Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 29, 2013

Syria: The Deadbeat Opposition And A Russian Checkmate

The Syrian exile opposition is becoming irrelevant. It has been destroyed due to the rivalities between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and is now denounced by all other parts of the Syrian opposition. The U.S. has thereby lost one of its key political instruments to drive the Syrian government out. It now has no one to present as negotiating partner opposed to the Syrian government side in the planned Geneva II conference.

Hassan Hassan writes from Istanbul about the failed "western" attempt, with Saudi support, to make the exile opposition more relevant and to dislodge the Muslim Brotherhood from the leading role in the Syrian National Coalition:

The Syrian political opposition, in its current form, is a hopeless case.
...
One member of the coalition told me Mr Al Sabbagh has been pushed by Doha to block any changes to "give the impression that the new sponsors of the Syrian dossier have failed". By new sponsors, he meant Saudi Arabia, which has assumed responsibilities of sponsoring the Syrian opposition, pushing Qatar aside.
...
It is time for Syrians to realise that the political opposition is an important factor behind the stalemate.
The Syrians have realized that. Michael Kilo (a secular Marxist(!)) the U.S./Saudis alliance wanted to push into a leadership role is rather scathing:
"The real, real, real problem is in the Coalition," Kilo told Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya, after some dissidents accused Riyadh of imposing his entry into the warring country's main opposition group.
...
Though still in Istanbul, it was unclear early Wednesday whether Kilo would stay on in the Coalition.
...
The opposition has long been marred by internal divisions and bickering, giving rise to doubts over its ability to present a united front with the proposed peace talks ahead.
The Local Coordination Committee as well as some other opposition groups inside Syria join the criticism and demand a place at the table for themselves:
The revolutionary forces that have signed this statement will no longer bestow legitimacy upon any political body that subverts the revolution or fails to take into account the sacrifices of the Syrian people or adequately represent them.

We consider this statement to be a final warning to the SC, for the Syrian people have spoken.

Edward Dark (a nom de guerre) was one of the original organizers of opposition demonstrations in Aleppo. He witnessed the destruction the armed insurgents waged in his city and has given up on his hopes:
To us, a rebel fighting against tyranny doesn’t commit the same sort of crimes as the regime he’s supposed to be fighting against. He doesn’t loot the homes, businesses and communities of the people he’s supposed to be fighting for. Yet, as the weeks went by in Aleppo, it became increasingly clear that this was exactly what was happening.

Rebels would systematically loot the neighborhoods they entered. They had very little regard for the lives and property of the people, and would even kidnap for ransom and execute anyone they pleased with little recourse to any form of judicial process. They would deliberately vandalize and destroy ancient and historical landmarks and icons of the city. They would strip factories and industrial zones bare, even down to the electrical wiring, hauling their loot of expensive industrial machinery and infrastructure off across the border to Turkey to be sold at a fraction of its price. Shopping malls were emptied, warehouses, too. They stole the grain in storage silos, creating a crisis and a sharp rise in staple food costs. They would incessantly shell residential civilian neighborhoods under regime control with mortars, rocket fire and car bombs, causing death and injury to countless innocent people, their snipers routinely killing in cold blood unsuspecting passersby. As a consequence, tens of thousands became destitute and homeless in this once bustling, thriving and rich commercial metropolis.

But why was this so? Why were they doing it? It became apparent soon enough, that it was simply a case of us versus them. They were the underprivileged rural class who took up arms and stormed the city, and they were out for revenge against the perceived injustices of years past. Their motivation wasn’t like ours, it was not to seek freedom, democracy or justice for the entire nation, it was simply unbridled hatred and vengeance for themselves.
...
Whatever is left of Syria at the end will be carved out between the wolves and vultures that fought over its bleeding and dying corpse, leaving us, the Syrian people to pick up the shattered pieces of our nation and our futures.

The original "democratic protesters" like Edward Dark have had enough. They never understood that the role their original sponsor had planned for them was only to be a diversion for the all out armed assault on the Syrian state. They have been abused. They wanted freedom but received anarchy. They will now rather support the Syrian government than support any further strife.

The military leader whom the U.S. supports but who has little control over any units on the ground demands that the war be widened:

“What we want from the U.S. government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” Idris said. “Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria.
I doubt that any of Idris' sponsors will support an escalation into Lebanon. But some in the "west" are still dreaming of implementing an illegal "no-fly zone" over Syria. They do not believe the Russian commitment to prevent such by sending S-300 air defense systems to Syria:
"Does Russia have S-300 batteries ready to go?" said Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Bahrain. "I'm not sure that it does. Is it going to send engineers to integrate it with existing [air defence] architecture? Will they send trainers for the one to two years it takes to train people to use it? This seems more like an exercise in political signalling to me, saying: 'Hands off Syria.'"
This is misreading the Russian plans. I suggested that Russia could move its own fighter planes to Syria to protect the Syrian air-space. This though suggests that Russia will instead move its own S-300 air-defense mssiles:
Four regiments of S-300 air defense systems have been deployed at the Ashuluk firing range in southern Russia as part of another snap combat readiness check of the Russian armed forces, the Defense Ministry said.

The regiments were airlifted on Thursday by military transport planes to designated drop zones where they will carry out a variety of missions simulating the defense of the Russian airspace from massive attacks by “enemy” missiles and aircraft.

“The missions will be carried out in conditions of heavy electronic warfare to test the capabilities of the air defense units to the highest limit,” the ministry said.

The "western" air-forces do know the older export versions of the S-300 that Russia sold to Greece and the ones the U.S. bought from Croatia. They know how to defeat those. But the systems the Russians use themselves have had several upgrades in their radars, electronic systems and have new missiles. If Russia moves those, as it is now training to do, any "no-fly zone" attempt is likely to start with lots of downed "western" jets and a high casualty count. It would be a checkmate move.

The U.S. has no "Syrian opposition" to support in Geneva. The exiles are totally discredited. The unarmed opposition in Syria has given up. The armed opposition in Syria is collection of disunited thieves and takfiris. Russia has the checkmate chance of deploying its S-300PM2 and may well use it.

What is the U.S. to do now? Escalate further and risk an ever widening war throughout the Middle East with heavy Russian involvement? Or will it get off its high horse and agree to Russia's demand to actively stop any additional Libyan weapon supply through Turkey and any other support for the violence in Syria? Are there other alternatives?

Posted by b on May 29, 2013 at 06:47 AM | Permalink

Comments
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As far as I can see there is no need for or pressure on the US to do anything at all.

Posted by: somebody | May 29, 2013 7:07:33 AM | 1

I thought those S-300 units have already been deployed in Syria, albeit under Russian supervision. Anyway, I think the whole Anti-Syrian Steam-machinery is slowly but surely grinding to a halt.I cant explain to myself why some of the lame-stream media like "le monde" still engage in lying about chemical weapons or brave rebels. BTW, has anyone an oppinion on Larry Kings move to RT?! What is RT's stance? In the last months they seem to have taken a lame-stream U turn for good.

Posted by: Kal | May 29, 2013 8:03:03 AM | 2

All the latest publicized Russian Army trainings point to Russia deploying troops (and not a few dozen advisers) in Syria probably to preempt or counter a direct participation of NATO in the war.

Russia is preparing, or at least publicizing preparations, for war. Their actions point that they are serious. The NATO countries don't seem to be noticing or don't care.

Posted by: ThePaper | May 29, 2013 8:21:28 AM | 3

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Flash. Explosive. Sen. McCain poses with terrorists in Syria
c
New TV aired an explosive report. Its correspondent, Nawal Birri, who has covered the story of the kidnapping of Lebanese pilgrims in Syria, recognized the men standing with Sen. McCain in the picture. They are none other than the captors themselves. The families of the hostages, some of whom were kidnapped with them before being released, also recognized the men as the captors. The picture was taken in `A'zaz, where the hostages are being held.
http://angryarab.blogspot.ca/2013/05/flash-explosive-sen-mccain-poses-with.html

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 8:33:59 AM | 4

B I have difficulty finding how to contribute to the support of your (excellent) blog

Posted by: boindub | May 29, 2013 8:46:18 AM | 5

I suppose we'd all better get our granddads' tin hats out. It might be worth talking to them about those nuclear bomb shelters everybody was supposed to build in "their gardens" (as if everybody had gardens). Unless this is all bullshit from the Russians, we're going to see these S-300s go up real fast, with Russian operators. And then, as we have all been told about 17,000 times, the IAF "will know what to do," that is to say, they'll send a wave of fighter-bombers across Lebanon from the sea to fire air-to-ground missiles at the S-300 sites in Syria. Since these planes are attacking Russian-manned positions, the Russian fleet at Tartus will start shooting them down. Then the IAF "will know what to do" again, they'll attack the Russian fleet at Tartus. Then the Russians will respond by blitzing Israel's naval facilities at Haifa, and possibly some of the dozen or so major IAF bases too. Then the US will bluster for a day or two, after which it will start World War 3, or 4, or 5, which group of idiots happen to be keeping count of how many World Wars they think they've won recently.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 29, 2013 9:11:06 AM | 6

@boindub - send me email (address on the "About" page) and I will let you know.

Posted by: b | May 29, 2013 9:12:44 AM | 7

A warning shot for Turkey-Qatar axis
By Alper Birdal and Yigit Gunay

According to ad-Diyar, in November 2012 Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani and his intelligence chief had met with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the meeting, a plan to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was discussed. In this meeting, the Israeli premier requested that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) recognize Israel after Assad was ousted.

The Qatari intelligence chief had dreams of capturing Damascus and was working with Israel to realize this dream. According to ad-Diyar, al-Thani was the person who was responsible for the coordination of the transfer of Yemeni jihadists to Syria after they were trained by the US Special Forces in Qatar.

Posted by: Frank | May 29, 2013 9:19:13 AM | 8

"Marxist intellectual Kilo"

lol, just because a man plays a guitar, doesn't mean he's making music.

Posted by: ruralito | May 29, 2013 10:07:51 AM | 9

Last try ...

Turkish foreign minister arrives at Syria opposition talks

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived Wednesday at a stalled meeting of Syria's divided opposition in Istanbul, in what is likely an effort to push for more progress at talks deadlocked by infighting.

US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and a top French diplomat on Syria also arrived at the meeting of the main opposition National Coalition, which has failed to find common ground on key issues including whether to take part in a peace conference proposed by the United States and Russia.

Veteran Syrian dissident Michel Kilo also arrived at the Istanbul hotel alongside a top Saudi official.
...
Amid the competing bids for influence, the opposition has failed to find a united front on how to move forward.

"Things are not moving. The opposition has hit its worst crisis yet," said a Coalition member on condition of anonymity.

Posted by: b | May 29, 2013 10:54:51 AM | 10

I read that article by Edward Dark, what a fool. There is scathing critique of it in the comments section. He speaks about himself and a group of fellow revolutionaries, and how different they are from the rural countryside ruffians destroying his beautiful Aleppo. Moron, idiot, what did you think was going to happen?!!! That Assad was going crumble if you threw candy at him?
Then the article in Asia times referenced above shows us that there is a war within a war going on in the Middle East.
And lastly, I just can't see how this doesn't turn into WW4. Odummy has committed himself to the hilt and boxed himself into a corner. Shameful, sad and useless.
Oh Mrs Magma, where are you?

Posted by: Fernando | May 29, 2013 11:33:02 AM | 11

@ b #10 "Things are not moving. The opposition has hit its worst crisis yet," said a Coalition member on condition of anonymity"

Peace talks can indeed create the worst crisis for our peace-loving cannibals!

Regardless if they get someone to participate or not, this peace conference is dead anyway. West, Turkey and PGGC arabs invested too much to just give up and allow peace to happen in Syria.

Posted by: Harry | May 29, 2013 11:34:00 AM | 12

And Larry King is on RT? Big deal, they cancelled the "Aloyna Show", one of the BEST political analysis shows on TV. Of course that is my humble opinion but the girl was a natural and she always seemed fresh and on point. Not to mention she believed in what she was selling. Larry Kings participation is cool but the loss of Aloyna for her to now work at Huffington is huge to them in the short and long run.

Posted by: Fernando | May 29, 2013 11:49:03 AM | 13

@13 Larry King? Is RT going to go to 24 hr Jodi Arias/OJ Simpson coverage?? Oh christ.

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 11:58:12 AM | 14

Is the resistance axis moving towards a new, more kinetic bloc? Think Pepe Escobar would call it liquid war. Assad has always been the most hesitant member of the resistance axis but maybe we are seeing the beginnings of a fusion of forces.

Assad's Interview, two weeks ago he discussed it:

“We have decided to give them everything,” the newspaper quoted him as saying, without elaborating.

“For the first time we feel that we and they are living in the same situation and they are not just an ally we help with resistance,” he said.
“We have decided that we must move forward towards them and turn into a nation of resistance like Hizbullah, for the sake of Syria and future generations.”

Assad was quoted as saying Syria could “easily” respond to Israeli air strikes by “firing a few rockets at Israel.” “But we want strategic revenge, by opening the door of resistance and turning all of Syria into a country of resistance.”

“After the strike, we are convinced that we are fighting the enemy now, we are pursuing its soldiers deployed throughout our country,” he said, in apparent reference to rebel forces, which the regime has accused of being allied with Israel.

Just like Hezbollah was born out of the Lebanese civil war, and Al Sadr's Mahdi Army was born out of the Iraqi civil war, it seems like there is the opportunity for another resistance army to be born in Syria. Of course this would take the form of the National Defense Force the militia created to assist the Syrian Arab Army and that has received training from Hezbollah mentors.

The merging of cooperation between these groups could prove very effective over any long term liberation of Palestine. Hezbollah alone are the best guerrilla army in the Middle East (probably the world) but they are still limited by there small population of 3-4 million in the South of Lebanon. Reports from the 2006 war in Lebanon put Hezbollah's active fighting force at around 30,000 not enough to tip the balance in any major campaign inside Israel. But if this was augmented by the 20,000 - 60,000 National Defense Forces is Syria who were given a similar level of training and maybe 20,000 Mahdi Army fighters from Iraq all under the supervision of Iran's Revolutionary Guards it could be a massive force of close to 100,000 fighters.

Nasrallah's speech 3 days ago also contained similar ideas and explained why his soldiers had entered the Syrian war. He also sounded fairly confident saying at one point in reference to the July 2006 war.

As I promised you Victory in July, I now promise you another one

Of course the main threat to this is from the Takfiri's in Northern Lebanon and Syria. But if they can overcome the Jihadist's the Resistance Axis will be in a much stronger position and Israels place will become a lot more precarious.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | May 29, 2013 12:08:42 PM | 15

Mr.Pragma and other russians(assuming Pragma is russian) may like to know that the zionist entity("that sh***y little country") has now threatened to stop deliveries of the S-300 to Syria. AP - "Israel's defence chief said Tuesday a Russian plan to supply sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Syria was a "threat" and signalled that Israel is prepared to use force to stop the delivery. The warning by Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon ratcheted up tensions with Moscow over the planned sale of S-300 air-defence missiles to Syria. Earlier in the day, a top Russian official said his government remained committed to the deal."

It reminds me that pressure from Israel was effective in stopping Russian deliveries of the S-300 to Iran in recent past. But I assume it's gonna be different this time. However, one should remember that the zionists have a lot of power inside Russia. Most of the criminal "russian' oligarchs are in fact Jews, several of whom hold israeli passports.

Zusa continues to threaten a 'no-fly-zone' over Syria. See http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/28/exclusive-barack-obama-asks-pentagon-for-syria-no-fly-zone-plan.html

Posted by: Luca K | May 29, 2013 12:34:10 PM | 16

I'm with Somebody @1 on this. Why would the US want to do anything that might resolve a conflict that is weakening Iran?
Forget the illusion of sincerity behind organising a peace conference. Getting the EU arms embargo lifted was their doing - leading from behind as per Libya; quick to applaud Britain and France for doing as they were told.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell added: "While it is ultimately an EU decision, we do support the easing of the EU arms embargo.."

Do me a favour. Anything to prolong the spectacle of Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda knocking chunks out of each other. Even if the unlikely scenario unfolds whereby Britain and France actually withhold the extra ammunition, the decision to lift the ban serves a far greater purpose, which is to embolden the opposition to keep fighting. It's the hope that kills you.

And Russia isn't going to anything. The bear is all bark and no bite.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | May 29, 2013 12:50:38 PM | 17

"It's the hope that kills you"
Pat Bateman

Wow, that is a powerful quote if I ever heard one. Wasn't "change and hope" part of Odummy's campaign platform?
Who knew Palin's query concerning, "so, how's all hopey changey stuff werkin out fer ya"??
Who knew her sarcasm would reflect what so many are pondering about this fraud sitting in the Oval Office.
I'd like to think the Russians would spank the Jews. Putin is no pendejo, but no one wants to start WW4. Many people are really hankering to see the Israelis get put on a major time out. They've had it coming for so long.

Posted by: Fernando | May 29, 2013 1:39:12 PM | 18

Where is the no-fly zone over Iraq, where shia muslims being murdered everyday? Oh I forgot, the iraqi-terrorists are the same one waging the war against Assad, thus backed and "good terrorists" according to Obama, Hague & Co.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 29, 2013 2:02:59 PM | 19

Luca K

Should I change my pants because israscums words created a malheur?

A souvereign leader can afford to act calmly and prudently. Deceivers, actors and agressors though are caught wthin the necessities of their lines.
israscum began with deception and aggressions, it continued for decades to deceive, supress, attack and blackmail - and it does so right now.

Remember netanyahoo, the criminal chief of a criminal "state", breaking the unwritten rules of diplomacy by overtly involving in the zusa election, against his "friend" the acting president? The reason, almost everybody has understood by now was to force zusa into a war against Iran.
Is there anything to make us assume this time it's different? Quite to the contrary; the difference being that now israel plays it on a higher desperation, higher risk and, so they hope, more powerful scale relying on zusa to defend them at any cost (to zusa) even if they themselves had caused the war.

They will fail.

As for the assumption of zionist power in Moscow you are quite wrong. In fact, Putins Russia is about the only country where the zionists aren't in power. You are right saying that oligarch is basically just another word for greedy zionist.
And yes, when Putin came to power, Russia layed shattered, robbed and raped and even the president couldn't simply send them packing. But he could and did send clear signals and even act in some grave cases like chodorkosvsky.
Today it's reversed. Putin reestablished Russia as a major power and israel and zusa are weak.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 29, 2013 2:11:06 PM | 20

@Colm O' Toole the announcement of a common resistance front that includes Syria and the Golan is the most sincere strategic threat Israel will face over the next years. The Izzies seem to have not understood that yet. They are too smug to take it serious.

@Fernando - Edward Dark - the U.S. always uses such snobby idealistic fools for its "democracy promotion" color revolutions. They did it in Egypt too. Those folks then get thrown aside by the more "robust" forces. In the case of Syria it was part of the plan. The deluded "democracy lovers" were used as a propaganda diversion to hide the real attack by Gulf funded jihadists. It worked for a while. In the "western" media much longer than in the Syrian public. But it worked not long enough to achieve its goal. Inside Syria the government has won the information war. Outside Syria the media is still out of sync of the events but the public, at least here in Germany, has woken up and understands what is ongoing.

@Luca K - Israel can lament as much as it wants. Russia will not give up on Syria and if S-300 are needed to prevent a "no-fly zone" war on Syria they will be there. With Russian crews and air lifted in faster than the "west" can react.

@Pat Bateman - while the U.S. likes Al Qaeda fighting Hizbullah, the threat, which is becoming more and more real, is regional escalation. The next flare up could well be in Jordan and that is one country neither the U.S. nor Israel wants to see going down the toilet. I'd also expect more bombings in Turkey. The sultan's throne is already shaking. A few more bombs and he may be gone.

Posted by: b | May 29, 2013 2:13:49 PM | 21

21 b. the US has never been worried about regional escalation. The new old plan is to change borders ..

Posted by: somebody | May 29, 2013 2:45:08 PM | 22

Haha this is getting hilarious, US... tells... Hezbollah to stay out of Syria! Now thats some desperate hubris!

"We demand that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately," she said at a regular daily news briefing".

This is good though, it means that the al-Qaeda US-backed terrorists are loosing ground.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/29/us-syria-crisis-usa-idUSBRE94S12020130529

Posted by: Anonymous | May 29, 2013 2:49:46 PM | 23

Edward Dark's claim that rebels from rural areas are responsible for much of the senseless destruction in Aleppo has credibility. I recall that some of the worst atrocities in the Yugoslav civil war were carried out forces from rural areas against urban centers. The intensity of the hatred driving those incidents were in part fueled by poor peasants resentful of the more wealthy cities. The siege of Sarajevo 20 years ago was an example of this. In Syria this natural class hatred may have been magnified by the terrible drought over the last five years that have further impoverished many of the subsistence farmers.

Poor Edward Dark, he has helped unleash forces that he and his movement has no idea how to control. I do hope that he comes to his senses and realizes that backing the central government now is the only way to bring back peace.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2013 4:07:56 PM | 24

Edward Dark evidently follows an agenda. He wants to draw the attention away from payed terrorists and mass murderers toward the "rural Syrian population".

As for the S-300, b is basically right but there are quite many misunderstandings and mistakes swirling around.

A typical one:
One would need 1 - 2 years of training before using the S-300. That is right if one is talking about freshmen just entering the air force. There is a lot to learn for *any* newbie in air defense weapons handling. Things like details of missiles, software involved and down to mathematics (trajectory calculations) and, of course "reading and understanding the radar"; cheap saturation flying scrap is very different from airplanes trying to take an AD system out or from a serious attack with (at least some) serious missiles involved.

This, however, is true for *any* AD system. Once the basics are learned, understood, and practiced, changing from one system to another (and usually newer, more modern one) are comparably modest. Furthermore most if not all of this can be trained and practiced while the actual AD system is not yet delivered.

There are also many misconceptions about the S-300 system itself. Actually, saying "S-300" is rather vage and similar to saying "a sporty series 5 BMW car" (which can be anything from a 80ies model up to todays high end model).

To break it down in simple (somewhat oversimplified) terms:

Such a system consists of a command and control module, one or more radar (and processing) modules and a battery of launchers and, of course, of the missiles loaded on the launchers.

Each of those exist (by design) of multiple versions (e.g. tracked or wheeled), different generations and configuration levels, a.s.o.
Those elements must be connected to become a system and in a way that can't be easily jammed and can work under very harsh conditions.

As the elements for obvious reasons are put at quite a distance apart (and as wires by nature act as antennas whether one desires that or not) a seemingly simple upgrade of changing those "wires" (connecting the elements) ti fiber transmitting light actually is a very major improvement.

As one of the guiding principles behind Russian missile technology is to change the equation of ones cost vs. the enemies cost (as in "500 thousand $ missile taking down a 50 Million enemy jet") a certain modularity (although only really reached with S-300 and successors and modern systems like Buk) is "built-in" by design.

To put it rudely simple: An 80ies S-300 system, properly maintained and upgraded in critical parts, is *way beyond* zatos capabilities.

As for the red herring problems of delivery spread by some western sources b mentioned, this is of course bullsh*t.
Yes, it's (almost certainly) true; Russia doesn't keep large stock-piles of S-300 at the factories.
But, as b correctly interpreted the illustrative recent Russian snap exercises, Russia *does have* the capability to bring in complete S-300 batteries "over-night". Although, evidently, at high cost. Therefore I personally consider that message more a strategic one.

But there is a second source and a major one: Russias military, more precisely, their currently ongoing change from S-300 to S-400. Sure enough, Russia doesn't put those systems that they properly maintained and upgrade so long and that were in combat ready status yesterday on the junk yard.

And there is another misconception spread by western "news" outlets, namely, that zusa can take out S-300.
First, as explained before, this a akin to saying "my chryler can overtake a 5 series BMW" - it's meaningless nonsense.

Second the whole issue is way more compley, basically due to a "dimensional jump" in favour of Russia.
There are two variants, oor (out of reach) and ats vs. sta ratio.

Both basically coming down to tradionally rather limited ranges of AD systems, no matter whether artillery or missiles.
While one reads impressing values in brochures they are basically meaningless because they are valid only in certain ideal conditions (which the enemy will not grant in real combat). The real ranges for AD (on both sides) are considerably lower, typically in the 1 digit and lower 2 digit km ranges.
The oor problem was constructively made use of by very high altitude bombers of zusa. They basically relied on the simple fact that almost no AD missile went higher than 12 (and later on) 15 or 16 km.
The second variant is trickier. It derives from the fact that air-born anti-surface missiles have an inherent and major advantage in reach (and trajectory) over surface to air (like AD) missiles.
As almost all pre-S-300 AD systems had an effective reach of 20 to 30 km a fighter jet could fire a 30 to 40 km range air-to-surface missile and take out AD systems (usually after a spotter/marker aircraft relayed the necessary data).
This is, to a certain degree, even true for old S-300 systems (albeit with considerable risk for the pilots). It is however a zato wet dream for any upgrade or modern S-300 (and, of course, S-400) systems; those are basically almost-certain-death-zones for zato aircraft.

Summary:

Russia does have S-300s available, those are not "old junk", and Russia does have the capability and in fact even diverse ways (up to air transporting) of delivery to Syria. Furthermore, Syria does have personel to work with these systems and Russia does have their own on-board "S-300" with 100+ missiles in their flotilla.

Taken all major factors into account, b is perfectly right to use the term "checkmate" - which also explains israels desperate and extremely dirty attempts.

We could continue to discuss WW3 but that is meaningless because it won't happen (or only in a very limited, israel instigated variant, leading to the extermination of israel and, very probably, to worldwide *real* jew progromes).

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 29, 2013 4:22:03 PM | 25

@b 0 "the announcement of a common resistance front that includes Syria and the Golan is the most sincere strategic threat Israel will face over the next years."

I think that you are correct, though I note that in the al Nour 25th anniversary speech, Nasrallah was clear (At least by PressTV translation) that Hezbollah help vis a vis resistance in the Golan would be "moral support, financial help, and assistance with coordination."

Do you make anything different out of that?

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 4:31:06 PM | 26

@22 somebody

Hurryet is having neo-ottoman wet dreams.

Politics, especially at the level between sovereign powers, is about how to manage, or even better control, time and space. Turkey is under Nato rule and cannot pretend leading or dictating any tempo in the current game.

In 1916 Britain, and to a lesser degree France, were the dominant powers in the world. Today they are not. The fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost the imperial power the loss of control in the middle-east. The best it can do, and it's actually trying to do now, is to manage the strategic retreat.

The reference era to be compared to therefore is not 1916, when the West was still rising after 100 years of industrial metamorphosis. But probably the end of 1970's when the Chicago School ideology was trying to saddle back capitalism and the US and the slogan de jour was "America is back". It is obviously the ending of this era that we are witnessing, not its revival.

The gesticulations and the utterance of some political fools shouldn’t lead you to think that an escalation in the region is something that is not worrisome for the retreating power.

Posted by: ATH | May 29, 2013 4:45:39 PM | 27

"Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived Wednesday at a stalled meeting of Syria's divided opposition in Istanbul"

some one should advise Ahmed Dogulu, good luck afandi...


Syrian Opposition Under Imperial Tutelage

video is in arabic, french, but mostly english. looks like some one capturing it with a cell phone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RnoHG4XuUcE

Posted by: Rd. | May 29, 2013 4:48:17 PM | 28

@26 ATH:

Yes. Just because they 'make their own reality' there is no guarantee that fabricated reality will behave the way they expect.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 29, 2013 4:53:32 PM | 29

@ 17...
"And Russia isn't going to anything. The bear is all bark and no bite."

Hope you've got some really tasty sauce, or a big bag of sugar to sprinkle on those words ... when you have to eat them.

Putin has lots of tricks up his sleeve and has been preparing to make the Yankees look like the gutless fools they are for quite some time. Last year he rounded up several US "NGOs" and booted them out of Russia.
Russia can't afford to back down - and won't.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 29, 2013 5:08:09 PM | 30

"Russia can't afford to back down - and won't."

I believe that you are right, and that Libyan regime change by deceit at the Security Council was the last straw. And not just for Russia but for China also. For the sake of a tiny, and wholly pyrrhic, victory over one more unarmed opponent, the latest of many, NATO blew it.

After the humiliation of Libya, Russia and China drew a line in the sand. They have more sense than to boast about it or jeer at their enemy's impotence but their survival as sovereign and independent powers is staked.

On the other hand the US seems to be run by competing cliques of idiots ranging from neo-cons, still pursuing Stalin sixty years after his death, and Christian fundamentalists, led by con-men, to a Noah's Ark of philosophical weirdos. The grown ups however, on Wall St, don't want a real war. So there will not be one.

Let the back pedaling begin.

Posted by: bevin | May 29, 2013 5:58:05 PM | 31

Found it! (@ 28)
Here's the 'Reality' tract attributed to Karl Rove from a Ron Susskind article.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 29, 2013 6:14:28 PM | 32

b

Frankly, the global filters beyond your control you mentioned get quite unnerving sometimes.

Could you, please, point me/us to some information about these autofilters so as to avoid innocently stepping into that trap?

Thanks

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 29, 2013 6:20:09 PM | 33

#29 hoarse. I agree with your sentiments. Putin has been a very cautious leader and in the first years of his rule he avoided challenging the US -- the Russian economy was on the ropes and he needed all to use all of his political capital to fix that. After voices in the US power structure started making noises about inviting Ukraine and Georgia into Nato he finally did act -- provoked fool Saakavilli to challenge Russia and then gave him one big bloody nose. He was just daring Nato to object. Since then talk of Nato expanding further into Russia's sphere of interest has diminished considerably.

This move in Syria is pretty bold. I think it is a dangerous move and certainly hope that Putin knows what he doing. American influence is the ME is in free fall right now and we are in a strategic retreat. However, it is not in Russia's interest to remind the whole world that the US weakening -- a wounded bear can be much more dangerous than a healthy one.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2013 6:28:17 PM | 34

The Role of Turkey in the US-NATO-Israeli War on Syria
By Cem Ertür
Global Research, May 29, 2013

“Syria is worrying that it will be attacked by Turkey from above and by Israel from below. It is worrying that it will be squeezed between us like a sandwich.” [Israeli President Ezer Weizman (1993-2000), interview with Guneri Civaoglu,Caesarea, Israel, 11 June 1996] [1]
“Although Turkey has never taken part in a war alongside us, it is a positive factor for Israel that Syria has an enemy on its northern frontiers. Syria will never attack Turkey, but it cannot exclude the reverse.” [Former Israeli Defence Minister Uri Or (1995-1996), interview with Alain Gresh, Tel Aviv, October 1997] [2]
INTRODUCTION
When the U.S. and its allies launched the covert war on Syria in 2011, they were expecting that either Syria’s political establishment would collapse within a short duration or they would find a way to ignite an open war. As Syria’s leaders and people proved to be exceptionally resilient, increasingly more brutal means have been deployed to tear the country apart. Being at the forefront of this covert war in every respect, Turkey has been thoroughly complicit in monumental war crimes committed against the neighbouring people of Syria.
etc
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-role-of-turkey-in-the-us-nato-israeli-war-on-syria/5336827

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 7:04:39 PM | 35

problems with Edward Dark, a former supporter of the FSA, has had to come down to earth: its embarrassing to find oneself on the side of the cannibals!

=================
Unable to tweet as still suspended, but this Almonitor report is absurd: there never was a 'syrian revolution' : just an exercise in propaganda

(NOT a good read, as author is very much still in the Dark)
Tamara تمارا ‏@_Syriana_ 11h
Good read RT @AlMonitor How We Lost The Syrian Revolution http://almon.co/8sh by @edwardedark #Syria
Retweeted by Partisangirl
(a sample)
So what went wrong? Or to be more accurate, where did we go wrong? How did a once inspirational and noble popular uprising calling for freedom and basic human rights degenerate into an orgy of bloodthirsty sectarian violence, with depravity unfit for even animals? Was it inevitable and wholly unavoidable, or did it not have to be this way?
The simple answer to the above question is the miscalculation (or was it planned?) of Syrians taking up arms against their regime, a ruthless military dictatorship held together by nepotism and clan and sectarian loyalties for 40 years of absolute power. Former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford specifically warned about this in his infamous visit to Hama in the summer of 2011 just as the city was in the grip of massive anti-regime protests and before it was stormed by the Syrian army. That warning fell on deaf ears, whether by design or accident, and we have only ourselves to blame. Western and global inaction or not, we are solely responsible for our broken nation at the end of the day.
Nietzsche once said, "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” That has proved to be very prophetic in the Syrian scenario. Away from all the agendas, whitewashing, propaganda, and outright lies of the global media stations, what we saw on the ground when the rebel fighters entered Aleppo was a far different reality. It hit home hard. It was a shock, especially to those of us who had supported and believed in the uprising all along. It was the ultimate betrayal
=========================
So Assad is a 'monster'? Syria a military dictatorship? What 'uprising'? 'massive anti-regime protests'? What ever is he smoking?
Why assume Syria has bad govt because an Assad is in office? Take a look at the liberal 'democracies' for really rotten govt. Does syria really want to emulate FUKUSrael?

Yes, it was 'planned': simple requests for reform were hijacked.
Mr Dark is upset that an Assad was in office…he may prefer an Obama or Netanyahu

You can be sure Libyas versions of Mr Dark are also upset.But it’s the Darks who bear responsibility for this crisis.

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 7:08:01 PM | 36

A warning shot for Turkey-Qatar axis
By Alper Birdal and Yigit Gunay

A bombing in the Turkish town of Reyhanli on May 11 killed 51 people but was largely ignored by Turkish media. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the Syrian government - with no evidence.

Turkish hacker collective RedHack claims here that Turkish intelligence knew in advance that the Syrian jihadi outfit Jabhat al-Nusra was preparing three car bombs to be detonated inside Turkey. Erdogan remains mum.

The Reyhanli massacre was subjected to a press ban in Turkey after the ruling party's clumsy attempt to cover it up fell short. But

as far as the massacre is concerned, we believe it is possible to make a strong guess about the perpetrators.

Turkish media also did not really reflect upon why Syrian armed groups suddenly started losing Al-Qusayr, in western Syria. The fighters in Al-Qusayr belong to the Al-Farouq brigade. This is the group the leader of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD, the Kurdish in Northern Syria, ideologically close to the PKK in Turkey), Salih Muslims, referred to as in, "We have made a deal with them in Aleppo."

It is also the same murderous organization who said after having cutting out the heart out of a dead soldier and eating, "What is the problem? I have been butchering Alawites."
=================


1. so turkeys regime silences a cowed media on the bombings in Reyhanli

2. The cannibal admits he had been butchering alawites, so whats the problem??! Pity the western media when they gave him a chance(and oxygen) to defend himself and attack Assad didnt ask him about this.

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 7:28:00 PM | 37

#35, Dark does not bear responsibility for this crises. It is the Assad regime itself in the way they ruled for 40 years. They relied on brute force to maintain power and did not build institutions that would attract regular people's loyalty. There was a secular, Arab nationalistic movement that was basis of Baathism. The current regime purged its left wing, Nasser backing groups and turned the Party into a very narrow group that showed personal loyalty to the Assads.

Unfortunately, the only pragmatic solution is for these potential progressive forces to back the current government while it defeats an even worse disease. Then these people will have to just hope that once Assad restores his personal power that these people are not then sent into the Syrian Gulag and torture chambers (we all know about those chambers folks, for that is where the US CIA was sending our prisoners a decade back to be "interrogated")

It is quite amazing the lengths that Assad and Gaddafi went to please Western imperialism. Both governments were led by those who wielded power for powers sake and lost the people's respect.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2013 7:35:37 PM | 38


'In previous weeks, the leaders of three Arab countries had visited Washington: King Abdullah II of Jordan, Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, and the Saudi minister of Foreign Affairs, Saud Al Faisal.

They repeated the same message in meetings held separately: put your weight on the Syrian issue. A US official told the Wall Street Journal that the reason for asking the US to "put its weight" and lead the Syrian issue is because, "There is a need for someone to manage the players."

The two players these countries had been complaining about were Turkey and Qatar. These two had been sending huge amounts of money, weapons and ammunition to Islamic organizations, especially groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, without coordinating with the "other" players. '
http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-290513.html

lest we forget. the world cup 2022 has been given to QATAR!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/may/22/bundesliga-fifa-2022-world-cup-qatar

the heat is the issue for players, but why give QATAR the WC when its arming terrorists to destroy a sovereign state? can people tweet that to Blatter?

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 8:07:32 PM | 39

Footballers and QATAR may feel the heat!

The chief executive of the Bundesliga has issued an outspoken attack on Fifa's decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, describing it as "hard, if not impossible" to play the tournament in the Gulf's fierce heat of summer.

Speaking in London before Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund contest Saturday's Champions League final at Wembley, Christian Seifert said the Bundesliga and other leagues are "very upset" that they may have to reschedule their domestic competition to allow the World Cup to be played in the winter instead.

He said moving the World Cup to winter could leave Fifa open to a legal challenge, because the countries which made bids for 2022 did so on the basis that it would be a summer tournament, and they could ask for a re-vote.

"If you make a decision which is so far away from a sporting perspective, if it is so politically driven, it is wrong," Seifert said. "Maybe Fifa should change the claim [on its logo]: this is not 'For the good of the game.'"

Recalling the successful World Cup in Germany in 2006, with its teeming fan zones and party atmosphere in public spaces and on the streets, Seifert said: "I am convinced it is hard, if not impossible, to play a World Cup in the summer in Qatar. In Germany it was a special atmosphere, but I doubt that could work in 48 degree heat. Summer in Qatar is not the right time.

"The priority is the health of the players, and a decision was made here which ignores the health of the players."

etc
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/may/22/bundesliga-fifa-2022-world-cup-qatar

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 8:09:26 PM | 40

Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2013 7:35:37 PM | 37

'Then these people will have to just hope that once Assad restores his personal power..'

his what?

you must be smoking the same weed...

Are you sure we are talking abuot the same Assad? You sound like this fellow:

'Abdul Rahman admits he is a member of the so-called "Syrian opposition" and seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad:
After three short spells in prison in Syria for pro-democracy activism, Abdulrahman came to Britain in 2000 fearing a longer, fourth jail term.

"I came to Britain the day Hafez al-Assad died, and I'll return when Bashar al-Assad goes," Abdulrahman said, referring to Bashar's father and predecessor Hafez, also an autocrat.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34582.htm

but what 'democracy' did he have in mind? one like the US UK or maybe israel? 'Democracy' is a fig leaf that covers not much

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 8:44:12 PM | 41

@39 - Don't worry, they'll spend a truly fantastic sum of money to build the world's largest air conditioned soccer stadium. The fantastic sum of money will go to a western engineering firm like KBR, while the stadium itself is built by Pakistani slaves of course.

And round and round those Petrodollars go...

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 8:54:56 PM | 42

Heard the Larry King RT promo: The King of the Softball Question claims to like to "ask tough questions to those in power". The man has sucked Bill Clinton's dick (with questions, of course) more than Monica Lewinsky!

What the hell is RT doing? Is this a condition of the Syrian peace agreement or something? WTF?

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 9:11:42 PM | 43

@ToivoS

A few days ago, you claimed on another diary (now dormant) that the journalist Franklin Lamb makes stuff up. I have not seen any documentation from you yet to back up that allegation.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | May 29, 2013 9:11:54 PM | 44

so who are the opposition, whom he US and other actors support?

'In previous weeks, there was an interesting development under this perspective. Saudi Arabia, which is known to be in close relation with al-Qaeda groups in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and now in Syria and which keeps its distance from the Muslim Brotherhood, has convened the leaders of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in Riyadh.

All 12 people who went to Riyadh were members of the Syrian National Council, which is promoted by the US as "the legitimate government in Syria". Among them, was a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammad Faruq Tayfur. Tayfur came to an agreement with the Saudis on the withdrawal of Gassan Hitto, a US citizen and a Muslim Brotherhood member, from the presidency of the transitional government formed by the Council. '
http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-290513.html

the choice is now President Assad or one of the above

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 9:18:28 PM | 45

@ToivoS

A few days ago, you claimed on another diary (now dormant) that the journalist Franklin Lamb makes stuff up. I have not seen any documentation from you yet to back up that allegation.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | May 29, 2013 9:11:54 PM | 43

Toyboy knows lots abnout making stuff up

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 9:19:06 PM | 46

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 8:54:56 PM | 41

a minnow swims where whales fear to beach:

NZ push for Qatar to lose 2022 World Cup
updated 10:04
Published: 9:21AM Thursday May 30, 2013 Source: ONE News

Qatar's relaxed safety standards and "huge human rights abuses" have prompted calls for the country to lose the hosting rights for the 2022 Football World Cup.
The Council of Trade Unions fears more workers are potentially going to die in the creation of the World Cup venues than the number of players who will appear on the pitch during the tournament.
And they are calling for New Zealand Football, as a member of Fifa, to support a revote.
President Helen Kelly said hundreds of thousands of migrants are being brought in to build the structures needed to host the cup but they are working in terrible conditions.
etc
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/nz-push-qatar-lose-2022-world-cup-5451680

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 9:21:19 PM | 47

'All 12 people who went to Riyadh were members of the Syrian National Council, which is promoted by the US as "the legitimate government in Syria". Among them, was a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammad Faruq Tayfur. Tayfur came to an agreement with the Saudis on the withdrawal of Gassan Hitto, a US citizen and a Muslim Brotherhood member, from the presidency of the transitional government formed by the Council.

On the other hand, the Syrian National Council was formed in Qatar with direct US involvement. It is known that the general secretary of the organization, Mostafa Al-Sabbagh, is a Muslim Brotherhood member that is responsible for directing the policies of the organization in alignment with Qatar. '

http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-290513.html
US is fulfilling what used to be a British Empire role : Kingmaker
these are the people Edward Dark and Toyboy will be supporting to bring 'democracy'..whatever that is

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 9:24:39 PM | 48

@46 great article, thanks.

I saw this unfortuante tidbit, anyone have any insights?

"Yet the S-300 may not be as effective as the Russians believe because Israel, for one, has long ago conducted military exercises against Greek S-300 systems and thus it could be that Israel (and so the West) knows how to neutralize the S-300. Furthermore, Israel has just said that it will “know how to react if the S-300 Russian missiles leave for Syria."

Presumably the Greeks would be in no position - for a little cash - to deny their ZATO partners a chance to take a complete look at the system.

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 9:27:02 PM | 49

'After the fatal attack in Reyhanli, US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement of condolence. In a message constituted of just three sentences, it was mentioned that US would stand with its ally Turkey. The message did not condemn the perpetrators of the attack. Kerry only stressed, "how closely they were working in partnership with Turkey'

so did US stand by its ally Turkey when its owner Israel attacked the Mavi Marmara and Erdogan, for a time, appeaered to be statesman of unusual quality?

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 9:27:36 PM | 50

Boston Marathon bombing vs Reyhanli: did US send Erdogan a message?

'After the bombings in 2005 in London, the US government had issued a very detailed statement that was four paragraphs long. In other words, issuing a dry three-sentence-long message that does not condemn the perpetrators of an attack is not an appropriate diplomatic practice.

Moreover, after the attack at the Boston Marathon, the president and the prime minister of Turkey were very prompt in issuing a statement condemning the attack.

So could the attack on Reyhanli be a message to Turkey to "back off"? Just as the message given to Qatar in Somalia.

Message in a bomb
The outcome of the meeting between Erdogan and Obama is not exactly clear.

As far as Turkish mainstream media was concerned, the outcome was "consensus"; "Erdogan and Obama were in agreement on the issue of the necessity to oust Assad." There were a lot of reporters from Turkey in that press conference, which lasted for 38 minutes. Others watched it on TV or the Internet. Did they really watch it or did they all turn deaf?

In the question and answer session for the press, the first question was asked to Obama by an American reporter. The question was about tax. The next question to Erdogan was about the status of the relation with Israel and whether he would go to Gaza or not. Another US reporter asked Obama about the Ministry of Justice, the Associated Press leaks and the attack on Benghazi. To Erdogan, the question was the following: "In case US doesn't step in on the issue of Syria, what will you do about the bombing in Reyhanli?"

There is more. The US news channels broadcast the press conference live. But during the parts where Erdogan was speaking, the broadcast went back to the studio to analyze points Obama made about domestic issues. And this was true for all the channels.

Let's attribute this phenomenon to the haughtiness of the US news channels. But two of the reporters from Turkey who asked questions in the conference drew attention to very important issues. One asked Erdogan whether he had brought with him anything related to his claims of chemical weapons use in Syria. In summary, the response he got back was "We are already sharing all this information."

The same reporter asked Obama whether he would do something to oust Assad. Obama started his response with the claims of chemical weapon use and he reiterated the US thesis that he had been repeating in the last weeks: "We have evidence on the use of chemical weapons. But we need more intelligence on this."

He continued: "Independent of this, thousands died over there. Due to this, we need to increase the international pressure on the situation in Syria. We need to mobilize the international community. I don't believe anyone, including PM Erdogan, would want defend the idea of US intervening in Syria unilaterally and directly."

After that, another reporter from Turkey asked Obama once more: "You said Assad must go. How and when will he go?" Maybe he was trying to get a sentence from Obama worthy of a newsflash. But the response wasn't that exciting. The US president pointed to the international conference to be held in Geneva and repeated his promise to "continue to help the opposition".

The first Geneva conference on Syria was not a success. Its most important result was not "consensus" but the buying of time for each side to strengthen their position. It can be said that the sides are not going to the second conference with expectations of "consensus".

The West has convened the Muslim Brotherhood-centered armed marauders and plunderers that they call opposition under a new umbrella in the Syrian National Council, making a more open political engagement possible. And then it got this team which like a jack-in-the-box produced Muslim Brotherhood figures like Muaz Al Khatib and Gassan Hitto to form a government. In a sense, if the West asks for "consensus for a transition government" in the second Geneva conference, it will have torn its own umbrella.

This new Geneva conference will help the sides once again to buy time - and strengthen their political positions. On the US side, the process will establish the curbing of the impact of the Qatar-Turkey block in the opposition forces. To the extent that they don't want to be restrained, the message to "back off" will be given with exploding bombs.

Alper Birdal and Yigit Gunay are members of the editorial board of Turkey's soL newspaper.

http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-290513.html

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 9:30:18 PM | 51

tough Russia is much stronger now, there is precedent for this situation:

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

"In September 1997, the Turkish Navy and Coastguard began to board and search vessels heading to Cyprus, including Russian-flagged vessels in international waters. The situation alarmed not only the Greek Cypriots, but their strategic military and economic partners in Athens and Moscow, evidenced by official statements in October 1997 indicating that Greece and Russia would engage in war with Turkey if Cyprus was attacked or blockaded."

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 10:02:37 PM | 52

a tale of 2 military aids: one is legal the other is not

Israel Channels Weapons and Military Aid to Al Qaeda in Syria
Interview with Michel Chossudovsky
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, May 29, 2013
Press TV: Mr. Chossudovsky, today we have Israel threatening Moscow possibly with force. How does Israel play into this equation and how much physical involvement can we expect from Israel?
Chossudovsky: Well, first I should say that Israel is supporting the insurgency. In other words, it is supporting al-Qaeda in Syria.This is not known to public opinion. Through the Golan Heights, it is supporting terrorist units of al-Nusrah, which are fighting the Syrian government.It has logistics, weapons supplies, Israeli vehicles going into Syrian territory; it also has a hospital facility for the rebels located in the Golan Heights.
So, in effect, right from the outset Israel has been involved in supporting the various factions, the so-called Islamist factions, which are, as we know, mercenaries trained in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
So, in effect, we have to ask ourselves who are the main military actors in the Syrian war theater. The al-Nusrah rebels, which allegedly represent the opposition, are supported by the Western military alliance and Israel.
These are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance and they are waging a war against the Syrian people.
Now when the European Union decides to lift the arms embargo, what they really have in mind is to channel military aid to this mercenary force, which is supported by foreign powers.
That is a very different position to that of Russia or Iran for that matter, which provide military assistance to a sovereign country to a government through bilateral agreements.
In effect what we are also dealing with is Western and Israeli military aid channeled to a terrorist entity, which is illegal under the international law but it is also in violation of the US’ anti-terror legislation.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/29/306026/west-insincere-in-its-syria-policy/
Press TV: Mr. Chossudovsky, recently US senator John Kerry went to Syria via Turkey. How do you interpret this visit?
Chossudovsky: Well, John Kerry who is secretary of the state, is actually in blatant violation of the US’ guidelines on anti-terrorism.
There is an anti-terrorist list, there is a list of terrorist organizations, which is made up by the State Department and John Kerry is negotiating, interfacing, with representatives of that terrorist organization and the same thing is true for John McCain when he crosses into Syria or the same thing is true with the former ambassador to Syria Robert Steven Ford, who is also supporting these terrorists.
So we have to distinguish between military aid through official channels, from government to government, which is what the Russians are providing to Syria on the one hand, and the type of assistance which Israel, Britain, France, the United States, are channeling to an illegal organization (according to their own criteria).
So in other words these Western officials should be arrested on anti-terrorist charges because they are in violation of international law.
Press TV: Despite the fact that the European Union has lifted the arms embargo on Syria, how optimistic are you that the Geneva II talks would bear fruit and resolve the Syrian crisis politically?
Chossudovsky: Well, I think that the Western leaders are, in effect, attempting to build peace and democracy by threatening war. Essentially that is what they are doing, heightening the threats, channeling weapons to the terrorists,
Incidentally those terrorist have been decimated by the Syrian Armed forced, so in effect the Western military alliance is in a dead end.
So, they are now considering all the options
But essentially if they were concerned and sincerely committed to the peace process, they would immediately cease supporting a terrorist organization which is linked to al-Qaeda and which is involved in atrocities and killings in Syria.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-channels-weapons-and-military-aid-to-al-qaeda-in-syria/5336767

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 10:04:07 PM | 53

Though Russia is much stronger now, there is precedent for this situation in the Cyprus Missile Crisis.

"In September 1997, the Turkish Navy and Coastguard began to board and search vessels heading to Cyprus, including Russian-flagged vessels in international waters. The situation alarmed not only the Greek Cypriots, but their strategic military and economic partners in Athens and Moscow, evidenced by official statements in October 1997 indicating that Greece and Russia would engage in war with Turkey if Cyprus was attacked or blockaded."

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 10:08:39 PM | 54

There appears to be something very close to hysteria going on in Israel if the news reports in Haaretz and JPOST are anything to go by.

They certainly appear to be reporting that this Israeli govt is hell-bent on attacking any S-300 missile batteries inside Syria under the assumption that the Russians will simply unload the containers, hand Assad an Allen-key, then say "Ring us up if you need any over-the-phone assistance".

Which is an odd assumption to make, since I would have thought that a commercial transaction of this kind would oblige the supplier to demonstrate to the client that the goods were fully operational BEFORE they handed over of the keys.

In which case, of course, any of those patented Israeli sneak-attack-retaliatory-strikes that are pre-emptively-counter-attacking something that the other side hasn't actually done yet will end up:
a) killing a lotta' Russian soldiers and
b) have to be carried out into the teeth of those Russian ship-based AA missile defences.

Perhaps they haven't thought this thru enough.....

Posted by: Johnboy | May 29, 2013 10:33:14 PM | 55

on those who think the elder Assad was a brutral tyrant, lets take a little look at history

On coming to power in 1970, Afiz Assad—the current president’s father– tried to overcome the Sunni opposition by encouraging private enterprise and weakening the party’s commitment to socialism, and by opening space for Islam. This, however, did little to mollify the Muslim Brothers, who organized new riots and called for a Jihad against Assad, denigrating him as “the enemy of Allah.” His “atheist” government was to be brought down and Alawi domination of the state ended. By 1977, the Mujahedeen were engaged in a guerrilla struggle against the Syrian army and its Soviet advisers, culminating in the 1982 occupation of the city of Hama. The Syrian army quelled the occupation, killing 20,000 to 30,000.
In an effort to win the Islamists’ acquiescence, Assad built new mosques, opened Koranic schools, and relaxed restrictions on Islamic dress and publications. At the same time, he forged alliances with pro-Islamic countries and organizations, including Sunni Sudan, Shia Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. While these measures secured some degree of calm, Islamists remained a perennial source of instability and the government was on continual guard against “a resurgence of Sunni Islamic fundamentalists.” [

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-s-uprising-in-context/29221

the issue was then and is now one of sunni fundamentalism vs a secular state

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 10:34:00 PM | 56

guest77 (48)

I saw this unfortuante tidbit, anyone have any insights?

"Yet the S-300 may not be as effective as the Russians believe because Israel, for one, has long ago conducted military exercises against Greek S-300 systems and thus it could be that Israel (and so the West) knows how to neutralize the S-300. Furthermore, Israel has just said that it will “know how to react if the S-300 Russian missiles leave for Syria."

That's Bull*it.

Unfortunately a post of mine which went to some length disolving some S-300 related misconceptions didn't pass the ominous global filter ...

To talk about "the S-300" is, when not talking very generally, pure nonsense and similar to a statement like "My car is faster than a 5-class BMW". It's nonsense because "S-300" is (like "BMW 5") a class and not a specific model.

The first point to make the above statement (Greece S-300) nonsensical is the simple fact that Russia (like other countries) of course does not sell their current model in the best version but "export versions" or older generations. So, whatever tests with whatever S-300 Greece happens to have mean close to nothing.

Second, the S-300 system consists of diverse "building blocks", most of which are upgradeable and systems currently in service in Russia (and often others, in particular non-zato countries, too) have been upgraded.
Such upgrades are by no means marginal but often rather achieve much more capable systems, that, for instance have very considerably increased anti-saturation capabilities (a classical attack vector against AD systems).

Furthermore Syria isn't that big a country with quite few attractve major targets. This leads to a situation where overlapping denial zones can be established with rather few systems; those overlapping systems offer very strongly enhanced system protection, in particular when complemented with mid-range systems (which Russia typically does).

Furthermore, due to reasons I explained in my filtered post (and am to lazy to type it again and again) most vectors to take out AD systems do simply not work or only work with very much degraded success rates against S-300 (or better) systems.

To put it bluntly:

According to credible and serious sources the realistic kill rate of israels zusa made "iron dome" is around 5% against sophisticated targets and in the 25% - 30% range against primitive old scuds and alike. The respective S-300 (assuming a mid-level system typical for existing installations) kill rates are around 90% - 95%.

There is a reason for the zato nations and israel to make so much noise about and against Russias S-300 delivery ..

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 29, 2013 10:37:00 PM | 57

@54 Thanks for that info, makes a lot of sense.

Just FYI and for others: Re: The Filter I've only ever noticed it zapping my stuff if I've included a url link.

"example.com" => "example DOT com" and ctrl+C ctrl+V until the post goes up are our friends in this case.

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 10:42:45 PM | 58

LOL. My post about defeating the filter got filtered. Bravo.

I just said only time I've ever lost anything is if it contains a url link. In which case replacing the dot/com with DOT usually works.

@54 thanks for the info. Makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 10:45:39 PM | 59

@53

proving you can't negotiate with fascists. They have no conception of justice, only bigotry and "might is right".

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 10:47:01 PM | 60

@b#21:

There may well be many deluded Democracy Lovers in Syria, but I question whether nom de guerre, Edward Dark is really one of them.

@Fernando - Edward Dark - the U.S. always uses such snobby idealistic fools for its "democracy promotion" color revolutions. They did it in Egypt too. Those folks then get thrown aside by the more "robust" forces. In the case of Syria it was part of the plan. The deluded "democracy lovers" were used as a propaganda diversion to hide the real attack by Gulf funded jihadists.

Dark talks a good line about nonviolence, but some of the spin seems just too good to be true. He claims that nice American, Ambassador Ford, gave them such good advice and that it is their own fault for not paying attention:

How did a once inspirational and noble popular uprising calling for freedom and basic human rights degenerate into an orgy of bloodthirsty sectarian violence, with depravity unfit for even animals? Was it inevitable and wholly unavoidable, or did it not have to be this way?

The simple answer to the above question is the miscalculation (or was it planned?) of Syrians taking up arms against their regime, a ruthless military dictatorship held together by nepotism and clan and sectarian loyalties for 40 years of absolute power. Former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford specifically warned about this in his infamous visit to Hama in the summer of 2011 just as the city was in the grip of massive anti-regime protests and before it was stormed by the Syrian army. That warning fell on deaf ears, whether by design or accident, and we have only ourselves to blame. Western and global inaction or not, we are solely responsible for our broken nation at the end of the day.

Oh yes, the mythically early peaceful days of the protests during the Summer of Love-2011. Yet neither of the links he gives about Ford's sage advice are about the power of nonviolence nor even as "early" as the summer: The first article is from September 28, 2011, the second from a few weeks ago (keeping in mind that some of the insurgent groups are documented as attacking government forces as early as April 2011). The only "miscalculation of Syrians taking up arms against their regime," that Ford warned against in the fall of 2011, was that it was too early to fight, that they should wait until Assad was softened up by more sanctions:

Ford, who had a front-row seat to Iraq's sectarian civil war, is strongly advising the opposition against a turn to arms. "It would be a mistake," he says, not least because "you want to be sure that if you're even contemplating this, you have a way to know that whatever you're going to do militarily is going to be effective ... I very frankly say to people, you don't have enough force to fight the Syrian army, you're not even close. We have to be realistic."

... Ford and others are cautioning the opposition to wait for pressure and sanctions to bite, and the economy to crumble further rather than pick up arms. "Time isn't on Assad's side," he says.
...

Ford also isn't looking to re-engage Syrian officials. The ambassador ... says he has not had a high-level political discussion with the Syrian government in weeks. His last meeting with an official was Tuesday, at the Foreign Ministry, a "routine issue about embassy operations and visas," Ford says. "We just have nothing to say," he adds. "They know we are looking for change on the ground."

The recent article doesn't even pretend that Ford met with nonviolent activists in his latest visit. The MREs were delivered to the FSA:

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford briefly crossed into northern Syria on Thursday to meet with Syrian opposition leaders.

It is Ford’s first visit back to Syria since he left in February, 2012, when the U.S. embassy suspended operations in Damascus as the opposition effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al Assad developed into a full-blown civil war. Since then, Ford has become the Obama administration’s point man on Syria and point of contact with the Syrian opposition.
...
A State Department official confirmed that Ford had “spent some time” at a border crossing to discuss the situation in Syria with members of the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian opposition. Ford had gone to the border to participate in the U.S. government’s delivery of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) that the U.S. is providing to the Syrian Coalition and Supreme Military Council.

National Public Radio had earlier cited Syrian activists as saying Ford met with a rebel leader from Aleppo who thanked him for the delivery of some food aid being provided by the U.S.

Officials did not want to provide additional details of Ford’s visit for security reasons. ”Obviously, this a dangerous area so we don’t want to get into the movement of diplomatic personnel,” said the official.

It is ironic that zionists pull out all of the stops to prevent traditional nonviolent tools of BDS being deployed against Israel, so that American activists have only been able to make tiny steps forward in limited boycotts and divestments. Yet Syrian "activists" like Dark talk as though their nonviolent actions against the Assad government take place in a vacuum. It is as though the crippling Sanctions imposed on Syria over the past decade do not exist. As though rural Syrians, who have been hit hardest by American sanctions and other IMF-sanctioned "economic reforms," have no cause for their grievances.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | May 29, 2013 10:47:48 PM | 61

Posted by: Johnboy | May 29, 2013 10:33:14 PM | 52

only israel is allowed nukes and military defence

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 10:48:14 PM | 62

why is the US so keen to arm islamic terrorists in their war on syria? Not because US is interested in freedom democracy or human rights:

'When democracy-hating Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet and paradise for foreign investors, violently put down a popular uprising last year, Washington sat on its hands. Sometimes raw interest trumps principle, explained the United States’ newspaper of record, The New York Times, as if US foreign policy is normally governed by principle, and departures from it in favor of interests are aberrations, rather than the opposite.
The cracking of Shiite skulls in Bahrain was ably assisted by the Sunni petro-monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which dispatched tanks and troops—the same democracy-abominating countries which have taken a lead role in demanding that Assad undertake democratic reforms. Every one of them absolutist states, they have joined the United States, Britain and France in a preposterously named “friends of Syrian democracy” group. Qatar, one of its members, was instrumental in providing material and propaganda support to the Libyan rebels—many of whom, like their Syrian counterparts, were militant Islamists. The spectacle of the Gulf Cooperation Council aligning itself with what is called a pro-democracy rebellion is a bit like the Wall Street Journal backing the communist-era Solidarity trade union as the true face of socialism in Poland. Whatever Solidarity was, it was not the true face of socialism, which is why the Wall Street Journal backed it.
...
No, Washington’s ambition to overthrow Syria’s Ba’athist state is a longstanding one which pre-dates the current uprising. The US state has been keen to install a pro-imperialist government in Damascus since at least 1957, when it tried unsuccessfully to engineer a coup there. In 2003, the United States initiated a program of economic warfare against Syria, and in 2005, if not earlier, started to funnel money to opposition elements to mobilize energy for regime change.
Apart from Syria’s irritating Washington by allying with Iran, backing Hezbollah, and providing material assistance to Palestinian national liberation movements, the country exhibits a tendency shared by all US regime change targets: a predilection for independent, self-directed, economic development. This is expressed in state-ownership of important industries, subsidies to domestic firms, controls on foreign investment, and subsidization of basic commodities. These measures restrict the profit-making opportunities of US corporations, banks and investors, and since it is their principals who hold sway in Washington, US foreign policy is accordingly shaped to serve their interests.

The US State Department complains that Syria has “failed to join an increasingly interconnected global economy,” which is to say, has failed to turn over its state-owned enterprises to private investors, among them Wall Street financial interests. The State Department is aggrieved that “ideological reasons” continue to prevent the Assad government from liberalizing Syria’s economy. As a result of the Ba’athists’ ideological fixation on socialism, “privatization of government enterprises is still not widespread.” The economy “remains highly controlled by the government.” [14]

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-s-uprising-in-context/29221

US regime uses expendable islamic terrorists as a proxy weapon, saving US troops and Regime public relations bak home

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 11:00:21 PM | 63

Johnboy (52)

In which case, of course, any of those patented Israeli sneak-attack-retaliatory-strikes that are pre-emptively-counter-attacking something that the other side hasn't actually done yet will end up:
a) killing a lotta' Russian soldiers and
b) have to be carried out into the teeth of those Russian ship-based AA missile defences.

That's hardly more than israel wet dreams.

For a starter the often quoted israeli "power" against Russia derived from the fact that many israelis came from Russia works the other way around, too.

More importantly though, the quality of military forces doesn't depend on high-tech weapons (which is israels major bet) but on intelligence, professionality and troups. Just remember Hezollah vs. israel ...

And it depends on geography and facts on the ground - a factor often overlooked. For instance, due to geographic factors (too many people on too small an area and in particular friends too close to foes) no side will use nuclear weapons.
In the end a war in syria or israel will come down to a conventional war. And Russia simply can bring way more troups and material into the theater than zusa can even dream of. And they can do it way cheaper.

Sure, israel can create some damage. But only once and at the extreme risk of its complete destruction.
Which leads us to yet another geographic factor. israel being so small and structured as it happens to be could be severely crippled to de facto death with 48 hours by Russia and there is plain nothing israel could do against it. Even *if* - which can be strongly doubted - zusa would help israel they'd arrive too late.

That's btw. in my minds eye the message of Iskanders possibly being delivered (and sure ready for express shipment) to syria.

And Iskander *is* a message; that's how Russia employs them. Iskander is Russias - below the nuclear barrier - final threat. That's what they threatened against zusa "missile shield" in europe and that's what they bring into "cannon boat" position against israel.

And it is a veritable statement for a simple reason: zato has *nothing* that would come even close to a capability to stop that beast approaching with mach 5+, highest class evasive capabilities and a CEP of a few meters.

That's btw. a point often overlooked. Due to kinetic energy some Russian extremely high-speed weapons (starting with the sunburn) basically offer the killing effect of small nuclear payload missiles without crossing the nuclear barrier. At the same time that extreme speed leaves almost no reaction time to adversaries.

Short version: israel (and, probably to a lesser degree, zusa) will continue to make lots of noise - but they won't risk war. Simple as that.

Because in the end it's facts that count and not noise or PR.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 29, 2013 11:07:32 PM | 64

I am not sure if this article on creativesyria.com has been linked already, its 6 weeks old, but in case it hasn't, I found it well worth the read, especially since it deals with what this Syrian crisis is apparently all about. Here its intro (not in blockquote).

The mother of all deadly assumptions of the Syria crisis: “The Syrian people” are just like me.

by Camille Otrakji

When the first small demonstrations started to take place in March 2011, many Syrians imagined a genie eager to make their wishes come true. From media coverage of Tunisia and Egypt that romanticized the power of “the people” they got the impression that their personal aspirations and dreams will materialize when the magical Arab Spring tour train finally reaches Syria.

One day a dozen Syrian leftists would meet at a house and declare a list of 10 “demands” that they post on some Facebook page. Their list informs the President that now “the Syrian people” demand liberal reforms, democracy, human rights, secularism and all those goodies one finds on the left. The next day, a Shaikh leading a demonstration in Banias reads out from a balcony the demands of “the Syrian people”. Those demands included allowing 1200 school teachers wearing the face veil to go back to teaching and also ending mixed gender education for students in Syrian schools and universities. (“The Syrian people” also demanded lowering the price of electricity according to the Shaikh).[see clip of March 18th 2011 demo here]

Then you have the foreign policy “no Iran and no Hizballah” demands of the Syrian people, or the economic demands where “the Syrian people” either want more socialism and a better distribution of wealth (if you are a communist opposition leader), or “The Syrian people” want the country to have proper free market economy where business owners will be able to trade freely and where Saudi/Qatari/Turkish/American and European new allies will help build mega projects, if you are one of those rich businessmen I had dinner with 2 years ago.

On the regime’s side one learns that “the Syrian people” are all happily and forever dedicated to the cause of “Mouqawama” … resistance. They eat and breathe resistance to American and Israeli hegemony, they want their country to continue paying the heavy price it has been paying for decades (since independence) standing up to any foreigner that threatens Arab independence and dignity.

Turkey’s Prime minister and Qatar’s Shaikh Qaradawi told us, indirectly, from day 1 that “the Syrian people” want the Muslim Brotherhood in power (with Bashar, initially, allowed to stay as a figurehead). Prime Minister Erdogan promptly organized a conference for Syrian opposition that was dominated by Brotherhood figures. He publicly threatened the Syrian President (his closest friend a week earlier) that he, Erdogan, is watching closely and will not allow Assad to fail to respect the wishes of the Syrian people. Qatar’s Qardawi on the other hand, said Assad is a great guy but, his regime is horrible and it must be replaced and reminded Assad that he always warned him that his people want him to work with the Brotherhood but Assad did not listen. Qardawi appears to consider his audience at the Mosque in Qatar a part of “the Syrian people” when he says “we want” or “we will not accept”. In other words, “the Syrian people” are merely a coherent part of the larger Islamic nation that has a stake in the change that must take place in Syria. The Syrian people want what the Islamic nation wants and they reject what it rejects. When Qaradawi spoke against the regime’s initial use of force against the Syrian revolution he said “These revolutions are peaceful, they do not carry a sword or a rifle … only carrying the Quran and only calling Allah Akbar“.

Western governments and their media outlets that almost always promote policies advocated by spokespersons at the department of state, were adamant that what is happening in Syria is simply “The people” courageously fighting to topple Assad just like their predecessors in Tunisia and Egypt decisively rebelled and changed their dictators in a few weeks. Former French foreign minister Alain Juppe camped, for months, at the UN security council trying to get a resolution that would allow him to send NATO bombers to help “The Syrian people” settle their account with President Assad just like Mr. Juppe has an account to settle with him because Juppe’s mentor, Former President Jacques Chirac was humiliated by Assad after failing to topple him between 2005 and 2007. Similarly, American Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford felt he has sufficient justification to totally disregard diplomatic agreements and protocol when he went to Hama to support “The Syrian people” against their leadership.

Two years have passed since the start of the crisis and neither the regime nor the opposition got to celebrate victory. Aside from the obvious fact that both sides have sufficient military strength to ensure they cannot be defeated with ease any time soon, the main reason neither side won this war is that millions of Syrians are committed to side 1 and millions more believe in side 2.

continued...

Posted by: Juan Moment | May 29, 2013 11:20:52 PM | 65

further, Syria is spoken of as being 'repressive'...but in what way? Its a useful exercise to examine& highlight some of the buzzwords used by the Wall Street Journal, and get an idea of their line of thinking on Syria:

'The Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation are equally displeased. “Hafez al-Assad’s son Bashar, who succeeded him in 2000, has failed to deliver on promises to reform Syria’s socialist economy.”
Moreover,
The state dominates many areas of economic activity, and a generally REPRESSIVE environment marginalizes the private sector and prevents the SUSTAINABLE development of new enterprises or industries. Monetary FREEDOM has been gravely marred by state price CONTROLS and INTEFERENCE.
[...]
The REPRESSIVE business environment, burdened by heavy state INTERVENTION, continues to retard ENTREPRENEURIAL activity and prolong economic stagnation. Labor REGULATIONS are RIGID, and the LABOR MARKET suffers from state INTERFERENCE and CONTROL.
…systemic non-tariff barriers severely constrain FREEDOM to trade. Private investment is deterred by heavy bureaucracy, direct state INTERFERENCE, and political instability. Although the number of private banks has increased steadily since they were first permitted in 2004, government influence in the financial sector remains extensive. [15]
The US Library of Congress country study on Syria refers to “the socialist structure of the government and economy,” points out that “the government continues to CONTROL strategic industries,” mentions that “many citizens have access to subsidized public housing and many basic commodities are heavily subsidized,” and that “senior REGIME members” have “hampered” the LIBERALIZATION of the economy. [16]\


http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-s-uprising-in-context/29221

so US stands for freedom 'liberal' ideas, against repression, control; treats labor(working people) as a 'market/object' (syrias 'socalist govt' treats workers as people). These sorts of words repeated over and over provide readers of the WSJ with their readymade view on syria, conditioning them. US = 'freedom' Syria(them) = control/repression

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 11:23:48 PM | 66

Brian #43 and rusty #45:

Franklin Lamb is not to be trusted:

Well there is this:
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2012/10/franklin-lamb-again.html

and this crazy article:

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2012/08/28/us-preparing-for-a-post-israel-middle-east/

I used to read Lamb at Counterpunch. He had a unique spin on things. Then I began to realize that uniqueness that attracted me was likely fabrication. He was making things up I wanted to believe, but unfortunately I had accept he was just playing to my prejudices. In short, he is not to be believed.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2013 11:32:04 PM | 67

I used to read Lamb at Counterpunch. He had a unique spin on things. Then I began to realize that uniqueness that attracted me was likely fabrication. He was making things up I wanted to believe, but unfortunately I had accept he was just playing to my prejudices. In short, he is not to be believed.
Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2013 11:32:04 PM | 63

BUT:

It is quite amazing the lengths that Assad and Gaddafi went to please Western imperialism. Both governments were led by those who wielded power for powers sake and lost the people's respect.
Posted by: ToivoS | May 29, 2013 7:35:37 PM | 37

spin? Gadafi had/has and Assad has the support of most of their people.

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 11:47:30 PM | 68

@61

That's an excellent takedown of the boneheaded notion of "nationalism". Thanks.

Posted by: guest77 | May 29, 2013 11:50:18 PM | 69

Pat Lang sums it up well:

What a great way to start WW3 this would be. Israel attacks Russian missile deliveries, kills Russians, Russians attack Israel... Presto! The Guns of July. Guess who would lose the most in that deal. What the hell are we playing at? I listened to Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut try to speak coherently about the Syria crisis this morning. He couldn't do it! All that came out of his mouth were platitudes and frequently they were mutually contradictory platitudes.

And then there are the two Johns. McCain can't help himself. He has become a raving madman bent on war everywhere against anyone available. Kerry is just pathetic, a bumbling, conceited fool who thinks charm is the touchstone that will open all doors for him. pl

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 29, 2013 11:50:22 PM | 70

@61
';From media coverage of Tunisia and Egypt that romanticized the power of “the people” they got the impression that their personal aspirations and dreams will materialize when the magical Arab Spring tour train finally reaches Syria'

yes...there was 'media coverage' of the 'arabspring'(US patent pending); things began to go pear shape when the same spring sprang up in Libya and was resisted by most libyans, but supported by QATAR and the NATO war machine: then the media coverage changed. Witness DemoacracyNow....which took a taxi to the dark side of Libya

What we see in Syria is that same 'arabspring'...complete with cannibals

Posted by: brian | May 29, 2013 11:52:00 PM | 71

Austria gets it right on the illegality of furnishing arms to people attempting to overthrow a government -- read about it here and here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 29, 2013 11:56:10 PM | 72

68) Austria is by its constitution and international treaties after World War II neutral ie belonged neither to the Western nor Soviet Bloc and still is not part of NATO. Business connections with Russia are strong.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 12:40:25 AM | 73

McCains office reacted - they should have kept silent

“As the Syrian Emergency Task Force has said: ‘Senator McCain did not go to Syria to meet with anyone named Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim. Two members of our organization were present in the meeting, and no one called himself by either name.’”

Rogers said that if the man in the photo turns out to actually be Mohamed Nour, that is “regrettable.”

“A number of the Syrians who greeted Senator McCain upon his arrival in Syria asked to take pictures with him, and as always, the Senator complied,” Rogers said. “If the individual photographed with Senator McCain is in fact Mohamed Nour, that is regrettable. But it would be ludicrous to suggest that the Senator in any way condones the kidnapping of Lebanese Shia pilgrims or has any communication with those responsible. Senator McCain condemns such heinous actions in the strongest possible terms,” Rogers said.

Problem is - the photo in question shows McCain posing with western approved opposition general Salim Idriss and the two kidnappers. One of them is showing his gun, so clearly is the bodyguard. Should not the US be informed that Salim Idriss is using kidnappers as body guards? Or do they really suggest that Salim Idriss did not know the men he was posing with?

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 1:37:57 AM | 74

Has anyone ever met this "Edward Dark"? Might be a hologram produced in some State Department spin factory, a guy that changes his position in accordance to the prevailing winds (now not blowing Westward so hard), allowing for a face-saving climbdown from the intransigent "Assad must go" position. "Yep, this Allepite (or whatever the Hell it is) activist has opened our eyes to the dark underbelly of the revolution" type thing.
FFS, when I got through reading the AL Monitor piece I felt like I'd just kissed the Damascus Dyke itself...

Posted by: Sasha | May 30, 2013 1:51:11 AM | 75

71) He has been posting on twitter since the start and his narrative is consistent. It is just getting mainstream now.
Another one reporting similar stuff from a similar perspective and using his real name on twitter is Fadi Salem.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 2:09:47 AM | 76

Here's one of the most ignorant/naive articles I've read on the situation in Syria.:

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/05/23/hezbollah-escalates-syrian-civil-war/

This individual is not okay with Hezbollah getting in on the "conflict" but not a peep about salafists and their brutal attacks on Syrian civilians. Not an iota on how Israeli intelligence is involved from the beginning in the destruction of Syria.

This individual RS seems to believe that this is a righteous battle against Assad. LOL! First he has no clue what the "rebels" are planning for Syria should they succeed in their mission. Second, the opposition are but pawns in a much bigger war in the making underwritten by Israel, the U.S., Saudis and Nato.

It's obvious that there are certain of these parties trying to widen this conflict into Lebanon. Hezbollah no doubt see what's happening a mile away. Israel will find a way to get involved in Syria and later Lebanon beyond intelligence operations so Hezbollah would be damned if they do and damned if they don't get involved. Dragging Lebanon into the conflict was always part of Israel's plan. Getting the "rebels" to provoke a response from Hezbollah was always part of the plan. So, the question is: is it better to get involved now on Syrian soil or wait for the inevitable attack on Lebanese soil by the same parties that make up the Syrian "opposition". Whichever way you look at it; this war would eventually end up on Hezbollah's turf.

RS seems to think this is a foolish move on Hezbollah's part, but is it? He seems to think they've crossed the Rubicon. Really? He forgets that the Russians are ready to defend their interests in Syria and the region. What if Hezbollah succeed in squashing the opposition's momentum while the Americans have their hands tied by the Russians?

Of course, as usual those crazy Israelis who thumb their nose at the Security Council are the wild card. I wonder what the Russians will do if the Israelis get involved in Al-Qusayr on the pretext that they want to stop Hezbollah from acquiring chemical weapons?

The Russians better send in the heavy artillery now. Israel might want to start WWIII, but you can bet that if that happens Israelis will then take a seat on the sidelines and let the other parties involved suffer all the damage.

Posted by: kalithea | May 30, 2013 2:26:31 AM | 77

@72 Well, just getting mainstream now is pretty good timing, coinciding with the reversal of fortune of the zealots. If he is what I think he could be, he might be just one of a slew of them, all with competing narratives, and the suitable one for the moment gets nudged into prominence. I always thought this whole Twitter/Facebook madness was phony. That bitch Hillary was trying to get unfettered internet access declared a "fundamental human right" or some such idiocy, probably to subvert the Chinese.
Forgive me - my paranoia's got paranoia!

ps I'll check out the other one. Thanks!

Posted by: Sasha | May 30, 2013 2:29:59 AM | 78

@73
richard silverstein zionist lite?

Posted by: brian | May 30, 2013 2:53:42 AM | 79

74 - sure, twitter is a tool of disinformation - however it is open to all/or most - so every side gets a chance to spread their stuff and - to be skeptical, use common sense and Occam's razor helps - virtual reality is not reality on the ground and most people's motives do not follow propaganda -
however, Twitter, the blog sphere et al has taken the sole interpreting power of events from the main stream media ...
sure, Hillary assuming US superior culture considered the new media tools to spread influence, the assumption being faulty, these tools also work in reverse ...

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 3:30:34 AM | 80

Aloha, b and barflies...!

Assad says Syria has received Russian missile shipment - Lebanese media

..."Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets," Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar newspaper quoted Assad as saying in an interview due to be broadcast later in the day. "The rest of the shipment will arrive soon."

Posted by: CTuttle | May 30, 2013 3:32:47 AM | 81

press TV documentary of Syrian Arab Army

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD7buvh4xsA

Posted by: brian | May 30, 2013 3:39:18 AM | 82

@77 as interpreted by Reuters


'An interview with Assad will be released on Al Manar, a television station linked to Assad's ally, the Shi'ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah.'

'Assads ally'? can we call FSA Obamas ally?

Posted by: brian | May 30, 2013 3:41:41 AM | 83

Russia sends arms to Syria as it tries to reassert its role in region

Early this month, institutes backed by the Russian government hosted a conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, inviting more than a hundred of the region’s most influential newspaper columnists, pundits and policy experts. In attendance were officials from Persian Gulf Arab states staunchly opposed to Russia’s support for Syria as well as representatives of Hezbollah and Gaza’s Hamas organization. The two-day conference was billed as a forum on political Islam, but a recurring theme was Russia’s new assertiveness in the region, attendees said in interviews.

“The Russians’ real intention seemed to be to say, ‘We’re back,’ ” said one Arab analyst who attended the event but who requested anonymity in order to speak frankly about sensitive discussions with the conference’s Russian hosts.

“They were adamant in saying they would continue to back Assad,” the analyst said.

Raghida Dergham, a Lebanese newspaper columnist who also attended the forum, said she was struck by the nationalist notes sounded by several of the Russian speakers and hosts, whom she described as unapologetic about Moscow’s backing not only for the repressive government in Damascus but in Tehran as well. At the same time, the Russians seemed eager to engage Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt and Gaza, despite worries about a growing Islamist problem at home, she wrote in a blog.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 3:43:49 AM | 84

'Edward Dark (a nom de guerre) was one of the original organizers of opposition demonstrations in Aleppo. He witnessed the destruction the armed insurgents waged in his city and has given up on his hopes:
To us, a rebel fighting against tyranny doesn’t commit the same sort of crimes as the regime he’s supposed to be fighting against. He doesn’t loot the homes, businesses and communities of the people he’s supposed to be fighting for. Yet, as the weeks went by in Aleppo, it became increasingly clear that this was exactly what was happening.'

people like DARK share responsibility for the destruction as its there protests that serve as a front for the insurgency.

Tyranny? put Dark into office and you may see a real tyranny, or did he plan on letting the people play a role in political decisiomn making?

Posted by: brian | May 30, 2013 3:45:59 AM | 85

'The original "democratic protesters" like Edward Dark have had enough. They never understood that the role their original sponsor had planned for them was only to be a diversion for the all out armed assault on the Syrian state. They have been abused. They wanted freedom but received anarchy'

so what does 'freedom' mean? a word that means everything and nothing. Are US or UK egs of 'freedom'? is Fortress Europe 'free'?

even before 'democracy' 'freedom' is the most abused word in the language

Posted by: brian | May 30, 2013 3:49:19 AM | 86

Well said, Brian. "edward dark" and his ilk are nothing more than zionist tools. I may not have Mr Dark's IQ, but I was still able to recognize the Arab spring was nothing more than a zionist nightmare for the entire middle-east.

The main idea was to direct the anger of the Arabs - Like that fool "Angry Arab" towards their own governments instead of the real enemy (Israhell)

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | May 30, 2013 4:28:13 AM | 87

83) They are called "useful idiots" or "useful innocents" -

You know what? I prefer them to ideological murderers.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 4:52:55 AM | 88

84) If you don't mind me asking, who are the ideological murderers that you are referring to?

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | May 30, 2013 5:03:13 AM | 89

85)

U.N. investigators say most Syria rebels not seeking democracy

Both government forces and armed rebels are committing war crimes, including killings and torture, spreading terror among civilians in the more than two-year conflict.

Carla Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general who served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and is one of four commissioners on the team, said she had never seen violence like that in Syria.

"The crimes are committed by both sides," she said. "The cruelty of these crimes is unbelievable. I have never seen that, not even in Bosnia."

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 5:27:56 AM | 90

86) So you are neutral. How nice that must be. Are you saying that foreign terrorists and the Syrian army are both equally guilty of ideological murder?

Posted by: Hilmihakim | May 30, 2013 5:52:28 AM | 91

Back on point, Russia isn’t going to have a military confrontation with anyone to protect Assad - not when they themselves are said to have previously suggested a Yemen type scenario, whereby he would stand aside but keep the Government in place.

Assad is now just a matter of principle for the Russians. Russia says only Syrians (unelected Syrian representatives..) can decide on his fate, the US says he must go regardless. Who gets to be seen having their own way? Russia anticipates Assad leaving as a result of negotiations; the US wants Assad gone prior to negotiations. But the vision is the same, which is a post-Assad Syria. In the meantime, I suspect that the US is gladly dragging its heels to prolong the conflict.

I also suspect that the ‘political’ opposition will today emerge from their bickering to announce an intention to attend the peace conference, though only if Assad leaves first.

This would be a deliberate attempt to undermine the peace efforts, knowing full well that this will not happen. So off they’ll go, claiming that Assad isn’t willing to negotiate (submit) and hope that an intervention or the delivery of ‘game-changing’ weapons will materialise. It’s absolute power they want, and they won’t get this through a peacefully negotiated settlement.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | May 30, 2013 5:57:58 AM | 92

Utterly utterly amazing:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/30/306232/mccain-met-infamous-kidnapper-in-syria/

Posted by: Amar | May 30, 2013 6:32:43 AM | 93

87) No, I am not neutral. I am not on the side of politicians and ideologues who knowingly design a conflict in a way that must result in people's death.
The US (and Germany) driven breakup of Yugoslavia
has finally
resulted in this - after many, many people having died.

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 6:42:16 AM | 94

@ Pat Bateman

Russia anticipates Assad leaving as a result of negotiations; the US wants Assad gone prior to negotiations.

Agree, I've said before that Assad is winning militarily but he will lose politically. The best case scenario that Assad can hope for is being allowed to run in the 2014 elections (where he would have a chance of holding on) but likely the Russians will agree to replace him but keep the Syrian system in place. I'd imagine that the Russians will nominate a replacement that is close to Russia and the Resistance maybe a military figure in the SAA.

Such a scenario would allow the US-EU to keep face by saying they got rid of Assad and allow Russia to continue to have an ally in Damascus. Saudi and Qatar would complain about the Baath system remaining but they lost the war so don't get to dictate terms.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | May 30, 2013 6:53:26 AM | 95

88)I wonder what the Muslim Brotherhood will do, getting marginalized internationally, politically by the widening of the SNC plus getting marginalized on the ground by extremists ... I also wonder what Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi meant by saying "We have advised the Syrian government to sit with the opposition but not with Al-Nusra."

Posted by: somebody | May 30, 2013 7:00:29 AM | 96

Are russians a bit slow?

http://presstv.com/detail/2013/05/30/306188/russia-may-reconsider-syria-arms-embargo/

Russians seems to Believe west are led by honesty in this conflict.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2013 8:27:48 AM | 97

As expected the rebels and their representatives in Turkey have just stated they'll not be taking part in the Geneva talks..This will affect them badly as they've now exposed themselves as not wanting peace. Lavrov played this very well.

He's managed to put the entire "opposition" in disarray and exposed them as not interested in talks. It also makes the supporters of the "opposition" look more and more stupid on the international stage.

Truth is, any outcome of the talks will mean a death-blow to the "opposition" as it will involve some sort of election, which the "opposition" knows very well they'll loose.

From the way things are heading, the "opposition" will sooner/later be turning on their patrons and blaming them for failure of their "revolution". We've seen this movie before. :)

Posted by: Zico | May 30, 2013 8:48:08 AM | 98

@70.....Yikes. Now I'm wondering what McCain had for lunch. Not liver I hope.

Posted by: dh | May 30, 2013 9:12:32 AM | 99

#94

Its been clear from the beginning that these terrorists will use violence until they win, so they wont loose any support by not participating, and west wont protest, thus lifting embargo and talk about no fly zone.

Posted by: Anoynmous | May 30, 2013 9:18:09 AM | 100

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