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Entries in Jay Carney (8)


Syria Today: More Than 100 Claimed Deaths on a "Quiet" Monday

Residents digging through rubble in Kafar Hamra section of Aleppo after Sunday's missile strike

US Cautious About Claims of Regime Use of Chemical Weapons

The White House has been cautious about a French finding that the regime has used chemical weapons.

"We need more information" about claims of such use, spokesman Jay Carney said.

Carney said there is a need to gather more evidence to pin down when chemical weapons were used, who employed them, and what the chain of custody was: "[We must] establish a body of information that can be presented and reviewed, and upon which policy decisions can be made."

Carney had no timetable for when the review might be completed, although he said, "I can assure you that we are working very diligently as an administration with our allies and the Syrian opposition on this matter."

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Syria Today: A Chemical Weapons "Game-Changer"?

Insurgents seize a regime tank near Homs

1625 GMT: Limited Use of Chemical Weapons Part of Assad's Strategy? Pundits are arguing for or against foreign intervention in Syria, and much of their analysis of this week's chemical weapons claims are shaped by that goal. Chemical weapons analysts have focused on the available evidence, and have offered their criticism or support of the claims that Assad used of chemical weapons in that light. Today, however, two analysts focus on the wider strategic situation in Syria, and how chemical weapons claims fit into that picture.

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Syria Live Coverage: US "Non-Lethal" Assistance --- and More --- for the Insurgency 

2027 GMT: Closer to a Diplomatic Solution? Long-time readers will know that we've never been confident that a political settlement to this crisis was possible. However, it does appear that such a solution has never stood a better chance than it does today. As one reader suggested to me on Twitter, the SANA response to John Kerry's saber-rattling was "not very strong, leaving a breathing space" in which negotiations could take place. In fact, the same reader reminds us that Moaz al Khatbib's first demand has been met today, an extension of foreign passports, potentially signifying that the regime is clearing the way to have some dialogue with the opposition:

State news agency SANA said the Ministry of Interior extended the validity of Syrian passports to 10 years from six and that all expired passports for Syrian nationals abroad would be renewed for two years.

Syrian expatriates are unable to travel on expired passports and many Syrians abroad complain they have faced problems in renewing or getting residency visas for out-of-date documents.

Moaz al-Khatib, head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, said he would speak to Assad's representatives if expired passports were extended for two years. He also demanded 160,000 prisoners be released prior to talks.

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Iran Live Coverage: "Free Elections" and Detained Journalists

See also Iran Analysis: Nervous About Elections, The Regime Imprisons Journalists
Iran Breaking: The Space Monkey Could Be A Nuclear Warhead
Monday's Iran Live Coverage: This Weekend's Crackdown on the Press --- Why?

2000 GMT: Press Watch. The conservative sites Tabnak and Baztab, as well as Iranian History, have been blocked inside Iran.

Tabnak, linked to leading politician Mohsen Rezaei, was suspended on Sunday amid a crackdown on the press. Baztab has been notable for its criticism of the Ahmadinejad Government.

It is unclear why Iranian History has been blocked.

1946 GMT: Corruption Watch. Farshad Heydari, the managing director of the Central Bank, has explained the real reason why news emerged in autumn 2011 of a $2.6 billion bank fraud: traitors published it to stain the Ahmadniejad Government.

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Syria Feature: US Officials --- No Hope for Cease-fire So "Time To Consider a New Approach"

Last Tuesday, EA's James Miller, in "Sorting Out The Truth Beyond Car Bombs and Ceasefires", wrote bluntly, "This practice is perpetrating the myth that there is a solution to the crisis beyond either intervening or letting Syria decay into civil war. There isn't. Syria is ugly, and it won't get any prettier any time soon." The Friday before that, we asked --- drawing from Miller and Josh Rogin of "The Cable" blog of Foreign Policy --- "Is the US Preparing for Intervention?"

Putting 2 and 2 together, we think "4" might be in this story put out by US officials through The Washington Post on Sunday: the cease-fire will not take hold so it is "time to consider a new approach".

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The Latest from Iran (29 September): A Billion-Dollar Bank Fraud Takes Over

See also Iran Video Feature: Ahmadinejad, Arab Spring, and the Future of the Regime
Iran Propaganda Special: What's Wrong with this Photo of the Mighty Iranian Navy?
Iran Media Snapshot: Reuters Panics, "The Iranians Are Coming (to the Gulf of Mexico)!"
The Latest from Iran (28 September): And Now to the Real News....

1655 GMT: Bank Fraud Watch. In the latest incarnation of "Don't Blame Me", Iran's Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi has declared that his office knew about the $2,6 billion bank fraud and told the Central Bank. He claimed that the fraudsters failed to launch an "Aria Bank" for their embezzled funds and, with their failure, their crimes became evident.

1635 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mohsen Armin, a former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has been sentenced to six years in prison.

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Afghanistan Feature: Obama to Announce Plans for Troop Withdrawal --- But How Many and How Fast? (Landler/Cooper)

President Obama plans to announce his decision on the scale and pace of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in a speech on Wednesday evening, an administration official said Monday.

As he closes in on a decision, another official said, Mr. Obama is considering options that range from a Pentagon-backed proposal to pull out only 5,000 troops this year to an aggressive plan to withdraw within 12 months all 30,000 troops the United States deployed to Afghanistan as part of the surge in December 2009.

Under another option, a third official said, Mr. Obama would announce a final date for the withdrawal of all the surge forces sometime in 2012, but leave the timetable for incremental reductions up to commanders in the field — much as he did in drawing down troops after the surge in Iraq.

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Middle East: Obama Plans a Speech, But Little Prospect of Substance (Landler/Cooper)

Mr. Obama had considered laying out American parameters for a peace deal [between Israel and Palestine], several officials said — a move that [Secretary of State] Clinton favored, but one that would have put him at odds with his national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and his top Middle East adviser, Dennis Ross.

But the unity accord between Hamas and Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, effectively killed the plans to try to push through an American proposal, one administration official said. “It’s hard to imagine how we do that when Hamas hasn’t agreed” to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to forswear violence against Israel, the official said.

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