UN mandate for Syria cont. 1 mo.; struggle intensifies

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The U.S. has allowed an extension of the Annan plan for 30 days, but now openly seeks to cobble together a coalition of the willing to work in tandem with the Friends of Syria. Assad has for the first time openly confirmed the existence of Syrian chemical warfare agents. Among the defections from the Syrian regime is the former head of the Syrian chemical weapons program. Assad has called back units from the border with Israel in order to fight insurgents in Damascus and Aleppo. The borders with Turkey and Iraq have rapidly become matters of concern for the respective governments, with Syrian rebels taking and sometimes holding border crossings. Assad admitted the existence of chemical weapons to make clear that all options are on the table with respect to tactics used to repel outside military intervention in the Syrian conflict. Russia's admonition is that, in effect, as soon as the existence of these weapons stockpiles are admitted Syria is party to international law forbidding their use. Assad has been offered safe escape, but only by those who have not stopped or may be party to the funding and supply of the revolutionary forces. The impending showdown means the inevitable flood of outside agents including reporters and journalists, etc. The prisoner-exchange scenario might emerge, but also if a Yemen-style transfer of power is effected one might wonder weather drone strikes are on the horizon for Syria.

The U.N has functioned as a deliberative mechanism used by those who cannot resolve together to form the logical consequence of implied by the mutual assumptions defining the context of discussion. The form of international law is such that the prohibitions on use of the type of weapons which most nations involved manufacture and keep themselves are of type which serve as a warning to those who use them that there will be a price. This price is exacted as a function of the international system of mutual reinforcement of functional norms. The specifics of the case here are that Syria is threatening to use these weapons in self-defence in the type of event which the U.N. is supposed to prevent. The Assad regime will understand that the stakes have been set such that only conventional means may be used in the event of a crisis or emergency situation involving military intervention or response by outside forces.

The role of the U.S. in this astonishing and unprecedented sequence of events is not to be underestimated but nor is it to be overemphasised. The tactical and logistical finesse of the rebel campaign can only exist on a web of diffuse relations between parties of various types (individuals, businesses, government agencies, etc.). The accession of Russia to the WTO can be interpreted as a shift of global capital to a globalized hegemony which relegates the U.S. to the role of "key player" rather than sole determinant. The regime of Assad is facing the stark truth that their national capabilities are not sufficient to withstand a siege of any duration. The rebels acknowledge that their expansive presence across the country is a tactical victory, but admit that they have not attempted to place themselves in a position to strike a decisive blow against the regime. Instead, they will not wait as unilateral sanctions are imposed and the refugee situation worsens. In Turkey, eight people were injured during a protest by Syrian refugees in their Turkish camp. The penetration of the Free Syrian Army will allay the plight of the people and win confidence to their cause if their network is able to maintain a communications and distribution network sufficient to enable a continued isolation of the regime and its supporters.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm


The latest notable development is that regions of Syria have now been handed over to the Kurds. Turkey is not happy with that and it is a headache for Iraq as well. Turkey appears eager to fight, sending forces to the border and making clear that they will consider any problems coming from the Kurds as the responsibility of Damascus.

The rebels are making use of Improvised Explosive Devices and the Syrian army has been using helicopters and possibly also fighter jets. Some Israelis have been watching apprehensively as fighting can be viewed by binoculars from the Golan Heights. Sales of gas masks are up, although it considered unlikely that chemical weapons will fall into the hands of those that use them.

It seems likely that the complexity of the situation is at this point the reason an event of some sort might cause an escalation in hostilities which draw in various parties. While the Assad regime can deny responsibility for what the Kurds do (and there are no incidents involving the Syrian air force such as the shooting down of another Turkish jet) Turkey has reserved the "natural" right to violate Syria's borders. This wording makes clear that the loss of political stability in Syria is quickly being interpreted as a potential power vacuum. Despite the rebel's statements that they are not able to impart a decisive blow to topple the regime, it seems likely that their victories are made possible by Gulf state and US assistance. Whether such a blow could be dealt without more and better weapons, etc. being provided is a question, but it does not seem apparent that the Obama administration is willing to arm a faction of what is now considered a civil war (although Obama has already called on Assad to step down).

At any rate, again, in a situation like this it seems likely that another incident of slaughter or perhaps terrorist attack would be what causes a rapid round of accusations and counter-accusations along with increased fighting. If the Syrian military focuses on a ground war it will protract the conflict. The borders of Syria will have become de-facto "no fly zones" as Assad seeks to minimize the degree to which the fighting spreads to Lebanon, Turkey, and perhaps Iraq, hoping that this will prevent any pretext for outside military intervention. If however the fighting does spread rapidly across the region then Turkey and Israel may perform military actions and even if the Syrian military avoids an encounter with an outside military force its borders will no longer be secure. But in either scenario there is the possibility of the Assad regime holding on, perhaps until a new U.N. mandate is in place.

Whether a new U.N. mandate is possible given the diplomatic conflict over the matter between the U.S. and Russia remains to be seen. Russia is now openly accusing the U.S. of supporting terrorism. At this point the main interest of those outside of Syria is the transitional phase and the makeup of its players. The threat of radical islamism is probably exaggerated and there are those in the US that believe more could have and can be done to support the rebels. Russia has been holding talks with both sides, and Assad will try to stay in power barring a transitional programme that satisfies his inner circle and a serious offer of asylum. Whether or not Hezbollah will be weakened by the changes to occur in Syria, etc., remains to be seen.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kofi Annan has stepped down as the mediator of the conflict with the US and Russia blaming each other, though Annan did not identify either as responsible for the failure of the international community to effect a resolution of the conflict through the UN. The UN General Assembly has passed a condemnation of the Assad government, but this is not a security council resolution and it was stripped of an explicit call for Assad to step down and for nations voting in favor of the resolution to unilaterally impose or cooperate with sanctions against Syria.

The fighting is now focused on the key commercial city of Aleppo. Syrian military forces are beginning their campaign to rout the Free Syrian Army, including sending tanks into battle. There have already been reports of the use of fighter jets by the Syrian military.

Iran has warned Turkey not to invade Syria, and the majority of Turks are against such a move. Turkey and the Iraq Kurds have reached an understanding which allays Turkey's fears that Kurds in Syria will pose a problem for Turkey. Obama has spoken with the Turkish prime minister, in an apparent shift in focus towards acknowledging Turkey's special position as host of not only refugees but defectors from the Syrian military.

There has been much concern voiced in the press about the greater role in the fighting taken by foreign jihadis. While these well-trained fighters, coming to the fore now in this conflict which follows the uprisings in the region, are ideologically driven they are a small portion of the rebel forces and do not have the capability to impose a muslim state in Syria. Their effectiveness and organization, but also their overall discipline for example in respect to the issue of discipline and behavior toward civilians, is made possible by their ideological commitment, but those who criticise the revolt against Assad based on their presence have not demonstrated that islamist ideology is the main driver of the revolt. The Free Syrian Army, often criticezed for being disorganized and subject to infighting, views these fighters with a mix of suspicion and admiration. While there is no doubt the jihadis will have to be held in check in a post-Assad Syria by secularists and others, the effort by the jihadis to reform their image as terrorists which they acquired in Iraq convinces many that some degree of ideological unity can stem from a religious or culturally inspired movement. This could, for example, mitigate tribal differences which would be exacerbated by a power vacuum in Syria.

Assad and his regime continue to argue that their actions are justified, and consistent with U.N. standards, arguing that the Syrian government has the duty to protect civilians from terrorists. While the diplomatic discourse has moved many nations to foresee a Syria without Assad, some see this future as emerging from the type of reforms begun by the Assad regime, such as elections held after a genuine cease-fire.



Al-Qaida has existed in this parched region of eastern Syria, where the desert and the tribes straddle the border with Iraq, for almost a decade.
...He gave a long sermon during the funeral of a local commander, telling the audience how jihad was the only way to lead a revolution against the infidel regime of Bashar al-Assad, and how they, the Syrians, were not only victims of the regime but also of the hypocrisy of the west, which refused to help them.
Osama had told me that his group was very cautious about not repeating the Iraq experience – 'they admit they made a lot of mistakes in Iraq and they are keen to avoid it', he said – but others, including a young doctor working for the revolution, were not convinced. The opposition needed to admit Al-Qaida were among them, and be on their guard."


"Tehran has enjoyed close ties with Damascus since 1980 when the Syrian government took its side in its devastating eight-year war with now executed dictator Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad, and has signed a series of defence pacts, including in 2006 and 2008."

" 'The new Syria should be free of any terrorist and extremist group or organisation,' Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said in a rare joint statement released late Wednesday."


"Turkish analysts say they do not expect Turkey to be dragged deep into Syria’s conflict because popular sentiment is solidly against that."

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:

The penetration of the Free Syrian Army will allay the plight of the people and win confidence to their cause if their network is able to maintain a communications and distribution network sufficient to enable a continued isolation of the regime and its supporters.

I saw the 'free syrian army' executing prisoners on TV yesterday, allaying the plight of the people and winning confidence to their cause.

You must be selling them bullets. Or gravestones.

Which is it?

anonymous green
Jan. 5, 2012 11:47 am
Quote EIR News Service:Russia Condemns West for Sabotage; Calls for New Envoy
August 4, 2012 • 11:55AM

UN Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan announced that he is resigning his position, citing the failure of "unity" at the United Nations Security Council in support for his mission.

As EIR has repeatedly covered, the United Kingdom, the Obama Administration, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar never supported the Annan mission, and not only continued arming and funding the violent opposition and Jihadi terrorists, but escalated in providing the arms as soon as the "unified" resolutions supporting the Annan mission had been adopted.

In a series of statements after Annan's announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials called for the mission to be continued, with a new envoy to be appointed. Putin described the resignation as a "great shame," referring to lack of support for his efforts.

"Kofi Annan is a man of great merit, a brilliant diplomat and a very honest person, so it is a great shame," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying on Aug. 2, just before he departed for a brief visit to London. "But I hope that the international community's efforts will remain focused on ending the violence," Putin added.

At the UN, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin emphasized that Moscow had supported Annan "very strongly," while the United States, United Kingdom, Saudis, Turkey, and Qatar constantly held meetings of Syrian opposition to increase its military capabilities to overthrow Assad—ignoring the Annan mission resolutions they had just signed. In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that the UN Security Council should appoint a new envoy to continue the mission.

Since the Annan Mission was created in February 2012, the London-sponsored opposition has made its top priority to "kill the Annan Mission." But with Russia standing firm in supporting continued efforts to end the violence and reach a political transition agreement, the instant removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following Annan's resignation will not happen.

At the United Nations today, the "Jihadi Axis" of United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey failed to ram a resolution through the UN General Assembly calling for Assad to be removed. The resolution is a disgusting lie that condemns the Assad government for continued killings, but covers up the terrorism by the Syrian rebels; it is non-binding and passed the UNGA with 133 votes in favor, 12 votes against, and 31 abstentions.

Meanwhile, the documentation of brutal, sadistic acts of murder and torture by the Syrian opposition, has broken into the Western media.


Karolina's picture
Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

The resignation of Annan may seem to doom any prospect for "talks" and negotiations which will settle the matter, but of course that's inevitable at some point. The question is whether the rebels will keep up their armed struggle or attempt to re-assert a movement of mass-protest coupled with specific demands.

Iran is attempting to be more diplomatically active in its efforts to support the Assad regime, including attempting to keep its relationship with Turkey from deteriorating. Iran and Saudi Arabia may be openly in conflict during an upcoming convention of muslim states.

Sen.s Graham, Lieberman, and McCain are calling for the US to openly arm and support the Syrian rebels. The fighting continues in Aleppo.

“We have had a big problem here with informers,” he said. “If a man is accused of being an informer, he is judged by the military council. Then he is either executed or released. In general, about two out of three are executed.”
“The regime almost certainly will not change its ways, so the burden must fall on the opposition to do what – given the immensity of its suffering – must seem an improbable undertaking: seriously address the phenomena of retaliatory violence, sectarian killings and creeping fundamentalism within its ranks,” the group in a report released Wednesday titled “Syria’s Mutating Conflict.”

The group also recommended that the opposition rethink the goal of total regime change and focus on rehabilitating current institutions. To reassure Assad’s minority Alawite sect, so far the backbone of his support, and other regime loyalists, the opposition should “come up with forward-looking proposals on transitional justice, accountability and amnesty,” the report said.

But the FSA, dominated by defectors from the regime's army, has fallen out with the SNC, whose leaders are in exile. It now has its own political front, the Syrian Support Group (SSG). This split has divided the revolution's main international backers, with Saudi Arabia supporting the FSA and Qatar moving closer to the SNC and the Islamist militias


Recently, it was finally leaked to Reuters the news of a joint Turkey-Qatar-Saudi Arabia "secret" base in Adana, 100 kilometers from the Syrian border. Adana happens to be the home of Incirlik, the immense NATO base. A local ATol source for weeks has been reporting of frantic cargo movements at Incirlik.

Speaking for the Syrian National Council (SNC) is Bassma Kodmani, who was an attendee at the Bilderberg Meeting this year in Chantilly, Virginia. The SNC have had the closest contact to Obama’s administration and called specifically for US forces to militarily strike Syria early on in the conflict.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Last Thursday every Democrat and 78 Republicans in the House voted to keep Congress in session throughout August. Nancy Pelosi had argued "The Republican majority is prepared to adjourn the House of Representatives to leave for the August district work period without accomplishing what the American people have sent us here to do."

Yesterday that decision was reversed without debate or explanation, and a resolution that calls for the adjournment of the lower chamber until early September was quickly approved.

I am concerned that President Obama wants to get started in Syria and prevailed on the Democratic leadership to adjourn. Why else would the Democratic leadership suddenly join with the Republican leadership in adjourning, when none of the work was completed? President Obama now has a free hand.

Karolina's picture
Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

Didn't Pelosi threaten to have Karl Rove arrested if he did not show up to testify before Congress? But that was back when she was majority leader. Rove was overseas meddling in foreign affairs and US policy re Russia back when McCain wanted the US to interfere in Georgia (the one over there).

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Turkish media while travelling to Myanmar overnight that Assad had given weapons to the PKK, which has established a presence in the towns of Kobani and Afrin in northern Syria.

He says the brigade is separate from the Free Syrian Army, the loosely organized grouping of military defectors and civilian volunteers whose nominal leadership is based just over the border in Turkey. Liwa al-Ummah is also in the process of developing a Syrian-led political wing, as are an increasing number of other brigades.
With Harati are some of his closest confidants from Ireland and Libya. Back home in Dublin, where he lives with his Irish-born wife and four children, Harati teaches Arabic and is known as an activist who is heavily involved in the Palestinian cause. He took part in the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla, which was intercepted by Israeli commandos, resulting in the deaths of nine people.
One, a 22-year-old who wears glasses and whose father is a surgeon in Ireland, admits that his plan to come fight in Syria initially worried his family. "They respect and trust Sheikh Mahdi, so when they learned I was coming to join him here, they felt a little better," he says. He frames his reasons for coming to Syria in philosophical terms: "I see my life as being about three things: Searching for the truth, defending the weak against injustice and the oppressors, and helping to build peace in the world. The battle here in Syria combines all three."
One night after iftar, the meal that breaks the Ramadan fast, I am introduced to Abdelmajid al-Khatib, an unassuming pharmacist from the Jabal al-Zawiya area of Idlib province who acts as Liwa al-Ummah's political organizer.

"Our plan is to transform into a political party to accomplish the goals of Liwa al-Ummah," he says. "We want to be part of any transitional government. The end of the regime is close, so it is necessary for us to get organized politically to ensure that such a government is not created from the outside but from here inside Syria."

He says the group already has representatives in "most areas" of Syria. "We are opening offices in different parts of the country that are under the control of the thuwar. We are also refining our political ideology; we envisage a party that will accept all factions, religions, and sects in Syria including Alawites, but with an Islamic frame of reference," he says.

The United States on Thursday dismissed a 29 nation conference on the Syria crisis in Tehran, saying the Islamic Republic had been helping Bashar al-Assad kill his people.

The meeting included Russia, China, Cuba, Iraq and Venezuela, which are friendly to Iran but it excluded the United States, its European allies and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

As a veteran correspondent who has covered fourteen conflicts and closely followed events in Syria since 1975, I have become convinced that there’s much more to the civil war raging in Syria than Westerners are being told by their governments or the blinkered media.
How have so many Syrian T-72 tanks and other armored vehicles been knocked out? Not by amateur street fighters. Powerful antitank weapons—likely French, American or Turkish—have been used extensively. You don’t blow up a modern T-72 tank with light, handheld RPG rockets. Powerful antitank weapons, like the U.S. TOW or French Milan, require professional, trained crews. The use of these weapons suggests that outside forces are involved in the fighting, as they were in Libya.

Now come reports that the rebels are receiving small numbers of man-portable antiaircraft missiles. If properly used, they would threaten the Assad regime’s armed helicopters. Yet using such missiles requires a good deal of training. I saw in Afghanistan in the 1980s how long it took the mujahidin to learn this skill from CIA instructors—and then how quickly the Red Air Force was denied air superiority.
Other unverified reports from the Mideast suggest that the U.S. mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater (it recently changed its name to Academi) is training Syrian rebels in Turkey, moving in veteran mercenaries from Iraq, where there were once fifty thousand U.S.-paid private soldiers, and sending combat units into Syria.
After overthrowing one Syrian government in the late 1940s, Washington wisely backed off from Syria. Now it may get drawn back into the vortex of one of the Mideast’s most difficult nations.

"We can't finance a no-fly zone," said the group's Washington lobbyist, former NATO political officer Brian Sayers. He said such a zone, free of Syrian warplanes, is essential for the success of Syria's rebels, who want to create safe areas for civilians to escape the fighting without fear of aerial bombardment.

Assad's forces command the skies and have an overwhelming advantage in armor, artillery and troops. In recent days they have been pounding rebel positions in Syria's biggest city, Aleppo.

"I'm not ruling out that safezones could not be defended without a no-fly zone, but it will be very challenging," Sayers said.

Some rebels, outgunned and low on ammunition in Aleppo, have pleaded for outside military help, arguing that more weapons and a no-fly zone over areas they control near the Turkish border would give them a secure base against Assad's forces.

"The reason we retreated from Salaheddine this week is a lack of weapons," complained Abu Thadet, a rebel commander in Aleppo who said his fighters would regroup and fight back. "We can handle the bombing. It's the snipers that make it hard."

(The president of the Syrian National Council, Abdelbaset Sieda)
"Now that Syria's air force is taking part in bombing cities and towns, there must be protection for the Syrian people. There must be a no-fly zone so that there will be safe havens to refugees," he said.

Syria's civil war has spread to almost every province in the country and the death toll has increased over the past weeks. Activists say more than 20,000 people have been killed since the revolt against Assad's authoritarian rule began in March 2011.
In Cairo, the Arab League said an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Syria that had been scheduled for Sunday in Saudi Arabia has been postponed. It did not say why the meeting was postponed or give a new date.

The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance (ARC), and the SNC said in a joint declaration that "the people want the overthrow of the dictatorial regimes of (President Bashar) al-Assad and (Raul) Castro."
The SNC has faced questions about its independence, with its funding mechanisms unclear and close relationships with monarchies Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

As for logistics the official noted, "The weapons are being carried across the border on donkeys."

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

At what point are the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and their right to defend themselves against the government outweighed by the need to prevent the U.S. and others from manipulating the situation? I ask premising my inquiry on the assertion that the U.S. will always operate contrary to the interests of democracy and freedom. The U.S. has proven that its foreign policy is one of corporate, capitalist hegemony. This is merely a continuation of the so-called "Cold War" policy of overthrowing left and moderate regimes in favor of capitalist-friendly regimes including fascist regimes.

The answer is not simple. I would argue that the immense power and reach of the U.S. makes necessary a position of compromise. If the "Libya scenario" is to be avoided, may it be done so without necessarily ruling out assistance from the U.S.? It seems to me that providing weapons such as stinger missiles is not the same as enforcing a no-fly zone. The latter, it has been stated by U.S. officials, would mandate "boots on the ground."

At the same time I think we need to remember that insofar as the U.S. could be said to have a right to intervene at all (for example, given that we have been "requested" to do so by certain factions within the rebel movement) our primary interest should be the re-establishment of a peace process. As it stands, the U.S. policy is apparently one of dragging out the process in order to exert diplomatic leverage in the leadup to war with Iran. We do this knowing that imposing the precondition of Assad's removal from power will draw out the conflict until the point that the crushing of Hezbollah can precede an attack on Iran in an effective manner.

I believe we should also remember that the U.S. is not the only power operating in the region, as regional powers such as Saudi Arabia are perhaps more of the drivers of the process in respect to what has been happening in Syria. The United Nations is clearly not functional in this situation where there is no majority of nation states adhering to the objective principles guiding the institution. Perhaps the best hope at this point is the upcoming meeting between the Saudis and the Iranians. The interest of the region in the Strait of Hormuz should motivate them to see a pan-Muslim foundation for region stability as the main factor mitigating for peace.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It may also be noted here that Egypt's Morsi has reasserted control, and that Egypt will be assisted in its effort to obtain IMF loans by Qatar.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Pharaoh hates to see unrest among His people.

anonymous green
Jan. 5, 2012 11:47 am
Quote nimblecivet:

At what point are the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and their right to defend themselves against the government outweighed by the need to prevent the U.S. and others from manipulating the situation? I ask premising my inquiry on the assertion that the U.S. will always operate contrary to the interests of democracy and freedom. The U.S. has proven that its foreign policy is one of corporate, capitalist hegemony. This is merely a continuation of the so-called "Cold War" policy of overthrowing left and moderate regimes in favor of capitalist-friendly regimes including fascist regimes.

That says it all... next stop Iran.

norske's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

There have been other reports that the snipers are not Syrian forces, they are outsiders aka mercenaries brought in to destabilize. US and Israel use mercenaries religiously. Syria was a secular country occupied by a multi-lingual population.Like Iran before we killed their freely elected leader. Turkey is trying to show their bonafides to get in to the Eurozone. Russia is holding steady until after the election when the US has nullified treaties in the past.

douglaslee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Just a couple days until the U.N. mandate expires. The fighting has spread to Lebanon, with incidences of kidnappings. If contracts are broken through the fall of Assad, the question becomes what impact this will have on the economic life of Syrians post-Assad. The excerpts of the articles below are meant (among other things) to highlight the class aspect of the conflict as it relates to the urban-rural dichotomy of Syrian society. The rural agricultural sector has been hard hit by drought, and while originally the Assad regime was successful in cultivating support there the fighters are largely comprised of rural elements. The people of Aleppo, for example, in contrast may harbor desires for reform or revolution but have more to loose. The Free Syrian Army has been attempting to perform the functions of the state by supervising the production and distribution of bread, a staple product subsidized by the Syrian state. In other words, I am asking whether the rural elements are shooting themselves in the foot by insisting on the overthrow of Assad. There are some who claim that many of the original protesters, some of whom have spent time in jail etc., were more interested in what is sometimes referred to as a "burgeoisie" revolution effectuated by civil disobedience, etc. This may be better for Syrians overall. But of course, its hard to see how the government can "reclaim" the country from its own people, and the international community, including Russia and China, and now the organization of Muslim states which has suspended Syria's membership over the objections of Iran, call on the Assad regime to end its repression of the Syrian people. I argue that this uprising, and the others of the Arab Spring, were not engineered by the US or others who have sought to take advantage of them.

Washington, London and Paris now agree that efforts to encourage a unified opposition around the exile-led Syrian National Council (SNC) have failed, and are now seeking to cultivate more direct links with internal Syrian groups.
However, a Syrian financier linked to the opposition warned that the FSA would remain divided as long as it relied on multiple, uncoordinated sources of funding. "The local brigade commanders on the ground swear allegiance to whoever supports them and the expat community sending them money is completely divided," the financier said. "These are [Syrian] expats in the States and the Gulf using their own trusted channels for getting money through, so the money is pouring in from many different pockets. The number of fighters each commander can summon wax and wane with his ability to arm and pay them and their families, so there is no particular leader with enough clout to bring the brigades together."

The exceptions to this rule, he said, were Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but that money went disproportionately to Salafist and jihadist groups. "The most organised systems are run by extreme Islamist groups and they have the highest income. The more extreme brutality tends to come from that direction, but they have the most ammunition and guns, and they get their money from a unified source. All the other money comes from multiple sources and multiple channels. You can only unify these units with a unified source of money."
Western influence with the FSA is limited by a continued refusal to supply arms because of the uncertainty of where the weapons would end up. Barack Obama is reported to have issued a "presidential finding" (a secret executive order) earlier this year, stepping up CIA activity in and around Syria, but that too stopped short of arms supplies.

"I was shocked. There is nothing you are told that can prepare you for what you see. The state of the Sunni Muslims there - their state of mind, their fate - all of those things have been slowly corroded over time by the regime."

"I nearly cried for them when I saw the weapons. The guns are absolutely useless. We are being sold leftovers from the Iraqi war, leftovers from this and that," he said. "Luckily these are things that we can do for them: we know how to fix weapons, how to maintain them, find problems and fix them."

The US may be wary of a resultant ethnic slaughter (making it look bad). Thus, US concerns that a new government respect minority rights:

"This is not just about the fall of Assad. This is about the Sunni Muslims of Syria taking back their country and pushing out the minority that have been oppressing them for generations now," Najjar said.
Najjar said militancy would spread across the region as long as the West does not do more to hasten the downfall of Assad.

"The Western governments are bringing this upon themselves. The longer they leave this door open for this torture and this massacre to carry on, the more young men will drop what they have in this life and search for the afterlife," Najjar said.

"If the West and other countries do not move fast it will no longer be just guys like me - normal everyday guys that might do anything from have a cigarette to go out on the town - it will be the real extreme guys who will take it to another level."

This concern for the west, that more radical forms of militant Islam will emerge out of these conflicts between ethnicities and versions of Islam as the political order of the Middle East is "rocked", brings us back to the question of the nature of US and other western powers' involvement. A failure to understand the mass-agony of the Middle East will result in those in the west placing too much credence in conspiracy-theory type explanations. While surely western powers have sought to influence and channel the wave of revolt and revolution, and have prepared themselves and no doubt sought to influence these events, perhaps helping to instigate them (as was argued about the Iranian "Green Revolution"), neither the US nor Saudi Arabia could provoke the populace of Syria or any other nation, be it Tunisia or Egypt for example, to revolt against their government. The moral compass of US foreign policy may spin wildly, but the involvement of the US and France in the Syrian revolt which has increasingly seen the presence of radical Muslim fighters does not conclusively indicate some sort of neo-Orwellian theatre of the macabre where the various parties to conflict are unwittingly dancing on the strings controlled by war-mongering profiteer puppeteers. We should ask instead, for example, whether a second Iranian revolt might be the basis for a reciprocal reaction from the Shiite world to the momentum of Sunni-led revolution in the Middle East, a reaction which distances Iran even further from the US-Saudi-Israeli "axis" of influence in the region.
There is also, of course, the rhetorical tactic of exploiting those in the US who are slowly learning the feelings of shame and impotence as the world careens out of control, entering what threatens to be a more deadly and brutal phase at odds with the triumphal vision nursed by capitalist propogandists since the end of the Cold War. All's fair.

In East Timor, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he could not confirm whether a successor has been named for Syrian peace envoy Kofi Annan. On Tuesday, a spokesman for Annan said Syrian authorities have backed former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi as his successor, but it was unclear whether Brahimi had accepted the post.

Ban said the international community shares a "sense of collective responsibility" for the bloodshed and a growing humanitarian crisis within Syria and among refugees who fled to neighboring countries.

"How long do we have to endure this kind of tragedy?" he told a news conference in Dili. "This is not justice and this not acceptable. That is why now I am expediting the selection of successor of special envoy and we are trying our best effort to provide humanitarian assistance to more than one million Syrian people affected because of this situation."

Islam, who sneaks out of her house to film the fighting and upload footage on the Internet, said opposition members in upper class districts of Aleppo believe the Free Syrian Army acted precipitously by trying to seize territory instead of achieving more modest goals first, like protecting anti-Assad street demonstrations.
The fighters themselves are not from Aleppo but rather young men from the countryside. Their dialect is different than the one spoken in the city, and they tattoo their arms with poetry and primitive pictures of hearts and arrows.
Salma, a 35-year-old activist who lives in a smart neighborhood of Aleppo still controlled by government forces, has spent weeks sneaking into rebel-controlled areas to film fighting and document its impact on ordinary lives.

Like many opposition activists and fighters, she uses a pseudonym because of the real threat of being caught by Syrian security forces, especially since she still lives in a neighborhood under their control.

Between filming on her small handicam, she spends a lot of time arguing with the rural fighters about why the people of Aleppo don't seem to be embracing the revolution or the Free Syrian Army rebels.

"This regime is bloody, our families have lived through the horror of seeing their sons return as vegetables from Assad's prisons, if they return at all," she said. "I wouldn't even speak badly about the Assad family to my immediate family - that's how scared we were."


On the front line, rebels are contemptuous of the hesitation shown by their urban compatriots. They say their revolt was a cry from those, unlike the city dwellers, who never had opportunities to get education, wealth or power.

"Our revolution is one of dignity. The man who has no wealth has no dignity, and we are not able to attain that wealth," said Zakariya Ghair, 45, a calligrapher from Azaz.

Above all, over the past decade Al Assad and his close advisers failed to grasp the revolutionary potential of two key developments — Syria’s population explosion and the long-term drought which the country suffered from 2006 to 2010, the worst in several hundred years. The first produced an army of semi-educated young people unable to find jobs; the second resulted in the forced exodus of hundreds of thousands of farmers from their parched fields to slums around the major cities.

He was a leading voice in the anti-Syrian movement that sought to curb Assad's influence in Lebanon before and after the 2005 assassination of Rafik al-Hariri - a killing he still blames on Syria. Following the Hariri assassination, he publicly accused Syria of killing his father, Kamal Jumblatt, in 1977.


In Darat Azzah, the rebels are welcomed as liberators, enjoying wider support than in the wealthier urban centers such Aleppo and Damascus - cities where more people benefited more from Assad's rule.

"Former thieves are now in hiding. No one dares to take advantage of the situation with these rebels around," said Yahya al-Sakeh, a low-paid factory worker.

The rebel fighters are for the most part drawn from the rural poor. They air grievances against Assad that are both economic and political and take on a distinctly sectarian tone as they portray themselves as a victimized Sunni underclass.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
A No-Fly Zone Over Syria Could Lead to Regional and World War
August 15, 2012 • 10:37AM • LPAC

As the Organization of Islamic Cooperation met in Saudi Arabia to finalize Syria's expulsion from that body, the British-Obama war provocation of setting up a No-Fly Zone over Syria pressed forward.

At the Aug. 13 daily press briefing, Pentagon spokesman George Little lashed out at the Assad government, saying, "We've seen a very troubling and despicable uptick in attacks from the air, perpetrated by the Syrian regime. This is yet another example of their depraved behavior. This needs to stop as does the violence they continue to pursue against their own people."

A Reuters wire on Little's remarks emphasized that he had "stopped short of suggesting a move toward any additional steps like a no-fly zone," but Sen. Joe Lieberman had not: "The U.S. should work with our allies to defend the de facto safe zones the rebels have already established in northern Syria... It makes sense for us to put in place a no-fly zone to help defend them — something, as in Libya, that would not require putting any American boots on the ground."

But opposition to the British-Obama war provocations continues to come from the highest level of the U.S. military, including head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, as well as Russia and China (see separate slugs).

An article in the Aug. 13 Christian Science Monitor poured oil on the fire, arguing that Hillary Clinton's remarks on Sunday after meeting with Turkish leaders had intentionally left open the option of a no-fly zone. Citing Brookings Institution "expert" Michael O'Hanlon, the article states: "Clinton may have intended this as a final shot across the bow to Russia... [to say] we're trying to avoid something you'd be very unhappy about," signaling that "with or without the UN, we are going to be getting more involved in this [conflict] if Assad remains in power." O'Hanlon added: "You have to consider the slippery-slope phenomenon. If no-fly fails to stop Assad's attacks, then there's a lot of pressure to strike at Syrian tanks and artillery." The article then points to the danger of a broader war with Russia and China: "But the US, already worried about the potential for the Syria conflict to balloon into a proxy war for dueling regional interests, is well aware that Russia, Iran and others are unlikely to sit back (and indeed are already intervening) as the West jumps in."

The situation is worrying enough for the German government to have weighed in again against a no-fly zone. Minister for Developing Sector Relations, Dirk Niebel, said Monday night on nationwide TV ARD that any no-fly zone would require a resolution of the United Nations, which he is convinced won't happen. Furthermore, it could only be enforced and controlled by military means, when a political solution is what is required.

Karolina's picture
Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

Why swear in a new U.N. mediator a few days before the expiration of the current mandate? The U.N. will observe, the U.S. and Turkey will strategize. There are some who argue that Annan was too tolerant of the trial by press of Assad. The new mediatior may be more willing to work in accord with U.S. diplomacy, but the U.S. is still contemplating a NATO action on humanitarian grounds. The question is whether the Lebanese can be made to go along. The Lebanese may be so anxious to avoid the contagion of conflict that the U.S. and Israel can coordinate a NATO and regional campaign which respects the sovereignty of Syria's bordering neighbors. The question of the possibility that accusations of violations of Syrian airspace will be debated on the floor of the General Assembly arises, though it is only on the Turkish border that the FSA maintain direct connection to outside Syria. Also, the question of whether the shooting down of the craft was justified.

The Syrian people did not choose war (http://news.yahoo.com/un-monitors-quit-saying-syrians-choose-path-war-082739018.html), the fighting escalated between those willing to fight after those desiring to fight provoked them into doing so.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Syrian women and children, wait outside a bakery shop to buy bread, in Azaz, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) (28 Aug 2012)

Syrian opposition activists announced they have drafted a political roadmap for the country’s development in the event of the ouster of President Assad. The project, initiated by US and German think tanks, is currently being presented in Berlin.

The document, the first of its kind from the Syrian opposition, also offers recommendations for writing a new constitution and calls for a special independent tribunal to try former members of the regime for crimes committed against the Syrian people, AFP reported.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne also does not believe there is likely to be "a new 'Islamic axis' between the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran" any time soon.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Basma Kodmani, a prominent figure in the Syrian National Council who resigned on Tuesday, said the umbrella opposition group had become too focused on personal agendas and needed to be replaced by a new political authority.

Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, Kodmani said the SNC was not doing enough to back the increasingly militarized 17-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"While the political role of the SNC is important, the credibility and legitimacy of a coalition of an opposition is related to its effectiveness," she said.

Assad, battling a 17-month-old uprising in which 20,000 people have been killed, has lost control of rural areas in northern, eastern and southern regions and has resorted to helicopter gunships and fighter jets to subdue his foes.

Brahimi refused to directly comment on statements made in Moscow Saturday by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the international community should try to persuade all sides in the Syrian conflict to stop the violence and that it would be naive or provocative to ask the Syrian government to stop the violence first.

President Mohamed Mursi, elected two months ago after a popular uprising toppled Egypt's long-standing leader Hosni Mubarak, said Assad had lost legitimacy in his fight to crush a 17-month-old revolt in which 20,000 people have been killed.

Mursi's scathing speech to a summit of non-aligned leaders, hosted by Assad's Shi'ite ally Iran, prompted Syria's foreign minister to accuse the moderate Sunni Islamist leader of inciting further bloodshed in Syria.

About 320 bodies, including women and children, were found in houses and basements in the town of Daraya, southwest of Damascus, according to activists who said on Sunday most had been killed "execution-style" by troops.
The Iranian parliamentary delegation that met with Assad also visited Vice-President Farouq al-Sharaa. It was Sharaa's first public appearance in weeks, quashing activist rumors that he had defected to the opposition.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The CFR is now celebrating Al Qaida's role in the so-called "Free Syrian" army.

- and -
Two Cheers for Islamic Terrorists HERE

So, help me get this straight.

Islamic Terrorists were "good" from 1979, when Jimmy Carter and Zbignew Brzezinski worked with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to *initiate* the war with the Soviets (preceeding their invasion, per BZ's own admission) - and the USA continued to support them through June of 2001 (to spite their treatment of women).

Meanwhile, these "good terrorists" were diverted to use in Yugoslavia, (after the US scuttled the signed peace agreement between all parties before any fighting had occurred) along with arms shipped in violation of the UN Embargo (via our temporary-ally Iran) to commit war-crimes, to which Milosevic responded in kind, and was condemned, justifying NATO bombing - and the first use of Depleted Uranium, which led to a massive increase in cancer and birth-defects.

Then 911 happened, purportedly carried out by the very people supported and trained by the CIA, and Al Qaida became "bad" for a while - and anyone who opposed the US imperialist forces (fighting to secure the vested interests of Transnational corporations) were lumped into this group in the Transnational-owned press, even though such groups were often Shia and, therefore, diametrically opposed to Al Qaida's theology, which says all Shias are going to hell.

Then the State Department, with the crony / "useful idiot" groups they funded via the so-called "National Endowment for Democracy (though it has historically supported anti-democratic factions and opposed any group which claims the resources of their nation belong to its people) launched the "Arab Spring" to install new puppets to allow for the more efficient stripping of the people's resources. At this point, the CIA-created, Madrassa-Stocked Al Qaida has become "good" again, receiving arms shipments from our "allies" such as un-democratic, hand and head-chopping Saudi Arabia and their ilk.

Do I have our Righteous and Moral Path outlined correctly?

When we Own Our Shares of the Earth and its Resources, there will be no point to war anymore.

Humans_And_Resources's picture
Sep. 4, 2012 10:30 pm

Rebels have moved their command base from Turkey to "liberated areas" inside Syria, they announced yesterday as regime troops and rebels battled for control of a corridor near the border.

If there is one Arab community that unanimously condemned the protests against American diplomatic installations in the Middle East, it is the Syrians. For months they have begged Washington and its allies to intervene in their eighteen month revolution. They argued a former adversary would offer eternal gratitude by breaking relations with American foes Iran and its Lebanese client Hizbullah. But following the death of American Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, a country that benefited from Washington’s military intervention, many Syrians believe the Western world will abandon them.
Hweiri and many like him fear Washington will turn their back on the rebels. And they have good cause to do so. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), the leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, recently said the attack in Libya “will certainly give pause, or should give pause, to people who are pressing for a kind of involvement (in Syria) that you have got to back up to be successful.” Kerry’s comments were a far cry from the support he offered the rebels last February when he said, “if the (Syrian) government is going to kill randomly, people deserve the right to defend and fight for themselves.” Many Washington insiders at the time interpreted his comments to mean he backed arming the rebels.
Rifat Saad agrees. The fundraising coordinator believes President Barack Obama has coddled Arab dictators who have killed their own people. He speaks highly of President George W. Bush and his campaign to bring democracy to the region and supposes Republican candidate Governor Mitt Romney will do the same. “Obama has does nothing for us,” Saad told The Media Line. “But Romney has said he will support us with arms,” continues as his eyes light up.
With protests spreading throughout the Arab world, Saad’s optimism might be misplaced today. But in a region where opinions change quicker than weather forecasts, his hopes just might come true after November’s elections.

He said the regime was determined to prevent rebels linking up between western Aleppo and the neighbouring province of Idlib as this would form an extensive insurgent region on the border with Turkey, which supports the revolt in Syria.
The Old City of Aleppo, however, deserted of civilians but with a frontline running across it, was being spared air raids, an AFP correspondent in Syria’s commercial capital said.

ALEPPO: Government forces shelled rebel-held areas of Syria's second city Aleppo on Saturday, monitors said, as the opposition warned the 18-month conflict had hit a point of "extreme gravity.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2012/0911/Syria-s-rebel-fighters-vow-no-mercy-for-their-own-pro-regime-family-members?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fworld+%28Christian+Science+Monitor+|+World%29 Like many FSA fighters on the front lines, Abu Saddam describes his commitment to toppling the Assad regime as a quest more important than family. The Syrian uprising has devolved into a bloody civil war, pitting brother against brother, dividing families and communities in a way that may leave scars lasting long after the fighting ends.


"It will take time" for regime forces to win, he [Assad] said, adding that the "door to dialogue is open -- only talks with the opposition will solve the crisis."

http://rt.com/news/clinton-syria-un-unnecessary-755/ Since the Russian and American positions on Syria do not converge, "then we will work with like-minded states to support a Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad falls and to help prepare Syria for a democratic future and help it get back on its feet," she declared.

There is no point to passing a new UN resolution on Syria “with no teeth”, she said, “because we've seen time and time again that Assad will ignore it and keep attacking his own people," Clinton told reporters.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/09/18/2276342/uk-syria-intervention-would-need.html British Foreign Secretary William Hague says any intervention in Syria would only be possible with the full backing of the United States.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ukpolitics19621972 The former UK prime minister, who is now Middle East envoy, said leaving Syria alone would have "very brutal" and "very bloody" consequences.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has been an outspoken critic of Assad's handling the uprising that has killed an estimated 27,000 people since it began as a peaceful protest in March 2011.

Residents in Arsal, located 10 kilometers from the border with Syria, told The Daily Star that earlier Friday the Army caught an unspecified number of members of the Syrian rebel group, but released them hours later due to pressure by the town's notables

"This is my duty," he said. "Originally I was from Palestine. I know what this [Syrian] regime did to the Palestinians, shelling the camps in Lebanon, assassinating the commanders. Half of the miseries of our nation are because of Israel and the other half are because of the Syrian regime.

“I advise the Assad regime not to lose the half-million Palestinian refugees in Syria,” said a 50-year-old Palestinian who gave his name as Abu Amjad, noting that he and thousands of others had combat experience in Lebanon’s civil war. “We are old fighters.”

GENEVA: United Nations investigators said on Monday they had expanded a secret list of Syrians and military units suspected of committing war crimes during the 18-month-old conflict between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and his opponents.

http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2012/09/18/kurdish-rebels-kill-7-turkish-soldiers/ The PKK, Kurdish militants.


On Monday night, foreign ministers from Egypt, Iran, and Turkey met at the Foreign Ministry in Cairo to discuss what a spokesperson called, “the deteriorating situation in Syria and put[ing] an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.”


There are more than 30 different rebel groups, including the most prominent rebel group, the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), fighting in Syria, according to officials from the most prominent Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC).
“Some groups such as the al-Tawhid and al-Fatah brigades consider themselves part of the FSA, however mostly they don’t listen to the orders of the regional leaders of the FSA,” he added.

The Turkey representative of the SNC, Khaled Khoja, also said the rebel groups aside from the FSA in Aleppo generally don’t listen to the orders of the regional FSA leader, Abdulcabbar Agadi.

“We cannot talk about a chain of command amongst these groups,” he added.

http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=32247&lan=eng The Christian communities in Syria, after repeated violence suffered by armed gangs, often jihadist groups, have begun to organize, in different locations, "popular dissuasive committees", formed by young armed Christians, who seek to prevent banditry and violence and defend their neighborhoods.


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/09/18/2276342/uk-syria-intervention-would-need.html#storylink=cpy

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=285552 Syria, itself suspected of illicit nuclear activity, accused the West at a major UN meeting on Wednesday of double standards in implicitly condoning an Israeli atomic arsenal and warned of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.


http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4283494,00.html However, it should be noted that the exercise is taking place only a week after the Golani Brigade conducted an even more extensive exercise near the Lebanese border.

Wednesday's drill was launched at a time when senior IDF officers, including Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Naveh, warn of a possible escalation of violence in Syria that may lead to war. The security establishment's fears are based on the possibility that al-Qaeda and global jihad-inspired terror organizations will base themselves in the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan Heights with the aim of carrying out attacks in Israel against soldiers or civilians.

The second scenario, which may result in an Israeli strike, involves the transfer of Syrian chemical weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"Iraq rejects baseless allegations that it allows Iran to use its airspace to ship arms to Syria," he said. "The prime minister has always called for a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict and ... the need for a ban on any state interfering in Syria whether by sending arms or helping others to do so."

The issue of Iranian arms shipments to Syria came up repeatedly at a Senate hearing in Washington on Wednesday on the nomination of Robert Beecroft as the next U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. Beecroft is currently deputy chief of mission there.

John Kerry, the Democratic chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked Beecroft what the embassy was doing to persuade the Iraqis to prevent Iran from using their airspace for flights carrying weapons to Syria. Beecroft said that he and other U.S. officials made clear to Iraq the flights must stop.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq denied permission to a North Korean plane bound for Syria to pass through Iraqi airspace last Saturday because it suspected it could be carrying weapons, a senior official said on Friday.


According to the article, huge weapons stockpiles went missing in Libya after the killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, referring to photographs of empty boxes of SAM-7S and confirmations by Libyan officials that "more than 5,000 of the missiles had vanished."

The Times affirmed that this is not the first time that Libyan ships try to deliver weapons to the armed terrorist groups in Syria, referring to "a large consignment of Libyan weapons, including PRGs and heavy ammunition," which was seized by the Lebanese authorities in the Lebanese northern territorial waters as it was mend to reach the gunmen in Syria.


nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Some articles I have come across about Iran state that the Iranian government is now looking at war as more or less inevitable. It is not a given, and in my opinion not likely, that Israel would take further action after such a strike even if the retaliation (conventional missile strikes, terrorist attacks, skirmishes, etc.) is as severe as they predict.

We should ask ourselves (since John Kerry is a Democrat and all) whether the Free Syrian Army should receive any sort of military assistance as long as they refuse to negotiate with the regime. If they do choose to negotiate, the information collected by NGOs (for example, the list mentioned above kept by the UN) can be used to facilitate an internal Syrian process. Clinton has expressed willingness to endorse the "Geneva communique" as a guide, a plan for peace negotiations or talks. The French apparently don't have the intellegence relationship to Turkey that the U.S. does, so will probably tow the NATO line despite not being as close to the U.S. as the U.K. In fact, it has been said that Syria's air force is quite capable of confronting that of France. So the interests of the west will remain congruent for the time being, although it may be recalled that in Iraq it was France and the Netherlands who began operating there with the Kurds in the north to export oil while the U.S. was still trying to make the "Green Zone" safe.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90777/7966635.html A total of 235 activists were killed Sunday in fighting between the Syrian government troops and rebels in the northern city of Aleppo, according to the website of a pro-government al-Watan newspaper.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/oct2012/syri-o01.shtml While they have gained the sponsorship of Washington and its regional allies, the armed opposition groups have failed to win a significant base of support among the working class and small businessmen in either Aleppo or the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Pro-opposition activists inside Aleppo have estimated that there are around 6,000 “rebel” militants in the city – out of a total population of over 2 million people. Many of these fighters, including elements linked to Al Qaeda and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, have come across the nearby border with Turkey under the auspices of the CIA.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/syrian-rebels-backers-block-arms-cache-until-bickering-factions-unite-16218188.html But the Qataris are said to have maintained that one reason for the request to form military councils was to ensure a more equitable distribution of weapons. They also stressed that heavier-calibre weapons needed to be returned when hostilities ended.

"They were very clear that we needed to get organised and present a proper plan," said one opposition leader present at the talks, who gave the nom-de-guerre, Abu Mohsin.

"The Qataris were concerned because they had not been able to get back a lot they gave to the Libyan [rebels] and they did not want the same situation to happen in Syria.

"The Qataris said that the Americans were very worried about this happening again."

The rebels have not, as yet, put in place the organisation demanded by the Qataris and Turks.

"We have tried to form the military councils as they wanted, but there some difficulties. There are too many people who have made themselves commanders and they don't want to give up power" said Abu Mohsin.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidesyria/2012/09/20129308816498990.html He said: "The forces will not be going to Syria to fight. Their goal will be to stop what is going on in Syria. As you know, there were originally Arab forces which went there to observe the ceasefire in the past ... and these forces, because they were few and not well equipped, could not stop the bloodbath .... There must be a sufficient number of peacekeeping forces and fighting in Syria must stop."

http://rt.com/news/syria-west-proxy-war-321/ Dan Glazebrook: Well, it is a good question. In fact it is not only Moscow that is making these proposals. A week ago in Damascus, the National Coordination Committee, which is the main organization behind the initial outbreak of peaceful protests in Syria, actually had their own conference where they also called for a cease fire on both sides. They’ve criticized the militarization of the conflict. They’ve criticized the countries that have been arming the rebels.

We see how the Western-trained and sponsored militia on the ground in Syria has responded. They’ve responded with a wave of bomb attacks over two days in Damascus. The crucial point is that the West does not want to see a peaceful resolution to this conflict. It wants to destabilize, that is the name of the game. They do not want a peaceful resolution. .... The question of how long this war can go on is a good question. It is not clear. They can’t really win these rebel groups, because they don’t have the support of even most of the anti-Assad forces. As I have mentioned, the main peaceful opposition group does not really support the strategy of the Free Syrian Army, does not support the Syrian National Council and in the key cities of Aleppo and Damascus, which is where more than half of the Syrian population live. Most of the population is behind the government, supports the government. A couple of weeks ago, a Free Syrian Army Officer admitted it himself, saying that ‘the problem for us here in Aleppo is that 70 per cent of the population supports Assad,’ and it has always been that way. So they can’t win with that lack of popular support.

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/01/3843229/syrian-army-pushing-rebels-out.html “People want the (rebels) to change their tactics,” said Nidal, an anti-government activist in Yarmouk, a large neighborhood in southern Damascus that borders a number of neighborhoods that had largely been taken over by the rebels. Nidal did not use his last name for fear of reprisals from the government.

“They still support them, but they want them to attack and disappear,” Nidal said.

Though the rebels have often stated their commitment to guerrilla warfare, they have frequently taken over swathes of territory in Syrian cities and the countryside, drawing punishing shelling and airstrikes from the Syrian military. In pockets across the country, rebels have attempted to install themselves as a sort of government, alternately earning praise and criticism from civilians, but hardly adhering to guerrilla tactics.

Nidal said that the government’s strategy of cordoning off a neighborhood before launching an incursion had succeeded in starving rebels of weapons and other supplies, citing the neighborhoods of Hajjar al Aswad and Tadamon, both of which adjoin Yarmouk, as examples of where the siege strategy had worked.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Syria is a secular country with ties to Russia. The rebel factions are many, some are jihadists. Just as in Libya there are some factions that have done well under this regime, the same way Corleones and Republicans have done well in the US.

Iran has ties to China, Israel can't take on China.

China and Israel are nuclear, as is Russia.

Iran has never launched an invasion or war.

Iraq didn't want the Kurds, Turkey didn't want the Kurds. The Kurds deserve their own sovereign territory the same way Israel does.

Bolton and the neocons want war, Mitt will give it to them and he has already targeted Russia, per script. They also don't like the Libya tactic and will request boots on the ground. Meanwhile the Pakistanis are renouncing the taliban and showing solidarity behind Malawa the 13 year old. That is bad news to neocons, they don't like diplomacy, it shuts out there war machine. They may be behind the youtube thing, and can be expected to poke that region and provoke a reaction. Wars are real easy to start. The recent kerfuffle is on par to the assasination of the Archduke Ferdinand by a Serb in 1914. Obama is not Wilson, Mitt is.

douglaslee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

An update on just this one part:

Quote nimblecivet:

.... The impending showdown means the inevitable flood of outside agents including reporters and journalists, etc. The prisoner-exchange scenario might emerge, but also if a Yemen-style transfer of power is effected one might wonder weather drone strikes are on the horizon for Syria....

Yes, one of whom was an American named James Wright Foley who went missing November 22, 2012 (while the Obama family was celebrating the first Thanksgiving after his reelection).

As of January 2013 no one had taken responsibility for his abduction. He was probably being held in what is now known as a "black site". To do so for over 18 months with everything else going on in the area is no easy feat. Doesn't smell like opportunistic amateurs.

Then this month he shows up in another of those suspect videos (their faces covered, speaking arabic well but as a second language - reminiscent of a well-trained agent provocateur rather than a heartfelt religious fundmentalist) and is killed fbo the Western Audience. Clearly intended to incite the viewer - not to prevent some future action.

If you wanted to prevent an action - you would show him live with some kind of proof of currentness and threaten harm of some kind if you don't do whatever it happens to be they are asking for at the moment.

Recall how effective having POW Bergdahl was at stopping the drones strikes in Pakistan for six months.

Rodger97321's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I just figured who bears the majority of blame for this. First it was Isis, then Isil, then Isis, then Isil. This S & L crisis is nothing new to those of us that have been engaged, Reagan strikes again!

douglaslee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The Secret On TrumpCare Is Now Out

The Senate Republican healthcare bill is secret no more.

There's just one problem - it's not really a healthcare bill.

Don't let Mitch McConnell fool you.

Contrary to what you might have heard - Senate Republicans DID NOT unveil a healthcare bill yesterday.

They unveiled a tax cut for the rich DISGUISED as a healthcare bill.

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