Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 16, 2012

Syria: Insurgents On The Run?

The recent second attempt of foreign terrorists and Syrian insurgents to advance on Damascus failed catastrophically just like the first one in July did. The defeat last summer was followed by big insurgency losses as the Syrian army launched a counterattack in Rif Dimash. It seems likely that the recent second battle around Damascus is now being followed up on with a similar campaign. Some "western" media now start to acknowledge this:

The picture of Syria most common believed abroad is of the rebels closing in on the capital as the Assad government faces defeat in weeks or, at most, a few months. The Secretary General of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said last week that the regime is "approaching collapse". The foreign media consensus is that the rebels are making sweeping gains on all fronts and the end may be nigh. But when one reaches Damascus, it is to discover that the best informed Syrians and foreign diplomats say, on the contrary, that the most recent rebel attacks in the capital had been thrown back by a government counteroffensive.
The recent defeat in Damascus came despite intensified training for the insurgents by British, American and Jordanian special forces and despite new weapons delivered to them from the Gulf dictatorships.

A major insurgency attack on a Syrian Arab Army infantry school in al-Meslmyeh was, according to Syrian government sources, also repelled. This sugar coated report of the NYT is skating around this fact:

In the northern city of Aleppo, rebels claimed to have taken another important military installation, the region’s infantry school, though some reports said that fighting continued on Saturday.

There was an outpouring of grief from anti government activists and fighters after [Yousef al-Jader] a commander of a rebel group, the Tawhid, or Unification, Brigade, was reported to have died in the fighting.
...
The commander was one of many fighters to die in the fighting at the infantry school, which is north of Aleppo, in Muslimiyah.
...
It is unclear whether the rebels will keep control of the base. In many cases, rebels have quickly taken ammunition from captured bases and then abandoned them, wary of government attacks.

Translation of the last sentence: "After partial success in their attack on the infantry school a counterattack launched by the government drove the insurgents away from the school."

The Syrian army is now raiding the places from which the infantry school attack was launched:

The source added that scores of terrorists were killed and several of their hideouts were destroyed in the farms near the Infantry School in al-Meslmyeh.

Leader of a terrorist group Yousef al-Jader was killed along with scores of terrorists in al-Meslmyeh in Aleppo countryside.

About the same time the leader of the Tawhid brigade was killed, Ayad Al-Tubasi, the leader of the Nusra Front, also found his end. While both will of course soon be replaced their death shows that those in such positions are not immune to countermeasures.

SANA's long list of recent successes by the Syrian Arab Army is a sign that there are currently wide ranging sweeping operations underway and that the insurgents are under increasing pressure.

The "western" and Gulf support of the insurgents continues even after nearly all insurgent groups pledged their continued support for the jihadist Nusra Front which the U.S. designated as a terrorist organization. Such insurgents also committed a sectarian massacre in the town of Aqrab. Only a few "western" media mention these embarrassing facts.

Instead we get the recent talk of "chemical weapon preparation", "Scud like weapon launches" and that the "regime is about to collapse". It seems to me that this propaganda campaign is designed to cover up for the very significant defeat the insurgency received in its second attack on Damascus and in its other operation:

This misperception of the reality on the ground in Syria is fuelled in part by propaganda, but more especially by inaccurate and misleading reporting by the media where bias towards the rebels and against the government is unsurpassed since the height of the Cold War.

Also part of this propaganda campaign was the misleading citation of the Russian deputy foreign minister Bogdanov interpreted as Russia throwing the towel. Here is what Bogdanov, according to Russia Today, really said:

"The fighting will become even more intense, and (Syria) will lose tens of thousands and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of civilians," he warned. "If such a price for the removal of the president seems acceptable to you, what can we do? We, of course, consider it absolutely unacceptable."

If something is "absolutely unacceptable" isn't one inclined to do a lot to prevent it from happening. We can, I believe, expect intensified Russian involvement as things develop on the ground.

According to this Arabic source Russia considers to establish an air bridge to relief the population in Aleppo and other affected areas from food shortages. Those Russians plane would like carry more than just flour.

Bogdanov also said:

"Syrian militants have threatened to attack the embassies of Russia and Ukraine in Damascus to ‘take care of’ the Russians. The US sends special operations forces in such cases," he warned.

I read that as: "The Spetnatz are on their way."

Last week the sectarian terrorists burned down (video) another Shia mosque. How many young Shia believers from Iraq or Iran will now be willing to go to Syria to protect such places of worship?

Also consider this simple straightforward statement:
“The Islamic Republic of Iran won’t allow Western plans and scenarios aimed at overthrowing the Syrian government to succeed,” [Iran’s foreign minister] Ali Akbar Salehi said in comments posted on state TV’s website.

Yes, the insurgents are winning the youtube propaganda war, but the real war will be won on the ground. There my impression is that the insurgency, while it is not defeated, is currently on the run while the Syrian government is advancing and its support is steadfast. Still, there is a lot "fog of war" in the air and my somewhat optimistic reading of the situation may not be completely right.

But consider this recent tweet by the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen:

Preparing to leave #Damascus. Legit question: maybe enemies of #Assad been guilty of wishful thinking about their chances of toppling him

Posted by b on December 16, 2012 at 03:56 AM | Permalink

Comments
But consider this recent tweet by the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen from a few days ago

The real reason why he is leaving is because he produced a piece about the rats taking over large parts of Damascus, he was also filmed fraternizing with the rats and other Islamist fighters. It was a matter of time before he was going to be arrested.

Posted by: hans | Dec 16, 2012 5:07:12 AM | 1

How could they against a national army?

Strategy always has been to a) split the army b) NATO intervention.

Intervention would be madness, I don't think it is off the table yet.
The psychological preparations (chemical weapons, humanitarian catastrophe) are in place to convince the western public.

Iran is saying they would fight in that case.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2012 6:03:04 AM | 2

'The source added that scores of terrorists were killed and several of their hideouts were destroyed in the farms near the Infantry School in al-Meslmyeh.'

they are hideouts, cause these terrorists have no local support...the cant rally the syrian people to their support...they have no support in syria

Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2012 6:07:18 AM | 3

Due to passive Syria's alies, even without NATO "intervention" Syria could lose due to thousands cuts. Army is stronger than terrorists, but when there is almost endless supply of mercenaries and jihadists, coupled with enormous support from the West and Arabs, its either eventual loss, or endless fight for many years if not decades. Syria's resources are very limited compared to West/Arabs. Even without installing puppets in Syria, USrael would be quite happy with main Iran's ally in the ruins.

Its priority for Syria to secure the borders, and obviously they cant do it on their own, what Russia/Iran/China are doing about it? Virtually nothing... Political and moral support is good, but it wont win the war, and as long as rats are infiltrating en masse, Syria will get weaker and weaker.

Posted by: Harry | Dec 16, 2012 6:17:51 AM | 4

Harry | Dec 16, 2012 6:17:51 AM | 4

Just that the countries supporting the rebels cannot afford it either.

Jordan cannot afford the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in its present state, neither can Saudi Arabia and other Gulf emirates. Turkey will not be able to afford a free Syrian Kurdistan. Nor can Turkey afford the Jihadis within its borders. Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries cannot afford a clash with Iran - they need NATO to contain Iran.

And I suppose the US cannot afford Chinese disinvestment - maybe China cannot afford it either, I would not place my bets.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2012 7:11:45 AM | 5

'b' above linked to a news article which says: "Foreign diplomats in Damascus say that the [recent] rebel territorial advances are partly explained by a new Syrian army strategy to pull back from indefensible outposts and bases and concentrate troops in cities and towns." -- Ref. In truth, that Syrian army strategy is not new. It has been in effect in various less populated areas of western Syria all year, especially in parts of Idlib province. Its expansion to additional places, insofar as this has happened, implies the government has lost ground in those places. But on the whole I have not seen evidence that the government is abandoning more places -- except in a few places, but those are balanced by other places where the government forces have gone back in.

One of my sources about fighting on the ground in Syria is the following website: http://www.documents.sy/news.php?lang=en . This website has new reports in English and Arabic several times a day of incidents of fighting on the ground. The site's reports are not comprehensive (do not cover all fighting events), and its reports are very terse. As an example of terseness, here's the site's complete report of the fighting at the Infantry School in Aleppo on 13 December that 'b' talked about: "Aggressive battles took place between al-Tawheed brigade and the Syrian Army around the infantry college in Aleppo countryside." The terseness is a virtue.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 16, 2012 8:25:22 AM | 6

Iyad Toubasi, nicknamed Abu Mohammed Joulani, brother in law of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been appointed by Osama bin Laden as the leader (emir) of al-Qaeda (i.e. US/NATO mercenaries) in Iraq and leader of Front Al-Nusra is burning in hell.

http://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/alaikum-salam/

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 16, 2012 8:58:47 AM | 7

This is ex-colonel Yusef al-Jader aka Abu Furat, leader of Liwa al-Tawhid, also burning in hell. Filmed shortly before his death.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5ThMJ5875Y&

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 16, 2012 9:13:16 AM | 8

This rather funny propaganda: Aljazeerah "reports"

Head of public relations in the Syrian intelligence defects
December 16, 2012 - 14:30

Alaeddin al-Sabbagh, former head of public relations in the Syrian intelligence, has announced his defection.

He made the announcement while speaking to Al Jazeera on Sunday.

He said he had been in touch with rebels for some time and that they knew he was serving the revolution while he was in office.

He called Assad's regime a "clinically dead" one.


The Syrian intelligence had a former PR head? Funny that as no one knew that such a position ever existed. What is the next defection? The janitor of the army's officer club?

Posted by: b | Dec 16, 2012 9:19:35 AM | 9

Top commanders from Palestinian camp al-Yarmouk have renegaded. If true, result is this:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/60652/World/Region/UPDATE-Air-raid-on-Damascus-Palestinian-camp-kills.aspx

I do not get them - Palestinians' leadership. They are fighting for survival and selling themselves for fist of dollars.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 16, 2012 9:21:16 AM | 10

Alex Thomson is doubling down

One of our number (whilst dealing with the excellent porridge they dole out daily here) made the following observation about the western media’s use of YouTube rebel war propaganda: “It is like covering a US election by staying in Britain and using only right-wing Republican sources based in Belgium.”

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2012 9:25:35 AM | 11

I think things are heating up between Iran and Turkey.It was only a matter of time before Iran's patience with Turkey run out.

Ahmadinejad cancels visit to Turkey amid Patriot tension (http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=301312)

Iran warns Turkey over NATO's missile system (http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=301277)

This cannot be a good sing...I'm beginning to think the Turkish leaders have been misled and used by NATO for their dubious designs. They've now put Turkey in a dangerous mess and all they have is assurances from NATO about protection.

Posted by: Zico | Dec 16, 2012 9:32:18 AM | 12

Yes, I've just read this:

NATO says Syrian Scuds hit "near" Turkey

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/60529/World/Region/NATO-says-Syrian-Scuds-hit-near-Turkey.aspx

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 16, 2012 9:36:10 AM | 13

It gets worse for Turkey from all sides

NATO seeks Afghan solidarity for Patriots

NATO expects Turkey to play a vital role in the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan, reflecting the “spirit of solidarity” that NATO has shown in the protection of the Turkish people and territories by deploying Patriot systems against a potential attack from Syria.

“Our decision is a clear and concrete demonstration of the value of the alliance for our collective security and for your security. It shows that NATO stands with Turkey in the spirit of solidarity. As I look to next year, this spirit of solidarity will be equally important for our continued success,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a written message he issued at the 19th International Antalya Conference on Security and Cooperation on Friday.

He stressed that the priority over the next year would be Afghanistan. “We will continue to advise and assist the Afghan forces after 2014. And I hope that Turkey will play an important role in this vital mission, as it does in ISAF,” read the statement.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2012 9:38:43 AM | 14

So in effect, Turkey IS NATO's punch bag to do the Zionists dirty deeds.Erdogan's weakness is his ego and inferiority complex. Turkish officials love words of praise from the NATO masters.This is exactly what NATO's been doing over the past few months - playing on Erdogan's ego.

It'll all end in tears...

Posted by: Zico | Dec 16, 2012 9:44:15 AM | 15

Actually, Ahmadinejad was supposed to visit this event in Konya which might have been just too much for Iranian clerical hardliners.

Rumi was a great Persian poet and would be good PR for the greatness of Iran if only if ...

So Ahmadinejad cancelling might not have anything to do with Syria at all. The poor guy gets into trouble at home for his liberal ways as is

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2012 9:55:22 AM | 16

@12
"This cannot be a good sing...I'm beginning to think the Turkish leaders have been misled and used by NATO for their dubious designs. They've now put Turkey in a dangerous mess and all they have is assurances from NATO about protection."

------------------------

"To my mind the address of President Wilson to the Congress on Tuesday is not only the most important document called forth by the war, but it is one of the half dozen greatest and noblest document in American history.

In certain of its details it imparts new and greater aims to America. The President's stand in regard to Alsace-Lorraine alone would make his address momntous; but his plan for the break up of Turkey..."


This is from the New York Times, January 11, 1918, from his speech at the Congress when he announced its doctrine.

He clearly stated that Turkey should be "break up", he is not talking about Ottoman Turkey, of course, this is after WWI. Turkey (just like Israel, Egypt, Greece) is not sovereign country, since its inception it has been serving the hegemon of its days.

The other day I read this:Turkey may be divided by 2030: Intel report

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-may-be-divided-by-2030-intel-report.aspx?pageID=238&nID=36590&NewsCatID=338#.UMiYyqqT278.blogger

"They" still wanted to break up Turkey, this include Russia, too. "Nothing new under the sun" prophet said long ago. Turkey's establishment know that, and they live in fear of that; beside the fact that they enjoy huge inflow of "investment" from KSA and GCC countries.

Simply put it, instead of self-reliance, they have chosen path of less resistance.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 16, 2012 10:24:31 AM | 17

@Zico They've now put Turkey in a dangerous mess and all they have is assurances from NATO about protection.

Yes. But no assurance about energy. Turkey depends on gas from Russia and Iran.

Posted by: b | Dec 16, 2012 11:27:17 AM | 18

It's interesting that Turkey/Iran gas doesn't seem to be affected by sanctions....

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Business/Middle-East/2012/Dec-05/197210-turkey-iran-gas-not-covered-by-us-sanctions.ashx#axzz2FEXs6eQF

Posted by: dh | Dec 16, 2012 11:38:29 AM | 19

Friday Lunch Club had a good summary the other day of the diplomatic rumour mill around the Middle East:

On Syria:

Meanwhile ... one well-placed US official with recent experience in the region put it, “The Jihadists go back and forth across the border from Iraq to Syria, depending upon the opportunities on offer. Yesterday “AQI” (Al-Qaeda in Iraq) went after the Shias in Baghdad, today they aim their fire at Assad’s people in Damascus.” While Syria is the big prize, Sunnis throughout the region have begun to envision a larger rolling back of what King Abdallah of Jordan once called the “Shia Arc” that stretched from Iran through Iraq, Syria and into Lebanon (via Hezbollah). Led by pint-sized Qatar and backed by wealthy Saudi and other Islamists, they have moved not only against Shias but secularists and moderates as well.

On Israel/Palestine:

One high point was his brokering of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. While US officials claim that the Administration, including President Obama, was instrumental in prodding Morsi into action, it was the October visit of the Emir of Qatar to Gaza that set in motion events leading to last month’s fighting. Explains one veteran analyst, “Knowing that [Palestinian Authority head] Abu Mazen was going to the UN [to gain official observer status], Hamas saw the opportunity to show who can really affect the Israelis.” But clearly Hamas was surprised by the ferocity of the Israeli reaction. “ Jabari [Hamas military chief] would not have been seen driving around Gaza if he thought the Israelis were going to up the ante so dramatically, said one veteran analyst. By the same token, Israelis were shocked to discover that Hamas was willing to aim missiles at Jerusalem. Overall, however, the Israelis find themselves on the defensive diplomatically. While the brokered cease-fire forestalled an outright invasion of Gaza, Hamas is steadily gaining political strength as the Turks and Egyptians increase their support. As for their finances, unlike Abu Mazen’s Palestinian Authority, which is responsible for West Bank finances and is facing a political squeeze from Israel in retaliation for his UN move, Hamas, in the words of one well-placed official, “…isn’t hurting for money.”

On Jordan.

Another actor willing to work with the US and Israel, Jordan’s King Abdullah is again cash strapped. According to reliable sources, long pledged Gulf assistance has yet to materialize and when it does, predicts one US official, it will not be in cash but in project development funding. This kind of aid will do little to calm the political scene as riots have broken out due, to what many observers consider an unwise move by Abdullah, to reduce subsidies. This comes at a time when a weak Jordanian economy is sagging under the weight of a growing number of refugees from Syria. And despite Amman’s willingness to return its Ambassador to Israel, the last thing the Jordanian regime wants is to be seen to be dependent upon Israel for support.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 16, 2012 12:53:59 PM | 20

It's been called "Battle for the Narrative" in a Pentagon report

from Decade of War, Volume I
Enduring Lessons from the Past Decade of Operations
Jun 15, 2012

one finding:

Battle for the Narrative: The US was slow to recognize the importance of information and the battle for the narrative in achieving objectives at all levels; it was often ineffective in applying and aligning the narrative to goals and desired end states.

Of course this "battle" doesn't count as much as real ones in achieving goals and desired end states, except to the bureaucrats whose longevity in office depends upon a false narrative. The U.S. experience in Afghanistan comes to mind.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 1:36:56 PM | 21

re 20:

That's a good summary. The big issue now is the Sunni fight against the Shia crescent. It is the only problem destabilising Iraq now - outside fighters trying to upset Maliki's government.

This "Sunni" offensive is completely crazy. I guess it's intended to defend Saudi and the Gulf against the possibility of a successful revolt of their own Shi'a, but it has a good prospect of disaster.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 16, 2012 2:09:26 PM | 22

SecDef Panetta during his recent visit to the US Incirlik Air Base, sixty miles from the Syrian border, is on top of things when it comes to Damascus, and he really wants to protect Syrians. In response to a question from an airman:

I think the question was specifically what would we do in the -- in the event that they use chemical and biological weapons.

The president made clear that -- you know, that there would be serious consequences. And with the Defense Department, the job we have to do is to develop options to be able to confront that kind of threat. And so, we have a number of options that we can deploy if we have to, when the president makes that decision, to be able to act.

I can't -- I'm not going to go into specifics. But I can tell you that -- you know, that the United States, when we decide we're going to do something, we damned well are going to do it.

It's not easy. Not easy. You know, I mean, you guys know that when you're dealing with this kind of stuff, you know, it's not just -- you can't just simply go in and blow it up, because you create, you know, the kind of plumes that then create the -- exactly the kind of damage that the use of those weapons will -- will do on their own.

So, you -- you got to be able to find other ways to try to ensure that that doesn't happen.

And we have drawn up plans to be able to present to the President of the United States the options as to what should be done, what he decides should be done, should we get, you know, the intelligence that indicates that that's what they intend to do.

And, you know, look, I don't know. You can't imagine -- I -- you can't imagine anybody would wanna do that to their own people, but history is replete with those leaders who made those kinds of decisions -- terrible decisions to kill people. So, we -- we have to be ready.

I guess the greatest concern I have is that if the regime feels it's in trouble and it's going to collapse -- and, frankly, the opposition is gaining every day, and if the opposition suddenly moves on Damascus and there's a real threat to the regime, I think that creates a situation probably of the greatest concern.

So, we're going to watch it closely. And we're going to make sure that -- that we take steps, not only to protect this from happening, but hopefully to make sure that people like you, who I'm sure worry about that kind of event, are protected as well.


So these clowns get (verbally) trapped by their own false narrative.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 2:18:53 PM | 23

and in Incirlik, stupid Uncle Leon got the narrative wrong, that the Patriots are being sent to Turkey to protect against Syria.

SEC. PANETTA: The question was whether Syria would respond negatively to what we're doing to help Turkey.

I don't -- frankly, I don't think they have the damn time to worry about what the hell's happening in Turkey.

They're -- you know, they're fighting right now to see whether they're going to survive.


Panetta realizes that he's off message and tries to recover but only digs a deeper hole, bringing in one of the actual reasons for the Patriots -- continued aid from Turkey in far-off Afghanistan.
So, you know, I -- I -- I think they know -- we've made very clear to them that, you know, we're -- we're going to protect countries in this region.

And the result is -- I mean, particularly for allies like Turkey, we want to make sure that, you know -- for -- for what they do here, for what they provide the United States, the fact that they are a member of the NATO alliance, and they have made tremendous contributions -- I mean, in Afghanistan, Turkey is right there, along with a number of other countries, that are helping us in Afghanistan. So, in return, our -- our view was we have to do everything we can to try to help them be able to protect themselves.


Uncle Leon is never boring, and we're going to miss him, damn it all to hell (his kind of language).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 2:28:47 PM | 24

Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa in an Al-Akhbar Exclusive: Military solution isn’t the answer

In the interview that Al-Akhbar will publish on Monday, al-Sharaa said, “The opposition with its different factions, civilian, armed, or ones with external ties, cannot claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian People, just as the current rule with its ideological army and its confrontation parties lead by the Baath, cannot achieve change without new partners.”

Al-Sharaa called for building confidence between the crisis sides and said, “The solution has to be Syrian, but through a historic settlement, which would include the main regional countries, and the member of UN Security Council. This settlement must include stopping all shapes of violence, and the creation of a national unity government with wide powers.”

About the field situation, al-Sharaa said: “The drop in the number of peaceful protesters led one way or another to the rise in militants.”

The Syrian Vice-President added, “The opposition forces combined cannot decide the battle militarily, meanwhile what the security forces and the army units are doing will not reach a conclusive end.”

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2012 2:53:09 PM | 25

Perhaps this video analysis has been offered before, but it's worth repeating.
Manufacturing Dissent

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 3:23:40 PM | 26

Brown Moses has a LONG list of "Syrian Channel Listings" that post propaganda info and videos, sorted by order of district and town/city. Thank you, Eliot Higgins.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 3:25:54 PM | 27

"Military solution isn’t the answer" and how about that new "National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces" the US and Qatar concocted? Al-Monitor:

The coalition is a newborn that has inherited all the illnesses of the Syrian National Council (SNC). These signs of illness have become clearer with time, to the point that people have gradually lost all hope in the group.

The coalition received a backbreaking blow two days ago when it was forced to recognize the al-Nusra Front as a faction of the armed opposition, despite ongoing Western pressure to exclude extremists.

Confusion has reached a peak regarding the work to form a transitional government, slipping into a Byzantine debate over recognition versus government formation. In the end, weapons have the last word and the newborn coalition is still in the recovery room.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 3:31:38 PM | 28

Preparing to leave #Damascus. Legit question: maybe enemies of #Assad been guilty of wishful thinking about their chances of toppling him


thatd be the regimes of FUKUSA saudis qatar turkey israel australia canada etc

Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2012 3:36:01 PM | 29

By the way, what is happening in Aleppo?

And how come it is impossible to get bread just across the Turkish border?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2012 4:39:18 PM | 30

The question should not be asked: "What" but "Why". What - won't reveal anything!

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 16, 2012 4:44:46 PM | 31

Don't worry about bread for Aleppo, the US State Department has it covered with trained people. The first round of training was underway last summer and they're ready to go.

They knew they'd have to do this because a full year ago Frederic Hof, the State Department's pointman on Syria, told Congress: "Our view is that this regime is the equivalent of dead man walking." So it only took them six months to start the traniing; that's good, for the government.

Here's State on the training:

CNN, Aug 29
U.S. training opposition how to administer 'liberated' Syrian towns

As more areas in Syria slip from control of the Syrian military, the United States is training local opposition members how to run a local government free from the grip of the Assad regime.

The State Department says it is running "training programs" for the members of opposition local coordinating councils in "liberated" areas who are beginning to re-establish civilian authority. The programs help them on issues of civil administration, human-rights training and other services.

The council members are learning "the kinds of things that they might need from the international community as they begin to rebuild their towns," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in her Wednesday briefing.

"They're asking for help in how to budget. They're asking for help in how to keep utilities running. How to ensure that the institutions of the state that, you know, provide services to the population, come back up and running. So we are open to supporting all of those kinds of needs," she explained.

Nuland called it a "first round" of training, tailored to help form a nascent democratic society, even before President Bashar al-Assad is gone.


Oooops, I just remembered, the al-Nusrah Front controls parts of Aleppo and the US recently designated them as terrorists. But thankfully the new coalition established by the US has no problems dealing with terrorists. That's a relief.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 6:24:19 PM | 32

#12:You are familiarizing yourself with Turkish history. Good. Needless to say the Sevres settlement and Wilson's arrogant,ham-fisted, ignorant, imperialist attempt was unsuccessful and Turkey is the only instance of Versailles inspired settlements being overturned, by force, by blood. The main protagonist was Mustafa Kemal.

Turkey's borders weren't drawn by imperialists at some table in Europe, and it is much stronger now compared to then. It will survive and prosper regardless of the ineptitude of Erdogan and company. I can point to a dime a dozen predictions of Turkey's demise over the years, including Lloyd George and Lord Curzon after their diplomatic defeat in Lausanne, various think tanks in the 40's, in the 70's, in the 90's. They were all proven wrong.

It managed to stay out of WWII playing the balance of power, its diplomacy is first rate--bumbling Davutoglu is just a passing phase--and the continuity of its state institutions is very firm. Just like Iran, in a manner of speaking. I didn't know Ahmadinejad cancelled his visit to Konya, btw. Yes, it would be very good if Iran had as much democracy as Turkey--not enough, by the way--and the clerical class withdrew from day to day affairs of state, wouldn't you say?

A final note, Turkey has stayed out of the fighting in Afghanistan, even though it has a large contingent there.

It was part of the agreement with NATO that they would not be combat active. Turkish soldiers are liked by the Afghan population, the countries have had diplomatic links since the 20's, and there have been instances of Dutch soldiers, wearing Turkish badges, when out on leave around Kabul, to protect themselves against possible attacks by anti-NATO locals, for which they were reprimanded. I believe this will continue to be the case in the future.

Posted by: kodlu | Dec 16, 2012 6:30:36 PM | 33

alexno @ 22 - Is the US assisting the Iraqi Sunnis, whether Al Q type Sunni or otherwise, to try to take down the current Iraqi government? After all, Malilki did not give the US the SOFA is wanted for Iraq. Perhaps they think a minority Sunni government might welcome the US back to keep the Shia under control?

The US really wanted to surround Iran with states which would not support Shia aims, right? It needs borders which with states which will allow the US to put in place a Syria type "internal dissent" movement, followed by terrorists from other areas.

Posted by: jawbone | Dec 16, 2012 6:33:39 PM | 34

The intent all along has been to attack Syria in order to enable Israel to attack Hizballah in Lebanon by going through Syrian territory to hit Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley.

The goal is to degrade both Syria and Hizballah in terms of their capability to hit Israel in an Iran war in concert with Iranian missiles.

That's it. Period. End of story.

This means it is INEVITABLE that the US and NATO - and probably Turkey AND Israel - will attack Syria within the coming months. It is a strategic necessity in order to start a war with Iran - which has also always been the intention and plan.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Dec 16, 2012 7:12:58 PM | 35

TheAtlantic is helping the propaganda effort.

In this footage from Homs, Syria, a man trains a camera on a government jet flying overhead as it drops a bomb on his town no more than a mile from where he's standing.

This kind of video was not available in previous conflicts in close to real-time. I'm not sure that its availability is changing the nature of warfare, but it sure transforms the empathic experience of thinking about what war is like.

And it's terrifying.


We didn't have "terrifying" video like this on US "shock and awe" air raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, even in not-real time. No-time. Whom should we thank for this one? Oh look --the video is from Ugarit News. who is Ugarit news?

Ugarit News - English ·
For more information or commentary, please contact:
Ausama Monajed, Executive Director of Strategic Research & Communication Centre.
Email: [email protected]

Ausama (or Osama) Monajed is a member of the Syrian National Council and the Executive Director of London-based Strategic Research and Communication Centre.

Monajed is a member of the SNC, adviser to its president, and according to his SNC biography, “the Founder and Director of Barada Television”, a pro-opposition satellite channel based in Vauxhall, south London. In 2008, a few months after attending Syria In-Transition conference, Monajed was back in Washington, invited to lunch with George W Bush, along with a handful of other favoured dissidents.

Barada TV gets a large chunk of its funding from an American non-profit organisation: the Democracy Council which is a US-based grant distributor that lists the US State Department as one of its sources of funding.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 9:44:05 PM | 36

@ neretva'43 #8
Yusef al-Jader aka Abu Furat was "a leader" of Liwa al-Tawhid but not "the leader," correct? That would be Abdel Qader Saleh.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 9:51:11 PM | 37

@ jawbone #34
I believe you're overestimating US capability. I believe that the US infatuation in military adventures is unmatched by any other significant sensibilities, or abilities, and even the military component is self-defeating.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 9:55:22 PM | 38

@ kodlu #33
Excellent -- thank you for that. I do want to like Turkey, and to visit Turkey (my recent attempt got aborted by injury, not mine) but its current policies make that difficult, or impossible. So I won't visit until Turkey gets off its knees, politically, in front of America. TAL will still have that non-stop LAX-IST probably.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 10:02:06 PM | 39

headline: "Obama consoles Connecticut town, vows effort to tame violence"
His own, I hope.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 16, 2012 10:03:25 PM | 40

I jumped on some American Democrats howling for gun control this morning. Asked them if they wouldn't like to stop just one mass murderer, with a record, weapons, and clear intent to do it again right now, today?

You would think these outraged neoliberals would jump at the chance... until you remind them it's their choice of president they just re-approved giving the largest gun permit in the world that needs to be arrested.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Dec 16, 2012 10:16:51 PM | 41

Word in the [Assyrian] street has it that the local 'Federation of Unified Camel Kak' is about to merge with its counterpart 'Yodeling Orphans United.' We're eagerly awaiting the first results...

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 16, 2012 10:47:59 PM | 42

@hans #1

The Alex Thomson link restates info about the difficulty for foreign correspondents being able to get clearance from the Syrian government. Still, I've been very dismayed that NPR not only hasn't been able to get at least one correspondent reporting from Damascus, but has had extremely biased reporting about Syria from its reporters in Beirut and Turkey. The few exceptions I have heard on NPR was occasional Damascus reports from BBC reporters, like the one I heard from Jeremy Bowen last week. It wasn't as slanted as most of NPR's coverage of the region, but apparently Bowen got too close to the insurgents.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 16, 2012 10:48:14 PM | 43

US, allies in no hurry to end Syria violence: Nasrallah

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/16/278396/certain-states-gaining-from-syria-crisis/

"Addressing a university graduation ceremony in Beirut, Nasrallah said on Sunday that the US and its allies are in no hurry to end violence in Syria and instead they are fueling the unrest because they want the country to be destroyed over its anti-Israeli stance.

Hezbollah secretary-general also warned al-Qaeda that the US has laid a trap for the group in Syria and by allowing al-Qaeda militants to easily enter the country, it is planning for them to kill each other in clashes there.


He further called national dialogue as the only way to end the Syrian crisis, stressing that those who oppose a political settlement to the country’s unrest are criminals.

Hezbollah chief said those who are fighting against the Syrian government are foreign militants and not Syrians because they are killing innocent civilians in car bombings and other acts of violence.

"They are not Syrians, they are killing Syrians," Nasrallah said, adding that those who think foreign-backed militants will win are mistaken.

He also accused Western and Arab media outlets of launching a psychological war against the Syrian government by spreading false news about militants' achievements.

"However, anyone who looks at Syria’s map and the regions controlled by the Syrian government can know that the regime is more powerful," Nasrallah stated."

Posted by: вот так | Dec 16, 2012 11:11:53 PM | 44

Q: ... a local government free from the grip of the Assad regime.

R: ... and guided by the greedy fingers of Corporate USA. Gotta luv it.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 17, 2012 12:16:12 AM | 45

FYI: Patric Cockburn - The Independent: Syria: The descent into Holy War - The world decided to back the rebels last week, but this is no fight between goodies and baddies

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 17, 2012 5:07:24 AM | 46

Syria Vice President Al-Sharaa is the person who would replace Bashar Assad if Bashar died suddenly. Al-Sharaa did an interview in Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper published 17 Dec 2012. Reportedly it is the first interview he has done since the National Dialog Conference in July 2011, 17 months ago. He does not say anything interesting, but it's worth hearing on the grounds that it is he that is saying it.

Al-Sharaa says today: "We understand, without any illusions, the threat of the current campaign to destroy Syria, its history, civilization, and people.... With every passing day, the solution gets further away, militarily and politically. We must be in the position of defending Syria’s existence. We are not in a battle for the survival of an individual or a regime.... I cannot deny that things have been going from bad to worse.... I do not have a clear answer to what the solution may be.... The preeminence and unity of the Syrian army are indispensable in any of the proposed political solutions and discussions.... The solution will not be realistic unless it be initiated at the highest levels. The president of the republic is also the general commander of the armed forces.... The current regime cannot achieve change and progress alone without new partners who can contribute to maintaining the fabric of the homeland.... If each side involved in the fight thinks that they can get all they expect and aspire to, then the legitimate national outlook of the Syrian people will be lost.... We also cannot ignore the actual need for a meaningful change in all of the state apparatus and its institutions." http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/exclusive-interview-syrian-vp-farouk-al-sharaa-proposes-alternative-war

By the way, 17 months ago, on 10 July 2011, Al-Sharaa said: "Our society will not be able to achieve freedom and civil peace without a democratic, pluralistic political system." http://sana-syria.com/eng/21/2011/07/10/357535.htm

Posted by: Parviziyi | Dec 17, 2012 7:55:09 AM | 47

thanks Parviziyi,

this here is the pessimistic outlook of Hezbollah

Global powers will keep pouring oil on the fire in Syria

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2012 8:50:45 AM | 48

In Aleppo, the NYTimes implies that Aleppo is in terrorist hands.

NYTimes, Dec 16

The transitional council is in the process of establishing a 500-member police force and runs a few courts, but members view the bread crisis as their first big test. “We represent a civil government to some extent, so if we cannot solve this problem there will be a lack of trust in such rule in the future,” said the businessman.

But this news just in:

Fars, Dec 17
Syrian PM Arrives in Aleppo

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, accompanied by several other ministers and cabinet officials, arrived in the country's second largest city Aleppo on Monday to closely see and investigate people's problems.

Al-Halqi and his cabinet ministers of municipalities affairs, industry, oil, and education as well as head of Syria's Red Crescent Society in Aleppo discussed the city's problems in a meeting on Monday. The two sides discussed such issues as supply goods and meeting the needs of the Aleppo people.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 17, 2012 11:07:52 AM | 49

More on Aleppo--
Champress, Dec 17
Presidential decision on forming committee to rehabilitate great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo

DAMASCUS– President Bashar al-Assad on Monday issued Presidential Decision No. 18 for 2012 on forming a committee to carry out maintenance and rehabilitation works of the Great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo. The committee is headed by Governor of Aleppo , Mohammad Wahid Aqqad, and it consists of seven members. The decision set December 31st, 2013 as the deadline for completing the maintenance and rehabilitation works on.

The Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) on Monday said that the attack on the Great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo constitutes an attack on the sanctity of religion and a dangerous indicator in the life of the nation. In a statement, the Ministry said that this attack is part of the continuing attacks on Islamic sanctities according to a methodical plan devised by Israel and the US.

Similarly, the Levant Scholars Union denounced on behalf of Arab and Islamic world the attack perpetrated by Al Qaeda on Great Umayyad Mosque. The Union also lauded the decision by President al-Assad to form a committee to rehabilitate and restore the mosque.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 17, 2012 11:16:29 AM | 50

"@ neretva'43 #8
Yusef al-Jader aka Abu Furat was "a leader" of Liwa al-Tawhid but not "the leader," correct? That would be Abdel Qader Saleh."

Correct. He was "chief of staff, major-general".

Abdel Qader Saleh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf2ZfH0yDfM

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 17, 2012 11:26:58 AM | 51

"chief of staff, major-general".

Bit confused, I guess Abdel Qader Saleh is #1 - political leader etc., and Yusef al-Jader was #2 militay commander.

http://www.understandingwar.org is mentioning Abdel Qader Saleh as the leader of Liwa al-Tawhid.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 17, 2012 11:41:33 AM | 52

Robert Ford is well known ex-ambassador to Syria, with mysterious Frederic C. Hof, both are key Syria policy-makers. Officially he is administration's "special coordinator for Syria". He was in Moscow couple times in attempt to persuade Russian's to change its Syrian policy, apparently without succes. One can hardly find anything about Frederic C. Hof except that he is former business partner of Richard Armitage, another hoodlum in US's foreign policy. Jeffrey Feltman, another (was) key player in charge for MENA countries, now he is working for UN, I assume working "behind the scene" in toppling Syrian Gov..

In an article penned by Frederic C. Hof for this site: http://www.acus.org/viewpoint/syria-seven-key-points

While the whole article is significant and is reflection of the Western's policy/intention toward Syria, I'll post the paragraph five wherein he says:

Who gets arms and from whom is important. This conflict is now militarized to the maximum. Trying to avoid further militarization is no longer a relevant policy goal. The United States, its key allies (UK, France, Turkey), and others (Qatar, Saudi Arabia) must try to insure that weaponry going into Syria reaches armed groups committed politically to a Syria in which citizenship reigns supreme over ethnicity, sect, gender, and all other ways in which people can be divided politically. The United States, in particular, should not be shy about working closely with Turkey to master weapons logistics and end-use. To be credible with Syrians in this role the United States will have to become directly involved in arming units now affiliated with the new opposition Supreme Military Council. That Council, in turn, should be hard-wired into the emerging provisional government and fully responsive to that government's defense minister. Hoping that the Syrian state will not fail, praying that al-Qaeda will not establish itself firmly, and wishing for a country united by citizenship will not be enough in a conflict where guns will likely decide the outcome. Those who wish to influence and shape must get into the arena. This is not about messaging. It is about doing.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 17, 2012 11:55:32 AM | 53

nbc lost contact with two journalists in Syria

53) I read Hof was arguing for intervention, I am not sure he is in any way speaking for the present US administration though

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2012 12:06:04 PM | 54

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120608/173918456.html

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 17, 2012 12:12:09 PM | 55

On Scuds, use of which has been confirmed by the US, Brown Moses could be expected to find photographic evidence if anybody could. But he can't.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 17, 2012 12:18:54 PM | 56

regarding Frederick Hof

" This conflict is now militarized to the maximum. Trying to avoid further militarization is no longer a relevant policy goal."

A completely circular argument (and therefore completely invalid).

The conflict is "militarized to the maximum" because the US & it's proxies/puppets have been actively engaged in militarising it from the very start.

Therefore to use the current level of militarisation as an argument that the US and it's proxies/puppets should not attempt to "avoid further militarization" is deliberately dishonest.

Posted by: ONS | Dec 17, 2012 12:43:48 PM | 57

edit:
should not attempt to "avoid further militarization"

Posted by: ONS | Dec 17, 2012 12:47:19 PM | 58

aaach

forget the edit - it was fine the first time :)

Posted by: ONS | Dec 17, 2012 12:48:45 PM | 59

NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel Is Missing In Syria

http://www.businessinsider.com/nbc-chief-foreign-correspondent-richard-engel-is-missing-in-syria-2012-12?pundits_only=0&comments_page=0#comment-50cf646cecad044b0900000f

mabey FSA took him on a trip

Posted by: nikon | Dec 17, 2012 1:31:52 PM | 60

Harry I feel Syria and Assad can weather the storm and might even beat a direct NATO attack back.

Iran has a mutual defense pact with Syria and has issues statement after statement of full support - as short as two days ago by the Foreign Minister who said Iran would never allow the West to topple Assad. Russian military advisers are in Syria, as are the Russian intelligence services. They are helping Syria by training them on weapons systems and with intelligence (there is a nice story about the recent Damascus battle and Russian support of Assad out on the web - read it if you have not). Maybe the fact Russia, China and Iran back Syria has stopped the West from attacking so far - I have no idea. I believe Obama is totally nuts and would risk World War III to get Assad out. Will saner heads in the military prevail?

Posted by: revenire | Dec 17, 2012 1:37:15 PM | 61

The US involvement in militarizing Syria, oddly enough, has largely (not entirely) been done by the State Department. The Pentagon has contributed, but without any public enthusiasm as from State.

One of Clinton's principal efforts have been to "man up" State and make it more like Defense. They are not very good at it, and they still can't do post-conflict stabilization. The locals always get in the way.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 17, 2012 1:50:12 PM | 62

There are unverified rumors of Russia sending Iskanders to Syria. The Iskander can travel at hypersonic speed of over 1.3 miles per second (Mach 6-7) and has a range of over 280 miles with pinpoint accuracy of destroying targets with its 1,500-pound warhead, a nightmare for any missile defense system.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 17, 2012 1:51:55 PM | 63

@62

Interesting claim.

Do you want me to believe the State Department have an independent policy from the National Security Council, or the Congress, i.e. or what is euphemistically known as the Security State?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 17, 2012 3:06:49 PM | 65

'By the way, 17 months ago, on 10 July 2011, Al-Sharaa said: "Our society will not be able to achieve freedom and civil peace without a democratic, pluralistic political system." '

thats an absurd idea...how free and at peace are nations like the US an EU, europe has warred in the 20th century regardless of pluralistic systems? both have waged war abroad and crushed locals in asia anf afriac and latin america, while being multi party back home. All pluralistic means is a better chance at gaining puppets

Posted by: brian | Dec 17, 2012 3:39:39 PM | 66

re 34

Is the US assisting the Iraqi Sunnis, whether Al Q type Sunni or otherwise, to try to take down the current Iraqi government? After all, Malilki did not give the US the SOFA is wanted for Iraq. Perhaps they think a minority Sunni government might welcome the US back to keep the Shia under control?

No, not at all, as far as I know. After all, these were Sunnis who fought against the US, and caused them a lot of trouble. It would be a bit too blatant if it came out to Iraq veterans that the US now supported those who'd given them disabling injuries. There is also the Kurds, who are the main objective of US support, and who are currently fighting the Sunni Arabs.

However the situation is quite different for the Qataris and the Saudis, who are certainly supporting attacks by AQ intended to destabilise Maliki's government.

It is important to note that Iraqi Sunnis are not taking part in attacks on Maliki's government, as far as I know. They are worn out by the war against the States. The difference from Syria is that not only are the Sunni Arabs far fewer in Iraq, but the local Sunnis are not taking part. In the case of Iraq, it is only the foreign al-Qa'ida, paid from the Gulf, who are setting bombs, and the effort is going nowhere. All the best jihadis are also, no doubt, in Syria.

I would have thought it is also a bit soon for the US to invest deeply in overthrowing the government they themselves set up, and for which many Americans died.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 17, 2012 3:52:56 PM | 67

Dominic who posts on Information Clearing House says, (quote follows):

3 days ago -

I just returned from Syria. It is over. The pro-government forces are on the verge of giving up. Weapons are being pumped into the country by the Turks and the Israelis. All that counts now is a honourable ending. Bashar is a great man.

(end of quote)

Source: http://intensedebate.com/people/DominicVII/2

Strange,... No one else [who is sane] reports such a situation. Dominic (I've been following him in recent months) is fine otherwise.

Posted by: Levantine | Dec 17, 2012 4:12:09 PM | 68

@Don Bacon #62

Apparently, the encroachment of neocons at State has been a long time in the making, preceding Clinton by a few decades. There has been a concerted effort there to purge Arabists directly and replace them with neocons. Even the dubious Elliot Abrams has said as much:

I have to say, I think that view has permeated the State Department; I agree with Dennis [Ross]. I do not believe, unfortunately, that it has permeated the CIA and FBI. I still find young people who I think are at a disadvantage in getting into those services or in getting promoted or in getting assignments because of their religion and because of, really, quite limited connections with Israel. So, I think, thanks to George Shultz and some others, we’ve done it at State; we have not done it throughout the U.S. government entirely.

Even so, each SOS has considerable influence in the direction that the Department takes -- and Clinton clearly has taken the department further in a belligerent direction.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 17, 2012 4:42:35 PM | 69

@Rusty Pipes 69
I'm talking operations and you're talking orientations.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 17, 2012 4:59:36 PM | 70

Levantine @ 68

Another wishful thinking from one man that is considered "truth". One man's opinion becomes gospel truth and we all must agree. I can also say I've been to US and with all the gun culture, I can say Americans are about massacre themselves. You can believe it if you want but it doesn't necessarily make it true.

According to "experts" and those that have "been there", Syria's always about to fall in "two weeks" for the past two years. Consider that guy's comment as one meant for the dustbins for the long list of wishful thinkers.

History will judge the Syrian conflict as the one that destroyed any shred of credibility in West. Especially in their media and academia.

In other news, Russia says she'll veto any UN resolution calling for peacekeeping troops in Syria. Game on!!!

Posted by: Zico | Dec 17, 2012 5:17:24 PM | 71

very weird language in this comment @69:

"Apparently, the encroachment of neocons at State has been a long time in the making, preceding Clinton by a few decades. There has been a concerted effort there to purge Arabists directly and replace them with neocons. Even the dubious Elliot Abrams has said as much:

Abrams was definitely not referring to "Arabists" in his bullshit "Anti-Semites-under-the-bed" comment.

He was clearly referring to Jewish people when he stated:

" I still find young people who I think are at a disadvantage in getting into those services"

and he was clearly bullshitting to the max, which is only to be expected from a lying scumbag Zionist like Abrams. Abrams was, as usual for a US-Zionist, trying to con people into believing that he and his fellow Zionists are somehow discriminated against in the US, which is clearly a lie.

Your curiously inaccurate reference to "purging Arabists" is pure PR-spin. An accurate version would be something like: "purge anyone who is not a foaming-at-the-mouth rabid Zionist". To a Zionist racist like Abrams, anyone not a foaming-at-the-mouth rabid Zionist is by default an "Arabist".

It would be nice if you could cease with the inaccurate use of language.

We're, for the most part, grown-ups here at the MoonOfA.

This ain't MondoW. Most of the people here are as far as I can see not terrified of accurate descriptions.

(Not related to Daniel by any chance, are you ? ;-)

Posted by: ONS | Dec 17, 2012 5:41:26 PM | 72

This here is the last report by NBC Richard Engel from Aleppo before he went missing last Thursday.
It shows what rebel "victory" looks like. Western "support strategy" is an absolute crime. After the US has designated Al Nusra as terrorist, Cameron now wants to lift the EU arms embargo on the "rebels" claiming this will be necessary to deny Al Nusra influence - whilst fighters on the ground clearly state "we are all Al Nusra".
It is clear the "rebels" get trained and equipped by the usual Western/Gulf suspects, plus their strategy is cut out for them which clearly is to destroy economic lifelines and displace people.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2012 5:45:53 PM | 73


@hans #1

Do you have any evidence that Bowen was about to get arrested by the Syrian government for his reporting?

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 17, 2012 5:46:23 PM | 74

@Rusty Pipes #69

Unofficially, an enthronement of neocons, or policy under them, is connected to Halloween Massacre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_Massacre).

However, I would say that is nature of U.S. state throughout its history, it is off and on depending of various circumstances. When Roosevelt is gone, and with Truman inauguration in my opinion that is official date of when neoconservatives have started to marching.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 17, 2012 5:55:52 PM | 75

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_Massacre

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 17, 2012 5:56:58 PM | 76

@ONS #72

Well, I'm a little weird and I phrased that awkwardly. "Arabists" could have been in quotes but I thought it was clear from the context that I was talking about neocons at State (a subject that has been touched on in several books and articles, but that was the latest piece I had read where the connection had come up). Of course, "dubious" is an understatement when talking about a war criminal and convicted felon like Elliot Abrams.

I make no apologies for liking and participating at Mondoweiss -- I have said as much at Daily Kos, where hasbarist trolls try to get anyone banned who links to the site. In fact, as I was trying to find sites with more accurate information about Syria, it was Annie at Mondoweiss who recommended MoA to me. Even though I have encountered diverse personalities and strong opinions here, I have felt quite welcomed in the few months that I have been commenting here. But perhaps I have yet to achieve that level of maturity that involves ending my sentences with emoticons.

To my knowledge, I am not remotely related to Daniel.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 17, 2012 6:45:26 PM | 77

@ ONS [#72]

Q: (Not related to Daniel by any chance, are you ? ;-)

R: If that 'Daniel' is me, the answer is 'No!' If that ain't about me, I'll have to hand you over to my imaginary friend [who so desperately wants to be an astronaut], Herr Fritzl.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 17, 2012 6:56:00 PM | 78

@78
http://www.danielpipes.org/

@ 77

Well do let us know when you mature enough to a) recognise a joke & B) start referring to scum like Abrams as what they actually are - Jewish Zionists first and foremost.

Referring to Abrams as anything other than a Zionist, or at the very least a Zio-con, is ridiculous.

Abrams is Militantly-Jewish/Zionist first and everything-else second.

The bit you quoted came from a conversation with Dennis Ross - calling either of those 2 "neo-con" as opposed to Zionist is simply an abuse of language

And Abrams was clearly trying to claim widespread Anti-semitism which is moronic nonsense, not only did you gloss over that dishonesty on Abrams part, but you then compounded it by obscuring the depth of Zionist infiltration of the US power-structure by refering to Non-zionists as "arabists"

Posted by: ONS | Dec 17, 2012 8:03:00 PM | 79

Russia: No blue helmets should enter Syria

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/18/278685/no-blue-helmets-should-enter-syria/

"Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has been cited as saying, “There is neither peace [in Syria] for peacekeepers to keep, nor truce for them to monitor.”

The UN has been reportedly planning to deploy 10,000 peacekeepers inside Syria.

The Russian official has stated that “there is no clear separation line between the conflicting sides” in Syria.

Gatilov has also said Moscow would veto any UN Security Council resolution aimed at military intervention in Syria and criticized previous Security Council resolutions passed on the situations in Iraq and Libya, saying that those resolutions were misused to allow unilateral military interventions."

.........................

Sounds like Syria made some gains against the terrorists in Aleppo:

Syria prime minister pays first visit to Aleppo since start of unrest

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/17/278633/syria-pm-arrives-in-aleppo/

From the way the western occupied media describes things in Syria, they have the Syrians and the terrorists each holding specific territory, like the Allies vs the Central powers in WW1. The situation is probably like that of Nicaragua in the 80's with contra terrorists infiltrating areas and making terror attacks, then slipping off to hide. The only "territory" these terrorists hold is their hideouts and villages where they take hostages to ensure the villagers keep quiet about their presence.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 3:34:19 AM | 80

My previous post has gone missing. That happened once before on another comment thread, but that post later showed up. Hopefully this time it will also. And hopefully this one will also be posted.

Syrian Girl has new video out, and it's one of her better ones.

Why The NWO Hates Syria

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP3mXVRd89Y

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 3:43:03 AM | 81

Syria kidnappers demand ransom for hostages

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_18/Syria-kidnappers-demand-ransom-for-hostages/

"Kidnappers have demanded a ransom for the release of two Russians and one Italian national they abducted earlier this month, Russia’s foreign office has confirmed."

Terrorists and criminals is what the west runs against Syria. More info and earlier articles at the link.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 3:51:15 AM | 82

Damascus concerned about chemical weapons being supplied to rebels

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_18/Damascus-concerned-about-rebels-likely-war-chemicals/

"Damascus is concerned that some countries may have supplied chemical weapons to the rebels, so as to later accuse government troops of using such weapons.

This comes in a letter by the Syrian Ambassador at the UN, Bashar Jaafari, to the UN Secretary Genral, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN Security Council.

The US and Europe’s concern about a likely use of war chemicals in Syria could serve as a pretext for military interference in the Arab republic, the letter points out.

Jaafari emphasized that the Syrian authorities would under no circumstances use this kind of weapon."

I guess living next to Israel, they fully understand what they are up against.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 3:53:53 AM | 83

One for Don Bacon:

US Navy pulls two aircraft carriers from Syria shores

http://rt.com/usa/news/us-aircraft-stationed-turkey-236/

"Two aircraft carriers stationed off the Syrian coast were sent back to the US this week in a move that the Obama administration thought would ease tensions, but angered Turkish officials who hoped for significant US military presence in the region.

The USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and its 2,500 marines were recalled after being stationed on the Syrian coast, allegedly in preparation of potential military invasion.

The USS Eisenhower, which has the capacity to hold thousands of men, joined the other warship during the first week of December, ready to launch an American-led military intervention “within days” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were to use chemical weapons against the opposition, Time reported. But as the violence escalated in the past few days, the warships took off and headed back to the US."

Confirms my speculations that the Eisenhower had spent a week off Syria, before heading towards home.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 4:16:28 AM | 84

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 3:51:15 AM | 81

fundamentalism says it goes back to the beginning...so fundamentalist islamists are telling us islam began with kidnapping murder extortion terrorism sodomy rape...

Posted by: brian | Dec 18, 2012 7:56:44 AM | 85

Posted by: Levantine | Dec 17, 2012 4:12:09 PM | 68

why follow rubbish?

Posted by: brian | Dec 18, 2012 7:58:14 AM | 86

@ ONS [#79]

Dual MoFus should be sent to the promised land and defend the ff-ing motherland[sic].

The fact that many things can't be mentioned/said/talked about over @ Mondo freaked me out enough to pack up my bags and settle here [thank you, b. Maybe you and I don't agree on things, but I'm thankful for your hospitality and will always respect that fact].

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 18, 2012 9:28:47 AM | 87

Hmmmm....I don't see the post. The following is one of the articles:

Russia: No blue helmets should enter Syria

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/18/278685/no-blue-helmets-should-enter-syria/

"Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has been cited as saying, “There is neither peace [in Syria] for peacekeepers to keep, nor truce for them to monitor.”

The UN has been reportedly planning to deploy 10,000 peacekeepers inside Syria.

The Russian official has stated that “there is no clear separation line between the conflicting sides” in Syria.

Gatilov has also said Moscow would veto any UN Security Council resolution aimed at military intervention in Syria and criticized previous Security Council resolutions passed on the situations in Iraq and Libya, saying that those resolutions were misused to allow unilateral military interventions."

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 12:54:01 PM | 88

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