Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Revolting Syrian

The phot above is in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus that was once known as the center of peaceful protests in Syria, but is now known as the site of the single worst massacre of the Syrian Revolution when on Aug 25th, more than 1,000 men, women and children were killed by Assad’s forces. 
Today many parts of the city have been blasted into oblivion. Constant rocket and shell fire from Assad’s nearby airbase is constant. The raids are unending. It’s unbelievable that these people actually came out to protest. The building they are protesting on was once an elementary school until Assad bombed it.

 "The photo above is in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus that was once known as the center of peaceful protests in Syria, but is now known as the site of the single worst massacre of the Syrian Revolution when on Aug 25th, more than 1,000 men, women and children were killed by Assad’s forces.

 Today many parts of the city have been blasted into oblivion. Constant rocket and shell fire from Assad’s nearby airbase is constant. The raids are unending. It’s unbelievable that these people actually came out to protest. The building they are protesting on was once an elementary school until Assad bombed it."
Mohammad Jumbaz and Ayat Al-Qassab got married in Syria despite the violence around them.

In Syria, marriage as defiance

"Speaking via Skype, the couple seems to have little interest in chatting about romance or the frivolities of weddings. Instead, both are enthralled with their love for revolution and an ancient country that appears lost to war and strife."

Friday, 7 December 2012

Syrians Fighting Block By Block

'Arwa Damon meets Alkhal, who used to sell thread. Now he runs logistics for Syrian rebels."When this is over, the guns will be handed over." '

Behind Blue Eyes

Syria, a weapon of mass deception?
"Without wishing to delve too far into The Who’s back catalogue, as things grow ever tetchier around Damascus, we need to remind ourselves in the UK that we won’t get fooled again."
Oh go on.
Image result for ahram online

Syrians call for protests against any UN peacekeepers

"The translation is a bit off, but in Zabadani, rural Damascus are saying that the UN peacekeepers will only keep Bashar safe."
The idea that the Syrian revolution is a foreign intervention has passed its sell by date, but many concepts outlast their explanatory value.
"The Free Syrian Army is advancing at high speed towards the capital. If blue helmets are deployed, that would enable the regime to stay in power."

The Most Heartwarming Cluster Bomb Video You Will Ever See

"I don't have much to add to this video, just it's nice to see people in Syria making the most of a bad situation"

Over The Hills And Far Away

"The huge stockpiles of Syrian WMD -- some of which have already been pedaled to Hezbollah". 
'Peddled' if money was exchanged, 'pedaled' if they were transported by bicycle. If any of this is more accurate than the English usage.


"I don't think the régime will use chemical weapons – it's just a media game for the purpose of prolonging the revolution, so the Syrian people become more divided and the regime has more time," said Walat Ahmae, a member of the Syrian National Council based in Antakya.
"We have known that there are chemical weapons from the start, so this isn't a new or more worrying threat."
Syrian children flash victory signs

The Syrian children desperate for normality

"We will get our freedom and stand up again."

Thursday, 6 December 2012

In The Middle Of The Night (The River of Dreams)

Six pointers to Assad's fall
"Each day's news brings more reasons to believe the Assad regime's fall cannot be far away. Viewed individually these signs may not in themselves spell doom for the regime but collectively they do."

Taking up the fight

A destroyed building in Aleppo.

 He does note at the end the shooting of prisoners who admit involvement in massacres, and the hanging or burning of Hezbollah soldiers in Syria.
 "There are Alawites and Christians who fight with the FSA. We invite them to pray with us but many do not. Some even drink. Everyone can practice their religion the way they like. What matters to us is the struggle against Assad."
Rime Allaf

The U.S. Is Offering Too Little Too Late on Syria

Rime Allaf

"The U.S. has demonstrated that it is consistent, albeit with a questionable rationale, when it comes to letting Syrians fight it out among themselves before deciding to swoop in, perhaps, when the country is at a breaking point."

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A cat sits in front of a damaged building at the al-Khalidiya neighbourhood of Homs. Picture taken December 3, 2012
[…/animals-facing-conflic…/…. Also,…/animals-facing-conflic…/…]

For Whom The Bell Tolls

"Syria's President Bashar Assad has been looking into the possibility of claiming political asylum for himself, his family and his associates in Latin America, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. There is little confirmation for the claim but Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal al-Miqdad, held meetings in Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador over the past week."
Has al-Miqdad returned to the state of Damascus, or does he like it in the Western hemisphere too much to leave?
A Syrian man runs for cover during heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria, on Monday. (NARCISO CONTRERAS/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

In Aleppo, jihadists take on greater role with Syrian rebel army

“We have a deal with them,” said Mr. Ajouz, the student-turned-soldier. “All the mujahedeen will go back to their countries after the revolution. Jabhat al-Nusra will have no stake in the new regime in Syria.”

''I Believe in the Syrian People'

Lina al-Abed (photo: Irmgard Berner)

 "If the régime falls, they say, the Brotherhood will come and take over control the country. And I really don't care – except if they make me wear the veil. They keep saying that the solution is political Islam. But when they ascend to power, before long people will realise that this isn't the solution at all. In my view, while this revolution will topple the regime, it will be followed by another to overcome the idea of political Islam governing social life."

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

image: A Free Syrian Army’s sniper position in Al Qsair, Syria, Feb. 9, 2012.

The Confessions of a Sniper: A Rebel

Gunman in Aleppo and His Conscience

"The Syrian revolution is also unrecognizable from 20 months ago, when Syrians first took to the streets in peaceful protests demanding freedom and dignity from a totalitarian leader who allowed little of either. The uprising soon morphed into an armed revolt as soldiers defected and men took up arms against the loyalist troops shooting into the crowds and going house-to-house looking for dissenters.
As the conflict became deeper and bloodier, and the international communitylooked on impotently, armed rebels scrounging for help were increasingly compelled to compete for resources. Various backers — both Syrian and foreign, private and state-sponsored — entered the fray, picking their men on the ground and funneling weapons and money to them. The help wasn’t always free: it often required pledges of allegiance, which many rebels have said they made with little intention of keeping. The money and weapons haven’t really bought the rebels’ love or obedience, just their temporary gratitude."
The Daily Star

Syria’s opposition warns of a rise in extremists

Syria's opposition worries, not like the supporters of Assad who care not how extreme it is in the defence of tyranny.
And that "alarming growth" is still only to "7.5 percent to 9 percent of the Free Syrian Army’s total number of fighters", understandably when “From the reports we get from the doctors, most of the injured and dead FSA are Jabhat al-Nusra, due to their courage and [the fact they are] always at the front line,”[perhaps offers to replace them with concerned secular leftists should be considered], and “In some areas, other extreme groups are merging with [Jabhat] al-Nusra, in others many are leaving it because they did not fulfil promises of support.”

The perilous drift to intervention in Syria

"The calls for “something to be done” about Syria are getting louder in the US and Europe – so loud that they may soon be heeded. The first step, which could come fairly quickly, would be to supply the Syrian opposition with weapons. The second, which is under active consideration, would be to establish a no-fly zone.
About 40,000 people have already died in a conflict that Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general, says is reaching “new and appalling levels of brutality”. A few days ago, the Assad regime bombed a hospital in Aleppo, causing many deaths. Yet, before the west helps the rebels with weapons or air strikes, key questions remain to be answered. Above all, would intervention bring the conflict to an end? Or might it simply move the war into a new phase– in which the Americans and Europeans would now be directly involved?"

I can't be bothered to sign in to the FT to read the rest of this, but from the start, the whole thing seems way behind the curve as the opposition has been taking the weapons for itself that the West has failed to supply. But we may have to wait a little longer for Assad's supporters to join the reality-based community.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Revolutionary Footnotes On Egypt and Syria

Al Hayat - 02 December, 2012
Author: Hazem Saghieh

"Even if the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (a weak group compared to its Egyptian and Syrian peers)
were to seize control of Syria after Assad, then this does not mean that the new Syria will become
Islamist. This is what the moral of the Egyptian (and Tunisian) story tells us."

How the Syrian Revolution Became Militarized

The Nation

 ' “The military power is so disproportionate, there was no way the revolt could have sustained itself and re-emerged time and again, despite the regime’s brutality, if it wasn’t for a vast network of support inside the country,” says Omar Dahi, a Syrian scholar at Hampshire College.

“We don’t say enough that the Syrian revolution is a revolution of first, the rural poor,” Traboulsi says. Over the past decade, under the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria entered into a “mitigated neoliberal experience which weakened the production and agricultural sectors and created a mafia-style new bourgeoisie that is very monopolistic and very rentier and services-based,” he says.'

Breaking: Syrian anonymous first official statement 3/12/2012

Also this:
"Bassam Jaara spokesman of the Syrian revolution General commission in Europe revealed to Saudi Arabia’s Al Watan newspaper that they are getting their arms by either capturing them from the Syrian security forces of President Bashar al Assad’s regime or by purchasing them from corrupt Syrian officers .
He also revealed that the rebels “bought weapons from Hezbollah as a result of corruption within its( Hezbollah’s) leadership adding “we can get the arms we need in one form or another. “ "

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Inside Jabhat al Nursa - the most extreme wing of Syria's struggle

Inside Jabhat al Nusra - the most

extreme wing of Syria's struggle

These jihadis seem to have a better understanding of imperialism than some on the left. And one can see how the governments in the West may like to play up their importance as much as the Russian government does. Whatever their military prowess I don't quite see how they would rule the whole of Syria even if they got the chance.
'However, a video that helped publicise the group inside Syria is laced with anti-western sentiment, warning against foreign intervention in the country. "Is it reasonable to ask help from the criminals?" asks a voice-over commentary. "Have we forgotten that the West and the USA are the regime's partners in his crimes?" '

Strife hardens Syrian rebel brigade

' "After the battle with the sheik, the whole town rose up and gave up on peaceful means," said Mohammed Tallal, an early member.'
There are several myths propagated by those wishing to discount the Syrian revolution, among them the idea that the Free Syrian Army is something separate to the peaceful protests against Assad. I saw another one on Russia Today today, that the rebels are such a disparate bunch they will fall out like barbarians sacking a city if they ever overthrow the régime (which of course they have massive armament from the West to do, that we never see, not), an idea I saw someone hint at on Facebook the other day. Not a very clever one.
Image result for A member of the Free Syrian Army helps women as they leave a shelled building in Aleppo

Syrian democracy a dream

Some on the Left have the same problem, once they've dismissed the Syrian revolutionaries as criminals, they find they don't know the revolutionaries at all.
'“Ninety per cent of these revolutionary groups are criminals, actually,” Bishop Armash Nalbandian told The Catholic Register. "I know the ministers and the mayors of towns. On the other side, we don’t know who are the leaders. I don’t know who is in charge so I can start a dialogue with him,” said Nalbandian.


Anyone on the left who can't see the class lines in Syria is wilfully blind.
"Are any of the powerful business families the “big families” you described that depend on the Assads for patronage – like the Tlass clan – less supportive of the regime now?"
"I think not. Those who backed the regime from the beginning solidified that stance. Those who were less supportive of the regime are too fearful to do anything. Their businesses have essentially shut down now. There’s no industry operating in Aleppo, the industrial manufacturing center of Syria."
"Where are their workers?"
"[Some] are they’re protesting, [some] have guns in their hands, [some] are sitting at home waiting for things to end."
Note 12/4/15, I see there is also this on the treatment of journalists,"You can’t go from a rebel-held area – and you can’t shoot photographs in rebel-held areas – to regime-controlled areas. You can’t pass, and even if you do get in, you can’t behave in the same way. In areas under the FSA’s control, you can take photographs, you can speak to people and get direct quotes, you can get a pretty good picture [of what’s happening in the area]. But if you try to do that in Damascus, in areas under the regime’s control, you won’t last five minutes: you’ll be picked up by the regime’s security You can’t go out into the streets of central Damascus with a camera and just ask people what’s happening. There’s security everywhere."