Friday, 18 July 2014

Former chief: Hezbollah as bad as takfiris

' “We are sorry to say that Hezbollah has been tuned into a sectarian party and a killing machine, as bad as takfiri groups, at the hands of the Iranians,” Toufaili said.
He charged that Hezbollah’s battle was directed against Muslims for the sake of defending “the regimes of corruption and tyranny,” in reference to Syria and Iran.
“Hezbollah’s involvement in the fighting in Syria against Syrian children and people is a main factor in igniting sectarian hostilities and animosity that only serve the Zionist enemy and its allies,” Toufaili said.'
Choosing sides

Choosing sides

Alawite support for the Al-Assad regime in Syria may be putting the entire community at risk, writes Bassel Oudat in Damascus
"Two developments have deepened Alawite involvement in the country’s sectarian strife. One has been the contributions made by Alawite societies to pro-regime paramilitary gangs. The other has been the fact that many young Alawites have joined these gangs, thus becoming part of the regime’s killing machine.
Iran has also been instrumental in fomenting sectarian tensions in the country. Since the beginning of the conflict, Tehran has sent hundreds of military experts to Syria and ordered Hizbullah in Lebanon to send its battle-hardened combatants to support the regime. As the war has dragged on, Iran has sent more Shia into the country, among them militiamen from Iraq and Yemen, on the ostensible mission of protecting Shia holy sites.
The foreign Shia fighters sent into Syria have had no doubt in their minds about what kind of war they are fighting. For them, the Syrian war is not a conflict between freedom and despotism, as the revolution intended it to be, but between the Shia supporters of Hussein and the Sunni supporters of Yazid – a reference to a conflict that many thought had ended 13 centuries ago.
Even Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese officials have confirmed their fanatical zeal, many making public statements to the effect that the Syrian war is one fought between Sunnis on the one side and Shiites on the other.
The Al-Assad regime has promoted this distorted discourse, for without the conflict turning sectarian its chances of survival are minimal. It has only been if the regime can pose as the protector of the Shia community, and particularly of the Alawites, that it can justify its acts."

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Richard Dearlove
"British Jihadis are motivated by wanting to topple Bashar Assad dictatorship in Syria says group critical of British counterterrorism policy"
Good for Cage. Those on the left who play up the jihadi threat don't seem to be so much worried about Islamists, as anxious to find an excuse not to care about Syria.

FEMALE FIGHTERSA series of striking images of an all-female battalion in the Free Syrian Army has resurfaced over a year after being taken. Taken by Sebastiano Tomada, the powerful and haunting images shed light on the central role of females in the civil war.'The term female empowerment has perhaps never been more apt. The women, who Tomada photographed at an undisclosed command post inside Aleppo, took up arms side by side with their male counterparts in the largely secular Free Syrian Army. Along with their quest to end the Assad regime's injustices, some of the women picked up a gun in a bid to prove the equality of women. 'I fight for life and freedom, I fight to prove that woman and man are equal,' one 27-year old widow said. Another 72-year-old mother of three joined the battalion after her home in Dara'a was destroyed and she was forced to flee to Aleppo. "I chose to pick up a weapon and fight the regime." '

Obama’s unconvincing
aid to Syria’s rebels

"In essence, Ghanem said the administration is “almost setting itself up for failure” by not whole-heartedly pushing for the effort or providing enough specifics and administration officials to lobby for it on Capitol Hill. This sentiment has been echoed by lawmakers on the Hill. At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, Adam Smith, the committee’s senior Democrat, criticized a panel of Pentagon officials who refused to discuss the specifics of the aid package in the open session. “You have to push the policy,” said Smith, noting that such a request is “a big damn deal.” He warned that if the administration couldn’t sell the program, the Congress will not authorize it.
The administration found itself in a similar position last September, after U.S. President Barack Obama kicked the ball to Congress on striking the Assad regime, but was not able to secure the votes."

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Image result for Militants push anti-Assad rebels close to collapse in Syria ...

Syria's rebels close to collapse
as Isis and Assad make gains

"This is all about the weapons," says one activist in Deir Ezzor. "If moderate forces offered as much funding and support as Isis, you'd see a lot of so-called Islamist fighters drinking whisky and saying they are secularists."

Image result for In Syria, the Enemy of America's Enemy Is Still a Lousy Friend

In Syria, the Enemy of America's
Enemy Is Still a Lousy Friend
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad "After three years of serial atrocities, massacres, starvation sieges, torture, and rape, we face a surreal situation in which, instead of calls for accountability, Western intelligentsia are debating the rehabilitation of the monster who presided over this horror. It bespeaks a moral decay and failure of imagination when, in the name of expediency, some appear willing to burnish their “realist” credentials by condemning the nearly 10 million displaced Syrians to the indignities of stateless exile.
The legitimate fear of black flags over the Levant is causing panic in Washington. But the short-term fixes being proposed will only burden the US with long-term woes. If ISIS is treated as a causeless symptom in need of a quick remedy, cynical alliances to quash it will seem attractive. But ISIS is the consequence of a failed policy, and it's the original sin of abandoning the revolution that demands redress. The US will never be secure if it allies itself with the tormentor of the Syrian people and condemns millions to the squalor of hostile refugee camps.
The only way the US can defeat ISIS without engendering blowback is to give meaningful support to the Syrian resistance."

Syria conflict: Isis marches further into Syria tipping the balance of power in the civil war

Image result for Syria conflict: Isis marches further into Syria tipping the balance of power in the civil war

 Patrick Cockburn has liked to pretend that there aren't any moderate political forces all along, and that they were being backed to the hilt by Washington and Riyadh all along if they did exist. The truth of course is that they have had miserly support, and despite being the choice of Syrians far more than Assad or ISIS, are in danger because they are the only ones without a supply of weaponry, and Cockburn's opinionating is designed to obscure that at every turn.

 "The recent Isis advances in Syria, following victories in Iraq last month, are altering the balance of power in the whole region. The opposition military forces not aligned with the Syrian government or Isis are being squeezed out of existence, making obsolete the US, British, Saudi and Turkish policy of backing groups hostile to both Assad and Isis."

 Assad never bombed their headquarters in Raqqa. The signs that both Assad and ISIS are interested in fighting the Syrian rebels and not each other would be conveyed by anyone actually reporting news from Syria. Cockburn is trying not to be the complete bullshit merchant that Robert Fisk has turned into, so he concedes a little and obfuscates. The idea that Assad and the Islamic State will fight to the death when there is no competition is as doubtful a proposition as that they are doing it now, but it has been implicit in Cockburn's argument all along: there is no moderate opposition other than a few Western financed tossers in Turkey (who spread propaganda that he's not clear about the faults of), so you've got to lay off Assad or al-Qaida wins. Resembling a poor George Bush impression.

 "The Syrian opposition has always claimed that Isis and Syrian government forces have had a sort of de facto ceasefire and hinted at undercover links. This was mostly propaganda, though regurgitated in Washington, London and Paris, but it is true that since Isis helped to take Minnigh air base north of Aleppo last summer, it has mainly fought other rebel groups. When President Assad and al-Baghdadi do confront each other, the West and its allies will have to decide if they will go on trying to weaken the Syrian government."

Monday, 14 July 2014

The New Middle East War

The New Middle East WarMICHAEL DORAN
The more the Left goes along with the myth that American opposition to Assad is the problem in Syria, the more the voices that will be dominate as the myth is exposed as the problem will be those of supporters of traditional American foreign policy. 
"On Syria, for example, the White House continually repeats the tired line that we are working to convince President Bashar al-Assad to step aside and allow the opposition and the government to negotiate a caretaker authority. Yet who any longer gives any credence to this claim? It has long been clear that Washington wants and expects Assad to stay. Post-Mosul, the United States and its European allies even see the Syrian regime as a potential asset against ISIS.
What about the $500 million in support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that the administration has lately requested from Congress? Simply put, the purpose of that aid is to keep the beleaguered FSA on life support lest ISIS swallow it up. Even after having made the request, the administration has explicitly resisted providing the FSA with the kind of weapons and training it would need to change the local balance of power. Instead, the administration remains wedded to its policy of “preserving regime institutions”—a euphemism for Assad’s murder machine, which is thoroughly integrated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards—and turns a blind eye to the deployment in Syria of Iraqi Shiite and Hizballah militiamen supported by Tehran.
The upshot is that when the president says he opposes the presence of foreign fighters in Syria, he is referring exclusively to Sunni jihadis. He has given Shiites a pass."

David Cameron

David Cameron under fire as Syrian regime arms supplier visits UK airshowMichael Rosen just brought this up on the Wright Stuff press preview. His take was that it shows that we don't know that weapons we sell won't be used against British troops. I would have thought that the moral is that that Cameron's supposed caring about Syria is all front, and an opportunity to big himself up as an opponent of tyranny while doing less than nothing about it, while his self-satisfied opponents can present themselves as being opposed to his 'warmongering' in Syria, with the fallout that Syrians continue to face these Russian weapons without the means to defend themselves.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Mideast Syria

Syrian opposition plan to oust Islamist extremists awaits U.S. hearing

Read more here:
Justin Welby

Justin Welby warns of hysteria over threat of Muslim radicalisationThis is pretty good compared to those on the left going OMG Jihadis, Must. Keep. Bashar.

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

Image result for iraq crisis how saudi arabia helped isis take over the north of the country

Patrick Cockburn is lying about sectarian killings in Syria, which Assad and his foreign thugs from Iraq and Iran have been overwhelmingly responsible for.
"Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940."
The extremist jihadis want to overthrow what they see as the corruption in Saudi Arabia. From the truth, which is that the Saudi authorities do not support ISIS, Cockburn gives us a 'might turn a blind eye', with no word for it other than a British spook who has no evidence, allowing others to further elide to Saudi Arabia supports ISIS.
"He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq."
What destabilised Iraq was Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese support for Assad's anti-Sunni reign of terror, and Iranian support for a similarly sectarian policy by the Maliki government in Iraq. What enabled the jihadis, first those fighting Assad, then those that do not like ISIS, is not the support for the Syrian opposition, but the lack of it.
"What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates."
By not giving any weaponry to the opposition, the US and Britain gave a lifeline to a dictator nearly swept away by an almost defenceless rebellion.
"By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue."
Having established the common sense of the lie that Saudi Arabia backs IS and Turkey Jabhat al-Nusra (who have gone on their terrorist list ffs), Cockburn can blame them for what happens in Syria.
"Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein's monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open."
And likewise. If you are part of the revolution in Syria, you are no more than a Sunni sectarian incited by Saudi Arabia. Either you might as well blow yourself up now, or Cockburn is telling a racist narrative in which we should prefer Assad to a bunch of mad Muslims.
"As for Saudi Arabia, it may come to regret its support for the Sunni revolts in Syria and Iraq as jihadi social media begins to speak of the House of Saud as its next target."