Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Bread Shortage Is the First Big Test

of a Transitional Council in Aleppo

“We cannot hold elections while people are hungry; we have to solve that problem first,” he said in an interview in this southern Turkish city, where many leaders of Aleppo’s civil society have sought refuge. “People are angry, frustrated and depressed. They can understand how countries like France and Britain and the United States might hold back on the issue of weapons, but not on the issue of bread and diesel.”

Syrian Protesters Slam U.S. Blacklisting of

al-Nusra as Fighting Rocks Capital, North

'Protesters in the Eastern Ghouta region, just outside Damascus and which has come under regular air raids by the regime army, held up a sign reading: "Thank you to all the 'terrorists' in Syria who are fighting Assad."
"We are all Al-Nusra Front," it said, in reference to the jihadist group blacklisted by Washington on Tuesday.
Lines of children and men linked arms and carried the three-starred flag of the revolution as they called for downfall of the regime in the street as shopkeepers looked on.'
Image result for Hillary Clinton and Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

As Assad's regime faces defeat, the prospects of western military intervention increase day by day argues Lindsey German

"Anyone who cares about human rights in the region should see their main aim as stopping western imperialism on its march again."
Lindsey German is still talking rubbish even as Assad is on the verge of succumbing to Syrian revolutionary forces. Anyone on the left should see their main aim as welcoming that. Thank God she left the SWP when she did.
Image result for MOHAMAD DUGHMOSH

A near-to-death experience

"There was never a time when journalists were such a target like they are now in Syria. 
While working, we had to bear in mind that staying in one place for more than an hour made us sitting ducks for the Syrian regime. It was necessary for journalists to move in groups of two or more to remain as safe as possible. 
But no matter how many dangers they are subjected to, it remains their sole duty to cover the story at hand, because not giving this tragedy the media coverage it deserves is bound to increase its repercussions."

Friday, 14 December 2012

Maher Arar

Don't Forget Maher Arar's Rendition to Syria

"President Obama has just announced that the U.S. government has decided to formally recognize the rebel group that is trying to oust Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from power.
The rebel group, however, seems not to be overly impressed with the president’s announcement. According to the New York Times, Andrew J. Tabler, a senior fellow and Syrian expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, stated, “But it’s happening in the context of resentment among the Syrian opposition, especially armed elements, of the White House’s lack of assistance during the Syrian people’s hour of need. This is especially true among armed groups.”
When the brutal Assad dictatorship was in total control of the country and wasn’t threatened by a revolution, the U.S. government obviously had no reservations about working with it to torture people for the U.S. government."

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Syria: The Horror Of Homs, A City At War

2012 Rory Peck Awards: Courage in journalism
12 December 2012
The winner of the news award, with Horror in Homs, was the French photojournalist Mani. His street fighting and sniper alley elements are stunning, but he wanted a different emphasis. 
“I liked the way it was edited because they [C4 News] haven’t shown only the bang-bang. The story was really about the civilians suffering cruel suppression,” he said. “On my first visit, Homs was already the hot bed of the uprising and the regime was unable to crush them easily. When I went back (in January/February) the situation was dire – more militias, more sectarian violence, more snipers, but the Free Syrian Army was taking control on the ground.”

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

“Red Line” or Empty Threat? How

the Left Gasses Itself on #Syria

I've argued with Pham Binh a couple of times, but this is spot on.
“The U.S. does not want to step in militarily to facilitate “regime change” in Syria. It has had plenty of opportunity to do so from the standpoint of pretexts and declined for 20 months in a row... from the standpoint of the U.S.-Israeli alliance, there are no good options or outcomes as a result of the Syrian revolution. Why? Because the revolution is not only popular and democratic but also stridently pro-Palestinian.”
Image result for An afternoon with a Syrian bombmaker

An afternoon with a Syrian bombmaker

'He believes he doesn't have a choice but to make bombs. Foreign countries aren't helping the rebels enough to overtake the heavily armed forces that President Bashar al-Assad commands. The rebels need all the help they can get.
Those men across the country, he says, have abandoned their regular lives teaching or selling clothes or being lawyers to come together and fight to get rid of that man. It's been nearly two years. They've lost their lives and families. At least 40,000 Syrians have died. Someone with his skills should do what he can.
Sheik Omar shouts out the window to his kids playing in the yard.
“Bring your father more sugar, please!” '

Highlights from the interview with Syrian rebel leader Moaz al-Khatib

Ward: If the regime falls tomorrow, will you be able to control all these different groups operating inside Syria?
Khatib: This indeed is a question that needs to be asked. I expect that there would be a good control on the ground because of the presence of hundreds of civil groups operating inside Syria. They don't like to appear in the media; they are working for the good of our country ... diligently but discretely ... and they are organizing themselves for when that day comes. They are already securing bread distribution, traffic control ... they are preoccupied with setting up judicial committees ... security committees. The Syrian people has taken big steps in the establishment the 'day after' committees. I could not say that this is covering every single part of Syria, but it is widely developing. That of course in addition to bigger institutions that will try to give more support to such groups on the ground.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Image result for Syria crisis: Defiance and resolve in war-torn Damascus

Syria crisis: Defiance and resolve in war-torn Damascus

Jeremy Bowen contradicts himself. It may be over soon, the 'long civil war' a memory of régime apologetics.
"But however calm official Damascus wants to be about what is happening, the fact is that the war being waged in the capital is a sign that the regime faces a severe challenge...
Syria has two choices. The first, and least likely, is a political deal between all the warring parties. It is hard to see, as things stand, how that can happen.
If it cannot, then Syria faces a long civil war. That prospect is full of danger, not just for the Syrian people, but for the whole Middle East."

Monday, 10 December 2012

Syria crisis: a beseiged Damascus remains loyal to Assad

A pro-Syrian regime protester kisses a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a demonstration in his support at a central square in Damascus, Syria: Syria crisis: a beseiged Damascus remains loyal to Assad

"Syria crisis: a beseiged Damascus remains loyal to Assad"

The Daily Telegraph can't spell 'besieged'.
"By Ruth Sherlock in Beirut"
I'm dying for a chance to say, 'No shit, Sherlock.' Actually her point about the sectarian support for Assad does explain why he has survived as long as he has, though the limited privileges granted to some Alawites (and non-existent to Christians) explain why support, especially active support, has melted away in a way it didn't in apartheid South Africa.
"One of the reasons that President Bashar al-Assad has not been toppled like the Arab Spring dictators of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen is that he has a strong base of support. Rebels have found to their cost that some of the suburbs are doggedly loyal to Mr Assad, and refuse to allow the anti-government forces to pass through."
The rest of her piece is Assad supporters repeating, "I see no ships", and this, which I think is a more plausible belief,
"The régime seems very strong and held together, but it is a paper tiger," said a spokesman for the Revolution Leadership Council.

Google trends: The moment Syria’s ‘revolution’ became a ‘civil war’

Image result for Google trends: The moment Syria’s ‘revolution’ became a ‘civil war

That a lot of people are invested in seeing Syria as a civil war that needs stopping rather than a revolution that needs supporting might suggest one reason for the shift.


Sham II: New fighting machine of Syria rebels
From a distance it looks rather like a big rusty metal box but closer inspection reveals the latest achievement of Syrian rebels: a home-made armoured vehicle waiting to be deployed.
Sham II, named after ancient Syria, is built from the chassis of a car and touted by rebels as "100 percent made in Syria."

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Rebel fighters take part in a demonstration against the Syrian regime in Aleppo on Friday.

McManus: A call to arms for Syria's rebels

It's not about them; it's about us — and the influence we'll have when they win.

"The question of U.S. military aid for the insurgency will be front and center as soon as the current round of diplomacy sputters out. Unless the rebels win first, in which case the United States will find itself playing catch-up, seeking influence with a new government that thinks Washington gave too little help in its hour of greatest need."

Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War
'Thamir al-Sadi, an Iraqi from Diyala who joined the regular Free Syrian Army, said that would change, predicting infighting after Mr. Assad’s fall.

“After the fall of Bashar there will be so many battles between these groups,” he said. “All the groups will unite against al-Nusra. They are like a snake that is spreading its poison.”
So what he's actually predicting is unity rather than infighting. In the same way one can look at much of the evidence in this report and draw other conclusions.
“One rebel battalion, the Ahrar, or Free Men, asked on its Facebook page why the United States did not blacklist Mr. Assad’s “terrorist” militias.” '

Hichem Karoui: Pawns on Syrian chessboard

A passed pawn you push, is worth two in the bush.
- Bill Hartston.
“Some observers speculate that Russia might be already preparing the post-Assad period, as the fall of the regime is now estimated to occur within weeks, not months. It is also believed that the Russians assess the ability of Assad to survive the war as null.”