Saturday, 9 November 2013

Tawakkol Karman praises Turkey
Tawakkol Karman praises Turkey
'People of the Muslim world are “dreaming the same dream,” Karman said. “The dream is about having a democratic, free and humane life,” Karman explained. “I believe these honorable dreamers will topple the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.” 
Karman saluted the audience in Turkish and Kurdish, and said that people succeeded to topple the dictators in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. “Now they will definitely be able to topple the dictator Assad in Syria. I believe in that.”'

Gaddafi's Harem

Gaddafi and his female bodyguards.


"He was an extreme case, but of course Libya is not the only Arab country where sexual abuses are normalized. Saddam Hussain’s son Uday was notorious for his abductions of women. Large-scale rape, aimed to break community resolve, has been a key counter-revolutionary strategy in Syria. And in almost every case, “political” or not, Arab victims of rape or incest remain silent, knowing that they more than their attackers will be considered tainted and criminal."

Friday, 8 November 2013

Lack of U.S. Peace Movement Solidarity with Syrian Uprising and the “No Good Guys Excuse”

 'The Syrian Revolution’s grassroots civilian base still exists, and is still unified around democratic values. Its cadres have been killed and imprisoned by the Assad regime’s ongoing repression; marginalized by diasporic political bodies; and face increasing repression by extremist armed forces. But after the non-Syrian jihadists go home, and the contentious foreign agendas rearrange themselves, the people power of the civilian resistance will still be there, if its participants have not all been killed or imprisoned by then. They are not Islamists, and they are not “fractious,” they are nobody’s proxy, and they are the only hope for building a democratic post-Assad Syria.'
Free Syrian Army fighter holds his head, blood streaming down face

Syria: my journey into a nightmare war"Over the months, I heard my cousins get angrier. Zafar and his brother Mohammed – who is 25 and only four years older than me – joined the rebels, the Free Syrian Army. They weren't the kind of guys you would ever imagine to be fighters but they didn't feel they had an option."

The Grapes of My Country: Syrian Journalism Baptized in Blood

The Grapes of My Country: Syrian Journalism Baptized in Blood"Between August 20-25, hundreds of Darayya residents were shot in cold blood after the regime stormed the city, shelling it and carrying house-to-house raids. It was the most dramatic moment in the city´s recent history, and it deeply affected the Grapes of My Country team. The trauma caused by the loss of friends and relatives and the death of one of the project’s co-founders, Mohammad Quraitem, soon after, led to the subsequent decentralization of the project, which spread to other cities. They started publishing in the northern areas free of regime control, such as Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib, where there was more room for work.
“The project was about to end around that period, but we managed to continue,” one of the team members explained. “Our journalistic experience and commitment to tell the truth were now baptized in blood.”
Ten months after leaving Darayya, the team is now preparing its re-launch there, following petitions from residents. The fact that the city has no electricity and is subjected to an almost total isolation, makes Grapes of My Country more necessary than ever."

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Støt opbygning af civilsamfund i Syrien
Support The Building Of Civil Society in Syria

In Danish.

"The purpose is twofold: first, to get an insight into everyday Syrians and civil society need and to be able to bear witness and give voice to alternative stories of resistance, dignity and a Syrian revolution, which are seldom heard. The aim is also to tell about ordinary Syrians and their civil society, to show that there is support to get outside, a support is not dictated by economic or political interests."


"Yes, we have interests in Syria; yes, those interests could be helped or harmed by intervening. But simple humanity calls on us to do something. We don’t even need to send in missiles; no, sending words would do. But the words we send must be much more potent than what has already been said; we — as humans — must demand rights for the Syrian people, must demand that Iran cease its intervention, and must demand that Assad step down."

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Image result for Voices for Syria – Time to Start Listening omar offendum

Voices for Syria – Time to Start Listening"The left – which claims to have an internationalist vision - should be in the forefront of building solidarity with Syria: so far there is little sign of that, but I can continue to hope. I have commented elsewhere on the weakness of Syrian solidarity activity in this country contrasted with the much more serious response of the French left."


In Syria, people are cutting and eating cats becaue of hunger. So, we start a project to save the cats in Syria.
We suppose that the people who are silent while people are dying, maybe will care about the cats. Thank you for your support
Image result for Hardtalk 6/11/13

HardtalkInterview with someone presumably from the FSA in Turkey. Says close to the end, "The FSA lacks firepower, so al-Qaida gets in."

Why Obama Did Not Make War on Syria

 'There’s a problem in reducing politics to litmus tests as to which state is pro-U.S. or anti-U.S., a bad habit of the “anti-imperialist” wing of the left that has little interest in what Syrian or Iranian Marxists stand for. In my view, the most urgent task facing the left today is uniting socialists, not disgusting third world dictators like Qaddafi or al-Assad who are worshipped because Nicholas Kristof editorializes against them.'
 Louis N. Proyect knows what he's talking about.
 At some point I do mean to get back to a couple of related subjects. Flying Rodent's obituary of Norman Geras* reminded me how good the Indecent Left were at pointing out the failure of logical or polite argument by their pro-Iraq War opponents, but how this became a simple picture of "right-wing monsters" ravaging the globe, which becomes an embarrassing parody of itself when applied to Syria, where the Predictions about WMD are reversed. I also want to examine what imperialism actually means, when it comes to taking guns from the Americans, if that were ever to happen, or approving of Western airstrikes, in a context where they have no interest in bringing about régime change, because they don't encourage revolution and straight transfer of alleigance can't really be done like that, as in Syria today. Though somebody who cares more about developing marxist theories of imperialism might do a better job.
 Also Phil Edwards' piece saying that Putin has preserved international law. He's someone else I've got a lot of time for, but this is not good.[…/…/no-top-and-no-bottom/]

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Image result for CNN Exclusive: Inside Syrian town living under al Qaeda reign of fear

CNN Exclusive: Inside Syrian town
living under al Qaeda reign of fear

The CNN report on Raqqa.

Abortion of the Soul"What transpires is a call to arms for a revolution of the soul in modern Syria. A revolution in which political freedom and the freedom of the individual regardless of gender are to be cherished and the old patriarchal concepts are to be aborted. Without a formal charge, Bahraa was arrested in Damascus at her university on 2nd February 2012 and held for 53 days. Many suspect that it is partly due to the controversial topic of her accomplished documentary."

Unifying Syria's Rebels: Saudi Arabia Joins the Fray

 Yezid Sayigh:

 This is interesting:

 "This leaves the Saudi leadership heavily dependent on Syria’s Sunni rebels. If its plan to unite them fails, Riyadh’s credibility will be diminished. Worse, Saudi Arabia could find itself replicating its experience in Afghanistan, where it built up disparate mujahideen groups that lacked a unifying political framework. The forces were left unable to govern Kabul once they took it, paving the way for the Taliban to take over. Al-Qaeda followed, and the blowback subsequently reached Saudi Arabia.

 In Syria, Saudi reliance on funding and weapons supply as principal levers of acquiring influence, the concentration on escalating military pressure on the regime without developing a clear political strategy to defeat it in parallel, and the focus on mobilizing and strengthening groups with an overtly Sunni Muslim character risk contributing to a similar outcome. The Saudi leadership should be careful what it creates in Syria: Muhammad’s Army may eventually come home to Mecca."
Image result for ahram online
TV star figures in Syria
uprising and pays a price 

Anaheed Fayyad, a Syrian-Palestinian who also acted in "Bab el-Hara," left weeks after the uprising broke out, saying she had been critical of Assad in public and on Facebook and worried that her family would suffer.
"Although I've been unemployed and without any income for three years, I feel free to say what I please without fear," said Fayyad, 30. "So I say that I'm with the revolution wholeheartedly and that Assad is an illegitimate president, in the wrong place, and should be removed."
HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED A LITTLE BOY DIE OF HUNGER BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES BEFORE? Damascus (Yarmouk Camp): Nov 2, 2013 - His name is Abdulhay Yousef. He’s 4 years old. He’s a Palestinian refugee living in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus. He starved to death yesterday as Assad’s forces continued their crippling siege of the neighborhood, not allowing anything, not food, not medicine, nothing into the camp.
There are still many who dare champion Assad as the leader of the resistance, as pro-Palestinian.

Syrian opposition in London
Syrian revolution is now a battle between jihadists and the Free Syrian Army"ISIS takes over the more populated areas around the rebel held zones, then squeezes the rebels out of the center. This exploits the vacuum that was created when government loyalists were overwhelmed and other nations opted not to get involved."

Monday, 4 November 2013

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

 I was thinking this morning that when there was a revolution in Portugal in the 70s, the British left scrambled around to find groups in Portugal it could relate to. Thus the SWP found itself befriending a group called the PRP-BR, with the BR I think standing for revolutionary brigades, as they were just coming out of a guerilla struggle against Franco's dictatorship. You have to show solidarity before you earn the right to criticize. When the Left here has seen fit to lecture Syrians on the dangers of hitching their cause to imperialism (misunderstanding that any involvement of the West in Syria has not, and will not, have the character of régime change), while doing nothing to support Syrians, one can only look on in despair at the short-sightedness. Because there has been a revolution there, because hundreds of thousands have died and hundreds of thousands more will likely do so, because it is hard to get to grips with an armed conflict in a part of the world where America is not the dominant imperial power, this will be what people will lambast the Left with for a generation from now.

 There was actually a half-decent joint statement put out by Socialist Resistance, Workers Power, the Anti-Capitalist Initiative and the International Socialist Network, which called for the arming of the rebels, along with some patronising stuff about how important it was to link up with the more-pro-Assad types in Stop The War to prevent American aggression. But there has been precious little stuff apart from that that I can even see on their respective websites. Workers Power may be an honourable exception there.

 I heard a guy from Greepeace asked the other day, about their members detained in Russia, "What else can you do at the moment?" He said, "We do what we can. We're demonstrating outside the Russian embassy today, we have a petition." If the Left doesn't do the same things over Syria, what is its point?

 I haven't heard much from anyone on the left over Syria since the intervention crisis predictably went away. The ISN had a meeting on Syria and Egypt, but nobody bothered to say even how that went or if anything came out of it.

 It would be useful if socialists had an input to the Syria revolution. A strategy that could be based on the seizure of the means of production, of transportation, of the power supply, might have cut short the resistance of a state with nothing more than guns to defend itself. The historic collaboration of the Left with the Ba'athist dictatorship in Syria is why that's not a popular option right now. But if it just presents what is going on as a series of images, as in the video below, it isn't going to add to anyone's understanding. Or have a credible answer when asked, "What did you do about Syria?"

 Here's a passage from Colin Barker's book, Revolutionary Rehearsals*, about the Iranian Left:

 "If one wants an index of the weakness of the Iranian Left in 1979, one has to look no further than their failure to campaign openly among the workers, in the Shoras [councils] and elsewhere, in unambiguous support for the rights of women to determine their own lives, of the rights of the religious minorities to pursue their faith in complete freedom, and of the rights of the national minorities to secede from the Iranian state. A movement against oppression and exploitation that is divided and sectionalised is a movement more easily defeated...The more advanced the workers movement, the more it can urge its allies to adopt its own principles."

Abdullah Gul

Radicalisation in Syria poses growing
threat to Europe, says Turkish leader
"If the atmosphere remains as it is, then this can lead to more radicalisation and some groups in the civil war becoming more extreme, dividing up, not being under control, and spreading across that country. Because under those circumstances, ordinary people could become much more extreme and this is something that poses a danger and threat not just for Turkey – it's an issue for everyone."
Stopping "intervention" was not a great thing we did on behalf of the Syrian people, or in solidarity with the Syrian revolution; in the absence of any real aid, it just means that intervention is more likely to be imposed on Syrians, right now from the Russians, from others when they can't keep a lid on it.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Vladimir Putin

Russia’s foreign policy is
a near-complete failure

"Many think they can stand up to Moscow because its leverage is declining. Upheaval in global energy markets – especially the shale gas revolution – is one reason. The dramatic drop in Russian economic growth this year further saps Russian influence."


Analysis: Did Syria’s Assad get
away with chemical weapons attack?

"Somehow, Assad not only got away with the gas attack, but appears to have also emerged stronger after it. How is that possible? 
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a lot to do with it. By stepping into the standoff between Syria and the U.S., he tossed Assad a lifeline that also allowed President Barack Obama to forgo intervening in a conflict most Americans wanted no part in after a decade of costly wars in distant Muslim lands."
I thought the comments thread on Guardian pieces sometimes entirely miss the point, but at least they don't have Obama Is A Terrorist Who Will Kill Millions, which I'm sure is a sincerely held belief, if a crazy one.

Stick Figures and Stunted Growth
as Warring Syria Goes Hungry
"The very unlikelihood of hunger in Syria galls those suffering from it. “It’s very strange to know that the food is only five minutes away from you,” said Qusai Zakarya, a spokesman for a rebel council in Moadhamiya, who said he recently spoke on the phone to a friend who was eating a cheeseburger in the wealthy neighborhood of Mezze just a few miles away.
Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers and residents say that signs at checkpoints around Moadhamiya and other Damascus suburbs read, “Kneel or starve.”

Syrian Army Repels Armed Rebels’ Attack on Restaurant in Reef Ariha
Syrian Army Repels Armed Rebels’
Attack on Restaurant in Reef Ariha
"The bodies of the killed militants are still left on the ground in the region.
The armed rebels have repeatedly tried to return to the scene to take back those wounded in the area, but have failed."
So the Iranian official news service boasts that their Syrian allies have no respect for the rules of war allowing for the evacuation of wounded and the bodies of the dead.
I guess this must be a strategically important restaurant. Fars does seem to use the headline, "Syrian [government forces] Repel [opposition forces] Attack", quite a lot.

Not Anymore

"So many girls have died in the kitchen, doing the dishwashing. I don't want to die cheap."

The Arab Revolutions and
 the Renegade Tariq Ali

"Saying “we do not know” if “the regime used gas or other chemical weapons” makes Tariq Ali not merely a renegade but a clown, an ass, a world-class buffoon, and an enemy of “the courageous citizens of Syria who started the uprising“ he lauds and pretends to support. Not one of those citizens had any doubt over whose sarin was unleashed on the hapless women and children of Ghouta that morning.
If Ali wants to continue peddling fictions about Arabs, he should stick to writing his novels. Leave politics to the revolutionaries."