Saturday, 1 June 2013

Hürriyet Daily News

The Syrian crisis and Hezbollah

"What made Hezbollah strong and respected was that its constituency transcended sectarian, and even religious and ideological boundaries. Hezbollah found support among Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, nationalists, leftists and even in political movements in the West... As of May 25, 2013, Hezbollah has become a local actor only supported by the Shiite population, acting on behalf of Iran.

If one replaced all occurrences of “Baath dictatorship,” “al-Assad” or “the regime” in any text the Syrian rebels expressed themselves, with “Pahlavi dictatorship” or “Shah” and read this text in some demonstration in Iran in 1978, no one would be the wiser. Or, if one replaced “USA” with “Russia” in any statement released during the Iranian revolution and used this in the Syrian crisis context today, no one would know the difference. Similarly, if one replaced “Hezbollah” with “Syrian Opposition” and “Israel” with “Syria” in any statement issued by Israel in 2006, it could be easily believed that it was as a statement issued by Hasan Nasrallah, today."

Editorial: We and the Syrians

"For 42 consecutive years since 1971, the late Hafez al-Assad and his son, President Bashar al-Assad, treated Syria as if it was their private property. We, Indonesians, are obliged by our Constitution to help the Syrians get rid of the oppressive Syrian regime."

How Syria Became a More

Dangerous Quagmire Than Iraq

Patrick Cockburn blows a lot of smoke, and then complains about the fog of war.

Friday, 31 May 2013

24 Hours From Tulsa

Moscow's S-300 anti-aircraft missiles – which could potentially alter the balance of power between Syria, the rebels, and Israel – are now thought unlikely to be operational for a year.
Syrian Chemical weapons

Syrian evidence confusing because we

didn’t manufacture it, admit UN members

"Upon suggestion that the UN might have to actually intervene in Syria, government officials moaned, “Do we really have to? I’m not sure there’s much in it for us apart from helping millions of people escape an oppressive and deadly regime.” "
From Palestine… Here is the Syrian Revolution!

From Palestine… Here is the Syrian Revolution!

"The revolutionaries, who chanted against Assad, are those who condemn any violations from the side of the opposition forces, political, military and civilian. We also support the Syrian people’s resistance, in the means that they find appropriate, whether peaceful or non-peaceful."
Image result for stop the war coalition

Lifting the Syria arms embargo is

another step towards full scale war

Another shitty anti-revolutionary article from Lindsey German. No criticism of the Russian arms, only talking of the opposition or of Assad stepping down as bad things.
I found it via a site associated with the pro-Israel AWL* (who themselves have switched on Syria, as their fear of Muslims outweighs their desire to bash the left), which had this:
"An attempt at a major public meeting on the issue, held in London on 21 May, attracted only 50 people. This was a meeting organised by leftists (Counterfire and Socialist Action) to oppose Western intervention in Syria at which no platform speaker was willing to criticise the disgusting Syrian regime."
Nice to see they got so few for a pro-Assad meeting.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Western arms threaten Syria’s troubled revolt

Destruction in Deir ez-Zor, April 2013

 Simon Assaf

 Al-Qusayr should have a hyphen rather than a question mark, I think.
While most of the warnings about the perils of Western influence may be timely, the suggestion seems to be that no military aid would be best. I don't think the FSA is in a position to be quite so snooty.

 "Europe’s weapons would be funnelled through select Free Syrian Army (FSA) channels. The aim is to bolster the pro-Western section of the opposition leadership and reduce the influence of Islamist and revolutionary brigades."

 Anyone who actually provides support to the Syrian people is likely to increase their influence, but I don't see that receiving Western arms would change the character of the FSA. And what is making anyone stay 'pro-Western' if they don't want to, once victory is achieved?
Lessons from Raqqa: from demanding freedom to creative state-building

Lessons from Raqqa: from demanding freedom to creative state-building

'If anyone can achieve the impossible, it is Syrians. They have turned the French students uprising´s slogans - "Be realistic, demand the impossible" - into "Be realistic and make the impossible." '

Watch what the west does

on Syria, not what it says

"On both sides of the Atlantic, the intelligence and security establishments tend to take a more cautious line than the politicians and diplomats."
None of them have provided any weapons yet, so how cautious do they need to get?
"Worries about jihadists continue to rank higher than the desire to topple the Assad regime."
Indeed. The proxy war theorists are talking nonsense.

Chemical gas kills one in Damascus

 Documentation of the Baniyas massacre has also reached the BBC.  []
 Ian Pannell's editor is still calling it a 'massacre'.
 And his report was "Can't be sure what happened", "Country soaked in blood." Rather than it being obvious that it is the government militias that do sectarian massacres, and that government needs to be overthrown to stop the bloodshed. Nothing will ever be normal again while Assad or his power structure remains.

Too Much Information

Just before I got in the bath, Martin Butcher, arms policy adviser for Oxfam, was on the BBC talking about Syria. I missed most of the interview, but he made three points at the end, to discourage support for the Syrian rebels, with all of which I disagree.
1. If the West arms the rebels, Russia and Iran will increase their deliveries.
Not arming the rebels hasn't discouraged them. They deliver tonnes of weaponry every week, it's probably reached saturation point. It was estimated a while ago that the régime is paying the Russians a billion dollars a month, and would run out of money by June. I could go on.
2. The FSA has no proper command and control structure.
Leaving aside how much truth there is in this (like many statements about the opposition, it has been widely retailed , while the actual statistics point in the opposite direction), when you are trying to overthrow the government, it is those with weapon supplies that can command allegiance.
3. The FSA collaborates with the Islamist of Jabhat-al-Nusra on a daily basis.
They're trying to overthrow the same dictator. What's the FSA supposed to do, say they'll have a war against al-Nusra first, or stoke up a peace pipe and hope all the bad people go away?
Kevin Maguire and Faye Adams were similarly anti supporting the rebels on Sky's press preview last night.

Fawaz Gerges has added:
1. There is no military solution to the conflict.
The rebels have beaten back the régime without much isolated support, so I think this is a hypothesis designed to support a conclusion.
2. This has mutated into a proxy war, no longer a fight between the opposition and the government.
It's a fight between the same Syrians who asked for justice in 2011, against a government bolstered by thousands of soldiers from Hezbollah, a lot of Russian and Iranian munitions, and diplomatic cover from Russia and China.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Syria News Wire header image 2

A left-wing response to

left-wing delusions on Syria

“As a Leftist activist, one would have thought you would mention – at least once, in passing – the popular uprising or the revolution, what Syrians think and want, or anything remotely related to people. Instead, all you obsess about is big politics from a statist perspective: regime change, foreign intervention, regional war, Israel, Iran, blah blah blah.”

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Image result for bbc world service

In this edition, Nick Redmayne revisits the chaotic streets (and choking traffic) of Benghazi, to find out how Libya's 'rebel city' is faring after Gaddafi. 
"Nobody said liberty was neat and orderly."
It isn't true that Libyans were better off under Gaddafi, any more than Syrians are better off under Assad.


"Warning: This video contains horrifying scenes and we don't recommend it for weak hearted people.This scene is just to document the crimes that are being committed by Bashar al-Assad and his regime. It is not to shock our viewers or to encourage violence; we just want to document what is happening in Syria."

Syrian Revolution dance in Paris

The Obstacles that Face the Syrian

"The rebels will cut the regime’s supply routes from the south and east. This will allow them to advance in Damascus more quickly and let the grip on Assad tighten. In contrast, this strategy has a down side in which the Damascus residents will have to flee their homes to the countryside or to Lebanon due to the intensive shelling technique, which the regime will use to delay the rebels marching towards downtown Damascus.
The complete capturing of Damascus is inevitable, but it is a way yet too far to accomplish, contrary to what is broadcasted in the media about the beginning of the battle in summer 2013.
It would be accelerated if the west increase the aid for the Syrian rebels, supply them with sophisticated weapons and establish a buffer zone in Daraa’, but Mr.Obama is busy, right now, with the American middle class rather than the middle east issues. He does not want to be involved in a war that may damage the U.S economy."