“Syria, Iraq and Lebanon: the new Af-Pak,” by Anno Bunnik

Anno Bunnik

Syria, Iraq and Lebanon: the new Af-Pak
By Anno Bunnik
for Syria Comment, Feb 13, 2014

Developments in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are so deeply intertwined that we might start speaking about these countries in similar terms as we talk about “Af-Pak.”

In less than a decade, pro-Iranian forces have entrenched themselves in Damascus and seized near absolute power in neighbouring Baghdad and Beirut. The structural marginalisation of the Sunnis in Iraq and Lebanon is splitting these communities as evident from the rise of Jihadi groups. This is the context of Syrian conflict.

Three years after the Arab uprising the “Syrian revolution” is dead and to label it the “Syrian conflict” would not entirely be right either. Due to its entanglement with existing political and sectarian divisions in Iraq and Lebanon the war is no longer strictly confined to Syria: the region is witnessing the emergence of a single theatre of war in what we could call the SIL region.

Some would argue this is solely the consequence of a spill-over of the Syrian conflict into neighbouring states but that is too simplistic. After all, the consequences of the war are totally different to its other neighbours Turkey, Jordan and Israel. They too feel the burden (notably Jordan, in terms of refugees) but their fate is far less dependent on developments in Aleppo and Damascus.

The social fabric of society and the political alignments in Iraq and Lebanon, however, follow very similar fault lines as is the case in Syria. The SIL region faces a shared predicament: fragile state institutions, growing Sunni marginalisation and, consequently, the rise of al Qaeda affiliated (or originated) groups that increasingly operate irrespective of national borders. As a result, domestic politics in all three countries is no isolated affair.

The Iranian belt of influence stretches from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean Sea. But this hegemonic position is increasingly under threat by Jihadi groups such as Jabhat al Nusra (JN), Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB) and Jabhat al Nusra in Lebanon (JNL).

The majority of Sunnis still support moderate political parties, such as Saad Hariri’s Future Movement and the Iraqi Islamic Party, which operate within the democratic system but with little success. The longer those parties are shunned from the centres of power the more attractive the Jihadi alternative will become.

The old adage is at play here: if one cannot achieve participation through non-violent means, violence becomes a credible and legitimate alternative to some. It should therefore come as no surprise that the opposition is becoming increasingly militarised.

The violent response to the power grab of pro-Iranian forces over the state apparatus and its security forces is twofold: Shiite neighbourhoods and state institutions have become a legitimate target for the various Jihadi groups. In addition to the surge in anti-Shia terrorism, the region is witnessing an increase in attacks on the Iraqi and Lebanese Armed Forces, which are perceived to be tools of Iran.

In Lebanon, the radicalisation of the Sunni citizenry (over a quarter of the population) can be traced back to Hezbollah’s gradual take-over of the Lebanese state. Through its omnipresent threat of violence and assassination of top Sunni figures, it has manoeuvred itself as the most powerful political party in Lebanese politics

Meanwhile opposition leader and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has not set foot in Lebanon in two years over fears of facing the same fate as his late father. With Hariri out of touch with his constituency, local hardliners, such as sheikh Assir in Sidon and Sheikh Houssam al-Sabbagh in Tripoli, seized the opportunity to present themselves as alternative resistance figures against Hezbollah.

Hassan Nasrallah has de facto pushed Hariri out of politics and is now finding himself having to deal with al Qaeda instead, as evident from the regular car bomb attacks in the Hezbollah strongholds South Beirut and Hermel. Like their “brothers” in Baghdad, Lebanese Shiites have now become one of the main victims of Jihadi terrorism.

Iraq’s political mess is strikingly similar. Nouri al-Maliki has championed Shia politics within the Iraqi political system and has increasingly marginalised the Sunni population whilst not shying away from sectarianism. Al-Maliki framed the battle with ISIS “a fierce confrontation between the supporters of Hussain and the supporters of Yazid”, a reference to the battle of Karbala in 680 which is a key event in Shia identity and tradition. Meanwhile, numerous pictures emerged on social media of Iraqi soldiers carrying Shia flags and symbols.

Similar to Lebanese Sunni dilemma, Iraqi Sunnis are also forced to choose between mainstream political parties that have little influence and radical groups that offer violent resistance against the Shia-dominated state apparatus. For groups such as ISIS this provides fertile ground for mobilisation of new recruits. Al Maliki’s sectarianism reinforces their message that the Shiites have taken over the country.

2014 was not even a week old and ISIS has already engaged in heavy fighting with rebels in Syria, detonated a deadly car bomb in Beirut and attacked Iraqi-government troops in Ramadi and Falluja. ISIS is more active and controls more land than al Qaeda Central in over two decades. ISIS’ cross-border activities, and the emergence of a Jabhat al Nusra faction in Lebanon, are clear indicators of the rise of Jihadi networks in the SIL region.

The take-over of the Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese state by pro-Iranian forces paints a complex and dark picture for the future. If the Sunnis continue to be excluded from decision-making, more and more young men will opt for the black flag of al Qaeda instead. This is the shared predicament that Syria, Iraq and Lebanon face.

*Anno Bunnik is a PhD Fellow at the Centre for Applied Research in Security Innovation at Liverpool Hope University. He blogs on www.eurabist.com and can be found on Twitter @Eurabist

1picBeirut 2012, anti Hezbullah protesters after the assassination of Wissam al Hassan. Photo: Anno Bunnik

Aftermath of car bomb in Hebzollah stronghold, January 2014. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Comments (34)


1. Alan said:

Russia offers alternative Syria resolution, slams West-Arab draft as helping ‘military aggression’
http://rt.com/news/syria-resolution-russian-variant-818/

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February 13th, 2014, 12:08 pm

 
 

3. Alan said:

جنيف : مؤتمر صحافي للإبراهيمي بعد لقائه غاتيلوف وشيرمان الآن على الميادين

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February 13th, 2014, 12:12 pm

 

4. Alan said:

The actual failure of the international conference on Syria at Montre and the negotiations between the delegation of Saudi Arabian Republic’s government and the Syrian opposition that followed it, have once more demonstrated the express desire of Saudi Arabia to achieve the removal of Bashar Assad’s regime in any way possible, rather than settle the conflict. At the same time, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has deployed its forces in three theaters of “military operations” – in Syria, Iraq, and against Iran. The reasons behind it are quite banal – Riyadh is really scared of the possible alliance of these three countries, dominated by Shiite populations against the block of Arabian monarchies led by the Saudis, which participates in the regional Gulf Cooperative Council organization, assisted by Jordan and Turkey. All these factors, as they are seen by the “strategists” in Riyadh, grouped around Prince Bandar, chief of Saudi’s intelligence services and Secretary of the National Security Council, may lead to erosion of foundations of conservative Arabian monarchies of the Persian Gulf, weakening their role in the region and increasing support for democratic changes. This is especially relevant against the background of Iran steadily following the pattern of normalizing its relationships with the USA and the West, while Saudi Arabia is becoming more and more associated with the radical Islamic movement, often assisting the terrorist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq……………..
http://journal-neo.org/2014/02/13/rus-sunnitskaya-os-protiv-shiitskoj-dugi/
///************///////**************/////////////***********//

Recent information from the Saudi Arabia gives sufficient evidence that the Saudis are preparing for a war. Will this be an internal disturbance with the possible involvement of the army, will the Saudi-Iranian hostility transgress into open combat, or will Saudi tanks cross the Syrian borders as the Arabic media predict – even the top officials in Riyadh do not know it yet. Nevertheless, the beginning of this year was heralded by purchases of vast amount of arms, which tripled the country’s military budget.

In addition to American weaponry worth dozens of billion dollars purchased recently (in 2010, the Saudi Ministry of Defense ordered U.S. weapons for a total amount of 60 billion dollars), Riyadh has made the following purchases not so long ago.

It purchased new DF-21 East Wind, mid-range liquid fuel missiles, which are easy to use and have good accuracy, Claudio Gallo writes in his article published on the website of the newspaper La Stampa. The Chinese missiles in the Saudi hands are not the weapon to reverse the situation, but they rather bring more tension into the psychological war, i.e., the type of confrontation that can result in most unpredictable consequences. It should be added that in 2007, the Saudis purchased ballistic missiles – again from China and with assistance of American intelligence agencies, which ensured that the missiles could not be equipped with nuclear warheads……………………………..
http://journal-neo.org/2014/02/12/rus-saudovskaya-araviya-podgotovka-k-agressii/

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February 13th, 2014, 12:16 pm

 

5. norman said:

What does he mean by power sharing, In Syria most the people in government are Sunni, yes the security services and the army are controlled by the Alawat but most the well to do Syrians are Sunni and Christians, they are the ones who control the country , the reason that the Alawat are in the army and the security service is because of their fear that they will be slaughtered as we have seen in the last 3 years, just a reminder, the defence and the foreign ministers are Sunni,

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February 13th, 2014, 12:54 pm

 

6. Syrialover said:

TARA #2

That sounds like an article I’d like to read, but the link keeps going through to an index of other stories.

Would you mind giving a another link, or excerpts from the article so I can search for it? Thanks

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February 13th, 2014, 2:25 pm

 

7. Alan said:

Jurgen
Some of them claim that the Germans are lying on your cousins​​! Was it as well as in the secret military contracts?

Did President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz lie while speaking at the Knesset on February 12, 2014?

He spoke in German and I am translating the Hebrew translation. I apologize for any minor differences. The text is simple: “Palestinians are awarded 17 liter of water per day while Israelis get 70 liter,” and “Israel has placed a siege on Gaza.”

These two sentences caused a storm. The Jewish Home party, a member of Netanyahu’s coalition, left the general assembly room and created headlines while blaming Mr. Schulz of lying.

The second claim is true and easy to check. Israel has been blamed endlessly on the issue and addressed it publicly.

http://www.roitov.com/articles/ayin.htm

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February 13th, 2014, 2:31 pm

 

8. Tara said:

SL,

Sorry about that. Scroll down on after you click on the link and listen to a peasant talking under the header below.

http://www.alarabiya.net/mob/ar/articles/68812

وزير الإعلام السوري يوجه شتائم “على الهواء مباشرة”

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February 13th, 2014, 2:36 pm

 

9. Alan said:

pawn by pawn, horse by horse Castle by castle! Libya by Bahrain, Syria by Saudi Arabia, Venezuela by north america
Russia and China go ahead…Kish …. Matt

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February 13th, 2014, 2:41 pm

 

10. Syrialover said:

Iran helps in every little way it can.

ISIS has had a huge boost from hundreds of escaped militant extremists from Iraq’s supposedly top security prisons, notably Abu Ghraib.

(see: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/13/world/middleeast/escaped-inmates-from-iraq-fuel-syria-insurgency.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0)

Excerpt:

“We have always faced difficulties smuggling light weapons from Iraq to Syria through the Iraq border,” [FSA commander] said, “but it was very easy for ISIS to get full patrols of vehicles, weapons and fighters across to Syria.”

“The Iraqi government has done little to explain how the prison breaks happened, although most agree that the inmates had help from the inside. Parliament members said that when they tried to investigate the Abu Ghraib break, they were stymied by security forces and top government officials.

“Unfortunately, the government did not allow us to even get close to the prison for a week,” said Shwan Muhammed, a member of Parliament and one of the investigators.”

And from another report:

“A government statement pointed to collusion between jail staff and the militants who attacked the jails.

“Several months after the incident, questions linger about how a handful of armed men could break into Iraq’s most guarded prisons without the help of the security services working for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a staunch ally of Iran and the Assad’s regime in Syria.”

(http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2014/02/13/Exclusive-Top-ISIS-leaders-revealed.html)

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February 13th, 2014, 2:50 pm

 

11. Syrialover said:

Helpful translation:

“Af-Pak” in the headline above is foreign policy jargon for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I suggest Bunno explains that if he’s posted this article elsewhere.

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February 13th, 2014, 3:44 pm

 
 

13. Sami said:

Three years after the Arab uprising the “Syrian revolution” is dead and to label it the “Syrian conflict” would not entirely be right either. Due to its entanglement with existing political and sectarian divisions in Iraq and Lebanon the war is no longer strictly confined to Syria”

Excuse my language and crassness but this is the biggest load of shit I have ever read on this site.

To somehow deny the revolution and its honourable martyrs and paint this entire revolution as nothing but a sectarian based revolt because of Iranian influence (i.e. Shia) and that the events occurring in Syria are because of events in Iraq and Lebanon is to put it milady grossly inaccurate and factually wrong.

I suggest the author to look at the ample evidence showing that not only did Syrians start to peacefully oppose this regime but the brutal nature of the regimes unrelating and brutal response to the revolution led Syria to the point we are at.

To suggest anything else is not only an insult to the readers of this blog but a perversion of the truth.

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February 13th, 2014, 5:45 pm

 

14. Syrialover said:

SAMI #12 High fives and big applause for you!

It is ALL and ONLY about Syrians and their future first, second, third and however much you want to count. Anyone who can’t comprehend or chooses to “rewrite” that shouldn’t be commenting on the subject.

All those outside elements and their agendas interfering on the ground in Syria will vanish like a bad smell with air freshener when Syrians get control of their country.

Here’s a statement I find useful as an idiots guide to the situation in Syria:

“The Syrian civil war is entirely the result of a brutal clampdown by the Assad regime and the subsequent attempt by Iran and Russia to save their ally.”

(source of that statement is an excellent piece on why it’s stupid to paint the conflict as sectarian: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/the-roots-of-modern-conflicts-do-not-lie-in-ancient-struggles)

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February 13th, 2014, 6:36 pm

 
 

16. Atassi said:

A ‘Srebrenica moment’ in Syria
The Boston Globe

Nicholas Burns

As the savage killings and stratospheric refugee numbers in Syria continue to climb, a key question emerges. When will the United States and other global powers experience a “Srebrenica moment,” when they can no longer stand on the sidelines and resolve instead that they finally have to act?

That is what happened at the climax of the Bosnia war nearly 20 years ago. When the Bosnian Serb army murdered more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the United Nations safe haven of Srebrenica in July 1995, it was the worst massacre in Europe since the Nazi era. Those killings shocked and shamed Western leaders who had resisted decisive intervention until that point.

I was State Department spokesman at the time and can attest to the collective guilt felt by officials in the United States and Europe, particularly over our inability to protect innocent civilians from a marauding army. When the Bosnian Serbs bombed the Sarajevo marketplace six weeks later, President Clinton and European leaders had had enough. They ordered a NATO bombing campaign. Together with Richard Holbrooke’s brilliant diplomacy, it led to a ceasefire and the peace accord at Dayton.

As the UN’s listless Geneva talks on Syria reconvene this week, world powers are passive, disunited, and lacking the collective resolve that ended the Bosnia war. But the latest estimates of the Syria carnage should make us reflect on the human cost of our indifference. Over 130,000 Syrians have died since the war began in 2011. A shocking 9.3 million Syrians (in a country of 22.4 million) are refugees. They have lost their homes and jobs and are on the run inside and outside the country to escape the vicious fighting. Aleppo, Homs, and countless other cities suffer under the siege of heartless artillery and air assaults against civilians that maim and destroy at will.

There are no easy answers to the Syria crisis. A US-led ground invasion would require something on the scale of the 1991 Gulf War – - hundreds of thousands of troops. That’s not in the cards for a president, Congress, and public emerging from two major wars since 9/ 11. Russia and China continue to shield Syrian President Bashar Assad from international pressure at the UN, going so far as to object to proposals to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. For now, the main, and mainly vain, hope is UN-led talks for a ceasefire and transition from Bashar Assad’s rule. At its current languid pace, that could take years to materialize.

Washington finds itself in an uncharacteristically weak position to drive events in Syria. President Obama has taken force off the table, refusing to strike last September following Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. Obama has still not provided effective, lethal support to moderate rebels or threatened strikes on Assad’s air force if the brutal killings continue. As a result, the United States lacks the leverage and credibility to intimidate Assad. The administration plods along the diplomatic path, remaining a responsible contributor of humanitarian aid but lacking the strength to produce a solution on its own.

The one country that could make a decisive difference to stop the fighting is Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But Putin, aligned with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, prefers to run arms to the Syrian government and serve as Assad’s de facto lawyer in Geneva. Of course, Putin’s attention this week is elsewhere. His $50 billion campaign to rebrand Russia at the Sochi Olympics began with last Friday’s lavish opening ceremonies. But where was the Russian protest in the following days when Syrian women and children fleeing a besieged Homs were killed by Assad’s blistering attacks?

This glaring gap between what Putin wants us to see in Sochi and the reality of his callous disregard for Syrian lives is obvious. But even Putin reached a new low on the hypocrisy meter over the weekend when the Russian Foreign Ministry solemnly asked “all parties involved in armed conflicts” to adopt an “Olympic truce” for the period of the Sochi Games. Putin doesn’t want the world to be distracted by bloody Syrian atrocities while the Sochi games are underway. He will, without doubt, refuel Assad’s machine of hate and destruction as soon as they end.

Putin will never reach a “Srebrenica moment” on Syria. That leaves the rest of us to consider once more — how many more lives will be claimed by Syria’s ceaseless civil war before we are finally shamed to stop the killings?

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February 13th, 2014, 6:50 pm

 

17. Observer said:

t seems my dear Tara that the iPad retard found a conscious for the NYT reported today that he sent a personal envoy to supervise aid delivery.
What happened is that Putin asked for it during Sochi. Then what happened is that the Local Committees driven by hatred shot and bombed the besieged and the convoy. The UN complained. The West wanted a UNSC resolution to enforce human corridors. It would have been a truly embarrassing moment for Putin to have to veto a humanitarian corridor resolution. So he leaned on the stupid regime and now they are delivering aid. To add to their stupidity, the detained men aged 16-54 and therefore broke any future possible trust building measures.

Also J’amuse when confronted with the fact that the regime is holding children and women; he replied that the children are spies and the women are suicide bombers.

This is the mentality of the regime. He threatened the opposition of death or permanent exile from Syria. He truly is showing a face thinking that he is a slave owner and a slave tormentor and that he owns the population and the land.

The more in Geneva the better.

How is it possible that some on this blog continue to defend this regime is beyond me. I think that their hatred and dehumanizing mentality for generations has taken the better of them. Especially the closet regime insider.

Check the NYT today again.

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February 13th, 2014, 9:25 pm

 

18. Observer said:

Here the NYT has a grim article about any prospects of a deal. The regime is not even agreeing to the agenda of the meeting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/14/world/middleeast/syria.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

Well well, let us what Putin can deliver now. Or is it Khamenei playing games.

As for the article today posted here, it is pure rubbish. It smacks actually of Arab Anti Semitism: these Arabs are not even capable of making a revolution for freedom and dignity or so he says.

Once again Dr. Landis you can post Al Alaoui’s article from Le Monde Diplomatique
That is real analysis.

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February 13th, 2014, 9:35 pm

 
 

20. Alan said:

……….
it seems to be a likely scenario, since the breakdown of the settlement process is just behind the corner. The first round of negotiations have gone nowhere and the second one does provide no ground optimism. The opposition has been actively torpedoing any positive gestures of Damascus to show their sponsors of their Persian Gulf, the U.S. and Turkish sponsors that they are not getting paid for nothing. And now we’ve got Saudi Arabia that is nervous purchasing new weapons . Should Saudis be preparing for a war, it is clear that they will no be fighting Iran this time around, since the armed forces of the latter are simply risking to annihilate the entire Saudi forces. It seems to be far more convenient for the Saudis to invade Syria and fight against Syrian troops at their leisure, together with the Turkish army, under the US aerial umbrella.

So the statement made by Obama shouldn’t be ignored, since his words may be followed by deeds. Therefore, Damascus should now be closely monitoring all statements made by the US Chief Executive from now on and be prepared for a new military escalation around Syria in the spring of this year

The conflict in Syria is in its fourth year. Everyone is tired. The opposition is not able to defeat the government. Terrorist attacks have strongly discredited. The shift is inevitable now. Therefore, it is possible that after the complete elimination of the Syrian WMD arsenal the most aggressive supporters of the usage of force will push as hard as they can. Syrian conflict is clearly entering a new phase of its developmen

The US is threatening Syria: another “possible attack”?
http://journal-neo.org/2014/02/14/rus-amerikanskie-ugrozy-sirii-opyat-voenny-j-stsenarij/

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February 13th, 2014, 11:41 pm

 

21. Alan said:

An ISIS member ‘Abu Muhammad the American’ describes (in English) Jabhat al Nusra’s ‘betrayal’ of ISIS, involving weapons deliveries from Turkey

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February 14th, 2014, 1:12 am

 

22. Andrew said:

Joshua Landis on PBS : ‘Syria After Geneva 2’

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February 14th, 2014, 1:26 am

 

23. Alan said:

23. ANDREW
It is unfortunate that we hear from Mr. Landis this wrong assessment
Jihadists in Syria, sent by the US-Saudi , Qatari and Turkish operators .Their arrival was not because of the super magnet of Jihadistsof Syrian President!This is a deliberate confusion

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February 14th, 2014, 2:06 am

 

24. SANDRO LOEWE said:

The war is nearly over. Putin has won control of the whole Near East and Iran is the partner. We believed Soviet Union had lost the Middle East to the beneffit of US or to the beneffit of Arabs. After US tried to invade the Near East and Russia made him fail now Russia is back. We should have not missed the issue talking about Soviet Union or Russia. This is simply Moscow.

The future now is in the hands of Moscow mafia style power. The future is in the hands of Moscow’s promoted dictatorships. Arabs will live for long years under dictatorships and they can forget about freedoms and respect about civil rights. They will probably have money and malls in the future, maybe not, but forget about arabs living in democracy. Maybe most of arabs would have liked a democracy, freedom and dignity for they sons but many of them died and most of the rest have seen that the price to pay to get democracy in an arab country is so high that it is not worth.

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February 14th, 2014, 3:55 am

 

25. Mina said:

Aaaaaaaaamiiiiinnnn

Did you see any display of democracy in Jordan (postponing elections at will), or KSA, Qatar and other sponsors of the djihad in Syria operation? what did you expect from people who accept money from countries where no such thing as elections or a constitution exist?
KSA came to the rescue of Asad by becoming the (re-)newed godfather of Egypt. And all this happened with US benediction. They can pretend to be angry at the US and let the Egyptians display some warmness towards the Russians, no one believe that Uncle Sam is not the sponsor. The mafias you are talking about are transnational and it’s not for a bunch of illiterate millenarists to finish them off.

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February 14th, 2014, 7:10 am

 

26. Syrialover said:

OBSERVER, did you read this revealing piece by Aboud Dandachi?

I believe it’s probably an accurate perspective.

It describes how Assad’s failure to deliver to his supporters inside Syria has eroded his relevance and he no longer has the respect and trust he needs – and increasingly, the control.

In reality he’s impotent when it comes to reaching “a political solution” or achieving anything in Geneva. The Russians are bluffing because they know this.

Article: “One Day, it Will be an Alawite Who Finally Kills Assad” by Aboud Dandachi.

http://adandachi.com/istanbul/alawites-will-kill-assad/

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February 14th, 2014, 8:42 am

 

27. Syrialover said:

MINA #24

You are being too deep and mysterious for me. I can’t make sense of the following:

“KSA came to the rescue of Asad by becoming the (re-)newed godfather of Egypt”

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February 14th, 2014, 8:48 am

 

28. Syrialover said:

ALAN, Dandachi’s article (see #25) might help make things clearer for you about what is going on (or rather, not going on) in Geneva.

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February 14th, 2014, 8:53 am

 

29. Alan said:

GENEVA – The Russian foreign minister has accused the United States of using Syria peace talks to seek “regime change” in the country.

Sergei Lavrov says a transitional governing body must not be the sole focus of the talks in Geneva, which are “going in circles.” He spoke in Moscow on Friday following a meeting with his German counterpart.
The comments came a day after senior U.S. and Russian officials met in Geneva with U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi in an effort to save the faltering talks.
Brahimi was meeting separately with the Syrian government and regime delegations in Geneva on Friday. An opposition spokesman said Thursday there was no point in continuing to meet with the government officials because the talks were going nowhere.
http://www.essentialprepper.com/russia-syria-peace-talks-going-circles/

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February 14th, 2014, 11:55 am

 

30. Alan said:

The Geneva talks are a historic responsibility and correct step , to proceed even where access to success! It is not for wasting a time or scene to show talk-show for practicing customers money.
As it turns out the scene is the government negotiator, witnessing have professionalism, and a group of amateur politics.
The theme of their holding talks did not come from the necessities of their own people, but of their employers!
They went to Geneva to ascend the illusion Saudi Arabia – Qatar In order to change the regime by dollars and terrorism and bullying by the western destruction machine!

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February 14th, 2014, 12:46 pm

 

31. Observer said:

Norman welcome back.

I thought you believed in the superiority and sanctity of the SAA. The red line of this army according to your latest post to be kept out of politics has long been crossed as you admit it has become an Alawite Militia.

I would love to hear your military assessment of this wonderful SAA

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February 14th, 2014, 4:19 pm

 

32. norman said:

The Syrian Arab Army is a national Army with draftees so it the best to represent the Syrian people, it is the only way to save Syria from being broken up, as I said and you missed, most the people in government are Secular Arab nationalist and most are Sunni, The Baath party was established by the Sunni in Betar , the Christians with Aflaq and the Alwat with Arsozi, and the last time I looked, the defense minster is AL Jasim from Hama , so all what you say about a sectarian regime is non sense, even in Iraq, they kept saying to us that it was a sectarian regime of Saddam Husien that we believed them only to find out that 32 of the 52 most wanted Iraqi by the American forces were Shia, The Baath party is a secular party and there is equality to the members of that party, President Assad would not have lasted few weeks without the support of the Sunni in Syria .

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February 15th, 2014, 7:59 am

 

33. Roger said:

This article is not even worth the virtual ink it consumed. I am very familiar with this type of writers who are overtly obsessed with Iran and demonizing Shiites to justify the Sunni wahabi murderous terror. Iraq and Lebanon both has a majority of Shiites. These majorities never terrorized the rest of the sects that make up their domestic social fabrics. When Sunni ruled Iraq, they brutally oppressed Shiites and Kurds. For 20 years the Sunni elite represented by Harriri and co. have ruled over Lebanon’s politics, economy, finance and real estate, leading Lebanon into more than 50 billion dollars public debt. Since the Taef accord that was held and sponsored by Saudi, the Lebanese Sunni PM became the power broker and decision maker of Lebanon. The Christian president was turned into a protocol president, and the House Speaker (Shiite) became the second in power (legislative) after the PM.
When Harriri junior was ousted, his “moderate” and “modern” movement embarked in the worse sectarian anti-Shiite rhetoric Lebanon has ever witnessed. They protected militias and their commanders in Tripoli, they nurtured the salafi terrorist Ahmad Assir in Sidon south Lebanon, they even built a Sunni militia with the help of Syrian and Palestinian radicals to counter the Shiite militia (Hezbollah), they threatened civil strife if the Lebanese Army storms the terror haven Arsal on the Western border with Syria.
During the 1958 conflict, Lebanon’s sunnis sided with Egyptians and Syrians against their country. Between 1968 and 1975 they sided with the Palestinians against their country and their countrymen in a bid to eliminate the country’s Christians. After 1975 they cheered for the Syrian forces occupying Lebanon and oppressing other minorities. Since 2011, they are doing it again but this time with Nusra and ISIS also against their country. There are a lot more.
Anyway, why is it that each time the Salafi-Wahabi sunnis loose politically somewhere, they immediately start terrorizing their counterparts and blackmail them with their recurring equation, either power or terror?
In Egypt there are almost no Shiites, yet people are fed up with stupid stone-age religion obsessed fanatics. So many people loved Mubarak, yet when he was ousted they continued to protest peacefully. When the Islamists were overthrown, they unleashed waves of terror.
From Afghanistan all the way to Africa, America, Europe, Caucasus, north Africa, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, China etc.. hardly any Shiites exist in these places. Yet Sunni wahabi terror is there preaching and practicing “harmony and tolerance and stability”!
How come the Shiites of Bahrain never adopted the wahabi style head-chopping struggle? 80% of the locals are Shiites, and the Khalifa family chose to naturalize Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, sunni Indians and what not to sway the majority numbers. The khalifa regime uses Asian mercenaries to “discipline” Bahrain’s Shiites. But wait, its Iran!

Every person who crowns himself an “expert” on ME affairs, allows himself to categorize people, sects, and parties into moderate or radical or islamist or rebel or AQ depending on which agenda and propaganda he is serving. All of the sudden ISIS are the only bad ones in Syria (of course next to Assad and HA), whereas the disgustingly murderous takfiri bloodthirsty beasts of Nusra, Ahraru Sham, Jabha Islamiyya, and co. are moderate freedom fighters. Shame on this world, where everything is altered in service of the filthy petro dollar.

In Iran, minorities are relatively respected and represented and have total freedom to practice their beliefs and rituals. No need to mention how is the case in Saudi. In Iraq, minorities such as the Christians (I know no one gives two shits about them) are butchered daily together with Shiites on the hands of the Sunni enlightenment.

In Syria, many minorities are being systematically targeted just because they did not voice support and loyalty to the “pro-democracy” revolutionists.
In Egypt, targeting Copts and other minorities will earn a fancy dinner with the prophet and later a promising orgy with dozens of neatly beautiful mermaids.
Libya, we can use the help from Crusader west to subdue Qaddafi, and then later we can destroy WW2 graveyards of fallen western soldiers, and we can bulldoze down Soufi shrines and churches and murder blacks in Sabha.

I will stop here and entertain at the sheer stupidity uttered by the author who has no shame, dignity, or ethical integrity to tell the Lebanese that you can only choose between Harriri and AQ, same to Syrians and Iraqis.

This person is so ignorant and hateful to say the least. His article will bode well with wahabi media and followers like al Jazeera, al Arabiya, hayat, sharqawsat, etc and with American and Israeli far right warmongers who will do anything to make people believe that Saudi is moderate and good, Iran is devil. West is good, Russia is devil, so on.
Everyone who tries to justify the relentless terror genocide being committed by wahabis who happen to be SUNNI adherents is himself an ignorant and a terrorist. Even if god him or herself do so.
What should be addressed and examined is the sick wahabi ideology, no the alleged marginalization of Sunnis here and there.

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February 17th, 2014, 7:08 am

 

34. Syria, Iraq and Lebanon: the new Af-Pak | Eurabist said:

[…] aThis post was first published on Syria Comment  […]

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February 20th, 2014, 7:08 am

 

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