Saturday, 16 August 2014


Tariq Ali prefers Assad.
"The notion that the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) is the carrier of a Syrian revolution is as risible as the idea that the Brotherhood was doing the same in Egypt. A brutal civil war with atrocities by both sides is currently being fought. Did the regime use gas or other chemical weapons? We do not know with certainty. The strikes envisaged by the United States are designed to prevent Assad’s military advances from defeating the opposition and re-taking the country. That is what is at stake in Syria."
Liar. Max Blumenthal reports* the universal opinion of the 75,000 refugees from Assad in the largest refugee camp in the world.
"Most Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan are only too well aware that US strikes will not make their country better."
*"Indeed, there was not one person I spoke to in Zaatari who did not demand US military intervention at the earliest possible moment." […/we-just-wish-hit-put-end-massacr…#]

A protest sign in Kafr Nabl.

8/15/2014 Today In Syria
Details of fighting in Syria. You'll find several instances of Islamic State fighting rebels, rebels having to withdraw forces around Aleppo from fronts against the government to fight Islamic State. I didn't see any of Assad's forces and Islamic State fighting.

Syria orders Lebanese village
 to evacuate: mayor
Assad spreads the war again. Incidentally, Hezbollah carried out a massacre of refugees in Arsal, but it is so little reported that the link* I can find describes the dead as terrorists. And at least 8 Palestinians tortured to death in the last week.** You might have thought that anyone who cares about the Palestinians, or humanity generally, would be on the demonstrations next weekend commemorating the anniversary of Assad's chemical attacks, and supporting those fighting to bring his barbarism to an end, not writing it off as an ill-judged militarisation that could result in anything happening.

How One Woman's
Luxury Damascus Villa
Became a Refugee Camp
"But after Syrians started protesting against Bashar al-Assad’s crooked regime in 2011, only to be brutally repressed, her house became a refuge in the ensuing civil war. Dozens of people now live it in: the extended family of Darke’s various Syrian friends, including an Old City shopkeeper, Marwan, and Bait Baroudi’s caretaker, Abu Ashraf, whose home in the Ghouta suburbs outside Damascus was one of the sites of the regime’s chemical attacks last August."
Tony Blair speaks at a conference in London in 2007.

The Muslims Are Coming!:
 Islamophobia, Extremism,
 and the Domestic War on Terror
 – review

"The assumptions and silences of the counter-radicalisation industry end up telling us far more about particular ideological subsections of Anglo-American culture than they do about the Muslims targeted."

Dragon attack plans - and other unusual information requests

A dragon breathes fire from atop Gringnotts Bank during a preview of Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

 A picture of John McCain with hobbits of the Free Shire Army should do it.

Image result for Arming people and bombing them at the same time: that’s some strategy

Arming people and bombing
 them at the same time:
 that’s some strategy

"In May of this year McCain went to Syria to pose for photographs with Syrian rebels who he insisted we supply with weapons. But the rebels he befriended are now part of Isis."
Mark Steel, ignorant fucker. Syrians who know that the rebels are the only thing that has protected them against both Assad and ISIS are never going to respect patronising gits who think they are protecting them against their real enemy, the USA. It is like telling Chileans in 1973 that their real enemy is the Soviet Union, utterly detached from reality.

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis’ Advance

Image result for The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis’ Advance


 "True. Yeah, I mean, I was—I’m pretty contemptuous of it, to be honest, because it’s opportunism by Hillary Clinton. And it’s nonsense. You know, the idea, which is very widespread, that there was a moment that, with a few more guns and ammunition, that a moderate Syrian opposition could have taken over in Syria in 2011 or '12 or ’13, is just unreal. There are 14 provincial capitals of Syria. Assad held all of them until last year, when he lost one of them, Raqqa, to ISIS, not to any of these moderates. These moderates are an endangered species on the battlefields of Syria. The opposition is now dominated—military opposition is dominated by ISIS. They hold a third of the country. But the other military opposition are people like Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the official representative of al-Qaeda, of bin Laden's al-Qaeda, and some other jihadi organizations. So this is sort of fantasy that there was a moderate Syrian military opposition which, with a bit more support from Obama, could have taken power in Damascus. It was never going to happen. It’s just sheer opportunism."

 They held Homs until Assad razed it to the ground. They hold large parts of the country despite Assad's massive military materiel advantage, and even then he needs thousands of foreign troops to prop him up. This is not an analysis, it is a prejudgment. ISIS is not part of the opposition, to see its victories as theirs is nonsensical, and insulting to their victims. Labelling the actual opposition indiscriminately as jihadis would be rejected as racist if applied to other groups of Muslims by the same people who consider Cockburn wise, as long as they are fighting the US or its allies. A bit more support is a distortion when there was never any real support at all. Hillary Clinton may well be an opportunist.


Who’s running Syria?
“Iran is said to have trained thousands of Syrian troops and paramilitary recruits, but there is always a sectarian overtone to its efforts. The Iranians recruit pro-regime militia from Syria’s Shiite community, telling them it is a part of their duty to defend Shiite sacred sites.
But Iran’s biggest contribution to the war has perhaps been in enlisting Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the defence of the regime. Following orders from Iran, Hezbollah has dispatched thousands of battle-hardened fighters to confront and punish the regime’s opponents. Both Hezbollah and Iran have said that without this move the Damascus regime would have fallen.
The Iranian mindset is bonded to the Al-Assad regime not with doctrinal ties, but with deep-seated interests. The deeper the alliance between the Iranian and Syrian regimes, the more polarised the region becomes between Sunnis and Shiites.”

ISIS kills dozens of Syrian rebels after seizing two towns near Aleppo

ISIS, which has massacred the Yazidi community in Iraq, has killed members of other opposition groups in Syria, who were mainly members of the moderate Free Syrian Army
AliTahmizian: "You know it's bad in the region when mass executions by ISIS in Deir Ezzor don't even make the news."

If I had a magic lamp

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Aleppo: Notes from the Dark

"With bombs exploding and under sniper fire, we trace the lives of ordinary people in war-torn Syria."
The Islamic State is advancing towards Aleppo, where the revolution is still dominant, not Damascus, where Assad still rules. It is taking opposition towns and villages along the way, because the Syrian people lack the means to defend themselves. When anyone says that a military struggle against Assad was a bad idea, you have to remember that it was the choice of Assad, not of the people he's killed. And the same for ISIS.

Shameless Cooke knifes Syrian people’s resistance to Assad/ISIS fascism

Michael Karadjis:

 "Despite occasional rhetoric, the US and western powers have “completely ignored” the genocide that the Assad regime has been imposing on Syria the last 3 years, has “allowed” it all to happen, as a regime levelled every city in the country, turned the country into a giant moonscape, killed upwards of 100,000 people, turned 9 million people into refugees, gassed hundreds of sleeping children with chemical weapons, barrel-bombed Aleppo into oblivion, turned Homs into Hiroshima, tortured tens of thousands to death. None of this was worth a single air strike, evidence that Obama and his ruling class have completely ignored this situation and allowed it to happen.
 Anyone who actually knows anything about Syria knows that the Free Syrian Army, a variety of moderate Islamist militias, the Islamic Front and even Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian al-Qaida, have been at war with ISIS for at least a year. No supporters of the Syrian revolution view ISIS as having anything to do with their uprising against Assad’s tyranny; all of them regard ISIS as the other enemy alongside the regime.
 The Assad regime begins slaughtering peaceful protestors en-masse in March 2011, for months and months until they finally take up arms, then by late 2011-early 2012 Assad is already destroying Homs with massive quantities of sophisticated weaponry and by mid-2012 the regime is basically using its air force, long-range missiles, barrel-bombs etc on a daily basis, and after 3.5 years Obama hasn’t launched a sausage at the regime.
 The US never sent any arms to the secular FSA, or the moderate Islamists, or Islamic Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, or ISIS. The only way we can say the US encouraged ISIS was precisely by not arming the FSA, because ISIS could get plenty of money and arms across the Iraq border anyway, so in comparison with the FSA, which mainly relied on weapons captured or made in back-yards, ISIS was much better armed.
 The US, like Cooke and many other leftists, are quite happy to watch the regime of Bashar Assad slaughter Syrians for years."

Islamic State Is US Covert Intelligence Operation - Law Professor"The Islamic State (IS) is a covert intelligence operation by the United States which aims at setting a predicate for further escalation in Iraq, Francis Boyle, a constitutional scholar and law professor at University of Illinois, told RIA Novosti."
Frankie Boyle is a comedian who sometimes offends people, but he doesn't come out with this sort of nonsense. The U of I is currently in the news for firing a professor for pro-Palestinian tweets.

Qatar, Hamas and the Islamic State (IS): in defense of dialectics

Louis N. Proyect

"If Qatar is an archfiend threatening secular values and benign “national development” in Syria through its proxy war, what do we make of its willingness to back Hamas? Does that conform to “anti-imperialist” guidelines or are we dealing with a profound formal logic problem equal in its complexity to Fermat’s Last Theorem?
The evil duo—Qatar and Turkey—are not only the targets of daily Orwellian two minutes of hate organized by the “anti-imperialist” left but also Israel’s increasingly fascist state as the Times of Israel reported."
It's not that complicated, or a problem of formal logic, Fermat's last theorem is that there are no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation aⁿ + bⁿ = cⁿ for any integer value of n greater than two.

Why arming Syria's rebels wouldn't have stopped ISIS

"An insightful essay by George Washington University's Marc Lynch explains why."
You follow this down the rabbit hole, and you get to the claim that even John McCain thinks arming the rebels wouldn't work.
'There’s no way to know for sure what would have happened had the United States offered more support to Syrian rebels in the summer of 2012, of course. But there are pretty strong reasons for doubting that it would have been decisive. Even Sen. John McCain was pretty clear about this at the time, arguing that arming the rebels “alone will not be decisive” and that providing weapons in the absence of safe areas protected by U.S. airpower “may even just prolong [the conflict].” '
And then you read what he says, and he thinks arming the rebels will do tremendous amount of good, it might not beat Assad completely, but still it's all good. And the implication that American machinations are more important than the actual war Assad is fighting does not really qualify as insight either.
“First, the fact that the opposition in Syria is doing better militarily thanks to external support seems to validate what many of us have been arguing for months – that opposition forces have enough organization to be supportable, and that our support can help them to further improve their organization and command and control. This is an argument for doing more, not less, to aid rebel fighters in Syria.
Second, while it is good that some foreign military assistance now seems to be reaching the opposition in Syria, this alone will not be decisive. It will not be sufficient to end the conflict faster. It may even just prolong it. Nearly every Syrian I speak with tells me the same thing: The longer this conflict drags on, the more radicalized it becomes, and the more it turns into a sectarian civil war with an escalating spiral of violence that Syrians alone cannot stop.
Finally, the Syrian opposition needs to know that the United States stands with them, and that we are willing to take risks to support them when they need it most. Our current inaction only denies us the opportunity to have influence with the forces in Syria who will one day inherit the country. And we are ceding that influence to foreign states that may not always share our interests and our values – or worse, to extremist groups that are hostile to us. Our lack of involvement in Syria is not preventing the militarization of the conflict, or lessening the risk of sectarian violence, or countering the appeal of extremist groups. All of these events are just happening without us – and without our ability to influence them.”

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Arabic Syria writing
interview — critical
take on ISIS from
within Syrian revolution

Mohammed Mohsen: "This is important, and touches upon what it means to isolate Syrians fighting both against Assadists and ISIS in these critical times."

Escape From Syria:
On the Road With the
Refugees Walking to Europe

"Murat fled from Syria with his parents, wife and daughter in August 2012, when Bashar al-Assad’s army started dropping barrel bombs around their home in the southern suburbs of Damascus. Murat knew that even if they survived, he would be forced to join the army and might never see his family again."

Nawal Msaad on youtube

Woman cleared of
smuggling money
for Syria in underwear
"Prosecutors said that in 2013 El-Wahabi's husband, Aine Davis, had travelled to Syria to join jihadists fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad."
If this group is ISIS, then no, it is an anti-revolutionary group that fights the real rebels in Syria rather than Assad. It does appear to be necessary still to explain this, all the talk of terror and jihadis in the media with very little explanation of the reality probably doesn't help.

The Rebels Are Gaining Ground in Syria

The Rebels Are Gaining
Ground in Syria

Kenan Rahmani
"Having just returned from a visit to Idlib and northern Hama, I can 100% confirm what Amb. Ford is saying here. The moderate rebels are far from being "finished."
The rebels in Idlib are gaining strength and becoming more organized. They have practically exterminated ISIS in Idlib, although sleeper cells still exist. And they are even sending fighters to Aleppo to help on that front. Meanwhile they are making steady gains against Assad and Hezbollah forces."

Guy in “ISIS photo”
can’t stand ISIS

Mouaz Moustafa:
It's so upsetting to keep seeing this photo among other photos calling me and the guys in the picture ISIS.
1-ISIS killed some of those in the picture.
2-I wear a kuffyiah because I'm Palestinian and take it with me everywhere.
3-ISIS killed two of my staff a 24 yr old and a 29 yr old because they work with me and my organization they were both Sunni Arabs one spoke 5 languages, ISIS called them as they consider me apostates
3-those in the picture are Free Syria Army from a battalion called northern storm extreme enemies of ISIS
4- please be informed before sharing complete BS

On Rob Prince's hostility towards
intervention in Syria

"It would be helpful if you could direct me to a well researched piece similar to what I have written in Man behind the Curtain for al-Qaeda in Syria is Assad that lays out the evidence of SA and Qatar support for ISIS or al Nusra. No doubt there are a few rich jihad supporters in their populist that contribute to al Qaeda but I do doubt that such support comes through official channels given al Qaeda's avowed purpose of bringing down the Kingdom. Support for the revolution is necessary for them to maintain bourgeois leadership in the Arab nation and it is understood that they have contributed significantly to brigades in the FSA and IF and have shown considerable independence from the US in doing this."
I probably shouldn't waste any more time with people who tell us that "serious newspapers" say that Qatar backs ISIS. Reminds me of the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Dr. Jones is told that top people are working on the Ark. I tried googling the proposition, there's a report in the Mirror and elsewhere that ISIS have said they'll blow up the 2022 world cup if it's in Qatar, some stories saying that private donors in Gulf states back ISIS, and the full allegation from Lyndon Larouche and Press TV.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

New fault lines in the Middle East: ISIS in a regional context


Andy Cunningham

You suspect that someone is going to talk a load of shit when their first paragraph quotes Patrick Cockburn. And then they confirm it.

 "Not only did the Civil War give ISIS an opportunity to develop new military tactics, its involvement in fighting Assad has given it a steady stream of recruits from around the world."

 And then you have an OMG does this fool really not comprehend how offensive these lies are to Syrians at the blunt end of genocide? I haven't read any further yet, and may not bother. Anindya Bhattacharyya, is this supposed to be rs21 showing support for the Syrian revolution? Because it makes me puke.

 "These developments were also encouraged by countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that were arming and supplying ISIS until very recently."

 Adding in Qatar shows quite how much this is not just objective apologetics for Assad, but the full pro-Damascus scumbaggery.

Obama is an unreliable ally

Via "Obama Told Lawmakers Criticism of His Syria Policy is 'Horseshit' "*. I'm still glad that he was elected. It was astonishing that America elected a black man as president in my lifetime. I've got used to American presidents being capitalist bastards who are going to disappoint you more than you expect. I'm glad each time the debate on Syria turns to the real problem that he has not only not armed the Free Syrian Army but vetoed their attempts to obtain the weapons that can protect civilians from genocide; rather the the conspiracy theories which state that America must be behind every bad thing in the Middle East, with no basis in fact other than America being Israel's biggest supporter. Who haven't tried to get rid of Assad, and are probably grateful that Hezbollah have been distracted by their murderous campaign in Syria to bother them while they deal with Hamas.
"Last year, when we learned that Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people and in defiance of Obama’s own red line, the president asked Congress for the authorization to use military force against Syria. I worked with my colleagues to move that authorization out of the Foreign Relations Committee to the floor of the Senate. But when faced with the difficult challenge of persuading the rest of Congress to support his policy, Obama reversed course and said he no longer wanted the authority. Instead, the president jumped in the lap of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who offered a way for Assad to survive, even thrive, while turning over Syria’s declared stockpile of chemical weapons to the United Nations.
Today, after three years of bold rhetoric divorced from reality, 170,000 Syrians are dead, and we are not innocent bystanders. The president encouraged the opposition to swallow deadly risks, then left them mostly hanging. Extremist groups from Syria have surged into Iraq, seizing key territory and resources, and are threatening to completely undo the progress of years of U.S. sacrifice."

The US, IS and the conspiracy theory sweeping Lebanon

Image grab taken from a propaganda video released on 17 March 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS, ISIL) al-Furqan Media shows fighters (militants) raising their weapons in Anbar province.

"Instead, what Hillary Clinton has said is that the failure to help Syrian rebels led to the rise of IS."
One may argue about the extent to which to which she is discovering principles when it is convenient, but the people who put ISIS is a creation of the West/look at ISIS with John McCain/ISIS is a Saudi front pictures and comics on my Newsfeed are complete idiots.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Why the West is Wrong on Syria Razan Zaitouneh"The West is using Al-Qaeda and the extremists as a pretext, yet it contributed to their ascendance and popularity by delaying its support to the Free Syrian Army, one of the opposition’s national projects that adheres to an ideology far from extremism and non-national agendas.
The West, from the very beginning, has rejected everything the Free Army asked for, starting by refusing to deliver effective weapons or to create a no-fly zone and safe areas for civilians. Then it blamed the FSA for being divided and weak, and for the spread of the extremists."

War Crimes:
Barrel Bombs in
Syria and Iraq

“What is happening now in Iraq definitely started in Syria. If I were al-Maliki, and seeing Assad next door using the same tactics without a slap on the wrist and gaining ground as a result, it stands to reason he would say, “Why the hell not?’”
Image result for Iraq crisis: West’s ‘mandate’ limited by national borders – and don’t dare mention oil

Iraq crisis: West’s ‘mandate’
limited by national borders –
and don’t dare mention oil
Fisk loves Assad.
"If the road to Irbil is closed, then they’ll take the road to Aleppo or Damascus which the Americans and British will be less willing to bomb or defend – because that would mean helping the regime of Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whom we must hate almost as much as we hate the Islamic State."