Saturday, 12 October 2013

Syrian refugees spend time in their makeshift tents in central Ankara

Rebels with a cause: Payback, Israel
and a post-Assad Syria

'In a rare conversation with a number of Syrian women, one young woman, who is Palestinian and married to a Syrian man, said, “Until now no country has helped the Syrian people. Assad should be executed.” A Syrian man described her as a “refugee twice,” in a clear reference to her family’s displacement from the Palestinian dispute with Israel.'

Small town fights for world’s attention
with witty banners and viral videos

'More recently, its residents have found themselves resisting jihadist groups that have taken root elsewhere in the region. After one such faction took a local butcher hostage and tried to stop activists showing films in Kafranbel, Fares and others, including figures from the local FSA unit, told them not to come inside the town again. “Since then they have stopped trying to infringe on us, because they know we set too many obstacles for them,” he says. “Their ideas are foreign to us, and that is the reason I believe that once Assad is gone, they will vanish from Syria.” '

Friday, 11 October 2013

A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his son

Forget Chemical Weapons. Assad Regime
Uses Starvation as Tactic Against Rebels

"Those who remain in Moadhamiya either don’t have the money to leave, or have nowhere to go, says Idriss. In some ways the mass migration is a blessing, he adds. With winter coming, few families would be able to survive on the meager portions of food and heating oil that his brigade would be able to smuggle in."

The Syrian air force deserter driven to escape the war

Syrian government forces in Homs in July 2013

 'He recalls one day in particular, when more than 100 men were arrested in a raid on the town of Muadhamiya, west of Damascus.
 "The beating and torture starts from the minute we find our target. It won't stop," he says. "But on that day, we stopped on the Muadhamiya bridge, just off the neighbourhood that's inhabited by Alawites loyal to Assad.

 "The men were brought to where our cars and buses were parked. One protester was taken from one car to the other and that's when the civilians of Alawite community arrived and started beating the protester.

 "They used everything - sticks, stones, their fists and feet . While beating him they were chanting "Long live Assad". A few minutes later, the protester was a dead body on the ground. We took him in the car and put him in a refrigerator." '

A Slaughter of Alawi Innocents

Image result for pulse media A Slaughter of Alawi Innocents

Robin Yassin-Kassab

"By this conflation [of the various factions of the insurgency under the heading “armed opposition groups”], HRW (a fine organisation which has done great work in uncovering the truth of the Syrian conflict) veers dangerously close to the orientalist/racist stereotyping of the Syrian people’s struggle now dominant in both the rightist and liberal/leftist Western media.
It goes without saying that the crimes committed against Alawi civilians in northern Lattakia province are grotesque and idiotic, and constitute another strategic blow against the revolution and the survival of the Syrian state."

Syria: Executions, Hostage Taking by Rebels

The SNC has disavowed these groups, and supported the call for their funding to be stopped, and quite right too. Still, the vast majority of atrocities are committed by government forces. What makes me think that? Because they bomb civilian areas every night.* A couple of years ago they were shooting at demonstrators every day, which is how the Free Syrian Army came into existence. Meanwhile the state's lie machine went into overdrive, where it has stayed ever since. The torture, arrests and murder was justified because rebels killed 175 soldiers at Jisr al-Shughur (it was later rounded down to 120), "local witnesses denied the government's version of events, claiming that the dead were killed by their own side for defecting." And this has gone on ever since. Over and over the régime has killed civilians, while its media and those of its allies in Russia and Iran have blamed the violence on terrorists, and the media consensus in the West has been that there have been accusations against both sides. And that aid to those fighting in Syria against the government will cause a catastrophe.
It isn't the Russian aid of billions of dollars of weaponry, the tens of thousands of Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese fighters, that are sucking us into a quagmire, that need to be protested against, that need to be stopped. It is a Western intervention that was never going to amount to much, and turned out to amount to nothing at all. Except an excuse to carve up a deal with the Russians whereby Assad would be free to continue killing as long as he does it without the chemical weapons. 
I noticed this morning that the latest post on Brown Moses blog** is by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi. He used to be a guest poster at Harry's Place, a nasty blog in which any disagreement with their support for liberal interventionism in the Middle East leads to screams of antisemitism and Nazism. I've seen other people of similar persuasion, like Adam Holland, Terry Glavin and Marko Attila Hoare be similarly clued in to what is going on in Syria. I worry that whatever influence they bring to bear on Syrian revolutionaries will be pushing them towards accepting direct Western military intervention which I think would be a negative, but as a mirror image of the jihadis fighting on the ground in Syria, to the extent they are useful in the fight against Assad good, and what influence they have is down to the abandonment of Syrians to war in the name of peace.
I did mean to talk about the threat by African countries to withdraw from the International Criminal Court over claims that African leaders are unfairly targeted. In short, when the rich and powerful are never prosecuted, this looks a lot like an instrument of control rather than justice. I did also mean to talk about the overall casualty figures, which Patrick Cockburn among others claims show that the rebels have killed more people than the government. This jars with the régime's triumphalism, in which they claim to always be killing a lot of terrorists. I think the most likely explanation overall is that the civilian casualties have been massively under-reported, because when millions are fleeing it is hard to tell who has left and who has died, and so when the dust settles, it is more likely to be the case that up to this point 250,000 have died, and the government forces have killed 85% of them. A figure that will only continue to rise if the foreign arms and weapons continue to flow to Assad. That a barely armed population has fought him to more than a standstill shows that he cannot win, and it wouldn't take too much to finally bring him down.
*From yesterday […/syria-air-raids-on-rebels-k…]

Yay! No More Chemical Weapons!

Image result for yay no more chemical weapons

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2013 Peace Prize on Friday to the United Nations body charged with destroying Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons under a deal brokered by Russia and the United States.
[…/chemical-weapons-watchdog-wins-nob…]Mike Harris, Index on Censorship: "This will not come as any consolation to people in Syria who have lost relatives in chemical attacks."

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Islamism As Internationalism?

"Those who claim the revolution is losing fail to understand the transformation that has taken hold of the Syrian people. Against all odds, they are enduring shelling, starvation, sarin gas, and the betrayal of the entire world – peoples and governments – for years on end in order to pry their freedom from Assad’s cold, dead hands. Just because their women are veiled and their men bearded doesn’t mean they’re not freedom fighters and just because they are Muslims or Islamists doesn’t mean their struggle is not our struggle.
The rules of internationalism still apply."

Rebels pushed out of Damascus suburb
"Sayyed said much of the fire was coming from the 56th army brigade in the hilly region of Sahya. That area was evacuated after the threat of U.S. strikes following a nerve gas attack in August on other rebellious Damascus suburbs that killed hundreds.
The area became operational again after the threat receded following a deal to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal, Sayyed said."

Video of ‘Hezbollah killing’ sparks outrage

 This is normal for the régime forces in Syria. Patrick Cockburn was trying to make the opposite point recently, as there is the fog of war we can't really know what to believe.* That's convenient when you are trying to explain away the systematic brutality from one side.
 *"A correspondent in south-east Turkey recently visited a Syrian refugee camp where he found ten-year-old children watching a YouTube clip of two men being executed with a chainsaw. The commentary claimed that the victims were Syrian Sunnis and the killers were Alawites: in fact the film was from Mexico and the murders had been carried out by a drug lord to intimidate his rivals."[]
Syrian Army Soldiers

Nato members could act against
Syria without UN mandate

"Barack Obama is unlikely to have much trouble mustering a Nato coalition of the willing if Washington opts for military intervention in Syria in response to the alleged chemical weapons atrocities by the Assad regime."
Well, that turned out to be bollocks. Of course as they were trying not to intervene, the signal went out that it wasn't worth offering to help. And, 'alleged'.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Image result for Syria Political Round-Up, Oct 9: Government to Industrialists “Please Come Back”

Syria Political Round-Up, Oct 9: Government to Industrialists “Please Come Back”

"Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi has appealed to Syria’s investors and industrialists to return to the country, claiming it is now in a reconstruction stage despite the ongoing conflict.
Meeting the Syrian Exporters Association For Clothes and Textiles, al-Halqi asserted said the Government is seeking “to upgrade industry, in spite of the current circumstances, thanks to the national will and joint dialogue to make decisions that can face the crisis”.
The Government said last week that Syria had lost $3 billion in industry since the uprising against the Assad regime began in March 2011.
Despite millions of displaced people and critical situations in many areas over basic needs, the Prime Minister said “food and medical security is consolidated, thanks to the unity of the army and the people”."

Image result for Channel 4 News Report: Syria massacre: troops ‘starve gas attack town’ - video

'Syria massacre: troops ‘starve gas attack town’ - video
The 13,000 citizens of Moadhamiya fear that when the suburb falls they will all be killed “in the worst massacre of the 21st century”.'
Image result for Syria Video Analysis: Mis-Understanding the Insurgency - video

Syria Video Analysis: Mis-Understanding the Insurgency

"Six minutes reviewing the latest developments within the insurgency — including the formation of new blocs in the north and in the Damascus suburbs — and explaining how many in the media mis-understand this as “Islamist extremists” taking over the opposition."
My Photo


More horseshit from Flying Rodent, mistaking his own propaganda for facts.
"Consider: is John Kerry being honest with America when he tells the people that "Assad has killed 100,000 Syrians"? That would, after all, imply that regime forces haven't taken any casualties at all. When he makes grand claims about damage to American prestige caused by failure to blam Damascus with missiles, is that a real and important thing, or a bunch of PR horseshit?"
Image result for rebels attack army base in northern syria abc the shelling tuesday 2013 october

Rebels attack army base in northern Syria

"The shelling Tuesday, the latest salvo in an assault on the military facility, was part of a broader rebel effort to capture the remaining regime outposts in the largely opposition-held countryside of northern Syria."