Saturday, 31 May 2014

No Holds Barred

'Syria is the victim of a Western conspiracy, masterminded by the USA, Israel and the Gulf states. Some 160,000 dead, the destruction of almost the entire infrastructure, the disintegration of the country, the uprooting of half the population – all this is presented as self-defence by the heroic Syrian regime in its battle against ruthless imperialists.
This may seem absurd, yet the Syrian regime's strategy of turning facts on their head for propaganda purposes has been remarkably successful to date.
The Assad regime is currently doing all it can to present itself as the lesser evil or the secular alternative.
Some Western media makers, experts and politicians would be happy to believe that it is – especially as the Syrian opposition is no stranger to propaganda either and it is becoming increasingly clear that many of Assad's opponents are not in favour of democracy. Yet the fact remains that the main responsibility for the emergence of the conflict, for the mass destruction and murder in Syria, lies with the Assad regime. On 3 June 2014, what's at stake in Syria is not "sawa", not jointly repairing the country, but whether the Assad clan will maintain its grip on power.'

Friday, 30 May 2014

Qusai Zakarya

Talking to Qusai Zakarya

"Bashar al-Assad is the cancer. We cannot keep giving bandages; we need to operate and take the cancer out, and we need more support for the FSA."

Syria War SITREP After the Kerry-Lavrov Deal

My Photo

 "The price Assad's side has paid for these limited gains has been so high that I don't see how they can endure much more to defeat a rebellion that does not lose its will to fight. 
And with our external arms and training and other support, there is no reason for the rebels to give up before the government does."

Article illustrative image
Syrian Regime Hunts Down Men Dodging Mandatory Army Service'Across the country, an increasing number of would-be soldiers are ducking Syria's mandatory 18-month military service requirement.
In most cases, the young men are either hiding out — or taking up arms for the opposition.
Hossam, a 26-year-old from Hama, has been summoned by the Syrian army to fulfill the compulsory 18-month service required of all young men here. But three years into a conflict that has killed more than 62,800 fighters from all sides, he is refusing to comply.
"The Syrian army is no longer the nation's army, and nothing motivates me to join it," he says.'
And that's why Assad isn't going to win, however many bombs he drops trying. This fracturing for society is ignored by those who have looked at the balance of weaponry held by Assad and the opposition and assumed inevitable victory for the former.
Charles Lister Headshot

Reading Between the Lines: Syria's Shifting Dynamics or More of the Same?

"Within the currently prevailing dynamics, in which moderate insurgent forces remain comparatively weak man-for-man, it could be argued that it is too soon for Friends of Syria states to encourage moderates to actively oppose Jabhat al-Nusra on the ground. In the immediate term, doing so would also pose a significant risk to the prospects of ongoing battles with the government. Like it or not, FSA-branded groups are coordinating dozens of ongoing operations with Jabhat al-Nusra across the country. The unrivalled ability of Jabhat al-Nusra suicide operatives to break through established military defenses makes it a force that the insurgency as a whole would struggle to live without, for now. After all, the recent gains in Idlib between 23-26 May were only made possible by at least six large suicide vehicle bombings, all by Jabhat al-Nusra fighters (including an American national, "Abu Hurayrah al-Amriki"). Without more sophisticated heavy weaponry, moderate insurgent forces have simply proven incapable of exerting anything matching equal force.
This may be a controversial thing to admit, but without doing so, one risks further jeopardizing the prospects of the military opposition to one day attain at least a favorable political solution. The West's sustained failure to sufficiently support the moderate Syrian opposition means we are now faced with dynamics that cannot be overturned at the click of a finger.
Recent coverage regarding President Obama's purported decision to establish a military program for training moderate insurgent forces is a much-needed first step on this road ahead. But make no mistake, much more will ne necessary to turn the tide of the conflict. Patience is wearing thin within moderate insurgent circles and without a genuine qualitative and quantitative enhancement in military support, it is only a matter of time before the West loses any of its remaining leverage over internal conflict dynamics." 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Jeffrey Goldberg’s Whitewashing of Obama’s Syria Policy

 "After more than three years of genocidal slaughter in Syria, it is time to face the fact that Barack Obama was never serious at all in seeing Assad deposed. Not only has the Obama administration never contemplated getting involved in Syria the same way it did in Libya, it has done everything in its power to make sure the Syrian opposition never got the kind of arms and assistance that would have changed the balance of power on the battlefield."


‘Friends’ of #Syria: Right Direction, Wrong Speed' "[The opposition] need[s] the force they have now, which is trying to protect local villages and try to harass the regime and level the playing field. They need something that eventually will be able to hold ground. And they need a counterterror capability – all of which is responsive to Syrians. And we are not on a path currently to provide that. … That’s the conversation that we [West and its allies — NGS] need to have."
This is good news for the revolution but it is too little help and too slow in coming. It is a positive development compared to their previous policy of imposing a heavy arms embargo on the Free Syrian Army but negative compared to what can and should be done to the save the Syrian people and their revolution.'


Obama: Not every problem has military solution
The BBC just had the strapline, "Obama Says There Is No Military Solution In Syria". Not quite true.
"The president also discussed ways to provide more help for rebels in Syria battling Bashar al-Assad's government."

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Syrian pianist pursuing dream at UW-Eau Claire

"I quickly got involved and was very enthusiastic about the revolution," said Hanana, who also worked as a music theory teacher at a Damascus music school. "In addition to teaching, I worked in community service just like everybody else because a lot of people needed help. But then friends started disappearing. Friends were kidnapped and tortured and many wouldn't come back. It was intense."

Monday, 26 May 2014

Syria crisis: Britons accused of brutal killings

ISIL fighters burning ciagrettes

 'In a letter to The Times, Brig-Gen Abdulellah al-Basheer of the Free Syrian Army asks for help in curbing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. He claims the group attacks opposition forces, not the Assad regime.

 "We the Syrian people now experience beheadings, crucifixions, beatings, murders, outdated methods of treating women, an obsolete approach to governing society. Many who participate in these activities are British. The UK and US governments must support us to defeat terrorism in Syria and prevent it from being exported to Europe and the US." '

And when the 'revolution' is over

The current situation in Kiev is far worse than before the fall of the Yanukovych regime, writes Nekrassov [EPA]

 It isn't surprising to see this theoretical justification for Russian foreign policy from a former Kremlin adviser (although just as officially Russia isn't against Assad going in Syria they have done everything to back him up, this isn't exactly an honest assessment). It would once have been surprising that it sounds like what some who really think they are on the left in this country when it comes to foreign affairs, but are like a cheerleader for another power. The US has done plenty of bad things according to pretty much this script, but the violence in Libya, Syria and Ukraine is likewise down to the people who supplied the weaponry to do the killing, only in these cases it was Russia not the US to blame. In a few years time, when the credibility of the left depends on what it did to stop the slaughter in Syria, those who were too busy fighting the phantasm of American intervention will not score highly.

 "Finally, every time the US and its allies feel they need to "export a bit of democracy", or organise a regime change, they rush to the United Nations, demanding to hold an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, introduce sanctions or condemn someone for gross violations of human rights. And it works perfectly, with the UN obliging every request. We've already seen how it worked out in Libya, which is going through another phase of never-ending civil war, and in Syria, where the fighting never stops. And now the UN is presiding over a post-revolutionary mess in Ukraine."