A look at key events in Syria since March 2011 – San Francisco Chronicle

Protests erupt in the city of Daraa over security forces’ detention of a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of their school. On March 18, security forces open fire on a protest in Daraa, killing four people in what activists regard as the first deaths of the uprising. Security forces raid a sit-in in Syria’s third-largest city, Homs, where thousands of people tried to create the mood of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests against Egypt’s autocrat Hosni Mubarak. — July 2012: A bombing at the Syrian national security building in Damascus during a high-level government crisis meeting kills four top officials, including Assad’s brother-in-law and the defense minister. Backed by thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, Assad’s forces re-capture the strategic town of Qusair from rebels, near the border with Lebanon. Infighting among rebels spreads, pitting a variety of Islamic groups and moderate factions against the al-Qaida-breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Rebels withdraw from the old quarter of the central city of Homs in a significant symbolic victory for the government. Brahimi resigns as U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, marking a second failure by the United Nations and Arab League to end the civil war. Islamic State militants release video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley, the first of five Westerners to be beheaded by the IS group. The U.N. Security Council adopts resolution 2254 endorsing a road map for a transitional period in Syria that includes parliamentary and president elections as well as a new constitution within 18 months. Indirect peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva collapse few days after starting, over a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive in Aleppo.

Source: A look at key events in Syria since March 2011 – San Francisco Chronicle

Mobile-built #USNavy ship plays role in real-life pirate drama

I have only seen one “real” pirate ship in person – it was in January 2012 in the Sea of Cortez – Fortunately, it was far off in the distance and I spied it with my monocular as it was dipping over the horizon. I found it to be breathtaking (from that distance) lol

It was supposed to be a U.S.-led naval training maneuver off the coast of West Africa when real-life drama intervened, with pirates taking over an oil tanker and turning the exercise into a rescue …

Source: Mobile-built US Navy ship plays role in real-life pirate drama

PUTIN AMASSES TROOPS NEAR TURKISH BORDER…

#hussein thinks of Turkey as an ally — Putin sees them as the enemy at large — As someone who taught my eldest grandson to say “Putin is evil” (never-mind that Jaykob liked saying it just because he thought he was saying POOT) Sometimes it can be hard to admit but this time Putin is CORRECT!

“Turkey, after all, is a critical ally in the global fight against ISIS and is among the only members of the U.S.-led coalition with bases near strategic ISIS strongholds. In July 2015, Turkey and the U.S. finalized an agreement to work cooperatively to combat Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq, allowing the U.S. to launch air attacks from the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey against Islamic State terrorist networks in northern Syria.

Make no mistake: The Russian military presence in Armenia represents a dagger pointed at the heart of NATO as the Armenia-Russian alliance strengthens. But while Moscow is rattling its sabers, Washington remains silent.

Last August, The Moscow Times reported that President Putin told Turkey’s Ambassador to Moscow to “tell your dictator President he can go to hell along with his ISIS terrorists and I shall make Syria to nothing but a ‘Big Stalingrad.’” Histrionics aside, the intent is clear. Russia views Turkey as a hostile state and it will not back down.”

tomfernandez28's Blog

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BY ADAM ERELI

Two days before Christmas, as American policymakers were settling into the holidays, Russia quietly signed a sweeping air defense agreement with Armenia, accelerating a growing Russian military buildup that has unfolded largely under the radar. It was the most tangible sign yet that Putin is creating a new satellite state on NATO’s border and threatening an indispensable U.S. ally.

The buildup in Armenia has been glossed over in Washington, despite being a key piece of Vladimir Putin’s plan to dominate the region — along with its proxy Syria and growing military ties with Iran. Most importantly, Armenia shares anapproximately 165 mile border with Turkey, a NATO member and the alliance’s southern flank. 

Over the last six months — as Russia’s war in Syria and pressure on Turkey has intensified — the flow of its arms and personnel into Armenia has escalated to include advanced Navodchik-2 and

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Bush Haunts the GOP, by Eric Margolis

The Dems are no less responsible!

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

“The evil that men do lives after them,” wrote Shakespeare. A prime example, former US President George W. Bush who appeared last week campaigning in South Carolina for his amiable younger brother, Jeb.

George W. continues to haunt the Republican Party and damage its electoral chances. At home, Bush has been staying out of public gaze; abroad, he is widely hated and limits overseas travel due to fear of war crimes arrest for his 2003 invasions of Iraq.

Republican spin doctors and the rightwing US media has been trying to soft soap Bush and his mentor, Dick Cheney, for years and slowly expunge their disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan Wars that opened a Pandora’s Box of horrors across the Muslim world. Democrats who cheered the war have equally sought to dodge responsibility. However, Hillary Clinton can’t seem to escape her tawdry war record.

The US, claim…

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The Age of Authoritarianism: Government of the Politicians, by the Military, for the Corporations, by John Whitehead

“Essentially, there are four camps of thought among the citizenry when it comes to holding the government accountable. Which camp you fall into says a lot about your view of government—or, at least, your view of whichever administration happens to be in power at the time.

In the first camp are those who trust the government to do the right thing, despite the government’s repeated failures in this department. In the second camp are those who not only don’t trust the government but think the government is out to get them. In the third camp are those who see government neither as an angel nor a devil, but merely as an entity that needs to be controlled, or as Thomas Jefferson phrased it, bound “down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.”

Then there’s the fourth camp, comprised of individuals who pay little to no attention to the workings of government, so much so that they barely vote, let alone know who’s in office. Easily entertained, easily distracted, easily led, these are the ones who make the government’s job far easier than it should be.”

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

From John W. Whitehead on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

America is at a crossroads.

History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age—the age of authoritarianism. Even with its constantly shifting terrain, this topsy-turvy travesty of law and government has become America’s new normal.

Let me take you on a brief guided tour, but prepare yourself. The landscape is particularly disheartening to anyone who remembers what America used to be.

The Executive Branch: President Obama, like many of his predecessors, has routinely disregarded the Constitution when it has suited his purposes, operating largely above…

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