Saturday, 21 February 2015
Check Out These Homemade ‘Hell Cannons’ Syrian Rebels Are Using to Fight Back
Veronica Ramadan: "For four years to date we've heard sneering from clueless Western pseudo-leftists about the “Western backed” Syrian rebels." Here in a few sentences you can see the truth is the reverse.
"Syrian rebels are firing propane gas cylinders from howitzers as deadly battles with government forces continue.
With little access to weapons other than small arms such as machine guns, rebels have taken to making their own ammunition.
Fighters using the cannon are also made to watch online videos detailing how it is assembled and given a fact sheet on how to fire it.
It was Assad’s regime, the White House believes, that was responsible for the innocent killings of thousands of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons. Such weaponry is barred under international law.
The U.S. debated military involvement at the time since the White House said the “red line” it previously set for the embattled Middle East country had been crossed. But ultimately, there was no direct U.S. military involvement in Syria until President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes to help contain the Islamic State in late-summer 2014."
Somewhat at odds with the conclusion that Jordan could seek to ease its security concerns by reconciling with the Assad government.
"These first-hand accounts support the dominant narrative that recounts the police and military brutality that suppressed the originally peaceful protests in these and other urban centers. Various testimonials also tell of the defections of ex-regime intelligence and military officials that led to the formation of the Free Syrian Army. This was Syria’s main oppositional force before the entrance of multitude of armed, primarily extremist ideological groups, the strongest now being the Islamic State and Jabhat an-Nusra, who have largely overshadowed the FSA in organization and military prowess. Most importantly, many of these testimonials recount the ongoing onslaught by regime forces in civilian areas in Dera’a City and the Dera’a and Damascene countryside, by means of tanks, barrel bombs dropped from airplanes, snipers, and landmines. Syrians who have left their homes for Jordan have frequently explained that their decision to flee Syria preempted or came as a result of these attacks. In other cases, the civilian victims of these attacks were escorted by the Free Syrian Army and then by Jordanian border security to Jordanian hospitals where they received life-saving medical treatment."
“After all the promises and initiatives from the international community and De Mistura, and before him Lakhdar Brahimi and so on, the revolutionaries no longer have confidence except in the barrel of the gun.”
Friday, 20 February 2015
Homo Homini human rights award given to a Syrian teacher that stood up to Bashar Assad's regime and the Islamic State
"The behavior of ISIS is exactly the same as the behavior of Assad – they also suppress all freedoms, and use arrests and kidnapping of activists and anyone elsewho disagree with them. When I came and stood there, holding up a sign in front of ISIS’ headquarters, for the first time I could see the fear in their eyes. They were terrified by the idea that a woman could come and stand before them and all their weapons, holding up only a sign and still not be afraid of them. They threatened me daily with those weapons."
I read this by Tony Greenstein* this morning, "Most supporters of the Palestinians and anti-imperialists support Syria against its Islamic opponents, Al Nusra and ISIS and oppose imperialist attempts to intervene in the civil war. " He hasn't got a clue what's going on in Syria.
Thursday, 19 February 2015
"Abdou had lived, by his account, a comfortable middle-class life in Ghouta before Syria’s uprising began in 2011. His family owned a pharmacy, and he planned to join the business. But as the conflict developed into a full-fledged war and he could no longer avoid mandatory military service, he fled to Egypt. “I didn’t want to participate in the killing. I didn’t want to share in the blood.” "
Syrians are deeply split after years of warfare, survey finds“Many of the doubts regime opponents held about the Free Syrian Army (FSA) last year have dissipated,” wrote the survey’s author, Craig Charney. “Now, views of the rebel army are almost entirely positive, despite the reported setbacks that it has encountered in the field. Respondents described the FSA as the ‘real army’ and the best hope against the regime.”
Charney does also say he thinks Syrians would hope the plan for a local ceasefire in Aleppo works, despite their greater knowledge that this is a recipé for more starvation by the régime. Everyone, whether in the régime areas where any dissent can mean torture and death, or in the liberated areas where the fear of Assad remains, is afraid to be frank in their opinions; any survey, especially one of only 40 people, is not going to provide accurate polling, but the opinions are instructive, such as the lack of support for any partition of Syria.
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Assad has crossed a new line on bread "The Syrian government increased the price of a standard bundle of bread (1.55 kilograms) to 35 Syrian pounds ($0.19) from 25 Syrian pounds on Jan. 17.
While food was once a critical tool used to appease loyal populations and punish the opposition, the bread price hike suggests that the regime is feeling the pangs of its depleting resources.
Cutting food supplies to rebel-held areas and channeling the bulk of humanitarian aid to government-approved zones has made the regime “the only reliable source of life-sustaining food.”
Ensuring supplies to areas under regime control is crucial to Assad’s political calculus, as is depriving those areas deemed loyal to opposition forces. Deliberate scarcities harm adversaries, or those unlucky enough to be under their jurisdiction. In besieged districts, bread and flour deliveries not sanctioned by the regime are completely banned. When battles break out, finding bread becomes an impossible task. In opposition-held territories, flour shortages and supply disruptions mean that bread has been glaringly absent, although efforts by ISIS and other groups to distribute bread illustrate how central food is to sustaining popular support.
The severe fuel crisis that Syria is undergoing, and the corresponding increase in the cost of producing bread, is slowly diminishing the regime’s ability to maintain crucial subsidies. U.S. airstrikes on ISIS-controlled oil-production sites in Deir al-Zor, well-known for supplying oil to the regime, have drained the government of its energy resources, a problem further exacerbated by its collapsing electricity infrastructure and interruptions in the delivery of tanker oil from Iraq and Iran.
The collapse of the bread subsidy, once so central to the government’s social contract, suggests that the regime is being pushed to its limits. Bread is no longer a red line; now mere survival is."
Syrians have been oppressed by a dictator and jihadists, and bombed by the west – and you call us terrorists?
"Well, maybe they are right, maybe I am a terrorist? A terrorist who decided to leave her work as a broadcast journalist in a highly respected media outlet to go back home and help people under attack from Assad’s barrel bombs. I am a terrorist who is attached to life yet chose to face death on a daily basis, in the name of freedom and human rights."
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
#Libya: Hailed as a Model Journalist Glenn Greenwald Proves to be the Exact Opposite
"We can debate whether more than 30,000 Libyans would have met with a violent end had that world intervention not taken place, just as we can debate whether 200,000 Syrians are really dead. For some people it doesn't matter because it is not about them. Its about US. It's about the Western world, and its about scoring points for our side in political debates that see "those" countries as stages for our political dramas and "those" people as the replaceable "extras" that every "shoot" requires. Doing that with present-day Libya means replacing the real history of recent events with Western Left caricatures and fantasies. This is far from the field of journalism but it is exactly where Glenn Greenwald has wandered in his latest rant against "our own imperialist" using the Libya playhouse.
The proper situation to compare Libya to is not Iraq, where NATO started a war; it is Syria, where NATO has claimed no responsibility to protect. The main question Greenwald should be addressing in this piece is: Would Libya be better off now if it was more like Syria today? Because last I heard, bad as it is in Libya, nobody is dropping barrel bombs on the people from helicopters."
Fleeing war, Syrians make a new life in New Jersey
'They' aren't some impersonal civil war, or Western imperialism, but the Assad régime.
' "They were using barrel bombs and heavy artillery in the fighting. We lived in a situation where we could be detained at any moment without warning."
The girls are old enough to remember living in fear in Daraa: being sent to shelters when the shelling began, and of keeping a daily tally of deaths.
"Of course we are lucky to be here," Fatin says. "Imagine how our children lived under rockets and bombardment. But we see how much our families there are still suffering." '
Joseph argued that western bombs are no help to the revolution, but he also criticised the western anti-war movement for failing to align itself with the democratic revolution in Syria."
A message that seemed lost on conference organiser Anne Alexander, who repeated the mantra that the job of leftists is to expose their own governments, ignoring the role of Russia and Iran that are crushing Syria while the world, and especially the Left, looks on. As Robin Yassin-Kassab said, the fake anti-imperialists have to understand that Syria is to Russia as Vietnam was the the United States, and Russia is to Syria as the United States is to Israel.
Monday, 16 February 2015
'Alkhani said he spoke to her often about Syria, where bloodshed has gripped the country under the regime of embattled President Bashar Assad, and sent her recordings, photographs and other information that she used for her blog. Nearly half of Syria's population has been displaced, and some 200,000 people have died in the fighting.
"She wanted everyone to use their freedom to help us get freedom," he said.'
Sunday, 15 February 2015
' “Unfortunately,Muslim countries did not rally for the Muslims’ blood in Syria or for children in Gaza, Damascus, Ghouta, Aleppo or Homs. But they send international coalition’s warplanes to kill children. If Deah’s blood is going to move the stagnant water, I hope so and let it be a light inside the darkness.”
Shaza is from Idlib and works in humanitarian aid since the war on Iraq and was also on board the Mavi Marmara vessel to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza. After the Syrian revolution began, she went to Turkey, where she works as Arabic teacher. Her son was killed by the Syrian regime.'
Many players in the Deraa campaignMore than ever, the Syrian revolution is a fight against foreign occupation.
"Estimates of the manpower available on the regime side, bolstered by Hezbollah fighters and Shiite paramilitaries from several countries, have run as high as 8,000. The observer said he thought 4,000 was a more reasonable number, but with only 800 Syrian troops among them."
This is a hopeful sign.
"Nusra is negotiating with rebel groups in a bid to make a dramatic break with Al-Qaeda and possibly move to the Islamic Front, an alliance of seven conservative militias. Nusra would likely accept such a move, the observer said, if its difficult conditions are met – such as being removed from the world’s terror lists – due to the extremely hostile international climate generated by the actions of its bitter rival ISIS."