they paint their faces black? Dressing up the way you want is ok, but being stereotypical is not.
  • Sabine Choucair It’s Halloween! And people can take faces/ characters/ stereotypes from real life. 3adeh (very usual).
  • Joanna Choukeir Hojeily How would maids feel if they saw them in these costumes? It might be fun, but it’s insensitive
    Ad AlHusseini  I had to barge in! Sabine you find it healthy to dress up like this? the fact in this situation is retarded from the start! why would a maid be dressed in her own costume from the start? is she in school?! she’s only being differentiated from the other part of the family! why can’t she wear her own clothes. none the less probably for Lebanese ppl to dress like maids maybe is more critical due to how our culture treats them.
  • Bob Marley costume is not racist!! the guy had his way of getting dressed!! MAID! i don’t think they reach Lebanon and get all happy of the shit they wear! it was never by choice! dress up like Hitler in Germany  he is a character, but you’d be arrested the second you go in public. why? because this costume had made billions suffer! Lebanese ppl had and still are making million of foreign worker suffer!

Note: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/racism-behavior-on-many-levels-in-lebanon-high-and-middle-classes-communities/

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2053134/Students-launch-poster-campaign-racist-Halloween-costumes.html#ixzz2jVyclFg9
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Reformist and former minister of Social Affairs: On Trial for reforming society?

It’s not every day that you get to see a Lebanese minister pleading his case in court.
But it probably should be everyday considering that Lebanon is among the world’s most corrupt countries, according to the 2012 report by Transparency International.
Posted Yesterday by  posted this Nov. 2, 2013 in The Beirut Report:

A minister on trial

The ranking is not surprising in a country where government bodies routinely fail to publish any records on how public money is spent or the fact that known militia leaders, murders, criminals and their business associates are running the government with zero accountability.

So what brought former labor minister Charbel Nahas to court this week?

Did he insulted the head of a major corporation (Spinneys supermarket chain) after it was accused of intimidating and attacking its own employees.

Nahas is barely visible in this rare photo leaning into the podium just right of attorney Nizar Saghieh. Court proceedings are not videotaped, photographed or recorded.

Nahhas is accused of defaming the British Michael Wright, CEO of the massive Spinneys supermarket chain by calling him a “terrorist“in a Facebook post, following reports that workers have been physically abused or fired for attempting to form a union to demand their rights.

The workers had accused Spinneys of failing to implement a government passed wage hike, denying social security benefits for hundreds of its employees and actually collecting daily fees of 5,000LL from its bag handlers for the opportunity to work for Spinneys.

The formation of the private union was considered a historic event in a country where labor rights are violated with impunity on a daily basis and the Spinneys workers received support from the International Labor Organization as well as Minister Nahas, who helped them create the union.

Activists are saying that the Spinneys worker’s union has largely been emptied owing to a vast intimidation campaign by Spinneys management.

Activists allege that Wright and his legal team have been sending threatening letters to anyone who likes, blogs or shares critical posts about Spinneys.

I have seen a couple of these emails and have also heard testimony from activists who work outside of Spinneys and say they have either lost jobs or been forced into silence after Spinneys lawyers reached out to their bosses and demanded that they cease any activities criticizing the supermarket or its treatment of workers. Much of that has been documented on the site “Spinneys CEO Against Freedoms” created by activists.

But all this did not stop dozens of supporters from attending Minister Nahas’s defamation trial on Wednesday and his defense by the prominent human right’s lawyer Nizar Saghieh. The large crowd of supporters seemed to annoy the Spinneys lawyer, who accused the minister of recruiting court attendees on Facebook.

The judge laughed and said: “Next time, why don’t you invite your supporters via Facebook?

Nahas addresses the media following the hearing.
Activists supporting Nahas gather outside the courthouse.

The audience had a laugh as well and the judge threw out the complaint noting that court attendance was free and open to the public. This last line was really interesting to me. I never knew court trials were open to the public. In fact, I’d never been to the main courthouse in Adlieh, which is quite a large and impressive building by Lebanese institution standards, though currently under renovation.

Even more interesting was the level of gender equality in the courts.

About half of the cloak-wearing attorneys I saw in the hallways were female as were two out of three judges sitting on the bench in the Nahas trial:

The only problem was that it was really hard to hear anything. The large vintage wooden-pane windows were all propped open and, with no speaker system, the voices of both litigants and judges were drowned out by the jackhammers at a nearby construction site.

But a microphone wasn’t the only type of electronics that were desperately lacking. There were no cameras and not even a sound recording of the proceedings. The only record was a handwritten one, penned by the woman in green sitting next to the judges.

Of course all this pales in comparison to the questionable nature in which cases are chosen to be heard. And why is it that we are prosecuting people for criticizing a company’s policies on Facebook instead of prosecuting the myriad of white collar crimes and kickbacks going on nationwide, not to mention the utter public sector corruption that produces a critical lack of basic services such as healthcare, electricity, water, traffic policing and internet access, just to name a few.

Part of the problem seems to be intimidation.

Few Lebanese believe in the courts or have the time to fight in them. But perhaps more of us need to start making time to attend trials at this great, seemingly gender progressive courthouse and launching complaints about the leadership that has failed us.

As for the Nahas trial, the next hearing is scheduled for the 11th of December. More updates to come.


adonis49

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