February 08, 2013
Syria: The Druze Are Not Joining The Opposition
A just published Washington Post piece claims: Syria’s Druze minority is shifting its support to the opposition
Its evidence for the alleged shift is ... solely from the insurgency side:
Members of Syria’s Druze community, a small but significant religious minority, are joining the opposition in bigger numbers, ramping up pressure on the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to opposition activists and rebel military commanders.
There is no evidence in the whole piece of a shift in the Druze community but those not-verifiable self-serving insurgency claims. A real highlight is this paragraph:
Yet there is now even a Druze-dominated unit of rebel fighters, the Bani Maarouf battalion, operating in the Damascus suburbs, including Jaramana, which was formed in late December.
That link goes to video that shows a group of 30 men proclaiming to be some new unit. Why is the reporter calling this a "battalion". Thirty men are a small platoon. There are three or four platoons to a company and four or five companies make up a battalion. That is the about the same in every army of this world. Why is a Washington Post reporter writing about a "battalion" when that "battalion" doesn't even have 5% of the nominal size of a real on? And how does he know that these are indeed Druze?
There are thousands of such videos of such groups, often multiple ones of the ever same folks and their sole purpose is exaggerate the size of the insurgency. They are sheer propaganda. The one the WaPo reporter chose is especially ridiculous. Take a look at this gun that one of the guys holds.
Those "Druze" must have v_e_r_y long arms if they can fire weapons with such shoulder stocks.
Thet WaPo piece's claim of Druze joining those insurgents is just as much propaganda as the one that claimed the Druze are joining the opposition in March 2012 and the one that claimed so in July 2012 and the one that claimed so a month ago.
All of these piece are based on insurgency sources and all of them are false. The Druze know very well that they, as a religious minority, would be in much more trouble should the insurgency win then they have ever been and ever will be under Bashar al-Assad.
Indeed instead of more people joining the opposition we see the opposition falling apart. Not only the exile opposition which never manages to unite, but also on the ground. This video shows a brawl between Free Syrian Army and Jabhat al-Nusra protesters in Idleb with the Nusra supporters tearing up FSA flags.
As their situation on the ground worsens we are likely to see more such fights, even deadly ones, between those various opposition groups.
Posted by b on February 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Permalink
"A government soldier with an accent that is distinctly Alawite.."
Distinctly Alawite? I presume much in the same way that Mexican Catholics and Italian Catholics share distinct accents..
Anyway, back on point:
"In the past couple of months, according to opposition activists, there have been more than half a dozen anti-government protests in Sweida province, the ancestral homeland of the Druze"
More than 6 protests over a couple of months in an entire province..? So that's at least one person demonstrating on 6 separate occasions then. A turning of the tide indeed..
And presumably a druze 'dominated' unit of 30 rebels suggests that they couldn't even muster up a unit comprised entirely of the Druze minority to showcase.
However, let's see what the EU decides vis-à-vis its arms embargo at the beginning of March before guessing how this will end.
Posted by: Pat Bateman | Feb 8, 2013 12:51:00 PM | 1
Quoting Syrian perspective, with actual Syrian sources:
"Druze are, for the most part, supportive of the Assad government because they view it as secular and tolerant. Druze had a history of persecution and nothing would rattle them more than the likelihood of a Sunni Jihadist coming to power in Syria. The "FSA" and even the Jihadists have tried to avoid dragging the Druze into this battle because they are renowned as ferocious fighters with a deep belief in reincarnation. Druze return to life as Druze, a conviction which makes them less likely to fear death - assuming of course they believe the words of their clergymen.
As the battle in Damascus shifts from the capital itself to the outlying suburbs, the terrorist mercenaries are finding it increasingly difficult to maneuver and have actually strayed into Suweida with devastating consequences. Not only do the Druze support the government, they have a deeply-rooted hostility to Islamist extremists. Last week, Druze fighters eradicated an entire unit of Jabhat Al-Nusra rodents after the latter took some villages hostage. The details are not available to Monzer or Wael, but the bodies of the rats were seen by soldiers who did not interfere. The bodies may be buried somewhere in the governorate."
"This time, having no success any longer in the Der'ah area and with Damascus becoming terrorist-rein, the rodents tried their luck in the largely Druze/Muwahhid area. We are pleased to tell you that our soldiers and militia were ready for them and had the complete support of our Druze brothers in the area of Dahr Al-Jabal. We have a partial list of identified rodents. Many of the carcasses did not have documents which makes Monzer believe that they were foreigners coming in from the Iraqi side. Over 100 were killed."
Posted by: Harry | Feb 8, 2013 1:58:19 PM | 2
That brawl shown on that video, if I was a syrian. If I was a syrian it would send a chill up my spine. That's now that they are weak imagine them in actual control of the country? It would be a disaster, the place is already a zoo. If the Israelis try to lend a hand to the rebels they will become totally discredited and the syrian government will reap all the rewards.
Posted by: Fernando | Feb 8, 2013 2:28:35 PM | 3
Well I think brawls like the one in the video are probably not _that_ unususal at political "marches". It's not like different fractions are actually ripping their flags apart there... might also be a more common disagreement with the flag just happening to be there. Not that I'm saying that there's no fighting among the various "activists", just don't think the video capture is vey represantative. Can anyone read/translate what the banners are saying?
Posted by: peter radiator | Feb 8, 2013 3:24:36 PM | 4
BTW: That oversize gun looks to me like a LMG (light machine gun) with a makeshift stock. Looking closely I seemed to see its legs.
Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 8, 2013 3:28:13 PM | 5
@#4 - It is, looks like M1919A4 Browning a .30 caliber medium machine gun or mount LMG, coaxial, mounted, aircraft, and anti-aircraft machine gun and ancient, could even be WW1, the stock is DIY and bonkers, just impossible to shoulder or fire for that matter, and if the idiot holding it did, I am sure he would be knocked over and spray in a huge arch, need medic attention and a few stretchers for the buddies he terminated.
It was/is a company or battalion support weapon, requires at least a two-man machine gun team, a bitch to lug around, or in this case a giant with 6 foot arms would be ideal. They did make a lighter version with stock, the M1919A6, but the stock was apt and far shorter, but this looks like a WW1 M1919A4.
End of the day, if that is the caliber (Little pun) of the opposition, I would sleep well; love they way the geezer holding the LMG has a puzzled look on his face.
Posted by: Kev | Feb 8, 2013 6:52:04 PM | 6
Q: Why is a Washington Post reporter writing about a "battalion" when that "battalion" doesn't even have 5% of the nominal size of a real on?
R: Perhaps because they like to refer to themselves as 'The Battalion of Mohammed's Broken Camel Back?' I've seen various 'battalion' names over the years. However, given the WaPo's biased news reporting, a more sinister angle and a willingness to be less truthful, have an own agenda or no reporting because 'a senior US official asked us to...' have by now created an atmosphere in which WaPo/NYT/LAT/CNN/ABC/DEF/ETC. and other rags' media BS are of no value whatsoever. It's all white noise.
Interestingly, M K Bhadrakumar published this piece over on ATol's web site Khamenei plays hardball with Obama, but then again he proclaimed that the Assad regime was imploding months ago, so his 'insight/s' are as flawed as mine.
As an outsider it looks to me that the west waterproof adagio of 'divide and conquer' is in dire need of a reverberating overhaul or otherwise [and in my mind inevitable] the BRIC block [4 countries, 25% of the world land area and roughly 40% of the world's population] will take over the show, but I'll be very dead by the time that happens :o)
Oh, and how 'bout Mali? Still on everyone's radar?
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 8, 2013 8:00:16 PM | 7
Question: does anyone recognize the MG in that picture? I've seen quite a lot of weapons [although I'm no expert], but I don't recognize it. With a weapon that size one would expect a bipod to rest on and/or a grip/handle or a belt to carry it. Even the feeding belt looks like it's filled with pencils. Anyone?
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 8, 2013 8:07:50 PM | 8
It looks like somebody shipped the wrong box of war film props to the set in Turkey.
Posted by: вот так | Feb 8, 2013 10:16:29 PM | 9
It's remarkable just how hard the US MSM is trying to transform its reputation from reliable reporters to manufacturers of pulp fiction with Penny Dreadful plots and story lines.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 8, 2013 11:40:19 PM | 10
Britamgate: Staging False Flag Attacks in Syria
On January 22 a telling leak cropped up in the Internet. British defense contractor’s BRITAM server was hacked and megabytes of classified internal files of the firm were released to the public. Now the case is acquiring a Britamgate scale due to the publication on Prison Planet. What is the story behind the leakage? Why this scandal is likely to turn around the situation in Syria?
By Voltaire Network
February 07, 2013 "Information Clearing House" - Let’s brief the files. The key finding is a mail dated December 24, 2012 sent by Britam Defence’s Business Development Director David Goulding to Dynamic Director of the firm Phillip Doughty, who is a former SAS officer:
We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.
We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have.
They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.
Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?
Kind regards David
To clarify the things, CW is a standard abbreviation for Chemical Weapons; ‘g-shell’ is a bomb consisting of an explosive projectile filled with toxic gas.
Taking into account the memorable Barack Obama’s warning that the ‘use or even transportation of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would represent a “red line” that would precipitate military intervention’, a message he reiterated last month after the election to the second term, the plotted operation, if carried out, would provide an ideal pretext for the foreign intervention into Syria. Israel has voiced the same warnings last week.
Who would perpetrate the video-recorded delivery of CWs to Homs? The text of mail clearly indicates that they would use Britam’s Ukrainian personnel for forging videos. Scrolling down one of the hacked files, we found out the private data of 58 Ukrainian citizens working for Britam Defence Ltd in Iraq. Several employees might not be enlisted as the folder /Iraq/People/ contained the photocopies of passports of several other Ukrainians. There are also some Serbs/Croatians and Georgians in the list who also might be filmed as ‘Russians’.
Since the end of December 2012 Western, Israeli and Gulf sources have been playing up ‘rumors’ about ‘Russian troops fighting for Assad’ and ‘Russian forces taking Syrian C&B weapons under control’. The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah has recently published a couple of ‘Western intelligence reports’ stating that ‘Assad had already transferred chemical weapons to the terrorists’. On January 15 the US Foreign Policy journal made public a ‘secret State Department cable’ concluding that ‘the Syrian military likely used chemical weapons against its own people in a deadly attack last month’.
Most likely the public opinion is being prepared for the ‘breathtaking videos’ depicting Russian-uniformed or Russian-speaking ‘soldiers’ allegedly committing atrocities against civilians in the Syrian cities or applying toxic gases there.
In this context we should not forget the reports circulating since last year that the rebel fighters in Syria had been given gas masks and were willing to stage a chemical weapons attack which would then be blamed on the Assad regime to grease the skids for NATO military intervention.
The information about Western and Middle East special services recruiting militants with Slavic features to play a role of Russian ‘mercenaries’ allegedly captured by Syrian opposition fighters was released by the Russian media in the middle of January. They quoted a well-informed source as saying that ‘actors’ are being selected in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. They all must handle guns and able to operate anti-aircraft systems. According to the script, they should recognize in front of the cameras that they were recruited by the Russian special services with the aim of supporting the army of Bashar Assad. Also, they ought to say that they have allegedly been delivered to Syria by Russian warships.
According to the source, all this will be filmed in Turkey or Jordan, where fake demolished Syrian towns have already been built in the form of large-scale theatrical scenery. The same-type sceneries in Qatar were reportedly used during the information warfare against Libya in 2011.
Summing up these facts we can conclude that a provocation in Syria is the only option left for the war-mongers. Having exhaustive information on the real situation in Syria and being aware of inability of the corrupted rebel group to make any significant change in Damascus, they have nothing to do but hire a second-rate British PSC for another round of dirty job. We have no doubt that numerous tragic ‘revelations’ of atrocities committed by ‘pro-Assad army’ that were repeatedly hitting YouTube for the last two years, were also ‘ordered’ for enormous fee to the former British ‘berets’. The latest leakage deserves thorough investigation and consideration on the top international political level. It is high time for a BRITAMGATE to be boxed.
Posted by: brian | Feb 8, 2013 11:45:51 PM | 11
That's a wooden mock-up, where's the trigger mechanism...? Even the cartridges in those belts are fakes...!
Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 9, 2013 12:43:01 AM | 12
1) you are right of course, however, Angry Arab tried to settle the question asking experts and there seems to be a regional Syrian accent associated with Alawites, same I suppose, as in the German context Saxon dialect would be associated with the GDR SED regime. Of course everybody in that area spoke that dialect, opposition and regime alike.
The whole point of talking of "the Druze" as a political entity is transparently sectarian. They very obviously are not, neither are "Sunnis" or any other group. How anybody normal could be on the side of "Al Nusra Front" that is doing the fighting now is beyond my imagination. That does not necessarily mean the Syrian regime is popular.
There is - again - a media effort to manufacture facts on the ground.
By the way talking of German context - interested parties (Qatar, war mongers, Petraeus, Clinton) in the US seem to construct a Dolchstoss legend with Petraeus and Clinton being the good guys planning to arm the Syrian opposition and Obama being the bad guy losing Syria. If the Democrats/US citizens don't manage to insist on a peace dividend the road US politics will take has been tried in history before.
The real issue that will determine the future of US politics is not what Obama is going to do now - it is who will be positioned to be his successor.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 9, 2013 2:47:41 AM | 13
That does not necessarily mean the Syrian regime is popular.
In Syria they have a government not a regime, besides Chavez in Venezuela show me any government in the "democracy countries" which has popular support.
Posted by: hans | Feb 9, 2013 4:17:46 AM | 15
Hans, I do agree that they have a government in Syria, they have a regime, too, in all political science definitions.
And regime is a nice word, as in all political science definitions it is a dictatorship. And do not tell me they have elections or I will give you a summary of all the dictatorship elections in history.
Posted by: somebody | Feb 9, 2013 6:29:45 AM | 16
@3: Right before the brawl breaks out, there are competing chants. The FSA people (holding the 3 star Syrian mandate flag) are chanting 'One, one, the Syrian people are one' and then the Islamic group starts up a competing chant taking that chant and making it into one where the Syrian people/home belongs to God. It's difficult for me to hear the whole thing because of the overlapping chants. The FSA group responds with 'al-watan madaniyya' which means 'civil nation', which basically means a secular state (or at least the Muslim Brotherhood version of that). The FSA then continues with 'God, Syria, civil nation' (a variation on the chant they started with which was God, Syria, Freedom and that's it, which is also a variation of the pro-government chant of God, Syria, Bashar and that's it) and that's when the brawl breaks out. Someone says 'Khalas' which means 'Finish it' or 'stop' and breaks up the brawl. What the participants of the brawl are saying is not audible. But the chants start up again and there's 'watan madaniyya' (civil state) versus 'watan islamiyya' (Islamic state). Then it sounds like they start with anti-Assad chants and move on from their differences.
The differences are significant because there is no unity of the opposition surrounding the concept of the nature of the post-revolutionary state. The video actually captures quite well the philosophical differences among the opposition and what it could mean for Syria in the future.
Posted by: Inanna | Feb 9, 2013 7:26:30 AM | 17
@ Inanna [#15].
Thank you very much. I [for one and I'm sure there are may others as well] sincerely appreciate getting this kind of precious information. I hope you will hang around and help all of us make some sense of all this madness. Big thumbs up.
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 9, 2013 7:33:08 AM | 18
Inanna - 15
Posted by: вот так | Feb 9, 2013 8:05:01 AM | 19
Inanna, can you tell us what is written on the pink sign the man is holding in front of the camera at the end?
Posted by: annie | Feb 9, 2013 8:18:35 AM | 20
First: Thank you.
"The differences are significant because there is no unity of the opposition surrounding the concept of the nature of the post-revolutionary state."
And there must not be (in the eyes of usrael) because their point is not to constructively build this or that but merely to crash what there is and in particular Assad.
Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 9, 2013 12:03:02 PM | 21
Thanks so much
Your awesome, that was a fantastic translation. Please keep helping us navigate the arabic language.
Posted by: Fernando | Feb 9, 2013 12:57:15 PM | 22
@13, gratuitous pro-Hillary fluff is starting to appear on reddit.com.
Posted by: ruralito | Feb 9, 2013 2:21:19 PM | 23
Thanks everyone for the kind words
@annie @20: The pink sign has nothing to do with the Syrians at all or at least it's tangential to the political struggle and has more to do with the sectarian struggle. "It says: The Sheiks of al-Azhar meet the offender Ahmadinejad while the Ummayyads screech" (implication being they are against it). Al-Azhar is one of the major schools for Islamic thought in Cairo, Ahmadinejad is being welcomed by the Morsi and the MB in Eygpt, the Ummayads are the Sunni caliphate based in Damascus and the Islamists in Syria are obviously protesting the rapprochement between the Sunni MB and the Shiite Iranians.
Posted by: Inanna | Feb 9, 2013 5:12:45 PM | 24
According to this report, the Syrian troops found a fully equipped money counterfeiting set-up in Latakia province run by the terrorists.
Краткая сводка о ситуации в Сирии за 8-е февраля (A brief summary of the situation in Syria for the 8th February)
Both Mossad and the CIA have a documented history of printing counterfeit money and documents.
Posted by: вот так | Feb 10, 2013 11:00:50 PM | 26
This article is on a very interesting development now taking place between the Syrian government and the Syrian based Kurdish autonomous government.
Syrian Government and Syrian Kurds about to foil NATO´s Greater Middle East Project.
"...The Syrian government and more than 200 representatives of Syria´s political, religious, ethnic, as well as special interest organizations had over the last months held several meetings in Syria as well as in Iran. The consultations resulted in a comprehensive plan for ending the violence, for national reconciliation and for working toward inclusive national reforms. During the meeting in Damascus, Al Halaki assured Omar Osi and other Kurd representatives, that Kurds are a fundamental component of Syria´s national life..."
Posted by: вот так | Feb 11, 2013 8:14:25 PM | 27
Syrian parliamentarian survives assassination attempt
"...Shehade's car was booby-trapped with an explosive device that exploded without injuring him, Sham FM radio said, adding that the blast took place in Damascus' district of Bramikeh.
Targeting officials have become increasingly common in Syria recently, particularly for those who are staunch opponents to the opposition.
Shehade is known for his pro-government stances and outspoken criticism of the opposition and rebel fighters..."
Posted by: вот так | Feb 11, 2013 9:38:31 PM | 28
Heavy Losses Inflicted upon Terrorists in Damascus Countryside
"Security Forces Arrest Terrorists Impersonating Army Personnel in Aleppo
An official source said that internal security forces arrested an armed terrorist group and confiscated their weapons in Martini area in Aleppo, pointing out that the terrorists had been impersonating Syrian Arab Army personnel and committing acts of murder, looting and robbery."
Another Mossad/CIA falseflag type of operation.
Posted by: вот так | Feb 12, 2013 12:21:04 PM | 29
Engdahl does his homework on the destabilisation of Mali:
The War in Mali and AFRICOM’s Agenda: Target China
"...As French journalist Thierry Meyssan noted, French forces were remarkably well prepared: “The transitional President, Dioncounda Traore, declared a state of emergency and called to France for help. Paris intervened within hours to prevent the fall of the capital, Bamako. Far-sightedly, the Elysée had already pre-positioned in Mali troops from the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (“the Colonials”) and the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment, helicopters from the COS (Special Operations Command), three Mirage 2000D’s, two Mirage F-1’s, three C135’s, a C130 Hercules and a C160 Transall.”  What a convenient coincidence...
...According to usually reliable former US military experts with direct familiarity with the region, speaking on condition of anonymity, US and NATO Special Forces actually trained the same “terrorist” bands now justifying a neo-colonial US-backed invasion of Mali by France. The major question is why would Washington and Paris train the terrorists they are now acting to destroy in a “war on terror?” Were they really surprised at the lack of NATO loyalty from their trainees? And what is behind AFRICOM’s American-backed French takeover of Mali?..."
Posted by: вот так | Feb 12, 2013 2:56:38 PM | 30
Internal negotiations are moving along.
Syrian P.M. Al-Halaki meets with delegation of Popular Will Party, led by Ala al-Din Arafat
"...In a meeting last week, Al-Halaki and the chairman of the National Initiative of Syrian Kurds, Omar Osi, declared that those, who had counted on, that the Kurds were a soft Northern Flank of Syria were badly mistaken. Both Al-Halaki and Omar Osi agreed, that the Syrian Kurds were a fundamental element of the Syrian national fabric, to work on a peaceful resolution and to oppose foreign interventionism.
During the meeting with the delegation of the Popular Will Party, it was discussed how to progress from the already reached consensus, toward a vision for a political program to solve the crisis. Representatives of the Popular Will Party stressed, that it supports the program as a basis for a political development, that is based on a national integrity and opposed to what they called “the US project in Syria“..."
Posted by: вот так | Feb 14, 2013 3:33:53 PM | 31