Saturday, 15 November 2014

Obama, Khamenei and the making of Syrian tragedy



 'Throughout the conflict, President Obama used the inevitable divisions and squabbling among some of the Syrian opposition groups that sought Washington’s support to highlight their deficiencies and to distort who they are. President Obama was disingenuous, to say the least, when he kept referring to the moderate opposition with his now infamous labels of: farmers, pharmacists and teachers, ignoring the fact that many of those who took up arms against the Assad regime initially were former members of his armed forces. These were the nationalists who preceded the Islamists who would dominate the later stages of the conflict. Obama’s inaction at that crucial time; that is before the destruction of some of Syria’s famed cities such as Aleppo and Homs, before the emergence of the murderous Nusra Front and ISIS and more importantly before Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah took charge of the counter revolution, that inaction is in part responsible for Syria’s descent to hell.

 In a moment, certainly not befitting the memory of Pericles, President Obama at an impromptu press conference on Aug. 19, 2012, issued a warning to Assad that the use of chemical weapons would constitute crossing a red line that “would change my calculus.” Obama stressed that “We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.” A year later, the Syrian army unleashed a barrage of rockets laden with sarin gas against the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, killing 1,429 people, a third of them children. What followed were an embarrassing series of fumbles and missteps that exposed Obama’s leadership to severe criticism and ridicule. After committing himself publicly to punish the Assad regime militarily and after dispatching naval assets to the Eastern Mediterranean to deliver the pounding, Obama characteristically backtracked saying he would seek congressional approval. The military option died when the Russians saved Obama by committing Assad to discard his chemical arsenal. As David Rothkopf noted in his excellent new book National Insecurity: “The red-line fumble prompted an avalanche of questions from some of Obama’s closest allies and supporters about not only his own leadership but on America’s future role in the world.” '

Thursday, 13 November 2014

How ISIS Erupted From The Syrian Revolution

The Second Front: Journalist Muhammed Ali travels with FSA fighters to the second front in Syria's brutal civil war."You can be martyrs together."
"Don't say that."
"Today ISIS, tomorrow Assad!"
Syria rebel spokesman Abu Firas with rebel fighter
SYRIA REBELS' ALIASES GROW
 INTO NEW PERSONALITIES


' "Qusai was born from a tragedy and deprivation, from a revolution, from death, from chemical weapons and siege," said Qusai Zakarya, an activist from the town of Muadhamiya, on the outskirts of Damascus. "So he has a strong presence inside me. It's not just a nickname."

Zakarya, 28, whose real name is Kassem Eid, created his alias in 2011 by combining the names of a beloved uncle and an actor who starred in a Syrian soap opera considered groundbreaking in its portrayal of Syrian corruption.
But it wasn't until the summer of 2013, after a chemical weapons attack on Muadhamiya and other Damascus suburbs, that the nom de guerre took over his identity. One of the few residents fluent in English, he accompanied a United Nations team investigating the Muadhamiya attack. Soon he became the voice of the town, especially as a government-imposed siege began to claim the lives of residents.
America's U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, used his testimony under the name Qusai Zakarya to explain her vote in the Security Council to refer the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court. Under that name, he has also appeared as part of a U.N. panel about life under siege and has met with diplomats from the United States, France, Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.'
David Miliband

David Miliband calls on western
nations to take in more Syrian refugees

I remember Kēth Fissure saying last year that the Left should campaign over this. Part of the problem is that with so much of the Left convinced it is Sunni Muslims and Sunni Muslim states in the region that are causing the crisis, the idea that if we should help, it should be to prioritise helping Christians became a common sense way of avoiding the issue. My friend asked every child he met in the Atmeh refugee camp what they were fleeing from, and every one said it was Assad.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Flickering Pictures Hypnotise

Amr Salahi:
"How the BBC News Channel reported on Syria in the morning:
-Presenter says 200,000 Syrians have been killed by the government and opposition, without saying how many had been killed by each side.
-Lyse Doucet embedded with regime troops in Aleppo.
-Lyse Doucet interviews man from Aleppo Chamber of Commerce who supports regime barrel bombs. She challenges him weakly that civilians are dying. He says that its true civilians are dying but the barrel bombs are killing ISIS and Al-Qaeda. The interview finishes there.
-Absolutely no coverage of the devastation caused by barrel bombs.
Whitewash..."

"There is a full-fledged war in Syria that requires attention and while extremists in Daesh must and can be confronted, US credibility is on the line. Under the circumstances, writing a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamanei to seek his assistance in fighting Daesh will not accomplish much of anything, save to further alienate Arab allies. But more importantly, it backstabs pro-American, yes pro-American, moderate Syrian revolutionaries."

Iran’s Policy In Syria and Iraq
"In 2011 when protests started in Syria Iran came to the aid of Bashar al-Assad’s government. It didn’t trust the armed forces so it helped create paramilitary groups to break up the protests and then battle the rebels. As the war intensified Iran brought in militias from Iraq, took over military strategy, and sent in not only its own advisers and fighters, but also those from Lebanon’s Hezbollah."

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Mass demonstration in Aleppo for the revolution and against all counter revolutionary forces
"Slogans against the Assad regime and Islamic reactionary forces were raised, but especially against this latter, which is threatening and attacking democratic forces in some liberated areas. A number of activists, journalists, doctors and civil defense members participated in the demonstration."

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EDGE OF DARKNESS
'In days to come, people will say, "There were giants here in Trollness." '
Those Qatari proxies are so full of themselves.

President Bashar al-Assad

BBC News

SYRIA'S WAR

"We're talking to the people of the Syrian conflict."
My low hopes that the BBC's couple of days on Syria would spread anything but confusion
were lowered hearing Jeremy Bowen interviewing a volunteer for the Red Crescent in Damascus.
No mention that she is working on the government side, that rather than facing occasional casualties
from mortars, those civilians
targeted by Assad face the most horrific injuries and death from his barrel bombs, just comments like,
"The people there are crazy sometimes." I thought the item on Syria's disappeared* might avoid this
false equivalence by pointing out that it is Assad who has arrested tortured and murdered tens of
thousands, not the opposition; instead we get, "Held incommunicado by the regime or militant groups"
and "Yet many more Syrians are also suffering at the hands of kidnappers from violent rebel groups
or government security forces."

*[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29653526]

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

File photo of Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, with his brother Maher, left

How Bashar al-Assad created the feared shabiha militia: an insider speaks

It is a sign of the jihadi obsession of the British liberal media that its readers are more likely to be familiar with Jabhat al-Nusra than the shabiha.
' "They told us they were worried that the army, in front of the world's media, couldn't use the necessary force to stop the protests. They couldn't be seen to be shooting the protestors. So their idea was: 'Let's keep our hands clean and create a paramilitary group to do the dirty work.'
"They wanted to put each of us in charge of the shabiha militia in different parts of the country. They briefed us that the shabiha should set out to terrify protesters. They really believed they could scare the opposition into submission and that soon everyone would go home."
Syrian officials have consistently denied using pro-regime militiamen to intensify the crackdown on protesters and commit atrocities on its behalf.
However, Mr Salam said the order he was given in that meeting were "specific". "They told us to kill protesters, armed or unarmed, and top 'torture those you capture'," he said.'

Monday, 10 November 2014

Iran in Syria - From an Ally of the Regime to an Occupying Force




 There were Ashura celebrations in Damascus recently. There didn't used to be. It's a Shia festival and there didn't used to be many Shia in Syria. There are now, because the Iranian government has stolen thousands, maybe tens of thousands of homes from Sunni Muslim Syrians, and given them to Iranian settlers. This is why Iran and Hezbollah are in no sense a resistance to imperialism, in Syria they are the imperialist genocidal force that is killing Syrians, stealing their homes and their country, and are the Syrian people's number one foreign enemy.

Obama is doubling down on an Isis war with no end in sight. Why does he get a free pass?

obama hand


I don't know who this idiot Trevor Timm is, but he's fairly typical of left-wing people who think they know what is going on in Syria, but don't. The phrase "so-called moderate rebels" sounds increasingly orientalist in the hands of people who have no idea of the politics or religion of the people they dismiss. And if the Americans were providing 'millions in weapons' (slightly bad phrasing, is that millions of guns or millions of dollars worth?), the FSA wouldn't be losing. That's the big lie here.

'The so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels receiving millions in weapons are now being defeated.'

Image result for War with Isis: The militants will remain until the region's Sunnis feel safe

War with Isis: The militants will remain until the region's Sunnis feel safe"The US problem is that it has never had a credible partner on the ground in Syria in three years of war."
If you pretend there never was a Free Syrian Army like Cockburn has, or that it was being funded and armed by the Americans when clearly it was not. The gall of the man.


What does Isis look like from the air? I buckled up my seat belt and found out

Western journalist runs out of Arab taxi drivers, and has to resort to airline pilots for his story.
Fisk is still pretending that the Syrian airforce is bombing al-Qaida when it's only going after Syrian civilians.
"A smiling colonel greeted me with a handshake that almost broke my fingers, and a soldier asked him casually whether the local Syrian fighter jets should be re-armed. Yes, said the colonel casually. Another mission was to be operational the same day. In Syria, you can’t forget the war. Why, you can even look down from the heavens with a cyclopean eye on Syria’s enemies."

America’s Mideast policy after the midterms

"Washington has all but adopted the Russo–Iranian perspective on the Syrian crisis, whereby the whole crisis is now limited to confronting the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) - despite ISIS appearing on the scene two years after the initially peaceful popular uprising was answered by the Assad regime with brutal force. Washington’s refusal to adequately arm the Free Syrian Army (FSA) with advanced weapons, and its rejection of the creation of no-fly zones and safe havens to protect liberated areas and displaced civilians, have made the FSA the weakest fighting force on Syrian soil. This has allowed ISIS to seize control of considerable swathes of territory in eastern and northeastern Syria to make gains in the southwest of the country while advancing on the northwest."

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Russia Today: why western cynics lap up Putin’s TV poison

'Prostitution of journalism': Russia Today reports from London.


 Sam Charles Hamad: "Yeah, the problem is that Nick Cohen is basically the mirror image of the politics of 'Russia Today' - Mr Cohen is a proponent of what I like to call 'US uber alles internationalism' and westo-centrism, or at least he has those kinds of tendencies. Everything he says about 'RT' is correct, but it's a grave pity that it's somebody like him saying it, as people won't take the word of a Blairite neocon who supported the slaughter in Iraq the way any decent Putinist hack would support Russia's attack on Ukraine or Chechnya."

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'My Name is Dr. Majed and I Am Another Syrian Doctor Killed During Duty'
"I was killed when my car was targeted with a heat-seeking missile by a Syrian fighter jet
I bled to death
No emergency crew was able to reach me on time
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN are not allowed by the government in my hometown behind rebel lines
They stay away safe in the capital
They have to abide by the system's bureaucracy
The system does not protect me or my patients
There were no news reports of my death."