Posted by Joshua on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Turkish media reported that at least 85 Syrian troops, including a general and six other officers, defected to Turkey late Monday and brought 300 family members with them in a mass bid for asylum….
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has expressed regret for the downing of a Turkish F-4 Phantom jet on June 22. In an interview on Sunday with Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, Assad initially offered no apology, insisting the warplane was shot down over Syrian territory. However, while details of the incident are still under dispute, Assad spoke to Cumhuriyet on Tuesday stating, “I say 100 percent, I wish we did not shoot it down.” He insisted that Syria believed it to be an Israeli plane. While Turkey is ramping up forces along the Syrian border, Assad said he would not allow tensions to escalate into “armed conflict” between the two former allies. At the same time, Turkey’s state television, Andolou, reported a Syrian general and 85 soldiers have sought refuge in Turkey in a growing wave of defections from the Syrian army. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch released a report Tuesday saying Syria is running 27 torture centers across the country. It included tens of thousands of cases in which people had been detained by the Department of Military Intelligence, the Political Security Directorate, the General Intelligence Directorate, and the Air Force Intelligence Directorate. The human rights watchdog called for the United Nations Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and chastised Russia for “holding its protective hand over the people who are responsible for this.”
MOUNTING PRESSURE ON THE SYRIAN ARMY
By Jeffrey White – WINEP
The Syrian army is Bashar al-Assad’s main prop — without it, his regime would soon fall. So far, the military has withstood the stresses associated with months of combat against an increasingly capable opposition force, the steady geographic expansion of its mission, and a stream of defections and casualties. Yet these pressures are mounting, and the army likely cannot resist them indefinitely. At some point it will break, disintegrate, or withdraw to the Alawite heartland in order to preserve remnants of the regime. Alternatively, some units may move against the regime in order to save themselves. To increase the pressure and accelerate the process, the international community should provide additional military assistance to vetted and effective armed opposition forces.
THE CHANGING NATURE OF THE WAR
Syria’s internal war, pitting regime forces against the armed opposition, has been unfolding for a year now, and the nature of the fighting has evolved from intermittent, scattered clashes to more or less sustained combat across broad areas of key governorates. …
Overall, last month saw fighting in more than eighty locations across the country, up from seventy in May, with dramatic increases in Latakia and Deir al-Zour governorates. The pace of conflict between regime forces and the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) is accelerating, with June featuring the greatest number of clashes since the beginning of the conflict. Over 250 clashes were recorded by the opposition Local Coordination Committees and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) in their June reports….
Diplomacy failing, West faces tough Syria choices
By Peter Apps
(Reuters) – There are few signs diplomacy can stem Syria’s worsening conflict, leaving Western leaders – and even more so their Arab and Turkish allies – pushed ever further towards backing Bashar al-Assad’s ouster by force….
Washington has long worried about the wisdom of backing Syria’s opposition, which it sees as ill-organized, disparate and much too close to al Qaeda-linked militants. It has limited aid to “non-lethal” equipment, such as radios. And, in an election year, the White House is anxious to avoid anything that may look like an Afghan-style, open-ended military intervention.
Yet it also acknowledges that some of its allies have opted to get more involved in actively support the rebel campaign.
“We’re concerned about pouring more weapons into an already over-militarized situation,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday. “We’ve made our decision.
“Other countries are making other decisions. Our goal now is trying to stay coordinated.”
Though public details on aid to the rebels are scant, U.S. officials say Saudi- and Qatari-funded weaponry is finding its way, mostly via Lebanon, into Syria, to be used against Assad, whose Alawite religion and alliance with Shi’ite Iran distance him from the Sunni Muslims who run most other Arab states.
July 3 (PTI) — The “shift” in the positions of Russia and China on Syria should not be underestimated, the spokesman for peace envoy Kofi Annan said today after international talks in Geneva.
France, Germany say Assad should leave power
Posted: Jul 03, 2012
PARIS (AP) – The top diplomats of France and Germany say Syrian President Bashar Assad should leave power, even though a U.N.-brokered political transition plan leaves his future role open.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday, “Bashar Assad is a slaughterer and the sooner he leaves the better.” France is hosting a meeting of diplomats Friday aimed at finding ways to end violence in Syria.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, after talks with Fabius, said Assad’s acts have been “unpardonable” and his reign “must end.” Westerwelle goes to Moscow on Thursday, and said he will try to persuade Russia to be firmer against Assad.
A U.N.-brokered plan adopted in Geneva on Saturday calls for a transitional government. But at Russia’s insistence, the compromise said Assad could be part of the interim administration.
Arabs urge Syria opposition unity
Gulf Times – 03 July, 2012
Arab states and Turkey urged Syria’s divided opposition yesterday to unite and form a credible alternative to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but rifts swiftly emerged at talks in Cairo…..
The talks included about 10 groups, including the leading Syrian National Council (SNC) which has itself faced splits in its ranks, plus other activists and Syrian individuals.
The attendees ranged from secularists to Islamists, and differences in their views appeared early in the two-day talks.
“On the top item of the document that we are all supposed to sign and agree to, there is an item asking for the full separation between religion and state, which we don’t agree to,” said Khedr al-Sotari of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, although he said the group was not seeking a religious state.
Adib Shishakly, a member of the SNC, said one of the biggest challenges was bridging the gap between Syrians in exile and those on the ground protesting against Assad.
“The main problem we are facing is the division between the opposition groups inside and outside Syria, which is a crucial matter because those inside Syria will have to play a big role in any institutional set up,” he said.
Walid al-Bunni, a doctor jailed for years in Syria for his activism before fleeing last year, said the meeting aimed to form a co-ordinating committee that would not lead the opposition but would implement group decisions and be a face for the world.
Some said they would oppose giving such a committee a big role. “We are against this proposed follow-up committee having powers to execute decisions,” said Nouri al-Jarrah, head of a Syrian writers group.
One Arab League diplomat said the Syrian opposition’s failure to unite strengthened Assad’s position and made it more difficult for the world to respond, contrasting the way opponents of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi had closed ranks.
No Dog in This Fight
Why Obama is playing it smart on Syria.
BY AARON DAVID MILLER | JULY 2, 2012
….The moral and strategic arguments for a more muscular U.S. role may be compelling. The killing goes on day after day and America watches. Bosnia redux? Syria is truly important; it is not Libya. Its unique geopolitical location — with Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, and Turkey as neighbors and Big Daddy Iran just over the horizon — make its future of critical importance.
Still, for an American president, there are other considerations that need to be weighed — …
Here’s a politically incorrect guide to the president’s thinking on Iran and Syria between now and November.
The Hero of Detroit, Not Damascus
Most Americans don’t even know where Syria is. I’m not trying to demean my fellow countrymen, only to highlight a fundamental truth these days.
After watching the two longest wars in American history — with 6,000 dead and counting and more than a trillion spent and counting, not to mention the thousands of troops grievously wounded and the loss of credibility, Americans want the focus to be on fixing their own broken house, not repairing somebody else’s.
The public, poll after poll suggests, doesn’t want to withdraw from the world, but does want to be smarter about how the United States operates abroad, and wants above all to concentrate more on domestic priorities…..
Foreign Policy Adventures: No Upsides…
Rarely has foreign policy — outside of rising oil prices and terror attacks — been less relevant to American voters. It figures almost not at all in a campaign focused on unemployment, disposable income, and mortgage woes. Republicans are having a hard time finding vulnerabilities in the Obama’s foreign policies, I’ve argued elsewhere, and a consensus has emerged between the two candidates on some of the core foreign-policy issues.
What this means in practical terms is that success abroad — even spectacular success — won’t mean much in election currency. As long as the administration doesn’t allow the Republicans to outflank it on the one foreign issue Americans do care about — fighting terror — there’s not much upside to risking military action or a big peace initiative that could be messy, costly, and worst of all seen as a failure. In political terms, Obama’s Middle East policy has been pretty successful — killing Osama bin Laden and whacking al Qaeda operatives from one end of the planet to the other, getting out of Iraq, and taking out Muammar al-Qaddafi without owning a mess in Libya. Other issues — Israeli-Palestinian peace or the Arab spring turned winter — really don’t matter much in terms of the election, unless of course the president stumbles….
Can The World Survive Washington’s Hubris?
By: Paul Craig Roberts| June 28, 2012
When President Reagan nominated me as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, he told me that we had to restore the US economy, to rescue it from stagflation, in order to bring the full weight of a powerful economy to bear on the Soviet leadership, in order to convince them to negotiate the end of the cold war. Reagan said that there was no reason to live any longer under the threat of nuclear war.
The Reagan administration achieved both goals, only to see these accomplishments discarded by successor administrations. It was Reagan’s own vice president and successor, George Herbert Walker Bush, who first violated the Reagan-Gorbachev understandings by incorporating former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire into NATO and taking Western military bases to the Russian frontier.
The process of surrounding Russia with military bases continued unabated through successor US administrations with various “color revolutions” financed by the US National Endowment for Democracy, regarded by many as a front for the CIA. Washington even attempted to install a Washington-controlled government in Ukraine and did succeed in this effort in former Soviet Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.
The President of Georgia, a country located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, is a Washington puppet. Recently, he announced that former Soviet Georgia is on schedule to become a NATO member in 2014.
Those old enough to remember know that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was an alliance between Western Europe and the US against the threat of the Red Army overrunning Western Europe. The North Atlantic is a long, long ways from the Black and Caspian Seas. What is the purpose of Georgia being a NATO member except to give Washington a military base on the Russian underbelly?
The evidence is simply overwhelming that Washington–both parties–have Russia and China targeted. Whether the purpose is to destroy both countries or merely to render them unable to oppose Washington’s world hegemony is unclear at this time. Regardless of the purpose, nuclear war is the likely outcome.
The presstitute American press pretends that an evil Syrian government is murdering innocent citizens who only want democracy and that if the UN won’t intervene militarily, the US must in order to save human rights. Russia and China are vilified by US functionaries for opposing any pretext for a NATO invasion of Syria.
The facts, of course, are different from those presented by the presstitute American media and members of the US government. The Syrian “rebels” are well armed with military weapons. The “rebels” are battling the Syrian army. The rebels massacre civilians and report to their media whores in the West that the deed was done by the Syrian government, and the Western presstitutes spread the propaganda.
Someone is arming the “rebels” as obviously the weapons can’t be purchased in local Syrian markets. Most intelligent people believe the weapons are coming from the US or from US surrogates.
So, Washington has started a civil war in Syria, as it did in Libya, but this time the gullible Russians and Chinese have caught on and have refused to permit a UN resolution like the one the West exploited against Gaddafi.
Guardian (GB): Military intervention in Syria would be disastrous for its people
2012-07-03, Sami Ramadani
Syrians opposed to intervention are ignored by a de facto alliance against the Shia ‘crescent’ between the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel and al-Qaida… It is opposition by the “crescent” to hegemony by the US and Israel, rather than religion or human rights, that worries Washington and its dictatorial allies in the region. For it wasn’t very long ago that the Saudi rulers bankrolled the so-called “Alawite-Shia” regime of former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad and had good relations with “Shia” Iran under the shah’s dictatorship…..
US general Wesley Clerk, the former supreme commander of allied forces in Europe, once revealed that within weeks of the 9/11 terrorist atrocity the then secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld described how “we’re going to take out seven countries in ..
Syria: Torture Centers Revealed
For 27 Detention Sites: Locations, Commanders’ Names, Torture Metho
(New York, July 3, 2012) – Former detainees and defectors have identified the locations, agencies responsible, torture methods used, and, in many cases, the commanders in charge of 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies,…
Daily Mail (GB): ‘We took their fingernails out with pliers and we made them eat them. We made them suck their own blood off the
Human Rights Watch report released as Syrian President Bashar Assad says he regrets the shooting down of a Turkish jet by his forces last month Group says tens of thousands of people had been detained across Syria by intelligence agencies Detainees …