Saturday, 2 November 2013

“It’s better if unarmed civilians surrender”

Mother Agnes welcomes civilians from Moadamiyah during the regime evacuation on October 29

 In audio recordings obtained by NOW, Assad's favorite nun [Mother Agnes Mariam] shows how she convinced starved civilians – many of whom have now been arrested – to leave besieged Moadamiyah

 "The US State Department has evidently not flinched in offering this humble, pot-smoking emissary of God a visa, a courtesy that for some reason it did not choose to extend to Paul Conroy, the Sunday Times photojournalist who was badly injured covering the siege of Baba Amr and who has recently published a book about the last days of his colleague Marie Colvin’s life that he’d like to tell Americans about."

 I'd say the pot-smoking might be one thing in her favour. She's also the source for the Russian claim that the rebels gassed themselves in August. Practising Catholics might be embarrassed that she's in communion with the universal church.

Please Help Stop Assad

There's a video circulating, a genuine one, of Syrian rebels smashing up a statue of the Virgin Mary. The majority of Syrians who want to see Assad overthrown object to this sectarian nonsense, but the longer the rebels go under-equipped for the battle against a modern state, which with Russian help, starves and bombs its citizens, the more the jihadists will dominate and destroy the revolution.
Anyway, this: Statue of Jesus erected on Syrian hilltop*
seems like incitement, but still, it's probably a good idea to welcome it as a symbol to Christians that they will be safe when Assad falls. Though now having seen the comparison with the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, maybe it would make a better spectacle if another piece of brutalism were smashed up, even if not politically advisable.
*"Russians have been a driving force behind the statue project. The Kremlin is the chief ally of the embattled Assad, and the Orthodox churches in Russia and Syria have close ties.
Ghadban, who is Syrian-Russian and lives in both countries, said he hoped the statue, which was inspired by Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue, would in turn inspire Syria's Christians."

Friday, 1 November 2013

Image result for Syria conflict: Israel 'carries out Latakia air strike'

Syria conflict: Israel 'carries
out Latakia air strike'
"Even if Assad acknowledges this attack took place, he's unlikely to be able to anything about it. As the civil war in his country grinds on, he's unable to respond forcefully, militarily, to Israel."
Remember when Israeli attacks were going to provoke the Russians into setting off WW3? Or how Assad was going to use more weapons more often if there was any foreign intervention? 
I might get back tomorrow to some thoughts about how its response to Syria will define the left for the next generation. I wasn't going to post this piece by Terry Glavin, as I worry that his support for America's military adventures for the last ten years undermines the case he would make for intervening in Syria, but it is informative.
“In the Syrian reality, people know who is against us and who is for us. Jabhat al Nusra is helpful to us,” Eshami told me during a conversation at an out-of-the-way coffee house here the other day. “I have met with them personally to find the truth. The United States says they are terrorists, but the truth is different. Everybody knows that the western world will do nothing to help us. The people of Syria are sure now that the western world is of no use to them at all.”

Down On The Borderline

 Sharmine Narwani, who sometimes appears on the TV as an accredited journalist, is an unabashed apologist for tyranny.

 "When Egyptian General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ejected an elected government, he understood that lawlessness in the Sinai and calls for Jihad in Syria, Libya and elsewhere would erode the Egyptian state. When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called for reinforcement to fight the tide of foreign fighters flooding Syria’s borders, this was a rallying call for Russia, Hezbollah and Iran to protect their own borders.

 Dictators? Tyrants? Maybe, maybe not. But also perhaps the last buffers against the destruction of the nation-state."


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hanging Dates Under Aleppo's Citadel

"The people in my film are [Muslim]. If you look at the names of all the brigades, they're all [Muslim]. But they're not Al-Qaeda or Nusra or whatever. If you listen, they're trying to declare and hide at the same time. 'I'm not against someone drinking alcohol in his own home. But it's haram.' 'I'm not the one to prosecute him. That's the government's job.' They want to be just but they cannot hide being Muslim. If I were to make a film suggesting that these fighters are communists, then I'd be fabricating things.
"They want the world to understand that ... every time you say 'jihad' you don't mean Al-Qaeda. That whenever you say, 'I don't drink alcohol,' you don't mean 'I'm violent.' They want to be rewarded for their moderation.
"If you don't listen to them, eventually they will be lured by Al-Qaeda-like organizations. They have lots of money. They can secure services for people, but in return, they'll make their lives hell.
"I'm biased toward the revolution." Soueid said. "I hope I'll always be able to defend the revolution as I do now."
Image result for Syrian Brotherhood criticises attempts to discredit opposition

Syrian Brotherhood criticises
attempts to discredit opposition

"Those concerned by your revolution have learned their lessons and believe that killing the revolution from its birth will be to their benefit. Dear Syrians, I assure you, no matter how many assurances you give them, they will never accept your democracy project, not the Americans not the Russians not the Europeans nor the Iranians. They do not object to your revolution but to you, to your humanity and to your democracy, liberation and justice."
The Muslim Brotherhood may not have covered itself in glory with its level of leadership in the Syrian revolution, but that they are talking about revolution when many socialists are not, conveys a certain cubic capacity.

Were We Wrong about Syria?
"We should have provided political and military support for the first generation of rebels—the “good guys” who described themselves as secular democrats. We should have done this before jihadi militants flocked into the country and before Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah were fully engaged. We should have aimed at a rapid transition to a non-sectarian state, where the Sunni majority would come into its own but religious minorities—Alawites, Druse, and Christians—would not feel threatened."

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A boy makes bread in Duma neighbourhood, in Damascus September 22, 2013. All official government bakeries were closed since 10 months ago and no flour has reached the area except those smuggled by Free Syrian army members, activists said. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

Insight: Starvation in Syria: a war tactic

At an army checkpoint that separates government-held central Damascus from eastern suburban towns earlier this month, a thin, teenage boy on a bicycle circled a soldier and begged to be allowed to take a bag of pita bread, a staple food, into the eastern suburbs. The soldier refused but the boy kept begging for "just one loaf".
The soldier finally shouted: "I'm telling you, not a single morsel is allowed in there. I don't make the rules. There are those bigger than me and you who make the rules and they're watching us right now. So go back home." The soldier, visibly upset, exhaled quietly and deeply when the boy slipped out of sight.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Profiles in Politics: Senator Lindsey Graham
“We need to be backing people who would replace Assad who are not radical Islamists and that’s most Syrians.”
There are many things I'd disagree with Lindsey Graham about, but this isn't one of them.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Syria: the land of broken promises
"There is no other solution than go back to square one: arm the FSA with weapons that can stop airplanes and long distance missiles.
The West has been defeated on the Russian diplomatic chessboard. After the chemical weapons deal Assad feels victorious. Most of the world’s attention is now going to the so-called terrorists and is hardly reporting his atrocities anymore. Assad is more than happy that we will try to find a political solution on the same chessboard he and his Russian friends have won the last game."
Syria rape victim

What's going on in Syria is about a
lot more than chemical weapons

CraigSummers >ATrueFinn
27 October 2013 12:51pm
".....The US and UK
have a history of wars of aggression and violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrations. It is amazing how you defend these countries......"
Changing the subject is fine - if you have nothing to counter the argument for your support of Syria. Your hatred of the US/UK is not an argument on why you support Assad - because there are no good arguments. If all of this was happening in Bahrain where the US has a military base, you would be beside yourself condemning the US and their complicity in the murder of people in Bahrain to protect US interests. Instead nothing about Russia. Nothing about Hezbollah/Lebanon. Nothing about Iran.
Your problem is that the US has had absolutely nothing to do with the war in Syria so you bring up irrelevant history. Anti-Americanism is really easy to distinguish from somewhat who is REALLY concerned about "crackdowns" on innocent civilians.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Fighters who operate under the Free Syrian Army command,

Give Syria peace, not a process

Strolling the Champs-Élysées with 120,000 Syrian Refugees

 This is quite sad.

 'There is a school at Za’atari, but it’s sparsely attended and many kindergarteners have forgotten the alphabet. They want to play “revolutionary games” instead. “My five-year-old tells me every day that he dreams of carrying a machine gun,” she said, “and going back to Syria.” '

Syria: Is it Too Late To Do Anything?
"In the end the much maligned and often ridiculed Sarah Palin may be speaking accurately for what is left of a morally hollowed-out West when she suggests that we avert our gaze from the horror of Syria and “let Allah sort it out.” The Obama administration’s version of the “leave it to God” approach characteristically reflects lawyerly deliberation and close attention to strategic communication."
Also much of the hollowed-out Left.