Is Syria Like Iraq?

Is Syria Like Iraq?
By Joshua Landis, May 1, 2012, Syria Comment

In my recent discussion with Murhaf Jouejati on PBS Newshour, I argued that the reason the US should avoid taking the lead in Syria is that the conflict is sectarian and resembles that of Iraq, where the US had little success.

Murhaf took issue with my analysis arguing that Syria is not like Iraq. He said that Iraq was invaded and Syria was not. He also argued that violence in Syria stems from a popular uprising not civil war.

I disagree. Syria is like Iraq. It presents a potential quagmire for the US should Washington intervene under the assumption that the killing will stop once the Assad regime is destroyed. A humanitarian intervention will become a nation-building project, as was the case in Iraq.

Syria is much like Iraq in that minorities (20%) have for 40 years held their foot on the neck of the majority, which is now fighting a war to take control of the country. In both countries, the political struggle falls largely along religious and ethnic lines, although, both class and regional differences are also important.

Syria’s revolt started as a peaceful struggle, but took on a sectarian character as the government used violence. Sectarianism has long been a seminal part of politics in Syria. The regime has protected itself by using sectarian strategies and has mobilized and exploited historic Alawite fear of Sunni discrimination and mistreatment.

Like its neighbors, Syria suffers from sectarian divisions. The most recent PEW poll demonstrates that 91% of Lebanese Shia have a favorable view of Assad while 92% of Lebanese Sunnis have an unfavorable view of him. These Lebanese percentages probably reflect the Syrian sectarian divide as well.

In Iraq, the Sunni minority of 20% dominated the Shiite majority of 60% through the Baath Party. In Syria, the Shiite minority, supported by other religious minorities, making up 20% of the population have dominated the Sunni Arab majority of 70% through the Baath Party. In both countries the security state was controlled by the religious minority. Both countries also share a significant Kurdish minority which wants its national rights recognized and resents historic domination and discrimination by Arabs.

Of course there are differences between Syria and Iraq, but the fact remains that both have descended into sectarian and ethnic violence. Syria’s violence will not end when the state or brutal regime is destroyed. In Iraq, sectarian and ethnic violence exploded, as did general chaos and criminality, following the destruction of Saddam’s brutal state. In Syria, something similar has already begun to happen. The liberated regions are beset by chaos and criminality. Warlordism is taking root. Foreign intervention cannot solve this problem. The Syrian opposition has had over two years to unify, but has not. Fragmentation is rife, and militias abound.

Syria has not developed a national identity that can bind its people together around a common idea or ideology. This is why the US cannot nation-build. To the extent that the opposition militias have found an ideology to mobilize the Sunni Arab population, it is political Islam, not secular nationalism. If the US takes the lead in Syria, it will insist on promoting secularism and going to war against many of the Salafist groups which inspire great devotion from their followers and supply the revolution with its best fighting forces. Syrian moderates should not want the US pushing them into war against fundamentalist Sunnis. Syrians need to find a solution to their own ideological struggles, which is not violent or driven by foreign interests. The US does not understand Muslim or Syrian sensibilities. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups will play a big role in Syria’s future. Having the US try to push them aside in favor of the small group of secular “moderates” is bad politics that will prolong instability in Syria, not shorten it.

Considering that the US engagement in Iraq cost well over 1 trillion dollars and political violence remains high, the US intervention was not a success. Washington solved little. 400 Iraqis were killed in bombings and attacks this April alone. The US did not bring power-sharing, justice, or an end to political killing in Iraq, thus failing in its mission. Iraqi Arabs do not like us today. Both on a humanitarian level and in terms of national interest, the intervention failed. The Iraqi government is working against US interests on almost every front. How will the US be more successful in Syria, where the problems are so similar?

The US should not lead the way in Syria. Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have a much greater stake in Syria and should lead the way. Their interest will be sustained. They have the money, advanced weapons, and strong religious motivation to help the rebels and defeat Iranian and Shiite influence in Syria. The US should not be taking sides in the larger regional contest pitting Shiites against Sunnis.

I am sure the US can help, but to take the lead as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan would be the height of folly. The US should definitely spend much more money to aid Syrians, but others should take the lead in using military force and in helping Syria build a new state and common sense of national identity.

News Round Up

Why the US Should Not Intervene in Syria
Published on Thursday, May 2, 2013 by Informed Comment
by Juan Cole

After President Obama’s remarks about chemical weapons use in Syria, many newspaper articles appeared suggesting that he was rethinking his opposition to US involvement there. They were wrong, and weren’t listening. Obama said we don’t know who used the chemical weapons or to what extent. That isn’t building a case for intervention, it is knocking it down.

Olivier Knox gets this story right, in part because he asked experienced Washington, D.C. insiders.

Obama learned from Iraq and Afghanistan that US military intervention in the Middle East doesn’t actually work very well. Iraq is still a security basket case, with over 400 dead in bombings and attacks in April (nowhere near the high of 3000 a month in 2006 when the US was in charge of security, or even as much as contemporary Mexico, where over 1,000 a month have been dying in the drug war — but still no paradise). It has been 11 years and we are still stuck in Afghanistan, nor have we “stood up” a credible Afghan government.

Why people think a US intervention in Syria would go better, I don’t know. They always forget that generals are about winning quickly, even at the cost of civilian lives, and that a lot of carpetbaggers always show up in any war to find ways of profiting from it. Billions were looted from Iraq by American bureaucrat-criminals.

Sen. John McCain argues for an aerial intervention, which more or less worked in Libya. But Syria is not like Libya in any way.

Syria’s weapons depots, tanks and artillery are not out in some desert where they can be bombed with few casualties. They are in the cities. Bombing them would kill a lot of innocent civilians. Even just trying to take out the large number of anti-aircraft batteries (the essential first step of any aerial intervention) would be very costly in lives.

Everyone always forgets that if foreigners bomb a hated regime’s installations and accidentally thereby kill large numbers of innocent civilians, the dead civilians show up on the front page and everyone turns against the foreign air force. NATO only avoided this outcome in Libya by staying mostly away from the cities (it did not actually intervene in the Misrata siege). The few bombing raids on Gaddafi’s HQ, the Bab al-Aziziyah, did give the regime some propaganda points, since you can’t bomb downtown Tripoli without casualties.

So an air intervention is impractical in Syria, because its geography and the distribution of weapons are just different from those in Libya. And, any air intervention could well become unpopular both in Syria and the world, really, really fast.

A limited and very careful air intervention could possibly do some good, but in my experience military enterprises cannot be conducted in a ‘limited’ or ‘careful’ way.

If the concern is chemical weapons, those cannot be dealt with (must not be dealt with) by bombing them. That step would just release them into the air and kill people. Since McCain and other interventionists are not proposing US troops on the ground, it is unclear how he thinks the chemical weapons can be secured.

Moreover, the simple fact is that the US does not have good intel on where the chemical weapons are stockpiled. In the absence of really good such information, aerial bombardment of military bases risks accidentally hitting the canisters and releasing clouds of toxic gases onto civilian populations.

If an aerial intervention is not practicable, what about arming the rebels? The latter are already armed, so what this proposal really entails is giving them medium and heavy weaponry. But there is no way to keep such weapons out of the hands of radicals within the rebel camp. Moreover, having a lot of medium to heavy weaponry flood into a country can destabilize it for decades. If the Syrian rebels got shoulder-held heat-seeking missiles, would the Israeli civilian airlines, El Al, ever be safe again, in the aftermath?

I was in Pakistan in the early 1980s when security was relatively good. Then the CIA flooded in weapons to help the Mujahidin fight the Soviet-backed leftist government in Afghanistan. These weapons got sold on a Pakistani black market and started showing up in the bazaar. I had been in Lebanon’s civil war before going to Pakistan, and knew what it means when civilians can buy automatic guns at will. Pakistan’s security has spiraled down ever since and it is unclear when the world’s sixth-largest country will recover from the plague of weapons that has afflicted it.

So sending a lot of weapons into Syria might end the war sooner (or might not; the regime has heavier weapons); but it could also prolong the violence and insecurity in the aftermath.

People talk about arming groups loyal to the West, but that was how al-Qaeda got started in the first place. They don’t necessarily maintain an alliance of convenience with the foreigners.

All this is not to reckon with Russian and Chinese opposition to NATO intervention, and the consequent lack of a security council resolution. For the US to act in the teeth of international law would just be one more nail in its coffin. Sometimes if you aren’t careful, you undermine the very framework you are trying to uphold.

Finding ways to help the refugees and displaced, and to get food to half-starving neighborhoods in places like Homs, are about the best the US could do. I think we’re on the verge of having a plausible humanitarian corridor in the north, and Jordan is considering a buffer zone in the south.

It is not as if the world is stepping up on humanitarian aid in the first place; why would anybody think they will risk even more with a military role? Lets see billions in humanitarian aid flow to the Syrian people– that might sustain them for their fight against tyranny. But even that is not being done.

It is a horrible situation. It breaks our hearts every day. But here as in medicine, the first rule has to be to do no harm, to avoid making things worse. It would be very, very easy to make things worse.

Obama is a smart man who knows all the above. That is why he is reluctant to get involved in that civil war, unless it spills over onto a US ally in the region in a highly destabilizing way.

Brzezinski’s view on Syria. Video “The US should not be a protagonist…. This is a sectarian war.”

Jon Stewart on Syria and GOP Hawks

Daniel C. Kurtzer, in NYTimes – a former United States ambassador to Egypt and to Israel

Constructing an international coalition of willing states — especially Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — is the only strategically wise option for the United States. Without such a coalition, intervention won’t work. And without such a coalition, America must reject unilateral military intervention in Syria.

Town of Masreb

In the previous post – Oil Wars, – We posted video and explained how Jabhat al Nusra took revenge regime-style on the town of Masreb near Deir ez-Zor after the men of the town commandeered an oil truck that Jabhat al-Nusra claimed was theirs. Many leaders of the town were executed and some 14 houses were blown up.  New video shows the return of the men to Masreb. This video  shows the town with the buildings destroyed. (Thanks to A.N.)

FSA Militias

Fractured Syrian rebels scour for cash as funders dry up
By Abigail Fielding-Smith in Gaziantep

When the Syrian uprising was in its early stages in 2011, one businessman decided to do what he could to help. Banding together with other wealthy individuals from his town, some of them based overseas, he helped a group of local fighters buy light weapons “to continue the revolution”.

After burning through tens of thousands of dollars of his own money, he was eventually forced to give up sponsoring the group towards the end of last year. His own finances were being exhausted, while the needs of his recipients had grown. “When we began there were 50-60 people, now there are 5,000 fighters,” he says. “What can we do?”

Financing from networks of well-off individuals like him, once the lifeblood of the Syrian rebellion, is starting to dry up as the conflict escalates, increasing its dependency on state-sponsored support networks. Driven into an increasingly frantic search for support, some smaller groups have formed alliances and affiliations – often short lived – with those with more secure funding.

When the revolt against Bashar al-Assad took on an armed dimension in the second half of 2011, it was a highly localised affair involving small units defending their communities with light weapons. The fact that each aspiring commander could turn to networks of expatriate businessmen for funding helped create a rebellion fractured in to little fiefdoms.

“The way the rebellion started contained the ingredients for fragmentation, and financing was a key factor,” says Emile Hokayem of the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank.

Syria uprising

The brutal response by the regime of Bashar al-Assad to the popular revolt is exposing failures in international policy

But by late last year the rebels’ needs had changed. They had progressed from smaller operations that required light weapons and instead were launching offensive assaults on helicopter bases. Qatar and Saudi Arabia had meanwhile started to supply weapons. Supporting the Syrian rebellion became a big players’ game.

“It’s very expensive,” explains another individual donor, who says he too has had to cut off support for the rebels, even though he believes it is a “duty”.

Chuck Hagel, US defence secretary, said on Thursday that the US was considering providing weapons to rebel groups fighting the regime. However, he said that President Barack Obama had not yet made a decision.

Financial exhaustion is not the only reason support from individual donors has fallen. A fighter from the northern province of Idlib dates the decline in his group’s support from individual sponsors in the Gulf and elsewhere to the US’s designation in December of the extremist rebel group Jabhat al Nusra as a terrorist organisation. The idea of even accidentally helping fighters affiliated with the group was too risky for some businessmen.

Smaller groups feel the reduced contributions from individual businessmen most. The mounting pressure on them can be seen in the funding and logistics hubs of southern Turkey, where the word da’ameen – support – peppers every conversation. “They’re always telling us to wait,” grumbles one middle-aged fighter after getting off the phone from a potential supporter.

In theory, this should result in greater consolidation of rebel groups as smaller units cluster around those who have access to resources, either from captured booty, still active fundraising networks, or through the Saudi and Qatari-backed supreme military council.

The trend since the second half of last year has been towards the formation of larger alliances, said Aron Lund, a Swedish researcher.

“Right now they are with one brigade, next another. They are following the money”

But alliances and affiliations are often tenuous. Support to the rebellion is still given on a less than systematic basis. For smaller groups, the possibility of a new source of sponsorship is always just around the corner, mitigating against cohesion.

“A few battalions have several names – they have promised this or that funder they’ll be loyal to him, and then get money from somewhere else,” says Emile Hokayem.

The supreme military council itself does not seem to be getting enough support to bind people to it. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, the body’s leader, General Selim Idriss, estimated that he was receiving just one-tenth of the rebellion’s needs, citing lack of ammunition as the reason for recent defeat in the siege of the Wadi Deif military base in Idlib.

“We are with them, but not with them,” says one fighter from a small unit in Latakia describing his group’s relationship with the supreme military council. “We take from here and there.”

The businessman certainly doesn’t see any evidence of commitment among his former beneficiaries. “Right now they are with one brigade, next another,” he says. “They are following the money.”

For Some Syrian Rebels, It’s a Battle of the Brands –  WSJ

Syrian Rebels Accused Of Terrorizing Population As Kidnappings, Torture Are Rampant, Huffington Post  |  By Michel Stors

“The Free Syrian Army has fallen prey to gangsters & fanatic thugs!” – Spectator

“… On my last trip into Syria, I met Ayat, a female activist who had worked in a Damascus bank before she turned to running guns for the revolution. In tight black jeans and sneakers, she still looked like the girl-about-town she had once been. She refused to cover up in a hijab and would not leave the room when the men arrived, however much the fighters hissed at her and told her (literally) to get back to the kitchen. Ayat was in despair about the FSA’s inability to take the capital. ‘Each group is just sitting on its weapons trying to grab what they can for themselves,’ she said. Things are getting so bad, there are even reports of rebel fighters defecting back to the government side, disgusted with the way the armed uprising has betrayed its ideals…”

Regime Brutality

Sky News (GB): ‘Massacre By Syrian Forces Kills At Least 50′
2013-05-02

Forces loyal to Syria’s leader have stormed a village in a “massacre” that has left at least 50 people dead, reports say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said President Bashar al Assad’s troops and militias raided the coastal village of al-Baida, Syrian opposition activists say…

Obama Policy

Obama moving toward sending lethal arms to Syrian rebels, officials say
By Karen DeYoung, Published: April 30

President Obama is preparing to send lethal weaponry to the Syrian opposition and has taken steps to assert more aggressive U.S. leadership among allies and partners seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, according to senior administration officials.

The officials said they are moving toward the shipment of arms but emphasized that they are still pursuing political negotiation. To that end, the administration has launched an effort to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin that the probable use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government — and the more direct outside intervention that could provoke — should lead him to reconsider his support of Assad….

GOP Rep Justifies U.S. Military Intervention In Syria: ‘So Much Of Christianity Is There
By Ben Armbruster on May 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Darrell Issa (Credit: Bloomberg)
A Republican congressman said last week that any potential U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war would be justified, in part, to protect Syria’s Christian population and preserve the region’s Christian roots.

According to Defense News, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told reporters after a classified briefing on Syria that he favors military intervention in Syria “to preserve the region that was home to Christianity’s genesis”: “

“There’s a huge US interest in the region. Our commitment to the Levante is long-standing, partially because of our relationship with Israel and with Lebanon,” Issa told a handful of reporters after leaving a classified briefing on the Syria intel assessment and possible US options.

“Partially, if you will, because of this being an area of the Holy Land,” Issa added. “The oldest churches. So much of Christianity is there.”

Economy

Syrian Pound has fallen to 150 to the dollar from its starting point of 47 in 2011.

Syrian investors flock to Damascus bourse to protect savings.
May 1 2013 (CPI Financial) –

Syrian investor Khaleel Tohmeh is on a buying spree in the Damascus stock market, pinning his hopes on a long-term recovery of a bourse that has seen about two-thirds of its capitalisation wiped out by the two-year-old civil war.

“I am finding shares very attractive at these levels and cannot find another place to put my money, even if it will be two years before I can benefit,” said Tohmeh, speaking by telephone from his Damascus office. “Whatever the timing, the market will rise much faster than it fell.”

For the last few weeks, the stock market, with a capitalisation of about $1 billion at the Syrian pound’s beaten-down exchange rate, has boomed.

Polls about Public Opinion and Syria

No Love for Assad, Yet No Support for Arming the Rebels
Pew Research

 Iran Counters Saudi Diplomacy In Lebanon Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse

Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) – Opposition Leader Describes Obstacles to US-Russia Deal on Syria

Is Egypt Moving Closer To Iran on Syria? – Al-Monitor

Mohamed Said Idris, a former parliamentarian and an expert on Iranian affairs, said that it is clear that Egypt is moving to adopt a different position from those of Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia on how to resolve the Syrian crisis. He added, “Egypt’s vision is based on the rejection of any foreign military action to oust the regime in Damascus.”..

It should be noted that Salafists held a demonstration and surrounded the headquarters of the Iranian diplomatic mission in Cairo to reject the arrival of Iranian tourists under the pretext of preventing the “spread of Shiism” in Egypt. According to the Egyptian Tourism Ministry, the demonstration caused the “temporary” suspension of flights between the two countries.

Nafi’a said, “Egypt should prepare itself to stand up to the US, Israel and the GCC as it re-establishes its relations with Iran. … This requires a wide-ranging vision for Egypt’s regional role and its relations around the world. But that vision, unfortunately, does not exist.”

A number of diplomats are worried about Egypt’s relations with the Gulf states. Egyptian diplomatic sources said, “We have millions of Egyptians working in the Gulf countries. They represent a fourth of our budget revenues. Will Iran compensate us, at least partially, if that revenue is lost?”….

Petition

A group of Syrian, Arab, and international activists launched “The Campaign of Global Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution” at the World Social Forum in Tunis last month. Sign it.

Comments (75)


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51. revenire said:

Spare me your smarmy chit chat. You live under a Wall St. dictatorship that invades and attacks other nations.

You are an American. You talk like one. You think like one. You’re no Syrian. No Syrian would betray their country.

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:11 am

 

52. Hopeful said:

The sad reality is that if the US does not intervene, the Syrian civil war will drag on for years. If it does intervene, it will spark a regional war which might drag on for years.

Nice job Assad. You proved to be more competent than I gave you credit for. You are burning Syria and the region.

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:12 am

 

53. zoo said:

#47 Hopeful

You seem surprised by the Lebanese Sunnis reaction.
The USA foreign policy in the ME has only brought war, death, misery and destruction in addition to dividing people and pitting them against each other.
Obviously in CA, you don’t realize that because the US media keep hammering that the poison is Iran and Hezbollah and naive Americans buy it..

No wonder sensible people, other than the looser FSA general Selim Idriss and the Qatari mafia of the polluted NC, refuse to have more of the USA poison in the region.
It’s enough to have Israel.

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:13 am

 

54. zoo said:

Hopeful

“Nice job Assad. You proved to be more competent than I gave you credit for.

I would add that the opposition have proven to be more incompetent than anyone could have imagined, despite the billions of dollar and the support of the GCC, France, the UK and the USA. After two years, they are more divided than before. That’s an achievement!.

Pumped by the petro dollars, they thought themselves strong and united, so they kept rejecting any chance for a compromise. They contributed to destroying the country as well as dividing and destroying the fragile social, religious and ethnical fabric that the regime has tried, awkwardly, to consolidate for decades.
That’s what their so-called “revolution” has achieved, a national disaster.

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:23 am

 

55. revenire said:

The US is intervening Hopeful. You have it backwards. The US has given MILLIONS for arms to kill Syrians. Without the US there would be no revolution and no fighting.

I always have to laugh at anyone who claims the US isn’t intervening. They want them to do more I suppose or are really brainwashed.

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:24 am

 

56. Hopeful said:

#53 Zoo

You made two wrong assumptions: that I now live in California and that I watch/listen to US media.

But alas, yes, I am surprised by the results. I tend to agree with you that US’s direct involvement in the Middle East was not helping, but for different reasons than you do.

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:28 am

 

57. Hopeful said:

#54 Zoo

The opposition is very incompetent. I never really expected otherwise, again for different reasons than you probably do.

But again, the opposition does not lead Syria. Assad does. The opposition did not create or start the revolution (nor did the US). 50 years of humiliation, corruption and suppression did. Once it started, everyone got involved, for one reason or another. Assad was the president of Syria when it all started- many genuine patriot Syrians gave him a lot of good advice on how he should manage it. He ignored all of them. He made a blunder after a blunder. Syria is where it is today because of his actions. I have no idea why we, in the Arab world, we tend to give so much slack to our corrupt incompetent leaders just because they shout hatred towards Israel and the US.

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:38 am

 

58. revenire said:

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:41 am

 

59. majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo said
It’s enough to have Israel.

We have more than Israel, we have Iran,we have Hassan nasrallah

Hopefull
Once Assad is gone,,Syria will be free and united, This is not a war between Shiaa and Sunni, large number of Alawis are supporting the revolution, it is Assad who is making it Shiaa against Sunni.
Assad is in Damascus, once he leaves Damascus, the fight against Hassan is easy one, Hassan stands no chance of surviving,

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May 3rd, 2013, 11:42 am

 

60. Tara said:

#49

Go ahead.  Deny a massacre has happened or cheer the perpetrators.  You are good at it!

• Government forces and militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad may have killed up to 100 people in the coastal village of Baida, activists have claimed. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 50 people were killed, including women and children, by summary execution, according to testimonies. Some were stabbed and some were burned, according to the reports. which the Observatory said it could not verify because the village has been locked down by regime troops.

Zoo said:
“Killing armed rebels is not a massacre, especially when they use civilians as human shields and cause civilian to die.” 

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May 3rd, 2013, 12:23 pm

 

61. zoo said:

#56 Hopeful

The fact that you are surprised shows well that you know little about the views on the USA bye the Arab man in the street.

Apart for some of the westernized businessmen close to Qatar and KSA, most people in the ME hate the USA’s foreign policy and blame it, rightly or wrongly for all the ailments of the region.
The USA showed for decades its hypocrisy in supporting dictatorships that were pro-USA and fighting dictatorships that were anti_USA. When the USA realizes that they went too far and that the people resent them, then they abruptly dump their allies, i.e, Shah of Iran, Mobarak,
The USA has followed a very short term strategy in the region therefore they are not perceived as a loyal and reliable partner, quite the contrary.
Selim Idriss begging the USA and CIA to help is probably considered a gesture of weakness and treason by many Syrians.
It will certainly not improve the credibility of the opposition.
Citizens worldwide despise their leaders if they beg.

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May 3rd, 2013, 12:27 pm

 

62. zoo said:

Tara

“Observatory said it could not verify because the village has been locked down by regime troops.”

You blindly trust the activists reports, I don’t. Give me verified and independent reports then you can argue.

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May 3rd, 2013, 12:31 pm

 

63. zoo said:

#59 Majed

To my knowledge, the faithful allies of the USA in the region are Israel Jordan and the GCC.
Iran and Hezbollah are the proud enemies of the USA.

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May 3rd, 2013, 12:35 pm

 

64. Tara said:

Zoo,

Name a “verified and independent” agency that you’d believe and we could argue.

And please do not try SANS, press TV or Ahl albait.,,

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May 3rd, 2013, 12:37 pm

 

65. revenire said:

Tara can’t provide any proof of a massacre. She screams like a banshee for the blood of soldiers but cries like a baby when her rats are eliminated.

The rat nest in Baida has been purged of the cancer that took root. Bravo SAA!

We’re all sick of the whining of the rats. You wanted war. You get war.

Kill them all Dr. Assad. Do it with the precision of a surgeon.

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May 3rd, 2013, 12:55 pm

 

66. zoo said:

#57 Hopeful

I wonder why you swiftly excuse the opposition’s incompetence when they are the leaders and the ideologies that you and others hope to take over the country.

Do you think this bunch of confused expats will do better? I have serious doubts.
They have failed to rally the mass of opponents to the regime when it should have been a piece of cake according to your evaluation of the wide dissatisfaction in the country. They got billions of dollar, a huge propaganda of demonization, powerful allies and after two years, they have learned nothing except begging.

They have no clue whatsoever of the complexity of the Syrian foreign policy in the region and they naively think that the USA and Qatar are their saviors.

Maybe Bashar al Assad failed to his people by not recognizing the need to crack on corruption and by moving too fast toward a neo-liberal economy that harmed the poor, but his foreign policy was excellent and reflected what all the Arabs wanted. No wonder he was praised in the Arab world for his courageous stand against western imperialism.

Do you expect the opposition with such a pathetic credentials in the last two years, to do better?
The alternative they offer have convinced no one, neither in Syria not abroad. They made easy for Bashar al Assad to remain the less bad choice. They should blame themselves.

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May 3rd, 2013, 1:04 pm

 

67. revenire said:

Maybe after “Mr Government in Exile” Hitto is further humiliated Hopeful can be the new leader of liberated Syria. He can command the FSA Air Force and find Capt. “Lost” Omen.

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May 3rd, 2013, 1:08 pm

 

68. zoo said:

Tara

Any media articles that doesn’t say : “According to activists” or “According to the Observatory” would do.

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May 3rd, 2013, 1:10 pm

 
 

70. zoo said:

The Free Syrian Army is being taken over by groups of jihadist thugs

The Free Syrian Army has fallen prey to gangsters and fanatics
Paul Wood BBC 4 May 2013

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8900491/a-corrupted-revolution/
On my last trip into Syria, I met Ayat, a female activist who had worked in a Damascus bank before she turned to running guns for the revolution.
In tight black jeans and sneakers, she still looked like the girl-about-town she had once been. She refused to cover up in a hijab and would not leave the room when the men arrived, however much the fighters hissed at her and told her (literally) to get back to the kitchen.
Ayat was in despair about the FSA’s inability to take the capital. ‘Each group is just sitting on its weapons trying to grab what they can for themselves,’ she said. Things are getting so bad, there are even reports of rebel fighters defecting back to the government side, disgusted with the way the armed uprising has betrayed its ideals.

Ayat’s husband, a law student before the uprising, commands an FSA unit generally regarded as honest, so there do still exist rebels untainted by corruption. But they are few and far between, and identifying them becomes harder all the time.

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May 3rd, 2013, 1:32 pm

 

71. zoo said:

Former Bush official: Syria chemical weapons could be ‘Israeli false flag operation’

By David Edwards
Friday, May 3, 2013 10:17 EDT

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell under President George W. Bush, on Thursday warned that the chemical weapons that were reportedly used in Syria could be a “Israeli false flag operation” because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was running an “inept regime.”

During an interview with Current TV’s Cenk Uygur, Wilkerson explained that he had been told by his sources in the intelligence community that evidence that Syria had used chemical weapons was “really flaky” and that President Barack Obama should think twice before intervening.

“This could have been an Israeli false flag operation,” he said. “You’ve got basically a geo-strategically, geo-political — if you will — inept regime in Tel Aviv right now.”

Wilkerson pointed to the fact that Obama had to tell Netanyahu to “pick up the phone, you idiot,” and call Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for a Israeli raid that killed killed eight Turkish civilians aboard a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/03/former-bush-official-syria-chemical-weapons-could-be-israeli-false-flag-operation/

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May 3rd, 2013, 1:37 pm

 

72. Tara said:

Zoo@ 70

And tou think Ayat from above link also harbor “personal” hatred to Batta and family? Any soap oprah scenario for her? Tight black jeans and sneaker. Can’t be an Islamist? Under what category do you fit her?

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May 3rd, 2013, 1:55 pm

 

73. Hopeful said:

# Zoo 61 & 66

I posted my reply on the new blog post. See there! Cheers.

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May 3rd, 2013, 2:33 pm

 

74. 'Sauce, Goose, Gander': Political vs Family Ties in Political Debate | MEP, Middle East Perspectives from Dubai to Rabat said:

[...] an opponent of intervention in Syria, Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma–who argues that Syria would be another Iraq– and promptly brought up Landis’s marriage to a woman from a prominent Alawite family, [...]

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May 4th, 2013, 4:34 am

 

75. Heller ikke Israels angreb er et argument for intervention i Syrien said:

[...] Ifølge denne fatale anbefaling skal USA altså glemme erfaringen fra Irak, involvere sig militært i Syrien for at redde menneskeliv, og ikke mindst for at signalere evnen til at gennemtvinge erklærede målsætninger over for helt tredje fjender! Det er igen myten om det såkaldte »Vietnam-syndrom«, der angiveligt forhindrede USA i at udfolde dyder med militære midler efter den Kolde Krig, der kolporteres om igen. Hvad eksperterne imidlertid har at sige om lighederne til Irak er lærerige. Syrien-ekspert Joshua Landis har bl.a. skrevet: [...]

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July 18th, 2013, 6:30 pm

 

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