Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 22, 2013

Propaganda Reporting - Kerry's Failure in Qatar

On June 12 The NYT's CJ Chivers reported from Syria on workshops that make some ammunition for the foreign supported insurgency in Syria. The piece, starting with the headline, was a long whine about the alleged lack of arms of these poor killers. It included photos from the workshops by Chiver's sidekick Tyler Hicks.

Starved for Arms, Syria Rebels Make Their Own

“Everybody knows we do not have the weapons we need to defend ourselves,” said Abu Trad, a commander of the Saraqib Rebels Front, shortly before he allowed visitors into this mortar-round plant. “But we have the will, and we have humble means, and we have tools.”
...
[T]he arms plants remain a prominent feature of the opposition’s logistics, as arms flows from the Arab world fail to keep up with demand.
...
“All we need is effective weapons,” [Khaled Muhammed Addibis, a rebel commander,] said. “Effective weapons. Nothing else.”
When Chivers wrote the above the official propaganda line said that the US was not actively arming the "rebels" but that Obama was "withstanding the pressure to do so". That was nonsense and Chivers knew it was. While he wrote the story of those poor "rebels" who had to make weapons themselves because they do not get them elsewhere, Chivers also saw many modern weapons coming in from Libya and elsewhere and he knwe that the CIA was involved in distributing them. But he never reported on that. Instead he wrote the above lies. How do we know that? Well, just look what Chivers writes today:
Evidence gathered in Syria, along with flight-control data and interviews with militia members, smugglers, rebels, analysts and officials in several countries, offers a profile of a complex and active multinational effort, financed largely by Qatar, to transport arms from Libya to Syria’s opposition fighters.
...
[W]hile the system appears to succeed in moving arms across multiple borders and to select rebel groups, once inside Syria the flow branches out. Extremist fighters, some of them aligned with Al Qaeda, have the money to buy the newly arrived stock, and many rebels are willing to sell.
...
But the Libyan influx appears to account for at least a portion of the antitank weapons seen in the conflict this spring, including Belgian-made projectiles for M40 recoilless rifles and some of the Russian-made Konkurs-M guided missiles that have been destroying Syrian tanks in recent months.
...
Signs of munitions from the former Qaddafi stockpile are readily visible.

Late last month The New York Times found crates, storage sleeves and spent cartridge cases for antitank rounds from Libya in the possession of Ahfad al-Rasul, a prominent group fighting the government and aligned with the Supreme Military Council.

While he reported on insurgents "starved of arms" Chivers and his photographer Hicks, actually had seen the recoilless rifles, the guided missiles and lots of crates of ammunition from Libya. But at that time the official propaganda theme was "poor underarmed rebels" and Chivers diligently followed it. That propaganda theme was used to create some public support for escalating the war by pushing even more arms into the rebels hands. The story of the "starved of arms rebels" was untrue and Chivers knew that "late last month" when he traveled in Syria. As always their are some nuggets of truth in the NYT's and Chivers' reporting. But often, as shown here, the writers are pushed, or oblige silently, to keep to the official line the White House is distributing. The few time the NYT is going against the official U.S. propaganda are just diversion to keep up an image of a free press.

---

The 11 countries who form the friends for the destruction of Syria met today in Qatar. Before the meeting started Secretary of State Kerry had planned to organize a common distribution of weapons through the CIA controlled Free Syrian Army head General Idris to somewhat cut out the jihadist from the weapon stream:

Western and Arab opponents of Bashar Assad met in Qatar on Saturday to tighten coordination of their support for rebels battling to overthrow the Syrian president.

Ministers from 11 countries including the United States, European and regional Sunni Muslim powers, held talks that Washington said should commit participants to direct all aid through the Western-backed Supreme Military Council, which it hopes can offset the growing power of jihadist rebel forces.

That move was thought to be was necessary as Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar were freely distributing weapon to the various takfiri terrorist groups:
Two Gulf sources told Reuters on Saturday that Saudi Arabia, which has taken a lead role among Arab opponents of Assad, had also accelerated delivery of advanced weapons to the rebels.

"In the past week there have been more arrivals of these advanced weapons. They are getting them more frequently," one source said, without giving details. Another Gulf source described them as "potentially balance-tipping" supplies.

Before today's meeting Qatar made an attempt to put the takfiris it supports under the nominal umbrella of the Free Syrian Army:
The Free Syrian Army has offered powerful Islamist rebel groups a share of advanced new weapons if they unify under the FSA banner.

"Idriss offered to support the Islamist factions by sharing the weapons he expects to receive, if they joined an alliance with the FSA and agree to certain conditions," the Damascus-based rebel said yesterday.
...
He also said a delegation from Qatar had been in attendance - the only non-Syrian presence at the meeting. That had surprised those taking part, the rebel said, but might have been linked to the summit of opposition backers, known as The Friends of Syria, due to take place in Doha today.

The conference in Qatar has ended by now and Kerry has (again) failed:
Ministers from the 11 main countries which form the Friends of Syria group agreed "to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies".
"Each country in its own way" means Kerry failed - badly - to united the weapon flow. It seems then that Saudi Arabia and Qatar will continue to provide weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra and the other takfiri terrorist groups in Syria.

This disunity should let the Obama administration recognize that their argument to feed weapons to the "good rebels" to starve the takfiris will not work. When Qatar and Saudi Arabia continue to provide these "in their own way" then the takfiris will continue to be the strongest section of the insurgency.

As a lot of new weapons are streaming in the Syrian Arab Army should probably stop its current offense and stay defensive while devising new tactics against such weapons. Tanks advancing openly or as sitting ducks at checkpoints are massive targets and will not survive an onslaught of Konkurs-M, Kornet and other modern anti-tank weapons. There are ways to counter them but that will need some time to be prepared and trained. Meanwhile large weapon transports can be observed and raided in quick and surprising raids could interdict them.

Posted by b on June 22, 2013 at 01:26 PM | Permalink

Comments

How come syrian gov. doesnt have better spying intelligence regarding arms smuggling? If arms are smuggled at the turkish/syrian border, well it would be quite easy to infiltrate these groups/terrorist groups govering the border.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 22, 2013 1:34:57 PM | 1

I keep forgetting. Which countries will be directly aiding the cannibals and which countries will be providing them with indirect aid?

Posted by: Amar | Jun 22, 2013 1:42:21 PM | 2

b,

Unfortuntaly I think you are wrong, there was no "failure", rather Kerry and Co. dont dare making this (the arms smuggling) a unified public, effort.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 22, 2013 1:43:44 PM | 3

I have to agree with anon #3. It's not a bug, it's a feature. But the us can't openly *say* it's giving weapons to beheaders and cannibals, so it pretends to ship them to nonexistant 'moderates.' If after tgat the wespons are somehow ending up in the hands of Al CIAda then surely you can't blame the is for that.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 22, 2013 2:04:31 PM | 4

"While he reported on insurgents "starved of arms" Chivers and his photographer Hicks, actually had seen the recoilless rifles, the guided missiles and lots of crates of ammunition from Libya. But at that time the official propaganda theme was "poor underarmed rebels" and Chivers diligently followed it..."

He certainly took responsibility for these lies, if his by-line was on the story. But what he wrote was, almost certainly, re-written and 'sexed up' by the CIA men (and women) who sit on all the editorial and re-write desks in New York.

The reporter in the field has neither the time nor the seniority to keep abreast of all the tortuous meanderings of the party line, as laid down by the White House and faithfully executed by the reptiles slithering over the word processors in the newsroom.

The truth is that Chivers's real purpose is to lend credibility to propaganda by "being there" and pretending that he sees things that don't exist while he is blind to the most obvious events.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 22, 2013 2:17:03 PM | 5

He certainly took responsibility for these lies, if his by-line was on the story. But what he wrote was, almost certainly, re-written and 'sexed up' by the CIA men (and women) who sit on all the editorial and re-write desks in New York.
Chivers byline was on the story. He is a former Marine captain btw. He knows how to act on intend orders. He was recently on NPR or PBS (I mix them up) and propagandized for the insurgency. He clearly has picked his side. That's fine for his private opinion but not fine for claiming he is "reporting" and a "journalist". He is, willfully, spreading propaganda.

Posted by: b | Jun 22, 2013 2:24:32 PM | 6

"the Syrian Arab Army should probably stop its current offense and stay defensive"

You think? Advancing towards Aleppo has been an painful error of judgement built on bloated confidence, or perhaps arrogance, after victory in Qusair. Damascus is the ultimate prize - the ring of defence has extend to 10 miles from the centre - but militants are advancing in Deraa.

What, then, is the logic in sending men to die in the hornets nest where much of the fighting has been between the militants themselves, and where others are more interested in carving out their own small piece of Syria among their fellow militia men - the very reasons why little help from the North came when Qusair was falling.

An advancing army gives these disparate groups a united goal and grounds for the so-called Friends of Syria to ramp up support in order to halt the advance. This halt will soon turn into a retreat with planes falling from the sky. Those chunks of the North outside Aleppo where Government supporters had managed to hold on despite the relentless flow of insurgents will now surely be overwhelmed. The country will effectively be severed in two, with the opposition given the north to 'negotiate' with.

When Qusair was secured, the SAA should have consolidated what they had.

The SAA and Syrian Government will not be allowed to achieve an outright military victory. The sooner they realise this the better.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 22, 2013 2:28:05 PM | 7

'Secret steps' adopted to change Syria balance

World powers supporting Syria's rebels decided on Saturday to take "secret steps" to change the balance on the battlefield, after the United States and others called for increasing military aid to insurgents.

Yet even as they prepared to step up their own involvement in a war that has killed nearly 100,000 people, they demanded that Iran and Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah stop supporting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

In their final communique, the ministers agreed to "provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies and protect the Syrian people".

Speaking in Doha, top Qatari diplomat Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said the meeting of foreign ministers of the "Friends of Syria" had taken "secret decisions about practical measures to change the situation on the ground in Syria".
...
Washington and Doha called for increasing military aid to end what US Secretary of State John Kerry called an "imbalance" in Assad's favour.


One wonders if Kerry will notice an "imbalance" when the next intifada or the next Israeli attack on Lebanon starts ...

Posted by: b | Jun 22, 2013 2:29:08 PM | 8

The authoritative guide to the journalistic malfeasance which brings us continual war is Norman Solomon's "War Made Easy -- How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." Reporters must be loyal government stenographers or they aren't reporters any longer.

Dan Rather, an iconic US journalist: "Look I'm an American. I never tried to kid anybody that I'm some internationalist or something. And when my country is at war, I want my country to win, whatever the definition of 'win' might be. Now, I can't and don't argue that that is coverage without prejudice. About that I am prejudiced." So Dan brought us through the criminal war against Vietnam and the Nixon presidency. -- from "War Made Easy"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 22, 2013 2:42:45 PM | 9

Don Bacon,

Good point, our western MSM arent questioning the western leaders today, MSM are nothing but state propaganda.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 22, 2013 2:45:48 PM | 10

The "Friends of Syria [sic]" are now referred to as "London 11." Has a nice ring to it.

"'London 11' vow to increase arms to Syrian rebels - John Kerry vowed Saturday to make every effort to end the conflict in Syria." (Which is it?)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 22, 2013 2:49:54 PM | 11

"You think? Advancing towards Aleppo has been an painful error of judgement..."

Boggle.

Posted by: Addison | Jun 22, 2013 2:51:38 PM | 12

It is a widely-accepted myth in the land that the mainstream media, print and electronic, objectively presents truth as "news." It's not the case. Basically the media are profit-centered advertising distributors, who present their audience to willing subjects as sales prospects. As in: 'We can give you an audience of x hundred thousand people, at these rates.'

Now to make them willing subjects, happy to spend money, they have to be fed information that supports the conventional wisdom (CW). The government's principal objective is to be sure that all "journalists" know what that CW is that will keep the audience happily informed and therefore willing subjects for the accompanying advertising pitch. We've discussed it before, it's variously called strategic communication, public diplomacy, Propaganda Reporting , etc. b had another term for it before -- I forget.

As we see here, the CW has changed, and Chivers has changed with it, caught by another great diary from b.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 22, 2013 3:04:21 PM | 13

CJ saw what happened in Libya and he still takes the side of the govt? He really should learn from Smedley Butler.

Posted by: Fernando | Jun 22, 2013 3:04:59 PM | 14

I have faith that any increases in conventional arms supplied to the fractious, disorganized, untrained anti-Syria forces can be more than offset by Russia and Iran, if not Hezbollah. Syria has been employing Iranian surveillance drones for over a year, for example, and they must be better at it then when they started. Also cyberwarfare, and other factors that we don't know about.

So it's still 'game on' -- and on to Aleppo, which would save the London 11 all that Geneva II failure embarrassment.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 22, 2013 3:13:16 PM | 15

#8 b,

Yes remember "London 11"'s support for al qaeda next time this same group condemn Iran for supporting Hezbollah and Hamas.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 22, 2013 3:18:33 PM | 16

re 7

You think? Advancing towards Aleppo has been an painful error of judgement built on bloated confidence, or perhaps arrogance, after victory in Qusair. Damascus is the ultimate prize - the ring of defence has extend to 10 miles from the centre - but militants are advancing in Deraa.

Bashshar et al. now recognise quite well that they now no longer have the strength to occupy the the whole country militarily. This was the point of Qusayr, to draw the rebels into a decisive battle, which they could not or would not withdraw from. The idea of Aleppo, if it is really going to happen, is the same. The rebels can't abandon Aleppo without a very severe dent to their prestige. So encirclement is going on. When the encirclement is finished, they will move in. But not in a sort of Stalingrad, the move will be light, in order to save casualties, and encourage the Aleppans to eject the jihadis.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 22, 2013 4:20:35 PM | 17

@10 "MSM are nothing but state propaganda."

If only. They're often worse - driving the state to take positions even more extreme than those it might have taken otherwise. It's also a place to fall back to when they have to cede political power (look at Venezuela, for instance).

The media in the hands of corporate interests act as a tuned damper, keeping the outlook of society balanced no matter what might happen in the political sphere.

___________

great article b. This should be required reading for every American who thinks - as has been a popular meme making fun of Obama lately, but one that fits quite well - that we'll be able to perform "background checks" on these rebels before letting them have guns.

I'd note that a quick look at Twitter shows hardly ANY support for such an endeavor. Aside from the clear propaganda accounts and a few sympathizers the feeling is against war to a surprising degree considering the amount of propaganda being spewed out.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 22, 2013 4:24:28 PM | 18

CJ Chivers?
seriously, is that a real name?
Seems so odd.

So, CJ Chivers is a comedy writer?
Seriously, the piece was brimming with absurdities

“It is just the enthusiasm of the Libyan people helping the Syrians,”
Yah

And a moment of unintended truth!

"Many of the same people who chased the colonel to his grave are busy shuttling his former arms stockpiles to rebels in Syria"

Sure, since they work for the same outfit! I know that wasn't the way Chivers intended it, but still.............

"Syrian rebels, working with Qatari backers and the Turkish government, have developed a system for acquiring and distributing Libya’s excess stock, Syrian activists and rebels said"

Failing to mention Americans and one already dead Ambassador, but hell who is really paying attention?


b- "Each country in its own way" means Kerry failed - badly - to united the weapon flow"

Agreeing here with anon @ 3 and Lysander@ 4.

This just presents a deniability to the US. Oh a beheader, rapist, hand chopper/foot chopper, looter/AQ terrorist got weapons?
Well the good old US didn't give them. It must have been other country A, B, C or D..
Same old, same old
Like leading from behind
Trying to get weapons to moderates
lies, spin, propaganda
Why would the US/NATO psychopaths want weapons in the hands of "moderates" when Al Nusra is the fiercest most effective fighters in Syria?
Obviously they don't
Kerry's wording is pure shiite


Posted by: Penny | Jun 22, 2013 4:42:21 PM | 19

Oh Russia must destroy its nukes, Iran is forbidden but France could have them?
France being the hypocrite again.

http://presstv.com/detail/2013/06/22/310345/iran-rejects-french-ministers-remarks/

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 22, 2013 5:08:38 PM | 20

Leaving aside the hype about American issues, and the fact that Saudi and Qatar are going to continue on their road, I wasn't quite sure what the Doha communiqué really meant.

Are we now going to see a big effort by the West to arm the rebels, or are things in reality going to continue much as they are?

I shouldn't think that the Syrian government has many tanks left to kill, nor many helicopters or jets in the sky. I saw a video of a Syrian army column. It was entirely composed of civilian 4x4s with cannons mounted on the back. That is where we are with the Syrian army, though they still have artillery.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 22, 2013 5:19:39 PM | 21

Agree with Alexno the SAA should certainly continue the offensive in Aleppo. They have the momentum, they have the numbers and they have the popular support. What is to be gained from waiting and allowing the FSA to dig in and train their men in using these weapons?

Pat Bateman mentioned Damascus as a priority and while it is more important than Aleppo it is also relatively secure. The outer suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, Jobar and Deraa are the only bastions and there is a government offensive in those places as well.

This article from Reuters on Thursday paints a picture of the rebels around Damascus losing ground by the day, complaining all there supply lines are cut, and placing a lot of the blame on infighting between the different rebel groups.

Over the past two months, rebels around Damascus lost nearly all their supply lines and are struggling to get enough food, let alone weapons, into the eastern and southern outskirts of the capital. "We are trapped inside al-Ghouta and there is absolutely no route into the area if the mujahideen (holy warriors) in the south do not come to open the front," said activist Amran.

But infighting and rivalries have long plagued the rebels - it is what made Western powers hesitant to back their fractious forces and has also sabotaged many rebel efforts to unite against Assad offensives across the country. In the Ghouta region, mistrust and greed has prevented fighters blocking advances as they await help, some rebels say.

"The regime is advancing on the Marj area and has taken several towns in a critical part of the rebel base here. Unfortunately the blame for this lies on us as much as them," said a fighter speaking by Skype, who asked not to be named."Some of the biggest brigades here are focusing on cementing their control on specific towns, to loot factories and seize all the supplies. They've ignored the wider cause," he said.

Lets not forget that sending Anti-Tank Missiles and MANPADS over the Jordan border is one thing, but if the supply lines to the rebels are cut little will reach them. Especially if they are struggling to even get food.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 22, 2013 5:34:45 PM | 22

Dr Lerner finds this worthy of interest and given the sources, there's no reason to doubt the truth of it. Israel's military censor is very vigilant when it comes to reporting on Israeli security matters. Not so much when it doesn't immediately appear to directly affect them:


"Monday, June 17, 2013
Putin helps Assad: Spy planes in Syrian skies

Channel 2 TV Military Affairs correspondent Roni Daniel Posted 06/17/13
21:08
http://www.mako.co.il/news-military/security/Article-3d00ce04c235f31004.htm

The Russians support the Syrian army by supplying weapons and also provide
political backing. It is now revealed that they also provided concrete
military assistance that affects the Syrian campaign. The Russians are
operating a complete system of unmanned aircraft running in Syrian airspace,
gathering intelligence on rebel forces and providing it to Assad's forces,
giving them a significant advantage."
http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=61300

Attacking Hezbollah within Lebanon has been, up until just lately, a common refrain among our "moderate" Syrian commandos including General Idriss. Perfect cover to be provided by the uncontrollable ones provided with secret means?


Posted by: lally | Jun 22, 2013 5:44:34 PM | 23

https://mobile.twitter.com/rozalinachomsky

if you read these twitter posts by this lady and add up the damage then you begin to wonder about what arms the rebels have.

there are 3 sides to a coin ....heads, tails and edge
the edge is the hand of G-d both seen and unseen

Posted by: jub | Jun 22, 2013 6:35:07 PM | 24

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 22, 2013 3:04:21 PM | 13

"It is a widely-accepted myth in the land that the mainstream media, print and electronic, objectively presents truth as "news." It's not the case. Basically the media are profit-centered advertising distributors, who present their audience to willing subjects as sales prospects. As in: 'We can give you an audience of x hundred thousand people, at these rates.'"

Don

Advertising revenue is generated based on ratings which is how many people are buying your paper or watch your program or click on your site, if thats how advertisers select a media to run their ads, can you than explain Why towing the government line generates more advertising revenue for MSM. If it worked like a normal business interest they could educate and make public interested on an anti government posture and have as many audiences to get same amount of advertisers( water gate). Can tell why they are not doing it?

Posted by: Kooshy | Jun 22, 2013 6:45:55 PM | 25

re 22

they have the numbers

I doubt very much whether they have the numbers. According to what I hear, the Syrian army is reduced to small groups who are continuing to fight, much like the rebels.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 22, 2013 6:47:51 PM | 26

Chivers was always bad news.

Posted by: revenire | Jun 22, 2013 6:52:11 PM | 27

lol, balance. Let's give the Mafia more Glocks. It's only fair!

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 22, 2013 7:19:18 PM | 28

"According to what I hear, the Syrian army is reduced to small groups who are continuing to fight, much like the rebels."

The SAA, NDF, and Hezbollah just wrapped up a massive coordinated campaign to clear Al-Qusayr and they are now in the middle of an even large campaign in and around Aleppo.

There isn't a single area in Syria the foreign fighters are gaining ground. The foreign militants and jihadists are getting wipped out in each and every engagement with the Syrian military.

Just a day or two ago one of the foreign fighters leaders was interviewed and stated that they were preparing to give up trying to hold ground and turning to a campaign of pure terrorism like car bombings.

Posted by: Addison | Jun 22, 2013 7:21:41 PM | 29

@25 You should check out Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman's "Manufacturing Consent" for the complete run down on the way a media operates in "free" countries. They create what is called the "Propaganda Model" which lays out the factors affecting the media. What Don said is correct, but it is only part of the story. The are several factors which go into it:

2.1 Ownership
2.2 Funding
2.3 Sourcing
2.4 Flak
2.5 Anti-Communism (now anti-terror) and fear

It's very interesting to my mind. Certainly the best explanation as to how the "Free" press can turn out to speak with one voice.

Wiki "Propaganda Model" for a decent little primer. There is also plenty on YouTube.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 22, 2013 8:22:20 PM | 30

Reconquering Aleppo is a major and very important goal - but not an urgent one.

Right now it's way more important to cut the supply routes - and - to reinsure the population so as to keep the land barren for the terrorists and fertile for SAA.

What's the current state and numbers of SAA planes, helicopters and tanks? That's not important because those weapon systems aren't too useful in the given theater. Fighting against those terrorists happens in the 5,45 - 12,7 caliber range with an occasional 23 mm caliber. Even mobile artillery on the terrorists side doesn't dramatically change that. And a well trained group of soldiers with "clumsy" AKs and some old Dragunovs is worth way more (albeit less hollywood style impressive) than a horde of terrorists with FN FALs, LMGs, and whatnot shooting around rambo style, often enough (albeit unreported by media ...) against one another.

But no wonder that the western media propagate distorted analysis and reports. After all in the zato world one asks (with a dramatic voice) air support by helicopter (or even by fighter jets) as soon as some lonely dog runs along the street.

But there is more to it. The SAA's real major disadvantage is that they need - and want - to keep the citizens away from harm as well they can. This strongly limits their options and increases their risk. Where the terrorists happily use artillery the SAA prefers to stick to their guns wherever possible so as to avoid collateral dammage.

The quality of a soldier or a mil. group isn't determined by their ability and will to wildly and arbitrarily produce the highest number of shot bullets; it is determined by their readiness and capability to put bullets into enemy targets as well as to not put bullets into civilians and friendly forces. And to do that in a properly coordinated and professional fashion.

From what I can see the SAA has done an excellent job so far and has been rewarded by citizens loyalty and support. And the SAA has the best intelligence any force can have: Millions of friendly civilians who know the local environment perfectly well and happily contribute their part.

The terrorists are bound to loose, no matter how many weapons, how much money or whatnot they have and get. All the Russians need to do is to keep zato forces out of the game, and that's what they did so far.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 22, 2013 8:35:26 PM | 31

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 22, 2013 8:22:20 PM | 30

Apparently you did not understand the question I asked, my point was that if corporate media can make same amount of money from advertisers by spreading lies and propaganda as to reporting truth and balance why they chose the former. If you find the answer to that than you can claim is all business. But I suspect like Dan Rather said American exciptionalism and nationalism has a lot more to do with it than does the corporate money. I suspect blaming it on better business rather than nationalistic perceptions is the usual American hiding place of doing good business is always less idealistic and innocent.

Posted by: kooshy | Jun 22, 2013 8:51:40 PM | 32

@32

Perhaps I misunderstood your question. But I think you misunderstood my answer.

I would say 3-5 on the list I provided point to exactly the forces you suggest, not to corporate money at all. That's if you presume the people high in the government who become "unidentified" sources are driven by nationalism, that flak generated by (now) Tea Party groups and (formerly) John Birch Society types is driven by a sense of "American Exceptionalism" and if you believe the fear-pandering is pushed for nationalistic purposes.

I wasn't trying to blame it all on corporate interests. I was trying to point you to the other factors - like national bigotry and other ideological factors - that prevent the media from just pandering to the almighty dollar. But the fact is you can't well unwed the two. American corporate power and drive for money is as much a part and parcel of the American mind as is paying homage to "Old Glory" and other such jingoistic bullshit.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 22, 2013 10:23:26 PM | 33

@Kooshy #25
Why towing the government line generates more advertising revenue for MSM.

United We Stand, God Bless America, USA #1, etc.

Charles Krauthammer: "The world at the turn of the 21st century is not multipolar but unipolar. America bestrides the world like a colossus. The main reason for the absence of a serious challenge to American hegemony is that it is so benign. . ." -- from Norman Solomon's book "War Made Easy," chapter one: America Is a Fair and Noble Superpower

Other chapters: Our Leaders Will Do Everything They Can to Avoid War, Our Leaders Would Never Tell Outright Lies, If This War is Wrong the Media Will Tell Us, etc.

These are fairy tales that many (or most) Americans believe, and so the MSM reinforces those beliefs. To NOT do so would put people in a sour mood and would result in many negative, harsh responses. These would not be conducive to selling cars and toothpaste. Advertisers would cancel advertising in such _____ (socialist, communist, un-American) media. It would be similar to not promoting Christianity.

These days, Iran, North Korea and Syria are bad, bad, bad. Everybody knows that, and for any journalist to suggest otherwise would make him or her an ex-journalist. You just don't do it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 22, 2013 11:47:07 PM | 34

I like this comment from a recent NYTimes article about Aleppo.

Reflecting the questions that remain about which rebels the United States will arm, the commander, Jamal Maarouf, said he did not know if his group would qualify.

“The American said they will arm moderate battalions,” he said. “I don’t know if my battalion is moderate.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 23, 2013 12:34:14 AM | 35

As a lot of new weapons are streaming in the Syrian Arab Army should probably stop its current offense and stay defensive while devising new tactics against such weapons.

I think that's debatable. The SAA seems to have cleaned up Qasir resulting in a huge boost of confidence among the "Syrians for Syria" demographic and a HUGE psychological defeat for the 'rebels' (and their (timid, lying, gutless sponsors). If the SAA can duplicate the Qasir success in Aleppo then they'll have delivered another double-whammy - a boost in local confidence in the SAA and another psychological defeat to the cannibals and psychos. Imo, a reasonably quick resolution to the Aleppo problem will leave the 'rebels' staring GAME OVER in the face.

I can't lightly dismiss Nasrallah's "July" commitment. Hezbollah are eminently capable of performing arms-control duties, so breaking off the Aleppo offensive (with Hesbollah ready, willing and able to help) would be a bit like buying a dog and then learning how to bark yourself. I still think that mere mention ofthe word "Hesbollah" sent shivers down Israel and the West's spinelessness.

The entire Syrian fake war has degenerated into a comedy of (panic-stricken) errors, by US-led bullshit believers.
It's farcical.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 23, 2013 12:34:57 AM | 36

from Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media, Michael Parenti, 1993 (second edition):

the news media do not fail to do their job, rather they perform their function all too well. Their objective is not to produce an alert, critical, and informed citizenry but the kind of people who will accept an opinion universe dominated by corporate and governmental elites, almost all of whom share the same ideological perspective about political and economic reality. ... The press does many things and serves many functions, but its major role, its irreducible responsibility, is to continually recreate a view of reality supportive of existing social and economic class power.

...

There is nothing mysterious about who controls the ideological direction and political content of the news. As with any profit-making corporation, the chain of command in the media runs from the top down, with the final authority in the hands of the owners or those who represent the ownership interests of the company. ... The links that bind reporter to editor to news executive to corporate executive to board members to bankers and corporate advertisers are not just work relationships but class power relationships.

...

What passes for the "news" is a product of many forces, involving the dominant political culture and powerful economic and government institutions - all dedicated to maintaining an ideological monopoly, controlling the flow of information and opinion in ways that best advance their interests.

John Swinton, chief editorial writer at the NYT from 1860-1870:

In 1880, John Swinton was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton replied:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

Posted by: b real | Jun 23, 2013 1:16:11 AM | 37

for those who missed it
Irish MP clare dalys epic speech on Obama Syria and drones
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_-Ie6JQquM&feature=youtu.be


followup article by Clare Daly to her epic speech in irelands parliament
http://www.irishexaminer.com/analysis/unquestionable-adoration-of-obama-is-ludicrous-234764.html

June 22, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Posted by: brian | Jun 23, 2013 1:33:14 AM | 38

Concerning those new and more upmarket weapons finding their way into Syria, I would tie in Irshad's point from the Kiribati thread, that maybe it is time to start supplying similar weapons to the Taliban as US/Nato forces prepare to withdraw. Especially if its not just similar gear to what is being shipped to Syria, but the very same.

For that reason it is important the SAA recovers as many goodies in working order as possible. Would be quite effective teaching the US, UK and France just how stupid their policy is when their own armory further east is blown up with Konkurs-M and Kornets. How did they get into the hands of the Taliban? Hmmm, must have been their connections to the FSA.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 23, 2013 1:52:02 AM | 39

Here's Steve Gowans on the reality-behind-the-"Reality" in Syria (chapter and verse).

Syria, The View From The Other Side
http://gowans.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/syria-the-view-from-the-other-side/

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 23, 2013 2:39:07 AM | 40

@ 39.

I suspect that the Russians (knowing how horrendously expensive it is to keep a Western-style military operation fed, watered, fueled & replenished in mountainous, roadless, Afghanistan) are DELIGHTED to see the US pissing truckloads of (borrowed) $US against a mud brick wall, 24/7, in pursuit of an idiotic fantasy. I'd bet 1/2 the ranch that Putin would prefer that they stay there until 2114, at least.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 23, 2013 3:01:49 AM | 41

Suicide Letter from Iraq War Veteran Says He Was Made to Commit War Crimes

“To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand,” he declares. “Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.”
http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/06/22/letter-from-former-iraq-war-veteran-describes-why-he-committed-suicide/
tools of warfare: buy use discard

sinister american enterprise institite mentioned by soldiers wife http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e6Sp1uzfw0M

Posted by: brian | Jun 23, 2013 4:42:43 AM | 42

Re Brian at 38.
99% of Irish people see Clare Daly is a total nutter who was looking for attention by being stupid, rude, pointlessly offensive and isolated. The vast majority find her totally embarrasing but looking for publicity.

Posted by: boindub | Jun 23, 2013 6:43:03 AM | 43

@ boindub 43

"99% of Irish people see Clare Daly is a total nutter who was looking for attention by being stupid, rude, pointlessly offensive and isolated."

I dont know her, but basing on that speech and considering she was 100% correct, those "99% of Irish people" dont look good at all :) I hope brainwashed and not so enlightened Irish people's numbers are MUCH lower, but then again - it may be wishful thinking :)

Posted by: Harry | Jun 23, 2013 7:29:47 AM | 44

Hoarsewhisperer

How could you be so sure US/Al qaeda are the losers of this conflict? Rather Russia know just because of Afghanistan, how powerful these western backed terrorists could be.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 23, 2013 7:33:49 AM | 45

In the meantime
http://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/su213

Edward S. on board, let's hope a "lost" missile won't make it dissapear from the map ^^

Posted by: rototo | Jun 23, 2013 7:46:52 AM | 46

@boindub

99% of Irish people see Clare Daly is a total nutter who was looking for attention by being stupid, rude, pointlessly offensive

Anyone who has seen Daly's grassroots support (in either the Anti-War movement or the Anti-Water Charges campaign) or spent time in the working class areas of Dublin would know that statement is ridiculous. Just because The Independent runs a hit piece on either Daly or Wallace every other week doesn't mean they don't have a lot of support (though in fairness Wallace is a bit of a nutter). Daly should have stayed in the Socialist Party instead of becoming Independent.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 23, 2013 7:52:29 AM | 47

Anonymous | Jun 23, 2013 7:33:49 AM | 45, So true, but conflicting agenda's on both sides at there core, the nature of both beasts and the limitations. A bit like cancer, it is slow but will get you and if not the treatment is horrendous has risks with no guarantees; perhaps Russia knows that?

Posted by: kev | Jun 23, 2013 7:54:06 AM | 48

On 22 Jun 2013 Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said Jordan is "against any military intervention in Syria and will not allow its lands to be used for any intervention in Syria". The prime minister also said "there is no training in our country whatsoever of Syrian opposition forces." The prime minister added that Jordan is exerting its utmost efforts to control the borders with Syria to prevent the smuggling of any weapons or the entry of infiltrators into Syria. He reiterated that his government treats Syrians on Jordanian territory as refugees only. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-06/23/c_124896417.htm , http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleno=21723 , http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleno=21697 , http://www.petranews.gov.jo/nepras/2013/Jun/22/7000.htm , http://www.petranews.gov.jo/nepras/2013/Jun/22/6000.htm , http://www.petranews.gov.jo/nepras/2013/Jun/19/16000.htm
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/06/23/310409/jordan-against-intervention-in-syria/

Jordanian security forces have arrested armed groups along the Syria-Jordan border in recent days .

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 23, 2013 8:42:03 AM | 50

The Joint Statement of the Participating Countries in the Doha Ministerial Meeting on Syria, 22 June 2013 includes the sentence: "The Ministers have agreed... to channel all military support by the relevant countries through the Staff Chairmanship of the Syrian Supreme Military Council." This means in particular that Qatar and Saudi Arabia have agreed.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 23, 2013 8:50:02 AM | 51

On 22 Jun 2013 Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said Jordan is "against any military intervention in Syria and will not allow its lands to be used for any intervention in Syria". The prime minister also said "there is no training in our country whatsoever of Syrian opposition forces." The prime minister added that Jordan is exerting its utmost efforts to control the borders with Syria to prevent the smuggling of any weapons or the entry of infiltrators into Syria. He reiterated that his government treats Syrians on Jordanian territory as refugees only. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-06/23/c_124896417.htm , http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleno=21723 ,

Jordanian security forces have arrested armed groups along the Syria-Jordan border in recent days .

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 23, 2013 8:42:03 AM | 50

so what are US forces doing IN Jordan?

US now has 900 troops in Jordan, PM says
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/06/22/310362/us-now-has-900-troops-in-jordan-pm/

someones lying

Posted by: brian | Jun 23, 2013 9:36:28 AM | 52

Re Brian at 38.
99% of Irish people see Clare Daly is a total nutter who was looking for attention by being stupid, rude, pointlessly offensive and isolated. The vast majority find her totally embarrasing but looking for publicity.

Posted by: boindub | Jun 23, 2013 6:43:03 AM | 43

boindub thats not what ive been told....this speech on OBAMA DRONES and the evil 0f arming FSA has been widely applauced by irish americans and everyone inbetween

i know who Clare Daly is...ive no idea who YOU are as you hide behind a pseudonym...

anyone who trusts BOINDUB is a right fool

Posted by: brian | Jun 23, 2013 9:39:47 AM | 53

Posted by: Harry | Jun 23, 2013 7:29:47 AM | 44

why listen to a fellow, boindub, whos identity you dont know. Its clear hes offended by her speech on Obama: telling it like it is

Posted by: brian | Jun 23, 2013 9:41:21 AM | 54

Seriously, brian? I'm not defending Boindub here, but your attack on anonymity is a bit silly. I mean your name is so very informative as to who you are I don't even have to consider what you say I can just take it as a gospel. /s

Any long time MOAner should know/be better... I come here because folk like you usually are.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jun 23, 2013 11:07:50 AM | 55

Anon @ 45.
I'm an optimist and the Yankees are as weak as piss and twice as yellow (and four times as loud) - like all their friends in 'Israel' EU and the ME. Russia appears to believe that Syria's 600,000+ defense force has a better than even chance of crushing the rebels provided the Paper Tiger & Friends are kept at bay.
That's all it'll take.
No-one would be stupid enough to risk a war with Russia - you never know where (or how) it would end...
The Yankees are snookered and they know it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 23, 2013 11:11:13 AM | 56

Wow. 110 no shows for the Qatar Friends of Syria meeting!!!

From Xinhua Net:

On Saturday, the foreign ministers of the "Friends of Syria," including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey, met in the Qatari capital for talks on the latest developments in Syria and agreed to further arm the Syrian opposition fighters.

In a joint statement, the participants agreed to "provide urgently all the necessary materiels and equipment" to the rebels fighting al-Assad on the ground.

They also condemned "the intervention of the Shiite Hezbollah militia and fighters from Iran and Iraq."

Speaking at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after the conference, Qatar's Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim al-Thani said that participating countries, excluding two states which he did not name, agreed to increase military support for the Syrian opposition.

He noted that "secret decisions" have been taken during the meeting to change the situation on the ground. [My emphasis]

(I wonder who catered the event. Any tastings of human organs, provided by the "rebels"? /snark. I'm sure readers here at MofA get the sarcasm, but just to let the NSA types know that I do not personally approve of human organ harvesting as either a food source or political statement. Just so you know, NSAers, 'mkay?)

RL extremely busy right now, so apologies for repeating anyone's post above. Will read when the sun's gone down.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 23, 2013 11:12:41 AM | 57

Amazon description of War Made Easy,, from Don Bacon's post @ 34:

Book Description

Publication Date: June 23, 2006 | ISBN-10: 047179001X | ISBN-13: 978-0471790013

War Made Easy cuts through the dense web of spin to probe and scrutinize the key "perception management" techniques that have played huge roles in the promotion of American wars in recent decades. This guide to disinformation analyzes American military adventures past and present to reveal striking similarities in the efforts of various administrations to justify, and retain, public support for war. War Made Easy is essential reading. It documents a long series of deliberate misdeeds at the highest levels of power and lays out important guidelines to help readers distinguish a propaganda campaign from actual news reporting. With War Made Easy, every reader can become a savvy media critic and, perhaps, help the nation avoid costly and unnecessary wars.


Posted by: jawbone | Jun 23, 2013 11:22:39 AM | 58

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jun 23, 2013 11:07:50 AM | 55

id say you were defending him

Posted by: brian | Jun 23, 2013 11:28:55 AM | 59

Guest77 @ 30 --Perhaps another influence on the ludicrously abysmal performance of the US MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) is the effect of, well, the NSA type info gathering.

Aka, blackmail.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 23, 2013 11:29:37 AM | 60

@ 57. Yeah, I had a chuckle about the 110 no-shows when I saw it over at Voltaire earlier today. Meyssan's been accurately calling the Syria debacle since mid 2012 and reckons it's nearly over. If he's correct (again) Obama will have to find something else stupid to bluster about. I'm hoping it'll be Iran...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 23, 2013 11:31:21 AM | 61

@brian - attacking other posters here is reason to get banned - stop it

Posted by: b | Jun 23, 2013 11:54:52 AM | 62

On 17 Jun 2013 the Iraq Prime Minister, Maliki, said that arming the rebels in Syria by outside powers "will lead to entirely destroy Syria and vandalize its social fabric, and disturb the situations in the the neighboring countries of Syria." (Ref). The government of Jordan doesn't say the same thing so explicitly, but its statements are consistent with the same attitude (see Parviziyi #50). The governments of Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon are clearly saying they are not going to permit weapons to pass from their jurisdictions to the militants in Syria. What about Turkey? The majority of Turkish public opinion is opposed it.

After the USA's recently announced intention to give more material support to the Syrian militants, I have not heard from the Turkish government about cooperating with the USA. Turkey and USA have been in talks about it over the last week, but as of yet no public statements about it have been made by the Turkish government. For the last two years the Turkish government's policy is that weapons are not allowed to cross from Turkey into Syria. It's my understanding that the Turkish government cannot change this policy without announcing it and debating it in the Turkish parliament. And I think the rule prohibiting weapons from passing from Turkey to Syria is not a mere ministerial policy, but is a law in Turkey. It is my belief that the Turkish government is NOT free to permit weapons to pass from Turkey to Syria in secret, below board. The Turkish government has to make it above board or it's illegal -- that's what I was told 18 months ago and I believe it was true then, and still true today. (And it'd be also probably illegal under international treaty conventions on international sale and transfer of weapons).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 23, 2013 12:51:33 PM | 63

Does anybody know what's the deal with the Ziad's Syrian Perspective site? I have tried a number of times to post there as "anonymous" but without success. Those were polite, respectful comments and questions regarding the situation in Syria. The censorship is worse than at typical MSM anti-syrian propaganda sites like HuffPo, WaPo, NYT or BBC. I am quite disappointed since I have spent hours writing hundreds of posts on those sites defending Syrian government and people against the assault by NATO, Israel and GCC, including references to facts and evidence from landdestroyer, globalresearch, voltairenet, veteranstoday, nsnbc, antiwar.com and similar places. Very sad indeed that it's a supposedly Syrian website that cannot handle the truth. Maybe it's because SyrPer is a propaganda outlet read by SAA and their morale is at stake, but one cannot build reputation using censorship and avoiding hard questions. Ziad also comes across as somewhat arrogant, cruel and not understanding those who are poor, uneducated and a bit slower than average and have been fooled into joining FSA, he seems to be of a "better kind".
I will express my doubts about the situation in Syria in the next post.

Posted by: Reason | Jun 23, 2013 2:12:32 PM | 64

Could somebody please explain to me how the weapons are delivered to the terrorists in Syria?
I call it "pure magic". What we have seen goes like this:
1) there is an announcement in the MSM that the "rebels" will receive new delivery plus some quotes from said rebels about their "feelings and expectations" about it
2) Russia, Syria condemn the move to supply more weapons, Syrian army and forces talk about adjusting their tactics accordingly, regret such development
3) the promised weapons appear "magically" in hands of the terrorist - we can see video footage of them, read quotes from the "rebels" how happy they are (e.g. in Allepo)
NO ATTEMPT WHATSOEVER from the SAA to BLOCK the delivery, to obstruct it, to delay it, to destroy AT LEAST some PART of it. NOTHING. NADA. ZILCH. Not a single bullet nor gun intercepted BEFORE being in the hands of the terrorists. Not even a mention of trying to do just that. After 2,5 YEARS SAA have NO CLUE how to at least ATTEMPT TO BLOCK SOME PART of the supplies? They do not know the supply routes? How about placing land mines, digging trenches, setting up some barbwire - ANYTHING to stop the inflow of the weapons?!
Or maybe the SAA have tried all that but the terrorist and their sponsors use TELEPORTATION?
Something's fishy here, it does not add up. And it's VERY annoying for anybody who's concerned about the fate of Syria.
Similarly it's difficult to believe how it's still possible for massacres like that in Hatla Der Ezzor to happen? After such a long time there is still no security for the population not supporting the terrorist gangs? How hard is it to have armed, vigilant militia in communication with stronger forces ready to come swiftly with a rescue? It's really PAINFUL to read about yet another massacre!
Is Syria so weak, divided, without solidarity, untrained, disorganized that we are forced to witness still so many civilian and security personnel losses?

I tried to post these questions at SyrPyr - which I had been promoting throughout the Internets for months - but no success. Censorship's too strong which that means no more promotion from me for SyrPer.

Posted by: Reason | Jun 23, 2013 2:41:43 PM | 65

France has a clear policy on Syria: Give arms to the correct anti-Syria forces ("not the wrong hands") which they should use to fight extremists ("the wrong hands') to prevent a massacre. (Nuland would have said a horrific massacre.)


Mar 15, 2013
France's president has defended his plan to supply arms to Syria's rebels, as activists mark two years since the anti-government uprising began.

Speaking after an EU meeting, Francois Hollande said the rebels had given guarantees that weapons would not fall into the wrong hands. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21796002

Jun 23, 2013
Reuters
France says Syrian rebels need to wrest areas from radicals
DOHA (Reuters) - Syrian rebels need to wrest back control of territory held by Islamist militants whose involvement in the conflict gives Bashar al-Assad a pretext for more violence, French President Francois Hollande said on Sunday.

"The opposition needs to win back control of these areas ... they have fallen into the hands of extremists," Hollande told a news conference in the Qatari capital Doha.

"If it seems that extremist groups are present and tomorrow they could be the beneficiaries of a chaotic situation, it will be Bashar al-Assad who will seize on this pretext to continue the massacre."
http://news.yahoo.com/france-says-syrian-rebels-wrest-areas-radicals-144603165.html

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 23, 2013 2:45:35 PM | 66

@Reason #65
From what we know, weapons come into Syria via all of its land borders, 2252 km. To the anti-Syria forces in the north, 877 km. Smuggling weapons and ammunition to a war-torn country is not that difficult. Where there's a demand and money to be made, they will find a way. People can be bought, for one thing, especially when there is little civilian economy.

Compare this to the drugs and immigrants smuggled into the U.S., which is not war-torn. The authorities can't stop it. Only 5% of cocaine and 10% of marijuana is stopped at the Mexican border, for example. Even a huge wall doesn't stop it. The War on Drugs has gone on for thirty years, without any success.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 23, 2013 3:02:46 PM | 67

@Reason #65
When there is war, there are massacres. Sometimes it's done by aerial bombing (a U.S. specialty), sometimes with artillery -- a lot, actually -- and sometimes by direct fire. It's a normal part of any war, along with torture, rape, horrendous injuries and physical displacement.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 23, 2013 3:09:21 PM | 68

@66 Monsieur Hollande is starting to sound a little manic. Did he just notice the extremist problem? Or did somebody point it out to him?

Posted by: dh | Jun 23, 2013 3:10:19 PM | 69

Don Bacon #67 makes a decent comment on Reason #65, but Reason #65 is making a deeper point and asking a bigger question.

Besides the failures in controling the borders, I can recite a long list of other serious failures by the Syrian security forces. The single worst item in the list, in my view, is the failure to restore security to Aleppo city. The armed rebels arrived there on 22 Jul 2012. Before the rebels arrived, Aleppo city was orderly and the bulk of the citizens supported the government. The army has failed to restore security to Aleppo city month after month after month, and the city's security has actually deteriorated during the last few months. The second worst failure item on the list, in my view, is the fact that the Syrian army has been suffering a relatively high rate of fighting casualties when it fights.

Regarding the supposed strengths and visible failures of the Syrian army, commenter "Reason" comments: "Something's fishy here, it does not add up." I agree.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 23, 2013 4:11:52 PM | 70

In each of Syria's neighboring countries for the last two years it has been illegal to bring weapons from that country across the border into Syria. (In case you're foggy about it, the neighboring countries are Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon). Nevertheless for the last 12 months the rebels in Syria have obviously had lots of weapons and lots of ammunition. So, obviously, there have been enforcement failures on both sides of the border. Before you blame the Turkish government for not being vigorous enough in its enforcement, you must blame first and foremost the Syrian army for its enforcement failures on the Syrian side of the border.

Turkey officially prohibits all weapons from passing from Turkey into Syria. As part of the enforcement of the prohibition, Turkish army vehicles patrol near the Turkey-Syria border. On 2 Jun 2013, 8 or 10 gunmen located on the Syrian side of the border fired several rounds at a Turkish military vehicle patrolling along the border in Turkey's Hatay province. The Turkish army in a statement said the fire by the gunmen was poorly aimed and the Turkish armored vehicle was not hit, but the Turkish army returned fire. Another very similar incident was reported on 30 May 2013, when several gunmen on the Syrian side of the border fired 15-20 rounds of ammunition with light weapons at a Turkish military vehicle on the other side of the border in Turkey's Hatay province, and the Turkish military in a statement said it returned fire. The Syrian side of the border where the two incidents took place is currently abandoned by the Syrian army and under the control of Syrian rebels, in Syria's Idlib province. (Ref).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 23, 2013 4:29:42 PM | 71

@ Parviziyi #70
The army has failed to restore security to Aleppo city month after month after month. .

So what? The mighty US Army failed to restore security in Baghdad for year after year after year, 2003-2007, until General Casey was replaced by Petraeus and at a great human cost there was a "surge" of US troops and an ethnic cleansing of the Sunnis in Baghdad. I even wrote a poem about it -- Casey At Bag Dad.

The outlook isn't bright for the coalition forces this year.
For a long three years Iraqis have held Baghdad with seemingly nothing to fear.

Shock and Awe was mission accomplished, the sign behind the President read.
Iraqi resistance? "My answer is bring 'em on" our fearless leader said.

Baghdad is an ancient and storied place, with many centers of antiquity.
Its suburbs include Abu Ghurayb, Adhamiya, Kadhimain, Karradah Sharqiyah, Mamoon and Sadr City.

The Iraqi army was defeated there, April ninth in oh-three,
But then regular Iraqis took control, and now people must fight or flee.

In June Operation Together Forward was announced by the new Iraqi Prime Minister,
as if he could really command, or had the freedom to administer.

The operation was a failure, with more and more GIs and Iraqis dying,
As the Islamic militias strengthened their hold, there was no more use in trying.

But wait! There's hope for us yet, perhaps the situation's not so bad,
General Casey, mighty Casey, will he be taking control of Baghdad!


cont.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 23, 2013 4:59:36 PM | 72

There was ease in Casey's manner, as he moved to his rightful place,
There was pride in Casey's bearing and confidence on his face.

Casey said that the next six months will be decisive, and will determine Iraq's fate.
What a man! What a call!
Inspirational and moving, and none other could speak as great.

Except maybe Casey himself, in his last bogus pre-election prediction.
"We'll have the majority of the country pacified by New Year's" was that years fiction.

Oh someday in Iraq there will be freedom, when people can do as they please.
Their oil and water will be theirs,
and they won't be brought to their knees.

But 'til then there will be airstrikes,
cluster bombs and depleted uranium,
Kidnapping, shooting and torture,
and other forms of military mayhem.

Until men like General Casey learn
what to the rest of us is plain,
You can't militarily pacify a foreign land--
it's Vietnam all over again.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 23, 2013 5:00:08 PM | 73

Arms have flowed to Syria from surrounding countries at different rates and with differing responses from those governments throughout the country.

As early as January of the Arab Spring, gun shop owners in Lebanon were reporting an increase of sales to Syrians.

The head of AQI has said that from the beginning of the Syrian conflict, they have provided fighters and arms to their offshoot in Syria.

Even though Syria and Turkey had concluded a trade agreement that gave Turkey authority for securing their mutual border, Turkey has not only provided camps for refugees, but training facilities for insurgents. In addition, many of the arms shipments from Libya and Eastern Europe for the insurgents have passed through Turkey. Early in the conflict, Saad Hariri's right-hand man in the Lebanese parliament, Okab Sakr, started facilitating the transit of arms from Libya, first through Tripoli, then later through Turkey. Even if Turkish law prohibits such activity and even though the majority of Turkish citizens oppose it, Prime Minister Erdogan has been facilitating the supplying of arms to the insurgency in Syria throughout the conflict.

In the past year, Americans have shifted their vetting of weapons and training of insurgent groups to Jordan. Because of many different tensions in his country, Jordan's king is not enthusiastic about housing and training Syrian insurgents; but he can be easily swayed by US/Israeli/Saudi carrots and sticks.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 23, 2013 5:48:37 PM | 74

@ Don : If you're looking for feedback on the poem, my two pesetas is it's terribly ametueurish as poetry, but it's worth a quick read as history. Educational doggrel.

I regard a comparison between Aleppo and Baghdad as way off-target. The reasons why I do so are probably already known to you, I'd guess. But anyway, to take up the comparison for the sake of chat, there was no neighborhood in Baghdad where the US army couldn't enter on patrols (not even Sadr city), whereas there's a substantial number of neighborhoods in Aleppo city right now where the Syrian army dares not enter. Plus in Aleppo there's neighborhoods where the rebels are in control that are being used as bases for firing mortars at neighborhoods where the Syrian army is in control. And there's the likes of this from the pro-government "SyrianPerspective" blog dated 21 Jun 2013, referring to two neighborhods that are in Aleppo city close to the central heart of the city: "SAA crushed 2 checkpoints manned by rodents on the border of Bustaan Al-Qasr and Jameeliyya." (Ref). Even though the SAA crushed those two rebel road checkpoints, other rebel-manned road checkpoints are alive in the city and not yet crushed. The US military did not suffer similar such things to exist when enforcing security in Baghdad.

Baghdad is not at all an apt reference point from my point of view. I said that already.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 23, 2013 5:55:41 PM | 75

Ad "Syrias neighbours have clearly stated that they don't allow weapons to cross over their borders".

It's not e.g. turkey that is, the totality of turkish people, making that statement. When saying "turkey has stated" that means the political representatives of turkey which again means cheap whores, murderers, and corrupt thugs.

I think pretty everyone here knows about the endless lies of politicians.

So, having to choose in between believing in a miracle or lying politicians being behind the weapons in Syria I wouldn't take the miracles ...

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 23, 2013 6:21:04 PM | 76

@Parviziyi #75
Of course Baghdad is an apt comparison as a city where in your words there was a "failure to restore security." Naturally the details differ, but the general condition is the same. Oct 2006: -- GEN. CASEY: "It's a difficult struggle. If you took a 30-mile radius from the center of Baghdad and drew a circle, 90 percent of the sectarian violence that goes on in Iraq, 80 to 90 percent, would take place in that circle; a little bit outside of that in Diyala Province, and a little bit down in Basra."

That was three and half years since the finest military in the history of the world invaded and occupied Baghdad, so I wouldn't expect more from the SAA.

PS: It's too bad it was only "a little bit down on Basra;" I have another poem on the British leaving Basra.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 23, 2013 7:05:45 PM | 77

So, there's a new narrative emerging apparently: Yes, the invaders are terrorists, but Assad is cynically using them for his own ends. He could wipe them out if he wanted to; he's not even seizing enemy munitions. No doubt, he's angling for asylum in the BRICS. Meanwhile the US is playing the bad guy, but being realistic. Israel is holding back; it sure doesn't want any jihadists nearby. China and Russia are lurking in the background waiting to scoop the debris. And the Leakers are just the latest in CIA psyops.

Got it?

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 23, 2013 9:12:49 PM | 78

Breaking news from Qatar:

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is expected to meet members of the royal family Monday, with Qatari officials and diplomats saying a transfer of power to his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is imminent.

According to the Angry Arab:

if the Emir surrenders power to his son, it will indicate that the House of Saud has succeeded in engineering (with full US consent) a coup in Qatar.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jun 23, 2013 11:25:49 PM | 79

@Reason: "NO ATTEMPT WHATSOEVER from the SAA to BLOCK the delivery, to obstruct it, to delay it, to destroy AT LEAST some PART of it. NOTHING. NADA. ZILCH"

"After 2,5 YEARS SAA have NO CLUE how to at least ATTEMPT TO BLOCK SOME PART of the supplies? Or maybe the SAA have tried all that but the terrorist and their sponsors use TELEPORTATION?"

"Something's fishy here, it does not add up. And it's VERY annoying for anybody who's concerned about the fate of Syria."

WTF are you talking about? You know who probably is "concerned about the fate of Syrians"? The Syrian government and the Syrian people who are, NO DOUBT, doing their damndest to interdict these shipments, even if it doesn't appear so from your vantage point, which is about 10,000 miles from god knows where.

So, what's your conspiracy theory today. Bashar Assad is a Mossad Agent and the SAA is secretly allowing weapons flows to come into the country to use against itself?

Get a grip. I've had it up to my eyeballs with people denigrating the bravery of people fighting for their lives. And now I've certainly heard it all with someone accusing the SAA of being some kind of secret conspiracy against ITSELF.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 24, 2013 12:39:44 AM | 80

@ 80. Amen.
It seems like only yesterday that Aleppo was described as Syria's largest city. One imagines that eliminating the cannibals won't be nearly as simple as sending a convoy of tanks down Main Street and "killing anything that moves."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 24, 2013 1:02:08 AM | 81

Combat is simple for keyboard warriors; but actually it's a bit more complex.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 24, 2013 11:29:26 AM | 82

Dobbins, the US AfPak rep:

US envoy James Dobbins on Monday said Washington was outraged at how the Taliban opened an office in Qatar that was intended as a first step towards a peace deal in Afghanistan.

"The use of the Islamic Emirate title... (and) the symbols, signs and nomenclature were incompatible with what had been understood to be the arrangement," he told reporters in Kabul.

"We were outraged ourselves because it was inconsistent with the assurances we had been given."


They were outraged that the government the US overthrew and has been fighting ever since, almost twelve years now, still considers itself a government!
You just can't trust enemies' assurances any longer. Helluva thing. We tell them to come in with a white flag and they bring a black one. What's the world coming to?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 24, 2013 12:19:42 PM | 83

sorry - wrong thread.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 24, 2013 12:23:34 PM | 84

@80 guest77

And it clashes with the semi-regular reports of convoys of trucks and vans carrying weapons being destroyed. Some people go from being cynical to losing touch with reality. Every yes isn't a no, and every no isn't a yes.

Posted by: Crest | Jun 24, 2013 4:21:08 PM | 85

Guest77 at #80 attitudinized: "I've had it up to my eyeballs with people denigrating the bravery of people fighting for their lives. And now I've certainly heard it all with someone accusing the SAA of being some kind of secret conspiracy against ITSELF."

I reply, the Syrian army has been failing so far to put down the rebellion, and has been failing to meet expectations, despite putting in a lot of hard work. The situation today is worse than anyone on the pro-government side thought it would become -- when thinking, say, 12 months ago, or 6 months ago, or 18 months ago. I don't think the rebels are considerably stronger than the pro-government observers used to think. Instead, the army is proving itself considerably weaker and less effective than pro-government observers used to think. The advantages and disadvantages of each side in the contest are well known to the pro-government observers. In view of those advantages and disadvantages, the Syrian army's side ought to've been performing better than it's actually performing. The rebels are better armed today, stronger in that regard, but part of the explanation for that fact goes to the army itself for its failure to impose more security in border areas and throughout the country, a failure which has allowed weapons to be more easily distributed, as Reason #65 was saying.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 24, 2013 8:01:26 PM | 86

For the last two years one of the best pro-government uploaders of fighting videos from Syria is "Syria Tube" aka "SyrianTube". Syria Tube has a large number of different channels at Youtube. (This is a defense against Youtube moderators terminating a channel; a number of Syria Tube's channels have been terminated by Youtube).

More recently Syria Tube has lauched a site of its own for showing the videos. Something I found new and interesting at this site is the site's visitor statistics. The site shows the visitor statistics broken down by country: http://www.syriantube.net/2013/06 . I'm pretty certain the statistics it reports are true and correct; I can think of no reason to suppose they might be bogus. The site gets more visitors from Australia and Canada than from the UK -- that's in absolute numbers, which translates to far more in per capita terms. Undoubtedly that's because a lot more Syrians and Lebanese live in Australia and Canada than in the UK. Another country that's the source of a lot of visitors to the Syria Tube site is UA Emirates. Four times more visitors come from UA Emirates than from Egypt (which translates to something like 40 times more in per capita terms). Again UA Emirates is a place with a lot of Syrian and Lebanese emigrants. However, there are more visitors from Emirates than from Lebanon itself, which can be explained in part by higher incomes, higher education and higher Internet connectivity in Emirates compared to Lebanon. Likewise the site gets slightly more visitors from Sweden than from Iraq (and Syrian and Lebanese emigrants can be found in non-tiny numbers in Sweden.)

You can find Syria Tube's most recent Youtube channels from the blog at https://www.facebook.com/SyrianTuBe .

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 24, 2013 8:57:26 PM | 87

@ Parviziyi #86
The situation today is worse than anyone on the pro-government side thought it would become -- when thinking, say, 12 months ago, or 6 months ago, or 18 months ago.

You made that up. "When thinking?" Give me a beak. Total fabrication.

To the best of my knowledge, Syria has never made claims of an early victory, quite the opposite. On the other hand the US two years ago was predicting the downfall of Syria. In December 2011 the US State Department witness told Congress the Syria government was "a dead man walking."

Again, as a true keyboard warrior you ought to at least consider the failures that the mightiest military the world has ever seen, the US, with their unsuccessful experiences against insurgencies in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. So you need to cut Damascus some slack.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 24, 2013 9:19:16 PM | 88

beak = break

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 24, 2013 9:19:52 PM | 89

Don Bacon #88 said correctly, "Syria has never made claims of an early victory." On the other hand, the Syrian government officials and their supporters have made claims for the last 12 months on a near-daily basis that the situation is improving. The situation is not improving (not visibly anyway). I've had lots of exposure to the thinking of the pro-government Syrians over the past two years, month after month, and I can tell you the situation today is worse than anyone on the pro-government side thought it would become, when looking back say 12 months ago, or 6 months ago, or 18 months ago, or even 3 months ago.

Example from 3 months ago: On 7 Mar 2013 Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said that the attacks of terrorists in Raqqa province came due to their humiliating military defeats in Aleppo (Ref). The rebels had plenty defeats in Aleppo strictly speaking, alright, but when Al-Zoubi spoke in March the general security situation in Aleppo was worse than it was six months previously, and it's worse today than when he spoke.

Example from 29 Aug 2012: Interviewer's question: "What is the situation in Aleppo?" Bashar Assad's answer: "The importance [of Aleppo] is in the difference in scale or weight of the city in the Syrian context, but if we take into account the scale of the complex battles waged by the armed forces on the technical, tactical and strategic levels, then they are among the most complex types of battles, yet the armed forces achieve great successes in this regard.... Time is needed to resolve it. But we are moving forward and the situation is practically better but resolution hasn't been achieved and this takes time." (Ref).

Bashar Assad also said on 29 Aug 2012, speaking to a pro-government audience: "We must stop self flagellation, despite the presence of shortcomings." (Ref). I can fully agree with Bashar about that. But I'm sure that Bashar would fully agree with me that we must try to understand the shortcomings.

Example from 30 Jul 2012, Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Moallem: "Today I say to you that Syria is stronger and our determination to face this scheme is stronger, and we have proved this on the ground since the Wednesday when they planned for what they called "The Great Battle for Damascus"," said al-Moallem. He continued that despite the groups of terrorists who were mobilized for the battle, "they were vanquished in less than a week and the battle failed, so they moved to Aleppo where they will certainly fail." (Ref). Although Moallem doesn't say strictly speaking how long it will take before the terrorists fail in Aleppo, he speaks in the very same sentence about the terrorists in Damascus having been vanquished in less than a week.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 24, 2013 10:42:30 PM | 90

@86 Your critique of the Syrian governments fight, whatever validity it may have, is a sight more sane than the all caps exclamations of complete nonsense "reason" pooped out there.

You should feel free to make your point, but I certainly would see no reason to align it with that boatload of schizo horse shit.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 24, 2013 11:07:19 PM | 91

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