Saturday, 28 September 2013

All The Fools Sailed Away

 On al-Jazeera's Inside Syria:

 Joshua Landis: "The US has decided not to turn on the spigot. It has to decide if it is more worried about Sunni extremism, in the opposition, or Shi'ite extremism."

 SNC rep: "Extremists didn't kill 100,000 people, didn't make 4 million homeless, didn't destroy 1.2 million homes."
 Unidentified speaker: "There is hope for a Geneva conference down the road. Assad isn't going anywhere."

Syrian-Americans find
ways to help from afar

"Recently, about one hundred Syrian-Americans gathered at a tidy park in suburban Detroit. They chanted and held banners depicting scenes of atrocities in Syria, including victims of a chemical weapons attack attributed to President Bashar Al-Assad."

Image result for morton grove champion

Morton Grove man explores war-torn Syria

“Before the revolution, when I lived there, the regime would arrest anyone with a tattoo, long hair, a long beard, for listening to rock music or even for just wearing shorts,” Mousa said. “Despite the destruction, it was nice to see people free and happy.”
For Smith, who was born and raised in the U.S., the trip gave him perspective on racism.
“People think they’re being patriotic by being disrespectful to Arabs,” Smith said. “But that’s not true. We never felt threatened on our trip and we saw how all those people love and work just like we do. It’s fascism that we should hate.”

Journalist Spends 'Seven Strange Days' With Syrian Rebels, Perfectly Captures Humanity Within A Brutal War

Reuters Syria Rebels

 I don't think that cat wants to be a martyr for anyone's cause.
Image result for Syrian Conflict: The Assad Regime, The Free Syrian Army And Al Qaeda - And The War Against Journalists In Syria

Syrian Conflict: The Assad Regime, The Free Syrian Army And Al Qaeda - And The War Against Journalists In Syria

If we can only get our information from those journalists that operate with the rĂ©gime's consent from Damascus, we will get a picture that fits with its desire to portray the conflict as a sectarian, proxy war the revolutionaries can never win."The scene appears to have been awkwardly staged, leading some to believe it was fabricated to make it appear that Syrian rebels were holding Tice when he was actually in the clutch of government forces. The sad truth is, we may never find out Tice’s fate."Note 26/3/15, a belief supported by the negotiations now going on with the Syrian government for his release. []

Dodging Bullets with Syrian Rebels
Who Love Soccer and Adolf Hitler

The Hitler headline is a bit misleading. Like the reference to a pawn in the paragraph about proxy war.
“Yes, we are Islamists, because we believe in Islam. But we reject the Islam of the extremists! Those are crazy people,” Abu Ahmad says. After a moment he adds, “Of course they’re the only people who are helping us.” There is nodding on all sides.
“I want a Syria in which everyone lives together in peace,” Amir says. “Sunnis, Shiites, Alavites, Kurds, Druze, Christians. And we don’t want to trade Assad for a new dictator. That’s not why we started the revolution.”

Friday, 27 September 2013

Freedom for Jihad and Syria’s Wretched of the Earth


 "The systematic bid to arrest or kill people with free pens and loud voices is a deliberate, concerted tactic that the regime will deploy until the end."

Syrian Rebels: U.S. Distracted By
Focus On Chemical Weapons

"Zawi shrugs off disappointment with the most recent U.S. policy shift. He is focused on the fight for Dera'a, where, he says, months of quiet preparation have paid off."

Jeremy Bowen spent a couple of days telling BBC viewers that rebel commanders were furious and bitterly disappointed when the US strikes didn't happen.
The Daily Star
In Syria, we may be seeing a
repetition of the Balkan tragedy

"For years, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina escalated, alongside a “diplomatic process” marked by a series of broken promises, culminating in the massacre at Srebrenica of thousands of civilians supposedly under United Nations protection. In the end, intervention was necessary anyway."
Remember Joschka Fischer? He's the bloke who asked Donald Rumsfeld, "where are the weapons?", when he was trying to drag us into a war in Iraq.[]"Most people in the West regard Syria’s civil war as a continuation of the sectarian violence in Iraq. But Syria is not Iraq. America’s president is not searching for excuses to start a war; Assad’s chemical weapons are not a fanciful pretext. The scale of the violence in Syria underscores the risk implied by inaction."

Syrian Rebels Make Advances
Along Jordanian Border

Meanwhile.“We now control approximately 70% of the crossing that separates Syria from Jordan, and we expect to be in complete control of it within the coming hours.”

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Sun Goes Down

 Owen Jones: "Many people at the top were keen on getting involved in a war, very quickly, in Syria."

 An hour earlier he told us that the involvement of British people with al-Shabab was just like the British jihadis who've gone to fight in Syria. And then said that it was Islamophobic for people to lump in other Muslims with the jihadis.

 Owen Jones was better last year.

 "Agreed - but this is a popular uprising, not arriving on the back of Western cruise missiles, tanks and bullets," though he was still agreeing with this, "if [Assad] falls could then be a sectarian civil war like Iraq".

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at the opening ceremony to the fifth annual

No 'serious person' should doubt man
behind climate change, says Tony Blair

This undermines the case for global warming, the same way that Blair's support for the bombing of Syria undermines the case for arming the rebels. He lied to us about Iraq, you know.
[I.e. It doesn't.]

Chapter 24

 The BBC teletext section on the Syrian Conflict has been replaced by one on the Nairobi Attacks. Move on, nothing to see here for a while.

 Here's a quick guide to the next round of media interest, so you can sleep through that one. There will be a resolution discussed at the United Nations Security Council about the Assad government's possession of chemical weapons. The US, Britain and France will insist that the resolution must include a reference to Chapter 7, which is the authorisation of the use of force, if Assad doesn't give up his chemical weapons. The media will spend a couple of days discussing what this means for the geo-political balance, the Russians and Chinese will say no, you can't have a Chapter 7 authorisation, you can't even have a resolution that condemns Assad for the Ghouta attack, or for the bombing of civilians, or the denial of food and medical aid to civilians. A watered down resolution will be passed, and everybody will go home. Except for the Syrians who have no homes to go to.

One Month On After The World Officially Gave Up on Us

'Since the US airstrikes were called off, not a single anti-war proponent that opposed the US strikes has protested nor voiced any concern for the deaths of 2,285 people, all killed from Assad’s war against the people of Syria. Then again, we should not have expected any concern from this crowd as they actually hoisted photos of Assad, the man responsible for this massacre, at rallies. One pro-revolution, yet anti-strike/intervention Syrian activist, Darth Nader, summed it up best regarding these protests: “Remember when all the anti-Iraq war demonstrations had pictures of Saddam Hussein? Me neither." '

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A demonstration in Germany with placards of Bashar and his wife, and Bashar alone. I haven't checked quite when it is from. The source is News Daily Planet,[].

Russian policies bred extremism in Syria

' “Does he even know how the Syrian regime hacked off the throats of those who sang for the revolution?
“Does he remember that for almost eight months, the Syrians protested peacefully under the regime’s fire and how there was not one statement from Moscow or any mention of a political solution?”
Mr Putin announced at the summit that extremist groups fighting in Syria didn’t come from nothing.
True, said the writer, terrorism grew and expanded in Syria as a result of the regime’s terrorism under the patronage of Moscow.'

Syrian rebels urge boycott of
any conference involving Iran

'The general also said there were several foreign fighters fomenting dissent among the opposition fighters but they did not pose a real threat as they were few in number.
"Some of these extremists come from Chechnya or from Iraq. They say they come to help the Syrian revolution, but they have another agenda. Their numbers are very few, but the Assad regime has a political interest to make the world believe they are many.
"They are not a threat: after Assad falls, we will take care of them in two days. But first, we have to focus on Assad," he added.'
Anna Therese Day

From Syria, On Spec: Wary of Staff in Harm’s
Way, Editors Leave War Coverage to $70

Not a great way to honour her memory.
'After Ms. Colvin, a correspondent for The Sunday Times, was killed, the British newspaper decided not to take any more freelance work from the war-torn country.
“In the light of what happened to Marie Colvin, we have decided we do not want to commission any journalists to cover the situation in Syria,” Policy Deputy Foreign Editor Graham Paterson said at the time. “And we take the same view regarding freelancers speccing in material, even if they have returned home safely.” '

How Barack and Hassan Became Pen Pals
Dear Hassan,
To be honest with you, this whole Syria thing has become a big headache for me. I mean I like my job but the one thing I hate about it is having to make decisions. You’re so lucky you have a bigger boss to help with that. Although I too have a senile old fool who thinks he runs the place, I guess he’s our big boss. His name is McCain. 
Have you ever been to America? 
Yours truly,

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

syria aid 2

Report: Millions Of Syrians Are Starving

"Absent some kind of peace agreement or total military victory by one side, no one’s quite sure what to do to solve this problem."
An agreement that leaves Assad in power won't bring peace.

Image result for against the odds some syrians rebuild amid the ruins

Some Syrians rebuild amid the ruins

"Under the barrage of forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, the cycle of destruction and construction has been put on repeat.

Few parts of the country are unscathed. Neighborhoods have been flattened, leaving Syrians stunned by the destruction with one-word comparisons: Stalingrad. Grozny."

Monday, 23 September 2013

‘Ridiculously photogenic Syrian soldier': A weapon of mass seduction

‘Ridiculously photogenic Syrian soldier': A weapon of mass seduction

I see Obama's calling it a sectarian conflict (Assad and his backers would like to make it so), and the BBC seem to be following suit.

The End of Silence in Syria:
 Interview with Syria Untold

'Amjad Taleb summarizes how many Syrians feel at this false dichotomies posed by media and the “international community.”

"If you would ask Syrians to choose between dying by gas while sleeping or dying under torture, I think you could expect the answer. If you asked them to choose between Assad and Al-Qaeda I think you should expect the answer too.
But if you stop being an asshole and ask them what they want and dream of, then the answers would be more amazing than anything you might have read or heard of… Only if you stop being an asshole." '

Carrie in Homeland, played by Claire Danes. (Picture: Channel 4)

Carrie is back, but the west is over

I think appearing impotent is the least worst strategy for the American administration, and if the problem of Syria is cast as one of the willingness of the US to intervene military, as the suffering worsens, so will US intervention seem more credible as the solution.
"But if the Clinton strategy in response to the Arab Spring failed, it was at least a strategy. Now, with Clinton gone, US foreign policy reads like a series of random events off the pages of the Homeland screenplay.
Call for a military strike on Syria. Lose a vote in the British parliament. Call for a vote in congress. Place an extra random caveat on the action, in an impromptu speech, which becomes the basis of a new, strategic agreement brokered by Russia. Fail - as looks likely - to get even that deal backed by the threat of force, at the UN, should Syria renege on it.
When Roosevelt, in 1936, signed the non-intervention pact on Spain it was at least the consequence of design. Clear statements of policy backed it up. Today seasoned diplomats shake their heads. As one put it to me: this is not a strategy at all."

It's A Long Way To The Top

 UN Data on Gas Attack Point to Assad's Top Forces

 "Details buried in the United Nations report on the Syrian chemical weapons attack point directly at elite military formations loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, some of the strongest findings to date that suggest the government gassed its own people. The inspectors listed the precise compass directions of flight for two rocket strikes that appeared to lead back toward the government's elite redoubt in Damascus, Mount Qasioun, which overlooks and protects neighbourhoods and Assad's presidential palace and where his Republican Guard and the army's powerful Fourth Division are entrenched. "When you fire it from such a place, it means that you don't care if fingers will be pointed to you in some period of time," said retired Lebanese Army General Elias Hanna, a lecturer on strategy and geopolitics at the American University of Beirut."

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Tear The Fascist Down

The Venture Capital show on Russia Today has just shown several clips of Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, culminating in him explaining that US policy over Syria "has brought us to 1913".
Image result for Three Britons among Kenya shopping mall attack dead

Three Britons among Kenya
shopping mall attack dead

I doubt there will be any demonstrations against British military aid to Kenya. In Somalia, it often seems to be a choice between corrupt warlords and these rather unsavoury Islamists, Syria, having a much more developed civil society, isn't there yet.
Russia Urges Syrian Rebels to Destroy Chemical Weapons

Russia Urges Syrian Rebels
to Destroy Chemical Weapons

Those crazy Russians.

Lavrov said "when our western partners repeatedly say that only the regime has weapons and that’s why only the regime could have used them, and the opposition has no chemical weapons, they are cunning." '

Mortar Hits Russian
Embassy In Damascus

That's nice.
I saw the bit earlier about the Russian willingness to send troops to Syria. Hollow laugh.

Local Syrians aid war-torn homeland
'The U.S. "decided not to act (when fighting began)," he said. "And not acting was the most devastating thing to happen to the revolution." 
"We're hoping for a democratic republic ... don't make us choose between two disastrous things," he said, referring to the current regime and the radical Islamic groups that are now involved.'

From Kafranbel: The Syrian Revolution in Three Minutes

Photo taken from the Banners from Occupied Kafranbel facebook page

 "The irony of Syria becoming crushed into the past while it struggled to emerge into a future where freedom and justice prevailed has been used by the people of Kafranbel (Idlib), to send a powerful message to the world.
In a three-minute video that became viral soon after it was published online, activists from the town of Kafranbel dress as stone age people to represent the evolution of the Syrian uprising. A few stone-agers hold rudimentary banners to protest, before they are attacked by a group holding guns and rifles, who suddenly open fire at them. The attacks gradually turn into shelling and bombing. As more protesters keep coming out of their caves, a few observers sit and watch. It is only when the attackers start using a bottle of gas to spray the others that the observers react, angrily demanding that the bottle is removed from the picture. The video ends with the following message:"
Death is death, regardless of the way it is done. Assad has killed more than 150,000. Stop him.

Image result for syria deeply

Raqqa's FSA Brigades Join Jabhat al-Nusra

“What help? We have not received any support since the beginning of the revolution. Obama and Cameron are liars,” the commander said. One local media activist, who declined to be named for fear of retribution from ISIS, was adamant that if the rebels had received arms, ISIS would not have been able to gain a foothold in his city.
“There is no regime presence in Raqqa. Why should the FSA decide now, after the city is liberated, to join Jabhat al-Nusra?” he said. “It’s because ISIS is a bigger threat to them than the regime. If they had arms this never would have happened. ISIS is spreading like a cancer, and the regime only fights the FSA; they don’t fight al-Qaida.”

Syria: The moral imperative to act

Some left-wing writers and spokespeople look to Syria and see Vietnam. They are terribly wrong. The moral and historic duty of any progressive person is to stand by the Syrian people’s struggle for freedom and help them topple the genocidal Assad regime.

"To imply that the people of Syria are passive and impotent, and that therefore the rebellion against Assad must be an imperialist scheme or the work of Islamic extremists, you negate the basic tenet of the Left that the people is the creator of history."