Saturday, 5 April 2014

Turkey and Nato

Is a key Nato member plotting a fake
terrorist attack to justify war on Syria?
"The authenticity of the recording has not been verified, but nor have I heard any evidence to suggest that it is not authentic. It is not clear when this conversation took place, but its participants included intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, army deputy chief of staff Yasar Guler, and Foreign Ministry under secretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, and there is no doubt about their intentions."
If you have no verification, how can you be sure of their intentions?
Stop The War's intro on their Facebook page is more ludicrously conspiratorial:
"A fake terrorist attack by a Nato member to justify war on Syria? No reporting of that in the media's fairytale version of Western foreign policy."
Pot. Kettle. Black.
"No matter how many times the consequences of ‘humanitarian interventions’ fail to live up to their expectations,"
like the one that hasn't taken place in Syria.

This Haunting Photo Of A Stunned
Syrian Girl Embodies Assad's Strategy

"The nails and other shrapnel in the barrels pierce the city and mangle its people.

There are a myriad of horrifying photos. The little girl, along with the distraught man in the background, depict the brutality of the crude devices while sparing the gore."

Image result for paul woodward Syria seen through the eyes of a British journalist and a Dutch jihadist

Syria seen through the eyes of a British journalist and a Dutch jihadist
Paul Woodward"When a veteran reporter makes this kind of observation, even though he does not identify his source in any way at all, there will be many readers who treat Cockburn’s word (and thus that of an unidentified “observer”) as definitive. In so doing, they ignore the fact that this characterization of the Assad regime’s opponents perfectly mirrors the regime’s own propaganda.
One can treat Assad’s claim that he is fighting terrorists as a statement of fact. Or, one can treat it as a cynical and effective piece of political messaging — messaging one of whose purposes is to corral some sympathy from those in the West who, paradoxically, both vehemently reject the military adventurism that the neoconservatives initiated after 9/11 and yet also fully embrace a neoconservative view of unified terrorism."

Please Don't Make Me Cry

 Syria: Unlawful Air Attacks Terrorize Aleppo*

 That's actual terrorism, that is.


Turn! Turn! Turn!

 Martin Luther King: 'I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." '
Return to Homs. Image courtesy of Human Rights Watch

REVIEW: Return to Homs at the Brixton Ritzy
'It removes what director Talal Derki called “the political soap opera” of the civil war, leaving us with the uneasy feeling that Syria’s suffering is the responsibility of us all.'

Friday, 4 April 2014

Dr Abdul Wahab Al-Effendi

The fall of the Syrian regime and Lebanon

This is quite a cheerful outlook.
'There is a joke which we used to tell one another as children and it goes like this: every morning, a dog used to have fun by chasing a goat. He would chase the goat until it was tired of running and eventually leave it alone and go about its way. One morning, the dog begin to chase the goat as usual; however, that day the goat decided that it would attack and it began to chase the dog head first, pointing its horns at it. The dog was surprised and began to stutter in disbelief, "Has this goat gone crazy?"
The Assad regime fell the day that the "Syrian goat" went crazy and decided that it no longer wanted to play the Assad dog's game. The regime lost its ability to terrorise the Syrian people when the people of Daraa refused to submit to its guns. The "bank of terrorism" went bankrupt and its currency fell. This stands as a reminder to all of us that the survival of any authoritarian regime is the result of a complicated relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. It is not the terrorism practised by the Assad regime or the Syrian army's presence in Lebanon alone that ensured the regime's survival, but the presence of several parties in both Syria and Lebanon, which gave to and took from the regime much to its advantage and benefit.'
The Umayyad mosque, Aleppo, lost its minaret in fighting in 2012.

Syria three years on: what
for the future of tourism?
“I don’t think you could find such a depth of history and culture anywhere else in the Middle East.
The socialist leanings of Syria's dictatorship meant that they had kept out a lot of the trappings of modernisation in terms of fast food restaurants and lots of other associated things, so it was in a bit of a time warp – no McDonald’s, no Starbucks.”
I don't bother with McDonald's or Starbucks either (Burger King used to have a very good beanburger), but I wouldn't describe this exclusion as socialist, more a way of protecting the régime's own capital accumulation without having US business take a large slice. Blander forms of capitalism aren't socialism.
This is interesting though, showing how the ruling class can ride out the war on Syria's poor, but that the processes of capitalism can't stay on a war footing indefinitely. My hope is that when the next major defeat for the régime happens, those saying there is no point in continuing with a government that cannot govern the country will help put it out of its victims misery.
“The owner of the company we used to work with said, ‘I was fed up. It was much better for me to go back to my own country that I love, even though it’s got great problems.’ And of course there’s no work, but he was at the top of the tree, so they probably have good savings that they can use to live off. I think he spends his days now going horse riding.”

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Image result for The Syrian Opposition Coalition is not a lost cause. But we need more external support

The Syrian Opposition Coalition is not a lost cause. But we need more external support"Our Free Syrian Army forces are expected to uphold international humanitarian law and the laws of war; for Assad's forces, the opposite is true and is indeed their modus operandi. All too often the media confuses the public by conflating all forces fighting the regime under the banner “rebels”. Yet the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria recently differentiated our “moderate nationalist forces” as separate from the extremist groups. We oversee the Free Syrian Army, which has been defending Syrian civilians and which is not only taking on Assad’s forces, but fighting against the extremists, Iran-backed terrorists of Hezbollah, and Iraqi sectarian militias."
'Our' and 'oversee' might be over-stating the case, but the rest is sound.

Image result for On Syria, U.S. and U.N. are all talk and no action

On Syria, U.S. and U.N. are all talk and no action"The Obama administration is not lacking in options to stop the ongoing, horrific crimes against humanity in Syria. What it lacks is the will to act. It could order the Assad regime to authorize border crossings by aid convoys — something Ms.Power said would require only “a stroke of the pen” — or face the same airstrikes Mr.Obama threatened last summer. It could target blockade points with drone or missile strikes. It could provide rebels with the air defense weapons they need to stop helicopters from dropping barrel bombs on civilian housing, hospitals and schools. It could disable the bases used by regime aircraft."

The Muslims Are Coming!


Robin Yassin-Kassab:

  "An edited version of this review was published at the Guardian. I like the Guardian’s books section and its G2 section, not least because they sometimes pay me to write. I also like some of their brave correspondents, such as Martin Chulov. What I don’t like at all is the idiotic, orientalist, conspiratorial, fact-free, and sometimes racist narrative against the revolutions in Syria and Libya which is so common in the Guardian’s comment sections. Blanket-thinking statist leftists like Seamus Milne and Jonathan Steele dominate, alongside talentless liars like Tariq Ali. The last lines of my review target people like them, who are unfortunately influential in ‘liberal’ Britain. I am not at all surprised that the Guardian cut these lines from the review, although I name no names. These lines: “….the new Islamophobia of sections of the left, the notion that US imperialism and ‘al-Qa’ida’ are in league to destabilise imagined ‘secular’, ‘resistance’ regimes. Those who defended Iraqi Islamists in the Blair years now point to the Allahu Akbar chant as evidence of an agenda far more benighted than that of the genocidal neo-liberal dictatorships.” (I just spoke to the good man who commissioned the piece. He says the issue was space in the print edition. Fair enough. But why cut the lines which apply to Guardianistas?)"
Image result for The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror – review

The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror – reviewRobin Yassin-Kassab:
I am not surprised that the Guardian cut the last paragraph of my review, because it's aimed at them:
" “The Muslims are Coming” should be widely read, particularly by those liberals who consider their own positions unassailable. “Neoconservatism invented the terror war,” Kundnani writes, “but Obama liberalism normalised it, at which point, mainstream journalists stopped asking questions.” He could go further to examine the new Islamophobia of sections of the left, the notion that US imperialism and ‘al-Qa’ida’ are in league to destabilise imagined ‘secular’, ‘resistance’ regimes. Those who defended Iraqi Islamists in the Blair years now point to the Allahu Akbar chant as evidence of an agenda far more benighted than that of the genocidal neo-liberal dictatorships."

Gates Of Delirium

 "There are some in the West who support this new fascism. I prefer those, who like in Spain in the 1930s, fought the fascists."

 What's funny about this is that RT give Qadri Jamil the title, "opposition politician". This is who the Russians think should be representing the opposition at peace talks, so they and the government can co-operate in fighting the terrorists. And the fascists, who I think are the same people.

 "Do you think Assad should step down, or would that leave Syria at the mercy of the country's enemies?"
 "I don't know why this is a question at the moment."
Graffiti in Douma, Syria. Courtesy of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria

The roots and grassroots of the Syrian revolution (Part 1 of 4)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Nigel Farage claims Syrian rebels carried out chemical attack last summer

Nigel Farage

 "Only the Syrian and Russian governments suggest that the Syrian government did not fire chemical weapons at Ghouta."

 And Nigel and sections of what used to be the Western Left.

 This, from an expert of Syrian Islamism, is worrying,

 Thomas Pierret:
"(1) 8/21 CW attack in Damascus was response to rebel inroads esp. in Jobar.
(2) today rebels are progressing in Jobar again and Syr amba to UN warns against false CW attack by rebels in Jobar.
(3) conclusion : Asad probably ready to use CW again to prevent rebels from reaching Abbassid square"

The LA Times in Talkalakh; Less of a Truce,
More of a Military Occupation

"Today, 90% of Talkalakh’s former residents are refugees or displaced. Even the rosy picture presented to the LA Times couldn’t conceal the fact that the town was largely empty of its inhabitants. There is a reason why Syrian refugees avoid the army as one would avoid a plague of zombies; bad things happen under a military occupation. Like so many other Syrian towns, cities and neighborhoods, Talkalakh was left devoid of inhabitants after the Syrian army moved in."
I began to notice when the régime recaptured neighbourhoods in Aleppo in late 2012 that the population never came back. You cannot rule if there is noone to rule.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

photo 225x300 Syrias war: no one controls the castle forever
Syria’s war: no one controls the castle forever"History hasn’t come to an end in Syria. The damage to this magnificent fortress is testament to that. No one will control the Crac des Chevaliers forever."
Lindsey Hilsum has a piece on Channel 4 News tonight, I think about Homs, and they have a couple of other pieces on Syria, I don't know if they all on tonight. They led with Paul Mason's funny and informative report from Transdniester. "Growing up in Britain, I feel we should stand up against oppression."
From an ambulance driver who has moved to Homs. The reports have had some flashes of the truth that the problem in Syria is Assad, but especially the commentary has a lot of, "both 
sides have pounded the city", some rebel groups have been accused of", some Britons have gone to fight for jihad". 
Lindsey Hilsum points out that bombs have begun falling in the Alawite heartland of Lattakia because the government is losing it there.
Tower 45 Syria Latakia


"The Alawites on the coast are not our enemies—our disagreement with them is that they should have joined the revolution and spoken out against this brutal regime that is killing its people. But this won’t make us kill them—we fight only those who take up arms against us. There is no sectarianism in this revolution. Syria only has two sects: that of the regime and that of the revolution."

Monday, 31 March 2014

Syria: three years on – the people still want the fall of the regime


 "One of the great achievements of the Stop the War movement at its height was that it brought together Muslim and non-Muslims with organisations of the labour movement and broader progressive forces. Islamophobia in France that made demonstrations of this kind impossible there was rightly criticised by the British left at the time. But now we might ask: where then was the British left on Saturday 15 March?"

 There's a part about "military intervention" at the start that could do with being more to the point, and the attitude towards Banksy seems to be more that his with Syria piece is more making up for his earlier work, but it's good to see more people on the Left getting the point that those on the Left who don't support the Syrian revolution really aren't helping at all.
Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova

Spanish journalists freed in
Syria after six-month ordeal
'However, Syrian opposition and European officials say Isis can no longer command the influence it has had for much of the past year over parts of northern Syria.
"As strong as they are in numbers, they have taken several strategic blows recently," one senior western official said. "They have been defeated in much of the north, and they will not be coming back there. The battle has been won. The regular opposition can now get back to fighting Assad." '
That last line at the end is something that we never get from those worried about "intervention", whereby unwarranted fears that Barack Obama was going to re-enact the Iraq War or that he would be arming the very jihadists the regular rebels have been fighting, in reality meant that little pressure has been applied to enable the real revolutionaries in Syria to get the arms they need.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Debunkation of Assadist media
The Revolting Syrian has a new blog.

Worldview: Help Syrians under siege
"Here's my suggestion: Instead of sending video cameras to civilian rebels to film the carnage, or ambulances to take victims to gutted hospitals (the latest idea), the United States should get real. Send vetted rebel groups the heavy weapons they need to shoot down planes that bomb civilians, and to ensure that aid reaches the needy. Doing less makes us complicit in Assad's war crimes."