Syria conflict

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nimblecivet's picture

The Annan plan is being rejected by the Syrian National Council because it does not explicitly call for Assad's ouster. The U.S. maintains that the political transition will nevertheless necessitate this. Russia is playing a greater role in the process which may alleviate the stalemate. Syrian and Turkish air forces patrol the border.


Originally posted 7/1/12:

China just got their exemption from the US imposed sanctions on Iran. Turkey also has received a waiver. Expect talks to move quickly as Iran reacts to the sanctions. The possibility of Iran not backing down is demonstrated by the fact of Saudi Arabia re-opening its pipeline to Iraq in an effort to circumvent the Strait of Hormuz. The United Arab emirates is nearing completion of a pipeline with a similar design.

The exclusion of Iran and Saudi Arabia works to the advantage of the US in that it prevents a basis or means for positive diplomatic relations to emerge between those two nations. Iran has invited Saudi Arabia to the meeting of non-aligned powers (yes, the movement started during the Cold War). Iran will have a meeting, held in Istanbul, on July 3 with techinical experts from other nations. Sec. of State Clinton has warned Iran to take action to avoid further sanctions. Republicans in the US Congress are seizing on the waiver granted to China as an opportunity to toughen the provisions of the NDAA, which is the bill containing the sanctions.

Certainly, it is impossible for Syria to return to its previous state. Saudi Arabia may have been angered by US acceptance of the Egyptian Arab Spring, but is willing to back an insurgency against another Sunni regime. If the outcome of the Swiss talks is merely Assad's removal, what assurances will the rebels have of stability which will prevent a military coup? Because in Egypt the military was a participant in the Arab Spring, Syria differs in that the military may not be a guarantor of stability in a post-revolutionary setting. A regional-based approach would unite the oil exporting nations in a scheme to ensure regional political stability, including in Syria where a return to peace may mean a long-term political process of national reconciliation.


Originally posted 6/30/12 This article discusses the death toll as the conflict in Syria drags on, while just about everybody but the Syrians are in Switzerland discussing the future of Syria. The US continues to insist that Assad cannot participate, but has made no commitments to removing him from power. When pushed for a rationale behind this condition that talks not include Assad, the British Foreign Minister William Hague gives the reason that "It's been always been our view, of course, that a stable future for Syria, a real political process, means Assad leaving power." A real political process may thus only emerge if Russia and China agree that Assad has violated human rights, etc. to an extent that he must be excluded. At such a point, the "political process" Hague refers to would no doubt require further talks over which western powers will lead the charge to rescue the Syrians from the carnage, via the creation of "humanitarian corridors" and "no-fly zones" backed by UN sanctions and necessitating the targetting of Assad as a military target Gaddhafi-style.

To be fair, it is not simply a matter of the west insisting that Assad not have a role in the talks. Clearly, there is a sizeable faction, perhaps the majority, within the revolutionary movement which also insists on Assad's removal from power; they must know that this is impossible without outside military assistance.

As undesireable as it may be to include Assad in the talks, a simple fact remains: Assad is holding back. The state news agency has described the actions of the Syrian military as "surgical". The losses endured by the military are in sacrifice for the desire of Assad to reestablish ties with the outside world should he not be removed from power immediately. If the talks in Switzerland result in a demand for his removal, he will have no reason to hold back. If this outcome appears likely, Assad will most likely strike the rebels in Turkish territory, and it will be then that the rest of the world must decide whether to follow the course which our leaders have chosen for us.


Originally posted 6/29/12:

Iran and Saudi Arabia are both excluded from Annan's new talks. Russia and the U.S. are included, but while a transition without Assad will be discussed Russia maintains that any plan for removing Assad is unacceptable. Sec. of State Clinton will meet with her counterpart Lavrov. Russia has not yet delivered the helicopters in question, nor other military supplies (jets, missiles) purchased by Syria after Russia forgave Syrian debt upon condition that Syria enter these contracts.

Some members of the Syrian oppossition may be excluded from the talks, as well as Assad's government, and the Syrian National Council (including the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood) have stated they will boycott any result that includes Assad staying in power. Civilian oppossition to Assad's regime is reportedly at odds with the SNC insofar as the former do not call for outside assistance, especially a no-fly zone. This faction includes the National Coordination Committee "made up of 13 political parties including some leftist forces, and independent mainly secular activists." (Phyllis Bennis, "Can We Stop a Civil War in Syria?, June 28 2012)

The downing of a Turkish fighter jet by Syria is of major interest to the Turkish press, government and people, causing internal contention between the government and its political oppossition. Syria's rather conciliatory statements are interpreted by some as masking a provokation, and as an extention of Russia's falling out with Turkey over the regime change question. Turkey has reinforced its border and the ongoing fighting includes Syria's operation in border towns.

One of the better analyses, in that it points out the absurdity of defining "diplomacy" merely as an alternative to military policy, is that of Dr Alia Brahimi.


The Assad regime's principal local ally, Hezbollah, has taken a similarly problematic stance on the violence in Syria. For years Hezbollah built up its credibility on the Arab street, beyond its social base among the Shia community in Lebanon, by championing the rights of the oppressed. In fact, Hezbollah finds itself in bed with the Assad regime in the first place because of their combined "axis of resistance", together with Iran, against Israeli imperialism. Nasrallah himself has championed an Arab nationalist narrative built around the notion of solidarity and premised upon inalienable Islamic and human rights. His continued support for the (Shia) Assad regime dramatically undercuts the moral and political foundations of Hezbollah's ideological framework and dilutes the group's raison d'etre to its sectarian core. No wonder Hezbollah has dramatically toned down its pro-Syrian rhetoric!


Members of the Palestinian Liberation army have been "kidnapped" by the Free Syrian Army. Ehud Barak says "Assad will fall, the forces of the opposition control significant parts of Syria. But the longer it takes, the more difficult it will be to stabilise the situation." (Mossad accused after Hamas member killed in Syria, BEIRUT- Agence France-Presse June/28/2012

As events unfold, the discourse more and more revolves around universal or common views of force and right, applied according to different apprisals of the propriety and advisability of action by parties internal and external to the theatre of operations (that is, including apprisals by different parties of the possibility and reality of outside participation in the conflict between the Syrian government and Syrian citizens in revolt). Is Iran truly interested in Syria per-se, or can they be eliminated as a player by assuaging their concerns that the Syria conflict is being used by the US as a means toward fulfilliing foreign policy goals related to Iran? The Israel-Palestine conflict no longer forms a basis for pan-Arab or pan-Islamic political alliances. The promise of the "Arab Spring" is for a new future for the people of the middle-east, one not defined by the conflicts of the Cold War (I or II) but by political and economic autonomy. Iran has characterized the Arab Spring as echoing the Islamic Revolution. Others see the CIA behind the Muslim Brotherhood. Others see a people throwing off the yoke of imperialism, like the Vietnamese before them, from whatever source it emanates, with all parties struggling by various means to protect their interests, forming legal and illegal, political and business, overt and secret relationships and schemes of action, reacting to events as they happen.

Given the complexity of the situation it is improper for any faction outside Syria to unilaterally demand the removal of Assad as a precondition for diplomacy which will bring an end to the bloodshed. Such a position, stemming from an attitude contrary to Obama's campaign pledge to use diplomacy rather than brute military force, can only be seen as a desperate bid for power as likely to produce results disasterous for the Syrian people including the opposite result of its stated intent, that is resulting in Assad's remaining in power rather than being removed from power. If power is the goal of such outside actors (Clinton, Hollande), they may come to the conclusion that Assad's remaining in power is more desireable than the success of a revolution they cannot control. This form of diplomacy is contrary to the democratic principles touted by these players, as it was when Hamas was voted into power by the Palestinian people due to the corruption within the PLO (including shopping sprees, etc. in Paris).

Syria, like Libya and Poland, by the way, is one of the countries to which the U.S. has sent people to be tortured during interrogation.




douglaslee's picture
Another pov Syria is

Another pov

Syria is Argentina redux

JoyceFinnigan's picture
douglaslee wrote: Another


It is nearly impossible to get a clear view of the picture.

But their is definitely a geo-political component that has nothing to do with "human rights," what ever those may be. This, so called revolution, jeopardizes Russia's only Mediterranean naval base. Losing this base would significantly weaken Russia's international heft.

I won't go so far as to say that western interests are funding the insurgents/freedom fighters/martyrs/whatever; but I do believe that there is a concerted PR campaign in the media to sensationalize allegations of torture and "death squads." (Just yesterday I heard an NPR radio show whose "news" entailed nothing more than describing various acts of torture in their gory detail. Their source? Human rights watch--an organization well-known for balanced and unbiased reporting).

The UN's concerns about human rights abuses are little more than crocodile tears. I have heard very little outrage over similar abuses occurring in Bahrain...

Karolina's picture
JoyceFinnigan wrote:I won't

JoyceFinnigan wrote:
I won't go so far as to say that western interests are funding the insurgents/freedom fighters/martyrs/whatever; but I do believe that there is a concerted PR campaign in the media to sensationalize allegations of torture and "death squads." (Just yesterday I heard an NPR radio show whose "news" entailed nothing more than describing various acts of torture in their gory detail. Their source? Human rights watch--an organization well-known for balanced and unbiased reporting).

The UN's concerns about human rights abuses are little more than crocodile tears. I have heard very little outrage over similar abuses occurring in Bahrain...

At the beginning of the Syrian "human-rights focus"—meaning right after the Lybian "human-rights focus"—I remember hearing (though never in corporate media) that it was reported that Alqada insurgents had been sent into Syria.

douglaslee's picture
Remember the Kuwait incubator

Remember the Kuwait incubator hoax?  Iraq was said to be yanking babies out of incubators, horrors! It was all fabricated, but repeated ad nauseum.


Nayirah Testimony refers to the controversial testimony given before the non-governmental Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990, by a female who provided only her first name, Nayirah. In her emotional testimony, Nayirah stated that after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital, take the incubators, and leave the babies to die. Though reporters did not then have access to Kuwait, her testimony was regarded as credible at the time and was widely publicized. It was cited numerous times by United States senators and the president in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War.

Her story was initially corroborated by Amnesty International[1] and testimony from evacuees. Following the liberation of Kuwait, reporters were given access to the country and found the story of stolen incubators unsubstantiated. However, they did find that a number of people, including babies, died when nurses and doctors fled the country.

In 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah's last name was al-Ṣabaḥ (Arabic: نيره الصباح‎) and that she was the daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government. Following this, al-Sabah's testimony has largely come to be regarded as wartime propaganda.

nimblecivet's picture
Quote: Here in this tiny


Here in this tiny village, men from all over the country have sought refuge. Some have stayed just long enough to be fed and watered before making the last leg of their journey to the safety of Turkey. Others have made this town of 5,000 home, arriving with their families and military weapons that they donated to the rebel cause.


Many of the defectors bring with them evidence of the crimes of the units they had worked with. A large number who come through here are officers, who know they will be respectfully received by the Turkish army across the way and will likely avoid the refugee camps that dot the border areas and act as home to nearly 15,000 Syrians.

Before the officers leave they habitually offload videos from their mobiles, which are downloaded by a computer-savvy member of the FSA and soon uploaded to the opposition network of thousands of videos that have chronicled the horrors of the past 16 months.
At Syria's border, after months of waiting, the weapons arrive; A village four kilometres from Turkey has become the key hub of arms shipments and defectors joining the Free Syria Army; Martin Chulov in northern Syria ;, Friday 29 June 2012 15.54 EDT

JoyceFinnigan's picture
[quote=douglaslee] Remember


Remember the Kuwait incubator hoax?  Iraq was said to be yanking babies out of incubators, horrors! It was all fabricated, but repeated ad nauseum.


I remeber going to sleep crying as a little kid because of that story.

...then there is the much more recent "Viagra as weapon of war" stories that began to circulate Libya.

nimblecivet's picture
British Foreign Secretary

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is most conspicuously, from the articles I've come across, advancing the argument that Assad etc. must face trial over human rights abuses. I would assume that the US and Britain share the same overall perspective. Clinton keeps repeating that someone with blood on their hands cannot stay in power. The Friends of Syria are disappointed that more military assistance has not been given, though it seems that Clinton's warning that time is short is not mere rhetoric given the strategic accomplishments of the rebels. The Friends of Syria will not embrace Annan's plan because it does not rule out Assad's being part of a transitional government. Assad says he agrees with the plan, which is (was):


(1) commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy;

(2) commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilise the country.
To this end, the Syrian government should immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres.
As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Syrian government should work with the Envoy to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism.
Similar commitments would be sought by the Envoy from the opposition and all relevant elements to stop the fighting and work with him to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism;
(3) ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two hour humanitarian pause and to coordinate exact time and modalities of the daily pause through an efficient mechanism, including at local level;
(4) intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organizing access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;
(5) ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;
(6) respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.
(emphasis mine)

Annan is going to meet with Assad again tomorrow after having admitted that the plan has failed.

Getting back to the the subject of the aftermath of the fighting, assuming a scenario where Assad stays in power, Assad will proceed to administer some form of justice or retribution. Assuming a scenario where Assad looses power and is captured, the question becomes where Assad will stand trial. It seems likely that western, etc. powers collaborating with those who would form the transitional government would see Assad's trial happening in Syria to be a threat to or distraction from the restoration of stability. Really, any scenario involving Assad loosing power may well result in further turmoil not only for Syria but for the region. An immediate cease fire (however that might come about assuming for the sake of argument it is a possibility), it would stand to reason that all issues including those tentatively held to be subject to jurisprudence would have to be dealt with in the context of political negotiation.

Karolina's picture
Quote:Russia Has Called the

Russia Has Called the British Bluff On Syria
July 8, 2012 • 10:56AM

Far from Russia's backing down, statements made today by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich dubbed the U.S.-British policy in Syria "immoral." In particular, Lukashevich was responding to suggestions by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at the July 6 Paris Friends of Syria meeting, that "Russia and China will pay a price" for their "support" for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Lukashevich said that "Russia, China and a number of other countries which have traditionally friendly relations with the Syrian Arab Republic and its people have refused to join those 'friends' [of Syria] because we believe that the format that they have chosen is not only politically wrong, but also immoral..." He warned, reports RIA Novosti, that the "friendship" of the U.S. and its allies with the Syrian opposition could further deepen the conflict. "This would mean only one thing—the continuation of bloodshed and new human tragedies," he said.

Following closely on the heels of Lukashevich was UN Envoy Kofi Annan, who, in an initerview with the Paris daily Le Monde echoed many of the warnings that the Russians have issued in recent days, including on the Syrian so-called opposition, though perhaps in more diplomatic language. Annan admitted that his mission has so far failed, but he particularly zeroed in on the criticisms of Russia coming from the Western interests demanding the overthrow of Assad. He said there is no alternative to Russian involvement in finding a solution, and that Iran also has to be part of the solution. "But what strikes me is that so many comments are made on Russia, while Iran is least mentioned," he said. But "more importantly, little is known about other countries sending arms, money... All these countries say they want a peaceful solution, but they take individual and collective initiatives that undermine the very meaning of the resolutions of the Security Council." Focusing on Russia, therefore, "is very irritating" for the Russians.

Underscoring the importance of Russia's role is the fact that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be meeting with two opposition groups this coming week. A diplomatic source told the Journal of Turkish Weekly that Lavrov will meet with representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forum group in Moscow on July 9, and he is set to hold talks with the new head of the Syrian National Council on July 11.

See Article.

anonymous green
When are Bush and Cheney

When are Bush and Cheney going to the Hague?

First things first.

You might see a great change in the attitude of the world towards the US if we practiced we preached.

If you are not sorry for what we did to the world since the burning of our American Reichstag, you should go to the war crimes trials with the disgraced fools who still run you and admit you didn't care if they were lying or not. The job paid cash money, that was all that mattered.

So you just followed their orders.

Karolina's picture
Quote:Hillary Clinton Issues

Hillary Clinton Issues Threat Against Assad
July 9, 2012 • 7:04AM

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatened Syria with a "catastrophic assault" against institutions of state if the Assad regime didn't end the violence. Speaking during a press conference in Tokyo, where she was attending the latest Afghanistan donors conference, Clinton said that "The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region."

Reuters was quick to absolve her of threatening military strikes on Syria, though. "It appeared clear that Clinton was referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching such an assault on state institutions, rather than to any outside military intervention," the British news agency said, then it further quoted Clinton as saying "There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective at defending themselves and in going on the offence against the Syrian military and the Syrian government's militias. So, the future... should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime. The sand is running out of the hour glass."

How the Assad government understands Clinton's remarks may be indicated by reports from the official news agency, SANA, that the Syrian navy had carried out live fire exercises off the coast, yesterday, simulating a scenario of repelling an attack from the sea. According to SANA, the exercise was "part of the combat training plan issued by the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces, which involves military maneuvers carried out over several days involving land, sea and air forces in order to test the combat readiness of the Syrian Arab Army and inspect its ability to carry out its duties in circumstances similar to possible combat conditions."

But efforts to end the bloodshed are still ongoing. UN envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus on Sunday for talks with Syrian President Bashar al Assad, though they are not expected to meet until Monday. Meanwhile, Assad told German television network Das Erste in an interview that the Annan plan must be allowed to succeed. "We know that he is coming against countless obstacles but his plan should not be allowed to fail," Assad reportedly said. "It is a very good plan." He said the biggest obstacle "is that many countries do not even want this plan to succeed so they offer political support and continue to provide terrorists in Syria with arms and money."

See Article.

Karolina's picture
Quote:Lebanon Rejects

Lebanon Rejects McCain's Scheme
For Safe Zones for Syrian Rebels

Apparently Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a rabid supporter of military intervention in Syria to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime, went to Lebanon July 5-6 to try once more to convince the Lebanese to sponsor safe zones for Syrian rebels inside their country. It's clear that he got a resounding "no." After meeting with Fouad Siniora, the leader of the Mustaqbal bloc in the Lebanese parliament, McCain was forced to "clarify" that he did not mean Lebanon, when he said on July 5 that a safe zone for Syrian rebels had to be created. Indeed.

"McCain's call from Maarab to create a buffer zone in northern Lebanon ... represents a blatant violation of Lebanese sovereignty and a brazen interference in Lebanon's domestic affairs," said Hezbollah in a statement issued yesterday. "This interference totally contradicts with the self-distancing policy declared by the government, which is in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese." Hezbollah called on the government "to make Washington understand that Lebanon is neither an American protectorate nor one of the banana republics on which the U.S. administration can dictate its foreign policy."

That McCain was in Lebanon to "dictate" U.S. foreign policy seems likely. Naharnet, quoting several sources, reports that McCain's visit was aimed at holding talks with Lebanese officials on the crisis in Syria. It further reports he was last in Lebanon in May when he toured the Lebanese-Syrian border. At roughly the time of that visit, Washington's ambassador to Lebanon was forced to issue similar "clarifications" after Lebanese leaders denounced hers and McCain's proposals to create such a safe-haven in northern Lebanon.

See Article.

Steve Knoll
Steve Knoll's picture
you are spot on and I believe

you are spot on and I believe it all stems from our protection of the petrodollar....look it up

nimblecivet's picture
The end game or at least hope

The end game or at least hope of the SNC of a NATO intervention Libya style to oust Assad has not come about given the greater strategic significance of Syria (location, ties to Russia and Iran). The breakdown of talks is predictable in light of the fact that those supporting the rebels did not or could not participate in a neutral manner. The next phase may see negotiations which transpire fairly quickly but not necessarily through a single forum or axis of communications. The articles below indicate the possibility that Russia's role may ironically bring the Syrian oppossition around to a more effective and unified stance. While the articles also explain that neither the radical muslim factions nor terrorists are in the majority in the first place as far as either fighting elements on the ground in Syria or Syrian opposition political leadership in or outside of Syria, their influence has increased due to those who have been arming and funding them. (That fears of a radical muslim takeover may be unfounded in the first place is demonstrated by Egypt's Mursi reconvening the Parliament in defiance of the military.)


Syria: A revolution divided Tracey Shelton July 9, 2012:                                                                                                                                             ...


Diojen is skeptical. Not only does he disapprove of the religious fervor motivating many of the fighters, he also doesn't approve of the fight itself. He said the best way to change Syria is instead by peaceful action and international pressure. His opinions, however, have led to anonymous death threats.
Student activists like Diojen are not alone. Some members of the Free Syrian Army are also apprehensive about the course of the conflict.
Fighters like Nader Ajini, who calls himself a “moderate Muslim,” say they worry that international support is flowing directly to the more extreme, violent elements of the Free Syrian Army. Although religious extremists are a minority, Ajini said they receive the vast majority of funding and weapons and the pressure is mounting on moderates to join them.


Aziz Ajini said the finances fueling the religious movement are coming from both Gulf states and the West.
“It’s government support but not explicitly,” he explained. “Sometimes it’s members of parliament or specific parties. Other funding comes from businessmen, influential families, religious groups or private organizations.”
He said this funding needed to be applied fairly across all groups or stopped.
“The West is fighting Al Qaeda everywhere else but they are supporting it in Syria,” he said.


Safwan said in the beginning the revolution was about politics, not religion. The people were calling for freedom of opinion, free organizations, the right to opposition parties. The early protests called for an end to a draconian emergency law, which the country had been under since 1963. The protests were a call for “freedom and dignity,” he said.
“It was the violent reaction of the government that changed the course of the revolution,” Safwan said. “We are now entering into dangerous territory, with Islamic militants cooperating with outside forces.”
Safwan said the solution is to return to a peaceful revolution, but he admitted that would require international support and pressure on the Syrian regime.
“The hardest part is waiting for what the big players will decide. People are dying every day and the world has nothing to say,” he said.


Inside Syria: Adopt a Syrian rebel Tracey SheltonJune 22, 2012


The page goes on to describe the various committees in Syrian towns in need of financial support. There are 31 in all, and Adopt a Revolution says they now raise about 1,000 euros per month for each of these committees with the help of 1,400 regular sponsors.
Elias Perabo, one of the websites founders, said the funds raised on their site are not used for weapons, but are instead focused on providing activists with the means of conveying what is taking place inside Syria. For this they need equipment, internet connections and safe houses.


Perabo said their donors, who receive regular updates regarding their “adopted” Syrians, range from corporations to retired couples and students. ...

Earlier this month, it seemed that relief from the constant fundraising  struggle had arrived when Syrian businessmen abroad met in Qatar and announced their pledge of $300 million toward the revolution. But the pledge was met by skepticism.
“It’s hard to see where money like this goes. But we hope more money is getting through,” Perabo said.
Hajar and the team at said such money would only go to the "so called” Free Syrian Army leaders living abroad.
“Most of the revolutionaries in Syria refuse to place themselves under the banner of the Free Syrian Army for several reasons, and then receive no help from them,” Hajar said.

So at this stage you now have Russia as the only major power willing to engage all parties. The leader of the Democratic Forum faction of the rebels has already met with Lavrov and the Syrian National Council is due in Moscow Wednesday. I would argue that even if all that is achieved in the near future is a cease-fire, rather than a transitional government or process, the role of NGO's will be indispensable. The discrepancies between the reports over what has transpired is demonstrated by the following articles, which give a different account that those which state that the Free Syrian Army is made up of defectors who quit the Assad regime over human rights abuses:

If the Assad regime stays in power, they will not be able to persue a course of vendetta as long as the world is watching. If the Assad government does not collapse, its future would depend on its ability to abide by a democratic process. If Assad does not fall, the protest movement in Syria will continue and it will become more clear what the opinions of the Syrian people are if the press especially but also NGOs are allowed access. If Assad falls, the new government will also have some interest in maintaining peace by not persuing a vendetta. Given the west's willingness to look away in the cases of Hussein and Gaddhafi, in that scenario justice may be rather hurried so to speak.

JoyceFinnigan's picture
I am currently in the middle

I am currently in the middle of writing a huge research paper on WikiLeaks and media propaganda.

Every once in a while my research leads to one of those kooky conspiracy websites. Sometimes I uncover a gem, like the following propaganda effort against Syria.

For anyone who is interested in how casually propaganda in injected into our national dialogue by the media, I highly recomend they read these two articles regarding the recent defection of General Manaf Tlass.

The New York Times article

AFP Article that did not get picked up

Here is the original article that caught this manipulation:

 --I feel it would be irresponsible of me not to mention that the AFP article refers to an unnamed source close to the Syrian government.

Karolina's picture
Quote:Kofi Annan Steps Up

Kofi Annan Steps Up Efforts to Reach  
A Ceasefire and End Violence in Syria

July 10, 2012 • 6:41AM

Kicking off a week-long schedule of diplomacy geared to end the bloody violence in Syria, UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other top Syrian officials on July 9, and called the talks "positive and constructive."

"I just had a positive and constructive discussion with President Assad," Annan said before leaving Damascus for Tehran Monday afternoon. "We agreed [on] an approach which I will share with the opposition," Annan added.

The Syrian news agency, SANA, reported that Assad again agreed to the Annan mission's original 6-point plan that includes a ceasefire, and discussed ways to better achieve it. Annan's next stop was Tehran, where he will confer with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and with Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili on ways to end the Syrian conflict, reported IRNA, the Iranian news agency. Iran was barred — at U.S. insistence — from the Geneva meeting of June 30 on bolstering the Annan Mission, but Annan insists that Iran is critical to the goal of ending the violence.

Annan's peace-seeking mission, and parallel Russian efforts, stand in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton's and the Obama Administration's almost daily threats to President Assad. While Annan was in Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was meeting a delegation of the Syrian opposition.

See Article.

Karolina's picture
Quote:Russia Continues

Russia Continues Initiatives to Solve
Syria Crisis 
with Annan Mission
July 10, 2012 • 6:40AM

Statements from Russian President Vladimir Putin to a biennial meeting of Russian diplomats in Moscow, and meetings held by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with the first of several Syrian opposition delegations to Moscow — both on July 9th — show the continuing war-avoidance initiatives by Russia against the Anglo-Obama war faction's bloody operations in Syria.

"The tragic events in Libya are for all to see; we can't allow this scenario to be repeated in other countries, such as Syria," Putin said. "We need to do everything to force the conflicting sides to achieve peaceful political solutions to all disputed issues," reported Bloomberg/Business Week.

Putin also denounced Western nations' operations to expand their influence through "so-called humanitarian operations, from exports of the 'missile-bomb' democracy and intervention in internal conflicts, including those bred by the 'Arab spring.'"

In the lengthy foreign policy statement, Putin also attacked Russia's "partners" that take unilateral actions that constitute a "violation of international law."

At the same time, Lavrov was meeting with a very important delegation of the Syrian opposition from inside Syria, headed by Michel Kilo, a leader of the National Committee for Democratic Change, a grouping of secular nationalists, Marxists, independents, and Kurdish and other minorities.

Lavrov told the delegation, "Russia is one of the countries that actively works with the Syrian government and different opposition forces, in order to implement the Kofi Annan Plan," reported Russia Today. "This will become an important chance to carry out the agreements which were reached in Geneva."

Lavrov reiterated Moscow's firm stance on the conflict reached at the Geneva communique of June 30 meeting that was organized by Special Envoy Kofi Annan, to stop all the violence and start a political process that will allow the parties to decide on a political transition. He also told Kilo, "I hope that your assessments will be useful for us."

Kilo, who has refused to attended Syrian National Council (SNC) opposition meetings outside Syria because they were sponsored by Qatar and Turkey and were geared to bring about foreign military intervention, told Lavrov that Syria had become "an arena for an international conflict," and that he holds out hope that Russia, together with the opposing sides, will be able to "stabilize the situation in the country."

The opposition leader said that "the regime does not satisfy our demands and it says we do not represent the Syrian people," but said that his grouping is willing to sit down with the Assad government and negotiate.

According to Voice of Russia, July 9, the Syrian National Council was also in Moscow today for meetings with Lavrov. In a first-ever interview with Voice of Russia, SNC leader, Abdelbasset Sida, who headed the delegation, said the SNC "would like to understand what Russia's position on the situation in Syria is," at which point the SNC will "answer them."

Sida insisted that "similar to Moscow ... we at the Syrian National Council do not want any foreign military interference." However, he also insisted that, contrary to the Geneva statement, "The Syrian problem will start to be solved only when Bashar al-Assad leaves office. If this does not happen, all other proposals including for example, formation of interim coalition government, will make no sense."

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douglaslee's picture
Over 40,000 massacred in 1982

Over 40,000 massacred in 1982 yet no outcry for intervention. In '82  the US was involved in no conficts anywhere .In 2011, two ongoing wars plus a third Nato action in Libya, less than a third of the casualties, and republicans are screaming for war. It's a purely  political ploy. Still trying to paint Democrats as weak on defense, in spite of less casualties, less cost than republicans.

None of the hawks say anything about how Russia, China, and Iran will be effected by a Syrian intervention, Romney would be a bull in a china shop if he gets in, and a bull with nukes to boot. Though it would fit the Bain plan to run up debt, only this way by copying W and launching a long war on a credit card, then when debt gets too high, terminate medicare, medicaid, SNAP, student loans, FDA, SEC, EPA, FCC, FEC, and privatize Soc Sec under emergency authorizations.