June 17, 2013
Excerpts From Bashar al-Assad's FAZ Interview
The German premier daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung just published a long interview
(in German) with the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Below is a translation by me of four of the twenty nine questions and answers:
Q: How long will the war take?
A: Since its first days I get asked when the crisis will end. My answer was that the crisis could last a long time. Because the external factor is obvious. An internal crisis either gets totally solved or develops into a civil war. Neither happened here. The reason for that is the external factor which is keen to prolong the crisis militarily and politically.
Q: There are centrifugal powers in Syria. Some regions of the country orientate themselves to neighboring countries. Will the borders within the Levant change?
A: If you take the cap stone from a stone arc - and Syria is the cap stone, then the whole arc will collapse. Every gaming with the borders of the region means the creation of a new map. This has a domino effect no one can control. It is possible that one of the great powers will start this process. But nobody will be able to stop such a process at a defined point. In today's Middle East new social contours - denominational and (ethnic-)national, next to the political borders. They make the situation complicate. No one can imagine how the region will look. It will likely be a map for uncountable wars in the Middle East and possibly elsewhere which no one will be able to stop.
Q: How will the regional order look in the coming years?
A: When we exclude the scenario of a destructive division of Syria, I believe in a different, positive scenario. The first challenge is the restoration of security and stability, the second the reconstruction. But the biggest and most important challenge is to stand against extremism. One can observe in some societies of this region a shift towards extremism and a distancing from moderation, especially in matters of religion. The question is if we can we achieve to reposition these societies towards their historical position. Some speak of tolerance, some say its co-existence. If someone is tolerant he may suddenly no longer tolerate the other. It also not just pure co-existence but the assembly of the parts of society. That has characterized this region. The other challenge is the reform we want to achieve. The constant question is which is the best political system that keeps our society together - a presidential or a half-presidential system? The parliamentarian one? What is the fitting system of parties? We can not have religions parties here - neither christian nor muslim. For us religion is an invitation for personal believe, not an instrument to make politics. The most important is to accept the other. If one does not do that there can be no democracy even if we have the best constitution and the best laws.
Q: What is the meaning of secularism in a surrounding in which islamic tendencies gain in strength?
A: The Middle East is a region bound to ideology. The Arabic society has two pillars. One is pan-Arabism and the other is Islam. Nothing else has this significance. For us in Syria secularism means the freedom of the religions: Christians, Muslims and Jews with all their manifold denominations. The secularism is necessary for the unity of the society and for the sense of citizenship. There is no alternative to that as, at the same time, the religions in this region are very strong. That is nice and not bad. Bad is when fanaticism changes into terrorism. Not every fanatic is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a fanatic. That is why I say: The concept of a secular state is that everyone has the right to freely practice his religion. Nobody will be treated differently because of religion, denomination or race.
---End of FAZ translation ---
Other parts of the interview are about the history of the crisis, Hizbullah and Qusayr, chemical weapons, the external powers and the Geneva process. Most of these questions but the last have been covered in previous interviews and the answers have not changed. On Geneva Bashar Assad warns that there are many who have interests in sabotaging the Geneva process. These are external forces but also the so called opposition which gets handsomely paid and fed as long as the crisis keeps going. What Assad wants to achieve in Geneva is a compact to prohibit foreign weapons and fighters to come to Syria. If that could be achieved the conference would be a successful one. If that can not be achieved the crisis will spread throughout the region. A more detailed draft of Syria's aims in that conference can be found at Qifa Nabki.
Posted by b on June 17, 2013 at 01:00 PM | Permalink
- Ali Hashem claims that he saw Hezbollah leader Nasrallah while reporting from Al Qusayr:
It was my last day in Qusair, and the security measures taken there weren’t as restrictive as in the previous days. When I asked, the only answer I received was that every day there are new orders. “Probably the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will pay a visit to the city, a visit similar to the one he paid to Baba Amr in Homs after the regime took control of it,” a colleague of mine suggested but never confirmed. Later, a Syrian officer told us that a high-profile Syrian official (not Assad) will arrive soon in Qusair.
After I had been a couple of hours in the city, no one had arrived. I decided to move around the city to look for returning residents for a possible interview or package. In the center of the city, I stood in the middle of the main road as a huge, black four-wheel-drive came my way.
I stared at the man sitting beside the driver: The face was familiar, but something was missing. It was clear I was face to face with Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, without a turban, wearing a military uniform. He smiled and nodded to me, and while I was still in shock, the car was out of sight. There was no convoy, only one car, but as I said before, there were security measures taken in the city and around.
It also appears this was Hassan Nasrallah's second visit to Qusayr:
While investigating, I came across another piece of information: this visit wasn’t the first for Nasrallah to Qusair during this very crisis. “Sayyed Nasrallah went to Qusair a day before the start of the battle: he met the commanders, visited some injured fighters and gave a speech,” a source close to Hezbollah told me, “He spoke for around half an hour with his main commanders exchanging ideas on the battle and the expectations and how many days it’ll take them to finish it.”
- Meanwhile Robert Fisk claims that 4,000 Iranian revolutionary guards are on there way to Syria.
The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 17, 2013 2:01:46 PM | 1
The reporter was tripping on Acid. Hassan Nasrallah gives speech to people on a screen Lebanon let alone going to Qusair in a truck. He doesn't go anywhere without his turban nor does he wear military uniform. Why would a high profile person like nasrallah ride shotgun?
Posted by: Shoes | Jun 17, 2013 2:21:23 PM | 2
Thanks b for the effort, great interview. It seems Germans were impressed too :)
Posted by: Harry | Jun 17, 2013 3:20:26 PM | 5
Great job b, I'm an interpreter as well and it's a talent that can't be taken lightly. I don't see why Hassan Nasrallah wouldn't visit Qusayr out of his usual garments. If it helps fool those wishing to murder him so be it, I just wouldn't do it too often or at all. The screen is much safer.
Posted by: Fernando | Jun 17, 2013 3:38:11 PM | 6
Thanks for your efforts, b.
re 1, I doubt Fisk's story of 4000 revolutionary guards on their way to Syria. There are lots of confusing stories, and Fisk hasn't departed from his Lebanese apartment recently.
Posted by: alexno | Jun 17, 2013 3:39:51 PM | 7
The interview was interesting, but doesn't change much.
The decision will take place outside of the verbal. Are the rebels going to continue to fight, or will they give up, because too disgusted with the jihadis? It is the big issue of the moment.
Posted by: alexno | Jun 17, 2013 4:16:55 PM | 8
@8 ....or will they want a wage hike?
Posted by: dh | Jun 17, 2013 4:46:32 PM | 9
My nose, knowing the Syrians, thinks that the revolt may be about to collapse. That is, that there may not be much resistance to a retaking of Aleppo, and the land to the north.
My nose could be completely wrong, we'll have to see.
If it is right, we'll have to hope there won't be punishments.
It is late for a western intervention. Those who are tired are difficult to revive. More likely, the locals will say, thank you very much for the intervention, and do nothing. The inevitable product would be a jihadi government in Damascus.
Posted by: alexno | Jun 17, 2013 5:03:34 PM | 10
@ 2 shoes
He doesn't go anywhere without his turban nor does he wear military uniform.
He has been known to wear military uniform on occasion. I remember Angry Arab posted This Photo of Nasrallah in military fatigues and baseball cap last year.
Also just after the Lebanon war didn't he do a similar thing showing up in Bint Jbeil. Obviously he spends most of his time in underground bunkers in South Beirut but he does pop up occasionally. As long as its not to often and always random and unexpected he should be able to get away with it.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 17, 2013 5:45:58 PM | 11
"It is late for a western intervention."
Or to put it more accurately, perhaps:
"At this late stage a further escalation in the "west"'s series of interventions and provocations might not be enough. So far every move the "west" has made has failed except insofar as it has advanced the systematic genocide of Arab people in greater Syria."
Posted by: bevin | Jun 17, 2013 7:45:12 PM | 12
This is a realistic take on prospects in Syria: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-170613.html
Basically Spengler is saying that both Egypt and Syria are failed states because they have never addressed their underlying economic and demographic problems. I hope Assad wins this round but what he will do besides preserving his power and family's wealth is not clear.
Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 17, 2013 8:29:22 PM | 13
@7 Reading Fisk's article makes it clear how he came by his "scoop".
I'd be pretty certain he was interviewing someone who is Well Connected Within Hezbollah, not someone who was Well Connected To Khamenei.
And the conversation would have gone something like this.......
RF: How many Hezbollah fighters are there in Syria?
Hez: Can't tell you, but it really doesn't matter.
RF: Why not?
Hez: They've done their job and are pulling back to the border region.
RF: Cripes! Can Assad hang on without them?
Hez: Sure, why not? The Iranians have promised to plug the gap.
But the "scoop" would have come from a discussion of what HEZBOLLAH were planning to do, rather than directly from a discussion of what IRAN was planning to do, and so any information Fisk has regarding the latter would be highly suspect, if not outright misinformation.
Mind you, can you imagine the apoplexy from within the Israeli government if they even half-way believed this news?
Posted by: Johnboy | Jun 17, 2013 8:48:26 PM | 14
@Bevin#12, Late, or good timing? Syria has been under Siege, then the media battering for 2 years thus falling on deaf ears if the West engages. Whatever the case, Syria is weaker both military and financially. Strategically the time to engage would have been last month. However; things have change in a very short time, one could say weeks; the NSA issue, the master plan since 2001 of the US coming to light (Wesley Clark), Russia (More so after this G8, Putin looked pissed), Iran, Germany, even vocal sentiment from UK, be it a Mayor of London only, but his circle and following is impressive. Lastly and importantly the region; Turkey, it’s now volatile, it was the West’s prime staging area, Jordan wont (IMO) go it without the back door being secured.
Then we have Morsi, the ‘newest US billionaire’, and about to get a smack down, as he threatens Ethiopia Over Dam Project, And Backs Al-Qaeda. It is highly likely that Mursi’s speech is not about the Nile or the diversion of its waters but rather a political diversion as ge is having a hard time, but all it do was place more on his plate. The Egyptian leadership is also sending Egyptian Jihadists to fight in Syria alongside Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. Thousands of Islamists rallied in the Egyptian capital on Friday in support of calls by Sunni Muslim clerics for a holy war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But this is stepping on eggs and was not the plan by the US and Co. Rather it’s a epic cluster F*** and one paid for by the US. Morsi – 15 million are about to engage; Their big day is only weeks away. In an article called, "Will Egypt Have Its Second Revolution on June 30?" Bassem Sabry.
From a educated position, Assad has been astute, level headed, calm, forthright and entirely open, now these 'interviews' are being seen by 'political' circles that in contrast to the aggressive and all too often barbaric attitudes of many Western political players, and it's bad politics, as well as diplomacy and it’s being noticed.
The problem with lies, never make them complicated or they become known as lies; my Dad told me that when I concocted a epic tale, then added more to hide my misdoings. In turn Western diplomacy is acting like a child caught in the Act…
Posted by: kev | Jun 17, 2013 8:49:52 PM | 15
I notice that Putin has just said that Russia will not allow a no-fly-zone over Syria.
I suspect very much he isn't just talking about veto'ing any UNSC authorization of that no-fly-zone, he is talking about There Will Be No No-Fly-Zone, period.
And without that then I can't see how any small-arms shipments from Obama will make a scap o' difference to the end result.
Posted by: Johnboy | Jun 17, 2013 8:51:57 PM | 16
Not every news item that SANA translates into English is a high-quality translation. But the speeches and interviews of President Assad always get high-quality translations from SANA. In this particular interview, as 'b' said, the SANA version is "clearer and more extensive" than the FAZ version. I suppose the SANA translation may contain some minor interpolations for the sake of clarity. But mainly what I see in comparing the two versions is that the FAZ translation has been edited to make it shorter. The FAZ editor has cut out whole sentences within paragraphs, in almost every paragraph, and has also cut out a number of whole questions-and-answers. As I compare the two versions, I interpret the FAZ editor as honestly trying to make it shorter without trying to skew it or damage it. But he does a botched job (Stümperei) in a number of places. Because of the FAZ editor's botches in shortening it, and in addition because of the FAZ's inferior translation, it is better to read the SANA version and sit though some occasional longwindedness from Bashar.
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 17, 2013 9:06:14 PM | 17
@13, Spengler is an ass.
"[Syria and Egypt]are dying because they chose not to do what China did: move the better part of a billion people from rural backwardness to a modern urban economy within a generation." No comparison, duh!
"Third World dictators typically keep their rural population poor, isolated and illiterate, the better to maintain control." He forgot to add "with encouragement from the US Dept of State."
"Syria has neither enough oil nor water to maintain the bazaar economy dominated by the Assad family." But it should create a modern urban economy in a generation!
"The only humane thing to do is to partition the country on the Yugoslav model, but that does not appear to be on the agenda of any government." Spengler, the mensch!
Posted by: ruralito | Jun 17, 2013 9:07:48 PM | 18
The FAZ version omits one of the better questions and answers, which the SANA version does not omit:
Interviewer: "Mr President, what is your vision for Syria in the next five years?
President Assad: "I reiterate that our biggest challenge is extremism. If we can fight it, with better education, new ideas and culture, then we can move towards a healthy democratic state. Democracy, as we see it in Syria, is not an objective in itself, but rather a means to an end - to stability and to prosperity. Legislations and constitutions are also only tools, necessary tools to develop and advance societies. However, for democracy to thrive, it needs to become a way of life - a part of our culture, and this cannot happen when so many social taboos are imposed by extremist ideologies. In addition to this, there is of course the reconstruction process, reinvigorating our national industries and restoring and opening up our economy. We will continue to be open in Syria, continue to learn and benefit from the lessons of this crisis." http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/06/17/487994.htm
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 17, 2013 9:08:24 PM | 19
17 Jun 2013: The SYP is said to be currently trading in the black market at an exchange rate of about US$1 = SYP 200. The official exchange rate is US$1 = SYP 99. The governor of the Central Bank of Syria said the black market rate is "false and illogical". He also said that the Central Bank would continue its policy of intervention to keep up the exchange rate of the pound. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-06/18/c_124868495.htm
17 Jun 2013. The Central Bank of Syria announced today that it has activated the previously announced US$ 1 billion line-of-credit facility granted to Syria by Iran; and that an unspecified portion of the US$ 1 billion will now be used to fund the demand for foreign currency in Syria and buttress the exchange rate of the SYP. http://sana.sy/eng/24/2013/06/17/488023.htm .
In the earlier announcement, dated 16 Jan 2013, Iran said that the US$1 billion line of credit was intended to help Syria weather the crisis; and that the money was to be spent "in the financial, economic, electricity, and oil derivatives sectors". http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/01/16/462182.htm . Yesterday, a high-level economics delegation from the Iranian government visited Damascus and met with the prime minister and the governor of the Central Bank and some other high-level Syrian officials. In the meeting there was a decision to form subcommittees "to follow up on the signed agreements in the fields of oil, electricity, medicine, banking and health". http://sana.sy/eng/24/2013/06/16/487799.htm , http://sana.sy/eng/24/2013/06/17/487822.htm .
Speaking for myself, I feel gratitude to the Iranian government for making this move. تشكر means "thanks" in Persian and also in Arabic (though Arabic is usually شكر).
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 17, 2013 9:24:39 PM | 20
The following is b's faithful translation of the edited FAZ German version:
Bashar Assad: "Secularism is necessary for the unity of the society and for the sense of citizenship. There is no alternative to that as, at the same time, the religions in this region are very strong. That is nice and not bad. Bad is when fanaticism changes into terrorism."
Here's SANA's superior version from the Arabic original:
Bashar Assad: "Secularism is crucial to our national unity and sense of belonging. Therefore we have no choice but to strengthen secularism because religion is already strong in our region, and I stress here that this [religion] is very healthy. What is not healthy is extremism because it ultimately leads to terrorism."
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 17, 2013 10:10:54 PM | 21
Bashar Assad, 17 Jun 2013: "If I decided to abdicate now, I would be committing treason." With which I fully agree -- thank you Bashar! Bashar: "If on the other hand, the public decided I should step down, that would be another issue. And this can only be determined through elections or a referendum.... Dialogue and solutions to Syria's problems need to be home-grown." (ref). Viva Syria el-Assad!
PS: The UK Prime Minister, Cameron, almost sounded like an Assadist when he said, on 16 Jun 2013, his fundamental aims on Syria are: "to end the conflict, to stop Syria breaking apart, to let the Syrian people decide who governs them, and to take the fight to the extremists and defeat them." (ref).
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 17, 2013 10:44:35 PM | 22
Odd. I just caught a glimpse of Fox news with the infamous Sean Hannity and he was totally anti-"rebel." As was his guest. He was actually asking if arming the "rebels" would be like handing a whole country to AlCIAda.
A definite change of tone. Perhaps Mr Putin sat Obama down and explained to him the real deal. And so word went down to the msm stenographers to tell the public that we really didn't want to attack Syria in the first place.
Posted by: Lysander | Jun 17, 2013 11:03:02 PM | 23
@23, Hannity is a Republican tool. If Dubya was doing it Hannity would support him all the way.
Posted by: ruralito | Jun 17, 2013 11:34:27 PM | 24
@24. As far as I know, Fox has been shilling for war and offering a platform for warmongers since the beginning. In recent weeks they have changed their tune. And today quite radically. Of course they take the opportunity to pretend this was all Obama's idea and that they were against it all along.
Posted by: Lysander | Jun 17, 2013 11:46:45 PM | 25
sometimes even the republican TV morons are right.
my dream is to divide-and-conquer the democrats and republicans. go Hannity!
Posted by: anon | Jun 18, 2013 12:02:51 AM | 26
18) yep, that always has been the Neocon plan, just has not worked out yet.
Actually Assad is saying nothing new in the interview, the significant thing is that FAZ is doing it. That is close to an official acknowledgement by Germans elites that Assad is the present Syrian head of state and signifies German support for the Geneva process.
Obama also seems to have come out publicly against the Neocon hawks in his administration .
The president was also blunt that his worries about increased U.S. military involvement in Syria stem in part from the prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also expressed fears about being sucked into a conflict that could be dividing along one of Islam's key fault lines, between Sunnis and Shi'a.
"That shouldn't just be my concern, that should be everybody's concern, you know. We went through that," the president said. "We know what it's like to rush into a war in the Middle East without having thought it through."
It looks like Assad has saved the Middle East's only secular state. He deserves a place in the books of history for that.
It also seems that Iran and Hezbollah now have a strategic incentive to support secularism. It will be interesting to watch how that will translate in Iraq.
Posted by: somebody | Jun 18, 2013 12:25:43 AM | 27
Johnboy @ 16.
"Didn't go well" seems to be an under-statement. There was a report on the meeting/lecture-from-Putin on an ABC current affairs radio program a couple of hours ago with a CFR ideologue trying to paint a smiley-face on Obama's humiliation. As soon as the transcript is up I'll post a link. The Yankees are in (terminally desperate) panic mode.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2013 12:55:24 AM | 28
The USA political/media machine cannot be analyzed with labels such as left/right/neocon/neoliberalism. The stench of zionism has infiltrated all of these ideologies.
Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Jun 18, 2013 5:13:33 AM | 30
Following up on #28...
US, Russia remain at odds on Syria
The US and Russian presidents were clearly tense when they emerged from their meeting overnight on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland. The talks between the two leaders came just days after the White House signalled it would begin arming rebels battling president Bashar al-Assad.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2013 8:05:54 AM | 31
Here's a comment is continuation of #23, #24, #25, #26 and #30. The Obama White House announced a decision to send direct military aid to Syrian rebels on 13 June. A public opinion poll conducted in USA by Gallup on 15-16 June has the following results: Overall fifty-four percent disapprove of Obama's decision, while 37 percent approve. Among those who said they were Independents or Republicans, roughly 6 in 10 disapprove, whereas among those who said they were Democrats a little over 4 in 10 disapprove. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-06/18/c_124868534.htm .
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 18, 2013 10:07:09 AM | 33
So ganging up on Putin didn't work. CW is a dud. No fly stuff not flying. Erdogan looking shaky. What next?
Posted by: dh | Jun 18, 2013 10:17:47 AM | 34
What next, you ask? By hook or by crook, they'll get their no-fly zone..of sorts.
Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 18, 2013 11:02:57 AM | 35
Putin thinks he's got International Law on his side; China does too. So do I.
If the Yankees get too uppity (and keep believing too much of their own bullshit) the closest they'll get to a no-fly zone will be a no-NATO zone. If there are any US carriers (contributing to the mayhem with cruise missiles) within 500 miles of Syria they'll be running a grave risk of finding themselves 'immersed' in a no-float zone.
Lavrov might offer the dumbass Yankees a chance to stage a dignified exit, but if they don't jump at the opportunity quick-smart, Putin will teach them how to spell trouble with a capital T.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2013 11:32:33 AM | 37
It seems to me that one effect of the Syrian war has been in exposing the underlying tensions between the West and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have constantly been one step ahead in their support for the rebels, they're showing some independence that the West must be uneasy about. I think Washington has to be wondering what the Saudis will when the Syrians beat the rebels - will the Saudis accept it, or will they fund a new insurgency someplace else? One thing is for sure - the Saudis cannot have the rebels returning home.
The Saudis have proved time and time again that they (along with Israel of course) are THE rouge state in the Middle East. I can't imagine any event in (save the dismantling of the IDF) that would have such a healthy effect on the Middle East as the fall of the House of Saud.
15 out of 19. Someday that fact will have to be reconciled.
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 18, 2013 11:47:52 AM | 38
Apart from any other factor, ANY attack on Syria, from outside Syria, will be blatantly unprovoked and the perp(s) will only have themselves to blame for the consequences.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18, 2013 11:52:53 AM | 39
Dh) they don't feel safe because a wahabee monkey cannot fly a fighter jet, regardless of the cost.
Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Jun 18, 2013 2:55:06 PM | 41
@41 That was the message I took from the article. Buying expensive weapons means nothing if you don't have the skills to use them. SA and the GCC can't develop a cohesive military force so they will always be dependent on the West.
Posted by: dh | Jun 18, 2013 3:09:55 PM | 42
Here is a photo of Obama and Putin sharing a joke in UK. /s
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18, 2013 5:10:06 PM | 43
Maybe this was what Vlad was pissed off with?
'NATO and a number of European governments, most significantly the UK, have started airlifting heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels poised in Aleppo to fend off a major Syrian army offensive, according to DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources. They disclose that the first shipments were landed Monday night, June 17, and early Tuesday in Turkey and Jordan. They contained anti-air and tank missiles as well as recoilless 120 mm cannons mounted on jeeps. From there, they were transferred to rebel forces in southern Syria and Aleppo in the northwest.'
Yeah, I know it's from Debka and could just be for shit-stirring propaganda purposes.
So, while talking to Putin about negotiated settlement NATO and the UK were already airlifting heavy weapons for the terrorists. I hope the Russians give the SAA whatever they require to cleanse Aleppo real quick.
Posted by: Neo | Jun 18, 2013 5:33:46 PM | 44
US shipments of arms to Syria from Libya and other places (e.g. Croatia) is nothing new. It's reportedly been going on for well over a year, and after all it was the activity that Ambassador Stevens was apparently involved in when he was killed in Benghazi last September.
May 17, 2012 -- Lutfallah II: Smugglers of The Mediterranean -- The interception of the Lutfallah II ship laden with arms off the coast of Tripoli raised fears that northern Lebanon is becoming the main gateway for weapons smuggling to the Syrian opposition. . .Ships had been leaving the Misrata port in Libya and heading towards Tripoli in Lebanon, using Egyptian ports for “transit.” . . Hassan and three of his friends actually saw the ship Lutfallah II being loaded in Benghazi, Libya. Hassan claims that it is well known at the docks that Qatar and Saudi Arabia control a total of five warehouses in the area of Benghazi & Misrata and supplied the weapons and money to hire the Lutfallah II container vessel.
Jun 21, 2012 -- C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition -- WASHINGTON — A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
Aug 1, 2012 -- Obama authorizes secret support for Syrian rebels -- (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, sources familiar with the matter said. Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence "finding," broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.
Aug 31, 2012 -- Abu Omar, a Free Syrian Army commander, told dpa from Aleppo: "We are now adopting new military tactics, which proved very successful on Thursday and we managed to down planes of the regime forces." . .Abu Omar's comments come amid unverified reports that the rebels have recently received advanced weapons such as ground-to-air missiles.
Sep 14, 2012 -- The Al Entisar (also written as Intisaar or The Victory in English), sailing under a Libyan flag with a 400 ton cargo, which included SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and some humanitarian supplies, is said to have arrived September 6 at the Turkish Port of Iskenderun. The captain of the ship, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi, was accompanied by 26 Libyans who were on board to help smuggle the shipment from the Turkish Port across the border into Syria. The plan was then to distribute the weapons to insurgents in Syria who were allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Mar 24, 2013 -- Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A. -- With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18, 2013 6:24:37 PM | 46
Posted by: kev | Jun 18, 2013 7:43:20 PM | 47
Convention of Wahhabi Clerics Makes Jihad in Syria a Duty & Ends Up in Door-to-Door Shia-Hunting
A recent convention in Egypt that was attended by many Wahhabi clerics from around the world made it a "legal duty", from a Wahhabi (Salafi) standpoint, for all followers of their intolerant and bigoted faith to kill infidels, especially Shiites and Alawites in Syria. Recent atrocities where entire families were slaughtered due to their sectarian affiliation have become common practice for Wahhabis, who refer to themselves as Sunnis, while most moderate Sunnis dissociate themselves from them. The world's oldest and most prestigious Islamic school, al-Azhar, has called these calls for Jihad in Syria as completely unlawful.
In this video, a footage from Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria shows how a group of Wahhabi rebels influenced by the sectarian preaching of these Wahhabi clerics are going door-to-door searching for Shiite (Shia) families to kill.
Posted by: brian | Jun 18, 2013 10:51:44 PM | 48
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18, 2013 11:25:17 PM | 49
And let's not forget the role of MP Okab Sakr, right-hand man of the Lebanon Future Movement's Saad Hariri, in directing the Libyan weapons to the FSA through Lebanon and Turkey.
Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 18, 2013 11:27:23 PM | 50
Good point and thanks for the link. We tend to give Turkey all the 'credit' but those arms off-loaded in Tripoli needed some local help. That'll end with the SAA fully securing Homs.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18, 2013 11:51:23 PM | 51
Don @36: "What next? My money is on The Battle for Aleppo."
Maybe, if Assad thinks he can score a quick knockout.
If not then I'd suggest he first wins The Battle For Daraa i.e. secure his southern flank against a possible "Bay of Pigs" invasion launched from Jordan by newly-armed (and CIA-led) Syrian refugees.
Posted by: Johnboy | Jun 19, 2013 1:35:55 AM | 52
This war has shown that there is no such thing as an "Arab nation" as Arabs happily betray each other, nor this there such thing as a Muslim umma, as most Sunni reflexively turn against the Shia minority as soon as the sectarian partisanship is exited. This war has shown that the real friends of the Syrian people are first and foremost the Persian Shia and that modern alliances are not based on ethnicity, religion or ideology, but on common values: on one hand, the Anglos joined the Takfiris and the Zionists, while on the other the Syrians were supported by the Persians, Hezbollah, the Russians and the Chinese. Amazing, no?
Read rest of article at The G8 final communique communique - yet another diplomatic victory for Putin
Posted by: hans | Jun 19, 2013 5:14:01 AM | 53
Posted by: Neo | Jun 18, 2013 5:33:46 PM | 44
if weapons are being airlifted into jorddan to the terrorists, then jordans regime is playing its part
Posted by: brian | Jun 19, 2013 7:42:49 AM | 54