“Who is to blame for Syria’s nightmare?” By Ehsani2

Who is to blame for Syria’s nightmare?
By Ehsani2
For Syria Comment, July 31

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 5.22.46 PM

Once the popular demonstrations of the Arab spring brought down the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, many Syrians assumed that they could bring down President Assad just as quickly. Early in 2011, most expected him to last no more than a few months. Five and a half years later, Assad remains president.  In the 20th century, more than 30 leaders have ruled for over 30 years. Only 3 of them stepped down voluntarily. Ninety per cent clung to power until the bitter end. Instead of viewing the events in Egypt and Tunisia as a statistical anomaly, Syrians viewed them as the new norm. But as Syrians came to understand that Assad would not leave power voluntarily, they took up arms, hoping that force would succeed where peaceful demonstrations could not. Here too, most opposition members over-estimated their strength and underestimated the resources of the regime. In particular, they failed to understand the damage that the Iraq war had done to America’s appetite for a new adventure in the Middle East.

The White House

President Obama was elected twice by running on an anti-war platform. He promised to bring US troops home from both Afghanistan and Iraq. Military involvement in Syria went against his instincts. Allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had other ideas. Almost immediately after the start of the events in Daraa, they pushed the White House to take a strong stand. Washington resisted for nearly 5 months.  This resistance ended on August 18 of 2011, when President Obama made a statement calling for the President of Syria to “step aside”.  The statement did not say “step down”.  The careful and deliberate debate over every word in the White House amounted to little however once the statement was made. Washington wanted Saddam gone and he was. Ditto for Gaddafi. The consensus in the Middle East has always been that the U.S. controls the region. Because the president of the United States announced that it was time for Assad to go, many believed it meant Assad’s end. Advisors inside the White House, however, were aware of the President’s deep reluctance to act. More importantly, Obama’s reluctance was driven by his belief that the United States has little strategic interest in Syria and his awareness that both Iran and Russia do. They view Syria as an important strategic asset worth fighting for. They would outbid any U.S. escalation. Obama saw Syria as a perilous adventure that the United States would not win. It took years for Assad’s enemies to understand Obama. Perhaps they can be excused to some extent by the president’s confusing statements about Assad and U.S. goals, but on the whole, anyone aware of how minimally important Syria has been to Washington compared to Moscow should not have been confused for long.

President Assad and the Syrian State

There is no denying that six years of fighting have taken a huge toll on the Syrian state. Yes, it has lost a massive amount of real estate. It has also suffered devastating losses in manpower. Syria lies in ruins. While the word “win” is vastly inappropriate here, the Syrian state can claim to have won if it defined wining by the simple fact of its survival. There is no question that this survival was accomplished because the state decided to use every asset at its disposal, often shocking the world with its brutality. Western and Syrian government perceptions this struggle have always been diametrically opposed. Western observers saw a state dropping barrel bombs on its own civilian centers; the Syrian government saw itself as the protector of the country. It was fighting jihadists, terrorists, and and traitors who were conspiring with foreign governments to topple it. Damascus’ survival has been secured by allies that never wavered. This commitment culminated with the stunning decision of Russia to become a direct military combatant in the conflict.  Shockingly, early calls for Assad to step aside did not stop after the Russian entry. The new logic seemed to be that Moscow would pressure Assad to leave as part of its diplomatic rapprochement with the U.S. During a recent interview, Assad was asked if Putin had discussed the issue of transition with him. He flatly denied that such a discussion ever took place. Moscow and Damascus have largely identical views on the conflict and how to resolve it. Asking Assad to step down is not part of this calculus. Russian diplomats may claim that they are not wedded to Assad in the course of public and private conversations, but they do not bring this topic up with him.

The Syrian opposition

The Syrian opposition has long argued that it followed non-violent principals early in the uprising. The eventual recourse to arms was made in order to protect civilian lives and honor (aarad) from state brutality. Government loyalists counter that the uprising was armed almost from the beginning. What is indisputable is that between June 4th and 6th, nearly 120 Syrian soldiers and security troops were killed and had their bodies mutilated and thrown in a river around the town of Jisr-al-Shugour. Opposition activists claimed at the time that the dead soldiers were shot by their own superiors as they tried to defect. This was incorrect. According to informed western sources, electronic interception of opposition communication from that day clearly revealed that opposition fighters took responsibility for the murder of the soldiers. The same western source recalls how his capital expected a massive and blistering response from Assad against the city. Instead, they were surprised to see a far more modest attack as military vehicles and tanks took positions on the outskirts of the city in an effort to find the perpetrators of this crime against the soldiers.

In response to the apparent increased militarization of the opposition early in the conflict, I wrote an article for Syria Comment in February of 2012, titled “The Syrian opposition must find a different way”.  Here is the conclusion:

What is needed is a smart and innovative strategy that helps spare lives but convinces Syria’s leaders that the old ways of doing business are over. Popular efforts must be spent in writing a new constitution, a bill of rights to calm minority fears, and an economic plan to reassure the business community and workers alike. The standard of living of most Syrians is appalling, so is the education level and health care system. The opposition must channel their energies towards such topics rather than the senseless call to arm the rebels in what is clearly a suicide mission.

Sadly, under the pretext of protecting lives and honor, the opposition instead opened its arms to anyone willing to join the fight. Salafists, jihadists, and Al Qaeda and its affiliates were invited into the country in order to fight the regime and balance the unequal power equation.  Alarmed by these trends, I spoke with a leading member the Syrian National Coalition. My concerns were invariably dismissed. I was assured that these fighters and extremist groups were transitory. Once the regime fall, I was told, they would leave Syria or move on.

To be fair, referring to the “opposition” as if it were one movement is misleading. The opposition is best viewed as a spectrum. ISIL and Nusra aresituated on its right while activists, such as Haytham Manaa and groups like his, are situated on its left.  The groups on the left had a nuanced solution to the crisis which was largely built on the notion that Assad could stay but on condition that his powers be limited. They wanted him to give up control over the many Syrian intelligence agencies. While the left emphasized non-violent principles, they overestimated their power to influence thinking in Damascus. For the right on the opposition spectrum, Assad’s immediate departure was the overriding demand. Sadly, the U.S. and other western governments threw their weight behind these groups which have by now come to occupy the middle of the rainbow.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 5.45.05 PMThe Syrian coalition and military commanders, such as Colonel Abdul Jabaar al-Aqidi, were the principal allies of the west. Pictures of the Colonel standing with foreign jihadists who belonged to the Islamic State during the capture of Kuweiris air base and subsequently standing with Ambassador Robert Ford became iconic of Washington’s confused strategy in Syria. Many accused Washington of indirectly supporting the same jihadists that it sought to destroy. This doomed policy was a result of conflicting goals. The West and its regional allies wanted stability and regime-change at the same time. They wanted to support a Sunni ascendancy in Syria without undermining secularism. On the ground, however, the extreme right side of the opposition spectrum kept moving left and swallowing all others in its path. To date, the main elements of the opposition blame President Obama for the Syrian crisis. They propose a variety of policy alternatives, such as bombing Damascus, destroying the Syrian air force, establishing no-fly-zones, and increasing money, arms, and training for the opposition. These critics are now placing their bets on Hillary Clinton, who promises to be more hawkish than Obama. They hope that she will tilt U.S. foreign policy more decisively in the direction of regime-change. Her campaign advisors suggest that Hillary may indeed move in this direction. But any escalation by Washington is only likely to produce an even stronger escalation by Moscow. Hillary’s campaign promises are likely to be moderated once she is president.

The Syrian opposition members who bet that Assad would be quickly deposed in 2011 are now largely spectators. Their country lies in ruins. Their goal of bringing down the state (Isqat al-nizam) looks as far as ever from being achieved. And Salafists control the fighting on the ground. Like all conflicts that turn armed and violent, the most militant and extreme end up elbowing the more moderate aside. Burhan Ghalioun and Haytham Manaa have been replaced by Caliph Baghdadi and Mohammed al-Jolani. Rebels have been replaced by mujahedin. Without a single exception, every armed group today is committed to ruling by sharia law. This is why Assad and his supporters will refuse to give up and continue fighting. Syrians, unfortunately, have a long fight in front of them. Miscalculation has led to Syria’s ruin.

 

 

Comments (89)


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. Uzair8 said:

27. ALAN said:
‘In the recently retaken from militants DAESH the area of Bani Zayd, Aleppo…’

Alan please stop the falsehoods. They’re childish. There is no DAESH in Bani Zayd.

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August 5th, 2016, 6:27 am

 

52. habib said:

21. Majedkhaldoun

Wow, some people are still peddling this ridiculous theory.

Newsflash, ISIS is al Qaeda in Iraq. Bashar did not create al Qaeda. Nusra is also just an offshoot.

Remember, the Syrian opposition welcomed Daash with open arms.

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August 5th, 2016, 11:02 am

 
 

54. Uzair8 said:

Alan, a Kurdish source? No surprise there!

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August 5th, 2016, 12:41 pm

 

55. Syrialover said:

For MAJEDKHALDOUN, TARA, UZAIR8 and others left with a rancid taste in the mouth after reading the strange partisan piece by Ehsani above.

Here is something more objective, that clears the weeds and puts things back into focus:

“The case for finally bombing Assad”, NY Times August 3 2016 http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/opinion/the-case-for-finally-bombing-assad.html?_r=0

And it comes straight out of Hillary heartland!

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August 5th, 2016, 1:39 pm

 

56. Syrialover said:

Very interesting and revealing point about the NY Times article above:

The authors are Obama’s former top advisers on Syria, both with very strong credentials and experience in the ME.

Obama replaced them with shallow propagandists with no track record in foreign affairs – let alone the ME – who he needed to help play out his weak and dishonest agenda.

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August 5th, 2016, 1:50 pm

 

57. Syrialover said:

I just read a tweet directed at Obama that said: “While you chewed gum and played on your phone through all the briefings on Syria.”

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August 5th, 2016, 1:56 pm

 

58. Syrialover said:

Say what you want about Hillary, as Secretary of State her job was to soak up many, many briefings on Syria (and Russia and Iran), and her advisers on foreign affairs have backgrounds with the State Dept, CIA and Pentagon.

Unlike the amateur, shamelessly naive and ruthless Obama “advisers” he deliberately selected.

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August 5th, 2016, 2:07 pm

 

59. Majedkhaldoun said:

If Aleppo battle becomes successful for the Rebels, that is if, Assad will be forced to agree to political agreement ,where election is held free , province by province, that will leave Assad in Latakya, where 50%of the population are Sunni, , that will give the Kurds a province,

This is not what I like but what could happen, I am sure it will not end the conflict, and it will have major consequences

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August 5th, 2016, 3:36 pm

 

60. ALAN said:

52. UZAIR8
Jett Goldsmith source? No surprise there!

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August 5th, 2016, 3:57 pm

 

61. ALAN said:

Wahabi militias in Aleppo, are fighting largely Sunni Muslim soldiers of the Syrian arab army. Most of them from the city and province of Aleppo, you can hear their correct dialect of Aleppo. Therefore, alas, Srebrenica of hawks and war maniacs here is not glued !!!

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August 5th, 2016, 4:10 pm

 

62. ALAN said:

Looming signs the approach of the implementation of the CIA plan to assassinate Fethullah Gulen

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August 5th, 2016, 4:33 pm

 

63. mjabali said:

Syria “lover”

You opinion is funny mr. Lover. As a Syrian I have a different opinion than thou mr. “Syrialover”

Hillary Clinton put Jihadis in Syria with the group of people she side with : Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and to a lesser extent: Israel’s current government. They brought Jihadis in their uniforms from Libya for example through Turkey…

Obama did not agree with this as we all know by now…He did not get the bait and attack al-Assad..Hillary was working on her own as we find out from the wikileaks … a freelancer…

The question that matters here is: how many international Jihadis are now in Syria? you as a Hillarylover what do you expect Hillary to do about this?

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August 5th, 2016, 9:29 pm

 

64. Ghufran said:

Erdogan’s crackdown on his domestic enemies is getting worse by the day. These are the numbers according to Erdo’s own internal security minister:
أعلن وزير الداخلية التركي أفكان آلا أن سلطات بلاده ألغت قرابة 75 ألف جواز سفر في إطار التحقيقات الجارية بمحاولة الانقلاب الفاشلة ليلة 15 على 16 يوليو/تموز الماضي.
وأضاف الوزير أنه تم توقيف قرابة 26 ألف شخص على ذمة التحقيق، مؤكدا إلغاء جوازات سفر لـ 74562 شخصا من المشتبه بهم في التورط بالانقلاب
بدورها ذكرت وكالة “الأناضول” أن 13419 شخصا ما زالوا حاليا قيد الاحتجاز
Real numbers are always worse but this is what Turkish authorities have admitted to:
26,000 arrested
13,000 still in custody
75,000 passports canceled

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August 5th, 2016, 11:12 pm

 

65. Ghufran said:

Samir Al-Aytah (opposition) wrote an article in assafir (pro regime), it is a good read. Here is a small piece:
السلطة السوريّة أوقعت البلاد في فخٍّ جرّها من ثورةٍ ضدّ الظلم والمطالبة بالحريّة إلى حربٍ أهليّة وصراعٍ إقليميّ – دوليّ على سوريا، خاصّة أنّ ما يسمّى «معارضةً سياسيّةً» في المحافل انتهى إلى الوقوع مؤخّراً في فخٍّ كبير، بل وخطيئة عُظمى، عند التحالف الصريح مع تنظيم «القاعدة».
Samir was brave enough to admit that Syrians have sinned and it is enough to throw blame on others.

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August 6th, 2016, 12:28 am

 

66. Majedkhaldoun said:

النجاح الكبير للثوار في حلب لم يتوقعه أعداء الثورة، و قالو سيفشل، اليوم كان يوم نصر للثوار، هم لن يقفوا عنده ، بل سيتابعون ، و سينضم ثوار حلب الى ثوار جيش الفتح ، هم من نصروهم، فالاجدى الانضمام لهم، و بهذا سيتحقق وحدة القيادة في حلب و الشمال، و بنجاحهم فالمتوقع ازدياد الوحدة بين صفوف الثوار فالمنتظر دوما تزداد شعبيته

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August 6th, 2016, 11:24 am

 

67. Ghufran said:

Faisal al-Qasem is acting like he is waking up after being in a coma for 5 years, he is now warning Syrians that foreign powers can only bring destruction to Syria, he this time included the opposition in his criticism:
ليس هناك شك بأن السوريين، مؤيدين ومعارضين، باتوا مجرد توابع لمشاريع خارجية ليس لهم فيها لا ناقة ولا جمل. والمضحك في الأمر أن الطرفين يعتقدان أن من يدعمهما من الخارج سيحقق لهما الانتصار على الطرف الآخر، وسيسلمهما مقاليد الحكم في البلاد كي يستخدماها ضد شركائهما في الوطن سحقاً وقتلاً وتهميشاً وإقصاء وتهجيراً وحتى اجتثاثاً. وينطبق الكلام نفسه على بعض قوى المعارضة المغفلة التي تعتقد أن الذين يساعدونها من الخارج يريدون أن يبنوا لها نظام العدل والرخاء في سوريا.
On Aleppo, it is too early to reach a conclusion because the battle is too important to both parties, the most rebels can do is lift the siege on their areas and even that is still an open project, Russia does not necessarily mind seeing Assad getting squeezed to convince him to compromise but that does not mean Putin will allow alqaeda terrorists to rule Aleppo. forget about occupying western Aleppo where 1.2 million people still live. On the political end, the opposition already lost, Rebels and alqaeda terrorists are now one force and that is bad news to Syrians and foreign powers alike. Ignore the fools who still talk about a “revolution” , this is a bloody Islamist uprising funded by foreign powers and controlled by terrorists on the ground, the fact that Syrians have plenty of reasons to revolt does not change the nature of the uprising.
كل ثوره و أنتم بخير

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August 6th, 2016, 2:24 pm

 

68. Uzair8 said:

Regarding Ehsani, he is a rabid regimist. I’ve seen his twitter line lately. Believe me check it yourself. He’s taking a battering on twitter by others (Robin Yassin-Kassab, Maysaloon and others).

[Checkout tweet link in Robin’s tweet]

https://mobile.twitter.com/Qunfuz1/status/761987633207705600?p=p

When I joined this site it was shortly before Ehsani left SC. Not being familiar with him, at the time I assumed he was the slightly pro-revolution if I remember correct. That’s how others described him I think. It was Camille who was the pro-regime moderator.

Recently I saw him on Prof Landis’ twitter but wasn’t sure it was the same Ehsani. Now we know. He really has gone the other way in a swing in position and isn’t much different from other regime-apologists. I’m sure he has his reasons but it is a bit of surprise. Nothing personal against him but his style and behaviour is provoking others to respond more bluntly.

Believe me if you read back his twitter line you’ll see Thomas Pierret referring to him as a ‘hopeless regime apologist’ in view of others. Also prominent twitter suspect his soureces are Mukhabarat.

Seriously checkout:

https://mobile.twitter.com/EHSANI22?p=s

SyriaLover.

I haven’t read the article as the page would have likely frozen my screen. However I did see Ehsani having a go at Table/Ross and their ‘poor judgement and analysis’.

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August 6th, 2016, 3:36 pm

 

69. Uzair8 said:

Like I said nothing personal. People have a right to a bit of background/context if his article is posted on here.

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August 6th, 2016, 3:40 pm

 

70. Tom said:

The Syrian ‘rebels’ want the world believe their regime is worse than any other on earth and that the West should do a war on their behalf (+ support them with weapons), but what exactly made the regime worse between the moment it was fully cooperating with the US and the West (i.e. getting terrorists interrogated and tortured in the so-called rendition operations, as it was happening also in Jordan, Morocco and other friedly states) and 2011?
Another issue is the double language of the Islamists who when in KSA say that religion tells the believer not to revolt against the person in power but to endure and be patient, while it would go differently when they talk about Libya or Syria.
If the ‘rebels’ now believe that the IS revenge crimes in Europe will help their cause, they are as they have been from day one, in delusion. Reading history books doesn’t hurt.

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August 6th, 2016, 4:01 pm

 

71. Uzair8 said:

This is scary. This guy in previous weeks/months claimed secret/insider info (rebel meetings, plans etc) about this rebel offensive. He says was proven right. Now he claims we haven’t seen nothing yet. Regimists will be very nervous/terrified at these tweets:

Syrian Rebellion Obs @Syria_Rebel_Obs 25m
And now, Battle for #Aleppo begins… Don’t you see #SRO leaks ? Only 5 000 from Jaysh al-Fateh battled. Where are 10 000 others ?

[…]

– ‘You will see them soon. #Idlib armies are already marching toward #Aleppo. Thousands and thousands left their camps… ‘

Read more:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Syria_Rebel_Obs/status/762016057703948288

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August 6th, 2016, 4:34 pm

 

72. Uzair8 said:

The repercussions and inquests are already beginning over the Aleppo situation. Pro-regime infighting, blame and accusations on twitter:

https://mobile.twitter.com/agitpapa/status/761943007549616128?p=p

What is to blame? :

– Iranian ‘incompetence’.
– Russian refusal (allegedly) ‘to give air cover & support’
– Maybe the ‘Fatemiyoun idiots’ are to blame?

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August 6th, 2016, 5:14 pm

 

73. Uzair8 said:

Couple of prominent (pro-regimist) tweets that reflect the significance of regime loss in Aleppo. Syrian Command becomes active now and then after many months of absence. On 31st July he returned with a handful of tweets.

✩ Syrian Commando ✩ @syriancommando Jul 31
The #Syria-n army must not allow the terrorists to make any gains in South #Aleppo or it will give those held in siege hope to fight on.

https://mobile.twitter.com/syriancommando?lang=en-gb

Leith Abou Fadel @leithfadel Aug 5
If the Syrian Army loses the artillery base; it will be devastating because they have a year’s worth of ammunition inside of it.

https://mobile.twitter.com/leithfadel/status/761610261077766145?p=p

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August 6th, 2016, 6:52 pm

 

74. Ghufran said:

Muhannad Droubi was a fighter in the FSA. He fled to Sweden for “freedom” after his unit was dissolved but was arrested after video records and live testimonies found credible evidence that he committed war crimes. He was convicted yesterday and was sentenced to 8 years in prison, after that he will be expelled from Sweden. Many FSA fighters fled Syria with money they stole while fighting for freedom and democracy.

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August 6th, 2016, 7:26 pm

 

75. Syrialover said:

Dear MBAJALI #61

Wrong. I don’t particularly love Hillary. If she wins office it will be because of Trump.

So no need for sarcasm and anger.

It’s always hard to for me understand why people spend so much time and furious energy blaming the US for what has happened in Syria.

They pull in little fragments here, little fragments there to create a small patch of “evidence” that is almost invisible beside the gigantic black shroud of death and destruction which Iran and Russia have wrapped around Syria.

The big problem is what America didn’t do – not what it did. It lost its influence and ability to assist the Syrian people because Obama decided to sacrifice Syria for a shaky one-sided deal over nuclear weaponry with a rogue government in Iran.

It’s been estimated that the “international jihadis”/ISIS you are so angry about are directly responsible for about 5% by number and value of the total destruction, deaths and dislocation in Syria. They have no bombing aircraft, no significant military hardware and little properly trained and equipped fighting forces or strategists. They took territory because the regime was incapable or unwilling to defend it.

Instead, the world saw for a long time the people who fought them with determination on the ground, trying to defend Syrians and get ISIS out of Syria, have been forces linked to the Syrian Opposition. A situation that suited the regime very well.

Today more than ever, for the regime and its foreign sponsors, Syrian civilians remain the main target first, second, third and fourth ahead of ISIS. Non-stop attacks by Russian bombing aircraft, helicopters with barrel bombs, ground offensives and mass starvation.

That’s where all the anger and moral outrage should be directed.

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August 6th, 2016, 9:04 pm

 

76. Syrialover said:

Dear MBAJALI #61

Wrong. I don’t particularly love Hillary. If she wins office it will be because of Trump.

So no need for sarcasm and anger.

It’s always hard to for me understand why people spend so much time and furious energy blaming the US for what has happened in Syria.

They pull in little fragments here, little fragments there to create a small patch of “evidence” that is almost invisible beside the gigantic black shroud of death and destruction which Iran and Russia have wrapped around Syria.

The big problem is what America didn’t do – not what it did. It lost its influence and ability to assist the Syrian people because Obama decided to sacrifice Syria for a shaky one-sided deal over nuclear weaponry with a rogue government in Iran.

It’s been estimated that the “international jihadis”/ISIS you are so angry about are directly responsible for about 5% by number and value of the total destruction, deaths and dislocation in Syria. They have no bombing aircraft, no significant military hardware and little properly trained and equipped fighting forces or strategists. They took territory because the regime was incapable or unwilling to defend it.

Instead, the world saw for a long time the people who fought them with determination on the ground, trying to defend Syrians and get ISIS out of Syria, have been forces linked to the Syrian Opposition. A situation that suited the regime very well.

Today more than ever, for the regime and its foreign sponsors, Syrian civilians remain the main target first, second, third and fourth ahead of ISIS. Non-stop attacks by Russian bombing aircraft, helicopters with barrel bombs, ground offensives and mass starvation.

That’s where all the anger and moral outrage should be directed.

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August 6th, 2016, 9:04 pm

 

77. Syrialover said:

If you want to know what America and the west might end up doing in Syria once Obama is gone, it will depend if there is anything left to defend and rescue.

But one thing we can expect is that ALL and ANY restoration, aid and assistance for what’s left of Syrians and their country will have to come from the west.

Not from the Iranians and Russians, who are not helping any Syrian refugees while creating hundreds of thousands more, and have been putting enormous effort and resources into destroying and emptying the country (and in Iran’s case, taking over Syrian property and territory it intends to retain).

It would be fantastic to see those countries forced to pay compensation to post-Assad Syria. Great chance! Puny, puffed up Russia has an economy about the size of Spain’s, and Iran’s income from high oil prices has gone forever.

Will MJABALI and others stand tough and abuse and blame the west and refuse western humanitarian, security, economic and technical assistance for Syrians when it’s all over?

Good luck with other Syrians reactions if they try it.

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August 6th, 2016, 9:48 pm

 

78. Tara said:

Disgusting history of Israel .

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article94113292.html

The democratic state of Israel stole the babies of Yemeni Jews because they were less of Jews than other Jews although I am sure they are as Jews as Moses …and the “better” Jews are nothing but white convert

This is not anti Semite. This is anti disgust

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August 6th, 2016, 10:18 pm

 
 

80. Syrialover said:

Correcting a mistake I made in #54 about the authors of “The case for finally bombing Assad”, NY Times August 3 2016.

I said they were both former advisers to the Obama regime. Only Dennis Ross is.

I was thinking of Frederic Hof, Obama’s former ambassador and special adviser for Syrian affairs. I had also been reading commentaries by Hof, which are pretty insightful and critical of what is happening in Syria while Obama makes mistakes with Iran and Russia.

I might put some of his comments here. They make good reading.

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August 6th, 2016, 10:51 pm

 

81. Ghufran said:

Many supporters are in denial, most are in shock after the advances made by Nusra et al. However, keeping the new territories under jihadists control is what matters. If Putin chooses to watch or avoid a vigorous response more losses are likely, it gets harder for Air Force to make a difference when the fight moves to the streets and small areas. Regardless of what happens next, casualties among civilians are likely to mount and retaliatory strikes are inevitable, those strikes will include jihadists areas behind battle lines.
More importantly is what fighting parties want to do in the day after. Jihadists made it clear that they intend to attack western aleppo and that means a blood bath. There is no desire by Nusra to use military gains to force the regime to negotiate and that is why a cease fire will be very difficult to reach or implement. Do not pay attention to the ineffective political leadership in the opposition, they are pimps for Nusra and their mouthpieces here reflect that fact.

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August 6th, 2016, 11:16 pm

 

82. mjabali said:

Still Tara did not tell us how she found out that Ehsani is Christian?

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August 7th, 2016, 6:19 am

 

83. mjabali said:

Syria “lover”

Your logic leaves lots of room for sarcasm for Syrians like me….

Of course you did not answer my main question: how many international Jihadis are now in Syria? and who brought them?

making it simple for you….

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August 7th, 2016, 6:26 am

 

84. mjabali said:

Uzair: Jihadi Jihad…

Ehsani is a Syrian and you are not…so whatever he says about the country he came from is his right…your inquisition watching every word he tweets is ludicrous to describe it correctly….

Wondering why you never joined al-Nusra or ISIS or…or…or…or…..or…..

International Jihadis like you are the problem of Syria now…

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August 7th, 2016, 6:35 am

 

85. Uzair8 said:

I’m not a Jihadi.

There will be a time to speak about them frankly. Right now the major threat to the Syrian people is the Regime/Russia/Iran/ISIS.

Long live the FSA!!!

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August 7th, 2016, 2:52 pm

 

86. mjabali said:

Uzair8

The major threat to the Syrian people are people like you.

Your interest in Syria is the same as the Jihadis.

Your rhetoric is the same as the Jihadis.

You promote the same ideas as the Jihadis.

Your country Pakistan needs your efforts.

Your ideas does not fit us Syrians.

Take beer…..

PS: your name could be that of a rocket made by the Jihadis…Uzair8…Uzair7 reached only local streets…

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August 7th, 2016, 11:50 pm

 

87. Majedkhaldoun said:

Amid the ecstasy of victory, we must never forget the real strategy, it is to keep war going on , and not to see military solution to any side, that is the strategy of Obama and Putin, what happened in Aleppo is to put pressure on Assad and the Rebels to go to Geneva

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August 8th, 2016, 10:19 am

 

88. ryan said:

Can someone answer one particular question – Ehsani mentions a supposed “western source” or “western sources” who cite opposition communication supporting the idea that the Jisr al Shughur massacre was an opposition act.

While I’ve seen various sources say various interesting things that ultimately don’t quite nail the answer to the question of who is responsible, I’ve not been able to find any other mentions of this ‘western source’ and the idea of opposition communications having been tapped.

Can someone provide with links to any media that have reported this?

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August 9th, 2016, 3:09 pm

 

89. Sara Huizenga Wagasky said:

I agree, this is a horribly “lies via ommision” article and account.

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August 30th, 2016, 5:44 pm

 

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