Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 21, 2013

Syria: Obama Expresses Concern About Some Foreign Fighters

Lebanese youth from the city of Saida, south of Beirut, began Wednesday signing up for armed Jihad in Syria, responding to a call yesterday by firebrand Sunni cleric Ahmad Assir.

Individuals in charge of enlisting Jihadists at Bilal Bin Rabah mosque told Al Arabiya that “hundreds” have signed up so far and that the number is expected to reach thousands.
Lebanese Sunni youth sign up for holy war

...
Following a circuitous route from Saudi Arabia up through Turkey or Jordan and then crossing a lawless border, hundreds of young Saudis are secretly making their way into Syria to join groups fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, GlobalPost has learned.
With Official Wink And Nod, Young Saudis Join Syria's Rebels
...
Veteran fighters of last year's civil war in Libya have come to the front-line in Syria, helping to train and organise rebels under conditions far more dire than those in the battle against Muammar Gaddafi, a Libyan-Irish fighter has told Reuters.
EXCLUSIVE-Libyan fighters join Syrian revolt against Assad
...
Tunisia's government says that some 800 of its citizens are fighting alongside Islamist rebels in Syria, although some estimates put the figure much higher.
Syria conflict: Why did my Tunisian son join the rebels?
...
Fighters from across the globe have joined the war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including hundreds of Egyptians who have completed their engagement in their own revolution and turned toward the “holy war” in Syria.
Egyptian Fighters Join 'Lesser Jihad' in Syria
...
Dozens of Kuwaitis are fighting with the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) after crossing from Turkey, Al-Qabas newspaper reported yesterday, citing the fighters' relatives.
Fighters from Kuwait joining Syrian rebels
...
A U.S. Army veteran says he has joined an offshoot of al Qaeda after spending several months fighting alongside Syrian rebel forces.
U.S. Army veteran joins al Qaeda-linked group after months of fighting with rebel forces in Syria
...
The EU's anti-terrorist chief Gilles de Kerchove estimates that around 500 Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Syria crisis: EU says 500 Europeans have joined fight
...
More than 20 Lebanese extremists were killed Saturday in an ambush by the Syrian army in the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh.
...
It further mentioned that "the number of Lebanese who were killed in Syria during the fighting along with the armed opposition exceeded two hundred. However, no media fuss was raised around them, because they were killed individually or in small numbers."
Joining Syria Rebels, 20 Lebanese Killed in Tal Kalakh
So many foreign fighters have joined the Syrian insurgency that one wonders if their is role left for any indigenous Syrian insurgent. We have yet to see any comment from the White House or the State Department that warns against these foreign fighters joining the conflict in Syria.

But now, as a handful of additional foreign fighters join the Syrian government side, the Obama administration is deeply concerned:

"President Obama stressed his concern about Hezbollah's active and growing role in Syria, fighting on behalf of the Assad regime, which is counter to the Lebanese government's policies," said a White House statement.
...
Earlier, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell condemned "Hezbollah's direct intervention and assault on Qusayr where its fighters are playing a significant role in the regime's offensive."

"Hezbollah's occupation of villages along the Lebanese-Syrian border and its support for the regime and pro-Assad militias exacerbate and inflame regional sectarian tensions and perpetuate the regime's campaign of terror."

And those thousands of foreign Jihadis do what?

Posted by b on May 21, 2013 at 08:24 AM | Permalink

Comments


US angling to conduct air war on Syria: Don DeBar

Press TV: Since we are talking first of all about the role of Israel in this, a lot of people had been suggesting for a long time now that in the Golan Heights there have been reports and evidence of cooperation between Israeli forces and militants in that region and now I would just like to mention again the equipment that has been found in Syria, which is Israeli made.

Do you agree that Israel is in fact not on the side of the militants?

DeBar: Please. Israel has occupied the Golan Heights for decades now in opposition to the Syrian government whether (Syrian President) Bashar this particular Assad or his father or any Syrian government since 35-40 years ago; better than 40 years ago.

Israel is an enemy of Syria. Israel chose Syria as an enemy because Syria is a friend of the Palestinian people in material and very concrete ways, which Israel finds dangerous, offensive and just doesn’t care for.

The United States does not like the Syrian government, they don’t like the fact that Syria exercises, practices sovereignty and it does not belong to the club of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others that are essentially puppets of the United States as they were puppets of Britain before.

Press TV: I guess what our guest there in London was saying, if I could jump in here, he was saying the Israeli airstrikes that we saw in Syria were actually meant to destroy the military equipment from reaching the militants.

We know Israel itself has said that it wanted to stop those weapons from reaching Hezbollah. What do you think the Israeli airstrikes were all about?

DeBar: The Israeli airstrikes were an extension of American power. The government of the United States is looking at deep domestic political crises and also something like 65 to 70 percent of the population against any further engagements in war.
etc
http://presstv.com/detail/304609.html

Posted by: brian | May 21, 2013 8:50:43 AM | 1

Journalist Hosein Mortada
Damascus - Barzeh:
A Kuwaiti leader of an armed group affiliated to al-Nusra Front nicknamed Abu Moaz has been killed along with a number of militants in Barzeh. Their weapons were also seized

-------------
more kuwaitis in the FSA than syrians
the flood of foreign muslims into syria to wage a war that thde locals dont want suggests the power of religious conditioning: no wonder Marx hated it

Posted by: brian | May 21, 2013 9:09:07 AM | 2

The EU's anti-terrorist chief Gilles de Kerchove estimates that around 500 Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Syria crisis: EU says 500 Europeans have joined fight
======================================

its not just the fanatic religious leaders who are tricking hyoung muslims into waging war, its also the media; as above reports language shows, 'rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad's regime.'

it sounds like a perverse StarWars! with the R word (regime) doing its usual duty to arouse the righteous passions

Posted by: brian | May 21, 2013 9:11:57 AM | 3

the chemical weapons excuse did not result in the overthrow of Assad. the appoinment by the US of a new Syrian government did not result in the overthrow of Assad. the armies of foreign muslim crusaders funded by the US did not result in the overthrow of Assad.
but now we are told that Hezbollah has taken over! now, can we put boots in the air?

I don't know what's in Qusayr, but the US is Israel's proxy, (Israel's air raids are proxy to that), and it all sounds like a stupid excuse for the long-sought-after ZATO intervention. will it result in the overthrow of Assad?

Posted by: anon | May 21, 2013 12:00:58 PM | 4

Haha this is some chutzpa by Israel!

http://presstv.com/detail/2013/05/21/304687/israel-warns-syria-over-golan-attack/

In sum: Israel warns Syria for defending itself against israeli troops that are INSIDE of Syria! Thats like a rapist blaming the victim for defending herself against the rapist!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2013 1:21:08 PM | 5

"The EU's anti-terrorist chief Gilles de Kerchove estimates that around 500 Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad's regime...."

And the "petitioners"?
The 200 plus academics, NGOers, pseudo-Marxists, Cliffites and Tariqs Ali. Will they be there, in the "Spanish Civil War" of the new generation, fighting for the things they believe in, imperialism and their wahhabi comrades?

I suspect not. They just cheer from a distance, under the approving eyes of their patrons, as Syrians die by the thousand.

Posted by: bevin | May 21, 2013 1:29:29 PM | 6

Nice round-up. 'Open source intelligence' always trumps official blathering. It's a largely thankless task, so I just wanted to give thanks.

Add Chechens to this mujahedeen global gathering:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/chechen-jihad-syria-boston-bombing.html

The Chechens are helping bring democracy to Syria by kidnapping Greek Orthodox bishops - such kidnappings have been a primary Chechen business model since the early 1990s. This particular warband is cheerfully called the "Army of the Emigrants and Helpers".

That article also links to study that estimates that "5,500 foreign fighters have joined rebel forces in Syria, with Europeans counting for up to 590 individuals, or 7-11% of the total."

Posted by: Luther Bliss | May 21, 2013 1:52:50 PM | 7

The Libyan and other North African fighters were recruited by - guess who.

Now-deceased Ambassador Christopher Stevens was the liaison for the Obama administration to the Libyan rebels and played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Fighting groups from Libya in Syria included Liwaa Al-Umma -"Community brigade"- from Libya. Commanded by Mahdi al-Harati in Syria, an Irish-Libyan member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Stevens also served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 2:03:07 PM | 8

Mr. Hague sounds a little confused lately. He wants a negotiated solution but avoids the 'Assad must go' mantra. I thought that was a precondition, at least for the Syrian opposition. All options are still on the table however.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10069577/William-Hague-Syria-facing-disintegration.html

Posted by: dh | May 21, 2013 3:56:07 PM | 9

Naaw..U.S/Israel weeping due the progress Hezbollah/Assad are doing against their al-qaeda beloved rebels in Syria.

https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/international/white-house-condemns-hezbollah-role-in-syria

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2013 4:29:50 PM | 10

#9 dh. That looks like an extremely important speech by Hague. It is the strongest signal yet that Britain is recognizing that overt involvement in Syria is off the table. It might also mean that they are reaching the point where they will not support the rebels anymore.

The Syrian government needs to liberate more territory before the negotiations begin. Hopefully, they will not accept an "interim" cease fire during the negotiations. Once the rebels can no longer hold any territory, they have nothing to offer during negotiations. I think Hague is hoping that they will still have some enclaves that will give them standing at the table.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 21, 2013 4:44:00 PM | 11

@11 Hague wants to use arming the rebels as a bargaining chip. Actually he won't do anything without approval from Washington.

Posted by: dh | May 21, 2013 4:47:26 PM | 12

#8 Don. Stevens role in arming and recruiting the Libya jihadists has been out there for many months. The Benghazi "debate" in Washington DC over Steven's death is so incredibly unreal that they can't mention this fact. (The Republicans have obviously been shown CIA info on the program, but no one can mention it publicly because of "national security") Of course, Stevens was not that worried about his security for he went to Benghazi to talk with his "friends". Damn fool, reminds me of Grizzly Man as immortalized by Herzog.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 21, 2013 4:51:01 PM | 13

They surely are all very grizzly men, that's for sure. And children at heart. Don't you have to be to even qualify?

Posted by: L Bean | May 21, 2013 5:07:14 PM | 14

They're our damn bastards! If the rebels or the jews do it, it's ok.

Posted by: Fernando | May 21, 2013 5:25:13 PM | 15

Obama expressed something? How quaint. He should get a Nobel Peace Prize. Oh wait.

Posted by: tsisageya | May 21, 2013 5:47:06 PM | 16

Obama Expressed Concern.

He really had to squeeze it out. It didn't belong.

Posted by: L Bean | May 21, 2013 6:01:51 PM | 17

What impression did you get from the Syrian government soldiers?

I found them a very ruthless, tough, but apparently pretty determined army. They clearly took no prisoners. They talked at one point about killing up to 700 terrorists, as they call the rebels. A general showed me a video on his phone of dead rebels with beards, and twice in the video a military boot appears and crushes the faces of the dead men.

http://www.dw.de/robert-fisk-syrian-war-could-go-on-for-two-three-years/a-16823404

he, he, he...

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 21, 2013 6:03:59 PM | 18

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Kerry is pushing a huge multi billion dollar weapons sale in Oman. Who is wagging whose tail????....

Posted by: georgeg | May 21, 2013 7:36:36 PM | 19

#19 Not mentioned in the job description, but it is understood that both SOD and SOS are travelling salesmen/people/whatever for the MIC. What remains opaque is how his commissions are paid.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 21, 2013 8:32:50 PM | 20

@ dh #9
I've been doing a little research on Western bases in the Gulf. It looks like UK has backtracked from their abandonment of 'east of Suez' and is coming back strong in the Gulf (for the UK), which might contribute to Hague's confusion on Syria.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 8:33:21 PM | 21

@ToivoS #13
I'm with you on Stevens at Benghazi. I wrote a longish comment on it here (#1).

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 8:40:52 PM | 22

"Ms. Rifai said that among the refugees, she had encountered a 4-year-old boy named Bashar who said he was ashamed to have the same given name as Mr. Assad and had decided to call himself Mohammed instead."

Such utter drek.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/world/middleeast/syria-developments.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

Posted by: guest77 | May 21, 2013 8:52:09 PM | 23

More foreign fighters for Obama to be concerned about. (Hell, I'd call it the coalition of the willing.)

WaPo, May 21, 2013

Iranian soldiers fighting for Assad in Syria, says State Department official

Iran has sent soldiers to Syria to fight alongside forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.


Get that -- they're not fighting for Syria against an insurgency, or foreign forces supported by the US and Gulf States, they're "fighting for Assad in Syria."

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 8:59:40 PM | 24

@21 The Gulf was always paramount for Britain. Massive amounts of oil money in the City. See Gulf War 1 and Mrs. Thatcher's browbeating of Bush Senior.

Posted by: dh | May 21, 2013 9:29:30 PM | 25

The US State Department really, really doesn't like Hezbollah. Its spokesman said so yesterday.

MR. VENTRELL:

We also condemn Hezbollah’s direct intervention in the assault on Qusair, where its fighters are playing a significant role in the regime’s offensive. Hezbollah’s occupation of villages along the Lebanese-Syrian border and its support for the regime and pro-Assad militias exacerbate and inflame regional sectarian tensions and perpetuate the regime’s campaign of terror against the Syrian people. We reject Hezbollah’s efforts to escalate violence inside Syria and incite instability in Lebanon. We continue to fully support Lebanon’s stated policy of disassociation from the Syrian crisis, and urge all parties in the region to act with restraint and respect for Lebanon’s stability and security.

Imagine that, helping a country's government defend itself! They're just escalating violence, that's what they're doing. The very idea. Plus, they're winning, which is the worst part of all.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 9:54:21 PM | 26

@dh #25
Not talking oil money and war, talking bases.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 9:55:35 PM | 27

@27 Sure but look at the history of the Gulf sultanates. The British invented bases.

Posted by: dh | May 21, 2013 10:09:33 PM | 28

@21 those fake gulf "countries"/regimes (those champions of democracy, bastions of freedom, and great upholders of human rights) need British and American military personnel on their soil to survive each day.

Posted by: someguy | May 21, 2013 10:28:10 PM | 29

I'm sorry, b, but Obama's expression of concern doesn't mean a damn thing..Why express concern now? Is it because his freedom fighters can't hold on anymore and are getting routed?

It gets even funnier, the US senate have just passed a bill to arm AL_QAEDA, sorry, freedom fighters.Now where did I see this movie before?

Posted by: Zico | May 22, 2013 2:39:27 AM | 30

Now-deceased Ambassador Christopher Stevens was the liaison for the Obama administration to the Libyan rebels and played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. ....

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 2:03:07 PM | 8

I assume your quoting: 'Obama administration' vs 'Bashar al-Assad’s regime'

better is 'Assad administration' vs 'Obamas regime'

Posted by: brian | May 22, 2013 3:07:27 AM | 31

We also condemn Hezbollah’s direct intervention in the assault on Qusair, where its fighters are playing a significant role in the regime’s offensive. Hezbollah’s occupation of villages along the Lebanese-Syrian border and its support for the regime and pro-Assad militias exacerbate and inflame regional sectarian tensions and perpetuate the regime’s campaign of terror against the Syrian people. We reject Hezbollah’s efforts to escalate violence inside Syria and incite instability in Lebanon. We continue to fully support Lebanon’s stated policy of disassociation from the Syrian crisis, and urge all parties in the region to act with restraint and respect for Lebanon’s stability and security.

Imagine that, helping a country's government defend itself! They're just escalating violence, that's what they're doing. The very idea. Plus, they're winning, which is the worst part of all.
Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 9:54:21 PM | 26

note the USSDs use of word 'regime' for syrias government/administration. Did american voters really want to see in power war mongers who use propaganda techniques to justify US military expenditure? The rest is typical US bull...what a waste of the taxpayers money

also here is US state depts twitter: @StateDept

Posted by: brian | May 22, 2013 3:16:10 AM | 32

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21, 2013 8:59:40 PM | 24


further proof US free press takes its marching orders from US regime politicians /policy wonks

Posted by: brian | May 22, 2013 3:27:00 AM | 33

I found them a very ruthless, tough, but apparently pretty determined army. They clearly took no prisoners. They talked at one point about killing up to 700 terrorists, as they call the rebels. A general showed me a video on his phone of dead rebels with beards, and twice in the video a military boot appears and crushes the faces of the dead men.

http://www.dw.de/robert-fisk-syrian-war-could-go-on-for-two-three-years/a-16823404

he, he, he...

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 21, 2013 6:03:59 PM | 18

ruthless? lets go ask the syrian people what they think:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC4IMs9dOlM

Posted by: brian | May 22, 2013 3:33:11 AM | 34

#22 don. Yep I have noticed that you have been on this story. It is so strange that a bunch of us amateur analysts have a better read on what is happening than all of the experts. Actually, it is not so strange -- these guys are deliberately avoiding accurate analysis. That is what makes b here at MoA and many of his readers put together more cogent analysis than what we are seeing in mainstream press. Too bad he is also attracting a bunch of crazed conspiracy nuts at the same time.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 22, 2013 4:36:57 AM | 35

Fisk, of the not-so-Independent, obviously think that SAA should treat NATO`s inbreed cannibal merc´s with the finest gloves and utmost care and spare them for NATO´s "justice" in their own and paid for "tribunal" where they will be released as do all their clients, ask the Serbs or do the math.

SAA is a professional army trained for a direct war with the Zionist abomination, but in a situation where ZATO´s merc´s are pouring in like Tolkien´s Orc´s by the hundreds if not thousands, monthly, there is no time, place or money to take prisoners and most of us can forgive them for their "roughness" at times when they just have witnessed their comrades being tortured, BBQ´d, had their throat's slowly slit off or executed by indoctrinated kids.

Posted by: Mrs.Magma | May 22, 2013 8:31:27 AM | 36

@Brian
re: "regime." Point taken. I plead guilty. I don't like the word either since it's only applied to concocted U.S. enemies. It was a quote and should have "_". ("Regime change" is another, more difficult one, since it's widely used - but it is still a pejorative.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 22, 2013 9:21:23 AM | 37

The utter senseless brutalism of war with its wide use of torture, rape, summary executions, terrible weapons etc. shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It is only ever highlighted on a one-sided basis for propaganda purposes to motivate both soldiers and the home-front. It's the wars that ought to be avoided, not any specious "violations of the rules of war" by frightened immature men acting as the tools of their elders.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 22, 2013 9:30:54 AM | 38

Obomber and the US regime are more worried by the syria economy:

What the Syrian Constitution says about Assad and the Rebels
...
From Washington’s perspective, the new constitution opened space for alternative political parties. Washington could exploit this new openness to gain leverage in Syria by quietly backing parties that favor pro-US positions—a plus.

From the Islamists’ point of view, however, there were only negatives. First, the constitution was secular, and not rooted in Islam. Second, it proposed to ban political parties or movements that were formed on the basis of religion, sect, tribe, or region, as well as on the basis of gender, origin, race or color. This would effectively ban any party whose aim was to establish an Islamic state.

There were negatives too for Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.

First, the constitution’s preamble defined Syria as “the beating heart of Arabism,” and “the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth.” This hardly accorded with Washington’s desire to turn Syria into a “peace-partner” with Israel and clashed with the Western project of spreading neo-colonial tentacles across the Arab world.

Second, the constitution formalized the political orientation of the Syrian Ba’athists. This has been summed up by Assad as “Syria is an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West.” [10] Accordingly, the constitution mandated that important sectors of the Syrian economy would remain publicly owned and operated in the interests of Syrians as a whole. Western firms, then, were to be frozen out of profit-making opportunities in key sectors of the Syrian economy, a prospect hardly encouraging to the Wall Street financial interests that dominate decision-making in Washington.

Ba’ath socialism has long irritated Washington. The Ba’athist state has always exercised considerable influence over the Syrian economy, through ownership of enterprises, subsidies to privately-owned domestic firms, limits on foreign investment, and restrictions on imports. These are the necessary economic tools of a post-colonial state trying to wrest its economic life from the grips of former colonial powers and to chart a course of development free from the domination of foreign interests.
...
http://gowans.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/what-the-syrian-constitution-says-about-assad-and-the-rebels/

Posted by: brian | May 22, 2013 9:37:31 AM | 39

The utter senseless brutalism of war with its wide use of torture, rape, summary executions, terrible weapons etc. shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It is only ever highlighted on a one-sided basis for propaganda purposes to motivate both soldiers and the home-front. It's the wars that ought to be avoided, not any specious "violations of the rules of war" by frightened immature men acting as the tools of their elders.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 22, 2013 9:30:54 AM | 38

ironically, some of the jihadis are driven to jihad by the idea from the media that Assad is evil and ruthless and killing muslims. Stupid people are conditioned to believe what the read by professional journalists: only occasionaly does anyone awaken to the fact themedia are lying continuously

Posted by: brian | May 22, 2013 9:40:57 AM | 40

@brian #40
That's why usually teenagers -- "stupid people" -- with underdeveloped brains are recruited for war. The US Marine Corps starts recruitment even before the teen years.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 22, 2013 10:00:47 AM | 41

Getting philosophical: It's interesting that the warmongers have shifted from "counterinsurgency" (which actually wasn't counterinsurgency at all and only involved combat against the natives who resisted Western puppet governments) and now they call their activities "counterterrorism," which mainly consists of torturing and killing anybody who might be an enemy of the West.

Of course neither of these applies to Libya and Syria with their "regime change" mantra, and in fact they include the SUPPORT of insurgents and terrorists against governments that until very recently were either a US ally (Libya) or a candidate for ally (Syria).

We haven't heard a peep from the Pentagon's policy guy "Doctor Miller" to explain this --

Dr. James N. Miller was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy on May 25, 2012. He serves as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and provides advice and assistance to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense on all matters concerning the formulation of national security and defense policy and the integration and oversight of DoD policy and plans to achieve national security objectives.

Dr. Miller received a B.A. degree with honors in economics from Stanford University, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


The current primary US "national security objective" is "regime change" in Iran, and Syria is the best the US can do at the moment. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has just voted to arm the Syria opposition.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 22, 2013 10:03:01 AM | 42

A little humor from Professor Juan Cole, who formerly championed the highly unsuccessful Libya NoFlyZone"regime change."

The Increasingly desperate Baath regime in Syria appears to be seeking skirmishes with Israel as a way of shoring up its nationalist credentials. If the regime were under fire from Israel, that would put the rebels in the position of acting as allies of Tel Aviv and so discrediting them. Hence, Syria’s troops fired at an Israeli jeep in the Occupied Golan Heights (Syrian territory grabbed by Israel in the 1967 war). It was the fifth such Syrian provocation in the territory. Israel’s top general warned that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would “pay the price” if he undermined security in the area.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 22, 2013 10:09:42 AM | 43

Magma @36

Not sure, but Fisk wasn't trying to portray the SAA in bed light; and I am sure very few people will have sorrow for them - NATO's mercenaries - including those who manipulated with them. Obviously, those who are still in fight are hardcore lunatics, not lunatics in medical sense, those are pathological cases of human degeneration.

Unfortunately, we are dealing with the consequences of human degeneration. To uproot this perversity what is needed is destroy the cause which lie in imperial centers of the West and their puppet regimes of KSA and settler-state. The conduits of imperial politics must be cut off.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 22, 2013 10:45:47 AM | 44

The Shia should be very careful to maintain a good relationship with the Kurds. It's an interesting set up, one that I admittedly don't understand the basic dynamics of - the fact that the Kurds are allied with the Syrian Government, but at the throats of the Iraqi Government, which is also allied with the non-cannibal Syrians. The Iraqi government should work out a respectable deal as best they can with the Kurds to keep the Sunni fanatics at bay in the region. All the better to threaten Turkey with as well.

Posted by: guest77 | May 22, 2013 10:56:52 AM | 45

@39

I think the Syrian authorities must do what the Russian did. Ban NGOs, and reinforce that ban strictly and relentlessly. No room should be left to liberal-theorist-propagandist to interpret domestic positive law and acts in way that suit them.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 22, 2013 11:13:58 AM | 46

guest77 @ 45,


The Kurds are often time aligned with Shias..In Iraq, that's the case..They've always been buddies against Saddam..Don't be fooled by Barzani's love fest with Erdogan.. Even the Kurds don't take him seriously and no way does he represent the Kurds. If anything, there's a power struggle going on in Iraqi Kurdistan and Barzani's hedged his bet with Erdogan, hoping the later can save him..

With the PKK now "seemingly" moving into Northern Iraq, there's surely bound to be clashes with Barzani's goons as most Kurds now see Barzani as nothing but Erdogan's little puppet..

Posted by: Zico | May 22, 2013 11:29:36 AM | 47

@18/neretva'43

Just cause Fisky can tell at least a few truths does NOT MEAN
he not a biased propagandist. He IS.
This war has ZERO to do with democracy(nothing but a label in the
mouths of the propagandists) in Syria. The real reasons are
well known but we should never expect Fisky to tell us!

Posted by: Luca K | May 22, 2013 12:08:06 PM | 48

Breaking New on the BBC - Alleged terrorist attck in London - BBC has witness saying two Afghanis have run over an army recruit and beheaded him in the street. Breaking News guys. This is mad!

Posted by: BillyBoy | May 22, 2013 1:03:43 PM | 49

1817:

Dr Usama Hasan, of the counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam Foundation, tells BBC Radio 5 live that although the full details are not known, the fear is the attack was carried out by "seriously crazy militants".

Posted by: BillyBoy | May 22, 2013 1:19:59 PM | 50

@BillyBoy - "terrorist attack"

some eyewitness tweeted what was going on

The two black bredas run this white guy over over then hop out the car and start chopping mans head off with machete!!

Police got them both a few minutes later.

Posted by: b | May 22, 2013 1:40:26 PM | 51

@neretva#18

That whole interview with Fisk is worth reading. Fisk's interview on Democracy Now gave a fuller description of his experience with the Syrian Army:

Robert, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you talk about your time in Syria? You were embedded with Syrian soldiers?

ROBERT FISK: No, I was not embedded with Syrian soldiers. I’ve never been embedded with American soldiers or British soldiers or Iraqi soldiers or any other. What actually happened was I got a visa to go to Damascus, from the Syrian government, of course. I have a colleague who goes regularly into northern Syria and reports from rebel areas. I spent quite a lot of time talking to old friends in Syria, talking to the military, whom I have always been able to talk to. And while I was talking to them, I said, "Look, I would like to go up to the front lines in northwestern Syria." That is to say within a mile of the—just a mile and a half of the Turkish border. To my amazement, they said, "Yeah, fine. Get on a plane. Go to Latakia. We’ll meet you there. You can go and see our soldiers and talk to them." And this is what I did. The only restriction they had on me is they didn’t want me to take photographs of their faces. I could take pictures of them from behind. I could take pictures of the front line. I could climb on their tanks and take pictures, which I did. And I had—I got a pretty graphic and rather grim idea of what the Syrian army—I’m talking about the Syrian government army—is doing at the moment.
...
When I visited Syrian special forces along the front lines, I was given extraordinary amounts of detail. They gave me the code numbers for the various positions they’ve got, told me where the rebels were—about 800 meters away in a forest. I met soldiers who had been wounded but were still serving. One had a bullet that went right through his neck, went through the left side, came out the right side, and a very livid scar. Several of the generals had been wounded, one of them four times. Officers in the Syrian army always say that they go and lead their men, they’re at the front, and it appears to be true.

When I started questioning them about how many armed rebels they had killed in one particular village, they said 700. And I said, "How many did you take prisoner?" And he said, "None." And in another point, they showed me a destroyed house, that had been destroyed by tank fire, and they said that 67 rebels had been killed there. And I said, "Well, how many prisoners?" And they said, "None," which obviously told its own story.

At one point, quite remarkably, a general produced from his pocket a video, a phone, a mobile phone with a video on it, showing heaps of corpses of bearded men whom he said were terrorists—his word for it, of course, that usual cliché which the Israelis use, as well, for their enemies—rebel opponents who were Islamists, he claimed. And there were indeed heaps of corpses. What was particularly chilling was when, on the video, which he was showing me—and this, again, remember, was a Syrian general—on two occasions a military boot fell down—came down and crushed two of the dead faces on the screen. So, a ruthless, brutal war going on.

And at the moment, in two of the Damascus suburbs in the area around Qusayr, near Homs, and certainly in the north of Syria, the army appears to be winning, at least momentarily, against the rebels, is taking ground—doing so, of course, with ruthlessness and no great human rights alongside it, I imagine. I don’t think this is an army that cares very much about its enemies, unless they’re dead.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | May 22, 2013 2:14:26 PM | 52

@RP #52

I suppose some will find that story shocking and will use it to justify other violence from outside but I guess I understand those soldiers. they are fighting men who come from a different land and kill citizens they are sworn to protect. They already know what will happen to them should those guys get the drop on them.

plus, from what I see and hear, there are a lot of snipers and assassination squads in the so called FSA and those fellas are not really lovable by any stretch of imagination. Anyone in any country who takes up arms against the state can expect the same.

compare what the Boston cops did to those Chechen boys and lets not forget the carnage the LAPD wrought while tracking down the rogue cop.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 22, 2013 3:29:35 PM | 53

@DOS #53 - some will find that story shocking
I tried to explain in my #38 why it shouldn't be shocking. War is hell.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 22, 2013 3:45:31 PM | 54

I wonder if the heart ripper and liver biter video have begun a race to the bottom in terms of horrifying extreme death dealing terror.

Also, blowback comes to Britain?

Posted by: jawbone | May 22, 2013 6:29:42 PM | 55

@48 Well, you can probably work out Fisk's biased by looking at which countries have send him packing.

Unfortunately for that theory, Ol' Fiskie has probably been ejected from just about all of them at one point or another.

If you read through his stuff over the years about the only leader who seemed to get a kind word from him is the (now deceased)Plucky Little King of Jordan. I think he rather liked Rafic Hariri but didn't trust him an inch, and he has a soft-spot for Walid Jumblatt even if he doesn't think much of the wily Druze's politics.

But apart from that select group the most you can say about Fisk's "bias" is that he is constantly calling A Pox On All Their Houses.

Posted by: Johnboy | May 22, 2013 9:35:36 PM | 56

The comments to this entry are closed.

 

Site Meter