News Round Up (8 April 2013)

Preparing for the day after al-Assad’s fall Inside Syria – Aljazeera

Presenter Ghida Fakhry: Joshua Landis; Yazan Abdallah, a Syrian academic and member of the Syria Dialogue – a group calling for transitional change in Syria; and Saleh Mubarak, a member of the Syrian National Council and a professor at Qatar University.

See PBS Frontline on Syria tomorrow – Tuesday – Very impressive and powerful documentary produced by Azmat Khan and filmed by Olly Lambert.

Alawites

The Alawite Dilemma in Homs Survival, Solidarity and the Making of a Community
AZIZ NAKKASH, March 2013

 [Excellent article based on interviews with numerous Alawi inhabitants of Homs, explaining their reasons for supporting the regime and fighting in the various branches of the military and shabiha. ]

Economy

Steep fall in Syria foreign trade in 2012 – Now Syria

Faltering role of tribal leaders tested by oil-related disputes in Deir Ezzor (Part III) Hassan Hassan [Great new Blog by Hassan]

Syria oil industry buckling under rebel gains
By BASSEM MROUE | Associated Press

Syria’s vital oil industry is breaking down as rebels capture many of the country’s oil fields, with wells aflame and looters scooping up crude, depriving the government of much needed cash and fuel for its war machine against the uprising.

Exports have ground practically to a standstill, and the regime of President Bashar Assad has been forced to import refined fuel supplies to keep up with demand amid shortages and rising prices. In a sign of the increasing desperation, the oil minister met last week with Chinese and Russian officials to discuss exploring for gas and oil in the Mediterranean off Syria’s coast…. “Businesswise there isn’t a company that is willing to invest in Syria these days,” said Seifan, who currently lives in Iraq.

A new report on the northern city of Aleppo goes some way to showing how dire the situation in Syria is economist.

War in the South: US and Jordan Training Syrian Forces

AMMAN, Jordan — The United States and Jordan have stepped up training of Syrian opposition forces that may be used to establish a buffer zone along Syria’s southern border, according to U.S. and Jordanian officials. Training begun last year has been expanded and accelerated after rebel gains in the south, including capture of a stretch of the Jordanian-Syrian border near the Golan Heights, two military outposts and the country’s main border crossing with Jordan.

Buffer zones along the Syria/Jordan borderBuffer zones along the Syria/Jordan border

Jordanian security officials said a previous timetable to complete training of about 3,000 Free Syrian Army officers by the end of June has been moved up to the end of this month in light of the border victories.

Creation of a buffer zone would aim to convert areas now in rebel hands into permanent havens for thousands of army defectors and displaced civilians in the area and allow easy access for humanitarian aid. More than 470,000 Syrian refugees have already crossed into Jordan — a number U.N. officials expect to pass the 1 million mark this year.

Officials from the United States and Jordan cautioned that implementation of the zones has not been set in motion and listed several stumbling blocks, including the ongoing refusal of the United States and other international backers to provide air cover to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s air force from attacking rebel outposts.

Two years after the start of the Syrian conflict, Western and Middle East governments are struggling to devise an effective strategy they can agree on, even as the war appears to be spinning beyond their ability to influence it, short of the direct intervention they have refused to contemplate.

But the officials cited growing concern that moderate rebel forces, who have fought effectively in the south and around Damascus, would be overtaken by extremist Islamic fighters who have become dominant in northern areas under rebel control.

“The last thing anyone wants to see is al-Qaeda gaining a foothold in southern Syria next to Israel. That is a doomsday scenario,” said a U.S. diplomat in Jordan who was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject….

The Obama administration and regional governments fear the fighting may soon spill over into other countries.

“Buffer zones on the Syrian side of the border is the only way to keep the conflict away from Jordan,” said Mahmoud Irdaisat, head of the Amman-based Center for Strategic Studies at the King Abdullah II Defense Studies Academy.

The Obama administration, which sent a force of about 150 U.S. military personnel to Jordan last year, has repeatedly refused to comment on reports that the force is training Syrian fighters…

Obama administration officials have expressed repeated concern that some of about 20,000 of the weapons, called MANPADS, have made their way from the arsenals of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi to Syria.

The administration has acknowledged that Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels, and it has helped vet the recipients. But it has repeatedly expressed concern that adding surface-to-air missiles to their arsenal would risk putting the weapons in the hands of militants and pose a threat to Israel and other nearby countries…..

…But while the fall of southern Syria would facilitate the rebel push for Damascus, it might also create dangerous complications, potentially drawing Syria’s neighbors into the two-year-old civil war. Besides abutting Jordan, the region borders Syria’s side of the Golan Heights, along a sensitive frontier with Israel.

‘‘This is a very sensitive triangle we are talking about,’’ said Hisham Jaber, a retired Lebanese Army general who heads the Middle East Center for Studies and Political Research in Beirut. ‘‘The fall of Daraa, if it happens, may usher in strategic changes in the area.’’…

‘‘Damascus will be liberated from here, from Daraa, from the south,’’ declared an armed fighter,….

Opposition fighters battling Assad’s troops have been chipping away at the regime’s hold on the southern part of the country in recent weeks with the help of an influx of foreign-funded weapons.

Their aim is to secure a corridor from the Jordanian border to Damascus in preparation for an eventual assault on the capital. …

A Western diplomat who monitors Syria from his base in Jordan said the fall of Daraa appeared imminent, possibly in the next few days or weeks. His assessment was based on classified intelligence information, he said.

Daraa’s fall could unleash lawlessness on Jordan’s northern border and send jitters across the kingdom, a key US ally which fears Islamic extremist groups on its doorstep.

Also of grave concern are rebel advances in areas near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. ‘‘If Daraa falls, the rebels will come face-to-face with the Israeli army in the Golan,’’ said Hilal Khashan,

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he believes Syria could turn into another Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia backs push to carve out liberated southern Syria
By Ruth Sherlock, Magdy Samaan and Suha Maayeh in Amman, 05 Apr 2013, Telegraph

Saudi Arabia is backing a push by Syrian opposition rebels to carve out a “liberated” area in southern Syria, opening a key route of attack on Damascus…. Americans are supervising the flow of arms and the Saudis pay for them,”….Those receiving training are mainly moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen from central and southern Syria, many of whom have served in the Syrian army….

General Salim Idriss, who heads the SMC has been touring donor countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Kingdom to rally support and map a military strategy.

Qatar has been working more closely with Turkey, who are more sympathetic to the Doha backed Muslim Brotherhood, whilst Saudi Arabia has been pushing much of its support through Jordan, analysts and diplomats have said.

Syria Update: The Southern Battlefronts
Apr 5, 2013 – Jonathan Dupree – ISW

Syrian Regime Launches Counteroffensive on Rebels – ABC News

Syrian troop redeployments raise concerns over Golan security, Thousand soldiers moved in recent weeks to battle fronts closer to Damascus – The Guardian

‘Syria could become another Afghanistan’

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he believes Syria could turn into another Afghanistan. Dempsey, who is on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, also said “…

I have grave concerns that Syria could become an extended conflict” that drags on for many years. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence…..

Assad

Middle East will be unstable for decades if rebels win in Syria, says Assad
guardian,

Syrian leader warns of domino effect and accuses Arab neighbours of sheltering rebels who seek to overthrow him…

“If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control … the situation will inevitably spill over into neighbouring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” he said in an interview with Turkish television.

Turmoil would spread “east, west, north and south. This will lead to a state of instability for years and maybe decades to come,” Assad said in the interview, posted by the Syrian presidency on the internet.

Opposition & Rebel Brigades

Yezid Sayigh Paper April 3, 2013
[Important read]…The National Coalition is not simply an SNC clone, but it has replicated the representation game that the SNC and the Friends of Syria had already played over the preceding year. A central assertion in Clinton’s critique of the SNC was that it was insufficiently representative of those opposing the Assad regime. The National Coalition claims to represent the Syrian opposition more broadly than the SNC—but that is a stretch…..
The SNC had still not set up permanent aid offices or a supply structure to deliver the most urgently needed commodities to liberated areas—such as fuel to run power generators for field hospitals, bakeries, and water pumps, and for heating. Nor had it attempted systematic surveys of needs and data collection….
The scale of the challenge, and its political complexity, were highlighted when the Syrian government authorized the United Nations World Food Program in mid-January 2013 to work with local nongovernmental organizations to distribute food aid worth $519 million. The program was already delivering aid for up to 1.5 million Syrians a month through the government-controlled Syrian Arab Red Crescent, but the new agreement allowed it to reach an additional one million Syrians in need. The National Coalition protested vociferously against giving assistance to “the regime that destroyed cities and shelled hospitals and bakeries and displaced inhabitants, to help it to fix what its own hands have perpetrated.”34  Noting that rebel areas, “in which over ten million people reside, or nearly half the Syrian population,” were receiving only 10 percent of what they needed, its Aid Coordination Unit offered itself as a more effective and equitable alternative for aid distribution.35  Syrian activists acknowledge that the Friends of Syria lack confidence in the operational capacity of the National Coalition to deliver international aid on a large scale, and resent this. Its ability to provide security is an added concern, as United Nations food and fuel convoys have come under rebel attack. In late January, National Coalition Chairman al-Khatib acknowledged that “much of the relief aid has been stolen or looted by gangs exploiting the security anarchy.”36 ….Activist writer Hajj-Saleh, who remains in hiding in Damascus, offered a bleak assessment of the local civilian structures at the start of March 2013. The grassroots movement provided a “multifaceted creativity” that the formal opposition lacked, he noted, butThis is not to say that conditions in the society of the revolution or its various local communities are promising. In reality we can speak of widespread signs of dissolution, damage to social ties even at the local level, the spread of violence and use of violence to settle diverse scores or for private profit. The forms of self-organization do not meet needs in most areas, as the elements of dissolution, fragmentation, and selfishness are more present and influential than those of healing, cooperation, and joint action.49

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood: influential, organized, but mistrusted
April 04, 2013, Agence France Presse

BEIRUT: Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood may be President Bashar Assad’s best-organized political adversaries, but they are also loathed by some dissidents who accuse them of trying to dominate the opposition, backed by funds from Qatar.

In late March, some 70 dissidents sent a letter to the Arab League criticizing “the dictatorial control exercised by one of [the opposition’s] … currents over its decisions and actions, and the flagrant hegemony of diverse Arab and regional players.”…

London-based Ali al-Bayanouni, the Brotherhood’s deputy political chief, rejected the accusations.

“Our role in the coalition has been greatly exaggerated, and we are not financed by any state,” he told AFP, saying the group’s funding comes from “members and supporters, from Syria and elsewhere.”

“We represent just 10 percent of the coalition. How can they say we control everything?”….

“They believe that they are the natural leaders of Syria, they believe … their time has finally come and that they represent the nation better than anybody else,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.

“That self-assurance is resented of course by all the other groups. … The Brotherhood are the presumed winners, and that is why they are targeted.”

Analysts and dissidents admit that the Brotherhood are Syria’s best-organized opposition group. They have a hierarchy, offices, a website and even a newspaper.

Qatar and Turkey support them because they are the only institutional party that has any chance of organizing Syria” should Assad fall, Landis told AFP…..

And the Brotherhood is confident they have real support on the ground too. “When there are democratic elections in Syria, we shall see w

ANTAKYA, TURKEY // Syrian rebel fighters have accused the Muslim Brotherhood of undermining the revolt against Bashar Al Assad and trying to dictate opposition politics.

Rebel officers said the Brotherhood was putting narrow factional politicking over the broad interests of the revolt.

“We hold you responsible for delaying victory of the revolution and the fragmentation of the opposition,” the Joint Command of the Free Syrian Army said in an open letter to the Muslim Brotherhood.

There was a “deep confrontation” within the opposition between the Muslim Brotherhood and other secular, national and military factions, the FSA said.

Anti-Brotherhood sentiments, particularly in Damascus, were running high, the FSA warned, with growing anger at efforts by the group to control military and humanitarian relief efforts administered by the Syrian National Coalition, the opposition bloc given Syria’s seat in the Arab League at a summit last week.

A significant majority of its members are directly or indirectly allied to the Muslim Brotherhood, much to the dismay of other rebel factions who say the group’s representation in the SNC political chambers vastly outweighs its street presence inside Syria.

Tawheed brigade establish traffic police in Aleppo “liberated” areas. Their uniforms look like Lebanese darak

Ahrar al-Sham: A Profile of Northern Syria’s al-Qaeda Surrogate - Jamestown

The uprising against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s rule entered its third year in March. The process of disaggregating the political and armed currents that are struggling against the Ba’athist regime, however, remains an exercise in futility. Despite ardent efforts by the numerous opposition factions to portray an image of ideological moderation, the preponderance of evidence indicates that radical Islamists dominate the Syrian insurgency. Jabhat al-Nusra, a radical Salafist organization that is acting as al-Qaeda’s surrogate in the conflict, has solidified itself as the most deadly insurgent faction fighting in Syria today. Yet other similarly motivated extremist formations are also making their presence felt. It is against this background that the activities of the Kata’ib Ahrar al-Sham (Free Men of Greater Syria Brigades, hereafter referred to as Ahrar al-Sham), a radical Salafist faction operating largely in northern Syria, warrant a closer look.

Ahrar al-Sham has consolidated its influence in strategically important theaters across Syria, including portions of Syria’s second city of Aleppo and its environs as well as vital supply and communication lines extending to Turkey (al-Monitor, January 13). It has also reportedly engaged Syrian security forces in some of the fiercest combat witnessed since the militarization of the uprising, including a series of fierce battles for control of a number of military air bases and civilian airports in January and February (al-Safir [Beirut], January 30; al-Jazeera [Doha], February 12). Perhaps most importantly, the instrumental role played by Ahrar al-Sham in the formation of the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), an association of eleven like minded Salafist militant factions that came together in common cause in December 2012, is emblematic of its growing influence. [1] Ahrar al-Sham is widely reputed to maintain a dominant presence within the SIF. [2] In another sign of its expanding authority, a number of fellow Salafist insurgent groups merged under Ahrar al-Sham’s leadership structure to form the Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiya (The Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham) in January 2013 (AFP, February 13).

Details surrounding the precise origins and leadership of Ahrar al-Sham remain murky. The group is believed to have organized in late 2011 and is reportedly led by Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi. While the nisbah portion of his name suggests that he hails from Hama, it has also been reported that he hails from Aleppo (al-Monitor, January 13). [3] Ahrar al-Sham’s founding members are said to be former political prisoners who were incarcerated in the infamous Sednaya Prison located just outside of Damascus until they were granted amnesty in May 2011. While it welcomes foreign-born militants into its ranks, Ahrar al-Sham boasts of its mostly Syrian-born membership (al-Monitor, January 13; AFP, February 13). Ahrar al-Sham’s influence is centered largely in Syria’s northern governorates of Idlib, Aleppo and Raqqa and, to a lesser extent, the western-central governorates of Hama and Homs. An accurate estimate of its membership is difficult to discern. An alleged member of the group asserted that Ahrar al-Sham commands between 5000 and 6000 fighters in Aleppo governorate alone, a figure that is likely to be inflated for propaganda purposes (al-Monitor, January 13). Tens of regional-based detachments likely organized around local village, town and city networks operate under its auspices.

Ahrar al-Sham’s track record to date is fraught with contradictions. From an ideological perspective, Ahrar al-Sham has declared its objective to transform Syria into its image of an Islamic state. Members of Ahrar al-Sham have stated that their conception of an Islamic state would protect religious minorities and be based on the premise that the majority of Syrians, who are Sunni Muslims, would choose to live in an Islamic society (Daily Star [Beirut], February 13; al-Akhbar [Beirut] January 5). Yet its official discourse is replete with extremist themes and

symbolism informed by its radical Salafist pedigree. Ahrar al-Sham’s frequent resort to sectarian diatribes targeting Alawites and Shiite Muslims, both of whom are viewed by hardline Salafists as h

eretical, is often cited as a point of concern.

Video appears to show world’s most powerful rifle in hands of Syrian rebels
By Paul Alster, April 03, 2013, FoxNews.com

Brown Moses: Another Case Of Weapons Mis-Identification In The Media – “British AS-50s” On Al-Arabiya. Rebels are not using the AS50 as reported in the previous article, Brown Moses demonstrates.  Also see his Early Signs Of The “Aleppoisation” Of Southern Syria

Al-Qaeda Seen Expanding Influence in Lebanon – Al-Monitor

Kurds

Bashar Ja’afari, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN.

….The majority of Kurds in Syria have been pro government through the uprising. Now the Kurdish card is being played. They will promise the Kurds their own state that runs from Iraq and through Syria. A new state will be carved. What was once the Skyes-Picot Agreement will be the Erdogan-Hamad deal….

Erdogan plans to draw Iraq’s and Syria’s Kurds into the ‘Turkosphere’, writes David Gardner

In 10 years as Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at times reliably unscripted and unpredictable, has attracted his fair share of brickbats. But not last week when, buried in bouquets of praise, he started decisively down the road to peace with Turkey’s Kurds.

On Kurdish new year, or Newroz, Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), called a truce in its 29-year war against the Turkish state, after a delicate negotiation with Mr Erdogan’s most trusted aides.

This process is a high-risk strategy to address a tangled story, with tactics that appear inconsistent and policy signals that will look contradictory. The reward for Turkey if it works is potentially enormous…

In exchange for the PKK standing down, a deal would require: reform of anti-terror laws that criminalise opinion (and jail thousands of Kurdish political activists); replacement of ethnic references in the constitution with equal citizenship; equality for the Kurdish language in education and public life; devolution of some power, probably through a broad decentralisation of Turkey; lowering of the electoral threshold to enter parliament, currently at 10 per cent, which prejudices Kurdish parties.

There will also have to be a formula to release Kurdish prisoners and exiles (including the reviled Mr Ocalan), and a reconciliation process to establish the truth about a dirty war that has cost about 40,000 lives.

All this requires not just cultural change but almost doctrinal revolution, and Mr Erdogan’s aides warn that the prime minister will continue to seem unpredictable, if only to keep at bay the wolves of Turkish nationalism.

But what seems to have set Mr Erdogan on this course – from which he at least once before pulled back – is the accelerating disintegration of Syria in the chaotic uprising next door against Bashar al-Assad…..

As Fighting Rages in Damascus, Kurds Flee Their Neighborhoods – Rudaw

Refugees

“We are broke,” U.N. Says as Syria Refugee Funds Dry Up By Tom Miles | Reuters

Culture

NYTimes: Grave Robbers and War Steal Syria’s History

Syria’s archaeological heritage, which has yet to be fully studied, is imperiled by threats ranging from outright destruction to opportunistic treasure hunters.

Ancient City of Palmyra Threatened in Fighting;

Comments (777)


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751. revenire said:

Georges if the Syrian government isn’t the legal authority – the legitimate government – then NO government in the world is legitimate.

This is called international law. If you want it changed then get a gun and try to change it but I assure men will fight, and die, to protect rule of law.

Your comments about “nothing to lose” and “enjoy the war” are hollow. The army and Syrian people will prevail over the foreign conspiracy.

I don’t care if 500,000 have to die.

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April 14th, 2013, 10:07 am

 

752. revenire said:

The main players behind this war are the United States and Britain. The Saudis and Qataris are just following orders. It is the Anglo-Americans running everything and has been from the start – same as in Libya.

Anyone who thinks they are part of a revolution is delusional. They’ve been brainwashed. You see this a lot in the American posters here.

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April 14th, 2013, 10:11 am

 

753. Tara said:

Zoo,

Why are you even bothering? You won’t miss much.

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April 14th, 2013, 10:18 am

 

754. Citizen said:

742. REVENIRE
Regardless of the direct involvement of Western forces inside Syria, however, there is absolutely no doubt that the Syrian conflict is very much the result of Anglo-American treachery, control, and coordination. The entire invasion of secular Syria with religious fanatics, mercenaries, and maniacs was the brainchild of Western governments and Israel, the Mad Dog of the Middle East, along with the usual Gulf state feudal monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others acting as proxies and puppets.

Indeed, with the recent announcement of even more commitments to openly arm, aid, and assist the death squads, the idea that the Syrian destabilization was organized and is being controlled by Western governments is no longer up for debate.

The only debate yet to be had is whether or not citizens of Western countries will continue to allow their governments to run roughshod over both their rights and the rights of sovereign people in foreign countries.

Clearly, the continued assault on Syria is part of a major agenda that is slowly unfolding before our eyes. It would be wise for Americans and all other Western nations to get off of the Path to Persia before the mutual destruction of the world is the only thing left at the end of the road.

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April 14th, 2013, 10:42 am

 

755. revenire said:

Citizen I agree.

For anyone to suggest this was a homegrown revolution is stretching the bounds of imagination. It really never was. It didn’t start in Daraa. This is the myth. It started in the West, is funded and armed by the West. Without Western money and arms there would be no revolution.

The US has been the main supplier of arms the entire time. How do they do it? They get Saudi Arabia and Qatar to fund it so they can deny they are doing it. This is exactly how shipments of arms flowed to the Libyan rats – some of which are now in Syria.

“But the Saudis remain the only U.S. Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain — even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis.

“The Saudis have been told that opponents of Qaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Qaddafi’s armor, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers.”
Robert Fisk, the London Independent March 2011

The 10$ million US aid, and the monies before, is a side show for public consumption. The Anglo-Americans are behind all the weapons flowing into Syria.

The Anglo-Americans have been planning the destruction of Syria, and the Middle East, for a long time. The idea is to have no strong nation-states and pit everyone against each other in sectarian war.

In Syria the Anglo-Americans found a few useful idiots among the poor and illiterate. Syria always had a problem with Muslim Brotherhood and takfiri ideology.

Assad has been exactly correct in everything he had said about this war. It has to be very frustrating for Obama. This is why Assad is blacked-out of US media or his words are twisted.

The facts I’ve laid out are not unknown to the Russians and Chinese.

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April 14th, 2013, 11:09 am

 

756. Hopeful said:

#744 Rev

Even if you truely believed that everything you said was true (which I doubt you do), it is beyond me how you won’t see this regime as anything other than a corrupt incompetent failure that managed to turn its Arab and regional friends into enemies, disfranchised a large segment of its population, divided the country, invited all sorts of jihadists across its borders, and led the country into a destructive civil war, the like of which has never been seen before.

Again I ask you, assuming that Assad prevails, what happens next?

Reminds me of the corrupt and incompetent Saddam after losing the first gulf war and was ejected from Kuwait. He continued to celebrate his victory, starved his people for another decade, before plunging his country into another miserable war for another decade. Is that what you look forward to after Assad “wins”?

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April 14th, 2013, 11:41 am

 

757. revenire said:

Hopeful not only do I believe it it is 100% factual.

I am stunned anyone can deny the foreign hand behind this war. What do you call Tunisian and Libyan mercenaries funded by the West via KSA and Qatar? Freedom fighters?

Doesn’t it remind you of the Contras in the 1980s?

As far as the government turning Arab nations into enemies I’d say the governments of those countries are by and large weak puppet regimes of the West – as Egypt was under Mubarak and now under Morsi. They are not independent Arab nations.

Do you know what the term “Balkanize” means? The idea of pitting one religious sect against the other is a very, very old trick of empires.

I don’t believe it is a question of “if Assad prevails” – he is prevailing. Minus direct NATO intervention the mercenaries have zero chance of winning.

What will happen? Depends on what happens to the influx of money and weapons. If they keep flowing into Syria we could be in for a very long war. Other countries might get more directly involved. It can spread to the entire region. It can set off larger wars. It might even set off WW III. No one knows.

The idea that Assad doesn’t have the support of the overwhelming majority of Syrians is a bad joke. He could not have lasted this long without it and you know what? The Syrian army is getting stronger and more adept.

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April 14th, 2013, 11:52 am

 

758. ann said:

Syria slams talks [fabrications] of chemical weapons’ traces in its soil – 2013-04-14

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-04/14/c_132308128.htm

DAMASCUS, April 14 (Xinhua) — Syrian information minister on Sunday dismissed as “illegal” a recent Western report, which cited [alleged] a smuggled-out soil sample from Syria as proving the use of chemical weapons.

“Any testing process to the Syrian soil, which is not performed by official and international organizations with the consent of the Syrian government, is stripped off any political and legal value,” Omran al-Zoubi said, adding that the report is “mere forgery against Syria.”

Al-Zoubi said “they wanted to distort and overshadow this matter through taking the discussion to another place in a bid to cover the crime committed in Khan al-Asal.”

Meanwhile, the minister singled out Britain, Turkey and France, saying that those countries know the source of the chemical weapons, referring to their implication in rendering arms to the rebels on the ground.

The chemical weapons’ frenzy came days after Damascus refused an expanded UN probe that was planned to conduct the investigation of chemical weapons’ usage in several Syrian cities.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-04/14/c_132308128.htm

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April 14th, 2013, 12:00 pm

 

759. revenire said:

Yes Ann, the Anglo-Americans want an excuse to attack Syria because their mercenaries have failed so miserably.

Thank you for this important post.

Cheers.

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April 14th, 2013, 12:12 pm

 

760. Uzair8 said:

Regarding the Wadi al Dayf situation I decided to check out Syrian Smurf’s twitter as he is from Marat al Numan which is close to the besieged base.

Fortunately, I later found Yalla Souriya already collected the relevant tweets:

http://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/syria-idlib-concerning-the-reports-that-the-siege/

http://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/syria-idlib-im-still-trying-to-catch-up/

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April 14th, 2013, 12:18 pm

 

761. Hopeful said:

# Rev

There is always foreign intervention – in every country in the world there is foreign intervention. China supports and pays for hundreds of lobby organizations in the US to “interfere” in its policies.

But foreign intervention will never be able to start a civil war in a democratic country.

Saying that Assad has the support of the majority of Syrians because he lasted that long is like saying that the Taliban has the support of the majority of the Afghans because they lasted that long. Assad’s supporters have guns and money, they have ideology and fear. Even a 5% of the population is over 1M people. With enough money and arms, 1M people can do a lot of damage to any country.

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April 14th, 2013, 12:23 pm

 

762. Citizen said:

745. REVENIRE
This practice itself can ….No! should be used there, where are U.S. interests rich a maximum! ASAP!
It is a time for moving the the next round direction to the territory of democrats !!The cost is very cheap ! why not?
Then the masks will be removed and will appear the face of the beast!!

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April 14th, 2013, 12:29 pm

 

763. Uzair8 said:

The people’s struggle continues unabated…

Guidance – Has Victory Been late?

Sh. Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi

May 2012

[...]

As some people like to talk about victory as right granted to them or inherited and must therefore be given to them without any efforts or struggle. They do not mind having it on a plate of gold.

I say: victory is a right that is earned and attained, and is not given but after by jihad and patience and is not reached but through sacrifice.

No one is qualified for victory through fear and laziness nor by wishful thinking and hopes, but by courage, altruism and struggle.

One year of Jihad is a short period of time for someone who accepted to live for forty years under humility and oppression without changing anything.

One year of supporting Allah does not compare to fifty years of heedlessness from Allah and failure to support his religion.
The answer that solves the problem is summed up in one word:
Victory is not late; our work for is late.

The struggle is from us and the victory is from Him; the former is a result of the latter. This is a Divine Law in the universe.

[...]

In a nutshell, victory is linked to every individual in this country feeling the necessity to work hard and struggle day and night till we reach a moment when we are qualified for victory.

[...]

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April 14th, 2013, 12:39 pm

 

764. Hassan said:

This is who we are :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWuRcbYvkI4&feature=youtu.be

Hey all you oppo revos, we will do this in every street of every neighborhood of every village in Syria after we wipe out the rebels, we will hold butchering competition among our soldiers.

We will literally butcher the revos, and eat their flesh.

We are Alawite Mountain Warriors of Syria. We are descendants of Greeks, Romans, and Crusaders and we will annihilate the crescent from the Levant.

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April 14th, 2013, 12:43 pm

 

765. Hassan said:

The revos, when they started their little plot, had no idea what they were up against and what was going to hit them. They thought that Assad soldiers were the same as the soldiers of other Arab regimes. They had no idea that they were fighting against Alawites and Christians of the Levant who are literally members of the European race in the Arab world.

It is like fighting against a European Army you suckars !!! We are bigger, stronger and more intelligent than you all !!

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April 14th, 2013, 12:48 pm

 

766. Uzair8 said:

Dear Citizen :-)

@743 it looks like your account was possessed by a ghost with excellent english.

PS Your english is quite good. It’s just that account possession is a serious issue.

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April 14th, 2013, 12:49 pm

 

767. Hassan said:

There are 3 million of us in Syria and out of that 1 million are tarined fighters for Assad.

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April 14th, 2013, 12:56 pm

 

768. zoo said:

I strongly disagree with that statement about KSA intention:

“The second proposed an alternative to the Syrian regime composed of Salafists and some elements who defected from the Syrian army.”

It is clear that the Saudis rather have a moderate moslem (or a christian) leading Syria than a Alawite, a Moslem Brotherhood or a Salafist.
Let us not forget that in Egypt, they have supported Mobarak for years and dislike profoundly Morsi, Erdogan and all the MB anywhere they are.
The Salafists are not officially supported by the Saudi government, rather by private Saudi and Kuwaitis charities and businessmen, the same that support Al Qaeda. They are a constant threat to the Saudi government in its effort to modernize.
The Salafists are also decried by all the GCC countries.

Now the Saudis a looking for moderate Sunni moslems ( and other minorities unsympathetic to Iran) to lead Syria.

Until they do, the Iran-Shia-Alawite-Russian front will not remain idle.
Therefore the Saudi Arabia war by proxies against Iran is taking prominence while other actors Turkey, Al Qaeda, Israel and the USA are working on their own agendas for the region.

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April 14th, 2013, 12:58 pm

 

769. zoo said:

#753 Hopeful

“like saying that the Taliban has the support of the majority of the Afghans because they lasted that long.”

Who has decided that the majority of afghans do not support the Taliban? Nato, the USA?

There has never been any referendum or poll to know what the afghans really wants.
As there has been any poll to determine what the Saudis want.

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April 14th, 2013, 1:02 pm

 

770. zoo said:

741. GEORGES

The Syrian army is the legal army of the Syrian government.
The Syrian government is officially part of the UN and international organizations with ambassadors all over the world.
It is not Qatar or you who decide about the international legality of a governement.

Wake up from the Qatari siren calls..

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April 14th, 2013, 1:10 pm

 

771. Uzair8 said:

Assad would have been prepared to murder every unarmed and peaceful protestor (opponent) to snuff out the people’s struggle.

“Over our dead bodies” said the civilians, activists, protestors, defectors and fellow arabs (foreign fighters). And thus they took up arms.

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April 14th, 2013, 1:12 pm

 

772. Citizen said:

Poor English can be used to puncture the eardrum when it is necessary!Can you boast something else except the language and the length of the beard?

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April 14th, 2013, 1:16 pm

 

773. Citizen said:

Russia to vote against ‘one-sided’ UN Syria resolution
http://rt.com/news/syria-resolution-un-draft-814/

Putin talks to German TV: FULL TEXT
http://rt.com/politics/official-word/political-russia-schnenborn-russian-399/

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April 14th, 2013, 1:25 pm

 

774. Uzair8 said:

Dear Citizen

I didn’t mean any offence. Your english is fine. I’ve noticed the difference in posts in the past too (rarely) but didn’t point it out.

People suspect certain accounts of being used by a team/group of people (eg the suspected acronym username).

Just an observation.

Anyway. It doesn’t matter.

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April 14th, 2013, 1:26 pm

 

775. Hopeful said:

# 756 Hassan

At least you a being honest and direct, and I respect that.

You are determined to rule over the majority through force and intimidation. Regardless of whether or not you are a superior race, I do not think this is sustainable. The same was said about the whites in South Africa and the same can be said about the Jews in Israel. Your arms and superior skills cannot protect you forever.

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April 14th, 2013, 1:27 pm

 

776. Uzair8 said:

Robert Fisk in a recent article wrote about regime supporters (Damascenes) as well as some in the military blame the Mukhabarat for everything (Daraa boys..). Accusing them of acting ‘like kings’.

There could be some truth to this, however, we may be seeing an attempt to whitewash the reputation of the army and the Mukhabarat are the whipping boys, the sacrificial goat. Is the regime trying to do this thru the likes of Mr Fisk.

Just seen this tweet on YS:

NuffSilence
Fisk says regular army officers are now arresting mukhabarat agents who commit violations and beat civilians. He’s officially deranged.

The people won’t be fooled again.

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April 14th, 2013, 1:51 pm

 

777. zoo said:

#12 Sam

“Al Nusra are calling for Islamic system but not forcing the inhabitants to follow it.”

Such level of naivety is infantile.

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April 14th, 2013, 5:35 pm

 

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