Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 01, 2012

The 'Syrian Revolution' Is Likely Over

The little horror show around Baba Amr, the rather small quarter on the outskirts of Homs, is over. The military pushed in and what was left of the rebels is fleeing. They have now lost the only small stronghold they had managed to establish.

The conglomerate of exiles, the Syrian National Council, saw some twenty hawks split away to form the Syrian Patriotic Group and to endorse the separate Free Syrian Army. That and the offer from the Libyan NATO government to give some $100 million to the cause led the Syrian National Council to create a "military bureau" and to now officially endorse violence.

"The creation of the military bureau was agreed upon by all armed forces in Syria," SNC leader Burhan Ghalioun told a news conference in Paris. "We will be like a defense ministry."

The head of the Free Syrian Army was just on Al Jazeerah Arabic and complained that he had not been informed of that step and openly rejected it. It seems certain that the split between these groups will deepen. This is now all about the dough the various Wahhabi regimes are promising to any group which claims it can take Bashar Assad down.

All this is very much in favor of the Assad government. It can now rightly claim and prove that these groups are nothing but terrorists supported by foreign governments with the intent to destruct the Syrian state. It will make it very difficult for these groups to find support within the Syrian people.

The armed groups will surely continue their dirty work for a while. Attack some army patrols, use this or that bomb and other terrorist tactics. But without a decent backing in the population, they have little chance to become more than a nuance. Meanwhile Assad has time to implement the reforms the new constitution promises to deliver. That will further lessen support for any violent change.

I find it possible, even likely, that have seen the apex of the Syrian revolution attempt and that the situation will from now on calm down.

Posted by b on March 1, 2012 at 14:15 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Who called it a revolution? Nobody here did. I know I didn't. I never considered it a revolution, nor do I consider what has happened and is happening in Egypt a revolution, and I don't subscribe to the propaganda that there is an Arab Spring....or any Arab season.

Anyway, long live the Assads and their authoritarian rule over Syrians. Eat shit you little people of Syria. It's the price you must pay in your involuntary struggle against Imperialism.

Who knows, maybe in a few years women in Syria will be attend a national soccer team match if they so choose. Small steps. These things take time, you know.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 1 2012 14:55 utc | 1

@all - don't feed that troll

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2012 15:03 utc | 2

MB: My goodness, are you ignorant about Syria. Syria is one of the most advanced ME countgries for women. Please check out Josh Landis's website "SyriaComment." It will enable you to obtain at least a 3rd-grader's knowledge about Syrian society.

Posted by: Matthew | Mar 1 2012 15:08 utc | 3

well I guess this is syrian rebel's Sirte moment

Posted by: nikon | Mar 1 2012 15:10 utc | 4

It's probably over for now, but I have a feeling the Zionist pay-masters won't give this up quite that easily. Iran seems to be to big for them to do - though they won't give up trying to get others to go to war for them. The Arab spring isnt' just about rejecting totalitarian leaders - it's about recognizing how and why their political process is being so far infilitrated by foreign enemies. In these IT times, knowledge is certainly power.

To the Zionist troll: The 'Arabs' don't need your concern for their people. The truth is out and the lies are old. Beat it...

Posted by: stevieb | Mar 1 2012 15:46 utc | 5

MB: My goodness, are you ignorant about Syria. Syria is one of the most advanced ME countgries for women.

That's not really saying much considering the benchmark. It appears so on paper, and on paper, it has made progress even if it has amounted to little more than lip service.

Women in Syrian Law

The Syrian Constitution theoretically gives women full citizenship and full political rights, including the right to hold office and exercise the public rights of voting and standing for election. However, the position of women in Syrian society remains lowered, despite the Constitution’s guarantees. These guarantees have not been able to assure Syrian women equal political rights with men because of the structure of Syrian society, based upon adherence to customs and traditions. While the labor laws theoretically ensure that Syrian women can work the same jobs and be paid the same as their male counterparts, though women have certain privileges based on their ability to bear children--they are forbidden to work at night or to pursue jobs that are detrimental to their health, and they are given the right to maternity leave.

It's interesting when attempting to research the issue of women attending Syrian National Men's soccer matches. I could hardly find a comment anywhere about it, even the sites that discuss the team and the sport in Syria...as if they were tip-toeing around the issue...afraid to be controversial or offend. I finally found something that makes the claim so many want to hide under the dirty little carpet of gender discrimination.

Syria Activities

Football is the most popular sport in Syria and children can often be seen playing the game in the street and at weekend matches. There are many leagues for adult men and games are often shown on television. Syria has a national soccer team which plays its home games at the national stadium, where only men can attend.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 1 2012 16:06 utc | 6

Hope you're right b, at least in this astro-turf version of "Revolution". I wish the Syrian people well in their struggle for self-determination, and hope they can settle any problems they have without outside interference. In today's world, not an easy task. If Assad does not enjoy enough support inside Syria, his Government will always be in trouble. Any "Revolution" without support of the people, and barring outside interference, cannot be lasting.

Posted by: ben | Mar 1 2012 16:11 utc | 7

b can't handle the truth. Like Pat Lang did to him, he's censoring my posts. Coward. If you have to resort to censoring and banning, you've lost all credibility.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 1 2012 16:19 utc | 8

I fear the end is not quite here yet. I read today that western powers along with their saudi and qatari puppets are meeting to discuss next steps. This means helping the rebels coordinate and funneling more money. The only one getting rich off of this is the SNC. With a 100 Mill from Libya, of which I am certain a small percentage will make it to their so called cause and the rest will go to swiss bank accounts for Ghaliuon and friends.
The deal still has to be made and the king maker is the Saudi king. This fight has now become a fight for survival for Syria's rulers and Qatar's rulers. The Saudis are happy to see them both fight it out and when they think they see a winner, they will shift. So far Qatar is getting a lot of US and Israeli backing whose only interest is to keep Syria busy while Israel contemplates its Iran move. My feeling is, the only thing that will save Syria is an attack on Iran in the next few months by Israel. If Syria stays calm, all is forgiven and the Saudis will shift otherwise its the end for Assad and the Syrian people.

Posted by: ana souri | Mar 1 2012 16:22 utc | 9

@5, you know how you can spot a David Duke apostle? It uses "to" when it should be "too." It gives them away every time. DD's knuckle draggers have a hard time articulating, even when it's parroting DD's nonsense.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 1 2012 16:30 utc | 10

Just to keep an eye on Bouvier ...

Syrian National Council forms military body; rebels pull out of Baba Amro

On a side note, the SNC chief said in the conference that the badly injured French journalist, Edith Bouvier, is in a “safe” place in Syria. Bouvier was wounded in an explosion that killed the Sunday Times journalist, Marie Colvin.

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2012 16:53 utc | 11

@MB - I've censored nothing - the spam filter held up one of your comments.

But I am considering to ban you here. There isn't really anything you are adding to the discussion but personal assaults and diversions. You might want to hold yourself back a bit. Otherwise I'll cut you out.

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2012 16:56 utc | 12

The "Syrian Revolution" was over when it became a sectarian campaign against Assad funded by Saudi Arabia, the Lebanese Future Movement and the rest of them. A real revolution cannot be contained because the people so vastly outnumber the military. Look at Iran in 1979 or Tahrir in 2011. The sheer millions on the streets in Egypt last year and Iran in 1979 made any military response insignificant.

The "Syrian Revolution" was over when it became a sectarian campaign because it automatically lost the 35% Alawite, Christian, and Druze minority and with it around 20% of Sunni's (mainly wealthy Sunni's) who had alot to lose in a civil war. After that it wasn't a revolution (ie people vs the government), it was civil war (ie 50% of the people vs the other 50%).

I personally wouldn't go as far as saying the "Syrian Civil War" is likely over. The Syrian government has been weakened in huge chunks of the country and whenever there is little government control Al Qaeda and foreign powers can take advantage of the choas in those areas. Already France and the US are pressing for a third UN vote (just to force Russia into another veto). Additionally it does appear that stationing troops along the Lebanon border has caused shortages of weapons and ammunition in the FSA ranks.

Also off/topic: lets not forget tomorrow is parlimentary elections in Iran and Sunday is the Russia presidential election. Are we going to see more attempts at color-coded Revolutions?

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 1 2012 17:13 utc | 13

well, there is this on Bouvier

Nina-Maria Potts ‏ @NinaMariaPotts

Just intvwd Syrian opp spokesman Abdul Omar: " Le Figaro journo Edith Bouvier refusing evacuation from Homs unless French ambassador comes "

and this

http://en.rsf.org/syria-two-french-journalists-still-01-03-2012,41971

the guy with her is a really good photographer

http://www.williamdaniels.net/

Posted by: somebody | Mar 1 2012 17:17 utc | 14

I tend to think Colm has the right analysis here. The civil war isn't over so long as outside powers want it to continue.

Posted by: Bill | Mar 1 2012 17:25 utc | 15

The Emir of Qatar has unimaginable amounts of money to burn. And he seems inclined to make mischief wherever absolute monarchies do not rule. Combine that with lots of corrupt, outstretched hands in Lebanon, and you have a prescription for trouble, lots of trouble.

Add to that Washington's desire for small, reliable Arab expeditionary forces to extend their reach, and you've got even more trouble.

Posted by: JohnH | Mar 1 2012 17:38 utc | 16

After the flight of 35 military advisers and Western journalists, the 2000 fighters of the Free “Syrian” Army clustered in the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr lost all hope of seeing the promises of the West come true. Wednesday, 29 February 29, hundreds chose to surrender before the Syrian National Army penetrated the rebel area. The Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr occupied less than 40 acres when it was cordoned off by loyalist forces. It comprises only part of the Baba Ams district itself, and some adjacent streets. Syria is a country of 185,000 km2, inhabited by 23 million people.

Read rest here

Posted by: hans | Mar 1 2012 17:51 utc | 17

there is also this:

http://www.kergui.com/index.php/moyen-orient-page/4268-edith-bouvier-et-william-daniels-toujours-bloqu%C3%A9s-%C3%A0-homs?utm_source=kergui.com&utm_medium=kergui

"Selon ce responsable, Edith Bouvier qui collabore au Figaro, gravement blessée à la jambe, ne voudrait pas quitter Baba Amro avec l'aide de l'Armée syrienne libre, mais souhaiterait être prise en charge par l'ambassade de France à Damas. Des membres des comités de coordination locale ont indiqué, mercredi soir, dans un message, que la journaliste 'refuse de quitter seule Baba Amro, sans les civils syriens blessés et demande à l'ambassadeur français de venir et de faire tout ce qui est en son pouvoir' et assure avoir vécu 'les plus beaux jours de (sa) vie aux côtés des blessés syriens'.

L'authenticité de ces propos n'a pas pu être confirmée de source diplomatique jeudi matin. Le chef du service International du Figaro, Philippe Gélie, a assuré de son côté au Monde ne pas y croire. 'Des sources directes et indirectes font état d'un tout autre état d'esprit, ce que confirme le journaliste d'El Mundo', a précisé M. Gélie, qui n'a pas pu communiquer avec Edith Bouvier au cours de ces dernières heures.

Journaliste indépendante âgée de 31 ans, Edith Bouvier avait commencé de collaborer au Figaro à l'occasion d'un reportage en Somalie, en 2011. Elle s'était rendue clandestinement dans le nord de la Syrie en décembre 2011."

No, I think they are sitting down at a table now. In flexing their muscles though they might have blown up more than just one pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 1 2012 18:03 utc | 18

I'm with b - the "revolution" is over, troubles are not; I had the impression that since the Russian-Chinese veto, the Western push on Syria lost momentum; the Us in the first place, pobably because engaged in some global haggling with Russia and China over Afghanistan, money, oil, etc

it's the second setback the West suffers in the area; there are analogies with the Lebanon war of 2006; both times, an important Iranian ally has withstood aggression

in a sane world the next step should be direct engagement of Iran by the Us, but the elction cycle woun't allow it, as b said in a previous post regarding Afghanistan

I already said somewhere before that I don't think that Israel is behind the aggression against Syria; remember, even in 2006, Israel was pushed to war against Lebanon by the Us neocons; I think this a policy concerted by France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the rubberstamping of the Us; somehow I'm convinced Israel is increasingly out of the loop, a pariah state, dependent on the regional strategies of the Gulf monarchies

Posted by: claudio | Mar 1 2012 18:14 utc | 19

And here is a picture of Assad's supporters in Damascus. See [weird non functioning URL deleted - please repost correctly - b.]
Syria is a dictatorship, but it is a secular government. And Hillary and all the rest who to "liberate" the Syrians want to replace Assad with Jihadis. Yes, Syria is being punished for opposing Imperialism. If the SNC is the replacement, then surely the cure is worse than the disease.

Posted by: Matthew | Mar 1 2012 18:25 utc | 20

MB: You travel post also forgot to include the description of Syria's beaches and the pictures of (secular) Western-dressed women. Reasoning from one factoid to the whole is always dangerous.

They have gender-segregated buses in Jerusalem, does that mean that all of Israel is backward?

Posted by: Matthew | Mar 1 2012 18:31 utc | 21

@14, Reporters Without Borders is obviously a Zionist front organization and those William Daniels photos are clearly doctored.

Gee, considering all the hullabaloo surrounding this Syrian conflict, I wonder if the "Western" Intelligence Services are still contracting out their torture to Syria?

Torturers R Us

If you don't believe me, just ask Maher Arar. He is the Canadian citizen who was kidnapped by U.S. officials while changing planes in New York on an international flight back to Canada, his country of citizenship. After U.S. officials accused Arar of being a terrorist, the CIA forcibly boarded him onto one of its “rendition” planes and flew him to be tortured in — Syria. Yes, Syria! That's the country that President Bush has repeatedly said that the U.S. government would not talk to because it is a state sponsor of terrorism!

Why did the CIA deliver Arar to Syria, instead of, say, France? Because Syrian officials are renowned for being excellent torturers, which shouldn't be too surprising, given that they are also renowned for being excellent terrorists. Who better to torture someone than a state sponsor of terrorism?

You've probably already grasped my point: In order to make the arrangements to have Arar tortured to get information from him, CIA officials had to have talked to Syrian officials. Those talks had to have encompassed discussions about torturing Arar and how information acquired from him would be transmitted back to U.S. officials. After all, it's not as though the CIA would have just flown into Syrian airspace without permission, dropped off a complete stranger at the Syrian airport, and said goodbye. No, there had to be detailed discussions between certain officials of the CIA and certain officials of the Syrian government.

But how does something like this happen? Doesn't it almost defy credulity? Why, here you have a regime that the president repeatedly condemns as a state sponsor of terrorism and with whom the U.S. government simply is not going to communicate. Meanwhile, CIA officials, somehow or other, cut a deal with Syrian officials to torture a citizen of Canada on behalf of the U.S. government.

Maybe we'll find out in a few years when the documents are turned over to Wikileaks.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 1 2012 18:36 utc | 22

I'm with you b, this thing is practically over. The western media are backing up now to save their dignity, suddenly they realize what they believed to be a peaceful demo had been used by radical undemocratic forces for a undemocratic toppling of the syrian government. Luckily they didn't succeed on this one. Thanks.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 1 2012 19:12 utc | 23

link to tweet

Blake Hounshell ‏ @blakehounshell

Syria already slipping out of the news.

Hounshell is editor of Foreign Policy.

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2012 19:12 utc | 24

[Comment deleted - MB is blocked for further commenting here - b.]

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 1 2012 19:15 utc | 25

Qatar crosses the Syrian Rubicon: £63m to buy weapons for the rebels

On Monday, Qatar's prime minister declared his state's intent to start helping the Syrian opposition "by all means", including giving them weapons. Two days later, anti-Assad officials received an offer of a $100m (£63m) donation, from their brothers in arms in Libya. Coincidence? Unlikely, if the Libyan revolution is any indicator.

The third act, in what looks very much like the beginning of a concerted push to arm the Syrian insurgency, took place today when the previously gun-shy Syrian National Council formed a military council, which it says will act as a clearing house for anyone offering it arms.

Two probabilities have quickly emerged: the first is that a militarised Syrian National Council is unlikely to be short of suppliers. And, second, Libya is merely a conduit for the $100m, which was at least partly funded by Qatar to get things rolling.
...


Bashar Assad and his folks will have to think about a response.

A bomb went off in Turkey today. That could be unrelated to Syria or maybe not. Similar stuff could happen in Qatar.

Posted by: b | Mar 1 2012 19:29 utc | 26

yeeeah! b's favorite pro-Russian dictator who murdered a bunch of his own people, has momentarily prevailed!

Always remember to tell yourselves this: b only supports Assad because the Assad dictatorship is anti-US and anti-Israel. b doesn't care about people risking their lives to help their children find a way into their own future. b only cares about his anti-US worldview.

b is a hypocrite. He will depthlessly sink to defend USuk, no matter what. He pulled the same shit years ago in his ham-headed defense of Stalin, and most recently in his implicit denial of the Turkish pogrom against the diversely ethnic Armenians--that was a gem. I don't doubt he would make the same arguments in support of Hitler.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 1 2012 19:56 utc | 27

If you don't feed the trolls, they will turn to stone.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 1 2012 20:03 utc | 28

Sloth, one of these days, God willing, a revolution will happen in Saudi Arabia. The response will be dramatically more brutal than anything in Syria but less likely to succeed. I predict that that day, you will be soiling your pants.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 1 2012 20:11 utc | 29

sure slothrop, the west is always on the right side, revolutionary (actually that is a new one) democratic, non-violent, pro-women, pro-gay, pro human rights, pro individual freedom, tolerance ...;_))

this here, by the way, are the former Libyan rebels, now government, in Benghazi's Commonwealth war cemetery:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyfUZBWIn1E&feature=youtu.be

a British BBC tweet has to be added - that is where I found the link:

Gabriel Gatehouse ‏ @ggatehouse

@Baghdaddi yes indeed. we were told local brigade of frmr rebels did nothing to intervene, despite their reliance on NATO in recent months

Posted by: somebody | Mar 1 2012 20:11 utc | 30

Slothrop: Many of us are finding it hard to reconcile the West's hypocrisy on Gaza with the "humanitarianism" regarding Syria. The Zionists cage the Palestinians in Gaza and drop white phosphorus on them, and Hillary defends Israel. When Assad drops bombs on Homs, Hillary says it is a disgrace.

Like most Western politicians, she expresses outrage over the murderer of Arab women and children...so long as the murderer is Arab.

Posted by: Matthew | Mar 1 2012 20:14 utc | 31

A series of nasty sounding non-sequitors signifying very little, slothrop.

You appear to believe that the United States heads a world wide campaign for all that is good. It would be interesting to see some evidence to this effect. Instead all that we get from you are denunciations of regimes which resist US domination, often enough because their rulers want better bargains than the terms offered.

It is certainly true that, for example, the Ghadaffi regime was ruthless and exploitative and you told those of us who opposed the attacks NATO launched against it that the new order there would be one of freedom, prosperity and peaceful development.

Events have proved otherwise: the new Libya, courtesy of precisely the same forces backing Syria's 'rebels,' is murderous, narrow minded and disastrous for the people of Libya- the 'own people' of propagandist phrase and fable. Its early rule has been a descent into the depths of suffering, exemplified by concentration camps filled with black Africans undergoing torture in conditions so bad that the western media pretend they do not exist.

And what have you, or the State Department, or the egregious BH Levy, or the NATO powers had to say about these fruits of your actions?

We know what the Saudis and Qataris have to say which is that they don't care; their agenda is to stamp out democrats, socialists, people who stand up straight, and honesty wherever they encounter it.

Like us they must laugh at the contortions which the hypocrites of NATO go through as they create radioactive wastelands and call them democracies. We listen to their media choirs agonising over Homs while they have maintained almost complete silence over the epochal horrors of Fallujah, and hastened to explain away and whitewash the unforgivable and cynical attacks on Gaza and Lebanon.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 1 2012 20:48 utc | 32

'"The creation of the military bureau was agreed upon by all armed forces in Syria," SNC leader Burhan Ghalioun told a news conference in Paris. "We will be like a defense ministry."'

'defense' is a eupemism for war...so he means to say: 'We will be like a war ministry'

Posted by: brian | Mar 1 2012 20:58 utc | 33

'b can't handle the truth. Like Pat Lang did to him, he's censoring my posts. Coward. If you have to resort to censoring and banning, you've lost all credibility.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 1, 2012 11:19:48 AM | 8

should read:

'morroco bama can't handle the truth. '...

Posted by: brian | Mar 1 2012 21:03 utc | 34

I'm not happy about this banning, deleting comments thing, seems like we always had a consensus to just ignore those we would rather not read, however...

I suggest if we are to ban peeps, we start with sloth... just kidding, I would suggest a limited banning/blocking if there has to be one at all.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 1 2012 21:13 utc | 35

Morroco Bama almost as deadly funny as his name sake:
'Anyway, long live the Assads and their authoritarian rule over Syrians. Eat shit you little people of Syria. It's the price you must pay in your involuntary struggle against Imperialism.

Who knows, maybe in a few years women in Syria will be attend a national soccer team match if they so choose. Small steps. These things take time, you know.'
=====================

most of the syrian people dont consider Assad an authoritian,...if he was hed be a US clientlike the REAL authoritians of the GCC.

Women...had freedoms that angered the real authoritians of the GCC and also angered Morocco Bama, hence their support for the NTC and their returning Libya to a democratic sharia law..

Morocco Bama does it again. pretends to be a hare while running with the hounds

Posted by: brian | Mar 1 2012 21:29 utc | 36

'Calls for democratic reforms—in some countries, not others—are simply pretexts for intervention. The West’s real motivation for backing uprisings in Libya and Syria are economic: turning the countries away from resource nationalism and a measure of independent, self-directed economic development into profit-disgorging spheres of exploitation for Western banks, corporations and investors.
In pursuit of these goals, NATO countries are willing to ally with anyone. Even al-Qaeda.'

http://gowans.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/al-qaedas-air-force/

Posted by: brian | Mar 1 2012 21:39 utc | 37

i sure hope you are right b.

Posted by: annie | Mar 1 2012 21:52 utc | 38

Now watch the next STL indictments...International 'justice' starts when wars fail

Posted by: Sophia | Mar 1 2012 21:54 utc | 39

that hounshell tweet is a positive sign too.

Posted by: annie | Mar 1 2012 21:54 utc | 40

Uncle @ 34: "I'm not happy about this banning, deleting comments thing, seems like we always had a consensus to just ignore those we would rather not read, however..."

Think I fall into that camp also, however, it's b's blog, and his call.

As to Slothrop and his/her "The US can do no wrong" tact.. The actions of a nation should match the rhetoric, something the US hasn't learned yet.

Posted by: ben | Mar 1 2012 21:56 utc | 41

I don't think this is over yet. With Qatar and the Sauds offering good salary and an income for martyrs' families, it won't be too difficult to recruit young poor men from Afg., Libya, Iraq. Maybe we'll see more suicide bombings or punctual terrorist operations now.

Posted by: peter radiator | Mar 1 2012 22:43 utc | 42

I'm not sure I would be so optimistic, b.

The disruption is pretty widespread in Syria; it is not only in Homs. Even if you are right, it will take a long time to work things out. Particularly in view of Saudi and Qatari support for the rebels. I am sure that continuing disruption in Iraq is due to external pressure against the Shi'a regime of Maliki, presumably coming from the Arabian peninsula.

However the most significant point is the limited offensive capacity of the Syrian army. Every time you hear of movements retaking one or another town, it is always the same unit, the 4th armoured under the brother Mahir al-Asad. That means that the majority of the army is not trusted, and the reliable unit has to rush all over the country to each hotspot. Once a problem resolved, they have to leave for another problem, and the first problem is left to resurge.

True this is a more major victory, which could have an effect on the morale of the rebels.

Added to this is the evident restraint of the Syrian army. For all the language of the opposition, the destruction is quite limited in Homs (and elsewhere, as seen in the videos). The only proof in Homs is that they have used mortars, which certainly do have a destructive effect, but not too much. I am certain that this is the instructions of Bashshar. Basically he is a nice man, caught between a rock and a hard place. But this niceness means a longer effort to master the situation.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 1 2012 22:48 utc | 43

Sloth, one of these days, God willing, a revolution will happen in Saudi Arabia.

Well, we know what b will have to say about that scenario: Saudi dictatorship=bad; Baath dictatorships everywhere=good.

It's really simple, but incredibly hypocritical.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 1 2012 22:52 utc | 44

undoubtedly, there is enough evidence to support the view that the Syrian opposition was factious because of the diversity of opposition to Assad. b's comment that the opposition is "terrorist" is bullshit.

I would say that if you're going to go all geopolitical, the best thing to say is that regional stability is paramount and the best course going forward is to lobby international pressure on the regime to chart a course for free and fair elections.

But b doesn't give a good-goddamned thing about nuance. It's all about USuk. It's all about the evil Empire (except of course when it comes to Germany's oddly, persistently serendipitous defense of "empire's" neoliberal interests. Go figure.).

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 1 2012 23:11 utc | 45

On the other hand, in favour of your argument, b, the appointment of Kofi Annan as UN envoy could play a big role. He is an honest man, and he has great credibility.

I thought it was a mistake of the UN, as vassal of the US, to appoint him.

The report of the Arab League mission was stuffed, because it didn't correspond to the Western view, nor that of the Gulfis.

What happens if Kofi Annan reports the same as the Arab league mission, as is very likely to happen? His report cannot be thrown in the bin in the same way.

Looks to me like a major upcoming diplomatic problem. Is he going to tell the truth, or lose his reputation?

Posted by: alexno | Mar 1 2012 23:12 utc | 46

The pandering has started in earnest...

Obama Officials talk tough on Iran ahead of Netanyahu visit...

Bombs away, babee...!

Posted by: CTuttle | Mar 1 2012 23:22 utc | 47

I do not know what you mean by limited destruction in Homs, Alexno - it looks awful to my eyes:

This video here is from Libyan state TV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PROl1opn-RI&feature=player_embedded

And they are showing it because it works for them politically. If your city looks like this after revolution, would you want it? What would you have gained? No repression? Unlikely as you cannot be sure who would have the upper hand.

Whoever is responsible for this strategy of creating the need for humanitarian intervention, they be should be restricted to a safe area for the rest of their lives.

The revolution lost politically in Syria, militarily outside powers can easily turn it into Iraq.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 1 2012 23:35 utc | 48

@47 The revolution lost politically in Syria, militarily outside powers can easily turn it into Iraq.

No doubt, somebody... Turkey says Russia, Iran will soon join efforts for removal of Assad...

And, Kuwait MPs for arming Assad opponents...

Posted by: CTuttle | Mar 1 2012 23:56 utc | 49

The wider war contemplated by the Empire is suffering a setback in Syria; and surely the intention was to take Syria and Iran down with a one-two punch, in the near future. Without a doubt, we have been witness to a NATO counter-revolution, a foreign sponsored violence, whose purpose is to counter the Arab Spring. This month of March is going to be a dangerous time nonetheless. Glenn Greenwald writes about the spread of war propaganda to NBC News by US General McCaffrey. Gen. McCaffrey privately briefs NBC execs on war with Iran

Greenwald has obtained a copy of the powerpoint presentation that General McCaffrey made to the NBC news board meeting. Among the more frightening bits would be the General's assertion that "The Israelis lack any credible conventional military power to counter the Iranian nuclear threat. Their forced option would be pre-emptive nuclear strike."

Other disturbing bon mots of the General: "In my judgment we are now in a high risk situation in the Gulf--with a significant probability of Iranian escalation in the coming 90 days."

The start of a war is unlikely to be Iranian escalation, but a false flag, followed by a horrific US/Israeli war crime, an act of aggression that could set off a World War. General McCaffrey is counting on NBC News to pass on these war mongering views to the US public.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 1 2012 23:59 utc | 50

The following is from today's leading article in The Hindu. It is a reminder of the extent to which "the west" has, in recent years degenerated back into the state of barbarism out of which it seemed to be emerging a couple of centuries ago.

"...In Israeli and American eyes, it is precisely Syria's (and Libya's) capacity for independent action, and the remote possibility that it might become a conduit for Iranian fidayeen to penetrate and attack Israel, which turns it into a threat. That is why the Assad regime must now be destroyed, much as Qadhafi was four months ago.

"India has been asked to join the high table at which the U.S., the EU and Israel already sit and has so far been a none-too-unwilling guest. It has either abstained, or voted for, every resolution tabled in the U.N. by the hegemonic powers in favour of militarily enforced regime change in the Middle East. It is again faced with a non-binding resolution in the Security Council, being brought by Saudi-and UAE-dominated Arab League, demanding that Mr. Assad “move aside.” And Israel is already urging India to support a resolution in the Security Council condemning Iran for the bomb attack on its diplomat in Delhi, before its agencies have completed their investigations.

"New Delhi can be forgiven if it is tempted to stay on at the high table. But it has a duty, to not only its own people but the rest of the world, to get off it and become an independent voice of sanity and moderation. It must stoutly oppose the West's brazen effort to turn the championship of democracy and human rights into a cover for regime change. This is the most complete violation of Article 2 of the U.N. Charter that is possible to imagine. The U.S., and now the EU have decided to ignore their commitments as signatories of the U.N. Charter and have twisted the U.N. into an unrecognisable parody of itself. But for scores of small countries, its Charter remains the only refuge from international anarchy and a headlong plunge into Hobbes' State of Nature. India must speak up for them. As the most open and democratic and the least threatening large country in the world, it has far better credentials to do so than Russia and China. It must not leave this task to them alone."

Bribery, intimidation and a UN bureaucracy overstocked with agents of the US/NATO axis have served to mask the reality of the isolation of the US and its satraps in the international community. Across the globe the great majority of humanity regards what took place in Libya, what is taking place in Syria and what is clearly planned for Iran, as sordid and idiotic bullying.

As the US Declaration of Independence reminded us it is not possible for any nation to defy international public opinion indefinitely.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 2 2012 0:14 utc | 51

re 47

I do not know what you mean by limited destruction in Homs, Alexno - it looks awful to my eyes:

This video here is from Libyan state TV

Yeah, the video shows exactly what I said, there are no buildings down, which you would expect from heavy artillery. 82mm or 120mm mortars would make the kind of destruction you see in the video.

And that by the way only in the last week. Before that, there was zero destruction. Bashshar is too nice, he doesn't want to destroy his people, but he was convinced to move further.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 2 2012 0:33 utc | 52

Check this out. chinese official speaking arabic fluently:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_2ytI6y2jU

Posted by: Anthony | Mar 2 2012 0:52 utc | 53

"If you have to resort to censoring and banning, you've lost all credibility"

You lost YOUR credibility with that pathetic swan song you laid on us.

Go away, asshole. After all, its what you said you were going to do.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Mar 2 2012 1:46 utc | 54

@43
"Well, we know what b will have to say about that scenario: Saudi dictatorship=bad; Baath dictatorships everywhere=good."

Based on what he has said before, I would assume that b would be far more likely to take this line instead:
An revolution/uprising/rebellion = an internal matter for that country to deal with
A foreign-financed revolution/uprising/rebellion = an illegal interference in the internal affairs of a country.

"It's really simple, but incredibly hypocritical."

Right both times, but it was Y.O.U. who just put forward that proposition, not b.


Posted by: Johnboy | Mar 2 2012 2:41 utc | 55

b is right about this aspect of Syria, imo.

Successful counter-insurgency is based on "clear and hold" - meaning clear an area of insurgents and weapons, arrest suspects (early reports suggest that not many 'rebels' actually escaped - see below**), secure incriminating evidence, declare a rectangular area clear, station guards at each corner, then vet everyone moving in and out of the cleared area.

NATO's stooges, Crooks & Liars now have a long list of serious problems. Here are just three...

1. The success of the recent referendum confirms that more than 90% of Syrians were untroubled by 'strife' in their own neighborhood - which tells us all we need to know about how 'popular' and 'widespread' the violent insurrection really is.

2. NATO will now have to create more than one new 'stronghold' and populate it with 'rebels' in order to maintain a semblance of popularity/credibility.

3. But unless visible (and unsuccessful) initial attempts are made to create many new strongholds simultaneously, the uprising will lose the imprimatur of 'spontaneity.' There probably aren't enough sacrificial stooges to waste on this level of micro-managed reality-creation so whatever they do next is going to look planned and co-ordinated from outside.

**
You can click to listen to this radio report or wait an hour or so for the transcript:
Syrian government forces take over embattled Homs neighbourhood
http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3443989.htm

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 2 2012 4:03 utc | 56

Probably this was an eyeopener for the media, as a case of "wag the dog".

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 2 2012 4:16 utc | 57

Khaled abu salah preparing to blow up the oil pipeline adjacent to Baba Amro in time for his aljazeera brodcast.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ_blaY-_-g

Posted by: Marco | Mar 2 2012 5:28 utc | 58

US policy as explained by Senator John Kerry. Summary: we've given up, for now.

http://www.npr.org/2012/03/01/147752402/kerry-syrian-regimes-days-are-numbered

Posted by: Paul | Mar 2 2012 6:30 utc | 59

Khaled abu salah fabricating the revolution on aljazeera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkLCEFMFCNI&context=C33926c4ADOEgsToPDskIHZC7MwjPXkJ67z6Bb7ahj

Posted by: Marco | Mar 2 2012 6:35 utc | 60

CNN news fabrication in syria, this guy was on CNN with Anderson cooper pleading for help from the US public last night, total lies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxEjuabG2gk&context=C327cf1bADOEgsToPDskJj121oQJPWvsRVvCBCQEIn

Posted by: Marco | Mar 2 2012 6:40 utc | 61

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/02/syria-deadly-neighbourhood-attempts-escape?CMP=twt_gu

this here explains the reporters/activist story, though it is quite fictitious - they probably all escaped through a tunnel when the first was said to be freed, but they did not want to inform the Syrians that there was an escape tunnel left.

the video was probably meant to tell the Syrians that there was no escape tunnel left.

I guess the only choice a war reporter has to report from a battle field is whom to embed with, and obviously friendships will grow.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-24039889-war-reporters-accept-they-are-playing-the-odds.do

Posted by: somebody | Mar 2 2012 6:40 utc | 62

I do not think how they can dream to have only intended consequences

http://twitter.com/#!/KMFlower/status/175449699166334976/photo/1

Borders in the Middle East are completely artificial. Yes they are still working on the New Middle East like a stupid tourist in the alps kicking off an avalanche floe.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 2 2012 7:14 utc | 63

Report">http://www.fokus.se/2012/02/iranska-oppositionen-i-hemligt-sverigemote/&act=url">Report on a "secret" meeting of Iranian opposition exiles in Sweden

A total of fifty people from a dozen countries who settled in a conference room at Skåvsjöholms training center - 358 mil from Tehran - in the snowy woods a half hour drive north of Stockholm. In the same room as the Syrian opposition had secretly met in a few months ago to do exactly the same thing - start talking to each other and coordinate their forces.

The host of the meeting, then as now, was Olof Palme International Center. The name Palme still ahead in international contexts, and exiled Iranians wanted to convene the meeting at a country without its own geopolitical interests in Iran - hence the visit to the Swedish winter landscape.

Posted by: b | Mar 2 2012 10:44 utc | 64

http://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/international/rebellenhochburg-in-baba-amr-hat-die-armee-einen-versorgungstunnel-zerstoert/6270220-2.html

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/red-cross-says-medical-evacuations-are-underway-in-homs/

"Later in the day, he reported hearing what sounded like a drone overhead, and speculated that the government forces might be using drones to identify areas to bombard. Mr. Espinosa said he had experience of the tactic being used in Gaza.

JAVIER ESPINOSA @javierespinosa2

bombings intensified whenthe drone appears in the sky, an Israeli tactic which I had already seen in Gaza #Homs #Syria

JAVIER ESPINOSA @javierespinosa2

some journalist should investigate from where came these drones I never heard syrian army had such devices #Homs #Syria"

I supect they thought they could make this work against Syria the way it worked politically against the Israelis in Gaza.


Posted by: somebody | Mar 2 2012 11:35 utc | 65

b

i have attempted to get information on the french soldiers in syria & tho the numbers keep changing, the source is voltairenet which i don't regard as reliable

be well, friend

& thanks uncle, as always

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 2 2012 21:28 utc | 66

Now that the Baba Amr media propaganda studio NATO encouraged its fake rebels to set up has been shut down by the Government, and is unlikely to be replaced anytime soon, NATO needs a new publicity stunt to maintain some momentum.
Last night Cameron revived the spectre of dragging Assad into the ICC to be tried for war crimes (carefully tiptoeing around the numerous, ongoing, unexamined, War on Islam war crimes of US-UK and Friends).

About the only card they have up their sleeve at the moment is Kofi Anan's visit to Homs. Kofi seems to be an incorruptible straight shooter which makes him a weird choice for a bunch of psychopaths to appoint as their go-to guy to help advance their criminal cause.

If Kofi really is incorruptible then the only way his Syria visit can help NATO is if an attempt is made to kill him in circumstances which NATO can distort in order to lay the blame at Assad's feet.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 3 2012 4:26 utc | 67

I think Kofi Annan is needed as a real mediator. Though voltairenet is completely unreliable the Syrians are bound to have plenty of proof and probably a few people of foreign intervention. They also seem to have footage of Baba Amr proving media fabrications.
The main issue however will be that Russia and China are not on the same page. The US cannot afford to be cut out of business by those two.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3 2012 7:05 utc | 68

From the Angry Arab:

Flash: Syrian TV and raw propaganda footage from Aljazeera and CNN

It seems that Syrian regime had agents among the rebels; or it seems that the Syrian regime obtained a trove of video footage from Baba Amru. They have been airing them non-stop. They are quite damning. They show the correspondent or witness (for CNN or from Aljazeera) before he is on the air: and the demeanor is drastically different from the demeanor on the air and they even show contrived sounds of explosions timed for broadcast time. I have to say that Aljazeera and the affiliated Ikhwan media win the award for the largest volume of lies in this crisis. Their lies have been rather helpful to the Syrian regime which now fills its airtime with exposing the lies and exaggerations of the Ikhwan-led Syrian opposition.

PS This is really scandalous. It shows the footage prior to Aljazeera reports: they show fake bandages applied on a child and then a person is ordered to carry a camera in his hand to make it look like a mobile footage. It shows a child being fed what to say on Aljazeera.

This is lovely. Haven't seen it on Western TV, though.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 3 2012 13:57 utc | 69

@r'giap - 67 - I have seen no report about French soldiers captured that was not based on that voltaire.net piece. Voltaire.net is not trustworthy so I disregard it for now.

Posted by: b | Mar 3 2012 15:17 utc | 70

surprising there are those who still insist kofi annan is an objective party after hs roles in events such as rwanda's transition to kagame and the u.s./kenyan mafia preservation of kibaki's election overthrow a few years back

Posted by: b real | Mar 3 2012 15:55 utc | 71

@ 66 & 70.
How unreliable/untrustworthy is Voltaire.net?
I found a couple of T Meyssen articles which painted a much more accurate picture of Syria than anything in the MSM in Oz and elsewhere.

"Truth & Lies about Syria" Nov 28, 2011, had a good solid list of truths and another of corrected NATO lies.

And Meyssen beat EVERYONE to the punch (by a fortnight) when he concluded that, based on his observations and intel, the 'rebels' were fucked.
"End of Game in the Middle East" Feb 14, 2012.

Is it not a little churlish to describe V-net as 'unreliable' when every other 'optimist' decided to 'wait and see' before committing themselves?

I'm not poking fun, or shit-stirring, but if it was obvious to Meyssen that the rebels were in deep shit 2 weeks ago, how smart are the psychopaths in the NATO star chamber?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 3 2012 17:33 utc | 72

Conspiracies everywhere! Connections! This blog like a Dan Brown novel written by Andres Baader piecing together random evidence from a ouija board.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3 2012 19:27 utc | 73

Doesn't solve the biggest mystery of all, which is why Slothrop keeps coming back to a blog he doesn't like.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 3 2012 19:37 utc | 74

colm, there are mysteries that the mind need not bother with

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 3 2012 20:03 utc | 75

speaking of inanities tho, huffingtonpost has released it's site en français -what a sordid little effort that senseless site is in any language

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 3 2012 20:13 utc | 76

Indeed giap, can only imagine what Huff Po France is like with Anne Sinclair running it. Something tells me her husband DSK's Prostitution case won't get much of a mention anyway.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 3 2012 20:52 utc | 77

Releasing the Huffington Post en français sounds to me like a lot of work for very little return. Any francophone who would want to read the Huffington Post is already capable of reading English.

Short life?

Posted by: alexno | Mar 3 2012 21:20 utc | 78

I'd like to dispute Colm O'Toole's assertion that the Syrian uprising is "a sectarian campaign" and also his assertion that "around 20% of Sunni's" support the Assad government.

The great majority of the government cabinet ministers, provincial governors, chairpersons of municipal councils, and other visible public figures of the regime are Sunni in their religion. The religious composition of the Syrian Baath Party is at least 80 percent Sunni. The same is true among the people who control the larger private enterprises. The Sunni religion is the preponderant religion among the people who control the trade unions, the mass media, the legal system, the education sector, the university departments, the religious endowments establishment, the private-sector civic organizations, and the municipal councils of almost every city, town and county in the country. The religious composition of the country as a whole is roughly 74 percent Sunni. Nothing important can happen or be sustained in Syria if most Sunnis object to it. It is a fact that most of the Assad regime's personnel are Sunnis and that Sunnis constitute the main plank of the regime's political supporters. And this has been continuously true since the very beginning of the regime over four decades ago. Here for instance is Patrick Seale talking about the early days of Hafez Assad's rule in the early 1970s: "Hafez Assad was not an Alawi sectarian, as his choice of closest associates made clear -- his prime minister, defence minister, foreign minister, private secretary, speechwriter and personal bodyguard were all non-Alawis. He still depended on the Alawi community for his security of tenure and ultimate survival." http://books.google.com/books?id=Z_rlPwgezoUC&pg=PA177&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false . To which I add that Hafez Assad depended on the Sunni community for his security of tenure and ultimate survival to a greater degree. If the Sunni merchant class and/or the Sunni religious establishment had turned against Assad, the Alawis wouldn't have been numerous enough or organized enough to withstand an onslaught. Hafez Assad had a coalition of all sects. But the Sunnis were the most numerous sect in the coalition and they still are. Syria's Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa said in July 2011 that Syria is "immune to sectarianism". President Bashar Al-Assad said in December 2011 that in year 2011 "a sectarian crisis was never present in Syria.... except in some parts of Homs". They are correct about that, from all I can see. There is no divergence of interests between the sects, from all I can see. More than half the regime's positive supporters are Sunnis in their religion. The government has the support of the Syria'a Sunni clerical leadership and the Sunni religious establishment broadly speaking. There are virtually no prominent Syrian Sunni clerics who are advocating for an overthrow of the regime. The Sunni Grand Mufti Ahmad Hassoun and the Mufti of Damascus Al-Bouti having been prominently and consistently advocating for the regime's reform program. Hence an anti-regime uprising by other Sunnis cannot be sectarian as such. It can potentially be Islamist. But not sectarian as such. In fact, most of the Syrian rebels are poorly-educated working-class people who are Sunni in their religion but who have no ideas and no substantive agenda other than to howl at the Establishment. They draw some moral and political ideas from Islamic teachings, which they've gotten some education on. Thus they have some Islamist ideas and values like the poorly-educated working-classes who voted for Islamist parties in recent elections in Egypt and Tunisia. But the rebels or protesters out on the streets have been largely free of sectarian slogans and sectarian emblematics for all these past eleven months, despite the fact that the great bulk of them have been poorly educated Sunnis. Furthermore, looking at the entirety of the poorly educated working-classes in Syria, most of them are rejecting the rebels and are supporting the Establishment (Syrian patriotism is one of the strongest cognitive planks of that support). The Assad regime represents the Syrian society's Establishment, and this Establishment happily encompasses all religions, and a necessary condition for that longstanding reality is that the Establishment's Sunni majority wants it to be that way.

One thing Colm O'Toole and I agree about is that among Sunnis the regime's support comes disproportionately from the better educated and more economically advantaged classes. For the evidence that the poorly educated and more economically disadvantaged classes are not supporting the uprising, I direct you firstly to the turnout size at anti-regime protests for that last year and for just this past Friday. The following website is a good one for seeing the protest size week-to-week and locality-to-locality. It compiles peaceful protest videos and organizes them by Syrian Province and by date. Not everything at this site is authentic; but most of it is. If you spend an hour or two browsing the footage from this past Friday's videos at this website, you'll see that the protest sizes around the country were very small. http://www.onsyria.com/?cat=21&parent=1&page=1

Posted by: Parviziyi | Mar 3 2012 21:32 utc | 79

@ Parviziyi

Thanks for your insight and the link to onsyria. When I wrote about the "Sectarian campaign" I mainly had in mind the outside forces that want to cause a sectarian conflict for there own ends. I mentioned March 14 in Lebanon, Saudi financers, and Takfiri groups like Al Qaeda in Iraq and some other extreme Islamist groups. I have heard reports of protesters shouting "Death to Hezbollah" and also the FSA forming the Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya Battalion after the Anti-Shia Caliph but am hopeful that most Syrians don't want sectarian troubles.

Indeed one of the things that has kept Assad in power is his relations with Sunni's. Both Bashar and his brother Maher are both married to Sunnis, yes the Syrian Baath Party is 80% Sunni as you say but I would mention that the Iraqi Baath party and military had a large amount of Shia and in the end that did not prevent the civil war. So it is possible.

I would also say that both Lebanon and Iraq have more sectarianism and hope that this doesn't infect Syria.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 3 2012 22:28 utc | 80

@ Colm O'Toole: I've seen videos of protesters shouting sectarian slogans. E.g. I've seen Syrian street protesters chant praise for the sectarian Khaleeji Sunni TV Sheikh Al-Arour (who supports the rebellion) and condemnation of Hasan Nasrallah (who supports the government's reform program). But such videos are scarce counterexamples in a vast ocean of protest videos from Syria this past year that have no sectarianism in them.

I've no doubt the rebels would be praising Hezbollah if Hezbollah were to advocate support for the rebellion. By the way, Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah in interview on Al-Manar TV on 25 Oct 2011 said: "The Syrian Popular Will is to support the [regime's] reforms.... But if the people start opposing the regime, we [Hezbollah] will support the people." Thus Hezbollah's support for the regime isn't motivated by sectarianism either.

Outside forces are against the regime for their own reasons. Their reasons are somewhat obscure to me in many cases. I feel many outsiders are grossly misinformed and bigoted and their reasoning is in a mess, and that's why I'm not understanding them. But, any case, I dispute your claim that "outside forces want to cause a sectarian conflict". The Saudis and Qataris want more Islamization in Syria; they want abolition of the law that you can't campaign politically using religious sloganeering. Article 8 of Syria's newly published Constitution says: "No political activity shall be practiced, nor any political organization formed, on a religious or sectarian basis." How much objecting to that clause could be heard from Syrians since the Constitution was published on 15 Feb 2012? Answer: Practically none. Notably, the Sunni clerical leadership has no objection. The Grand Mufti has said that it is "harmless to religion". But meanwhile in the Arab world outside Syria, many political forces are philosophically opposed it. It puts them in opposition to the Assad regime. But I say again it's wrong to use the word "sectarian" when talking about this.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Mar 3 2012 23:25 utc | 81

Aljazeera-leaks
This is rather explosive. You know how low Aljazeera has sunk when Syrian regime TV stations have a field day with the shoddy journalism and fabrication procedures of Aljazeera. It seems that people inside Aljazeera have leaked raw footage and pre-air reports to someone in Syrian regime TV. I am not surprised of the leak at all: I am in contact from people inside Aljazeera who are disgusted by the propaganda work of the network in the last few months. The network is has been so bad that the law of diminishing returns apply here: the network has gone too far in its propaganda work that I can't see any effectiveness in what they do. I mean, when they declare Friday after Friday that demonstrations "have finally reached" Aleppo and Damascus, and then repeat that the following Friday, you know what you are dealing with. There have been too many lies and no attempts are even feigning professionalism anymore. When the former director of the network speaks about regime change in Syria when he won't dare utter a word about dismantling apartheid Israel you understand that the mission is coming down from the Emir himself. I know how those things work and they know that I know. The footage that are being shown show staging of events of calling a civilian an "officer" in the Syrian army, of faking injuries and feeding statements to people before airtime, etc. Aljazeera seems to be writing its own professional obituary. I don't know how it can really resurrect itself again. It is mortally wounded. I know that there are people in the network who are pained about what is happening but royal orders are royal orders in the network and no one dare to disobey. I am told that orders came down to the effect that no half-position would be tolerated and that categorical adoption of the Qatari foreign policy on Syria is a job requirement.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at
http://angryarab.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/aljazeera-leaks.html

Posted by: brian | Mar 4 2012 22:03 utc | 82

'@r'giap - 67 - I have seen no report about French soldiers captured that was not based on that voltaire.net piece. Voltaire.net is not trustworthy so I disregard it for now.

Posted by: b | Mar 3, 2012 10:17:01 AM | 70

in what way is Voltaire net untrustworthy??? thats a bizzare claim..where else do you expect to see french soldiers captured? NYT Aljazeera?

Posted by: brian | Mar 4 2012 22:12 utc | 83

french troops captured:

The Lebanese Baathist MP Asem Konsoa claimed that the Syrian regime forces arrested 18 French officers and 100 paratroopers, along with 70 Lebanese for joining and fighting within the ranks of the protesters in the restless city of Homs....

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/35858/World/Region/-French-officers-and--paratroopers-captured-in-Hom.aspx

amazing is lebanon actually aiding israel and US war on Syria? or are these rogue mercenaries?

Posted by: brian | Mar 4 2012 22:19 utc | 84

and here 120 french troops captured:

The Syria Army reports they have captured 120 French troops fighting in Homs alongside rebel terrorists.
The government of Syria says According to them, a brigade of 120 French soldiers part of a transmission unit came to support the rebels were caught by forces loyal to the Syrian regime in the region of Zabadani, after they took control of a key neighborhood in the city of homes.
The news of the arrests follow admissions from the Syria rebels to journalists earlier in the week that the US and France were supplying anti-aircraft missiles and other arms to the opposition forces.
So far French and western media outlets have not reported on the claims but instead have been awkwardly silent.
Given recent calls by many European nations to provide the rebels with ammunition and other support, the idea of foreign forces can not be ruled out.
In fact, there have been many rumors and intelligence reports that British special ops are in fact on the ground, directly and arming the rebel forces.
Earlier today the AP reported that the London based SNC, which has been recognized by the EU as the true representatives of people of Syria, was formed in response to EU calls to unify the rebel forces under a single umbrella so they could be supplied with European arms.
It should be noted that at the beginning of the civil war in Libya, which saw the fall of Gaddafi, the loyalist troops had arrested eight members of the British intelligence services initially before releasing them.
For those who have been following the crisis, it is quite clear western forces are following the steps they used to sack Libya
http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/120-french-officers-and-troops-supporting-syria-rebels-captured/

Posted by: brian | Mar 4 2012 22:46 utc | 85

There has been no report from Syrian official sources that any French nationals have been captured. I won't believe the story until after I hear it from Syrian official sources, and you shouldn't either. I presume the story is a complete fiction.

By the way on 29 Feb 2012 the Senate of France voted in favour of a resolution that France should not provide any weapons to the rebels in Syria. That position is consistent with the position of the foreign ministry of France. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2224364&language=en

Posted by: Parviziyi | Mar 4 2012 23:15 utc | 86

'By the way on 29 Feb 2012 the Senate of France voted in favour of a resolution that France should not provide any weapons to the rebels in Syria. That position is consistent with the position of the foreign ministry of France.'

trust us says the french regime ...would we lie???
The french and american regimes also said theyd not arm the libyan rats...and we know what was the aftermath of that PR ploy,

are the french/americans/israels arming their patsies in syria...yes.

Posted by: brian | Mar 5 2012 0:18 utc | 87

but noones answered WHY B and others attack Voltaire net.,..i waiting for a reponse...why is he french regime more to be trusted than its best critics?

Posted by: brian | Mar 5 2012 0:20 utc | 88

@brian #88 - my impression (just that) of Voltairenet is that it tends to "exaggerate"; insightful from an intellectual point of view, but not journalistically irreproachable

Posted by: claudio | Mar 5 2012 0:54 utc | 89

exaggerate? not that ive seen....its been far more irreproachable than most anyone else.
But Meyssan made himself persona nongrata in US with his 9-11 books.

Posted by: brian | Mar 5 2012 1:06 utc | 90

just an impression, I told you, nothing more;

Posted by: claudio | Mar 5 2012 1:22 utc | 91

The Syrian government has not said that any French nationals were captured by the Syrian army. I take that as a very good sign that the Syrian army has not captured any French nationals. I expect they won't ever be saying it, because I expect it's a complete fiction. The notion of a platoon of French soldiers fighting on the ground in Syria is contrary to my common sense. And it comes without a shred of verifiable evidence.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Mar 5 2012 1:30 utc | 92

@ brian

amazing is lebanon actually aiding israel and US war on Syria? or are these rogue mercenaries?

No Lebanon would never aid Israel against Syria (especially considering Hezbollah and the March 8th Alliance are the largest party in the Lebanese Government). But you are probably right on the likehood of rogue mercenaries.

That is the thing about Lebanon theres so much factions. Inside the Sunni community of Lebanon you have Salafists of all kinds in the ghettos and refugee camps, Palestinian fighters both secular and religious from the large Palestinian dispora, many former Baathists from Iraqi settled in Lebanon after the 2003 war, you have militias from Hairri's Future Movement (well funded by Saudis and highly Anti-Syrian) and you have criminal and smuggling operations in the Bekaa Valley area. And that is just the Sunni factions.

Also on Voltaire and Meyssan. I consider it a legitimate news source. Have it bookmarked myself. There was a time when I dismissed them thinking some of there claims were wild, only to be proven wrong. But again no source is always correct. Meyssan is currently living in Syria that can help when reporting from a warzone but it can also leave you vulnerable to the local rumor mill. I don't know either way whether French soldiers were captured (chances are we will never know given the secrecy and diplomatic back channels such an event would cause).

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 5 2012 1:39 utc | 93

@ Parviziyi

The Syrian government has not said that any French nationals were captured by the Syrian army. I take that as a very good sign that the Syrian army has not captured any French nationals.

Not sure I agree. If Syria announced the capture of French soldiers (say by releasing a video of them) it could cause Syria more problems. Sarkozy could use it as an excuse to start bombing or attempt a rescue or give Assad 48 hours to release them. Better to handle it quietly, promise not to humiliate Sarkozy before the elections in return for Sarkozy backing off any foreign intervention. Then after the Presidential Election quietly release them.

Or it could be French mercenaries. France would have alot of mercenaries and Saudi's have alot of money to spend on regime change. 8 British SAS were captured in Libya (before the No Fly Zone was put in place) so it is not unlikely that France could be messing inside the former French Mandate of Syria.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 5 2012 1:54 utc | 94

'The notion of a platoon of French soldiers fighting on the ground in Syria is contrary to my common sense. And it comes without a shred of verifiable evidence.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Mar 4, 2012 8:30:14 PM | 92

verifiable evidence...what a novel idea...the media may like to play with this one day: it can only improve their 'journalism'

are the french in Syria? of course. are they backing the terrorists? of course...
but who is going to verify this? the NYT or Le Figaro?

Posted by: brian | Mar 5 2012 3:08 utc | 95

'Not sure I agree. If Syria announced the capture of French soldiers (say by releasing a video of them) it could cause Syria more problems. Sarkozy could use it as an excuse to start bombing or attempt a rescue or give Assad 48 hours to release them'

i cant resist this....the western states think they can bomb where they like when they like..even the US said it would bomb the Hague if its operatives were sent to the ICC for trial... This freedom to bomb seems to be fundamental to modern 'democracies'.

Posted by: brian | Mar 5 2012 3:11 utc | 96

There are some facts that seem clear:

France, UK and USA (And then probably aided by Israel, their local allie) are attempting a regime change in Syria.
USA deploy CIA for operations that are unofficial, or contrary to official policy, like when they supplied weapons to Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion.
UK, and France also has secret services, that are used for unofficial business. This looks like unofficial business to me.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 5 2012 3:54 utc | 97

About the French soldiers that is not officially acknowledged, France can't admit having sent any non UN-sanctioned intervention-troops to Syria. And Syria, finds it prudent not to divulge their capture, to keep them as a bargaining card, and the French people would demand their release, or their freeing (Syria doesn't want any further invasion-style action).

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 5 2012 4:04 utc | 98

If Syria really has captured some French troublemakers on Syrian soil then they are the modern equivalent of the Holy Grail from Syria's pov. At the very least Sarkozy is toast and NATO is facing a potential rift. The Syrians certainly won't be meekly handing them back and helping Sarko to sweep his over-confidence under the carpet.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 5 2012 22:24 utc | 99

Senator McCain is voicing his bloodthirst, and advocating a airstrike campaign on Syria. Hopefully US wont act without UN approval again. Didn't work out well in Iraq, or Libya.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 5 2012 22:53 utc | 100

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