Saturday, 30 November 2013

Instead of allowing food to besieged areas, the regime pressures Syrians to evacuate or face starvation, adding to the displacement crisis.

Hunger Strike, Day 4: The Regime
Tries to Make a Deal
Qusai Zakarya"Starving a population is illegal. Food should have no preconditions. The regime proposes a conditional ceasefire with the FSA living in our town, but made ridiculous and illegal preconditions! They want us to raise the regime flag inside Moadamiya and they also want all those who are not originally from Moadamiya to leave the town. That means me too, because I’m originally Palestinian. Even though I grew up in this town, they don’t count me as real citizen of Moadamiya...
After a long and tiring day, I lay on my mattress, aware that my weakened body is trapped under siege in Moadamiya, but a strange feeling overcomes me, a feeling that my spirit is free, free to visit all the places I love in Syria, to walk the streets where I used to work and where my friends and I hung out, free to go to Homs where I went for university. This strange feeling leaves me happy.
My body is depleted and exhausted but my spirit is free and happy."

Much Needed Perspective on The New York Times “Disillusioned Activists” Article"Now, these kinds of articles have become so common that they’ve become cliched. But for the next week, the NYT’s article is going to be retweeted ad nauseam by Assad’s Leftist and socialist and “I-blame-da-man-for-everything-wrong-in-my-life” groupies. And so…here we go again. Again. Especially as, on closer inspection, there’s really next to nothing in the article that the pro-regime supporters can take comfort from."

Friday, 29 November 2013

Ali Al-Bayanouni (Tam Hussein)

A Brotherhood Vision for SyriaQ: Don’t you think that the reason the West doesn’t want to get involved is because it is scared that Syria will turn into another Iraq?
A: The situation in Syria is different from Iraq. Rather, the international community does not want the revolution to succeed. They want to exhaust the people of Syria and the regime until the two are forced to come to a political solution; this political solution will be based on the regime being in place, but it has different faces.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


Double guessing in Syria
I'm not sure I agree with the entire analysis, but it's all worth reading.
"The revolution was not about chemical weapons, and it was not about the jihadists. It was not even about the Americans or the Russians. In fact, during the initial protests, the Syrians had been careful not to demonise any nation. They didn’t burn American flags, and they didn’t insult or assault the Russians, many of whom were still in the country.
Instead, the Syrians wanted to focus on one thing, the introduction of a free and democratic regime, and now the Americans were ignoring this one thing and bringing many others onto the table. This whole myriad of international considerations, and some domestic as well, may have mattered to Washington, but they hardly did so to the Syrians who were dying and fleeing the country in their thousands."

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

How Obama has supported Assad's gas murder always

'The White House responded by attempting to cover up the regime's use of chemicals and then issuing an oblique threat designed to warn Assad not to create a mass casualty event through his chemical warfare. For those of us that didn't know that Assad might already be guilty of gas murder, the "whole bunch of" comment might have seemed an "inept" slip, but Assad knew exactly what it meant. He was already using tanks, heavy artillery, helicopter gunships, jet aircraft, cluster bombs, jellied gasoline, barrel bombs and even a little gas against civilian targets and Obama was telling him "Steady as she goes." '

Image result for As the West looks away, the Islamists claim Syria’s rebellion for themselves

As the West looks away, the Islamists claim Syria’s rebellion for themselves"The moderate fighters in Syria, meanwhile, feel that they have been abandoned by the West where public opinion increasingly sees all the rebels as extremists.
The West has ensured that Bashar al-Assad has got the enemy he wanted."

Arab News

US-Iran deal not likely to
affect Syrian revolution

"The military-supported political system has crumbled. It is thriving on Iranian support. It cannot hold out for long. Syrians no longer consider Assad senior or his son as their national leaders. Most of them have now realized that Assad is the leader of a tiny sect.
It is impossible to believe that a regime rejected by Sunnis, constituting more than 70 percent of the country’s population, could survive.
In the current scenario, it is unlikely that the Assad’s regime will survive. It now maintains authority only in a few pockets. When we say that the regime’s survival is impossible, it does not mean there is a suitable national alternative available."

How Critiquing the Syrian Revolution Went Wrong: a Response to Richard Seymour


'InHow the Syrian Revolution Went Wrong,” Richard Seymour suggests that the weapons the Syrian rebels are receiving ‘something other than a few Saudi pea shooters’ is ‘already outdated.’ This is false.'

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Asking Assad to stay is asking Syrians to be party to a charade

Asking Assad to stay is asking
Syrians to be party to a charade
"As world leaders discuss the merits of the Syrian opposition attending Geneva 2 peace talks without preconditions, they flip the narrative of the revolution. A narrative in which Mr Al Assad is upgraded from a brutal dictator that deserves no more than a cell at The Hague to a potential “partner” in the transitional peace process.
The latest demeaning analysis offered to Syrians is to act “as if” Mr Al Assad maintaining power would end the brutal war that was unleashed by Mr Al Assad himself. Governments act as if dragging the Syrian opposition to the negotiation table without any preconditions will result in a political solution to a raging war. World leaders act as if Mr Al Assad’s cooperation in dismantling his chemical weapon stockpiles is reducing the amount of bloodshed, even as the cluster bombs and scud missiles continue to fall onto civilian populations...
Perhaps we will not be able to rejoice soon (or not even for decades) that the Assad regime is finally finished. That will not change one fact: asking for him or his regime to stay will not save lives. Instead, this decision will take more Syrian lives. Thousands more lives.
Deceptive options and skewed choices can be framed as powerful persuasions, as the “last hope” and the “moral choice”. These “solutions for the Syrian conflict” mock the Syrian people’s heavy sacrifices, bloody history, and desire for a peaceful future of freedom and dignity."

Syria: Children targeted
by snipers during conflict

"You may find some of the images in Lyse Doucet's report disturbing."
"Some were just infants."

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A Response to Another Insult

from Nablus, Palestine, in solidarity with revolutionary Syria

Robin Yassin-Kassab

 Sam Charles Hamad: "This thoroughly inadequate and contradictory reaction of some on the left to the Syrian revolution, and, more generally, the reaction of some of those involved in causes associated with Arabs, fits almost perfectly into this latent orientalist perspective of the Arab as some sort of idealised figure of resistance against the west; or as a constant victim of the west; or, in the case of Syria, as a faceless, passive entity who has absolutely no right to resist or rise against this tyrannical regime that somehow falls into what is so inaccurately thought of as the camp of ‘anti-imperialism’."

Dateline London

"Unless they get a deal on the nuclear issue, it will be impossible to get a negotiated settlement over Syria."
Owen Jones was on Dateline London. I think he's completely wrong. Each outside intervention to bring "peace" so far, whether the UN envoy or the Arab League mission, has done nothing but buy Assad more time. Any Geneva conference will be predicated in a Russian insistence that Assad will stay.
"The vote in Britain about whether they would be military intervention in Syria."
An elision of Western invasion with token airstrikes. To oppose the second, the anti-war movement has suggested that the first would be the result, either because it was an inexorable consequence, or it was the secret American plan all along. The lack of enthusiasm of the administrations on both sides of the Atlantic, that they passed the buck on the decision and threw up their hands when it didn't go through, should inform people that the West really isn't interested in doing anything in Syria, let alone try and overthrow Assad.
"The reason they [the Iranians] see their fate so tied to that of the Syrian régime is because of their isolation, they've spent £3bn, which is deeply resented at home."
That seems about right.
"And stop a wider regional war."
It is Assad who has tried to spread this war, by attacking Turkey, by dragging in fighters from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, by blaming the US and Israel for the revolution. It is the rebels who want to keep this local, to insist it is about Syrians determining their own destiny. The longer Assad is allowed to keep hanging on with Syria's fate determined between the US and the Russians, the more he will provoke a wider conflict. Having cried wolf about the Western intervention now, it will be harder to resist when people say down the line, after the next chemical weapons attack, or missile salvo on Turkey or Lebanon, that there is no alternative to Iraq Mark II.
"The Saudi sponsors of Islamist rebels"
People who have got tired of living under a dictatorship try to overthrow it. The West refuses to arm them, so they grow beards and try to find Saudis who'll give them some guns. Now Owen Jones wants them to believe that they can lay down those guns because the international community can be trusted to stop their government killing them with its cracking negotiating skills. How farfetched is that?
"Libya is obviously descending now into total abject chaos."
I think Robin Yassin-Kassab would find this a pernicious exaggeration.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

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St. Petersburg Sends Contractors to SyriaAssad's close to bust.
"According to information obtained by, at the present time, all the security guards who went to Syria at the end of September 2013 on contracts with Slavonic Corps, Ltd. have returned to Russia. The short stay of their tour of duty was caused, according to our information, by the failure of the hosts to fulfill their financial obligations."

Worldview: 2 stories of Syrian rebels
"Things changed as the bulk of private Gulf money flowed to hard-line Islamist groups - and as Washington refused to arm more moderate militias linked to the Free Syrian Army."

'Islamist posturing' is a strategy
to raise funds, says Syrian rebel

“If our donors want us to rename our brigade ‘Syrian soldiers for Madonna’, we’d do it!”

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Return To Homs

"We'd never win if we stay peaceful."
'In ‘Return to Homs’ he films their resistance, that changed from non-violent protest into a bloody guerilla, where the army shoots and kills protesters. An army of young rebels forms around Ossama and Basset, using rifles and pistols to fight against tanks and bombs.'

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Image result for There won't be peace in Syria so long as Britain is backing the rebels

There won't be peace in Syria so
long as Britain is backing the rebels
Words escape me. The first couple of comments are as anti-opposition as in any of the broadsheets. From three weeks ago, I don't read the Telegraph that often.
"At a time when Assad's snipers are taking pot-shots at pregnant women, the urgency of ending the bloodshed has never been greater...
But if the talks are to succeed, the Assad gang will need to be reassured that they, too, will also get a fair hearing."

Embedded image permalink
A Road Trip to War - the British Muslims taking aid overland to Syria "If the world was doing what it's supposed to be doing, I wouldn't have to be doing this."

Monday, 18 November 2013

Image result for Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

A tale of two conferences

Louis Proyect
"Try to remember to have some compassion for a Syrian who might be in the vicinity, before you mouth off in the abstract on the issue; we face news every day of our friends and our relatives being killed and imprisoned. Take time to get to know about a few of them, the Syrian rev youth activists who started it all, in hundreds of towns across Syria, before you speak about Syria based on what happened in Iraq or Lebanon or Country X."

Image result for Nasa Mars atmosphere mission ready for launch

Nasa Mars atmosphere
mission ready for launch

"Its aim is to discover how it ended up the dry, dead planet we see today."
Less of a mystery in the case of Syria.

Leading The Rebel Fight For Aleppo: Hajji Marea

"Like others in the movement opposed to Mr. Assad, the Free Syrian Army said, Mr. Saleh first organized “peaceful activity and demonstration” in his hometown before taking up arms."
Unfortunately he died yesterday.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Boom Bang A Bang

 Syria government site in Damascus hit by huge bomb*
 The BBC choose to illustrate this story, in which the only identified casualties are four generals, with a picture of an injured child, and the message "Civilians in Damascus have been caught in the middle of clashes between government forces and rebels."

Syria’s rebel warrior queen dreams of reforming her brigade

Syria’s rebel warrior queen
dreams of reforming her brigade
“After Bashar is gone I want a moderate country, I don’t want radical Islamist groups, they hate people like me. I want a normal life, where women are part of society and can go to work, get an education, where people can choose if they want to be religious or not.”

On the StWC's statement regarding Agnes's 'withdrawal' from the Nov 30 conference

Image result for stwc coalition statement mother agnes
The withdrawal of Mother Agnes, but the lack of apology for the invitation, is understandable in view of the politics of Counterfire and the Stop The War Coalition. Having turned their backs on the revolution in Syria, because it occurs in a bloc not tied to American imperialism, they parody the position that Trotskyists take in the case of a sub-imperialist taking on a major imperialist power, that of military but not political support. But as there is no intervention by the West, their efforts have been to push the revolutionaries into Assad-prolonging negotiations all along, to maintain the fiction that America is the threat to Syrians rather than Bashar, the Russians & c., they have had to lie repeatedly about the situation that has developed. Thus the denial that the régime used chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta (Lindsey German used to call even the régime's possession of chemical weapons "alleged"), the claim that the FSA is nothing but a US proxy force, without these untruths it would be clear that they are defending the indefensible. So on Mother Agnes they can't say they got it wrong, because once they admit that promoting Assad's line on the conflict is mistaken, they might have to justify why it is pretty much their line.