Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Homs in 2013 and Homs in 2010.

Homs in 2013 and Homs in 2010


"This is Homs as you are “used” to seeing it each and every single day for almost 2 years. Under a hell-storm of shells and rockets fired by Assad’s forces. The residents and brave fighters of Homs have been able to hold out despite an 800+ day siege. However it seems that they will not be able to hold out any longer against the combined forces of the Iranian Military, Hezbullah Mercenaries, Assad’s regular forces and the ultra sectarian “National Defense Forces” all armed to the teeth with an endless supply of weapons and supplies from the Russian Military.
Yet despite all of the above. Despite the shells and rockets. Despite the massacres, both the ones committed and the ones yet to be carried out against them. Despite the hunger and misery. Despite it all … the people of Homs still come out to do what they did on the first days of this revolution. They came out to protest peacefully and celebrate their eventual freedom. Many of the people below, children included, know they will die, yet they also know that their deaths will not be in vain, that it will have been for the freedom of our country from tyranny few people on Earth have had the misfortune to wittiness and experience."

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

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If This 14-Year Old Boy Can't Convince
You to Intervene in Syria, Not Much Will

"We want to get rid of the tyrant and raise babies of the revolution to build a Syria of tomorrow."

Anne Applebaum: U.S. is
behind the curve on Syria
"In every instance, the timing is wrong. The moment to throw support behind “peaceful activists” was right at the beginning, before most of them were killed or imprisoned. The moment to train fighters was soon after that, before the fighters were radicalized by years of violence and the assistance they’ve ­received from Islamic extremists...With the United States on the sidelines, no one else seems able to create a “coalition of the willing” to engage, lethally or non-lethally, in helping to end the Syrian conflict.
It’s odd: After the end of the Cold War, some thought we’d live in a unipolar world. Others thought we’d live in a multipolar world. Instead, we now live in a nonpolar world — and it’s every bit as stifling as a bad week in a Washington summer."

Assad is responsible for the carnage in Syria
"The West has sat by watching and left its friends to twist in the wind. Nothing, however, should blur the cardinal criminality of those who created the whole mess and who have been the engine of horror: Assad and his security apparatus."

Monday, 29 July 2013

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Fijian troops leave for Golan
Heights peacekeeping mission

"Fiji's ties with Russia in organising the deployment will also pose a risk to Fijian troops." Actually the biggest risk to them is the Assad régime lashing out as it has before, in the hope that any response can lend support to their claim of fighting a foreign terrorist conspiracy.

Jordan Syria May 15, 2011.

When women joined the jihad in Syria
"The Daughters of al-Walid train each other to use weapons to fend off Assad “gangs” and the sexual crimes that they perpetrate. Rape, not shelling and air raids, is the main cause of flight for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, according to the International Rescue Committee, a lead relief and development organization. The heightened shame in a society where modesty and honor are paramount has even led some families to marry off their daughters to “protect” them from rape. But for women fighters, a rifle, not marriage, is their safeguard."

homs alkhalidiyah syria neighbourhood destroyed

Homs, Once The Capital Of Syria's Revolution, Pictured In Tatters

"Startling images of Homs have shown the extreme devastation of the Syrian civil war, with buildings crumbled to dust and whole neighbourhoods where all the homes, cafes, stalls and businesses are gone."

It does look like Assad cannot re-capture the country, only destroy it.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

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Worries Mount as Syria
Lures West's Muslims

"More Westerners are now fighting in Syria than fought in conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or Yemen, according to the officials...Classified estimates from Western intelligence services and unclassified assessments from government and independent experts put the number of fighters from Europe, North America and Australia who have entered Syria since 2011 at more than 600."

5000 people are dying each month in Syria. Isn't that a slightly more relevant figure to worry about?

Image result for Michael Doran c-span U.S. Assistance to Syrian Rebels

U.S. Assistance to Syrian Rebels

I think we are due 45 minutes of this on the BBC Parliament Channel from 2.15 pm.

9:15 am ET
Approx. 45 min.
C-SPAN | Washington Journal
LIVE War in Syria
Michael Doran; Paul Orgel
Michael Doran talked about the Obama administration’s plan to provide military assistance to rebel forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad and his military supporters in Syria.He responded to telephone calls and electronic communications.
"No high-level official rolled out the policy [of "arming the rebels"]. It's more symbolic than real...The president is clearly reluctant to get involved in Syria...he's reluctant to start another war...he sees a potential quagmire."
On his own account, Doran says, "I see inaction as more dangerous than actions", and proposes safe zones in Syria, arming vetted sections of the opposition, becoming 'the brain' of the opposition, which sounds a bit overbearing, as well as 50s SFish.
The first caller says that all US policy is to benefit Israel, and also that the people "we" are supporting in Syria are jihadists who want to chase Christians out of the country or kill them. A Republican.
"If you're concerned about jihadists in Syria, what's your plan for stopping them?"
I might also remark now that the idea that Israel and Russia might go to war over Syria may be partly based on the misapprehension that Israel wants to see a change in Syria, when most statements from politicians and analysts suggest that their stance has been that they were happier with Assad who never threatened them, than the possibility that Islamists might.
Obama is not being criticized [for his inaction over Syria] by the libertarian Rand Paul tea party element dominating both young Republicans, and among Republicans in Congress.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Who is the US arming in Syria? President Assad rubs his hands at news of rebel split

Image result for Who is the US arming in Syria? President Assad rubs his hands at news of rebel split

 I hadn't realised that Robert Fisk had lost the plot this badly. Someone on the press review a couple of days ago was praising his insight into Egypt, presumably he's not advising that the Islamists are the problem there.

 "Bashar would be only too ready, surely, to help the FSA against the regime’s Islamist “terrorist” antagonists – and maybe offer the FSA a dignified reunification with the government army. Regime intelligence officers have for more than a year held regular meetings with FSA officers to try and woo them back to Bashar. And if they are successful, then our generous donations of weapons will end up not in the Islamist “wrong hands” but the “wrong hands” of the Baath Party."

A rebel uses a home-made slingshot to fire a bomb

Catapults and homemade grenades: Introducing the DIY arms of the Free Syrian Army

"US supplies are expected to be limited to small arms. British and American military figures have warned that is unlikely to have any effect on the course of the war. The West is opposed to sending the one item which could actually be a game-changer – surface-to-air missiles – due to fear they will fall into the hands of jihadists."

150 Syrian regime forces killed
in Khan al-Assal battle: Activists

All post-fighting killing is questionable, even of those who have been massacring children. The high proportion of officers killed suggests an army deserting, and the demonstrations could not take place if it was not for the protection that the FSA has provided.
"More than 50 of those killed were executed by rebels after the fall of Khan al-Assal on Monday, while the rest died fighting for the regime's last bastion in the west of Aleppo province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Thirty of those killed in both the executions and fighting were officers, the Observatory said.
Elsewhere in Syria opponents to Assad's regime held protests on Friday calling for his ouster, as they have done once a week for more than 28 months, said the Observatory.
Protesters gathered in several Syrian towns and cities, under the slogan of "Friday of the Unsheathed Sword of God".
The slogan refers to a name given to Khaled Bin Walid, a companion of Prophet Mohammad, whose mausoleum in the central city of Homs was bombarded and destroyed this week."

Assad's New Strategy: Nothing Makes
People Flee Like Murdering Their Children

"He is using artillery, missiles and aircraft to make certain areas of the country unlivable and he is wantonly slaughtering civilians. He is specifically targeting children, even attacking play grounds, because he knows nothing makes the people give up the fight and flee like killing their children. Assad might say he gets more "buck for the bang" by targeting children.

The Syrian conflict is also unique in all of history in that the worst torture techniques are regularly used even on pre-teen children. In many ways, Assad's strategy directly involves attacking children by the government. In his war, they aren't collateral damage; they are targets."

Friday, 26 July 2013

Harry Eyres

A revolution finds its voice

"The spray can is mightier than the mortar."

Up to a point.
"Resistance cannot stand up to tanks, warplanes and mortars." 

Why the U.S. Congress is reluctant on Syria

"Ironically, the leading voices opposing a bigger U.S. role in Syria come from the base of the Republican party, the same one that had authorized two wars during the George W. Bush Presidency. Times have changed however, and the Republican base has been dominated by the Tea Party movement, which is more isolationist in interpreting the U.S. role in the region, and has been attracting some Islamophobic figures such as Pamela Geller.

Without the Obama administration offering Congress a detailed roadmap about arming, and unless the opposition with new members such as Michel Kilo expand outreach and offer assurances to Syria’s minorities, the U.S. efforts to arm might remain futile, and Syria’s protracted conflict will continue its trajectory towards more extremism and bloodshed."

Thursday, 25 July 2013



 'Idleb (Ariha): July 21, 2013 - "There’s not much more context I can add here to make you care is there? Simply put, Assad’s airforce dropped a massive Russian bomb on this busy marketplace, killing close to 20 people in a single instant and injuring dozens more.

 But of course you, the viewer are used to this. The combination of dead bodies, blood and fruits is no more shocking than last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones" or whatever violent show you consume on television.

 Thanks for caring for the people of Syria, it’s no exaggeration when I say that if things remain the same, there will be nothing that resembles “Syria" any more in a few years. It will be nothing but rubble and graves." '

The PSL School of Falsification: A Libyan Rebel Sets the Record Straight
"I wonder how NATO benefited from “its” NTC forces on the ground. Where's NATO in Libya now?"

Ditto Syria and the American 'proxy war'.


All we can do for Syria now
is donate to the relief effort

Relief for Syrians is very important, but when Garton Ash says, "Make the decisive, massive military intervention that alone would defeat Assad, and you face another Iraq," he is taking the easy way out with some false premises. Not helping the rebels has created the refugee crisis and the other problems.

Relief for Syrians is very important.

The Dark Knight Patronizes:
Democracy vs. the Prime Directive

The standard view of those opposing help to the rebels in Syria, is that any intervention would be like the USS Enterprise carpet-bombing the planet with photon torpedoes. But why can't they provide the insurgents with the phase cannons they need? Because that would violate the Prime Directive. And the Klingons would just up their arms shipments, this is all a Federation plot aimed at the Romulan axis of resistance...

"Nolan’s Batman has a problem with democracy in general, as do the surviving Watchmen, Kirk, Picard, the United Federation of Planets, MIB, Col. Jessup, and Walter Lippmann. They don’t necessarily oppose voting or the electoral system or the trappings of democracy, which would be pretty difficult to overturn. But they like a system where the consent of the governed can be manufactured and steered by a few good men."

Syrian refugee crisis, Zaatari camp

Syrian refugee crisis escalates as
25% of country driven out of homes

"Is Syria going to be liberated soon or in a year or more?"

The rhetoric they have to worry about comes from those who don't want Syrians to liberate themselves, who respond to every hope of freedom with cries that things are getting worse, and are silent about the real horrors that are forcing millions to flee.

Hezbollah's sectarian turn

"Hezbollah, like other resistance movements before it, became dependent on outside sponsorship that compromised its independence. Dependent on Iran for funding, and Syria for weapons, it found itself out of step with the Arab Spring.
It now had a vested interest in a regime that it once opposed, and declared war on the Syrian people who once rallied to its defence. The sense of betrayal now runs deep."

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Carleton grad launches satirical YouTube show to criticize Syrian regime
“This kind of contradiction that’s happening in the media is actually very essential for the Syrians to know, that the official Syrian media in reality is basically making lies.”

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Syrian rebels claim control of western Aleppo
Opposition forces say they seized the town of Khan al-Assal, the last bastion of Assad forces in the area.

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad will ‘survive’ rebel uprising, only full-scale foreign intervention can unseat him, says Iraqi minister Hoshyar Zebari

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari

"The opposition still hopes that if it hangs on long enough there will be international intervention to overthrow Mr Assad along the lines of Nato military intervention in Libya in 2011."

No, the opposition is hoping it will get the weaponry to complete the job themselves, claims like this are designed to prevent that happening, and enable the slaughter to continue.
And of course Assad has only survived so far due to massive foreign intervention amounting to war.

The Long War in Syria
"The proximate reason for Obama’s call was that Assad had fired on his own people. One must question Obama’s authority to make that moral judgment, given that police in the U.S. fire on unarmed people, especially young black men, all the time (especially in Chicago, L.A. and Philadelphia)," one might make the reverse point about Gary Leupp. Having read him to the end, his justification for the proposition that arming secular fighters will strengthen al-Qaida is very weak, "even the “moderates” seem to appreciate the superior fighting skills of the Islamist fighters."

Everybody Knows

 "One has to wonder whether Dempsey is late arriving to the Syrian conflict, considering it is common knowledge that arming extremist is the cornerstone of our Syrian strategy," no it isn't.


Bombs away for regime change: do to Syria what we did to Libya says British army general

" 'I do not associate the military with wars and bloodshed in a narrow sense. I actually associate the military with doing good, with bringing down tyrants, with releasing people's ambitions for their children.'
Not a view shared by many in the countries which have experienced the wars."
You might think it is a little unfair to say that Lindsey German is dead set against the bringing down of tyrants, but when she has spent another article accusing someone of desiring a bloodthirsty march to all out war, when they are actually trying to spell out the details of how to limit an intervention (and personally I'd think it better they stay out, and just given weapons to the Syrians), she doesn't deserve too much fairness. Especially when again she talks throughout about how bad bringing down Assad would be.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


"The visiting journalists, particularly on the regime side, don’t get the full story. The New York Times wrote that mortars, which had been “peppering” Damascus, have stopped. They haven’t. That’s not true. Mortars have been falling into Damascus intermittently now for a year, and they’re still falling...

The religious [extremism] of the rebels that you read about in Damascus is overshadowing the reality of what’s happening in Syria. It’s clearly happening, but it’s people from outside of Syria. Syria has always been a moderate relaxed country when it comes to religion. Places like Dubai are far more restrictive.
Right from the beginning there were so many images of rebels with beards and Kalashnikovs and chanting Allahu Akbar, as if this was all there is in Syria. And then people outside don’t want to help in any way, because they think it’s just terrorists fighting a dictator. But the majority of people, they’re more culturally Muslim than religious. In no way do they aspire to a Saudi or Salafi thing."

UN: Syria war children ‘will grow up illiterate’

 The longer the war, the worse it will be.
Children play in front of their homes in Khaldiyeh district in Homs

Syrian Sunnis fear Assad regime wants to 'ethnically cleanse' Alawite heartland

"Homs and the surrounding province is seen as essential to the war in Syria and to any plan to create a safe haven for Alawites if the Syrian state collapses, as it geographically links largely Alawite areas on the Syrian coast and Shia areas in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley."

I don't think this is a very likely proposition*, as when Assad ceases to be the purported governor of all Syria, his days in Syria are numbered. Still, that doesn't mean he and his 
already quite sectarian elimination-state won't give it a go.
*Eugène Terre'Blanche comes to mind.[]

Monday, 22 July 2013

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EU ministers agree to blacklist
Hezbollah's armed wing

I'm not sure this is a great idea, despite Hezbollah's murderous role in Syria. It has gained support in Lebanon representing the disenfranchised Shia community, that support is only likely to be strengthened if they are treated as less legitimate than other Lebanese forces, and the chances of a revolt within the community against their military adventure in Syria recedes.

Having said that, it is still the Assad government and its friends that have tried to spread the war and the sectarianism; while Hezbollah and Assad's enemies in Lebanon have been incredibly restrained, which is a good thing.

Syria map

Syria conflict: 'Troops
kills 13 family members'

Rime Allaf:

"There were still children to be killed in Bayda, so they killed them."

I Want You

"The death toll included 49 rebels killed in an ambush in Damascus's north-eastern suburb of Adra early on Sunday when an elite republican guard unit attacked the rebels as they were trying to push into the capital."
That they were trying to push into Damascus is another positive sign.
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Opinion: Redefining Syrians
"A summary of the regime’s policy in dealing with Syrians provides a picture of the internal situation of strengthening its supporters who represent the elite minority, which does not exceed 20 percent of the total population, and making them the strong holders of power, which controls and takes over the people in the devastated areas, which had reached the level of destruction, making them easy to control, as the regime expects.

In parallel to controlling the weak in the devastated areas, the regime has purged the other part, by forcing them to become refugees in neighbouring countries, facing daily difficulties and unable to return to their towns and villages, and thus, the regime would have freed itself of them and the repercussions of their presence in Syria, and left their burden on others.
Even Satan could not execute a plan like this, but the support provided by Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and others, to the regime, in addition to the weakness of Syrian opposition, and the inefficiency of the friends of Syria group, as well as the silence of the international community, all play a nasty role in helping the regime draw and execute that policy."