Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 24, 2012

Turkish FM Davutoglu On The Downed Plane Affair - Escalation?

The Turkish foreign minister Davutglu just gave a TV interview about the Turkish reconnaissance plane shot down by the Syrian air defense.

Mahir Zeynalov, a Turkish journalist with Today's Zaman, tweeted it live:

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria is not helping us locate our pilots, we are in coordination with them b/c it is within Syrian territorial waters

Turkish FM Davutoglu: I talked to 15 interlocutors, including 3 prime ministers last night regarding the downed warplane.

Turkish FM Davutoglu is now saying how patient, restraint Turkey is and he is saying "we want to see the entire picture."

Turkish FM Davutoglu: I am putting it bluntly: The aim of our plane was to test our national radar system, not related to Syria crisis.

Davutoglu: Our plane was making a solo flight. If it was intended for aggression, it wouldn't be sent as a single plane for a risky task.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Our plane was unarmed, didn't hide its identity.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: It is either amateurish behavior or ill-intention to describe Turkish plane as a threat. (referring to Syria)

Turkish FM Davutoglu: The plane was making a radar test that's why it was flying in a low altitude.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Our plane was hit in international air space.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: The plane was hit 13 miles off the Syrian coast, in international air space.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: The plane lost its "consciousness" and that's why it fell in Syria's waters.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: There is no any single warning to our plane before the shooting.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Our plane shortly violated Syrian airspace, but not during the shooting time.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: It is possible to violate another state's air space due to weather conditions, or technical things.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Turkish plane violated Syria's air space 15 minutes before the downing of our plane.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria is trying connect the "not ill-intentioned violation" to the shooting of the plane. Irrelevant.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Our air space is also being violated all the time but we are warning them in a friendly manner.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: The plane was not in a Syrian air space for long that made it possible to hit the plane.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria could have asked our intelligence why Turkish plane violated the Syrian air space. It didn't happen.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria is saying that "we didn't know it was a Turkish plane." Our data suggests otherwise.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We detected conversations in Syrian side, suggesting that they knew it was a Turkish plane.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Everyone must know that Turkey acted in line with international law, we will act with restraint.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Our next step after getting the entire picture was to inform the international community. Talked to 10 FMs last night.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We will hold our consultations with NATO member states, permanent security council members.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: All countries we talked to expressed their solidarity with Turkey. They found us right.

RT @todayszamancom: Turkey says downed jet was unarmed, hit outside Syrian waters

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We are ready to listen if there is different intelligence but we know that our plane was hit in int'l air space.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: There was some data leaks from Syria we describe as "disinformation"

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Prime minister Erdogan will brief opposition leaders today, we will hold cabinet meeting tomorrow.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Turkey will mostly make its position clear by Tuesday regarding downed Turkish warplane by Syria.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: There were many violation of Syrian air space by other countries before. But Syria shot down our unarmed plane.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Considering this, we would of course question the decision-making of Syria no matter what.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: No country can show courage to test Turkey's patience.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We will, without any hesitation, decisively take required steps regarding downed Turkish plane by Syria.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: If Syria has become an element of instability not only towards its people but in the region, we will respond to that.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: No one can claim that Turkey didn't make any efforts in urging Assad to avert Syrian crisis.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: When our unilateral efforts failed regarding Syria, we had started engaging in regional diplomacy to end Syrian crisis

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We should not link Syrian crisis and downed Turkish fighter jet.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: No matter how downed Turkish jet saga unfolds, we will always stand by Syrian people.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We will always stand by Syrian people until the advent of a democratic regime there.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We will also hold briefing-like talks in NATO council as part of 4th charter of the Alliance.

Turkish FM Davutoglu on defected pilot to Jordan: This shows the level of despotism in Syria.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: We will always stand by our Syrian brothers regardless of their race, religion, sect. Could they be Sunni or Alawite.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: Iran FM Salihi called me first and said they will do their best regarding downed Syrian jet.

Turkish FM Davutoglu: I told Iranian foreign minister that Turkey expects clear position from Tehran regarding downed Turkish jet by Syria.

MT @MustafaEdib: Strong similarities b/w what #Ankara said after #flotilla incident and Syria jet downing. Not much achieved with #Israel

The critical legal point that could be used to activate a NATO response is "hit 13 miles off the Syrian coast, in international air space". That does not fit with this amateur video taken on a Syrian beach and uploaded shortly after the incident. It seems to shows anti air gun artillery shooting at the alleged plane. The point where the video was taken is here next to a hill with a white top and cleared anti-air positions. There is no way that any AA artillery Syria has could hit a plane 13 miles out.

It is also irrelevant if the plane was armed or not. Reconnaissance is a military task and to any air defense an unknown low flying fastmover intruding a countries air space is definitely a threat.

It seems to me that those who would buy what Davutoglu is trying to sell here would also be prospective customers of this or that Brooklyn bridge sale.

Posted by b on June 24, 2012 at 8:47 UTC | Permalink


so the committee has taken a decision to lie and escalate.

Posted by: file2 | Jun 24 2012 10:15 utc | 1

"Turkish FM Davutoglu: I am putting it bluntly: The aim of our plane was to test our national radar system, not related to Syria crisis."

So it is clear, the plane was testing a radar system ...

"Turkish FM Davutoglu: Syria is not helping us locate our pilots, we are in coordination with them b/c it is within Syrian territorial waters"

So the wind/the tide was blowing the plane from international waters, where it was supposed to be shot down according to Turkey to Syrian territorial waters ...

so Nato is getting involved ...

I am in favor of a campaign to get Germany out of NATO ...

Posted by: somebody | Jun 24 2012 10:16 utc | 2

In any military exercise or reconnaisance too, it is natural to assume the plane was armed.

Posted by: Alexander | Jun 24 2012 10:27 utc | 3

What about this little gem of a news

The (Israeli) government has secretly green-lighted exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Golan Heights, almost 20 years after diplomatic initiatives put operations on hold.
National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu) approved exploratory drilling in the Golan Heights for petroleum and natural gas a few weeks ago despite the risk of Syrian indignation.
“His view is that the State of Israel must utilize all options for oil exploration across the country in order to break free from dependence on Arab oil,” sources close to the minister told the daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday.” The Times of Israel, May 13 2012

Posted by: hans | Jun 24 2012 10:36 utc | 4

Turkey's always wanted to drag NATO into the conflict..It's hard to tell who's pushing who..Is it NATO pushing Turkey to do stupid things in order to justify NATO's involvement or is it the other way round?

The building blocks of a wider regional war is slow but surely being assembled and all will loose..Funny how Israel's managed to get all her enemies to fight each other, leaving them intact.

Syria's first point of call for any Turkish military involvement should be the Incirlik base..1% or their missile arsenal should take this base out at the first Turkish incursion into Syria..

Posted by: Zico | Jun 24 2012 10:38 utc | 5

Something from the schoolboy UK foreign secretary William Vague the Hague who's never seen any Middle East war he never liked - YET...

He even have the nerve to blame Syria for Turkey flying a military plane into Syrian territory...Seems to me this incident was staged to kick off something big..Exactly what, we don't know but war could be one of them...

They try to justify this by saying the fighter jet wasn't carrying any weapons but was only on a recce mission..How stupid does that sound? he told me that the plane had been shot down without warning...What?? So the Turkish pilot expected to be warned he's going to be shot down? Are these guys serious???

The fact that they've even admitted to being on a recce mission is enough reason to shoot that damn thing down...What country allows their neighbouring countries to flying recce missions over their territory and call them in for tea and biscuits?

GAAAAAD these guys make me MAD!!!!

Posted by: Zico | Jun 24 2012 11:10 utc | 6

Did Turkey warned the Syrian Government (or the Syrian army) that they would be conducting exercises close to the border? As far as I know, that is a common practice in those cases. If not, then Davutoglu doesn't have much to stand on.

For the rest, seeing this unfold, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the whole thing was a provocation of sorts.

Posted by: Philippe | Jun 24 2012 11:46 utc | 7

More bad news from Syria; 3 Syrian aviators crossed by land into Jordan. It's getting more and more like a repeat of Malta. Expect BHL to make his entry on stage any day now.

Posted by: www | Jun 24 2012 12:10 utc | 8

www, 3 aviators going to Jordan doesn't make any difference...Syria has hundreds is not thousands of aviators so 3 crossing the border into Jordan is just that..Just remember there're weaker minds in any organization that can be bought at any price.

For all I know they could've been spies who's cover was blown so they had to run to safety...Like I said before, all the Arab countries involved in the chaos in Syria should prepare themselves for blowback..The distance between Jordan's king playstation's palace and Damascus is within range of Syria's missiles..Just saying.

Posted by: Zico | Jun 24 2012 12:26 utc | 9

Another player in this dance between Syria and Turkey is the Kurdish element. The night before the jet was shot down, a funeral convoy was attacked and 1 Turkish soldier and 2 teachers were kidnapped by the PKK. The incidents were NOT related (the kidnapping was just North of Iraq border and Syria shooting the jet over the Med coastline). But it does show that Turkey needs to move carefully. In fact when Erdogan called his meeting with his military/diplomatic heads last night it was to discuss both the jet AND the kidnapping.

Just like Turkey is providing logistics/safe haven for the Free Syrian Army. it knows that Syria could, if pressured, help the Kurdish rebels and PKK in attacks against Turkey. Wouldn't be the first time Syria played the PKK card either. It sheltered Abdullah Ocalan and other PKK commanders from 1984 - 1998 when Turkish pressure forced it to expel them and likely acted as a conduit for Soviet weapons and training to reach PKK (Ocalan, the PKK commander before capture, was trained by the KGB).

A Porous Border works both ways.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 24 2012 12:50 utc | 10

Have a look on the map - Turkey cannot really be suprised its aircraft would get shot down given a chance ..

Safe Area for Syria
An Assessment of Legality,
Logistics and Hazards

"Although the psychological and strategic impact of a safe area cannot be quantified, it should
not be dismissed nor underestimated. The boost to activists’ morale in knowing that a part of
Syria has been unalterably liberated is likely to be significant, particularly in light of the fact that
after nine months of facing brutality and traumatisation, the activists are still protesting daily. For
similar reasons, the rate of military defections will likely increase if soldiers discover that, rather
than living in exile in Turkey or Lebanon or Jordan (where their fate is uncertain), they have the
option of repairing to a revolutionary headquarters. Because the Syrian Air Force might attempt
combat sorties and try to obstruct the establishment of a safe area, a pre-emptive aerial campaign
would have to be waged to neutralize the regime’s air defence systems, particularly in Aleppo and
Lattakia and in and around Damascus.
Given the dynamics on the ground, the best location in which to establish a safe area would be Idlib
province in Jisr al-Shoghour, near the Turkish border and Mediterranean shore.
Not only are the
bulk of defecting soldiers located there already, but the devastation wrought by a multi-pronged
invasion of Jisr al-Shoghour last June has resulted in high anti-Assad sentiment in this province.
Additionally, Jisr al-Shoghour is sandwiched between mountainous terrain, with a valley region
that extends northward into Turkey and southward into the rest of Syria, making ground offensives
by the regime from east or west difficult (this was one of the reasons that attack helicopters were
used in June). A supply corridor from Turkey into Jisr al-Shoghour would benefit from the natural
fortification of Syrian topography.
An air strike could be waged by U.S., British, French and Turkish aircraft, facilitated by support
aircraft from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan, all of which participated in enforcing the
Libyan no-fly zone. U.S. Special Forces, the Special Air Service and Turkish and Qatari Special Forces
could coordinate on the ground with rebel Syrian soldiers to establish an 11-square-kilometer
perimeter around Jisr al-Shoghour. Training of additional defectors could be conducted at Incirlik
Air Base and other regional bases or at a makeshift rebel base in the safe area itself."

Posted by: somebody | Jun 24 2012 13:01 utc | 11

It'll be interesting to see if the British release recordings from their radar system sat on top of Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus - nothing much can happen in that area without the UK and thus the US knowing about it.

Posted by: blowback | Jun 24 2012 14:18 utc | 12

>>>For all I know they could've been spies who's cover was blown so they had to run to safety>>>

Zico #9, maybe it's simply that the 3 aviators don't want to live under the regime anymore. You can't force people to love the regime.

The pilot's family had arrived in Jordan before he actually landed there. Syria said that the Turkish plane was brought down by anti-aircraft cannon.

Posted by: www | Jun 24 2012 14:23 utc | 13

>>> It'll be interesting to see if the British release recordings from their radar system sat on top of Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus >>>

Blowback #12, the bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus don't just monitor radar systems but every communication of every kind including electronic mail for the whole of the Middle East. The US does the same but from listening ships (like what the USS Liberty was doing back in 67)as does Israel with its land based and satellite systems. The British wouldn't release any information.

Posted by: www | Jun 24 2012 14:45 utc | 14

www @ 13 -- I've been kinda busy for a few days, but last I'd been reading the whereabouts of the family of the pilot whose plane landed in Jordan were unknown. His home, iirc, was in Northern Syria, and one thing I read suggested the family had been kidnapped by the FSA.

Anyway, do you have a link for info about the family? T/U.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 24 2012 16:13 utc | 15

Jawbone, Jordan Times reported that the defected pilot's family had been taken to Turkey:

"Opposition sources said pilot Hamada is a 44-year-old Sunni Muslim from Idlib province and he had smuggled his family to Turkey before his dramatic defection.

His hometown Kfar Takharim has been repeatedly shelled in the past several months and suffered intense artillery and helicopter bombardments in the last few days, opposition campaigners who spoke to his family said.

Posted by: www | Jun 24 2012 16:42 utc | 16

Syria: CIA helps with the Genocide

Note, this is just a translation of my original article written in German language.

The article covers an analysis based on the NYT article and these statements by the General Chairmen of the Muslim Brotherhood in an interview aired on Al-Hekma TV on March 14, 2012:

Interviewer: “Is the killing of Alawites – their wives and children – allowed in retribution for their actions?”

Mohammed Badi: Yes, my brother. We have sent a communiqué to the Alawites with a warning that should be the last.Our brothers in the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) have sent inquiries to outside scholars in exile, to see if it is allowed to attack Alawite villages like Zahra, Eqrima Nuzha and the suburbs of Homs.”…

Posted by: Antifo | Jun 24 2012 16:57 utc | 17

@www - More bad news from Syria; 3 Syrian aviators crossed by land into Jordan. It's getting more and more like a repeat of Malta. Expect BHL to make his entry on stage any day now.

Do you believe everything the opposition media are saying?

Posted by: b | Jun 24 2012 17:08 utc | 18

Of course not, b, especially if the source of the news is coming from the rebels. The 3 aviators to Jordan were discussed on Jazeera but now some are saying that the 3 aviators actually crossed into Turkey.

Posted by: www | Jun 24 2012 17:33 utc | 19

@www - More bad news from Syria; 3 Syrian aviators crossed by land into Jordan. It's getting more and more like a repeat of Malta. Expect BHL to make his entry on stage any day now.
Do you believe everything the opposition media are saying?
Posted by: b | Jun 24, 2012 1:08:25 PM | 18

even if it were true i am surprised that the number of high profile defectors is that low considering the huge amount
of money being "invested". maybe b will start a thread about that

Posted by: erraticideas | Jun 24 2012 17:53 utc | 20

Erraticideas, the West refuses to believe that the majority of Syrians are perfectly happy with President Assad. Nobody can imagine the amount of money being spent in trying to overthrow the regime. It would have gone a long way in helping the country's economy and making the people more happy. Regrettably, the US and Israel want Assad removed to have a clear shot at Iran and Hezbollah.

Posted by: www | Jun 24 2012 18:34 utc | 21

The current regime in Syria is doomed. There is too much money and (islamist) political support behind the opposition. Even if it doesn't becomes a 'hot' war with the now usual NATO bombings they can out spend the regime. And it seems the different states supporting think that the consequences of breaking up yet another Middle-East country are worth the prize (Iran). Hizbollah was attacked, then Hamas and now the Iran-allied Syrian regime. The first is still there but cutting the link through Syria will weaken it for the next strike. The second has been fully co-opted into the 'Arab Spring' counter-revolution. So it's completely in the opposing states interest to destroy the Syrian regime.

The Syrian regime is also unwilling to menace or escalate the conflict into a full blown regional war which is the only thing that may change the calculations of the opposing states. But at the end even such war would undo the current power arrangement in Syria and trigger the fall of the current ruling families so at the end, other than suicidal or ultra-nationalist impulses, that option is almost out of the table.

And as usually minorities and civilians of all kinds will be the ones really paying the price for the new Western directed Saudi paid jihad for obscurity and doom.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 24 2012 18:55 utc | 22

'The Syrian regime '

please stop calling the syrian government a 'regime'..this word is the prefered demon word of the MSM and western 'regimes'

Posted by: brian | Jun 24 2012 21:37 utc | 23

Referring to the Syrian government as a regime implies something transitional, I don't believe the government is likely to be changed for a different regime anytime soon.

Posted by: Alexander | Jun 24 2012 21:42 utc | 24

If Turkey wants to take Syria to UNSC for 2 pilots, Syria should take Turkey to UNSC for giving operating bases to gangs who killed 1000s

Posted by: brian | Jun 24 2012 23:05 utc | 25

OK, so, according to the Turks this F4 was heading AWAY from Syria and was 13km out to sea when it was taken out.
The Turks further say that the wreckage of that F4 is in Syrian territorial waters.

Ahem, I'm rather curious how the Turks plan to make those two facts add up....

Maybe Assad has managed to borrow Wonder Woman's Golden Lasso, enabling him to snare that jet and haul it backwards into Syrian waters as it went down to its doom.

Or perhaps the Syrians used a Star Trek tractor beam to yank that jet backwards even though it was going full-throttle.

Either way, that must mean that the Syrians have access to technology that is way beyond anything possessed by NATO, so I would suggest the Turks tone down their rhetoric.

Posted by: Johnboy | Jun 25 2012 1:45 utc | 26

'OK, so, according to the Turks this F4 was heading AWAY from Syria and was 13km out to sea when it was taken out.'

a graphic online shows the jet heading towards cyrprus when it veers south and east! toward Syrias was no accident.

Posted by: brian | Jun 25 2012 2:19 utc | 27

"a graphic online shows the jet heading towards cyrprus when it veers south and east! toward Syrias coastline"

Maybe, but excuse me for being less that convinced by "a graphic online" that proports to show, well, anything....

All I'm doing is pointing out that in the space of a single interview Davutoglu claimed these two things to be facts:
(a) the plane was already out of Syrian airspace and moving away, and
(b) that plane came down inside Syrian territorial waters,
even tho' those two claims appear to be mutually-exclusive.

Posted by: Johnboy | Jun 25 2012 9:19 utc | 28

If this accident was a deliberate provocation, then I'd ask how the Turkish pilots could convinced to fly the jet fighter and let themselfs shoot down? Turkish soldiers are not famous for committing such suicide acts. For that reason I'd suppose the pilots left the jet fighter shortly before it entered Syria's territorial waters.

Making sense?

Posted by: Antifo | Jun 25 2012 11:55 utc | 29

Not really, the pilot would have counted on being fast enough to get away

they were also flying really low, which might mean they tried to avoid radar

"Apparently, the Syrians weren’t tempted, and challenged the intruder with anti-aircraft fire rather than surface-to-air missiles. Under these circumstances, the downing of the Turkish jet could have been a miscalculated unlucky rather than lucky shot."

Posted by: somebody | Jun 25 2012 12:46 utc | 30

What is most interesting is that the Syria government says the plane was downed by anti-aircraft guns. So no missiles were used and this means the plane was not only flying very low, but that it was either flying over Syrian land or that it was very close to the Syrian coast and deep inside its waters when it was hit.

Posted by: Amar | Jun 25 2012 14:01 utc | 31

Was Turkish F-4 Shot Down By Syria Actually an Unmanned Drone?

Posted by: pearlymatt | Jun 25 2012 17:01 utc | 32

There are so many conflicting versions of this story that it reminds me of the day the Yankees killed ObL (for the last time?) in Abbotabad. Turkey could have clarified the issue but seems determined to further confuse it so I'll take Syria's version, and no other, as correct. I haven't discounted the possibility that the F4 was "unmanned" rather than "unarmed" - which would explain:
1. The counter-intuitive behavior of the pilots before the shootdown.
2. Turkey's puzzling failure to alert Syria to the 'exercise' in advance.
3. The absence of any trace of human pilot(s).

Imo, this was a show of loyalty forced on Turkey by its dubious NATO "friends" to further demonise Syria and to keep it in the headlines. I like it because it helps reinforce why NATO will remain reluctant to use the Libyan 'no-fly zone' stunt in Syria. I also like it because, imo, Israel's attack on Syria's suspected nuke facilities is DIRECTLY responsible for the upgrade of Syria's air-defenses to their current "too dangerous for NATO" status.
And let's not forget Russia, who I'm confident won't hesitate to direct as much fire-power as necessary to discourage NATO's forces if they attempt to intervene directly.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 25 2012 17:07 utc | 33

Hoarsewhisperer, right after everybody admitted the plane was down, Erdogan was interviewed and he said that the 2 aviators were safe and in good health. Now the story has changed and the Turks are saying that the 2 aviators are still missing and this morning they reported that they found the boots of both guys in the sea. One minute it was being said that the Syrians apologized and the Turks said they hadn't heard any apology. The Turks and the Syrians are playing games.

A few minutes ago, Turkey declared that the shooting down of its plane was aggression of the worst kind by Syria. Looks like the stage is being set by Turkey for a NATO involvement. If NATO does go ahead, it will confim mostly everyone's doubts about Russia walking away from Syria.

Posted by: www | Jun 25 2012 18:19 utc | 34

The next time western media puts out a campaign to topple a government, it might be better to just fold, and ask who the US want at the helm. Because, it looks as if NATO has decided to go for a country, they aren't likely to give up at the cost of some collateral civilians, they'll push thru one way or the other, won't they?

Posted by: Alexander | Jun 25 2012 18:57 utc | 35

In view of the implied threats to both Russia and China, which one can read into recent developments in US Foreign Policy, I'm pretty confident that China and Russia can't afford to back away from any lines they've drawn in the sand. China, especially, has been describing the US as a Paper Tiger for several decades - at least. I'll be very surprised if Chinese 'face-saving' culture would permit capitulation to US threats. In China some things are worth dying for. If there's something Americans think is worth dying for, I've yet to hear about it.
Alienating Russia and China at the same time wasn't the smartest thing the Yankees have ever done. Nether was exporting their financial melt-down to every white-ish ally except Australia.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 25 2012 20:27 utc | 36

here are those idealistic FSA peaceful protestors in the raw:
Syrian militants 'opposition' killed for 15 euros a day

Western media created the image of an ideological fighter for democracy in Syria has nothing to do with reality. Information Agency «ANNA» managed to interview the Syrian captives in the Hamas militants. He told how, for 15 euros a day, shooting passing cars without thinking of those who at this time there is.

On the question of whether a prisoner regretted what he had done the crime, a former fighter named Immat referred to the rebel leaders, who argued that religion does not forbid killing and raping people of other faiths, on the contrary it is strongly encouraged.

The story of people caught in opposition to all the same, it all started with peaceful opposition actions (for money!), Then they are recruited into gangs, issued by a machine, designated the daily wages, and a separate award for each violent action. In this case the militants do not care what they are fighting against their own people. Good money (by the standards of Syria) and any semi-literate worker goes killing.

In this interview, you will personally make sure that the opposition demonstrators fired on her in order to blame for the crime of power in Syria. Thanks to the Western media it is possible to successfully implement

Posted by: brian | Jun 28 2012 7:01 utc | 37

Syrian 'Rebels' Ransack Christian Churches
Shocking images have emerged which show the aftermath of Christian churches ransacked by NATO-backed Syrian rebels, illustrating once again how western powers are supporting Muslim extremists in their bid to achieve regime change in the middle east

Posted by: brian | Jun 28 2012 8:05 utc | 38

The people must have been very oppressed to have degenerated to the point of desecrating churches but implying that NATO is behind their conduct is not accurate. NATO may be arming and paying them to fight Assad's troops, but to suggest that NATO is behind getting them to actually destroy and loot churches is as absurd.

Posted by: www | Jun 28 2012 9:27 utc | 39

Part 2 of Amal Saad-Ghorayeb's take on Syria's politics in al-Akhbar:

Assad Foreign Policy (II): Strategies of Confrontation
By: Amal Saad-Ghorayeb

Published Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Third-Wayers repeatedly discredit the mumanaist (political and/or military resistance) credentials of the Assad regime on account of a number of regional policies which include: its intervention on behalf of right-wing Christian militias in Lebanon in 1976; its war against Palestinian groups in Lebanon in the 1980s; its decision to join the Gulf War coalition against Saddam Hussein in 1991; its reluctance to engage Israel militarily; and its participation in so-called peace negotiations with Israel since 1991.

Indeed, the first two of these policies in particular represent the darker side of the Assad regime’s foreign policy history. Hafez al-Assad’s strategic motives at the time have been explained by academics as relating to his intent to reign in the Palestinians, and later Hezbollah, in order to avert a wider regional war with Israel, and to co-opt the Maronite Right lest it “draw Israel into the fighting on its behalf and... throw the Christians into the hands of Israel and balkanize Lebanon,” according to Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Raymond Hinnebusch.

In a recently declassified Pentagon document, the Assistant-Secretary of Defense explains the reasoning behind Assad’s 1976 intervention:

“Asad is loath to see emerge on his western flank a radical leftist- and Palestinian dominated Lebanon, almost certainly unamenable to his direction. Furthermore, a radical Lebanon could drag Asad into a war with Israel at a time, place, and in circumstances not of his own choosing. Moreover, a radicalized Lebanon would be a military liability as a confrontation state with Israel. Lebanon may never be able to field a credible military force against Israel and certainly could not do so for Lebanese-Israeli border, a mission for which they are clearly inadequate, or to present Israel with a virtually undefended corridor through which the IDF could outflank his forces on the Golan Heights.”

Posted by: www | Jun 28 2012 9:59 utc | 40

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