Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 23, 2012

Landis On Syria - The Regime Will Survive

Professor Joshua Landis of Syria Comment just published a long essay in the journal of the Middle East Policy Council on Syria: The Syrian Uprising of 2011: Why the Asad Regime Is Likely to Survive to 2013.

It is a detailed analysis and, in my view, quit fair in its factual description of the situation. I find only one point that is missing, especially in the economic analysis, which is the one million or so Iraqi refugees who are still a burden for Syria.

Landis finds that:

  • the Assad regime is militarily strong and will likely stay so
  • the opposition is weak and divided
  • an overt outside intervention is unlikely
  • the economic situation is quite problematic and might become the decisive issue

In conclusion he writes:

Collapsing institutions and the state's inability to provide basic services should play into the hands of the opposition. The regime gave the business elites and middle class a piece of the pie and stability. Today, it can offer neither incentive. All the same, the Baathist regime will be a tough nut to crack. Alawis and religious minorities view the failure of the regime with great apprehension. So do Sunni Baathists and those who fear chaos.

Perhaps the biggest question mark is the opposition. Its lack of leadership was an asset during the first months of the revolution, but today it is a liability. Without it, the opposition will have difficulties inspiring more Syrians to take the sorts of risks and exhibit the courage of those already protesting.

So far, however, there is no force that has the might, unity or leadership to bring down the regime, at least none that is yet discernible. One must conclude that the Asad regime will remain in power until such a force emerges.

While I mostly agree with that analysis and the general conclusion I do not understand, and Landis does not explain, why Assad should only survive, as his headline claims, until 2013.

I do expect the insurgency to be mostly defeated within the next six month. By then Syria will also have a new elected multi-party and more diverse parliament which will calm the mood of many Syrian people. This or that event will by then divert western attention to some different country and issue. The Syrian economy will re-orientate from its more European fixture towards its immediate neighbors and the BRICS countries and will slowly heal.

Why then should the regime fall at all? Why wouldn't Assad then stay until the end of his term as president in 2014 or why should he not try, and probably even win, another term? In April 2011, when the situation first escalated and the first rebel attacks on Syrian military occurred, I assessed that the regime will survive. I continue to do so.

Posted by b on February 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM | Permalink

Comments
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For those of you who don't believe Syria is committing a massacre, and the reports are all US gov't propagnda, think about your position after you red this article:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backchannels/2012/0221/Syria-s-Assad-is-hitting-Homs-with-the-heaviest-mortars-in-the-world-video

Posted by: A V | Feb 23, 2012 1:59:13 PM | 1

The point is mot whether "Syria is committing a massacre." The government probably is. Massacres are a common feature of civil wars. They happen in Yemen, Colombia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and many other places with great regularity. It is what happens when, as in Syria, peaceful demonstrations are taken over by armed terrorists, snipers and provocateurs.

Had Syria kindly inserted armed assassins into the crowds of students demonstrating against fee increases in London. Or stiffened the anti-war marches, to the extent of a few squads armed with rifles and RPG launchers, I don't doubt that the British government would have committed massacres. The US government certainly would.

What warmongers are doing in Syria is to ensure that there must be massacres, if not by the state then by the mixture of imperialist mercenaries and religious maniacs being paid to fight the Syrians.
As a matter of fact Syria's army has a large conscript component, young men drafted into service, it is these civilians in uniform who the Saudi/US terrorists are aiming to demoralise.

The responsibility for any massacres in Syria lies largely with the NATO/Gulf allies which have transformed a political dispute between Syrians into a Civil War. They have done this for cynical strategic reasons, aiming to weaken anti-zionist alliances. The victims in Syria are just another Arab population being sacrificed in an evil imperialist campaign. It is sad to see decent, if naive, people, lending support to the butchers of Gaza, Iraq, south Yemen and Afghanistan

Posted by: bevin | Feb 23, 2012 2:35:11 PM | 2

I do expect the insurgency to be mostly defeated within the next six month.

Except that more and more reports show what all of us had long since guessed, that the insurgency is receiving outside support in various forms, but likely including supplies, weapons, intelligence, money, training and even recruits. With this support the insurgency can continue indefinitely. So why expect it to be defeated, unless you expect the outside players to stop? Do you expect that? I can't see Saudi, the US, Israel, or France (among the others) halting covert intervention at this point.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 23, 2012 2:36:39 PM | 3

@bevin

Two questions for you:
1. Did you see videos of any of the peaceful demonstrations that started a year ago and went on for months without? If so, did you see the ones that showed Syrian forces shooting the unarmed demonstrators time and time again without anyone in the crowd shooting back? If so, did you believe those forces were NATO/Golf agents disguised as Syrian forces?

2. If the Israelis were lobbing giant mortars into Gaza (as they have numerous times), would you be blaming Hamas/PLO/Islamic Jihad for having started the killing?

I totally agree that NATO and their Golf allies have their own strategic interests and would be happy to topple the Syrian regime. As a human being, is there not a voice inside you that says that you should oppose specific actions by an actor (i.e. bombarding defenseless civilian areas) even though you condemn all sides committing violence?

Thanks.

Posted by: A V | Feb 23, 2012 2:49:10 PM | 4

Landis must be circumspect about his criticism of the regime because his wife has extended family there.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 23, 2012 3:03:09 PM | 5

b, this seems difficult to verify

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Feb 23, 2012 3:04:52 PM | 6

Des bruits couraient depuis quelques jours sur les réseaux sociaux et voilà que le site de l’agence de presse syrienne Dampress annonce en effet, ce mardi, une « chasse fructueuse »:
« Les services syriens spécialisés ont arrêté un bataillon français de transmission composée de 120 militaires, à Zabadani ». Et d’ajouter que « cette nouvelle explique le changement de ton de Paris, qui fait désormais profil bas, de peur que cette affaire n’affecte la campagne de Nicolas Sarkozy. Alain Juppé a été chargé de négocier avec son homologue russe Sergueï Lavrov pour trouver une solution et libérer les 120 militaires Français ».
D’après la même source «Sarko a envoyé un arsenal militaire pour les opposants l’Al Assad, mais les informations collectées par les services de renseignements Français confirment que la majeure partie du matériel est tombé entre les mains de l’armée Syrienne ».
Info ou intox ? Si la nouvelle se confirme, elle risquerait d’avoir l’effet d’un tremblement de terre sur la campagne présidentielle française.

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Feb 23, 2012 3:09:11 PM | 7

A V: May I direct your attention to this one: http://www.stratfor.com/node/835

I have my doubts if anything would have been left after one of those mines had hit the house directly as asserted in the video.

Posted by: m_s | Feb 23, 2012 3:13:06 PM | 8

China not to attend Friends of Syria conference

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-02/24/content_14680269.htm

and from Iran;

Iran, Hezbollah are on Syria side: Velayati

http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1541898

more and more countries are openly opposing US interventions in other countries

Posted by: Rd. | Feb 23, 2012 3:21:39 PM | 9

@Bill - So why expect it to be defeated, unless you expect the outside players to stop? Do you expect that? I can't see Saudi, the US, Israel, or France (among the others) halting covert intervention at this point.

In General: Insurgencies and counterinsurgencies depend on popular support for winning. When the Syrian army has put down the currently most obnoxious part in one small part of Homs the worst will be over. BTW: Only some 28,000 people of 800,000 total of Homs are living in Bab Amar on the outskirt of Homs and only there is the current fighting - the MSM wont tell you that though.

There is already a successful campaign to seal the borders as much as possible. Turkey has, as I expected, finally shut up after getting some serious words from Assad about the PKK potential (and 40+ of its agents in Syria out of jail) and it has stopped support of the weaponized insurgents. Iraq is also reinforcing border control and Hizbullah is taking some silent care on the Lebanese border. Jordan is still a bit fishy on this but will fall in line too. The Syrian army is of course also cleaning up in border areas (not in a pretty way).

With the outside support abilities drying up and internally under pressure the insurgency has little growth prospect. People will recognize this and, as everyone likes to be on the winning side, will turn against the insurgency. Then they will snitch out any suspect and the state power can go after those and snuff whatever is left of it.

@A V - what bevin said plus this:

to your no. 1 - no, I haven't seen videos of peaceful demonstration in Syria which were subject to indiscriminate government fire. That even while I have watched A LOT of videos from Syria. In the beginning many videos alleging government violence were obvious fakes. Even many of the "demonstrations" were fake with even the NYT(?) once mentioning that (I posted about that here).

to your no. 2 - There is a pretty big difference between a state asserting control WITHIN its country and a state asserting control of a country it is occupying. The first is very legal and very common while the second is illegal and the exception.

Also Israel doesn't use mortars, it uses F-16s to bomb Gaza. Even a big 240mm mortar round will do LESS damage than any bomb the F-16 is carrying because the mortar has less explosive power than the usual bomb. (Assad has not used any air force so far to avoid any "no-fly zone" gimmick from the western side - very smart.)

Besides - the rebels have multiple times rejected any negotiations or compromise. They are in a build up area between civilians and can easily kill a lot of soldiers that would attack in a frontal assault. Unless one is ready to have a lot of ones soldiers killed the only possible low casualty action to clean them out is to "soften" the area up with artillery over several days, demoralize them and then go in some late night/early morning in a surprise attack. Typical Soviet, American and most other military's doctrine for urban combat.

Posted by: b | Feb 23, 2012 3:39:13 PM | 10

@r'giap - i have seen those rumors from various sources but no confirmation.

They might well be true in my view. Sarkozy with his zionist baggage is quite likely to have put in troops somewhere in Syria. If the Syrians moped them up I would suspect some Russian intelligence to have been involved in that.

Posted by: b | Feb 23, 2012 3:52:02 PM | 11

the above citation b appears in a tunisian paper & a french blog (mediapart es le monde) which i can't access - seems doubtful but anything is possible

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Feb 23, 2012 3:54:28 PM | 12

@b

Thank you for your responses. Some counterpoints:

- There's no defense of the violence of the opposition including the Al-Qaida like bombings, period. Civilians get killed indiscriminately in all such cases.

- I'm not sure where you're getting some of your info. Perhaps you have better sources than I do (ie. the web), but some of your assertions are clearly inaccurate:
a. Turkey is not shutting up. In fact, it is offering to host a follow-up conference for the "Friends of Syria": http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/syria-turkey-idUSL5E8DN9EN20120223
b. Your claim of "There is already a successful campaign to seal the borders" would you kindly provide link(s) for this?

- The fact that Syrian government allies (Hezbollah, Iraq) are helping it seems to not count as "intervention" per your definition.

- I consider it progress that you're not denying the bombardments of towns by the Syrian military, since many on this site used to deny that in the past, just as your denying cases of firing on peaceful protestors.

- On my #2 point, I clearly asked the question from a humanitarian perspective, not a legal one. You didn't answer my question.

- Your general prediction that this will just end after a period of "clean up" is perhaps too confident. I refer you to the similar situation in Serbia in the 1990s (w/ Russia playing the exact same role) which did not end well for the ruler w/ the fierce military.

@ Rd,

China, Iran, and Hezbollah are among only a dozen allies that the Syrian gov't has left. Your assertion that "more and more countries are openly opposing US intervention" is apparently not referring to the specific Syrian situation. The vote in the UN General Assembly on Feb 16 (urging Assad to step aside) was 137-12, with 17 abstentions. You may be mistaking this with world public opinion in the US v Iraq situation in 2002/2003. It is not similar at all.

Thanks.

Posted by: A V | Feb 23, 2012 4:20:48 PM | 13

@7 giap What the heck is a "chasse fructueuse". I'm getting "fruit hunt". That can't be right.

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 23, 2012 4:25:25 PM | 14

fruitful hunt - successful exercise

Posted by: rememererringgiap | Feb 23, 2012 4:33:32 PM | 15

@ AV

As a human being, is there not a voice inside you that says that you should oppose specific actions by an actor (i.e. bombarding defenseless civilian areas) even though you condemn all sides committing violence?

and

If the Israelis were lobbing giant mortars into Gaza (as they have numerous times), would you be blaming Hamas/PLO/Islamic Jihad for having started the killing?

I understand this philospohy that all violence is EQUALLY wrong. After all if you condemn the bombing of Gaza, why not condemn the bombing of Homs? It's a logical and humanistic argument. But it is deliberately devoid of context. The fact is that all violence is NOT equal. If a man tries to attack a woman and she hits him with a rock is that violence equal to a woman just hitting a random man on the street with a rock?

You brought up Gaza as a comparison but Gaza wasn't a civil war (at least not strictly). How about a civil war example from America. Abraham Lincoln killed 350,000 of his own people and is praised as one of the greatest US Presidents in history. Assad who also finds himself in a civil war has killed a few thousand. Lincoln's top General, Sherman launched Sherman's March and burned the city of Atlanta to the ground, Homs is a bastion of calm compared to Shermans total war. However Lincoln slaughting his own people is justified (and rightly so) to hold together the United States and end slavery. It's the context of the violence that needs discussion not the violence itself.

Assad is supported by half the population. The other half is working with foreign powers to unseat him. His referendum in a few days will bring in a multi-party democratic system and yet it has been rejected by these foreign powers. The Chinese envoy said peace talks could have begun if not for American and Saudi interests blocking it, thus continuing the violence. Russia proposed last month a Security Council resolution demanding all sides open peace talks and it was blocked by the US and Europe. Given all these overtures Assad is left with no option but to bomb them to the negotiating table. Just like Sherman March forced Robert Lee to the negotiating table.

No President could just allow an armed insurgency in his country, backed with weapons flowing in from Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and fighters flowing in from Libya and Iraq to topple the State. Make no mistake Syria is under a coordinated assault from its neighbours and the West and the Arabian peninsula.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 23, 2012 4:39:42 PM | 16

The longer this goes on, the more likely Lebanon will get dragged into it. The press doesn't talk about it, but Lebanon is already being used to supply weapons and treat the wounded. Mysteriously, the press only talks about Syria's three other neighbors and their involvement.

I think the real question is whether the Lebanese system collapses before the Syrian one.

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 23, 2012 4:51:53 PM | 17

I don't agree with the thesis, that many here give for granted, that somehow this "roll-back" strategy in the Middle East is being orchestrated or inspired by Israel (nor that it displeases it, either);

I think Israel is currently isolated, out of touch, blinded by its own ideology and founding myths, in the hands of ruthless, greedy and ignorant politicians (just like the West, a little worse, though); it actually has become a pariah, and exists only because of western support

the presence of French soldiers in Syria would be easily explained within the patterns of current neocolonialism; Uk and French are trying to rebuild their old "zone of influence", wiping out Italy's in the meantime; see Cameron's recent drive for a federal Somalia; and Turkey is very strongly tempted to follow suit (which I find incompehensible, also given historical precedents)

the Us are happy to have France, Uk, Qatar and Turkey take over the burden of creating a Middle East "fit for capitalism"; maybe it's a way, for them, to free themselves from the grip of the Israel lobby

Posted by: claudio | Feb 23, 2012 4:58:16 PM | 18

@Colm O' Toole

well stated; there is space (and necessity) for a political point of view, independent from (not indifferent to) individual and collective ethics;

Posted by: claudio | Feb 23, 2012 5:07:36 PM | 19

b, thanks for the response, though I don't understand the basis for this statement:

There is already a successful campaign to seal the borders as much as possible.

You may be right that Turkey has been politically neutralized (and I'm not sure I agree, the reports are contradictory there), but that doesn't fully seal the border. More to the point, I don't take seriously the notion that Iraq or Hezbollah can or will seal their borders with Syria. Many of the foreign journalists in Syria seem to be slipping over the Lebanese border, and there is no reason to believe that other people/resources aren't as well.

In passingm Clinton reiterated today in about the least subtle language imaginable that outside military support would continue:

"There will be increasingly capable opposition forces. They will from somewhere, somehow, find the means to defend themselves as well as begin offensive measures," she added.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 23, 2012 5:36:44 PM | 20

"While I mostly agree with that analysis and the general conclusion I do not understand, and Landis does not explain, why Assad should only survive, as his headline claims, until 2013."

Because that's pure Landis. While he delivers bad news to one side he tempers them. I think he is a nice man who has friends on both sides and doesn't want to upset. I stopped reading his blog for this reason because sometimes he loses objectivity by wanting to make everybody happy and that has an effect on his usually good analyses on Syria.

Posted by: Sophia | Feb 23, 2012 6:14:40 PM | 21

on the Marie Colvin story:

'First: this narrative has entirely originated with the “opposition”
For nearly a year, covering the Syrian destabilization, the words emanating from the “oppostion” have almost always been far from fact . Far from fact!'
etc

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/marie-colvin-is-false-narrative-being.html


'Fourth: Marie Colvin is supposed to be an American, working for the British press and yet it was the French government who confirmed her death? But even that early reporting is disappearing.
French Minister: French journalist killed in Syria was the original headline to this news story

In the body of the story the info is still present

In Paris, French government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse said those killed were French photojournalist Remi Ochlik and American veteran war reporter Marie Colvin
===============================
Youtube videos had her as either french of british…is this why?

Posted by: brian | Feb 23, 2012 6:46:44 PM | 22

'No President could just allow an armed insurgency in his country, backed with weapons flowing in from Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and fighters flowing in from Libya and Iraq to topple the State. Make no mistake Syria is under a coordinated assault from its neighbours and the West and the Arabian peninsula.'

remember WACO! not even an insurgency yet the US army pounded the Branch Dravidians...

Posted by: brian | Feb 23, 2012 6:50:29 PM | 23

@23, that's actually a great example. I was, and still am, very much opposed to,and disgusted by, what was perpetrated on the Branch Davidians at Waco. It was a sickening and disgustingly murderous display by the U.S. Government. And it was never brought to proper account. Do you have equal disgust for what Assad is doing in the same vain? I do. It doesn't warrant outside intervention from foreign entities that are guilty of the same, but it does deserve condemnation, in the least.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 23, 2012 7:49:08 PM | 24

Assad is not doing what the SU govt did...Syria really is under armed attack by insurgents both foreign and domestic, backed by Great Satan(its curious and edcuational to see alqaeda and Great Satann join forces yet again) and its angelic symbolic black puppet leader

Posted by: brian | Feb 23, 2012 8:04:22 PM | 25

all govts have the right to resist foreign invasions AND armed inurgencies backed by foreigens who wish it to appear to be a civil conflict

Posted by: brian | Feb 23, 2012 8:05:34 PM | 26

A V
"The fact that Syrian government allies (Hezbollah, Iraq) are helping it seems to not count as "intervention" per your definition."

Hezbollah and Iraq helping Syrian government is US-Saudi propaganda


"Did you see videos of any of the peaceful demonstrations that started a year ago and went on for months without? If so, did you see the ones that showed Syrian forces shooting the unarmed demonstrators time and time again without anyone in the crowd shooting back? If so, did you believe those forces were NATO/Golf agents disguised as Syrian forces?"

who shot those videos? I think opposition gunmen were hiding amongst unarmed protesters and shooting at security forces.

Posted by: nikon | Feb 23, 2012 8:11:39 PM | 27

@AV I often recall, when faced with the seeming nihilism of the self-exploding jihadi, the words of that famous patriot and freedom fighter Donald Rumsfeld who said, You go to war with the army you have; not the one you want.

Posted by: yes_but | Feb 23, 2012 8:12:20 PM | 28

'Hezbollah and Iraq helping Syrian government is US-Saudi propaganda'

even so whats wrong with Hebollah and iraq aiding syria...why is yria not allowed allies whe US regularly allies with the likes of israel, KLA, Alqaeda, LIFG, qatar and saudi dictatorships etc etc

Posted by: brian | Feb 23, 2012 9:11:56 PM | 29

While I mostly agree with that analysis and the general conclusion I do not understand, and Landis does not explain, why Assad should only survive, as his headline claims, until 2013?
[...]
Why then should the regime fall at all?

The way I read the article, 2013 is Landis' best guess.
He acknowledges Syria's military strength, 'rebel' weakness & division, and assesses (NATO) intervention as unlikely.
But his thesis isn't about those factors. The reason he wrote the article is that he sees the key to Assad's survival as Syria's declining economic situation. Half of the article from Item 4 The economy is problematic, all the way to the end, is devoted to that issue. And his opinion is that Assad won't survive much beyond early 2013, unless he can find some friends willing to stump up enough cash to keep the Army paid and the economic malcontents on his side, or appeased.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 23, 2012 9:50:50 PM | 30

@ Colm O'Toole:

Your point is valid that many leaders have been responsible for mass killings and yet considered "great". There are, however, many problems with the analogy between Syria of 2011-12 and USA of 1860s.

1. Lincoln isn't considered a great President because he killed 350,000 (or 600,000 by some accounts). He is considered great despite of it. He is known for emancipation of slaves and keeping the union intact. There is no such admiration for Sherman or any other butchers of the civil war for their murders. Can you articulate a similar principle by Assad, other than non-intervention in Syria (which is ironic given the history of Syria intervention in Lebanon) and his hold on power?

2. The rebel forces in Syria aren't seeking to break the country apart as the rebels in the USA were, so Assad is only fighting to save his regime not his country.

Quoting Chinese and Russian officials regarding democratic elections is not a very strong argument given these government's records on such matters.

I ask you again to look at the vote in the UN General Assembly and consider how little precedence there is for such one-sided outcomes. To argue that this is only a Western conspiracy, is akin to ignoring evidence in plain sight.

Thanks.

Posted by: A V | Feb 23, 2012 11:28:48 PM | 31

Assad is mainly fighting to prevent muslim brotherhood from taking over the country, and prevent the destruction of the baathist party

Posted by: nikon | Feb 23, 2012 11:41:44 PM | 32

@ A V

there is a whole string of failed states created by western intervention (military and financial)

take Somalia: after 20 or so years of destruction, the Islamic Courts took over and restored order, so Ethiopia invaded on the Us' behalf, while the "international community" kept recognizing, as legitimate government, a non-existent entity as the "transitional government"

in Iraq, elections were held because the Shiites wanted them, not Bremer

there's no chance the West will help a transition from an orderly and autonomous Syria to another orderly and autonomous and democratic Syria

experience shows our support of democracy is simply a way to pry open a territory to the looting of its resources, military bases, etc

Assad's regime is bound to change anyways, reforms are being discussed and enacted, and the Chinese and Russian stance on elections is quite credible because based on Syrian internal political dynamics, not self-serving rhetoric

Posted by: claudio | Feb 24, 2012 2:20:36 AM | 33

more and more countries are openly opposing US interventions in other countries
Posted by: Rd. | Feb 23, 2012 3:21:39 PM | 9

About time. after syria collapse paves the way for an Iran attack? China is next...
Not sure what game Iran is playing. Why were their officials attending the 1st Anniversary Celebrations of "Libya Arab Spring Revolution"? (trying to trace Moussa Sadr is not good enough excuse.) Libya 'govt' now knee deep in destabilizing Syria.

Posted by: blue beam | Feb 24, 2012 3:39:13 AM | 34

@A V - - There's no defense of the violence of the opposition including the Al-Qaida like bombings, period. Civilians get killed indiscriminately in all such cases.

agreed

- I'm not sure where you're getting some of your info. Perhaps you have better sources than I do (ie. the web), but some of your assertions are clearly inaccurate:
a. Turkey is not shutting up. In fact, it is offering to host a follow-up conference for the "Friends of Syria": http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/syria-turkey-idUSL5E8DN9EN20120223
b. Your claim of "There is already a successful campaign to seal the borders" would you kindly provide link(s) for this?

Turkey has stopped much of its propaganda (I read Today Zaman and other Turkish papers) against Syria and seems to block any action from its ground towards Syria. I wonder how Erdogan's probably deadly cancer illness plays into this.

- The fact that Syrian government allies (Hezbollah, Iraq) are helping it seems to not count as "intervention" per your definition.

Iraq as well as Hizbollah are acting WITHIN their borders by shutting of weapon trafficking. They hinder weapons to move from their land to Syria. That is perfectly legal and certainly not an "intervention" in Syria's interior business.

- I consider it progress that you're not denying the bombardments of towns by the Syrian military, since many on this site used to deny that in the past, just as your denying cases of firing on peaceful protestors.

I never denied that the Syrian army used mortars, just as its opposing force does. I had a post denying that the Syrian military used artillery as the U.S. satellite picture scam claimed. Mortars ain't "bombardments". Bombardments are mass air-force attacks like on Dresden.

Mortars are not considered artillery in military speak (there are sound reasons for this though explaining that would require a longer explanation.)

- On my #2 point, I clearly asked the question from a humanitarian perspective, not a legal one. You didn't answer my question.

From the humanitarian and legal perspective one uses the lowest possible means to achieve a success in a military conflict. It seems to me the Syrian military is trying to do that. They, at least for now, do not use "we have to destroy that village to save it" approach the U.S. is using in Afghanistan.

- Your general prediction that this will just end after a period of "clean up" is perhaps too confident. I refer you to the similar situation in Serbia in the 1990s (w/ Russia playing the exact same role) which did not end well for the ruler w/ the fierce military.

Serbia ended the way it did because the west used a lot of lies and extensive illegal force to break it up. I do not see any current consent for that with regards to Syria. (That may change though, but Russia is also stronger now than it was when Serbia was on the ropes.)

Posted by: b | Feb 24, 2012 3:49:53 AM | 35

Ann Marie Slaughter calls for the same: How to Halt the Butchery in Syria

The Friends of Syria, some 70 countries scheduled to meet in Tunis today, should establish “no-kill zones” now to protect all Syrians regardless of creed, ethnicity or political allegiance. The Free Syrian Army, a growing force of defectors from the government’s army, would set up these no-kill zones near the Turkish, Lebanese and Jordanian borders. Each zone should be established as close to the border as possible to allow the creation of short humanitarian corridors for the Red Cross and other groups to bring food, water and medicine in and take wounded patients out. The zones would be managed by already active civilian committees.

Establishing these zones would require nations like Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to arm the opposition soldiers with anti-tank, countersniper and portable antiaircraft weapons. Special forces from countries like Qatar, Turkey and possibly Britain and France could offer tactical and strategic advice to the Free Syrian Army forces. Sending them in is logistically and politically feasible; some may be there already.


1. Militarily the whole idea is nonsense. It would necessitate all out war on Syria.
2. The above is supposed be "avoid a civil war" but is just a recipe for such on steroids.

Slaughter and her girls club (Clinton, Powell Rice) are the worst of their kind.

Posted by: b | Feb 24, 2012 3:56:33 AM | 36

neospeak is fascinating

if "no-fly zones" are zones where only "we" can fly, are "no-kill zones" zones where only we can kill?

Posted by: claudio | Feb 24, 2012 4:41:48 AM | 37

@ b
Your assessment seem logical.
Til now I haven't taken a stance in the Syria issue. But I believe foreign interference of any kind is futile at best.
The best scenario is an election where the Assad clan is voted out.

The trouble started with snipers from the army killing demonstrators. Assads brutal younger brother runs the army, and Assad himself has naively denied knowledge of any shooting.

Posted by: Alexander | Feb 24, 2012 6:42:37 AM | 38

@Alexander - why would they be army snipers? - the salafists have shown that they are prepared to murder and torture innocent civilians, children even, to advance their cause, so why wouldn't they be prepared to fire on peaceful demonstrators and kill a few? After all, their imams have probably told them that any supporter of the Syrian government is an apostate and any one who does not support the violent overthrow of the Syrian government is a supporter of that government! And who is most likely to be funding those imams? And why is the west so committed to protecting these people?

Posted by: blowback | Feb 24, 2012 7:05:37 AM | 39

@AV

Syrian army is bombarding Homs, because the NATO backed rebels are carving out a zone as was done in Libya, that can be used for either no fly or buffer zone

Something Turkey & France in particular have been pushing hard for

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/2012/02/syria-as-stakes-get-ever-higer.html

In this post, I note the mention of a particularly damming sentence that was disappeared from the msm.
Later I found the sentence had remained in one news article

"But the city is the capital of Syria’s largest province, stretching from the Lebanese border to the Iraqi frontier. If rebel forces keep gaining ground there, some believe they could ultimately carve out a zone akin to Benghazi in eastern Libya, where rebels launched their successful uprising against Moammar Gadhafi last year."

BUT, that is not the first time the agenda of the NATO backed rebels has been reported on. It went largely unnoticed, except possibly by me?

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/2012/02/rebels-defy-assad-and-carve-out-their.html


"In truth the buffer zone the rebels have created is one that it is still in the making. It is a small slice of free Syria but it is not Benghazi, the coastal strip of Libya that created a revolution and became a base for foreign assistance."

The Agenda in Homs is clearly to carve out a zone controlled by the NATO backed rebels. Same as in Libya.

Therefore, the Syrian army is taking back a chunk of the country.
From a military point of view, one would expect no less.

The fact that the alleged journalist marie colvin (spook) died in Homs along with her NATO pals, indicates to me that the correct targets are being hit.

It makes zero sense that the military would randomly target civilians, because this would only serve the destabilizers agenda.

As for Joshua Landis?
A bit to mamby pamby for me

Posted by: Penny | Feb 24, 2012 7:07:24 AM | 40

@av

1. Did you see videos of any of the peaceful demonstrations that started a year ago and went on for months without? If so, did you see the ones that showed Syrian forces shooting the unarmed demonstrators time and time again without anyone in the crowd shooting back? If so, did you believe those forces were NATO/Golf agents disguised as Syrian forces?


the demonstrations never started peacefully.
The first arrests at Daara included armed protestors

The last batch of photos of "unarmed protestors" in Damascus was pure bullshit, obviously so

So called protestors insert themselves at the end of a funeral procession for three syrian soldiers then shoot video of themselves,"protesting"
Being "shot at" though, nothing of the sort appears in the video.
What does appear in the video after I watched it like 30 times..
A Syrian soldier, at the funeral of his fallen comrades walks away and a shot from on high nearly gets him
One can see the bullet strike the pavement behind the soldier
Indicating to me a sniper was present, who took a shot at the soldier.
The NATO backed opposition presents the funeral march as a protest
psyop

Posted by: Penny | Feb 24, 2012 7:14:38 AM | 41

Meanwhile, back in Libya, we see AV's humanitarianism in all its nigger-lynching, breast-lopping, bayonet-up-your-bum glory. No protests from him.

He's like Paddy Ashdown, who never lifted a finger to protect the thousands of sex-slaves dragged and raped through Bosnia's Arizona Market. Or Cecil Rhodes, whose fervent support for the rights of the Shona strangely disappeared once he had their minerals. Far better to worry about made-up atrocities in the lands you want to seize, than to deal with real atrocities in the lands you have taken.

Humans have a moral blind-spot. Conscience may stop them doing wrong. But if they can convince themselves their cause is just, nothing will hold them back, and they won't even recognise what they have done. Look hard in the mirror, AV. You haven't just got a plank in your eye; you've got a whole cedar forest.

Posted by: Bob Jackson | Feb 24, 2012 7:26:22 AM | 42

on the "journalism of attachment"

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3850566.html

"The thing is, however, if journalists allow themselves to become moral combatants, crusaders against "evil" rather than mere reporters of fact, is there not a danger that they will be treated as combatants?

The obituaries for Ms Colvin are full of praise for the fact that she was more than a reporter. She did "more than merely write", says Roy Greenslade in the Guardian.

Apparently she was not simply an observer of war, but a player in it. We are told, for example, that she was a sort of saviour in East Timor in 1999, helping to rescue "1,500 women and children who were besieged in a compound by Indonesian-backed forces".

Also in the 1990s, she embedded herself with that highly dubious military outfit the Kosovo Liberation Army, then believed to be "good", accompanying it on its military missions against the Serbs, then universally judged to be "evil".

Posted by: somebody | Feb 24, 2012 8:02:06 AM | 43

@ blowback - why would they be army snipers?

The first demonstrators were killed from some distance.
Snipers are typically trained and equipped by the military. The Syrian military snipers did come to mind when the shots were fired from rooftops several hundred feet away.

Posted by: Alexander | Feb 24, 2012 9:08:12 AM | 44

Penny, thanks. I just bookmarked your blog.

As for Syria, I'm starting to think it will need to find a leverage point and "take a hostage." Meaning a combination of pressure on Turkey from Iran and Iraq (Kurdish insurgents, energy links) to keep them on sidelines. And turn the Salafists loose on a western lackey state (Jordan.) If gaining Syria also meant loosing Jordan, the west might have some pause.

As it is now, they can smuggle weapons and fighters into Syria till the cows come home.

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 24, 2012 10:04:31 AM | 45

Western-funded lackeys & terrorists in Homs.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 24, 2012 10:48:28 AM | 46

Lysander,

Remember Zarqawi? He was a salafi and from Jordan - busy murdering "heretics" (shites) in Iraq.

You know Abu Qatada? Well he lives in Britain and has been in prison for been a threat to national security. Britain is trying to extradite him to back to Jordan - but liberals are worried he will get tortured. by the thug in power in Jordan and is refusing to promise not to harm his human rights if he is returned.

Abu Qatada is a Jordanian national and a salafi.

Maybe, Britain can do itself a favour and send Mr Qatada to Syria and join the Free Syria Army and act as the al-qaeda ideologue for them to kill the "herectics" (Allawis, Druze, Christians) in Syria.

Jordan - interesting place. Maybe Iraq, Iran and Syria can start sending in their troublemakers to make trouble for the Wests pesky little king!

Posted by: Irshad | Feb 24, 2012 11:41:38 AM | 47

As the "Friends of Syria" meet in Tunis the question of which preferred model of new regime they have in mind for the Syrian people.
Will it be like that in Iraq, which is entirely the work of the "Friends of Syria"? Or will it be more on the Haitian model, where all supporters of the biggest and most popular party were banned from the ballot?
Or will it be on the model of Obama's first policy triumph Honduras, where according to a report today:
"...Its murder rate is the world's highest. Political violence, crime, militarization, poverty, malnutrition, drug trafficking, and police corruption are overflowing. Landowner thugs kill family farmers; the two-year toll of murdered journalists is 13. The economy shrunk 2.1% in 2009. On February 14 a prison fire killed 350 mostly uncharged and untried inmates. Most died behind doors the police didn't unlock..."
So many regime changes to choose from. And not one of them a democracy of free citizens.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 24, 2012 11:44:37 AM | 48

b,

You once posted on Mark Hibbs blog over at ACW, where you hypothetical asked, "What next Mr Hibbs, sanction the air and water as it can be used in Irans nuclear programme?" The post subsequently got taking down/deleted.

Last week BBC Radio4 programe "File on 4" investigated the effect of sanctions on Iran is having on UK and EU companies. There is a company in UK that use to make turbines for Irans gas powered, power plants - without notice the Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI) stopped all shipments of these blades to Iran.

The company chased the DTI for an explanation as they had all the necessary paper work to export it and was not informed of any restrictions. They lobbied hard for an answer. In the end, this is what the British govt had to say (I paraphrase):

"The turbines made by this company is for generating electricity in Iran. The electricty produced can be used by Irans military and also it can be used to further Iran's nuclear prograame."

This is why it was stopped.

So electricity is a dual use product and needs to be stopped!

The company went bust.

The EU and US have got itself in a bind over Iran all because of
neo-con warmongers and the racist state of Isreal.

Posted by: Irshad | Feb 24, 2012 11:49:49 AM | 49

Just FYI, Hamas appears to have come to the opposite conclusion:

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE81N1CC20120224?irpc=932

Posted by: Bill | Feb 24, 2012 1:05:26 PM | 50

Bill, I'm afraid that will be a serious miscalculation by Hamas. Assad will likely survive and they will have no one to turn to except Saudi Arabia and...the US and Israel. Troubling especially since Ismail Haniyah was in Tehran barely 10 days ago.

However, I can't say I'm surprised. Hamas has been trying out the Fatah road for a while now.

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 24, 2012 1:55:27 PM | 51

Thanks for that video, slothrop. Maybe brian can explain how snipers picking off civilians is protecting one's country from outside interventionists.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 24, 2012 2:03:49 PM | 52

@Bill - Hamas appears to have come to the opposite conclusion

That move has been in the water for some months. It has little to do with the situation in Syria but much to do with the Egypt brokered "unity" with Fatah. There is severe infighting within Hamas about this. The exiled Hamas folks, Meshal and co, brokered the general deal of which the move away from Syria and into the Saudi/Qatari/MB fold is only one part. The leaders on the ground in Gaza are furious about this and are now trying to kick the exiled folks out of office. Agains - it has little to dop with the situation in Syria.
---

@Irshad - thanks for that information, very interesting (but unfortunately expected.)

---

@All - Assad made a smart move today. He ordered the Syrian Red Cross to evacuate the wounded foreign journalists and all women and children from Bab Amra. That plays well in the "western" media. When that is done, the place can be invaded and the goons shown in slothrop's video can be taken down.

Posted by: b | Feb 24, 2012 2:29:05 PM | 53

I wonder ... who in this video would you say was attacking and who defending? According to the text it is Sunnis against Alawites? What does this suggest in terms of political outcome?
I expecially wonder about the perspective the camera person was "shooting" from ..

Posted by: somebody | Feb 24, 2012 2:38:43 PM | 54

Hey Lysander.

I think you raise an important point that the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia are in a position to at little cost to themselves inflict harm on Syria. Unless there is some capacity for retaliation, unless there is a cost we enter a situation where Syria could just be worn down.

Could a parallel movement start in Jordan?

Also I've written an overview about Syria at my blog. I'd appreciate any feedback from anyone here.

http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-role-is-us-playing-in-syria-and.html

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Feb 24, 2012 2:40:50 PM | 55

So, this now is the truth of Homs

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/red-cross-evacuates-7-1361037.html

"Saleh Dabbakeh, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus, said before the visit was announced that volunteer medics work in most of Homs' neighborhoods, but that Baba Amr was too dangerous to enter.

Baba Amr, a neighborhood in the southeast corner of Homs, has been targeted by the harshest crackdown against any of the handful of rebel-held areas in the city of about 1 million residents."

Posted by: somebody | Feb 24, 2012 2:51:45 PM | 56

@slothrop 46

It is not quite a blatant as that. The funding is most likely coming from Qatar (ruled by a despot) and Saudi Arabia (ruled by an illiterate, bigoted, despot) as they have plenty of money that they are prepared to spend because they are terrified of the possible outcome of the Arab Spring as suggested by Ban Ki Moon (the removal of despots who inherited their position though that wasn't what the US shill Ban Ki Moon probably meant). And the US, UK and France which are ruled by corrupt politicians who are too dumb to know any better are prepared to support Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

@Alexander 44

Snipers are typically trained and equipped by the military.

There was an photograph of an opposition armed group a few months ago where a couple of the men were equipped with Russian Dragunov sniper rifles and from the position of their trigger fingers appear to have had western military training.

And if you go to 00:23 in this clip you will see a member of the opposition with what looks like a Dragunov so the opposition have snipers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nvKa9oxNGM

Posted by: blowback | Feb 24, 2012 3:12:50 PM | 57

@somebody 56

From that article you link to:

In a statement, the Syrian Foreign Ministry accused "armed groups" in Baba Amr of refusing to hand over a wounded woman journalist and the dead bodies of two others.
It said the government had sent several local "dignitaries" and ambulances from the Syrian Red Crescent to evacuate the journalists.
But after several hours of negotiations, the groups "refused to hand over the wounded journalist and the two bodies, which endangers the life of the French journalist and blocks the return of the bodies to their countries."

So the opposition won't hand over a wounded journalist and the corpses of two dead journalists? Could they be worried that it gives the West and the Gulf despots one less reason to intervene? Makes you wonder who might be advising them? Makes you wonder what else they are capable of? Ooops, they tried that one again.

Posted by: blowback | Feb 24, 2012 4:02:46 PM | 58

@ Bill
regarding Hamas endorsing the overthrow of Assad

Assad and Syria have been the staunchest allies of the Palestinian cause
That should tell you that Hamas in Gaza has turned their back on the concept of a Palestinian nation.

What I think is going to happen, and is already indicated by the Hamas alliance with Fatah, is that Hamas is going to agree to move the Palestinians out of Gaza and into Jordan.
It is a betrayal of the worse kind
If Assad falls the Palestinian cause is finished
Israel knows that, which is why they have been actively behind the scenes aiding in the overthrow of Assad, from the get go I might add.
Way back they offered to send "aid" to the displaced Syrians
Aid means weapons. The displaced Syrians meant muslim brotherhood/salsfists, wahhabbis alquaeda(alciaduh) who ever, whatever
I have some posts on my blog to this affect....As soon as Assad falls the Palestinian state is done

Posted by: Penny | Feb 24, 2012 4:04:47 PM | 59

@ Lysander

You are welcome and thanks for bookmarking my blog

Posted by: Penny | Feb 24, 2012 4:07:21 PM | 60

blowback

b could be more expert on this but is clear to me that it is a dragunov

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Feb 24, 2012 4:40:11 PM | 61

Penny, Hamas are the Muslim Brotherhood. It would be surprising if they did not join in against Assad.
I think that you are wrong about the Palestinian cause which has much more substance both within and beyond Palestine than Hamas's muscle which, in many ways has been counterproductive.

Not only Palestinians but all anti-imperialist interests in the Arab world have to recognise that they have a common national and social cause, (sovereignty and the just employment of resource wealth) the key to the success of which is to shake off the sectarianism of religious bigots in the pay of the empire.

Most Sunnis do not, I suspect, support the religious extremists funded by the US/zionist and Saudi/wahhabi alliance. By the same token if Hamas line up with the Hashemites and faux fatah they will rapidly lose the popular support that their relative militancy has earned them.

A jihad against the corrupt monarchs and their alliances with the enemies of Arabs would soon overwhelm the pseudo jihads that the SAS are organising for the casino and cocktail wahabbi clerics.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 24, 2012 4:56:28 PM | 62

@ Bevin

"I think that you are wrong about the Palestinian cause which has much more substance both within and beyond Palestine than Hamas's muscle which, in many ways has been counterproductive."

I truly hope I am, but, based on my own reading.....

Posted by: Penny | Feb 24, 2012 5:16:57 PM | 63

It is disgusting to hear Hillary in Tunis complaining about deaths in Syria, when the US has caused so many civilian deaths in the Middle East itself.

Posted by: alexno | Feb 24, 2012 5:24:15 PM | 64

How many people have the US/NATO forces and their Afghan allies killed in the last three days of 'non-violent' Koran burning protests? I guess there are massacres and then there are (fake) 'massacres'.

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 24, 2012 5:35:33 PM | 65

snipers
http://tinyurl.com/732gcnh

Posted by: denk | Feb 24, 2012 8:29:17 PM | 66

Lots of half-brained conspiracy theories. Almost as if MoA were subletted to the German faction of Prison Planet, bankrolled by Lyndon LaRouche.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 24, 2012 8:53:34 PM | 67

Anyone remember video clips of the destruction of Fallujah running on the nightly news? Me neither.

In case people forget, the US did to Fallujah, a city of 300,000 what Assad is allegedly doing to Baba Amr, one district of Homs (pop. 800,000). "As of 2004, [Fallujah] is largely ruined, with 60% of buildings damaged or destroyed, and the population at 30%–50% of pre-war levels."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah_during_the_Iraq_War

But...but...but the warmongers say, when the US does it, it's OK.

IMHO it's not OK when Bush does it. Its not OK when Assad does it. And it's not OK when the Western media covers it up.

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 24, 2012 9:36:02 PM | 68

sloth
*Lots of half-brained conspiracy theories*


*The use of mercenaries, death squads and snipers by Western intelligence agencies is well documented. No rational government attempting to stay in power would resort to unknown snipers to intimidate its opponents. Shooting at innocent protestors would be counterproductive in the face of unmitigated pressure from Western governments determined to install a client regime in Damascus. Shooting of unarmed protestors is only acceptable in dictatorships that enjoy the unconditional support of Western governments such as Bahrain, Honduras or Colombia*
http://tinyurl.com/732gcnh

this says it all

so far, all documented cases of atrocities on civilians are perpetrated by fukusi n its franchised minions
no un , icc or hrw would go after them
coz u see, only democrazies enjoy the ultimate freedom
....the license to kill

otoh
goverments targeted for *regime change* who shoot unarmed protestors would be literally shooting themselves in the foot...

how's that for critical thinking ?

Posted by: denk | Feb 24, 2012 9:42:27 PM | 69

av
*Quoting Chinese and Russian officials regarding democratic elections is not a very strong argument given these government's records on such matters. *

really ?
these days i'd rather believe the chinese daily, rt, over those proven serial liars any time
http://tinyurl.com/7jzvr8k


*I ask you again to look at the vote in the UN General Assembly and consider how little precedence there is for such one-sided outcomes. *

lol
have u been under some rocks all these yrs ?
fukusi is in a league of its own
*me n u against the world* hehehe
http://tinyurl.com/7v866


*To argue that this is only a Western conspiracy, is akin to ignoring evidence in plain sight. *

to deny that the *west* is behind these *arab springs* bs
inspite of the evidences in plain sight means that u've just ace the psychopath test
prove positive :-(


*Thanks.*

spare us ur bs
sock puppet

Posted by: denk | Feb 24, 2012 10:11:25 PM | 70

denk @ 66: Thanks for the link, another brick in the wall. "Disaster Capitalism" marches on.

Posted by: ben | Feb 24, 2012 11:44:19 PM | 71

@Caludio
I think you're mixing a number of different situations over different decades as if the US foreign policy is set in stone over a long time regardless of who's President and who's in Congress. I'm not going to comment on all the other situations, other than to say that I agree with a lot of criticisms pointed at various instances of intervention of Western governments over the years (but not all).

@b
On Turkey, consider the fact that no more propaganda is necessary, as the world (as evidenced by the lopsided UN General Assembly vote) has already accepted that Assad needs to step aside.

On intervention, fair point about Hezbollah and Iraq. Let's consider the military aid pouring in from Russia and Iran then. Do you consider those interventions?

@JohnH
I totally agree with your points. The Fallujah situation has a lot of similarities to Syrian cities and deserve(d) equal condemnation of the parties committing them. US media wasn't covering it, but Arab and some European media covered it extensively.

@Bob Jackson
I didn't mention Libya. You did. I see no reason why barbarity shouldn't be condemned regardless of who's committing it. Perhaps your point is that Libya was a model of civility under Qaddafi and is now Paradise Lost?

@sock puppet
Unfortunately your responses are not even related to my points. For example, I didn't refer to UN Security Council votes but rather the General Assembly votes that cannot be vetoed by anyone. Until you educate yourself on some basic facts, I don't see a point in responding to you, especially since your arguments are so weak that you feel compelled to use foul language to make them sound interesting.

Thanks.

Posted by: A V | Feb 24, 2012 11:47:27 PM | 72

@AV
the world (UN General Assembly vote) has condemned Israel for massive human rights violations and war crimes without a peep from US and europe.

It seems certainly suspicious that it's always the government that US wants to eliminate which "commit massacres against its own citizens", no massacre ever occur in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or any US allies.

Posted by: nikon | Feb 25, 2012 12:15:40 AM | 73

@AV

Russia and Iran intervention is simply a response to Arab, Turkey, Europe, US intervention.

Posted by: nikon | Feb 25, 2012 12:22:46 AM | 74

According to A V's logic, Afghan war and Iraq war are both good because the previous governments are not full of civility.

Posted by: nikon | Feb 25, 2012 12:38:02 AM | 75

the really sick thing about US doublespeak is to call it "humanitarian" intervention. Yes, Syria is a police state. it is a police state for a reason. at the same time they managed to take in more Iraqui (and Lebanese during the recent Israeli onslaught) refugees than the "humanitarian" west combined, who had caused the disaster of the Iraq war.
of course it is the beginning of a new cold war. just this time it is with three or more participants and this time the West will loose, as they do no longer have technological superiority and - in general - they do not have the resources. The perfect moment in history to find a peaceful solution for conflicts of interest.
Obama and the democrats might think their foreign policy is more clever than Bush's, as they let others do the dirty work, I do think that their cooperation with the most reactionary Gulf emirates will bite back though, as no, I do not think the Arab spring is caused by foreign intervention, it is caused by lots of educated young people. They will not accept US foreign policy. Neither will the Muslim brotherhood who, I guess, are the merchant class.
Tunisia hosted the "friends of Syria" meeting, however, they did not agree to intervention:
http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/02/24/tunisian-president-marzouki-against-military-aid-to-syria/
As a matter of fact, the "friends of Syria" could not agree on any course. So Saudi Arabia (maybe Quatar, somehow I do not think so, as they are doing a balancing act with Iran) will send weapons and mercenaries. With this, Assad could very well win free elections.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 25, 2012 1:52:56 AM | 76

Syria’s Electronic Warriors Hit Al Jazeera

On Wednesday, the entire staff of the Al Jazeera network allegedly received an email instructing them to change their computer and email passwords.

Earlier in the week, the network’s server had been hacked by the self-styled Syrian Electronic Army, and some of its secrets were released to the media.

The major find to be made public was an email exchange between anchorwoman Rula Ibrahim and Beirut-based reporter Ali Hashem. The emails seemed to indicate widespread disaffection within the channel, especially over its coverage of the crisis in Syria.

Ibrahim wrote to her colleague saying that she had "turned against the revolution" in Syria after realizing that the protests would "destroy the country and lead to a civil war.” She went on to deride the opposition Free Syrian Army, which she described as "a branch of al-Qaeda."

Ibrahim also complained about the attitudes of various colleagues at the channel’s Doha headquarters, saying some of them “have refused to greet me ever since the outbreak of events in Syria because they hold a grudge against my sect.”
...

Posted by: b | Feb 25, 2012 6:59:33 AM | 77

The rifle leaning up in the left hand corner? If that's what you're referring to, that's not a Dragunov. Forearm furniture and gas system are much longer on a Dragunov and the magazines don't have the typical AK pattern grooves (they're bigger because of the old 54R round). The rifle in the middle is an old-school M16 from before they shifted to the ridged forearm, viewed from below - probably came over from Lebanon. The guy with the scoped rifle (and no idea how to get a spot weld on an AR15 pattern weapon) is shooting an M16. Some other rifle that I'm not seeing?

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Feb 25, 2012 10:02:13 AM | 78

The rifle at 0:23 is a Dragunov as usually used by snipers, later in the video there are other assorted weapons

Posted by: b | Feb 25, 2012 11:50:11 AM | 79

Do you mean the rifle standing against the wall while the group of guys talk on the Icom?

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Feb 25, 2012 12:53:43 PM | 80

this here is a different continent but features the use of snipers on demonstrations
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZajyVas4Jg

Posted by: somebody | Feb 25, 2012 4:28:17 PM | 81

hello ben

these days, we could've followed just one very simple rule
+whatever fukusi spew out, just assume the opposite is true+
that'd be just about right ;-)


av the sock puppet
*Unfortunately your responses are not even related to my points. For example, I didn't refer to UN Security Council votes but rather the General Assembly votes that cannot be vetoed by anyone. Until you educate yourself on some basic facts, I don't see a point in responding to you, especially since your arguments are so weak that you feel compelled to use foul language to make them sound interesting*

dude

foul language ?
if this the best u could muster
ur paymaster isnt getting his money's worth

+This is a list of these resolutions vetoed by the USA as well as resolutions in the General Assembly of the United Nations where the USA vote is against the majority of the world+
http://tinyurl.com/7v866

its a record of us veteo in the security council n its vote against the world in the general assembly
and it clearly shows that the current champion of r2p has been in the wrong side of history for all its pathetic existence
got that ?

*I think you're mixing a number of different situations over different decades as if the US foreign policy is set in stone over a long time regardless of who's President and who's in Congress*

kid
us prez are just the front man for the banksters, mic war profiteers
n us *foreign policy* is nothing but 300 yrs of unmititated raping of the world
in case u havent noticed
every us prez has been war criminals

*I'm not going to comment on all the other situations, other than to say that I agree with a lot of criticisms pointed at various instances of intervention of Western governments over the years (but not all).*

u're so transparent, sock puppet
didnt ur handler ask u to *buy some street creds* first
like spout some *anti amerikkan* diatrible some where
before popping up here as a *progressive*


Posted by: denk | Feb 26, 2012 1:14:58 AM | 82

I rarely post here anymore because I find b's posts on Syria one sided and lacking balance. His understanding of rebellions/revolutions is weak at best. He chooses to focus on one aspect of the rebellion and ignore all others.

In a revolution/rebellion there are many revolutionary agents. Taking Iran as an example, the revolutionary block that ousted the shah was made up of: the liberal intellectuals, the bazaris, the clerics and the leftist/communists. Eventually the Clerics won out and wiped out all the others and assumed control of the state. Infact, almost all urban rebellions are like that. There is always a power bloc of myriad forces that oppose the regime. The revolutionary forces are seldom monolithic as b tries do.

The above should be kept in mind when analyzing what is going on in Syria. The Syrian revolt has several elements to it: there are the peaceful protesters, the FSA, the Muslim Brotherhood. They are all part of the rebellious bloc trying to overthrow the repressive (And if you think that the Assad regime is not repressive, then you do not know much) Assad regime.

Unfortunately, b, chooses to focus on one aspect of the rebellion, ie, the FSA or the Muslim Brotherhood. He purposely ignores the other facets of the rebellion. That makes his analysis suspect at best. You cannot ignore the facts that the rebellion started in Dar'a when kids were arrested and possibly abused by the security forces for simply writing anti-regime graffiti on the walls. The rebellion started peacefully, but due to regime violence it turned violent.

B's analysis also lacks an economic dimension of the rebellion. Repressive Middle Eastern regimes have the following social contract with the governed: the state will subsidize the essentials of life and in exchange the population will shut up about freedom/democracy. Assad the father understood this. That is why his repression was always accompanied with a healthy dose of state socialist policies. Assad the son did not understand this. When he took power he started adopting neo-liberal economic policies. In 1984 govt share of the GDP was 24.5% by 2009 the share shrank to 14.5%. This not only happened in Syria, but in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia. All the regimes in these countries decided to nullify the social contract that maintained stability and thwarted open rebellion. In Syria food prices were liberalized and the essentials were subsidized less and less. no where in b's analysis does b mention this. He is just obsessed with the counterrevolution that the US/Br/Fr/SA/qatar are leading in the region. What kind of analysis is that that ignores the core reasons for a rebellion.

What kind of poor analysis is this that only focuses on one aspect of the rebellion and ignores the others?

B's analysis is really no different than what the official govt owned newspapers of Syria are saying. It is practically the same. If you read Arabic go read al-Thawra or Tishreen newspapers and you will be really astonished by the similarities of what b is saying and what the mouthpieces of the Syrian regime are saying. When I come to read MOA I do not expect to read Syrian govt. propaganda. Alas, this is what I am getting.

Posted by: ndahi | Feb 26, 2012 1:57:59 AM | 83

My sentiments exactly, ndahi.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 26, 2012 10:52:41 AM | 84

"Unfortunately, b, chooses to focus on one aspect of the rebellion, ie, the FSA or the Muslim Brotherhood"

You mean the ones we are arming? The ones committing terrorist acts, while our press tries to offer them in a illustrious and heroic context?

Actually, it is YOU that is trying to blur the lines here, not b. Not suprising that the wingless singer of swan songs has perched himself on your shoulder.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Feb 26, 2012 12:26:53 PM | 85

@ndahi - I am well aware that:

1. the economic background of these revolutions (sans Libya) is the neoliberalisation of their societies with terrible consequences for the poor. It has been discussed here and elsewhere and I see no reason to repeat that over and over. It also more or less irrelevant to what will happen in Syria over the next year.

2. there are many groups in Syrian working to change the regime. Unfortunately in April 2011 the revolution was taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and is since then just another armed rebellion. The poor liberals on the ground can still demonstrate but are out of business and will be metaphorically eaten alive by the MB if it wins.

I am sorry that I can not post on each and every aspect of everything. But this blog is a hobby and not a job.

Posted by: b | Feb 26, 2012 12:46:21 PM | 86

The timings on the "Dragunov" video seem to have changed. At 0:23 there is an AK47 stood in the corner and an M16 between the guy on the walkie-talkie and the guy in the grey beanie hat. If you go forward to 0:27 there is a man using the Dragunov firing through a slit in cover.

Posted by: blowback | Feb 26, 2012 1:38:44 PM | 87

The rifle being fired out the "slit" is an old-school M16 from when they had a carrying handle on the top. Nowadays they have flat tops and a Picatinny (or similar) rail for mounting optics on top. If you look closely, you can see the charging handle behind the carrying handle and the open debris cover below the bolt face. He may have glass on top of his weapon, but he's no sniper.

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Feb 26, 2012 3:42:43 PM | 88

Thanks for that video, slothrop. Maybe brian can explain how snipers picking off civilians is protecting one's country from outside interventionists.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 24, 2012 2:03:49 PM | 52
===============================
snipers? you mean the jihadi snipers, zionist Morocco bama? The syran govt is not randomly shooting syrian civilians...weve seen this meme before...in 2002 in Venezuela, where snipers shot into the crowsd...initially the venezuela private media blamed the venzuelan govt, but a documentary later on proved the snipers were with the opposition.
So why do u insist on working for Great satan and his patsy Obama?

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 5:14:58 PM | 89

the more i read Morroco Bama,. the more i smell a dodgy operative...someone here to do what the media does so well...sell the US govt story to the clueless.

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 5:16:28 PM | 90

'2. there are many groups in Syrian working to change the regime. Unfortunately in April 2011 the revolution was taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and is since then just another armed rebellion. The poor liberals on the ground can still demonstrate but are out of business and will be metaphorically eaten alive by the MB if it wins.

...
Posted by: b | Feb 26, 2012 12:46:21 PM | 86
==========================================

change the 'regime' to what? I need to add to that a legitimate govt is NOT a 'regime'.Since when are western govts called 'regimes'? and they use the election system to gain power, raising the question of what good is a election system if it legitimises mass murderers.?

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 5:22:26 PM | 91

I bet you think the Jews did 911 too, don't ya, brian?

And brian, if I'm a dodgy operative, what does that make you? And if that makes you the same as me, with whom does your allegiance reside?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 26, 2012 5:25:41 PM | 92

'Yes, Syria is a police state. it is a police state for a reason. at the same time they managed '

every state with police is a police state...

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 5:27:56 PM | 93

b's tendentious condescension towards the obvious diversity of the Syrian insurgency borders on the most vulgar orientalism: arabs in revolt must be tools of the west, or agents of "salafism."

You'll recall that b's analysis of Iraq's insurgency was the very opposite, as was his view of the Egyptian opposition.

Syria opposes the US & favors b's preferred journeyman hegemon, Russia.

He's a hypocrite.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 26, 2012 5:51:52 PM | 94

funny for slops to call b a hypocrite.
but it is an insurgency: an illegal and violent attempt to remove a legitimate govt. and yes arabs are tools of the west: Great Satan, as they seek to impose a sharia style dictatorship.

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 6:29:18 PM | 95

I bet you think the Jews did 911 too, don't ya, brian?

And brian, if I'm a dodgy operative, what does that make you? And if that makes you the same as me, with whom does your allegiance reside?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 26, 2012 5:25:41 PM | 92
------------------------

as a matter or fact:
http://killtown.blogspot.com/2005/11/dancing-israelis-on-911.html

your allegience is currently to Great Satan, and the overthrow of legitimate govts even if it means masacring citizens.

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 6:31:46 PM | 96

'@b
On Turkey, consider the fact that no more propaganda is necessary, as the world (as evidenced by the lopsided UN General Assembly vote) has already accepted that Assad needs to step aside.

On intervention, fair point about Hezbollah and Iraq. Let's consider the military aid pouring in from Russia and Iran then. Do you consider those interventions?

@...
Posted by: A V | Feb 24, 2012 11:47:27 PM | 72

why does Assad need to step aside? He has the support of most syrians who dont want eiether a sharia law dictatorshup and or a US puppet.
Colour revolution 101: have the target perceived as violent and brutal.

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 6:35:54 PM | 97

@JustPlainDave - You might be right about that clip although the first time I saw it, the rifle was displayed for longer and it looked like a Dragunov to me. However, after a few minutes searching with Google, I came across these two images which are claimed to be of the FSA and both feature a Dragunov FWIW.

http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-79048-14.html
(man in the middle in the yellow top).

http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Violence-across-Syria-on-eve-of-constitution-vote-3360618.php#photo-2546931

Posted by: blowback | Feb 26, 2012 6:53:30 PM | 98

No links @96, in your own words. Or at least answer yes or no to the question. Did the Jews do 911?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Feb 26, 2012 7:47:21 PM | 99

Morocco Bama read the link. and thanks for showing us your zionist stand.

Posted by: brian | Feb 26, 2012 7:56:09 PM | 100

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