May 10, 2012
What Is Annan's Plan For Fighting The Jihadis?
Just yesterday the Syrian Free Army announced that it would continue its terror campaign:
Syria's rebel leader has threatened to resume attacks because President Bashar Assad's government has not honoured a ceasefire, a pan-Arab newspaper reported today.
Free Syrian Army chief Riad al-Asaad told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that "our people are demanding that we defend them".
Today two suicide bombers in two cars used 1,000 kg explosives to kill at least 55 people and to injury nearly 400 in Damascus. That target was a military intelligence center though that was only slightly damaged and most of the victims were just normal people on their way to work.
That is seemingly "defending our people" in the warped mind of that Colonel.
It is obvious that the Free Syrian Army are not people fighting for some right to protest. These are serious terrorist and if Syria does not get rid of them the problems they pose will also infect the neighboring countries foremost Lebanon and Jordan.
It is ridiculous that such slaughter and the danger of it spreading is now even used to argue for more violence and open war on Syria:
Anne-Marie Slaughter, a professor at Princeton, used to be the policy planning director at the State Department. She says the presence of jihadist groups in Syria shouldn't dissuade the U.S. and its allies from intervening. Rather, she says, it should wake them up to the dangers that a prolonged conflict in Syria could create.
More terrorism or war on Syrian will not be good for anyone in the Middle East. It is high time for Turkey and Lebanon to shut down those armed groups that use their territory for retreat and training and to stop the arms smuggling.
Kofi Annan is working on a plan to find a political solution for the regime and its domestic opposition. Such a solution might well be possible but it would not solve the problem of the violent extremists that are now trying to sabotage the plan and to take over the country.
There now needs to be an extended plan that will allow for and support the Syrian government and its people in their fight against the jihadis. This is in the interest of everyone except those Saudi Wahabbis who are sending and supporting these fighters.
I do expect that the Russians will forward some initiative on this. Unfortunately the U.S., with even Senator Kerry arguing for more arms for those fighters, is unlikely to be helpful in this regard. This unreasonableness will likely cost much more blood and may well, like the war on Iraq, end in a mess that everyone will later regret and lament about.
Posted by b on May 10, 2012 at 09:14 AM | Permalink
- Will the Sunni Extremists hit Hezbollah in Lebanon? Over at MideastWire, Nick translates an article from the left-wing As Safir newspaper in Lebanon, talking about how Hezbollah is ramping up internal security and speculation that Syrian military operations run the risk of pushing the FSA into Lebanon (apparently the Iraqi and Jordanian borders are significantly more secure than the Lebanese border).
Question is just how much longer can the Syrian government back the ceasefire when clearly these maniacs are running around the country setting off huge bombs?
Also off/topic but Putin just cancelled what was to be his first visit with Obama at the Chicago G-8 summit next week. Says he needs to work on appointing his government ministers. A snub? He is sending Medvedev in his place maybe more diplomatic.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | May 10, 2012 9:31:54 AM | 1
News articles claim that an intelligence HQ was targeted, but they don't tell how far off or close to it the bombs have been planted. As some other comments suggest, I'd also expect an intellgience HQ to be high security area and possibly not very easy to access.
As for what I see in the footage related to these attacks, at least one bomb seems to have been planted on or near a highway. Assuming that the long-term goal is to exhaust the average population, it's not too implausibly to target public civilian life and interrupting everyday routine.
Posted by: peter radiator | May 10, 2012 10:27:24 AM | 2
After reading the Al Akhbar article linked in b's post, one wonders how much longer the incurious and untrustworthy Western Media will continue to be 'mystified' by the accelerating decline in the number of 'customers' willing to pay good money for blatant fabrications masquerading as News?
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 10, 2012 10:48:52 AM | 3
Thanks to ben and brian for linking over to my blog :)
I have been updating today`s post steadily
So if you saw it earlier there is more posted
Last update has a link to euronews, where a spontaneous bunch of average Syrians came out to voice there support for their nation
“One, one the Syrian people are one. We are ready to sacrifice our souls and our blood for you Bashar,” they chanted.
They have also rightly fingered Qatar and Jordan for their involvement
Qatar in the euronews pieces- Jordan in another piece I saw today
btw the arab league, not GCC is condemning the attack
Posted by: Penny | May 10, 2012 12:05:21 PM | 6
Anne Marie Slaughter-fitting name
I used that piece from NPR in my post
An increase in violence = intervention
Only in the world of a psycho
Posted by: Penny | May 10, 2012 12:07:49 PM | 7
The solution unfortunately still lies in Riyadh and Doha and neither one of these countries are willing to back off yet. Its like russian roulette, they will keep pushing less the gun turns on them.
I read in an arabic media outlet a few days ago that the Emir of Qatar called Assad to wish him happy easter and to his family, then tried to move the converstaion to the situation on the ground where Assad refused to go there and made the Emir angry. Even then apparently another attempt was on the go where Qatar sent an envoy with proposal to end the conflict where Qatar would pressure the opposition to give up the fight and sit down with the Syrian Govt to discuss transition to a new ruling system, which was again refused by the Syrians.
The plan Qatar proposed was modeled on the Lebanese system where they proposed, the president would be Shia, the PM would be Sunni and someone else would be Kurd or christian etc...Not sure why Qatar thought this would work but Assad sent it back with a "refused" note on the document.
The problem now seems to be a stalemate. The Syrian Govt feels strong because of China and the Russians and the Opposition feel strong because of the rhetoric and financial support they're getting from the West and of course the Saudis and Qatar. Both groups will wait for something big to happen while the poor civilians will get caught in the middle.
My personal take is that Qatar holds the key becuase they hold the purse and ask for the least in return. The Saudis want a radical change not only in the Government but the social fabric in Syria. Qatar would be happy with some changes in the policies and will commit to Billions in investment if Assad is willing to talk, but he's not. He seems to think one of them will break first, either the Saudis or Qatar and he will side with the winner leaving the other in the cold, divide and conquer. He may also be betting that Israel is crazy enough to attack Iran this summer and this will be a whole new game.
Posted by: ana souri | May 10, 2012 12:12:49 PM | 8
Maybe this is the cue for Bernard-Henri Lévy to come to the rescue of the Syrians as he did for the Libyans in Benghazi. It was ony last July that he called a meeting of French Zionists, Israelis and the Muslim Brotherhood in Paris to discuss Syria.
By Yoshie Furuhashi of MRZine,last July:
<<< The call for the conference, issued through BHL's journal La Règle du Jeu, was joined by France-Syrie Démocratie and "Change in Syria for Democracy," the latter being a group that had emerged from the Syrian opposition conference held in Antalya, Turkey on 31 May-2 June 2011. On the "Change in Syria" Web site, posters for SOS Syrie are prominently displayed.
On the French side, SOS Syrie featured such participants as Bernard Kouchner, André Glucksman, Axel Poniatowski (a member of the Union for a Popular Movement and the president of the foreign affairs commission of the French National Assembly), and Frédéric Encel, "who cut his teeth in the Betar youth organization of Likud." As if that is not enough, former Knesset member Alex Goldfarb was also included.
What Syrians would want to join hands with the who's who of French Zionism and imperialism? Most of the prominent Syrian invitees named in the conference advertisements are the leaders of the aforementioned organizations that backed BHL's call. According to As-Safir's Paris correspondent Mohammad Ballout, among the invitees were many of the Executive Council of "Change in Syria": Amr Al-Azm, Ahed al-Hendi, Abdel Ilah Milhem (a leader of the Anza tribe), Ammar al-Qurabi (chairman of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria), Sondos Sulaiman (of Al Hadatha Party). Lama Atassi, the president of France-Syrie Démocratie as well as a participant in the Antalya conference, took credit for linking up the Antalya opposition with BHL in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur.
What happened at the conference itself, where "the obscure faces of the Antalya opposition and of the Muslim Brotherhood" were seen among about 200 like-minded friends of BHL who filled the very much bobo Saint-Germain-des-Prés cinema?>>>
Posted by: www | May 10, 2012 12:21:51 PM | 9
Among other possibilities (Al Qaeda, other terror groups), the BBC seems to be giving some credence to the idea the Assad government planted these bombs to support its contention there are terrorists at work in Syria.
So is it really possible that a sovereign state like Syria could be so cynical as to deliberately kill its own forces for some dark, Machiavellian purpose?
Sajjan Gohel, an expert on transnational terrorism at the Asia Pacific Foundation, thinks so.
He told me: "The Syrian regime is more than capable of planning attacks against its people for propaganda purposes. We have seen that already in Lebanon in the past."
He adds that it is possible the blasts were designed to deflect international criticism of government forces' shelling of civilian areas.
Posted by: jawbone | May 10, 2012 1:00:17 PM | 10
Time to think about the prospect of Israel hitting Syria rather than Iran. 2200 lbs of explosives is more in the style and caliber of Mossad than of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafis.
Posted by: www | May 10, 2012 1:01:15 PM | 11
Regarding today's sucide bombings in Damascus, a spokesman for the rebel Syrian National Council has accused goverment forces of carrying out the bombings with the intent to frame and defame the rebellion.
The rebel military officer Riad Asaad said last week that the Syrian goverment has staged a number of attacks to make them look like rebel attacks to defame the rebellion. Riad Asaad also said last week that the UN observers are "false witnesses", i.e. liars, and he said it again a couple of days ago. Back in late December Riad Asaad said he believes that military forces from Hizbollah and from the goverment in Iran are operating in Syria to help the Syrian army put down the rebellion. http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=29554 , http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/06/c_131571288.htm , http://www.al-jazirah.com.sa/20120101/jo1.htm . I conclude from those statements that Riad Asaad is a crackpot.
Regarding the rebels' fighting strategy, Riad Assad said a couple of days ago that they intend to "rely solely on explosive devices". He noted that they can make explosive devices locally. Explosives are cheaper than firearms. Explosives can be deployed with less exposure to return fire.
By the way, here's a video of a sucide bomber in a van blowing up an army checkpoint said to have been recorded in Idlib City on 5 Feb 2012. It includes spectacular footage of two soldiers bodies flying through the air after the van blows up (seen best in the closer-up repeat at time 2:25 to 2:35). It's a vivid demonstration of the decompression force that occurs in an explosion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1FQBhD_Zr4
Posted by: Parviziyi | May 10, 2012 1:07:13 PM | 12
The following is the scene at today's explosions in Damascus as filmed from an airplane after the explosions. From this footage I cannot comprehend how 55 were killed and 372 injured because I cannot see how either of the two adjacent sites could've had enough concentration people at the time of the explosions. Can someone enlighten me about what I'm failing to see? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQYOzFwock4
Posted by: Parviziyi | May 10, 2012 1:55:51 PM | 13
Here you can see that at least one of the cars is a passenger bus. In the second video, it's astounding how many deformed vehicles are around. These must really have been _massive_ blasts! Take maybe 30 passengers in the bus and look at how many other cars are lying around there. Given this was a high traffic street, it might be possible. But over 350 injured? This seems very much to me. Must have been a crowded place then, which is unusual for 4-lane streets, I'd think.
Posted by: peter radiator | May 10, 2012 2:12:30 PM | 14
This youtube video from RT has a good closeup of the carnage on the street. You will see many of what the average syrian use as a mode of transportation, they are called Micro buses, which are passenger vans and carry 10 to 15 passengers and cost about 50 cents per trip. These are the victims of this madness
Posted by: ana souri | May 10, 2012 2:17:54 PM | 15
NPR reported this morning on "jihadist" forces at work in Syria, but did so with implications that the Assad government (the "regime") was using a purportedly small number of such fighters to try to continue in power. It also implied that minorities such as Christians, who believe the Assad government protects minorities, shouldn't think the "regime" is the only force which can protect them in Syria.
Ann Marie Slaughter comes in at about 3 minutes, and she says essentially that having the jihadists blowing people up could be a good thing as it may get the West and other outsiders to move more decisively to take down the Assad "regime." They need to "intervene and change the regime's narrative for good." Say what? She damns herself and those advocating this with her own words.
Oh, right. Regime change. Good when done to those the US and other Western powers want taken down.
These "humanitarians" who want "muscular" diplomacy are scary creatures.
Posted by: jawbone | May 10, 2012 2:31:34 PM | 16
Thanks to all who had the self control to watch the videos linked and thnx for the links. I can't get myself to view them right now, perhaps never, but they should be seen, repeatedly, by those in power who are enabling this terror.
And, damn the Slaughters of this world.
Posted by: jawbone | May 10, 2012 2:35:28 PM | 17
My stomach is churning from my anger at the enablers and the horror of it all. As was said about the Hindenberg tragedy, "Oh, the humanity!"
Posted by: jawbone | May 10, 2012 2:36:59 PM | 18
Some guy who was 8 km away from the blast said in an interview that the windows in the building cracked?, I think? at 8km away, that would have to be crazy rough explosions.
Posted by: Alexander | May 10, 2012 2:46:09 PM | 19
Penny has a link for the NPR story which has the transcript up already (I didn't see any link for the transcript when I put up my link.)
Lots of good stuff at her site -- but I had rush past the photos. Horrible. And I feel I and we other Americans have some responsibility for this since we can't take down our warmongers.
Posted by: jawbone | May 10, 2012 2:50:35 PM | 20
Hoarsewhisperer @ 10 -- How long before the Western MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) wake up to what's happening in Syria?
As long as it takes to permit the takedown of "regime." Then, after awhile -- a good longish while, there will articles tut-tutting about the carnage, the destruction of a society and it history, about the West now realizing just what would occur, etc.
Posted by: jawbone | May 10, 2012 2:54:14 PM | 21
Hey Jawbone: thanks for the mention.
Sorry about the pictures, I picked the least brutal.
As much as I myself find them really horrific
as I made clear under them, that is western taxpayer dollars (or drug money ala opium poppies and black ops) paying for that terror. It seemed fair to point it out
I have put several updates as of now to that post
List of foreign fighters killed and held have been given to the UN
It should come as no surprise to anyone that there was a Brit, one from France and a Belgian
Libyans and Tunisians also
It seems that Google maps was involved in letting terrorists know where the target was.
Also another blogger left a link to BBC (a report from a Syrian correspondent) indicating the first smaller explosion was used as to attract civilians and security forces to the scene.
the second explosion had maximum terror impact
Overall a brutal attack
btw I am quite certain at this point NATO terror has killed vastly more civilians in Syria, then were killed on 9/11
Just a thought.
Posted by: Penny | May 10, 2012 6:10:22 PM | 22
The Guardian, which seems to have unlimited contempt for its readers, is reporting the bombings as just as likely to have been carried out by the regime as the terrorists.
At the same time it carries a story which blames Iran for the war in Yemen. It has become the print equivalent of Al Jazeera.
Posted by: bevin | May 10, 2012 7:04:42 PM | 23
Ann Marie Slaughter . . . .Is it not the most perfect name for a US State Dept official?
Posted by: Marmite | May 11, 2012 1:02:54 AM | 24
The scale and size of the this bombing is NOT the work of some rag-tag militia group.It bares all the hallmarks of foreign intelligence operatives. Turkish, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Jordan????
Sad that innocent Syrians who want nothing to do with this have to die to satisfy the power greed of some idiots living in the Persian Gulf, who're not themselves democratic. What the enablers of these terrorist actions fail to realize is that, they won't be spared blowback when(not if) the sh*t hits the fan.
Your average terrorist doesn't have 1000kg explosive lying around. And it seems to me the explosives used are military grade types. Not the usual fertilizer ones. It was this same type of explosion that killed former Lebanon's premier Harriri and blamed on Hezbollah. This time, the opposition, along with their Western backers, are blaming the Syrian government. See a pattern here?
Posted by: Zico | May 11, 2012 3:03:13 AM | 25
It seems the idea thats being pushed by most "news" outlets is that some "new" third party maybe responsible, utter tosh really, I guess they found trying to blame the Syrian regime for the bombings was not washing too well and to keep up support for the "opposition" they seem to have split it off as a seperate front. This may help cover up the embarrassment that the so called war on terror has now become for many western and middle east governments a war allied with terrorists, whom they back, fund and arm.
Posted by: Rod | May 11, 2012 6:33:11 AM | 27
Damn straight, Rod
Posted by: Alexander | May 11, 2012 6:52:01 AM | 28
"Al-Quaida". No one knows them, no one knows their aims or agenda. They're just plain evil. Wherever Al-Quaida is, Nato encourages thinking about intervention. One day they work for this guy and the other one for another. In Iraq, they side against NATO, now they side against Assad. It's toooooo damn confusing. Don't try to understand, just know: Al-Quaida are really bad guys. So it makes a good explanation. And yes, I've read in the guardian that Al-Quaida is actually fighting WITH Assad AGAINST Assad! Now that is confusing.
Posted by: peter radiator | May 11, 2012 7:08:21 AM | 29
Oh yeah,the Hariri assassination;Where's the beef,Zionists and your lackeys?Oh,it's kosher,so its unrevealed.
Posted by: dahoit | May 11, 2012 8:48:12 AM | 30
peter radiator 29:
i suggest you take Thomas Jeffersons advice:
'The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.'
Posted by: brian | May 11, 2012 9:06:07 AM | 31
b. thanks for your work. Your perspective is often what's left after Occam has scraped away the BS
Posted by: scottindallas | May 11, 2012 10:19:00 AM | 33
Think Anti-War.com sums it up nicely:
A massive bombing tears through the capital city of a major nation, destroying a massive government building and killing scores of innocent civilians nearby. Hundreds of others are wounded, some gravely. Virtually anywhere else on the planet, such a bombing would create a wellspring of sympathy for the attacked nation.
The US State Department started its own statement by calling the bombing “unjustifiable” and went on to praise the “legitimate Syrian opposition” while saying that the Syrian government had “created the conditions” to get itself bombed.
“As Kofi Annan made clear to the UN Security Council earlier this week, the onus is on the Syrian authorities to implement a full ceasefire,” insisted British Foreign Secretary William Hague
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | May 11, 2012 10:21:05 AM | 34
Suddenly, the early perspective of rebels themselves sniping demonstrators to make the government look bad, seems a whole lot more likely.
Posted by: Alexander | May 11, 2012 10:29:31 AM | 35
A glimpse into the not so distant past; just before things started happening to Syria about 18 months back, the US had made it an offer it didn't accept: drop Hamas, drop Hezbolah, and drop Iran and all sorts of good things would happen to it. Syria rejected all three demands and is being made to pay for it. It was a waste for Syria to have rejected the US demand on Hamas as since then, Hamas left on its own and has set up shop in Qatar where it was welcomed at about the same time as the Taliban. Seems the US didn't mind to where Hamas relocated as long as it left Syria.
Posted by: www | May 11, 2012 12:13:33 PM | 36
Let Us Call Terror, Terror…
And, this is certainly an interesting new wrinkle... Hamas Won't Fight Israel Over Iran, Says Haniyeh
Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh: We will not be dragged into war against Israel if it decides to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
Posted by: CTuttle | May 11, 2012 10:33:39 PM | 37
pity,cause any war on irans nuke facilities will kill muslims as well as irradiate israel
israekl worlds leading psychopaths have a policy called Samson Option
Posted by: brian | May 12, 2012 1:53:15 AM | 38
News About Syria - English shared Syria 24 English's status.
19 hours ago
#Syria #Idleb - competent authorities dismantled a bomb weighing 30 kg is placed near the mosque of Saad bin Abi waqas in idleb as it was prepared for the explosive exit on worshippers
now who would try to bomb a mosque?
Posted by: brian | May 12, 2012 2:29:21 AM | 39
a syrian eyewitness:
'.....The people of Hama are currently living in a state of caution and stress because of the presence of masked armed men from time to time and suddenly in the streets, shooting fire to terrorize the people and close schools and markets, and the people notice non-Syrian armed men among those call themselves “Rebels”..
Yesterday morning, a colonel and his commissioned officer were assassinated, and after pursuing the perpetrators, it turned out that they had set an ambush for the law enforcement personnel in order to drag them into one of the residential areas, which forced the Syrian Arab army to interfere for backup and handling the situation, and within a short period of time, many masked armed men showed up with machine guns and RPG shells in the city’s neighborhoods and markets, shooting fire and forcing people to close their stores and burned some tires and caused a great deal of chaos and panic, then some of them head to the places of presence of the law enforcement personnel and attacked them, it turned out that it was in line with false news report about Hama, that the Syrian Arab army is shooting randomly and shelling some areas.'
Posted by: brian | May 12, 2012 2:31:08 AM | 40
GOOGLE MAPS PUBLISHED THE SPOTTED PLACE OF THE TERRORIST BOMBING IN DAMASCUS, HOURS BEFORE IT HAPPENED!!!!!!
It was Google Maps, maps and the development milestones at security headquarters listed and identified by name and place one hour before the implementation of explosions to clear the size of the plot common to all the tools of crime and terrorism, and enclose you herewith a link the Web site and a picture of what published one hour before the explosions, which were of by car bombs
Posted by: brian | May 12, 2012 2:38:36 AM | 41
Please...no need to apologize.
You mention in your blog post that one of the buildings was an aviation headquarters. Destruction of command-and-control has been the usual opening move of the New Blitzkrieg (Shock and Awe to us Yanks). That is quite unsettling news.
Is Putin back home preparing for something, rather than 'appointing ministers?' If Russia moves to empty Tartus, I guess we'll know the game is on.
Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 12, 2012 4:05:50 AM | 42
The University in Aleppo is closed. Ppl are fleeing. Etc, etc.
According to the Daily Star (Lebanon) Syrian currency has devaluated by 50% (not true?) and prices in Syria for basics have risen 50% > yes. Sanctions and fear, disorganization are cutting the import of food - About half of food is imported. Looks like Iran will have to buy wheat from whomever and sell it to Syria. More at link.
The EU is slapping more sanctions on Syria on Monday > Goog. This will be the 15th! round. Obama is ‘extending‘ sanctions >Goog.
How is Neskofi supposed to be able to accomplish anything if the EU is set to starve Syria and forbid Syrians entry into the EU ? Makes no sense and Neskofi must be well aware. He is going thru the motions.
Syria is being attacked by outside aggressors with non-military means and is at the same time is in a grip of a low-rumbling, now escalating, Civil War. ....It had parliamentary elections last Monday. Ppl are drinking tea in the hotels.
War, v. 2012.
Compare to Iraq, which had many flavors, tics and memes, features, of old-style colonialism: invasion, military on the ground to control, kill, imprison dissidents - new imposed Constitution - a few re-composed terminally weak civil institutions pro forma - puppet Gvmt - some show of attempts to improve lives and invest, etc. Bush who wanted to parade as a war Prez and civilize the natives with ‘democracy!’
The end point will probably be very similar.
Many masks have come off, this method is cheaper and easier.
Chaos, internal divisions, poverty is the aim. Badlands all over the ME...Clinton’s Yugoslavia come to mind. Curiously I note from the top of goog that one article tells of Syrian rebels travelling to Kosovo to meet ppl from the UCK (>KLA) to learn how to further their struggle. Rebels were received by Enver Hoxha, FM. Link in F, 11 may.
The spark that lit it was the Arab Spring and the West’s horror at being out of the loop, facing events it did not control. This was speedily remedied with Lybia. Then, forward, march, from behind a desk and a bank account, and with minimal funding.
Posted by: Noirette | May 12, 2012 8:58:12 AM | 43
@Noirette - yes, plus the other element: the panic induced in the Gulf monarchies by Mubarak's fall
Posted by: claudio | May 12, 2012 11:41:53 AM | 44
www @ 36 -- Do you remember where you learned about this US offer made, offer rejected by Syria, now horse's heads in Damascus beds? Well, at least the corpses of many, many officials, military, and innocent civilians as well?
The US and its allies are becoming more obviously thuggish, Mafia-like with their tactics.
Posted by: jawbone | May 12, 2012 1:19:23 PM | 45
Jawbone, the initial demand on Syria to drop its allies that included US involvement goes back to the days of Olmert and Livni (YNet 2008)when the Golan was talked about as the carrot. It continued on in the following years with Sarkozy getting in on it (Haaretz 2010)and Hillary Clinton in a Senate testimony (Al-Arabia 2010):
Posted by: www | May 13, 2012 12:54:54 AM | 46