Four New Security Chiefs Named - all Hawks. Airplanes Used for First Time. Clinton Gives Assad "Time to Negotiate" - Syria Comment

Four New Security Chiefs Named – all Hawks. Airplanes Used for First Time. Clinton Gives Assad “Time to Negotiate”

Bashar al-Assad announced four new security chiefs to replace those killed in the recent bombing at the national security meeting. Three of the four new security nominations are Sunnis. There is debate on the fourth (Abdul Fattah Qudsiye), who I have been told is an Alawi (correction). All are hawks. The notorious Rustum Ghazali, who ruled Lebanon with an iron fist, is among them. The message is that Sunnis will dominate the security leadership. This is an effort to keep the Sunni-Alawi alliance alive. Baathist rule has been built on the Sunni-Alawi alliance, which has all but collapsed since the beginning of the uprising. The defections of high level Sunnis recently underscores that it is moribund. Ali Mamlouk was appointed to take Bakhtiar’s position as head of the National Security Office.

High placed officers stated to Syria Steps, a regime website, that “all armed elements fighting the state will be wiped out and that they will not have the opportunity for a tactical retreat this time.”

The Syrian government is reportedly using fixed wing airplanes to intimidate neighborhoods in northern Aleppo. Zeina Karam writes that they did not bomb but were used to intimidate as they broke the sound barrier above Aleppo neighborhoods. The use of airplanes is an escalation and may suggest that next time they will be used to bomb opposition strongholds.

Helicopters Join Battle in Syria’s Aleppo
2012-07-24, By ZEINA KARAM

…Fighter jets unleashed sonic booms and helicopter gunships strafed rebels as they pressed their fight Tuesday into new neighborhoods in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Farther south, ground troops combed Damascus after the nearly complete rout of the largest rebel assault yet on the capital….

Clinton Says Assad Has Time to Negotiate Exit: Reuters Link
2012-07-24

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Syrian rebels will eventually control swathes of territory but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still has time to negotiate an exit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.

Charlie Rose

Ancient Aleppo Echoes With Gunfire as War Reaches Its Cobbled Streets
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR, July 24, 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The clamorous heart of Aleppo, the ancient city with its cobbled streets and mazy bazaars, fell silent on Tuesday as residents there and across Syria’s sprawling commercial capital fled the streets and cowered indoors, dreading the rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire and the echoing roar of government helicopters.

Except for the helicopters, the government disappeared, said residents reached by telephone. There was no army and no traffic police, and all state employees were ordered to stay home, warned via official television broadcasts that they would be targeted by the rebel street fighters infiltrating central neighborhoods.

“People are still in shock that this is happening — they thought it would be limited to one neighborhood, but it is growing in size to other neighborhoods,” said Fadi Salem, an academic visiting his family. “They are scared of chaos and lawlessness more than anything else.”

Residents said there were clashes not just between the government and the insurgents, but also between rival militias from the countryside fighting for control of individual streets in at least one southern neighborhood. In a central old quarter, one man said a friend had warned him not to visit because young gunmen had established a checkpoint to rob car passengers.

Damascus and Aleppo had been the two significant holdouts in the fighting that has gradually engulfed the rest of Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. But now the whole country is inflamed. Guerrillas from the loosely affiliated Free Syrian Army launched major assaults in both cities via sympathetic, anti-regime neighborhoods in the two cities, which vie for the title of the oldest urban centers on earth.

Much is at stake. Whoever controls the two jewels-in-the-crown controls Syria.

In Damascus and its surroundings, a frontal assault on the rebels by some of the government’s most elite soldiers starting late last week largely smashed the toeholds they had claimed, although skirmishing continued to flare on Monday. Syrian television broadcast photographs of government soldiers kicking down doors and hauling off suspected insurgents on the city’s outskirts.

Fighting in Aleppo, on the other hand, first limited to Saleheddin, a poor, southern neighborhood, has widened as more rebel fighters spread through the city, said residents and activists.

“I am not sure if they are trying to take over neighborhoods or just to create the impression that they are everywhere,” said Mr. Salem. So far they have claimed to control neighborhoods, or at least streets, where the poor Sunni Muslim majority is most likely to give them succor, he said.

But in Aleppo, as in Damascus, the rebels will probably have to fade back into the countryside once the government mounts a major offensive. They will have made their point, however, that no place is immune.

“The government is trying to regain the initiative from the rebels,” said Jeff White, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has been studying the military situation in Syria. “The government forces have not been able to do this easily, despite their numbers and use of heavy weapons.”

Free Syrian Army elements, he said in an e-mail, “are defeating some offensive actions, seizing government positions and facilities, and making road movement more difficult.”

Other analysts said the government seemed to be favoring standoff techniques, like using the helicopters in Aleppo, to avoid casualties.

“They are using this tactic because they are desperately afraid of using up too many of their most loyal troops in an urban assault,” said W. Andrew Terrill, a Middle East specialist at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

In Washington, the secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking as though the Syrian insurgency’s momentum was now unstoppable, said its territorial gains might be leveraged into safe havens. “We have to work closely with the opposition,” she told reporters, “because more and more territory is being taken and it will, eventually, result in a safe haven inside Syria, which will then provide a base for further actions by the opposition.” ….

Syria: Shabiha Militia Member Tells It Like It Is
An active member of Syria’s feared shabiha militia says he is in a “win or die” fight for his president (and a little bit of cash).
BY HUGH MACLEOD AND ANNASOFIE FLAMAND OF GLOBALPOST

LATTAKIA, Syria and BEIRUT, Lebanon | As Syria descends into civil war, Abu Jaafar said he is ready to kill women and children to defend his friends, family and president….

“If I get a call from my boss then my whole day is changed,” he said. “When I leave the house, I don’t know when I will be back.”

Packing up the Kalashnikovs, pistols, machine guns and grenades he said were given to him “by the government,” Jaafar joins his gang of 100 shabiha – the Alawite militia named either after the Arabic word for ghosts or the old Mercedes shahab popular for its smuggling-sized trunk – and sets off to crush the Sunni Muslim protesters who dared rise up against his president.

In an interview with a GlobalPost reporter in Lattakia, Jaafar gave a frank and unique insight into the violent, disturbed world of the shabiha, a group that suffers from a dangerous cocktail of religious indoctrination, minority paranoia and mafia roots.

The massacres in northern Syria, which U.N. officials, eyewitnesses and Human Rights Watch all concluded were perpetrated mainly by shabiha from neighboring villages, triggered a wave of international revulsion.

U.S. officials raised the prospect of military action even as analysts described the marauding shabiha as a “Frankenstein” now beyond the control of the president. The regime blamed both massacres on foreign terrorists.

Like many of Syria’s estimated 2.5 million Allawites, a small mystic off-shoot of Shiite Islam which forms just 12 percent of the country’s population, compared to Sunni Muslims who represent 75 percent, Jaafar said he grew up struggling with poverty.

“My story is similar to all shabiha: I was born in a small village and didn’t finish school. Instead I went to work with my father in our lemon farm,” he said….

Five Syria Nightmares: The Middle East Can’t Live with Assad, but Living Without Him Won’t Be Easy
Nobody’s expecting a happy ending any time soon to Syria’s civil war. Here are just five things that could go badly wrong when the Assad regime falls
By Tony Karon – Time

Syria Is Iraq
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, July 24, 2012, NYTimes

Lord knows I am rooting for the opposition forces in Syria to quickly prevail on their own and turn out to be as democratically inclined as we hope. But the chances of this best-of-all-possible outcomes is low. That’s because Syria is a lot like Iraq. Indeed, Syria is Iraq’s twin — a multisectarian, minority-ruled dictatorship that was held together by an iron fist under Baathist ideology. And, for me, the lesson of Iraq is quite simple: You can’t go from Saddam to Switzerland without getting stuck in Hobbes — a war of all against all — unless you have a well-armed external midwife, whom everyone on the ground both fears and trusts to manage the transition. In Iraq, that was America. The kind of low-cost, remote-control, U.S./NATO midwifery that ousted Qaddafi and gave birth to a new Libya is not likely to be repeated in Syria. Syria is harder. Syria is Iraq….

Jihad Makdissi said in a televised statement that unconventional weapons would “never be used against the Syrian people,” but might be used “in the event of external aggression.”

THE PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION
By Simon Henderson, Foreign Policy
July 24, 2012

Saudi Arabia is bringing back its most talented operator to manage the Arab Spring. He was appointed the new intelligence chief. But can Bandar stem the rot in Riyadh?…. At the very least, his appointment is a reflection of King Abdullah’s concerns about developments in the Middle East, particularly Syria, and the limited talent pool in the House of Saud to meet the challenges. Frankly, it suggests panic in Riyadh.

Where does one start? Bandar certainly used to be a firm pair of hands, but recently that grasp has been shakier. Although Bandar endeared himself to successive U.S. administrations for being able to get things done — as well as the sumptuous parties he hosted at his official residence in Virginia overlooking the Potomac — the prevailing story recently has been about his mental state. William Sampson, a (friendly) biographer, noted that Bandar’s “first period of full-blown depression” came in the mid-1990s. Another biographer, David Ottaway, described Bandar as a “more than occasional drinker,” and most conversations about him seemed to revolve around, only partly mischievously, whether he had finished detoxification or not….

Preparing for Bashar al-Assad’s exit
Marc Lynch – CNN

Marc Lynch writes: The stunning assassinations of several key Syrian leaders and the outbreak of serious combat in Damascus last week momentarily held out the possibility that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime will rapidly fall. Many hoped for a cascade of defections, a rise in popular demonstrations and a rebel surge to bring down the government. […]

The day I met Syria’s Mr Big
24 Jul 2012, Guardian, Ammar Abdulhamid

Ammar Abdulhamid describes being interrogated by Assef Shawkat, Syria’s deputy defence minister and former military intelligence chief who was killed in a suicide bomb attack on July 18: “The country is not ready for revolutions and civil disobedience,” he told me. “That’s your opinion,” I replied. “We won’t imprison you and let your friends in ….

U.S. still doesn’t know who’s who in Syria
By Greg Miller and Joby Warrick, 24 Jul 2012

Sixteen months into the uprising in Syria, the United States is struggling to develop a clear understanding of opposition forces inside the country, according to U.S. officials who said that intelligence gaps have impeded efforts to support the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. spy agencies have expanded their efforts […]

Assads’ family rule makes an Alawite state impossible
Faisal Al Yafai, Jul 24, 2012 – The National

….There are strong reasons to believe such an Alawite state would not be welcomed by ordinary Alawites, and would not succeed in any event.

The Assad regime, although composed mainly of Alawites, is not about one sect – it is about one family. Many Alawites have remained poor, even though they have received preferential treatment in the armed forces. If they could be persuaded that a Sunni-led Damascus would not threaten them, they would be unlikely to side with this brutal regime that, once secure in its own state in the west, would certainly continue its systematic repression.

Moreover, the position of ordinary Alawites in that state would be terrible. …

There is real fear among Alawites about reprisal attacks after the fall of the Assads, but just as much there also appears to be a recognition that the future of Alawites will remain in Syria. There have been demonstrations against the regime even in Latakia. Alawite soldiers have defected to the Free Syrian Army; one accused Mr Al Assad of fomenting sectarian war to stay in power. Already, Syrian rebels have tried to give assurances by saying they are preparing to protect Alawite regions from reprisals.

A majority of Alawites would probably side with a new Syria – if they could be persuaded that their safety would be assured…..

Kelly McParland: The only thing worse than Assad may be no Assad
2012-07-24, By Kelly McParland

July 24 (National Post) — The revolt in Syria is one our times’ great examples of the warning that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it. Given the nature of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, public opinion has been eagerly awaiting his downfall. But as his departure looks increasingly imminent, we are confronted with the uncomfortable question: is it really in the interests of the western world for him to go? Given his government’s acknowledgement that it does indeed possess large supplies of chemical and biological weapons, as long suspected, are we happier having those weapons in the hands of a repressive but stable regime, or would we prefer they fall into the hands of an ill-defined agglomeration of armed insurgents, whose only shared interest is in seizing Assad’s power for themselves?

We don’t know a lot about the Syrian rebels. There are so many disparate factions involved, it’s impossible the characterize the nature of the revolt, other than being anti-Assad. Damascus insist its opponents include foreign terrorists, Islamic extremists and al Qaeda zealots. It’s entirely possible – in fact likely – that that’s true. They may not dominate the anti-Assad forces, but it’s a safe bet that they’re there, and working to ensure they get their share of the spoils. No matter how much you hate Assad, and rightly so, do you want his chemical supplies falling into the hands of religious crazies and committed jihadists?….

Comments (52)


Bruno said:

Clinton must be dreaming after her trip with the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt i bet she wants that to happen in Sryia yet again, which is not a surprise.

(Preparing for Bashar al-Assad’s exit
Marc Lynch – CNN)

That was not a news article but an opinion piece by Mark.

(Syria Is Iraq)

Really so now Assad is the new Saddam? so let me guess another excuse to go with war over the none exist of the WMDs.

Saddam had no WMDs. I feel sorry for the people who are going to eat this lie up and believe it.

(Churkin speaking to Moscow’s relationship to Assad and how Assad’s departure could cause more problems.)

Vitaly Churkin is a former Ambassador.

From the article.

( Syrian rebels will eventually control swathes of territory but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still has time to negotiate an exit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.)

Thats highly unlikely to happen, rebels have been moving from Cities to Cities with light arms which that wont hold very much for the longer period.

( Syrian rebels will eventually control swathes of territory)’
Again highly unlikely. The rebels aren’t gaining any territory,

For the users who aren’t going to agree its pretty sad if you believe the lie that Assad has WMDs thankful a lot of other people aren’t buying into the lie twice.

July 25th, 2012, 12:29 am

 

Uzair8 said:

A post from elsewhere : [Also see the same user’s next post]

‘Assad’s counter-insurgency strategy is between a rock and hard place,…’

http://www.iranmilitaryforum.net/military-conflicts/updates-on-military-action-in-syria/msg127217/#msg127217

July 25th, 2012, 12:48 am

 

Pirouz said:

Joshua, did you notice Iraq’s stance towards Syria at the latest Arab League meeting? As the sole Arab dissenter, their position could have been penned by the Iranian foreign ministry: it’s identical.

July 25th, 2012, 12:51 am

 

Aldendeshe said:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Syrian rebels will eventually control swathes of territory but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still has time to negotiate an exit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.
_________________________________________________________________

Do you smell “FISHY” deal here? Is the Baathist regime agreeing to house all the degenerate Islamist Zombies clones in an area inside Syria? Like a big Guantanamo of sort, to be ready for future uses and fake national revolutions, say in Arabia or Chechnya? With 600 bombers and sophisticated defense systems that can pretty much shoot Nato jets out of the sky like pigeons, one wonder if Assad will use it all, or have under the table agreed to this swath of land storage of Genocidal Islamic Clones. Will see in the coming week if he is going to clean and mop up, or play silly defeat and retreat, which will be a tell tale sign of “under the table” face-saving agreement for NATO/BEDOUINS. He will be fool to allow that or make such a deal, Russia will be fouler to back such plan.

July 25th, 2012, 12:52 am

 

Juergen said:

Turkey closes all border crossings with Syria

The last crossings which remained open which were Cilvegözü, Öncüpinar und Karkamis will close today. With a car it will be impossible to cross into Turkey. Exceptions are made only for those who travel in transit.

The impact on the refugees will be small, most of the refuggees use irregular routes into Turkey.

July 25th, 2012, 4:24 am

 

Antoine said:

ALDENDESHE,

Five people with Al-Dandashi as their surname have been martyred in Telkalakh during this Revolution. They were killed in May 2011 when Assad attacked Telkakalh.

I invite you to join the Revolution, don’t forget 5 al-Dandashi’s have been killed by the regime.

And should I remind you of Muthanna Al-Dandashi your relative, a militant member of the MB ?

Its interesting that you hate Baathist bureaucrats nut you still love Assad and want to make a deal with him, why ?

July 25th, 2012, 4:27 am

 

Antoine said:

Ramadan Mubarak Aleppo :

July 25th, 2012, 4:35 am

 

Antoine said:

Aldendeshe,

Will you be concerned if Rustum Ghazaleh defects or killed ?

If Rustum Ghazaleh defects, will you consider him the same as Manaf Tlass, a Baathist criminal escapee ?

Btw I I am curious about one thing : Why couldn’t the Syrian Army defeat the Baathists in 1963 ?

July 25th, 2012, 4:37 am

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

According to direct sources from inside the battlecamp:

1) FSA members number is growing day after day, nurished by regular inhabitants and defected army and security personal.

2) There are no shortages in arms and finance.

3) More sophisticated weapons being received recently.

4) Security services ranks in villages and towns cooperate with FSA selling information.

5) Rate of anti-tanks rockets as per today: 45.000 sp.

6) There are deads in every suburb, in every street and in every family.

July 25th, 2012, 4:53 am

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

4. ALDENDESHE

You should control your words. Specially when you are not in Syria. People is fighting against the powerfull status quo and your words are really ofending and despicable. You know very well that if your points of view were openly said in Syria under your name you would be assassinated sooner or later by the popular front. You would not dare to say what you write here on air.

July 25th, 2012, 5:00 am

 

Antoine said:

Visual evidence of FSA controlling Al-Boukamal border crossing, many people escaping to Iraq after recent decision of Iraqi Gov’t to accept Syrian refugees –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txVD8ZkeAmo&feature=g-user-u

( What can be more degrading for Syria when Syrians have to escape and hide in Iraq and in Yarmouk Palestinian Camp ).

July 25th, 2012, 5:27 am

 

Halabi said:

This innocent man in Midan was killed by the terrorists according to Addunya. The same man was a bomb maker neutralized by the military, according to Ikhbaria.

http://youtu.be/KpVFpPenCKg

It never mattered one second to Assad, his supporters and the sectarian opponents to the revolution what the truth is and who is responsible for killing tens of thousands of Syrians. All they can do is lie and blame the scary Islamists for everything while they cheer the slaughter of the Syrian people.

July 25th, 2012, 5:28 am

 

Antoine said:

Sandro,

Do you know which village Rustam Ghazaleh is from in Daraa ?

Also is it true that Farouk al Sharaa is from Daraa ? I so, from which tribe / clan ?

On a different note, I think it was wrong of you to have threatened Aldendeshe.

July 25th, 2012, 5:35 am

 

Antoine said:

FSA experimenting with home-made Artillery :

July 25th, 2012, 5:38 am

 

Juergen said:

Antoine

Faruk al Scharaa is from Deraa. He has a relative here in Berlin. I dont have any idea which tribe he was born into, but to my knowledge to that family that does not matter much.

July 25th, 2012, 5:51 am

 

SANDRO LOEWE said:

13. ANTOINE,

I heard Faruk Sharaa is from Daraa but I have no more details.

Regarding Aldendeshe I did not threaten him at all.

I am just saying that if he was seen or heard inside syria saying what he says will probably get killed by the masses.

This is not a threat. This is a prediction. And and advice for which Adendeshe should thank me.

July 25th, 2012, 5:56 am

 
 
 

habib said:

Demonstrations in “even in Lattakia” means nothing, it is majority Sunni, not Alawite. As for Alawite defectors, sure, the announcement video showed the soldiers laughing while claiming they were Alawites…

And lol at all these “shabiha” interviews. Would anyone here believe it if foreign al-Qaeda members in Syria were interviewed?

July 25th, 2012, 6:42 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Aleppo City Liberation Tour with Free Syria Army – Assad Army Flees Downtown -7-24-12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni_cO_4yAoY
.

July 25th, 2012, 6:47 am

 

Juergen said:

I just read that 150 observers of the UN mission( in total consists of 300) have left and will not return. It seems like they just extended their mission for 30 days in order to withdraw in an orderly fashion.

July 25th, 2012, 7:33 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Fighter jet bombs Rastan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T25GEG910kM&feature=youtu.be

This shows how desperate the Alawi junta became.
.

July 25th, 2012, 7:38 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Telbesehi too

.

July 25th, 2012, 7:49 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

If not the brave Syrian YouTubers, we had to believe SANA that the men of the great Arab Syrian army are coming to get’ya. Apparently, the men of the great Arab Syrian army are fleeing town, leaving everything behind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKVbwDDSYjs
.

July 25th, 2012, 8:00 am

 

Tara said:

Manaf Tlass is on umrah?  Oh please.  Is he going to wear dishdasha now?

11.47am: Could this be why Manaf Tlass was out of the limelight for a while? There are claims that he was on umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) in Mecca, purging his sins.

July 25th, 2012, 8:12 am

 

irritated said:

Like Turkey and France, the USA is cornered in a aimless rhetoric.

The plan of regime change in Syria is a fiasco.
The plan A to build a political front against Syria is a disaster: After 16 months and more than a dozen of international meetings , AL, FOS, Contact groups, UN the Opposition is still bickering, torn among its multiple conflicting agendas dictated by foreign countries.
The plan B to build a military opposition called by a unique name, FSA, is hiding the fact it is a multitude of small armed groups with multiple conflicting agendas, many of them simply affiliated to Al Qaeeda. Not only the FSA is divided, but boosted by the media and the vocal and financial support of the enemies of Syria, it has seen itself as a liberator, counting on the enthusiasm of the civilian population that was supposed to rally with them. Nothing of the sort happened, they got a serious beating in Damascus and probably they’ll an even worse one in Aleppo. The population, not only did not rally them, but they left them to pay for their acts.

In summary, the Syrian government has shown an extraordinary unity, resilience and smart reactivity that would have been impossible without the support of a sufficiently large part of the population.
For the ones who still think that the ‘majority’ of Syrians are against the government, it’s time to revise your numbers.
It is also time for the Arab countries and Turkey, now in a state of anger and panic to realize that their plan to humiliate Syrian is turning against them and may make them pay a heavy price.
And for the Western warmongers, they are realizing that they have reopened the pandora’s box in the region and released the Islamists that will soon be knocking hard at their doorstep and the doors of Israel.
It’s time for Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Laurent Fabius and Erdogan to move on the side or just shut up.

July 25th, 2012, 8:30 am

 

Dawoud said:

Free Syria & Palestine!

July 25th, 2012, 8:36 am

 
 

AIG said:

Irritated,

There is fighting in the streets of Aleppo and Damascus, the FSA controls several border crossings, the Syrian Kurds have basically declared an autonomous region, Russia stopped its flights to Syria, Turkey closed the border to trucks, the Syrian economy is in a disastrous state, the only country in the Arab league that supports Syria is Iraq. And I can go on. And you view this as a “success”? Assad is killing Syria and you are cheering him on.

The Syrian regime has lost all legitimacy. There is no scenario under which it can win because the best scenario under the current regime is an isolated and sanctioned hell hole with no ties to Turkey or the West.

When you talk about how Assad protects Israel and the West from Islam, it just shows how desperate you are. I thought Assad was the head of the “resistance”. Now it seems he is the protector of Israel.

Assad had 11 years to make Syria better. He couldn’t. The longer he stays the worse Syria gets. But keep supporting him.

July 25th, 2012, 8:57 am

 

Juergen said:

DIE ZEIT always a good informed newspaper writes that the german government has been supporting the syrian opposition since January 2012

The new Syria comes from Berlin Wilmersdorf

For months, Assad’s opponents have secretly met in Berlin – with the knowledge and consent of the Federal Government.

“The question at the meeting is: How can the transition to a democratic Syria be organized? The inevitable end of the regime is provided simply as a working hypothesis. This shows that the federal government estimates for much longer with the collapse of the Syrian regime, can pass as a diplomat in Berlin. And Germany is much more involved in the preparations of the Syrian opposition, as we previously stated publicly.

This, however, with good reason: Under considerable effort discreet ex-generals, economic and legal experts and representatives of all ethnic groups and denominations have been – including Muslim Brotherhood, but also secular nationalists – flown in from around the world to Berlin. The thing had to be kept to allow a free debate and participants to protect themselves from the long arm of the Syrian intelligence service under the radar of the public. Moreover, as long as Germany more appealed to Assad and his patrons in Moscow and Beijing, it would have been counterproductive to disclose specific plans for a free Syria.
For months, Assad’s opponents have secretly met in Berlin – with the knowledge and consent of the Federal Government.”

http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zeit.de%2F2012%2F31%2FSyrien-Bundesregierung

July 25th, 2012, 9:29 am

 

Stick to the Truth said:

30. Juergen said:
DIE ZEIT always a good informed newspaper writes that the german government has been supporting the syrian opposition since January 2012

Germans are very precise Jürgen. In order to give boarder picture of this support below the list of the sponsors.

The critic among commentators is huge. This may cost Westerwelle th last 4% votes he has.

The only good news, it seems that Syria has much bigger oil reserves than we thought.

Die Sponsoren des Institutes SWP:

– Allianz Versicherungen AG

– BP

– Daimler

– Deutsche Bank

http://www.swp-berlin.org

July 25th, 2012, 11:31 am

 

Stick to the Truth said:

#30. Juergen
Surprising, it was this time DIE ZEIT and NOT DER SPIEGEL and BILD that have disclosed this story – That mean some thing- Usually its always DER SPIEGEL that discloses such secret agreements.

By the way.

The best analysis about the situation in Syria you find on FAZ. Excellent background information, but unfortunatelly in German.

The Title is: And you think its about a dictator?

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/syrien-und-ihr-denkt-es-geht-um-einen-diktator-11830492.html

Jürgen, could you please translate.

I would like to recommend this reading also to Mr. Landis. Germans tend to say. Man learnt nicht aus. Or “You never stop learning”. Correct Jürgen??

July 25th, 2012, 11:46 am

 

irritated said:

#29 AIG

What you write was true 12 months ago and it may be true 2 years from now. A few months ago the opposition was boasting half a million protesters in Homs, now a few skirmishes here and there and you call that success and a progress to the acceptance by the civilians of the opposition?

In the meantime Bashar al Assad is still here and we saw Sarkozy and Juppe kicked out, HBJ soon exploding of frustration, Erdogan with a very probable relapse of his colon cancer and Hillary on the way to the hairdresser.. finally.

The next few months will bring more bitterness to the opposition increasingly impotent and desperately begging the “friends” foreign powers to do more than shouting and threatening.
As the end beggars can’t be choosers

July 25th, 2012, 11:58 am

 

irritated said:

#25. Tara

Manaf Tlass is on umrah? in Mecca, purging his sins.

Then he can be elected President of Syria after consultation with Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Finally a pious and purified pro-west Sunni president with french connection.

A new era would open for Syria…

July 25th, 2012, 12:09 pm

 

Tara said:

Irritated

A purified sinless pious pro western “handsome playboy” with a sister who is a wealthy French Madam and an “elite” family?

A nation’s dream?

Not mine. I think I fall for much different profile.

July 25th, 2012, 12:35 pm

 

zoo said:

The legacy of the US occupation of Iraq.

http://csis.org/publication/iraq-after-us-withdrawal-us-policy-and-iraqi-search-security-and-stability


While the US has withdrawn from Iraq, this analysis demonstrates that US withdrawal did not leave a legacy of security and stability. In fact, the presence of US forces may have artificially suppressed the severity of Iraq’s internal political, military, and economic challenges. Since the US withdrawal, Iraq has faced an unsettling rise in civil unrest, and is experiencing a political power struggle that threats to undermine its ability to develop into a functioning democracy. Perhaps most troubling, these minor skirmishes and political crises could spiral into new rounds of sectarian and ethnic conflict which has plagued Iraq in the past.

July 25th, 2012, 12:59 pm

 

irritated said:

#35 Tara

I guess Mr and Mrs Mursi are much more adequate for a post-Bashar Syria than the glamor of the Tllass

July 25th, 2012, 1:03 pm

 

AIG said:

Irritated,

The beggar is Assad. The situation NOW is that there if fighting in Aleppo and Damascus. The situation NOW is that the Kurdish regions have left Syria. The situation NOW is Assad is as isolated as ever and cannot recover. The situation NOW is that even the Russians are not flying to Damascus. The situation NOW is there is no commercial traffic with Turkey. The situation NOW is that the economy of Syria is non-existent.

Hillary Clinton is going to retire. Erdogan rules over a prosperous country. And Sarkozy has been democratically voted out of power. Meanwhile, Assad has trashed Syria and has just had 4 of his closest people retired permanently. Oh, and he also got thousands of his own citizens killed and lost most of the Kurdish area of the country. Erdogan may have cancer, but thanks to Assad, many Syrians with cancer are not getting any treatment. So go ahead and compare if it makes you feel better. It does not improve your situation one bit. The situation of the people you mock is 1000 times better than that of Assad.

As for the opposition, it is doing the right thing. Hitting Assad where it hurts without attempting to hold ground. What is the use of holding a neighborhood if Assad is going to shell it anyway? Using hit and run, the opposition has proved to the Assad supporters in Aleppo and Damascus that Assad cannot provide security or any semblance of a normal life. For anyone living in Syria, it is clear that Assad is the problem, not the solution. You are right that also many people do not think that the opposition is the solution, but the first goal is to get rid of Assad.

Assad is willing to burn Syria to the ground and see thousands more die to gain a few more months in power. He is willing to lose the Kurdish territories of Syria to gain a few more months. He will even bring in Iranian and Hezbollah fighters. But to no avail. He can drag this out but he cannot win. Even in the unlikely case he subdues the opposition he will still be an outcast under sanctions, with no relations to Turkey or the West. Syria can never prosper under Assad. Assad is a lose lose proposition.

July 25th, 2012, 1:17 pm

 

Tara said:

Irritated,

We haven’t seen anything bad from Mursi as of yet. Will judge him as he goes along. As long as he doesn’t hold dear life onto the chair, I will be forever thankful. Mrs. Mursi is keeping low profile and I do not think she is glamorous. I just hope that we will not discover later on that the couple have a knack for spiky sleazy shoes, or that the husband’s ego get boosted by western-educated Arab women. I am still awed by Lamis Omar’ s statement. Dedicating her life to the meanings that she found in Batta. I felt so jealous. No one has ever told me anything similar..

New post is on.

July 25th, 2012, 1:52 pm

 

irritated said:

AIG

As an Israeli and a long term enemies of the Arabs and Syria, your overexcitment about events in Syria is more than suspicious.

Worry a little more about self-immolating Israelis in your ‘paradise of justice and democracy”

July 25th, 2012, 2:18 pm

 

AIG said:

Irritated,

“As an Israeli and a long term enemies of the Arabs and Syria, your overexcitment about events in Syria is more than suspicious.”

That is funny coming from a person who just explained how Assad protects Israelis from Islamists.

“Worry a little more about self-immolating Israelis in your ‘paradise of justice and democracy””

Yes, one Israeli self immolated. In Syria though, Assad is self immolating whole cities. As usual, you comparisons are amusing. Keep them coming if it helps you deceive yourself about how Assad is trashing Syria. Pointing at other peoples’ minor problems is not going to help you solve your big ones. It is just a form of escapism.

July 25th, 2012, 2:32 pm

 

zoo said:

Panic in Israel and worries on the Golan.

Syria fears send Israelis running for gas masks
By Michael Blum | AFP – 56 mins ago

http://news.yahoo.com/syria-fears-send-israelis-running-gas-masks-170054924.html

“You’ve got to be prepared for anything with what’s going on in Syria,” said Benny Rahamim, one of a growing number of Israelis picking up gas masks as fears grow over Syria’s chemical weapons.
..
Israel’s armed forces chief told MPs on Tuesday that fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels had reached the strategic Golan Heights plateau, part of which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed.

“Battles are taking place before our eyes in the Golan area,” Lieutenant General Benny Gantz told members of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defence committee.

Such talk has further jangled Israeli nerves already strained by fears of a possible Iranian nuclear threat and speculation on whether the Jewish state plans a pre-emptive strike on the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities.

Israel began general distribution of gas mask kits in 2010 saying it was a general precaution not linked to any “precise current threat.”

July 25th, 2012, 2:33 pm

 

Juergen said:

Stick to the Truth

See my post 28, there is a translation of the article, i could not add an excerpt it would otherwise mark the whole post as spam.

Well such informations come surely from the government itself, and they must have had their reasons to trust this reporter.

I would gently disagree that the well known FAZ has the better background information. Well two things are true, with the NZZ( Neue Züricher Zeitung) they have the most spread and professional reporter network in this world, and this since almost 100 years now. The other fact is that they give space to “experts”, usually someone from the diplomatic corps, some university professor. Most of them are just known in their field, not abroad, and surely their analysis is not aimed for a brighter public. I really liked Wolfgang Günter Lerchs articles, kind of the Robert Fisk on the ME for that newspaper, by the way Muhamed Asad the famous quran interpreter and reporter began as an journalist working for the FAZ.

July 25th, 2012, 2:37 pm

 

zoo said:

Hoping for the rebels to win, will Hillary get a slap on her smily face soon?

Syrian rushes troops to Aleppo to fight rebels
By PAUL SCHEMM | Associated Press – 1 hr 53 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-rushes-troops-aleppo-fight-rebels-164008118–finance.html

BEIRUT (AP) — Dozens of government tanks converged on Syria’s largest city Wednesday as President Bashar Assad marshaled his forces to stamp out a five-day rebel fight to wrest Aleppo from the regime’s grasp.

“We are expecting a big attack on Aleppo,” local activist Mohammed Saeed said via Skype, explaining that some 80 tanks had been spotted in the countryside being hauled by flatbed trucks towards the city. “People are worried they might be hit by random shelling and are fleeing.”

A similar rebel assault in Damascus last week took days for the government to control, and only then with the help of artillery bombardments and helicopters.

Yet while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed confidence Tuesday in the rebel advances and predicted the eventual establishment of safe havens, the opposition fighters have yet to hold any territory against a concerted regime assault.

This is in stark contrast to Libya’s rebels, who last year were able to create a liberated area in the east of their country that proved key to their successful battle to oust longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
..

July 25th, 2012, 2:46 pm

 

irritated said:

#41 AIG

Talking about escapism, what are you doing on Syria Comment?

July 25th, 2012, 2:50 pm

 

Tara said:

The FSA should be provided with anti-tank missiles in order to be able to neutralize the Assad’s army in Aleppo. They nead qualitative weapons otherwise they will all be martyred. If not, they should tactically withdraw and take the battle to another city.

July 25th, 2012, 2:56 pm

 

AIG said:

Irritated,

“Talking about escapism, what are you doing on Syria Comment?”

Right, for an Israeli, learning about Syria is “escapism”. Maybe one of the reasons your Assad could not get the Golan is that he never bothered to learn about Israel, and it seems you are following in his footsteps. Keep up with the knowledge is “escapism” line of thought. It will get you far.

July 25th, 2012, 3:12 pm

 

AIG said:

Zoo,

You write:
“Hoping for the rebels to win, will Hillary get a slap on her smily face soon?”

When Assad lost the Kurdish parts of Syria, did he get a “slap” in the face? When neighborhoods in Damascus were trashed, was it a “slap” on the face? Or do only Americans get “slapped” while Assad always succeeds?

July 25th, 2012, 3:15 pm

 

Stick to the Truth said:

#43 Jürgen>

I would gently disagree that the well known FAZ has the better background information. Well two things are true, with the NZZ( Neue Züricher Zeitung) they have the most spread and professional reporter network in this world, and this since almost 100 years now

The other fact is that they give space to “experts”, usually someone from the diplomatic corps

As you know it was FAZ which disclosed the background of the Hula tragedy. I am I right?

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/arabische-welt/syrien-eine-ausloeschung-11784434.html

I wonder why do you prefere to quote DER SPIEGEL and BILD?

BTW, NZZ in many cases is only copying and pasting the FAZ when it comes to political analysis of international affairs.

July 25th, 2012, 10:41 pm

 

Stick to the Truth said:

#46 TARA

they should tactically withdraw and take the battle to another city.

Tara,

Below a quote about tactic, I leave the interpretation to your sense.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Sun Tzu quotes

Im afraid the FSA strategists missunderstood Napoleon when he said:

One must change one’s tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.

Napoleon said every 10 years and not every 10 days.

I wish in this terrible days that the families of all Pro-Government as well Pro-Rebelles in Syria are safe and sane.

July 25th, 2012, 11:40 pm

 

Dawoud said:

Bilal was lucky that Ummayah, not Bashar, was torturing him! This was my thought last night while watching al_Faouk “Omar” on MBC! Bilal survived torture, but Hamza al-Khateeb didn’t!

Free Syria & Palestine!

July 26th, 2012, 8:45 am

 

Christopher Rushlau said:

I listened to your remarks made in Maine quite recently. Public radio in Maine played it today. They seem to have developed a slight sense of journalistic urgency.
I give you an 80%. You seem to know 80% as much as I do (is that how professors grade?).
The 20% you ignored is about the inertial frame–the observer’s standpoint. The fact that the Midcoast Forum invited you and Maine public radio played you, and promptly, too, shows big changes in the Israel lobby. Mac Deford used to refer to Afghan insurgents as germs.
You cited Lebanon as a marvel of stability, by some miraculous means, since its 50% Shiites are not a big enough mass to impart stability–or at least haven’t been able to–per the National Pact or National Accord or Taef Accord (you cited “national pact” in an unrelated context???) whereas 60% Shiites in Iraq are and 70% Sunnis in Syria are even more so. What does this teach us?
Let me propose a question about authority. Why do people do what they’re told? Either they are in denial and are dealing with the devil, or they would do it anyway and are happy that authority is being reasonable.
I might even coin a phrase: the comedy of the commons. Almost all people can agree on the wisdom of toppling the tyrant, and need almost no coordinating hand to stage-manage their efforts. The insurgency in Afghanistan is a marvel in that respect, even to the point of keeping on the pressure even though the enemy has already admitted defeat.
That is the inertial frame for political science. Israel is the anomaly, the anti-democratic enterprise, so it stands to reason most people are aligned against it. Opposition requires power for expression and success. Tyrants fail, die of fatigue, because “in order to subdue nature you must follow its rules” (Aquinas). So Israel is slated, fated, to fail. The question is, when? But we can say that inroads are made on it wherever they can be.
If there is a tide metaphor to be made here, it would be in regards Israel, and the most crucial beach may be in the US. The New Yorker’s first cartoon of this week, after “Talk of the Town”, shows a couple looking across the Hudson from Manhattan and one saying, “I think of it as a moat”.
Given the New Yorker’s editorial slant, Zionism-defined Jews are in their Goetterdaemmerung, appropriate for the 19th Century venture of Zionism. Understanding Israel as an international phenomenon, regional events like Syria makes sense most as indicators of the decline of the West in its last embodiment: Zionism.

July 26th, 2012, 4:38 pm

 

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