Saturday, 14 September 2013

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Inside the Syrian Revolution
and what the Left must do

"People either in the U.S. or in the Arab world or in Syria won’t necessarily get the message that this is really a message against the war. They’re going to see the pictures of Asad and understand that this is really propaganda, it’s not really against the war.

I think that the left has a real task ahead of it. It has to really formulate a new position, a more coherent position. A position where one can be at the same time against the war and also against dictatorship. And as long as they don’t do that, I think that they won’t have any kind of credibility. People in Syria will see that as almost a license to kill because the Syrian regime has been actually broadcasting those demonstrations on Syrian State TV, showing how much it is popular in the West and that people are demonstrating in the streets of New York and other cities showing those pictures of Asad. Actually the Syrian regime is not even able to organize such demonstrations or rallies in Syria, so it was very happy to see that emerging in many parts."
Putin on foreign intervention in Syria.

Putin on foreign intervention in Syria



 Damascus (Madamiya): Sept 10, 2013 - Non-stop rocket attacks by Assad’s forces continue to rain down on the people in the suburbs of Damascus.
20 days ago Assad’s forces unleashed an apocalyptic attack on the residents of this town with sarin gas.
Today, nothing has changed.
Tomorrow, nothing will either.
In 20 days time? …. nothing.
The world may just wait to ‘act’ when there are no more humans left

The incredible story of how Putin used
secret KGB chess tactics to outwit the US

"For Zevsebia experts, there is no doubt that Putin’s manoeuvre yesterday when he offered to sacrifice the Assad regime’s chemical weapons in return for staving off the US attack was inspired by the classic chess move. The Kremlin will no doubt dismiss those reports as fantasy, as it has done for decades but the evidence is there for all to see. It’s not a little bit ironic that the manoeuvre that allowed the US to save face was developed by the Soviets for precisely the opposite reason."

The International Socialist Organization

 and the imperialist onslaught against Syria
The anti-Assad people who have been involved in anti-(US)intervention activity have had some nasty stuff from the Bashar Or Syria Burns crowd.


Aziz's story

An account of the Syrian regime's brutality

"We must ask if it is lack of humanity or lack of imagination which makes some condemn the Syrian people’s struggle. And what kind of simple-mindedness assumes that Syrians need Gulf or Western provocateurs to prod them toward rebellion? The relevant question isn’t why a community would revolt against such oppression, but why not?"

The hateful rhetoric of the “anti-war” left toward Syria

Syria in This Modern World

'The last 2 minutes are the most powerful, and, I would say, the most damning of the American public. Look at the cats. Don’t you care about the kittens?'

Syrian-born professor advocates
for U.S. intervention

"This is to show you the absurdity of the régime's thinking of a military solution. Abu Kamal is a city, the rebels are stationed on the roads to Abu Kamal, not in the city. So the air raids come and target the city, and not even get close to the rebel checkpoints. Just to show you the blind eye of the régime on how to make any progress to maybe regain these areas, which is not going to happen because they have lost it and are just trying to retaliate.
I envision the power of Syrian people to be more overwhelming, than what you called in a very institutionalised way, government."


What if Assad wants U.S. to bomb Syria?
Chuck Norris is scared.
"Assad placed Obama (and, hence, America) in checkmate when he launched chemical weapons upon his people. The temptation is to blow up his chess pieces. But the right and wise move is to step away from the table, quit playing his game and form our own."

Colorado Recall Results: Democratic State Senators Defeated In Major Victory For NRA

They can't send too many guns to Syria as they need them in Colorado.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The novelist vs. the revolutionary:
My own Syrian debate

"The novelist, living in exile, in the world of politicians and diplomats, far removed from falling shells and sudden death, wonders whether Syria should be hesitant about welcoming military strikes from the West. She argues that no country has the right to interfere in the affairs of another, that independence and national sovereignty are sacred. And she questions whether hitting military targets without taking down President Bashar al-Assad, especially while Russia and Iran continue to support him, will bring a shift from the inhumanity that the regime has imposed.
The revolutionary, moving among guerrilla fighters and civilian activists, stands by those who are living under the regime’s bombardment and dying at the hands of its military machine. She argues that sovereignty shouldn’t mean the freedom to kill one’s own people, to displace them or to force a sectarian wedge between them. She notes that the soldiers she overheard speaking Farsi when the rural town of Haish was annihilated are evidence that international intervention happened long ago. She adds that Syria is not the Assad regime. Syria is the Syrian people."

‘We Just Wish for the Hit to
Put an End to the Massacres’

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Ground truths
"At the start of what may prove the biggest battle yet in this region, rebel sources claimed that a force of some 8,000 fighters had captured the northern approaches to the city of Deraa. If so, they have encircled a large government garrison that has been pounding rebel-held villages with artillery."

The Syrian Revolution From Kafranbel

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Ultimate Spinach Visions Of Your Reality

"On the ground it continues Obama's drive for violence."
The presenter of Russia Today's Crosstalk programme.
Syrian employees stack packets of Syrian currency in the Central Syrian Bank in, Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday Jan. 13, 2010. Syria is allowing foreign investors to own majority stakes in the country's banks, the latest in a string of moves aimed at unshackling the economy as Syria emerges from years of isolation.

In Syria, Follow the Money
to Find the Roots of the Revolt

"Syria under Bashar al-Assad’s rule tried very hard to join the World Trade Organization. When the U.S. lifted its opposition, the World Trade Organization’s 153 members granted the Syrian government an observer status. Although the state was still the main economic generator, privatization was encouraged; foreign entities such as private banks, joint Saudi-French bank of Bimo, Fransabank, Bank of Jordan-Syria, and the Saudi Islamic bank, joined the Syrian market. The road also began opening for other credible international banks such as Citibank and HSBC to come to Syria and lend money at higher interest rates."

Image result for Syrian oil fields, now in rebel hands, still play crucial role in nation’s economy

Syrian oil fields, now in rebel hands,
still play crucial role in nation’s economy

“We had to revolt against this regime. It was brutal,” he responded. “But the price we are paying is too high.”
That said, “when the revolution wins, we will consider it worth the price. We have lost materially, but our spirit has not been defeated.”

Read more here:

The Tsar of All the Concern Trolls
"It is simply false that “there is every reason to believe” that the poison-gas attack was conducted by opposition forces and not by Assad’s Army. On the contrary, there is every reason to believe the exact opposite. (Please note, in passing, the pious cleverness of that last sentence, in which Putin gift wraps his whopper in a beribboned package of worried concern for the well-being of Israel.)

Putin’s mendacity is mainly an exercise in hypocrisy. His method is as much a matter of what he leaves out as what he puts in, as a line-by-line analysis by the Washington Post’s Max Fisher suggests. What Putin puts in, for the most part, is a succession of elegantly restated points that are identical with those made in good faith by American and Europe opponents of air strikes or the threat of air strikes."

Syrians wait in line to buy bread at al-Shaalan market in Damascus August 28, 2013. REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri

Insight - Syria govt struggles
with supplies, but holding on

"Syria's worst harvest in decades, as civil war rages, means more pressure to import on a government whose currency reserves are dwindling - even if support from Assad's sponsor Iran, and a shrinking population to support as Syrians flee the country and provinces fall to rebel control, ease the burden and buy time."

  • Local experts weigh options over potential military strike in Syria

    ' "Let me be honest with you, I think the U.S. should intervene, and I think they’re late. Because we have lost control of our borders, terrorist organizations have gotten involved and turned the revolution into a civil war," he said. "But I still think that, if the U.S. is careful about selecting its targets, they could really help."
    As for Syria’s future stability, Yaman said he still has hope.
    "You know, in France, it took them 100 years for their revolution to work," Yaman said. "I have hope for Syria. It’s a unique country with so many different religions and peoples, and a wonderful culture. I really want to return one day." '

Former rebel stronghold
Homs a shadow of its old self

That's what the whole of Syria is going to look like if Assad is not overthrown, while we continue to obsess about the possible damage from American airstrikes.


Top Five Worst Arguments
Against US Airstrikes in Syria

"The situation of the Syrian people is tragic and dire, but military action will only make their situation worse – so goes the argument. As Sarah Palin put it, “So we’re bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria?”This ostensibly civilian-centered perspective is anti-war in form but pro-war in essence since “sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the gun down,” as Malcolm X said."

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Star Spangled Banner

"The jihadists benefit in all the chaos," said Samir Nachar, a Syrian Opposition Coalition member opposed to the rebel extremists. "They gain as the moderates waffle about waiting for the rest of the world."*
Question Time was interesting this evening. At times descending into a squabble about Cameron's statement about not respecting the will of parliament. If there was appetite for intervention, there wouldn't be such a farce. On one side those who wanted to praise the Russians, the very people who have been arming Assad and blocking any action against him, as peacemakers, who might end this "double proxy war" (Caroline Lucas). Chuka Umana and Caroline Lucas told us there were other things we could be doing like helping the refugees, just as Jeremy Paxman was pointing out on Newsnight that the vast majority of refugees have fled Assad's army.
And so the arguments of the liberal interventionists, that it is the credible threat of force, that the time for action is now, are rehabilitated. Even Caroline Lucas was forced to say she'd support the use of force if the case that it would work was made, that if two-thirds of the UN General Assembly voted for it it could bypass the Security Council. If there isn't military support for Syrians trying to determine their own destiny, as the crisis in Syria goes from worse to who knows where, the argument will swing back to whether a solution can be imposed to them by imperial consensus or by sending the Marines.
The Americans have supposedly finally sent through some light weaponry. It might not be a game-changer, but it can't hurt. I don't expect the rifles blow up if the owner fails to sing the Star Spangled Banner each morning.


 'Writer, filmmaker, and "humanitarian bombing" survivor Jasmina Tesanovic
reflects on the similarities between the war she experienced, and the strikes
proposed by the United States against Syria.

 "Personally, I understood why we were being bombed and, politically speaking, I could not argue against it. I was a target, along with my elderly parents and my underage children, but I hoped that the rain of bombs would conclude our endless years of more subtle forms of punishment. Despite those hopes and that comprehension, I went out of my mind with fear when the first alarm sirens went off and the NATO warplanes appeared in our sky.

That being said, I must admit that the targeting was precise, and aimed at infrastructure. So few civilians were dead that the cynical term "collateral damage" made some sense. My first horrific fears proved worse than the dull ensuing weeks of real life under the raid conditions. When it finally ended, I was relieved that so many of us had survived, and I felt ready to congratulate anyone and everyone still standing, all the NATO forces, the Serbian military and deserters, the Albanians in Kosovo, everybody but our regime which was not even toppled!" '

Syrian Citizen Journalists Set Ethical
Example Focused on Dignity, Truth

"Police also tracked mobile devices and used GPS to scuttle protests in advance, they said, but as more technologists in the regime defected or emigrated, those efforts have stalled.

It is in these digital arenas that youth has found its calling. The group described a revolution of younger people overall, but especially in the reporting ranks, where they said at 32, 24 and 22, they were older than many. One described a 16-year-old videographer, known for his photos and footage, and a 17-year-old geek who has handily evaded regime digital spying and interference. He’s currently writing the “Guide for the Technical Revolutionist,” they said."

Not Anymore - A Story Of Revolution Trailer

 Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution, details the experiences of two young Syrians as they fight for Syria’s freedom against the oppressive al-Assad regime.
 "Now one thing that's working, we can talk, and express our opinions about anything. That's really worth all this sacrifice. We're going to build this whole country again, from scratch, from zero, and it doesn't matter how long does this last; because really, all the males and females of this country, are willing to build it again, and even better than it was before."
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V. I. Lenin
Draft Theses onNational and Colonial Questions
For The Second Congress Of The Communist International

"With regard to the more backward states and nations, in which feudal or patriarchal and patriarchal-peasant relations predominate, it is particularly important to bear in mind:
first, that all Communist parties must assist the bourgeois-democratic liberation movement in these countries, and that the duty of rendering the most active assistance rests primarily with the workers of the country the backward nation is colonially or financially dependent on;
second, the need for a struggle against the clergy and other influential reactionary and medieval elements in backward countries;
third, the need to combat Pan-Islamism and similar trends, which strive to combine the liberation movement against European and American imperialism with an attempt to strengthen the positions of the khans, landowners, mullahs, etc."
Syria's a bit different, a lot more advanced and Russia more fulfils the role of colonial power, but I think the first point is still quite pertinent, if only in embyronic form.

These Two Men Allegedly Overheard Incredibly Explosive Skype Conversation While Being Held Hostage in Syria

Freed Teacher and Italian Journalist Recount Syria Kidnap Ordeal

 I think we'll be hearing more of these bullshit artists. They are supposed to have overheard, while kidnapped, an FSA general discussing their plans for a chemical attack in Damascus, in English, as part of their plan to establish an Islamic Caliphate? Do me a favour. I suspect they will turn out not to have been kidnapped by the rebels at all.

Syrian Forces Behind Last May's Banias Massacres As Government And Rebels Committed War Crimes, UN Reports

"The report documented eight mass killings in all, attributing all but one to government forces."

Syrian Opposition:
"We Don't Trust the Russians"

'Russia has been a key supplier of arms and funds to the Assad regime, in addition to providing political cover, previously threatening to veto any plan for intervention at the UN Security Council.
"They’ve become part of the problem. They’re not part of the solution," said al-Atassi. "We will wait, and work according to the Syrian revolution’s interest. That will be our answer." '

Syrian armed forces march toward protesters in Homs (AFP)

The revolution and the war

"I'm really curious about this because nobody--not even on the left--talks about what the revolution actually looks like. In listening to you, I'm reminded of what I learned about the Spanish Revolution in the 1930s, where the anarchists and socialists were also struggling with a war on two fronts: one against the fascists, and one against the Communists. That's a more complicated story, but what I was struck by is how your descriptions of the revolution developing its own institutions is similar to Spain, where an egalitarian society sprouted there. What does the revolution look like on the ground in Syria?"

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

On The Ground In Syria:
Political Prisoner Speaks Out
"I told the investigator that I had stopped attending demonstrations because I disapproved of the militarization of the opposition. When asked about my opinion of the events, I said that taking up arms against fellow Syrians will only destroy the country, so I decided to live like any other citizen. I admitted to having reservations about official corruption but emphasized that I did not support the armed uprising as a solution."
Recounts torture.
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Forty years after Pinochet’s coup

"In the late 1970s and early 80s I was involved in Latin American solidarity work in Oxford and got to know quite a few Chileans. Many seemed to be happy and friendly people but others were scarred by the experiences they had been through before exile, and it showed. People fleeing conflict, persecution and the threat of torture or death are very vulnerable and often fragile. At least British governments of the 1970s and 80s recognised and put into practice their obligations towards such people. Things are different now."