Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Long Distance Runaround

President Obama: "We are not simply bystanders in Syria."



"It's not a class uprising in the sense that it has any form of clear-cut class consciousness. But the uprising started with a peripheral movement in poor rural towns, and the poorest, most downtrodden sections of the population were the insurgency's initial force. The bourgeoisie as a whole is very afraid of the whole movement and the chaos that it creates. So there is no doubt that the uprising is a popular movement. But because of the historical failure of the left in the region, we have a massive uprising without any capable left-wing leadership. It's a very decentralised type of uprising with all sorts of groups waging a common fight against the regime."

Syrian regime's core

supporters begin to drift away

"Ms. Mrie, a liberal Syrian, says she is far from conservative, but that she she often interacts with members of the Syrian opposition described as extremists without any problems."
Activists rally in Kafranbel, Syria. (Courtesy - Shiyam Galyon)


“This isn’t a Sunni, Christian, or whatever revolution. This is a Syrian revolution. This is a poor people’s revolution.”

Monday, 29 April 2013

Rebel in Aleppo

Syria: Proxy war heats up

as endgame inches closer

Despite the title, there are some nuggets of truth in Jim Muir's piece.
"Al-Qaeda in Iraq announcing that the Nusra Front was one of its branches, and that the two were merging into a single Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (the Levant).
The Nusra Front, jockeying for position in the motley array of Syrian opposition forces and trying to win hearts and minds on the ground, clearly saw this as a potential kiss of death.
Many of their followers are believed to have joined up opportunistically because the front had more resources and experience than the other groups.[This cuts across the idea that the US is providing arms, or even encouraging others to do so]
Well-placed diplomats believe Hezbollah is also providing part of the regime's inner praetorian guard, as some of the big Alawite clans have become so alienated by the level of casualties they have suffered that their members are no longer regarded as fully reliable.[This cuts across the idea that a sectarian regional war is due to break out if Assad falls, it is his sectarian state that is falling apart]

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Image result for stop the war coalition

Syria descending into hell aided

and abetted by the US and its allies

"The ominous quote from a senior British official in the Financial Times today that 'It is increasingly likely that sarin was used by the Assad regime' demonstrates that a case is being put together to justify overt military intervention on top of the widespread but unofficial intervention that already exists."
Lindsey German is utterly full of shit. She used to be a revolutionary socialist, but this article doesn't display either attribute. It isn't ominous that Assad may have used sarin, in addition to the more ordinary weapons he's used to kill 60,000 Syrians in the last two years. No, it's her fantasy that the West is going to ride in to destroy Assad, just like her fantasy that their (actually non-existent) supply of weapons to the rebels is to be opposed, while the tonnes of weaponry the régime gets from Russia each week are of no interest to her. And then she just lapses into incoherence:
"The Western powers have not yet been able to intervene openly in military terms but they are doing their best to ensure that the bloody war continues. Their aim is regime change and the removal of Assad to be replaced by a pro Western government. But it would appear that in the absence of such an outcome, the anti Assad governments are prepared to do their part in continuing and worsening the war which has already brought so much misery to ordinary Syrians, many of whom are now refugees."

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Image result for new york times

Syria Claims Disruption

of a Rebel Supply Line

Angry Arab* is becoming an anti-revolution propagandist. There are numerous reasons the government of torturers might have its claims disbelieved, among them the false claims about the supply of weapons to the rebels, and previous claims of military successes. In the past, when the government has advanced, it has been unable to restore normal life. It has no future.
*'Look how the reports of defeats of Syrian armed groups are always qualified in the Western press
"“Maybe there is some retreat” by the rebels, he said, “but not full withdrawal.”" This is like Arab regimes in 1967: they did not withdraw, but only retreated.'
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 10:01 AM

Friday, 26 April 2013

Angry Arab interviews Thomas Pierret on Syria

Thomas Pierret is spot on.
'The kin-based/sectarian nature of the military is what allows the regime to be not merely "repressive", but to be able to wage a full-fledged war against its own population; in other words, this is a highly illegitimate regime in the eyes of most Syrians.
I cannot think of a more reactionary stance than supporting Asad's fascistic and homicidal regime. This is what really matters if we speak of "conservatism" and "reformism".
Conditions of women can only improve because they cannot be worse than under a regime that has displaced, shelled, killed, injured, raped, arrested, tortured, widowed, and orphaned millions of Syrian women.
The opposition is a very diverse reality that ranges from exiled proponents of non-violence to local civilian committees and councils on the ground, mainstream Islamists like the Muslim Brothers, mainstream armed groups like the "FSA" (whatever that means), and radical Salafi Jihadis. Many Syrians certainly dislike one or several of these components, but at least the "opposition" offers them a broad spectrum of political options. The regime does not.
The question is not whether or not the Syrian opposition should accept Saudi and Qatari support (Turkey does not provide any tangible aid, it merely facilitates), it is whether the Syrian opposition wants to keep on fighting, or surrender (I do not believe in a third way, i.e. peaceful revolution and/or negotiations; it cannot work with that regime). If the opposition wants to keep on fighting, it cannot survive without external logistical support, and none is willing to provide it except for Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
My only concern is the half-heartedness and inefficiency of these countries' military support. For various reasons, these states want to weaken Asad, but they are not eager to see him replaced, hence the limits of their support. The outdated Croatian weapons provided to the rebels over the last months are better than nothing, but these states could do much more. Arms deliveries they have paid for compare very poorly, for instance, with the top-notch weaponry provided to Hezbollah by Iran and Syria.'
Children sit on school benches at Al-Tawheed school in Aleppo


"Syrians, young and old, talk about political opinions all the time. We make jokes about anybody or anything in our discussions, even the Free Syrian Army."

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Revolution Of The Carnations

On the 25th April, 1974, fascism was overthrown in Portugal, by a radical movement in the armed forces. Those who bemoan the turn to the gun in Syria today should consider.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Front cover for issue 2447

Syria: the struggle within the revolution

“The majority of the councils have roots in the local population, are elected and represent the popular revolution.
We have many difficulties, but we are making a revolution against a regime that has been in power for 40 years. 
Our revolution is also against old ideas and old ways of doing things. Day by day we are working to transform Syria.”

Far Away In Time

“Syrian revolutionaries owe nobody an apology”
Fawwaz Traboulsi interviewed by Mohammed Al Attar
"I realize that class struggle is out of fashion these days and I know that many intellectuals—including the vast majority of those on the Left—neglect the economic factor, to distance themselves from what they call interest-based explanations. I’d go so far as to say that their real achievement has been to prove that everything that has happened is either political or cultural not to mention “geostrategic” and “geopolitical”. This is why imperialism, along with its local rulers and associated elites, has been the ultimate victor."

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Jumblatt sees link between Boston and Syria

Wally. Though he is the loveable survivor of Lebanese politics, who has been allied with the winning side in the region at every conceivable opportunity.
I don't think he deserves to be this badly mangled in translation:
“The conflict, which lasted for five centuries and turned into a bloody conflict after the independence of Ireland South in 1920 was treated through the four main core principles: dialogue, respect, trust and patience,” Jumblatt said. “Is it possible to reach a stage in Lebanon where these four principles dominate our political and media discourse instead of the continuous fall in a spiral of mistrust and counter-accusations of treason, defamation and counter slander?”

The Ghost Of Roger Casement

Just as the Syrian revolutionaries look today to the West for weapons to fight their régime, so a hundred years ago Irish revolutionaries sought arms from Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany. The capture of Roger Casement and the scuttling of the Aud which was transporting an estimated 20,000 rifles were some of the reasons for the delay of the Easter Rising planned for April 22nd (Easter Saturday), which was postponed for two days, and failed against a much better armed British force.

Hamas Ties to Qatar Have Cost

"But the support that Hamas enjoyed from Damascus did not turn the movement into a Syrian puppet. Perhaps the break in relations between the two sides today proves that the allegations that the movement was subordinated to Syria and Iran to serve their projects in the region are false. And the same applies in the case of Qatar."

Monday, 22 April 2013

Syria: opposition anger over US refusal to fund arms

Syria: opposition anger over

US refusal to fund arms

"Russia sends Assad tonnes of weapons every week."

Kurdish women warriors battle in Syria

“This country will not be free until women are free,” said Lokman Abusalam, a 41-year-old fighter, adding that his male comrades have no problem in reporting to a female commander."

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Someday Soon

"There are no ground operations by an army unused to street fighting and, it is said, worried about casualties and mass defections."

Saturday, 20 April 2013

John Kerry

US prepares $130m military

aid package for Syrian rebels

"The supplies possibly could include body armour, armoured vehicles, night vision goggles and advanced communications equipment."
I don't know what might happen if night vision goggles fall into the hands of al-Qaida.

"Minorities will not suffer"

in post-revolution Syria

"Nabulsi said western states were against a revolution in Syria and in order to delay the victory they produce fake insurgency groups."
The second half of this does tend to reduce the credibility of everything else he's saying, which is a pity.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

In rebel fighter's personal

story, the arc of Syria's war

Only then, with more and better weapons, will the rebels finish Mr. Assad and “end this situation,” adds Abu Omar. “Let God end this soon.”

Monday, 15 April 2013

Syria explained in 5 questions

From spray-paint to civil war:

Syria explained in 5 questions

'In the summer of 2011, thousands of soldiers started to abandon the Assad regime. Coupled with civilian protesters -- who have been arming themselves -- a "rebel" opposition began to form.'

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Syrian troops on an operation in city streets

Why the left must support Syria's revolution

"Some on the U.S. and international left cling to the idea that the regime presiding over this violence and repression is progressive--and that the uprising against it was engineered by Western governments.
Syrians have endured the bloodiest chapter of the Arab Revolutions that swept through the region, starting in 2011. After months of mostly peaceful protests, Syria's revolutionaries--responding to the dictatorship's violent crackdown--had to develop a popular armed resistance to defend themselves and defeat the forces of the regime.
In the litany of sins that the Syrian people have supposedly committed in their two-year-old uprising, for supporters of the regime in left groups, top on the list is aid coming from the U.S. and other Western governments to some organizations among the rebels.
One question that comes to my mind is whether these apologists have similar criticisms about the much more substantial military aid the regime gets from Russia and Iran. But even more to the point is the issue of what these regime supporters were saying before the uprising against Assad shifted toward armed struggle.
Where were they when, for months, Syrians gathered peacefully in the hundreds of thousands in cities around the country, only to be shot dead by Assad's forces? Did they speak up when opponents of the regime, young and old, men and women, were tortured in Assad's dungeons? Are they calling for freedom of all political prisoners and the brave young citizen reporters who are risking their lives to document the government's repression?

Or are they using any and all reports of the U.S. government's involvement in Syria as a cover for a shameful subservience to dictatorship?"

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Golan Heights

Syrian conflict threatens to

spill over from Golan into Israel

There goes the idea that the Syrian revolution is an Israeli plot. Must be the Illuminati and the lizards.
Syria oil field

Syrian rebels' capture of oil fields

increases economic pressures

'Russia and China are Assad's strongest international backers and have used their veto power at the U.N. Security Council to prevent the international community from imposing international sanctions against Syria.
But Seifan, the Syrian economist, said it's unlikely international companies, even Russian and Chinese ones, will want to commit huge investments to any exploration now "because they don't know what the fate of the regime will be after few months." '

Friday, 5 April 2013

Syrian Rebel Brigade Pauses to Mark Wedding


 'Laila feels it is "important that our revolution is not one of just men but of all Syrians, of all those who are free.
 "I began by taking part in peaceful demonstrations, but when the revolution armed itself I followed... it was my duty," she says.'
View image on Twitter

Counterpunch: So Wrong on Syria

Clay Claiborne is CEO of Cosmos Engineering Company. Cosmic. Here, he takes apart the notion that the Syrian revolution is an American plot in admirable detail.