Build Up to World War

This is what we know so far…. Naval Forces in the region, as well as some daily intelligence to digest here. We have not provided specific links but all of this information is gleaned from unclassified, open source information.  Please remember we will not put exact locations, troop numbers, troop movements or any other information about America and Allied forces out.  This is a one time list just to show that we are building up for something much greater than a “limited in scope and duration” attack on Syrian WMD.  We will be contending with China, Russia, Iran and perhaps other Communist, Islamic forces, including but not limited to terror cells deployed within the United States proper.

Russia:

Kaliningrad (landing ship)
Shabalin (landing ship)
Saratov (landing ship)
Avoz (landing ship)
Smetlivy (submarine destroyer)
Admiral Chabanenko (anti-submarine destroyer)
Moskva (guided missile cruiser)
Priazovye (intelligence and reconnaissance ship)
Novocherkassk (landing ship)
Minsk (landing ship)
Nikolai Filchenkov (large landing ship, en route to Syria)
RFS Admiral Panteleyev (may be present)
RFS Peresvet (may be present)
RFS Admiral Nevelskoi (may be present)

USA:

USS Nimitz
Princeton (cruiser)
William P. Lawrence (destroyer)
Stockdale (destroyer)
Shoup (destroyer)
Stout (destroyer)
Mahan (destroyer)
Ramage (destroyer)
Barry (destroyer)
Graveley (destroyer)
USS Florida (sub)
USS Georgia (sub)
USS San Antonio (amphibious landing ship)

British:

Illustrious (helicopter carrier)
Bulwark (landing ship)
Montrose (frigate)
Westminster (frigate)
Tireless (Sub)

French:

Chevalier Paul (anti-aircraft frigate)

China:

Jinggangshan (confirmed to be present)

Internet communications being monitored by several news outlets tell of China sending ships through the Red Sea into the Bosphorus to “observe” Russian and US naval and military activities there. China reportedly already has several ships laying off the Syria coast, but their names and types are currently unknown.

A multitude of missiles, both US and Russia, French and British are present in the region.  Chinese radar systems are deployed at this time in Syria.  Russian radar and anti-missile systems are deployed within Syria at this time, along with an unknown Russian presence.  The Syrians are believed to have S-300 long range anti-aircraft missile systems deployed in the region as well.

Iran may or may not have a submarine in the area, and they have reportedly (rumors) deployed Republican Guard troops to the region.  The Iranians have also “ordered” their “militias” to retaliate against America if Syria is attacked.  The Iranians may also have a ship in the region at this time, but there are no firm details as of yet.

Today the US removed diplomats from Lebanon, Turkey Amid Threats to embassies and Russia cancelled it’s “lobbying” mission to DC to try to convince Congress to back off.

US Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean are “fully ready” to launch cruise missiles into Syria as part of a US military campaign that would not involve “extraordinary” monetary costs, a top admiral said Thursday.

Syria is moving the chemical weapons assets at this time and obviously they will place them in schools, hospitals and civilian population centers.

US-Russia military escalation in eastern Med

Another ten ships join in the escalating naval military build up in the Med.

Syria: US-Russia military escalation in eastern Med

Another 10 warships joining those already deployed near Syria

(ANSAmed) – NICOSIA, SEPTEMBER 6 – As diplomatic tensions over the Syrian crisis rise between the US and Russia, the escalation between the two superpowers is also playing out in terms of their respective warships in the waters off the embattled Arab nation ahead of a possible strike against the Damascus regime.

While there were 19 warships in the eastern Mediterranean just a few days ago – eight American, five Russian, five British and one French – that sector is about to get much more crowded in the next few hours with the arrival of four US ships, including an aircraft carrier, and six Russian ones.

THE US’ nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is in the Red Sea along with four ships from its strike group: the Princeton cruiser plus the William P. Lawrence, Stockdale and Shoup destroyers. They are awaiting orders to enter the Mediterranean in case of a strike. The USS Nimitz has 3,200 seamen, 2,480 pilots and 90 aircraft, both warplanes and helicopters.

The USS Princeton carries 390 troops and is armed with Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, while the other three ships have 380 crew and marines on board and are packing Tomahawk missiles.

This group has joined five missile-equipped destroyers already in the area: the USS Stout, Mahan, Ramage, Barry and Graveley, each with 280 troops on board. They can intercept ballistic missiles and launch Tomahawk missiles, and will team up with two nuclear-propelled guided-missile submarines, the USS Florida and Georgia, each with a crew of 140. These are ported at the Souda Bay naval base on the Greek island of Crete, along with the USS San Antonio, an amphibious landing ship carrying 700 seamen and 360 Marines.

RUSSIA has deployed four large but aging landing ships: the Kaliningrad, the Shabalin, the Saratov and the Avoz. Each with a crew of 90-100, they can transport up to 200 tanks and 350 soldiers, and are equipped with surface-to-air missiles. Also in the area is the Smetlivy submarine destroyer, which hails from 1967 and has a crew of 300. It is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles and is transporting an anti-submarine Kamov Ka-25 helicopter. They will be backed up within days by an anti-submarine destroyer (probably the Admiral Chabanenko) and the Moskva guided missile cruiser. The Admiral Chabanenko (manned by 300) is armed with SS-N-14 Silex anti-submarine missiles and SA-N-9 Gauntlet surface-to-air missiles.

Read More  @ http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2013/09/06/Syria-US-Russia-military-escalation-eastern-Med_9258725.html

 

On the Verge of World War III

The article at the bottom of my comments is a couple of days old, it’s from Debka – so it’s not the best source but is probably accurate. Basically we’re looking at the following states being involved in this as things heat up:

Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Russia, China

Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America

France is “waiting” for more information from the UN.
UK is really “just waiting”.

Russia has moved about 8 ships total toward the Med. The US has moved a few subs, some destroyers into the Med and the Nimitz Carrier group to the Gulf.

Obama is preparing the country for an attack, “limited in scope and duration”, promising “no boots on the ground”. Anyone who has been in the military KNOWS this isn’t true, isn’t going to be true and can’t possibly work. Anyone with even a limited sense of tactics understands you don’t telegraph your moves to the “enemy”. Anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of strategy knows you don’t put all your eggs in one basket when planning any sort of an attack. And anyone with a clue about life understands you don’t go to war for no good reason and you certainly don’t do it if you can’t PROVE you have a good reason. Obama has not proved anything.

The Senate committee just delivered the Resolution to go into Syria to the full Senate. Congress, both houses will debate and vote likely next week on this.

We’re standing on the verge of World War III – without a “draft”, without American support, without support of the majority of Congress – and we’re less than a week away from September 11. Rumors are rampant on the Internet that there’s more than meets the eye here, and the country is “confused” according to our so-called “leader” Obama.

First he sets a “Red Line” then when the bad guys cross it a month ago, it takes time to verify this, and now he’s ready to go into a limited in scope and duration “war” against the Assad regime, to apparently punish the regime, but to give a leg up to verified enemies of America – Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim lunatics. Iran is saying how they will “bring it” to the US. Russia is backing Syria. Syria is claiming their own allies now. The Chinese are going to back the Russians. Obama has castrated our military in recent months through the shut down of units, bases, equipment, and firing of men smarter than himself.

The United States is being set up for failure big time by this man. Americans, whom for the most part are opposed to this “action” in Syria are caught in the middle of all of the forces massing on the horizon.

America is, from intelligence, full of leaderless Islamic cells – from Iranian Revolutionary Guard to Hezbollah, to Al Qaeda. Americans are being disarmed in some states including my own, in an attemp(?) to make us more vulnerable to outside forces.

It is time to stand up and be heard. It’s time to remove this asshat from the White House. It’s time for his Impeachment to begin. Get on the phone and start making the case with your members of Congress. We have to stop this guy from bringing the nukes down on our heads for his own ego.

« Breaking News »

Syria’s Muqdad threatens World War III for US strike
DEBKAfile September 4, 2013, 5:22 PM (GMT+02:00)

Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Muqdad said Wednesday his regime would not give in to threats of a US-led military strike, even if a third world war erupts. In an interview with AFP, Faisal Muqdad said his government had taken “every measure” to counter a potential intervention aimed at punishing the regime of Bashar al-Assad over a suspected deadly poison gas strike, was mobilizing its allies and would take every measure “to retaliate against… aggression.”

DEBKAfile: This is the first time a regime official has intimated that Damascus has invoked the mutual defense pacts existing between Syria, Iran and Hizballah.
http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/5612/

To go to Syria or Not

Up until today I’ve considered this whole Syria thing total folly.

But my American Military Mind started really thinking this through.

Today several Travel Warnings were issued by State.  It occurs to me that the US Government isn’t telling the Public everything.  So, I’m going to lay this out as if I were standing there listening in to the briefings we can’t usually hear.

Pretend for a moment you’re standing in a Congressional Classified Briefing and they bring up the number of “rebel groups” (There are about 1200 different groups).  They bring up that the most powerful among those Rebels are Hezbollah related.  Hearing more information about this and the fact that there are actually chemical weapons available in that country you realize suddenly that if the Rebels WIN this civil war, they get their hands on those WMD.

Now, who do you think will not OWN those items?

Terrorists….

To use that stuff on Americans. On US Embassies.  On Israelis.  On Christians.  On innocents.  On cities.  On subways, trains, airports, malls….

After considering this, perhaps the whole reason the President wants to go in there (other than regime change which I think is his real reason for this) is to stop the terrorists.  Nope.  Obomber doesn’t want to do that, those are his people.  He wants to clear out Assad and allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take over.

The Pentagon, the US military, Congress and most of the American people are smarter than the President gives us credit for being.  The MILITARY will go in there and secure or destroy the WMD to prevent it from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Remember them calling Bush a liar about Iraqi WMD?  Remember most of us saying “It was moved to Syria”?  Remember that Obama doesn’t want Bush to get any credit and is blaming him for everything?

No folks what this is truly about is allowing Obama to appear like a winner, Bush like a loser, hiding the fact that the WMD in Syria belonged to Saddam (and this will vindicate Bush if we can get a-hold of that stuff and prove it) and it will put Obama OUT of Office.

Honestly, this is a lot more complex than just letting Muslims to kill Muslims, or bombing some random camels and tents like Clinton did.  No, no, no, my fellow Patriots.

This is Obama trying to get us nuked.

This is Obama trying to hide the fact the WMD belonged to Saddam.

This is Obama trying to look good.

This is the Pentagon trying to stop terrorists from getting their hands on these weapons.

My final thinking on this is… we probably should go in there.  But do it right.  Everything we’ve got.  Take down BOTH sides of this conflict, destroy the chemical weapons and vindicate Bush, and if we get the chance, kick Russia in the nuts and take them down as well.

America has been made out to be a pansy-assed country by our OWN President.  It’s time to remove this guy from office and do the right thing.  But we have to DO IT RIGHT!

 

US Dept of State Travel Warning: Iraq

Travel Warning
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Iraq

September 05, 2013

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated February 25, 2013, to update information on security incidents and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence. The ability of the Embassy to respond to situations in which U.S. citizens face difficulty, including arrests, is extremely limited.

U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs; mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets; and shootings using various direct fire weapons. Numerous insurgent groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq, remain active and terrorist activity and sectarian violence persist in many areas of the country at levels unseen since 2008. Due to the potential for political protests and demonstrations to become violent, U.S. citizens in Iraq are strongly urged to avoid protests and large gatherings.

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines. All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy. State Department guidance to U.S. businesses in Iraq advises the use of protective security details. Detailed security information is available at the U.S. Embassy website.
The U.S. Embassy is located in the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad. The IZ is a restricted access area. Iraqi authorities are responsible for control of the IZ. Travelers to the IZ should be aware that Iraqi authorities may require special identification to enter the IZ or may issue IZ-specific access badges. Individuals residing and traveling within the IZ should continue to exercise good personal safety precautions.

Increasingly, many U.S. and third-country business people travel throughout much of Iraq; however, they do so under restricted movement conditions and often with security advisors and protective security teams.

Although there have been significantly fewer terrorist attacks and lower levels of insurgent violence in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), which includes the governorates of Sulymaniya, Erbil, and Dohuk, than in other parts of Iraq, the security situation throughout the IKR remains dangerous, and threats have increased in recent months. U.S. government personnel in northern Iraq are required to be accompanied by a protective security escort when traveling outside secure facilities.
The Government of Iraq strictly enforces requirements regarding visas and stamps for entry and exit, vehicle registration, authorizations for weapons, and movements through checkpoints. The Embassy highly recommends that all U.S. citizens in Iraq carefully review the status of their travel documents and any necessary licenses and government authorizations to ensure that they are current and valid. U.S. citizens are urged to immediately correct any deficiencies in their travel documents. U.S. citizens are strongly advised against traveling throughout the country with deficient or invalid documents. For more information about entry/exit requirements for U.S. citizens, please see our Country Specific Information page for Iraq.

U.S. citizens should avoid areas near the Syrian, Turkish or Iranian borders, which are especially dangerous and not always clearly defined. The Turkish military appears to have suspended operations against elements of the Kongra-Gel terrorist group (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK) located along Iraq’s northern border. However, hostilities could commence at any time. Sporadic confrontations also occur between Iranian security and Kurdish rebels in Iran, near the border with Iraq. Additionally, extensive unmarked minefields remain along this border. In many places, the border between Iraq and Syria is not under Iraqi government control and armed groups operate in these areas, which has led to violent incidents at some border crossings. Unrest in Syria has resulted in large numbers of people seeking refuge in the area. Iranian authorities previously detained, for an extended period, U.S. citizens who were hiking in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) in the vicinity of the Iranian border. The resources available to the U.S. Embassy to assist U.S. citizens who venture close to or cross the border with Iran are extremely limited.

The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services to U.S. citizens throughout Iraq, including Baghdad, is particularly limited given the security environment. The U.S. Consulates in Basrah and Kirkuk cannot provide routine services such as passport applications, extra visa pages, and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. U.S. citizens in need of these services in Erbil must make an appointment with the Consulate on-line, either through the Embassy’s website or the website for the Consulate in Erbil. The Embassy’s website includes consular information and the most recent messages to U.S. citizens in Iraq. U.S. citizens in Iraq who need emergency assistance should call 0770-443-1286.

For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,” please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Emergencies and Crisis link. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. citizens who choose to visit or reside in Iraq despite this Travel Warning are urged to take responsibility for their own personal security and belongings (including their U.S. passports) and to avoid crowds, especially rallies or demonstrations. U.S. citizens who choose to travel in Iraq should be aware that Iraqi authorities have arrested or detained U.S. citizens whose purpose of travel is not readily apparent. Persons also have been detained for taking photographs of buildings, monuments, or other sites, especially in the IZ in Baghdad.
All U.S. citizens in Iraq, including those working on contract for the U.S. government, are urged to inform the U.S. Embassy of their presence in Iraq by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain updated travel information. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to provide updated security information or to contact them in emergencies. The Embassy also offers SMS text alerts delivered to your mobile phone when new security and emergency messages are released.

U.S. citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about Iraq by contacting the U.S. Embassy, located in the International Zone, via email, or by accessing U.S. Embassy Baghdad’s website. The after-hours emergency numbers are 011-964-770-443-1286 (from the United States) or 0770-443-1286 (within Iraq). As cell phone service is unreliable in Iraq, emergency calls may also be placed through the Department of State at 1-888-407-4747.

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. You can also download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and Google Play for travel information at your fingertips. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

US Dept of State – Travel Warning: Lebanon

Travel Warning
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Lebanon

September 06, 2013

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current safety and security concerns. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks. On September 6, the Department of State drew down non-emergency personnel and family members from Embassy Beirut due to potential threats to U.S. Mission facilities and personnel. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on April 1, 2013.

The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains.  Lebanese government authorities are not able to guarantee protection for citizens or visitors to the country should violence erupt suddenly.  Access to borders, airports, roads, and seaports can be interrupted with little or no warning.  Public demonstrations occur frequently with little warning and have the potential to become violent.  Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes often escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with little or no warning.  The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers or provide emergency services may be severely limited. 

The Fulbright and the English Language Fellow programs that provided grants to U.S. scholars to live and work in Lebanon during the academic year remain suspended because of the security situation and the increased possibility of attacks against U.S. citizens in Lebanon.

A number of extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including some, such as Hizballah, that the U.S. government has designated as terrorist organizations.  U.S. citizens have been the target of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past, and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist in Lebanon.  U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should keep a low profile, assess their personal security, and vary times and routes for all required travel.  U.S. citizens also should pay close attention to their personal security at locations where Westerners generally are known to congregate, and should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

Hizballah maintains a strong presence in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut, portions of the Bekaa Valley, and areas in South Lebanon.  The situation remains tense, and sporadic violence involving Hizballah or other extremist or criminal organizations remains a possibility in many areas of the country.  The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens that clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements have also recently occurred in other areas of the Bekaa and border regions. 

The ongoing conflict in Syria has also resulted in numerous security incidents between the border regions between Lebanon and Syria and coincides with an increasing number of security incidents around the country.  Over the past year there have been regular reports of shelling, originating from Syria, of Lebanese border areas and villages, some of which has resulted in deaths and injuries, as well as reports of armed groups originating from Syria who have kidnapped or attacked Lebanese citizens living in the border area.  On February 1, 2013, gunmen on the outskirts of the village of Arsal killed two soldiers in a retaliatory shoot-out when the army was in pursuit of a wanted suspect.  Two Lebanese nationals were killed and several were injured due to shelling in northern Lebanon February 23-24.  The potential for border violence remains and the U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region. 

U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor ongoing political and security developments in Syria, as this may impact the security situation in Lebanon.  On August 9, 2012 the Lebanese Internal Security Force (ISF) arrested former Lebanese Minister Michel Samaha on charges of having plotted, at the direction of Syrian regime officials, to destabilize Lebanon by setting explosions and planning to assassinate certain Lebanese officials living in Tripoli or the northern region of Akkar.  On October 19, 2012, Wissam al-Hassan, Chief of the Information Branch of the ISF was assassinated in a car bombing in the Ashrafieh neighborhood of Beirut.  Two other people died, and many others were injured in the blast.  There have been increasing numbers of armed clashes with heightened sectarian tensions in the Tripoli neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, in areas of the Bekaa, and in Sidon.

Hizballah and other para-military groups have at times detained U.S. citizens or other foreigners for political motivations as well as for interrogation – sometimes for hours or longer.  Kidnapping, whether for ransom or political motives, remains a problem in Lebanon.  Suspects in kidnappings sometimes have been found to have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations.

On August 16, 2012, the Maqdad clan in Lebanon kidnapped numerous Syrians and two Turkish nationals and claimed its actions were aimed at pressing for the release of one of their family members being held prisoner in Syria, allegedly by a group supporting the Syrian opposition. 

Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to pay ransom.

Demonstrators sometimes block the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport without warning.  Access to the airport also may be cut off, sometimes for extended periods, if the security situation deteriorates.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is a body the United Nations and Lebanon created to investigate past political assassinations.  On June 30, 2011, the STL delivered to Lebanon’s Prosecutor General an indictment containing arrest warrants for four Hizballah members who are still at large. 

Beginning March 1, 2012 the United Nations renewed the STL’s mandate for a second three-year term.  U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor ongoing political developments, particularly in relation to the STL, as Lebanese political leaders have warned publicly that the Tribunal’s findings could spark civil unrest. 

Rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel have occurred in the past and remain a potential threat.  These attacks frequently provoke a military response from Israel.  The rocket attacks and responses occur with no warning.  Skirmishes and tense exchanges between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israeli Defense Forces, as well as protesters and civilians, along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel also may occur with no warning.  On May 15, 2011, several demonstrators were killed and several, including a U.S. citizen, were severely wounded near the southern Lebanese border town of Maroun ar-Ras after clashes with Israel resulted in open gunfire.  Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of the country where fighting was intense during the civil war.  More than 40 civilians have been killed and over 300 injured by unexploded ordnance remaining from the July-August 2006 Israel-Hizballah war.  Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.

Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate largely autonomously inside refugee and military camps in different areas of the country.  Intra-communal violence within the camps has resulted in violent incidents such as shootings and explosions.  U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Palestinian camps.  Asbat al-Ansar, a terrorist group with alleged links to Al-Qaida, has targeted Lebanese, U.S., and other foreign government interests.  Although the group has been outlawed by the Lebanese government, it continues to maintain a presence in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. 

Armed clashes, exchanges of gunfire, and incidents involving thrown grenades have all occurred, as recently as February 27, 2013, in the areas surrounding Tyre and Sidon.  Similar incidents could occur again without warning.

U.S. citizens traveling or resident in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should be aware that the U.S. Embassy’s ability to reach all areas of Lebanon is limited.  The Embassy cannot guarantee that Embassy employees will be able to render assistance to U.S. citizens in all areas of the country.

In the event that the security climate in Lebanon and the region worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon.  U.S. citizens should be aware that the embassy does not offer “protection” services to individuals who feel unsafe.  U.S. citizens with special medical or other needs should be aware of the risks of remaining given their condition, and should be prepared to seek treatment in Lebanon if they cannot arrange for travel out of the country.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist.  Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. Government for travel costs.  The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens’ ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide assistance.  U.S. citizens in Lebanon should therefore ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times.  U.S. Legal Permanent Residents should consult with the Department of Homeland Security before they depart the United States to ensure they have proper documentation to re-enter.  Further information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided within the Bureau of Consular Affairs website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html.

The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. Government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions.  The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice.  These practices limit, and may occasionally prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country.  Because of security concerns, unofficial travel to Lebanon by U.S. Government employees and their family members is discouraged and strictly limited and requires the Department of State’s prior approval.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Lebanon should enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), https://step.state.gov/step/, at the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, http://www.travel.state.gov/, to receive the latest travel updates and information and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Lebanon.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.  The U.S. Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon.  Public access hours for U.S. citizens are Monday; Tuesday, and Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., U.S. citizens must make appointments, http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/citizenservices/appointments.html, in advance.  U.S. citizens who require emergency services outside these hours, however, may contact the embassy by telephone at any time.  The telephone numbers are (961-4) 542-600, 543-600, and fax 544-209.

Information on consular services and enrollment in STEP can also be found at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut’s website, http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/, or by phone at the above telephone numbers between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday local time.  U.S. citizens in Lebanon may also contact the consular section by email at BeirutACS@state.gov to schedule an appointment for ACS services.  For all other inquiries regarding a U.S. citizen who is in Lebanon, please send an email to LebanonUSCitizen@state.gov.

Up-to-date information on travel and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

For further information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Lebanon:   http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_948.html.  You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, http://travel.state.gov/, which also contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts:  http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html.  Follow us on Twitter, https://twitter.com/travelgov, and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/travelgov, and download our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-traveler/id442693988?mt=8, or Google Play, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.state.apps.smartravel&hl=en, to have travel information at your fingertips.

Obama lands in St. Petersberg

Air Force One had Wheels Down in St. Petersberg this morning for the G-20 summit.  I guess it’s on again.  Obama hasn’t got the balls to back up anything he says.  He’s vacillated on the “Red Line”, and now he’s blaming the world community, Congress and whomever else he can blame for setting that red line.  I guess backing out of meeting with Putin over Snowden is out too?

The “Lion’s Den” is right.  When Americans on the Right and the Left see Putin as a better leader than their own President, there is a damned serious problem in America.  A DAMNED serious problem.  Even this morning, Ralph Peters on Fox News said he didn’t like Putin, but he RESPECTED him as a tough and fair leader.  Amazing.

Putin called Kerry a liar.  Flat out, a liar.  Take that John F-ing Kerry.  All Kerry could do was sputter and say “That’s basically untrue…”.  What was untrue, Kerry?

I spent many years traveling with Reagan and Bush, Air Force One, Air Force Two, dropping in and out of countries before and after the “Boss” landed.  I did communications.  I really, really feel sorry for the WHCA guys these days traveling with this asshat.  I wish the military contingent well – assuming they are even traveling with the President these days.