Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 27, 2012

Schwerpunkt Aleppo

As I wrote four days ago:

The insurgents have now brought the war to Aleppo. Today several tweets from the insurgent side pointed to videos that claim to show insurgent reinforcement going to Aleppo. The Syrian government was also said to have reinforcement coming in and there is now unconfirmed reporting of its use of air force assets against the insurgency. That might all be the fog of this war or it might be the buildup to the Clausewitzian Schwerpunkt of this conflict. The place where both sides concentrate their forces for a decisive battle.

It seems that I was right with the prediction in that paragraph. The Schwerpunkt is Aleppo. Tony Karon compares the situation with the Ted offensive in Vietnam. There the North Vietnamese made a surprise attack on U.S. positions in all South Vietnamese cities and were beaten back. Militarily it was a near catastrophic loss for the North Vietnamese. But politically it was a great victory. The attack convinced the U.S. people that the fight was lost and it quickened the U.S. withdrawal.

What the Syrian insurgents are trying now looks quite similar. Militarily they are likely to loose big time. But they can not achieve a political victory against the Syrian government. The Syrian army has nowhere to withdraw to. The only political victory a battle around Aleppo could bring would be more active support from the outside like with a no-fly zone or something similar.

But that is not going to happen. The U.S. government and the Turkish government tell the insurgents that they are on their own:

Ms. Nuland[, a State Department spokeswoman,] also indicated that the United States was not reconsidering its stance against military intervention, saying, “We do not think pouring more fuel onto the fire is going to save lives.” And she drew a sharp distinction between Aleppo and the Libyan city of Benghazi, where fears of a slaughter by government troops led to a NATO bombing campaign that proved decisive in toppling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last year.

“The kind of groundswell call for external support that we’ve seen elsewhere is not there,” Ms. Nuland said.

and

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he hopes the “real sons of Syria” will respond to an armed assault the Syrian regime is getting ready to launch in Aleppo.

“The regime is preparing for an attack with tanks and helicopters in the city center of Aleppo. It’s not clear what’s going to happen today. The foreign minister and I have been following the developments. I hope that the regime gets the answer it deserves from Syria’s own sons,” Erdoğan said in response to questions from reporters on Friday in London.

"From Syria’s own sons" and no one else. The Syrian government will not mind that at all.

The insurgents made a mistake in now concentrating the fight on Aleppo. While the news is not really clear it seems that only some western and eastern suburbs, less than 20% of the city, have some insurgency presence. The population in Aleppo is not with the insurgency. Videos of two demonstrations in Aleppo today showed only some 300 participant each. Thin local support will make the logistics for the insurgency quite difficult. They will have to bring in whatever they need. If the Syrian army is able to cut the insurgents supply lines into Aleppo it only has to fix them on the ground to slowly fight them down. With the world news diverted to the Olympics the timing of a fight about Aleppo could not be better for the Syrian government.

But that view may be too optimistic. I am not yet sure that the U.S. and Turkey have really given up their intervention drive. This or that trick to justify more steps against Syria may still be in the offering.

There have been pictures circulating today showing insurgents with gas mask which they claimed to have taken from the Syrian army. A UN resolution that the Saudi government wants to bring to the UN General Assembly on Monday ominously includes a paragraph about chemical weapons. After days of rumors about possible false flag attacks with chemical weapons the Syrian government had publicly promised to not use any such weapons against the insurgency. Why then is that paragraph in the Saudi draft needed?

--- Bonus: Robert Fisk (for once sober) in an interview on Aleppo.

Posted by b on July 27, 2012 at 01:30 PM | Permalink

Comments

As I posted on the other thread, Robert Mood says the Syrian army has plenty more capacity, what we have seen this far is only a fraction, they have weapons big and small and lots of soldiers.

Posted by: Alexander | Jul 27, 2012 2:11:59 PM | 1

There was 5 years between the TET offensive and the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. I do not see that as "quickening" the withdrawal.... and frankly, I don't think the TET offensive had anything to do with the US withdrawal.

Posted by: Susan | Jul 27, 2012 2:18:02 PM | 2

But that view may be too optimistic. I am not yet sure that the U.S. and Turkey have really given up their intervention drive. This or that trick to justify more steps against Syria may still be in the offering.

Personally I wouldn't believe a word Nuland says with regard to only "non-lethal" help being available to the US's mercenary Army in Syria.

Most likely IMHO her words are merely a minor (of no real consequence) adjustment in language, in reaction to Lavrov's calling the US out on support for the terrorism of their Mercenary Army the so-called FSA

More than likely that they have no basis in reality at all.

Few statements from the US psychopaths ever do

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 2:37:07 PM | 3

i'm curious as to how the US's Mercenary Army has been so stupid as to allow itself to be drawn into what b calls a Schwerpunkt, in Aleppo (or anywhere else in Syria for that matter.)

Causes me to wonder were they ordered from Washington to do so? So that the Western psycho's, having realised that they cannot win militarily (by proxy) , can then use the resulting defeat of the (heavily armed btw) Mercenaries to fabricate yet another compeltely bogus 'Massacre of Civilians' claim against Syrian Gov't?

Is the strategy an attempt to fabricate something (anything) the Western Psychopaths might then be able to use to thoroughly blacken the reputation of the Syrian Gov't and anyone that does not condemn them outright, such as Russia and China?

Certainly it goes against ALL (para)military doctrine to concentrate the FSA forces like that, against an obviously superior Military force.

So are the Western psychopats, through their Mercenary Commanders, simply preparing a sacrifice of the FSA, (which it might well now consider to be a useless (para-)Military force given that it apparently failed in it's objective), in order to use the deaths of these traitors and Mercenaries as future leverage against the Syrian Gov't and the Russians?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 2:51:40 PM | 4

I vaguely recall a study of how and when political leaders lie. Over all, then tend to LIE to their own people, but tend to tell the truth to other world leaders.

Interesting, no?

Anyone recall that study or report?

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 27, 2012 3:15:26 PM | 5

Turkey is now facing a huge problems with the Syrian Kurds.
Their apparent 'neutrality' is hiding a calculation that worries Turkey.
Many Turkish media are repeating that the "Kurdish spring' is at Turkey's doorstep.
A dramatic event involving Syrian Kurds and the PKK may trigger a strong diversion whereby Turkey will need to give its highest priority to fighting the growth of a 'Kurdish State' in Northern Syria and not to change Syria's regime.

Posted by: zoo | Jul 27, 2012 3:16:30 PM | 6

Inner City Press reports that Saudi Arabia has prepared a new UN resolution to be submitted to the UN General Assembly (which has no authority) next week. The resolution includes: "Fully supports the Envoy's demand that the first step in the cessation of violence has to be made by the Syrian authorities, and therefore calls upon the Syrian authorities to fulfil immediately their commitment to cease the use of heavy weapons and complete the withdrawal of their troops and heavy weapons to their barracks." Good luck on that.
http://www.innercitypress.com/syria1chemsaudi072712.html

We can expect increased Saudi involvement with Bandar bin Sultan now as Saudi Arabia's new top spy. "Bandar Bush" is a member of the House of Saud and was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005.

Speaking of, Bandar Bush once (still?) owns a mansion in Aspen, Colorado. Aspen Institute recently launched the Middle East Leadership Initiative with "generous support" from Saudi Arabia. Abu Sulayman, an aide to Al Waleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, is an Aspen Institute Middle East fellow. The Aspen Institute is currently holding a big confab.
Some recent news from Aspen:
--Hot War’ Erupting With Iran, Top Terror-Watchers Warn -- We’re seeing a general uptick in the level of activity around the world. Both Hezbollah and the [Iranian] Quods Force have demonstrated an ability to operate essentially globally,” Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told an audience of more than a hundred security professionals gathered here on Thursday. [This claim is belied by the recent report from Olsen's office which doesn't even mention Iran.]
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/iran-hot-war/

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 3:17:28 PM | 7

Hu Bris said the insurgency is "stupid as to allow itself to be drawn into what b calls a Schwerpunkt, in Aleppo (or anywhere else in Syria for that matter.)" Likewise 'b' says "the insurgents made a mistake in now concentrating the fight on Aleppo." My view: The would-be schwerpunkt in Aleppo is a propaganda tale, it is an overhyped and exaggerated narrative put forth by the Syrian government's political adversaries (including Erdogan and Al-Jazeera and the Western media), and it is not real. What it achieves is an exaggerated image of the rebels being strong enough to take the fight to the government. It's like the story of the takeover of the border-crossing posts last week. When it is over, the rebels will have lost a few scores of martyrs, that's all, but the peace and security of the people of Aleppo will have been temporarily shaken for the first time this year. It will support the narrative that the regime is crumbling and losing its grip.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 27, 2012 3:21:50 PM | 8

Look at Clausewitz. The "Schwerpunkt" was Damacus, Aleppo is a rearguard operation.

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Jul 27, 2012 4:06:31 PM | 9

Do you guys know of a map which shows where the rebel-occupied quarters are?

Where they are located is going to have a big effect on what happens. Isolated and they'll be bombarded. Integrated into the old city, and the Syrian army can only starve them out.

How strongly the rebels defend those quarters will also be a sign of the degree of their support.

There's also quite a big tradition in the Islamic world of simply waiting until one side or the other gives way. That would be best here.

Posted by: alexno | Jul 27, 2012 4:08:12 PM | 10

"When it is over, the rebels will have lost a few scores of martyrs, that's all, but the peace and security of the people of Aleppo will have been temporarily shaken for the first time this year..."

Which is a big deal for the people involved: the problem here is that the "rebels" being foreign mercenaries, for the most part, care not at all what happens. If they come to rule it will be by terror rather than consent, which is how the Gulf tyrants and the ibn Saud gang rule.
The point is to cause chaos and kill people. The aim is to create a situation in which the people resign themselves to rule by imperialists and zionists, because the alternative is war and terror in perpetuity.

My guess is that, while attention is focused on Aleppo, armed minions of the CIA are likely to be pouring over the borders elsewhere. But no doubt the Syrian Army has worked that out for itself.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 27, 2012 4:08:31 PM | 11

The massacre calls are pure propaganda. Precisely taking so long to prepare for the counter-attack gives uninvolved civilians the time to flee the neighborhoods taken by the foreign (to the city, and some to the country) terrorists.

The same did happen on Damascus.

I wonder if analysts are taking into account that the Syrian army has actual experience in dealing with armed groups on urban environments from years of occupation in Lebanon, where they fought against various armed factions to 'stop' the civil war, and the Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the 80s. The upper level officials were involved in defeating the MB uprising and the middle level officials likely have urban experience from Lebanon. Also taking into account doctrine and experience exchanges with Hizbollah and the Iranian Pasdaran which have been their main allies in the last decades.

So the claim that it's a fossilized soviet style army that will just bring havoc on the cities may be quite misleading. In fact, the kettle calling the pot black, that is more applicable to US and Israel armies and their fear of taking any kind of casualty on urban combat against lightly armed forces which forces them bomb their way around.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jul 27, 2012 4:08:33 PM | 12

@ Jawbone #5: It's a book published in 2010 or early 2011 called "Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics" by John Mearsheimer.

The following webpage has the author John Mearsheimer presenting a summary of the book followed by a discussion with a couple of other panelists, in a 90-minute presentation and discussion. I downloaded the MP3 audio file (88 megabytes) (the video file is also downloadable) and I listened to all 90 minutes and I thought it was worth my while. I have not read the book.

http://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/why-leaders-lie-truth-about-lying-international-politics

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 27, 2012 4:27:59 PM | 13

Waiting and starving them out is the best policy.

If the support within the quarters concerned is not that strong, we'll soon see the women refusing to give the fighters food, and soon the local headmen will be negotiating, to save their people.

If support is strong, then bombardment will come.

If you like, it's a medieval siege.

Posted by: alexno | Jul 27, 2012 4:29:09 PM | 14

unconfirmed :-)) map

https://twitter.com/LtHussamov/status/228156331822039040/photo/1/large

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27, 2012 4:39:29 PM | 15

Webster Tarpley tweeted that the FSA was in retreat from Aleppo. He cited an Italian report: http://t.co/GsJFovuE

Posted by: revenire | Jul 27, 2012 4:55:40 PM | 16

Apparently "massacre" is so . .yesterday. The new buzzword is "onslaught."
google "onslaught aleppo" and read the MSM organs all repeating the "onslaught" mantra.
Ummmmmmm They are so regimented -- it's worse than the army.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 5:05:05 PM | 17

In a public opinion poll in Russia, a little more than half of respondents said they are not interested in Syria's crisis at all, and a little less than half said they sometimes or regularly take an interest in news about Syria. 14 per cent of the respondents said they favor the Syrian government, 11 per cent said they favor the Syrian opposition, and 57 per cent said they do not favor either side in Syria's conflict. Reported 27 Jul 2012 @ http://rt.com/politics/syria-military-sanctions-poll-219/ .

The Russian public's predominant opinion, of not favouring either side in Syria, is a reflection to some extent of the opinion leadership in Russia of the Russian ministry of foreign affairs. But at the same time the stance of the Russian ministry of foreign affairs is a reflection, to some extent, of public opinion in Russia. You can take the above opinion poll result as a good indication that the Russian foreign ministry will continue to advocate for non-favouritism.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 27, 2012 5:17:57 PM | 18

re 15

Thanks for that, somebody.

Leadership in the Arabo-Islamic world is personal. It doesn't matter what post you hold, people aggregate around those who are seen to lead the community, though those people may also hold formal posts.

If they don't agree with the siege, then the fighters will depart.

Posted by: alexno | Jul 27, 2012 5:23:08 PM | 19

I don't think the TET offensive had anything to do with the US withdrawal.

Couldn't be farther from the truth. What Tet did was change the political atmosphere inside the US that up to that point supported the war. After Tet it was not possible for the political leadership to continue escalating the war. Since it was clear that we had too few troops to defeat the Viet Cong, then we could not win hence we were facing a strategic defeat.

Nixon through four years of political trickery kept the war going but at the same time he was slowly withdrawing our forces. By 1972 there were too few American troops on the ground to make any difference.

So we finally surrendered at the Paris Peace talks.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jul 27, 2012 5:29:57 PM | 20

The TET model, if it was proposed by the US strategic planners of the revolt, doesn't seem to be working out.

Defeat in Damascus hasn't given the revolt a flip.

Defeat in Aleppo, we have to wait to see, but I don't see the TET model in action.

Posted by: alexno | Jul 27, 2012 5:47:03 PM | 21

Parviziyi @ 8
That is exactly as I see it, it's done for the propaganda value, and it's good for the fighting morale of the rebels. But as with Damascus, the Aleppo occupation will evaporate in a few days.

Posted by: Alexander | Jul 27, 2012 5:55:53 PM | 22

Colonel Harry G. Summers Jr. On TET:

"You know you never beat us on the battlefield," I said to my North Vietnamese Army (NVA) counterpart in Hanoi a week before the fall of Saigon. "That may be so," he replied, "but it is also irrelevant." His words applied not only to the war as a whole but to the 1968 Tet Offensive in particular. For the American military that offensive was a grand paradox. At the battlefield tactical level, the enemy was defeated and turned back at every turn without achieving any territorial gain. At the theater-of-war operational level, their Tong Cong Kich/Tong Khoi Ngia (General Offensive/General Uprising) campaign was an absolute failure. Not only did the South Vietnamese people fail to flock to their banners, the South Vietnamese military stood firm and their own Viet Cong guerrilla forces were so decimated that they ceased to be an effective fighting force for the remaining seven years of the war.

But at the strategic level, the Tet Offensive was an unmitigated disaster for the United States. The American people saw it as a defeat and were confirmed in their belief, arrived at the previous October, that sending troops to Vietnam had been a mistake.

Posted by: Frank | Jul 27, 2012 6:41:50 PM | 23

@ #8 Parviziyi
"The would-be schwerpunkt in Aleppo is a propaganda tale, it is an overhyped and exaggerated narrative put forth by the Syrian government's political adversaries"

there's some possible sense in what you say regarding possibility that the whole 'FSA concentration in Aleppo' is nothing but propaganda nonsense.

But you seem to have completely mis-understood what I was saying anway.
I never held nor voiced the notion that the FSA would be in any way "strong enough to take the fight to the government" If you re-read my comment you'll see that
I thought that the FSA would be mad to concentrate their forces like that. Such a move would make absolutely no sense to me

So your idea that it's all propaganda - and presumably what you mean is that the FSA has NOT done anything of the sort, or at least not done so in the numbers that the propagandists would like us to believe - makes some sense to me.

To me it would appear that if your opinion/theory is in part correct it would be because the Western psychos simply want an opportunity to post large headlines with the word 'Massacre' right beside the word 'Syria'.

Those headlines don't even have to be about an actual Massacre - the Western Psychopaths merely need to keep discussing the possibility of a massacre occuring in Aleppo, against possibly non-existant FSA concentrations that they falsely claim are massed there, to drive the image home in the mnind of the avg person

Working off the theory that so far the Guardian has been one of the worst of the offenders when it comes to telling outright lies about Syrian Gov't actions, I figure that any co-ordinated propaganda campaign will be more evident there than many other MSM outlets.

Not sure what I'm looking for exactly but I'll know it when I see it

So as a quick test of this theory off I went to the excerable Guardian's website -

and sure enough there it was right there

Right under the banner the Guardian carries a 'Breaking news' feed amnd the very first item reads :

Halt massacre, leaders urge Syria - PA

Press Association, Friday July 27 2012

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, flanked by Foreign Secretary William Hague, demanded a halt to the feared slaughter in Aleppo as government forces targeted the city.

Mr Hague warned of "a potential massacre" and said the worsening civil war could see the UK offer more help to rebel fighters battling to topple the regime.

Brave little Willy Hague - Chairman of Conserrvative Friends of Israel btw - tries his humanitarian best to save the lives of poor likkle innocent psychopatic terrorists and traitors in beleagured Aleppo. A heart-rendering story let me aassure you!

With headlines like that, no matter what the Syrian Gov't does it has now been firmly associated with the intention to carry out a Massacre in Aleppo - so even if no battle occurs there, all the avg western person will know is that the Syrian Gov't planned a massacre, and even if none occurred the avg clueless Westerner might htink "Well, they WERE going to do it, but they must have succumbed to pressure from our 'leaders' - thank God OUR leaders, and Brave little Willy Hague especially, are civilised and were able to pressure those nasty Syrians'


So I'd call that a propaganda success for the Western Psychopaths - lose/lose for the Syrians, Win/Win for the Psychos

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 6:43:22 PM | 24

and then there's this:


Syrian troops gather near Aleppo for decisive battle with rebels

and of course it's written by Luke Harding - Mr "Banned for Life From Russia" himslef, in the flesh so to speak - and Martin Chulov so you just know it's just chock-full of lies and bullshit - and sure enough we only have too go as far as the sub-head to get our first taste of a steaming pile of crap

Despite being outnumbered by regime forces, emboldened FSA fighters say they will win imminent fight for Syria's biggest city

'emboldend' no less - good man Luke - you can always rely on Luke Harding to lay it on thick

So yes - at this stage I'm inclined to the belief, initially voiced by Parviziyi above, that the FSA is probably NOT concentrated in Aleppo in anything like the numbers we've been led to believe, and the whole thing is a complete propaganda invention from start to finish

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 6:55:59 PM | 25

Here's another Guardian Headline:


Syrian army supply crisis has regime on brink of collapse, say defectors

I guessed who the writer was as soon as I read the headline

General who swapped sides says regime can last 'two months at most' as troop morale sinks and petrol trucks are ambushed

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 7:00:26 PM | 26

The American people had very little to do with ending the US military involvement in Vietnam. The (drafted) army was broken, with widespread mission refusal, insubordination and fragging. The "FTA" worn on helmets didn't mean Fun, Travel and Adventure.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 7:06:25 PM | 27

"the FSA is probably NOT concentrated in Aleppo in anything like the numbers we've been led to believe, and the whole thing is a complete propaganda invention from start to finish"
That's basically what Robert Fisk said, as I recall. Some guys got bombed out of their villages and wandered into Aleppos's suburbs -- not the city itself.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 7:09:31 PM | 28

See, the "massacres" didn't work because they never happened, so it's back to the tried-and-true (in Libya) "potential massacre." R2P -- Responsibility to Protect -- Hillary, Ann-Marie, Susan & Co.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 7:12:49 PM | 29

"That's basically what Robert Fisk said,"

maybe - but I haven't read a Fisk article since he appeared on national radio obstensibly to talk about the Israelis killing people on the Mavi Mari Gaza Flotilla ship, and instead he spent most of his allotted time talking about the killing of Armenians by the Turks back in 1915 - as far as I'm concerned , no matter what he writes, no matter how accurate it appears to be, Fisk is MI6

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 7:25:42 PM | 30

@ #27

Absofuckinloutley

The Army basically had a mutiny on their hands.
That's why they got rid of the draft - they weren't gonna let THAT happen again

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 7:27:40 PM | 31

Fisk is MI6

actually strike that

Let's just say that IMHO Fisk is working to some agenda other than what most people think he's working to.

what that might be is anyones guess - going on national Radio obstensively to talk about an Israeli massacre af Turks but spending most of your time talking about events 100 years where the Turks did something bad, is NOT the actions of the supposed "fearless champion of truth" which most people take Fisk to be

There's a time, I'm sure, to talk about Turks killing Armenians 100 yrs ago - but during a 5 or 6 minute conversation on National Radio, on the very day that Israelis murdered several Turks in cold blood, is DEFINITELY NOT that time

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 27, 2012 7:35:36 PM | 32

@ Hu Bris #24, #25, #26: I've said many times before the Western countries aren't going to intervene militarily. Assuming I'm not mistaken about that, it follows that perceptions in the West don't matter in the situation. And so as far as I'm concerned, you're barking up the wrong tree above because you're talking about perceptions in the West. What matters is perceptions in Syria. The fact that the residents of some neighborhoods of Aleppo have had to be evacuated for security reasons is bad news for the perceptions of the government in Syria. Same goes for the events in Damascus last week.

On 27 Jul 2012 Robert Mood characterised the fight between the rebels and the country's military as a case of "David [the rebels] versus Goliath". But he continued with the following prophesy, the Noirette prophesy: "The spiral of violence, the lack of proportion in the regime's reactions, its incapacity to protect the civilian population, mean that the regime's days are numbered.... It is impossible to imagine a future Syria with the current power holders still in place.... Sooner or later, the regime will fall." (source AFP). If more Syrians get more reasons to be pessimistic about the government's ability to maintain basic law and order, then more of them will come to agree with that prophesy, and it will go on to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. The rebels' attacks on residential neighborhoods in Aleppo and Damascus are giving more Syrians more reasons to be pessimistic -- that's not a positive political victory for the Opposition as politicians, but it is still a political defeat for the Establishment. This is the potential achievement for the rebels of the Aleppo and Damascus attacks this past week.

The rebels would have to follow them by more of the same, again and again over the next year. I know that any forecast about the future has its uncertainities, but I believe as I've said before the Noirette forecast is dead wrong, and I forecast instead the rebellion will be quashed by the current power holders, though there will be lingering "residual violence" from die-hards.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 27, 2012 7:43:26 PM | 33

news report:
United Nations human-rights chief Navi Pillay expressed "deep alarm" Friday over what she called a buildup of forces with tanks, attack helicopters and, reportedly, jet fighters in urban areas with civilian population. She voiced her concerns over not only forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad but also rebel forces. "Civilians and civilian objects—including homes and other property, businesses, schools and places of worship—must be protected at all times," she said. "The government has the prime responsibility to protect civilians from all forms of violence."//

Where was the Ms. Pillay when its rival for war-making NATO was laying waste to Iraq and Afghan villages and cities? I don't remember her expressing any deep alarm then.

Ax for the government, Syria like any government has a prime responsibility to extinguish insurgencies, not to protect civilians from all forms of violence during an insurgency supported by other countries.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 7:53:01 PM | 34

@HuBris
I'm not referring to anything Fisk wrote but to the interview linked above. I recommend it.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-26/aleppo-is-far-from-won-fisk/4157948

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 7:55:53 PM | 35

Anything General Mood said on military matters should be taken in recognition of the fact that he lacks combat experience, and his political predictions are not to be taken seriously either, as is the case with any military officer.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 7:59:02 PM | 36

from Syrias own sons?....well the FSA is NOT Free NOT Syrian and NOT an army

Posted by: brian | Jul 27, 2012 8:24:46 PM | 37

Don Bacon as much as like your comments this one is really off: "The American people had very little to do with ending the US military involvement in Vietnam. The (drafted) army was broken, with widespread mission refusal, insubordination and fragging."

Who in the f*** do you think represents the American people. Those drafted soldiers who refused, insubordinated and fragged were American people. After being drafted into the US Army I do believe that they were the true representatives of the American people. For sure they had a better picture on the ground in Vietnam what was going on. To this day I recognize their rebellion as a reflection of the American people.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jul 27, 2012 8:48:14 PM | 39

@ToivoS
Okay, I'll buy that broader definition, with soldiers being "American people," so long as we recognize that it (mostly) wasn't the folks back home or in Washington who caused it to happen.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 8:54:38 PM | 40

Extremist Militants Gathering in Akkar, Aleppo “Mother of Battles”: Newspaper

July 27, 2012

Syrian daily, al-Watan, reported that extremist militants were gathering in the northern Lebanese region of Akkar and along the northern border with Syria.

The daily said that the militants who hold Arab and foreign nationalities are more than 150, adding that they using RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenades) and shooting at Syrian forces at the borders.
Al-Watan said that the bridges of al-Arida and Qimar in the Syrian area of al-Baqiaa, along with villages of Armouta, Mshairfeh, Halat, Idleen would be under attack of those militants.

Meanwhile, the Syrian daily described the military operation in the city of Aleppo as the “mother of the battles”, adding that fierce clashes are taking place between Syrian army and armed groups there.
Militants “are using advanced European and Turkish arms” in bid to control Aleppo and “then announce the city a secured area,” according to the paper.

Al-Watan quoted an Arab diplomat as saying that Turkey has set thousands of militant in readiness for the battle in Aleppo, as it asked the militants of Idlib to take part in Aleppo clashes.
It also said that Ankara was supplying the militants with thermal rockets and anti-aircraft missiles, adding that it sent foreign reporters in order to spread news over the control of the area by the militants in a bid to disconcert the Syrian leadership.

As he considered that Aleppo battle is the last one, the diplomat added that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Syrian opposition figures that his government was fed up by the Syrian refugees especially after the latest clashes, noting that the announcement of secured area in Aleppo could be considered as a solution especially after transferring the refugees to that area, according to the daily.

Al-Watan stressed that Aleppo witnesses a real war, noting that hundreds of militants are falling one after other, adding that the Syrian army was able to cleanse some area closing to Aleppo.

The daily noted that this battle may take some time, “especially that the number of the militants is approximately 12,000, according to western diplomat who said that the majority of these militants is from Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Afghanistan.”


Source: Newspapers
http://www3.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=62841&cid=31&fromval=1&frid=31&seccatid=259&s1=1

Posted by: brian | Jul 27, 2012 9:40:55 PM | 41

Posted by: ToivoS | Jul 27, 2012 8:48:14 PM | 39

this is one reason the US war dept are now turning to Drones..they have no conscience...just like the US politicians

Posted by: brian | Jul 27, 2012 9:42:28 PM | 42

PM Erdogan went to the Olympics because he couldn't stand to observe weapons of mass destruction in Aleppo.

"There is a build-up in Aleppo and the recent statements, with respect to the use of weapons of mass destruction, are actions that we cannot remain an observer or spectator to," he said at a joint news conference in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-syria-turkey-erdogan-idUSBRE86Q1BO20120727

Get the padded cell ready for Erdy.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2012 9:48:52 PM | 43

the world as it really is:

'The main character, Pearson, is a smoker trying hard to quit for health reasons. He discovers a horrible aspect of reality that only those attempting to quit like him are capable of seeing - that many of the people living among us in positions of power, including many police officers and political figures and even the Vice President of the United States, are in fact inhuman monsters disguised as people'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ten_O'Clock_People

Posted by: brian | Jul 27, 2012 10:54:18 PM | 44

So Erdogan allowed to go to Olympics: not syrias olympics chief OR Belarus leader Lukashenko

Posted by: brian | Jul 27, 2012 10:55:21 PM | 45

@brian 44
Nada discovers the sunglasses are special; looking through them he sees the reality of the bleak world. The media and advertising actually contain totalitarian commands of obedience and conformity in consumerism, to control an unwitting human population. Many with authority and wealth are actually humanoid aliens with grotesque skull-like faces.
They Live

Posted by: Jim T | Jul 28, 2012 12:08:11 AM | 46

Looks like the Allepo operation is now on..The timing is very telling..It's the Olympics and western public's attention is now turned to the games..

Remember, most of the snc/fsa's media activities(propaganda) are aimed towards convincing western public opinion so that their government will intervene on their behalf..

I expect this operation to take days to clear out the fsa from Allepo neighbourhoods...Urban warfare is not easy..It requires patience and determination..My hunch is that the Syrian army used the last couple of weeks to map out fsa movement and hideouts in the city.

Posted by: Zico | Jul 28, 2012 3:02:17 AM | 47

Alexno there is a map here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19025955

It shows the Salal al dinh and Farsnos districts where the fighting is supposed to be happening.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jul 28, 2012 4:24:19 AM | 48

"@ Hu Bris #24, #25, #26: I've said many times before the Western countries aren't going to intervene militarily. Assuming I'm not mistaken about that, it follows that perceptions in the West don't matter in the situation.

I agree that the western Psychos are not going to intervene directly with their own militaries - and have said so several times - The psycho politicians might want to do that (though tbhg I seriously doubt they ever had any real intention of doing so, despite what they might have said on the subject) but their Military advisors certainly would not be recommending it

but you seem to be unaware that this situation in Syria is not just about Syria - It's also a damn fine opportunity for the Western Psychos to bash Russia, to associate the Russians with 'inhuman' activities such as 'massacring civilians' and 'supporting Tyrannical Dicators' etc.

That after all is what ALL the frequent calls for 'Chapter 7' are all about. The Western Psychos know damn well that all their calls for Chapter 7 will fail at the UNSC, because of the Russian veto, due to their actions in Libya once they were granted Chapter 7 powers - the Russians ain't falling for that R2P mularkey a second time.

But continually proposing Chapter 7 scenarios, repeatedly forcing the Russians to use their veto, amid much negative publicity, allows the Western Psychos to make the Russians look like they are happily supporting the absolute worst dregs of humanity, out of nothing more than sheer spite, simply to twart the wishes of the 'Civilised West'.

It also gies the Western Psychos an opportunity to portray the Syrian Gov't itself as a collection of 'monsters' capable of any atrocity one might care to mention. In doing so it can portray the Syrians as typical of 'Arab' Gov'ts and by extension ALL Arabs can be negativly portrayed as being 'monsterous'. It's all part of the 'Clash of Civilisations' narrative thought up by the racist Zionist Bernard Lewis many years ago.

For example next time the Zio-nauts decide to murder a few thousand 'Arabs' in Gaza or Lebanon, their actions WILL be positively compared to those of the 'monsterous' 'Arab Syrians' (for that, however innacurate a description, IS how it will be described) next door.

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 4:34:23 AM | 49

@Parviziyi #8

The would-be schwerpunkt in Aleppo is a propaganda tale

I'm inclined to agree with you; but the army's slow build-up seems to indicate there is a significant of rebels in Aleppo this moment which they are trying to trap; they may have miscalculated

my take: the rebels' build-up is real, but after some demonstrative clashes with the Syrian army the rebels will try to retreat, as they did in Damascus - a cat-and-mouse game that can become very wearying for the regime

in Damascus, the rebels where offered, from what I understood, a way out because too many civilians would have been caught in the middle of the fight

this time in Aleppo, the civilians largely fled the hot spots, and the army's slow build-up might mean that they are effectively trying to trap the rebels and kill as many of them as possible; this outcome would be very wearing for the rebels


Posted by: claudio | Jul 28, 2012 4:41:29 AM | 50

Putin is pushing back against NATO by planning to establish a naval port in Cuba

Posted by: nikon | Jul 28, 2012 4:53:23 AM | 51

jim 46
yes i know of They Live

Posted by: brian | Jul 28, 2012 4:53:34 AM | 52

SANA today still has no info about what is happening in Aleppo city.

Al-Watan is the leading independently owned daily newspaper in Syria. It is pro-government. For years and years, day after day, it reports an abundance of news about Aleppo from people who live in Aleppo, including its own full-time reporters, and including the police information department, the elected members of the City Council, etc. etc. Today the headline of the lead story in Al-Watan newspaper says "Aleppo is a schwerpunkt battle". But reading into the article, it contains almost zero info about what is happening in Aleppo and zero support for the claim that it's a schwerpunkt. And it says -- get this -- as many as 12,000 armed rebels are amassed in some Aleppo neighborhoods or on the outskirts of the city according to a Western diplomat based in Anakara! http://alwatan.sy/dindex.php?idn=126106 . Thus there's going to be no info on what's happening in Aleppo from the best-qualified sources in Syria until after the events in Aleppo are over.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 28, 2012 4:55:54 AM | 53

As quoted by Don Bacon at #34, UNHRC's Navi Pillay said yesterday: "The [Syrian] government has the prime responsibility to protect civilians from all forms of violence." That sentence is more evidence that the Syrian insurgents are on their own.

@ Claudio #50: I can agree with you the rebels' build-up in Aleppo is real, but I say the magnitude of it is greatly exaggerated, and I say the idea of a schwerpunkt here is not real.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 28, 2012 5:45:01 AM | 54

"As quoted by Don Bacon at #34, UNHRC's Navi Pillay said yesterday: "The [Syrian] government has the prime responsibility to protect civilians from all forms of violence." That sentence is more evidence that the Syrian insurgents are on their own.",/i>

seems a lot more likely to me to presume that that sentence means that no matter what happens in Syria, it is the Syrian Gov't that is going to be blamed, irrespective of who did what

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 6:32:40 AM | 55

Formatting error
"As quoted by Don Bacon at #34, UNHRC's Navi Pillay said yesterday: "The [Syrian] government has the prime responsibility to protect civilians from all forms of violence." That sentence is more evidence that the Syrian insurgents are on their own."

seems a lot more likely to me to presume that that sentence means that no matter what happens in Syria, it is the Syrian Gov't that is going to be blamed, irrespective of who did what

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 6:33:18 AM | 56

Good old Wikileaks, eh? Thanks Gawd for the existance of the unfeasibly-Blond fearless god-like creature from Oz, is all I can say . . .



Syria has expanded chemical weapons supply with Iran’s help, documents show

"A 2006 cable recounts a confidential presentation by German officials to the Australia Group, an informal forum for 40 nations plus the European Commission that protects against the spread of chemical weapons. The cable described Syria’s cooperation with Iran on Syria’s development of new chemical weapons, noting that Syria was building up to five new sites producing precursors to chemical weapons.

“Iran would provide the construction design and equipment to annually produce tens to hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin, and mustard [gas],” said the cable, written by a U.S. diplomat. “Engineers from Iran’s DIO [Defense Industries Organization] were to visit Syria and survey locations for the plants, and construction was scheduled from the end of 2005-2006.”

A 2008 State Department cable summarized a presentation by Australian officials to the monitoring group that concluded Syria had become sophisticated in its efforts to move equipment and resources from civilian programs to weapons development."

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 6:55:55 AM | 57

Following up on #53, I just spend a bit of time at Youtube looking for info from pro-government sources about events of recent days in Aleppo City. I found almost nothing. Example: Last night Addounia TV had a program about continuing elimination of residues of armed rebels in Damascus, but Addounia turned a blind eye on whatever might be happening in Aleppo.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 28, 2012 7:52:46 AM | 58

Syria gets top billing at the BBC as usual.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19025955

Posted by: dh | Jul 28, 2012 9:15:51 AM | 59

Quatar has a citizenship of ca 250.000 in a population of ca 1.5 million with a GDP of ca $182.004 billion. Saudi Arabia ca 21 million citizens in a population of ca 27 million with a GDP of ca $733.143 Billion
So Quatari rulers are not threatened by democratic movements the same way Saudi Rulers are.
Saudi Arabia seems to promote the idea of replacing Assad for Manaf Tlass which would leave the ruling Syrian oligarchy mainly intact except for Christians and Alawis. Quatar supports the SNC/FSA Muslim brotherhood/pro democracy faction.
US/Israel probably favor the first solution as it would keep the Syrian army and security apparatus intact, remove an important part of the resistance axis without creating chaos next to Israel borders.
Which faction do you think favors an Aleppo "Schwerpunkt" battle.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 28, 2012 9:52:25 AM | 60

What is going on with this?

A top Qatari air force commander has been assassinated during a visit to the Turkish port city of Istanbul, a report says.

Mehr news agency reported that colonel Abdullah Bin Muhammad Al Thani, the commander of Qatar's air security, was targeted near a restaurant on Saturday.

There have been no comments from Turkish or Qatari officials on the incident.

This is the second time I've read about an assassination mentioned only on PressTV. Last one was a week ago regarding the alleged death of a Saudi deputy intel chief in Riyadh.

I can't find confirmation anywhere else, but I can see why KSA would want to keep it quiet as well as Turkey and Qatar. If these assassinations actually happened it is a good sign that the fight is not just against the 'rebels' inside Syria, but that Syria, possibly with the help of others, is making the sponsors pay a price as well. They should have been doing it a while back but perhaps the death of the defense minister and the others really has made the gloves come off.

Posted by: Lysander | Jul 28, 2012 10:26:56 AM | 61

Via Friday lunch club I found this.


Syrian Rebels Free 2 Journalists After Weeklong Ordeal With Islamic Extremists

Mr. Oerlemans said their captors apparently included no Syrian fighters, but instead jihadists from Bangladesh, Britain, Chechnya and Pakistan. The photographers were seized on July 19 shortly after they entered Syria at Bab al-Hawa, a border crossing with Turkey that has been reported under control of a jihadi group.

“They were only foreign jihadis; I don’t think there was one Syrian among them,” Mr. Oerlemans said. He estimated their numbers at 30 to 100. “They were from all over the world, I think.” He also said the jihadists, who spoke English, talked of being under the leadership of an unidentified “emir.”

Posted by: Lysander | Jul 28, 2012 10:31:31 AM | 62

P.S. Can CIA director Petreus be considered an 'emir?'

Posted by: Lysander | Jul 28, 2012 10:33:23 AM | 63

" Mr. Oerlemans is a freelancer with the British agency Panos Pictures. Mr. Cantlie, who was not immediately available for comment, is a freelancer who had done work for The Sunday Times of London. "

interesting that there were no quotes from Cantile - but then when you look at the crap he writes it's not surprising that he might not want to confirm what Oerlemans said:

June 23 - By JOHN CANTILE
Phantom menace

Big news travels fast, even all the way out here to the Pech.

The shooting down of a Turkish F-4 Phantom by Syrian anti-aircraft fire is potentially huge. If true, and the pilots are dead, this is nothing less than an act of war and the Turkish military, long fed-up of the Syrian incursions over their border, will likely respond with immediate air missions of their own.

For the Syrian rebels on the ground, this could be the turning point they’ve all been waiting for.

Once again one has to question the sanity of the Syrian government. If they’d kept it in house they could have gone on blaming ‘armed terrorists’ for months while Russia and China ducked and weaved about the issue (while sending them ships of helicopter gunships.) But Syria has really screwed up now. The Turkish military are a proper outfit and part of NATO. . .

and

June 23 - By JOHN CANTILE
A sporting chance

. . . I read with unbridled fury in The Times about some toady Syrian Olympic showjumper stating how all Syrian athletes supported their regime and were doing it for their countrymen back home.

It wasn’t that this millionaire’s son, one Ahmad Hamsho, is a classic product of the vile and corrupt regime he comes from, but that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is allowing Syrian athletes into the games at all.

How can the IOC (I picture a board of old farts, some of whom got a bronze medal in the egg-and-spoon race and actually think the Olympics is the most important thing in the world) sit there and allow a country to compete whose leader has presided over the deaths of more than 10,000 civilians? . . .

Seriously Mr Cantile - you're nothing but a cheap whore for hire - how many actual real innocent civilians have the US killed? How much blood of actual real innocent civilians has been spilled by the soldiers of that shitty litlle country you come from, Britian, even while you traveled around 'embedded' with them?

Will Mr Cantile be confirming that the so-called 'civilians' whose suppossed deaths he's complaing about are in fact well armed and well paid mercenaries, in the payt of western nations like his own shitty nation of Britain?

somehow I doubt it

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 12:09:56 PM | 64

here's a rather ironic one from Whore-for-hire John Cantile

Jun 17th - By JOHN CANTILE
Back into Syria


Headed back that way sometime soon.

For safety’s sake I can’t blog once inside in case Naughty People use it to track me, although since only about eight people actually read my blog the chances of one of them being an Assad government spy is, I have to admit, somewhat limited.

If you are an Assad spy, none of this is true and I’m only writing this to make myself sound more interesting than is really the case.

What a cheap propagandist you are Mr Cantile - and astoundingly ignorant to boot

Can't wait to read the next thrilling installment of Mr Cantile's blog

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 12:14:41 PM | 65

@ Lysander

Yeah saw that as well and have been trying to find any other information about the Saudi deputy intelligence chief. All coverage seems to go back to the original PressTV report or to Yemens Al Fahj News Agency. Could be "black propaganda" Iran is using to stir up divisions and doubts an example with this latest assassination of a Qatari commander would be that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are rivals on the Syria crisis but both working with the US, if Iran publishes claims that a Qatari commander was assassinated, SA would be a choice many would jump to, thus creating tension.

Or it could be true and PressTV with connections in Iranian intelligeance has decided to publish the information knowing that Turkey and Qatar will want to keep it secret. I'm sure at times of high tension like this alot of discreet assassinations are happening that never get picked up by anyone outside the intelligeance communities.

One of those things which we will probably never know. But both assassinations seem awfully plausible. The story about the Saudi deputy intel chief emerged a week after the appointment of Bandar as intel chief, an choice which would have angered King Abdullah. Also several stories have mentioned Bandar is the pointman on the Syria crisis for Saudi Arabia.

Likewise this Qatar commander being killed in a Turkish cafe has an air of plausibility to it. There WOULD be Qatari military figures in Turkey at the moment directing the Syria crisis. Many others Russia/Iran/Saudi Arabia/Syrian intelligence would take offense with Qatari meddling. He would be very vulnerable to someone (either Revolutionary Guard, Russian intelligence, Syrian agents) sending a message to Qatar. I'd say with the amount of Intelligence groups operating in the area lately it would be a miracle if someone wasn't killed.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jul 28, 2012 12:19:15 PM | 66

Cantile reminds me of thet reporter "embedded" in the movie Lawrence of Arabia. Pretty much same thing isn't it?

Posted by: revenire | Jul 28, 2012 12:33:04 PM | 67

The UN is powerless in Syria and the FSA can't win.
So how about NATO (yet again)?

2001
"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan." Clark adds, "I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."
-- Former Nato Commander General Wesley Clark
"Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire"
http://thetruthserumblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/there-are-none-so-blind-as-those-who-do.html

Aug 5, 2011
NATO plans campaign in Syria, tightens noose around Iran - Rogozin
NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110805/165570384.html

Jul 27, 2012
US Authorizes Financial Support to Free Syrian Army
Laura Rozen
A US group that supports the Free Syrian Army has received a waiver from the US Treasury Department authorizing it to provide logistical and financial support to the armed Syrian resistance. The waiver was received from the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) last week, Brian Sayers, of the Syrian Support Group, told Al- Monitor in an interview Friday. “The OFAC decision is huge,” Sayers said. “It gets us the leeway to support the Free Syrian Army in broad terms.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/us-authorizes-financial-support.html

Brian Sayers' Experience
(presently)Director of Government Relations
Syrian Support Group (SSG)
June 2012 – Present (2 months) Washington DC
(formerly)Political Officer for International Secretariat NATO
September 2005 – June 2012 (6 years 10 months) Brussels
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brian-sayers/40/673/831/en

Jul 27, 2012
Turkey’s pursuit of Kurdish rebels: Pretext for NATO intervention in Syria?
Turkey has warned that it may take action against Kurdish rebels operating in the north of Syria. Middle East expert Franklin Lamb believes this could finally lead to Turkish and NATO intervention in the country.
The strong statement from the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, comes after reports that Kurdish militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had taken control of five cities along the Syrian-Turkish border.
http://www.rt.com/news/turkey-syria-kurdish-rebels-176/

Jul 27, 2012
Crisis in Syria emboldens country's Kurds
What is happening in Syria cannot be taken in isolation. The protracted upheaval in one of the Middle East's biggest, most powerful and most influential countries is affecting the entire region and, most critically, its immediate neighbours. As the Assad regime pulls in regular Syrian troops from peripheral areas for the military assault on Aleppo, there is clear evidence that others are almost seamlessly moving in to the vacuum left behind. And in some Kurdish parts of northern Syria the opposition forces of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and other smaller factions have all but taken over. The leader of the PYD, Salih Muslim, spoke to the BBC in recent days about his movement's strategy and aspirations. "We are able to govern ourselves - we have the power for it," he said.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19021766

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28, 2012 1:02:27 PM | 68

#27 - I believe you are correct.

It was the US military personnel that ended Vietnam - not TET, not the American press, not the American public, but mutiny in the US Army.

FTA.

The movie "Sir, No Sir" really covers that mutiny well.

Posted by: Susan | Jul 28, 2012 1:25:41 PM | 69

here is an article that may be of interest - I don't think it has been put up here:

Syrian blood etches a new line in the sand
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG25Ak02.html#.UBG59WDPqXk.twitter

A foreign policy that privileges Sunni jihadis formerly known as terrorists to create a "democratic" state in the Middle East seems to have been conjured by Bane - the Hannibal Lecter meets Darth Vader bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter of the Batman trilogy. And yes, we are his creators. While the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity, a masked Sunni jihadi superman is slouching towards Damascus to be born.

Posted by: Susan | Jul 28, 2012 1:38:58 PM | 70

This is a real office, under the US Department of State:

Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions Policy

The Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions Policy, in conjunction with other bureaus and agencies:

Coordinates efforts to build international support for efforts against terrorist finance;
Coordinates efforts to create, modify, or terminate unilateral sanctions regimes as appropriate to the changing international situation, such as Iran, Syria, and Libya;
Coordinates domestic and international efforts to disrupt and dismantle the Somali pirate enterprise
Develops strategies for implementation of specific aspects of sanctions regimes; and
Provides foreign policy guidance on specific commercial business, export, import, and general licensing issues to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security.

Posted by: Susan | Jul 28, 2012 1:39:54 PM | 71

U.S. Nonprofit Wins License to Supply Free Syrian Army

http://www.deliberation.info/u-s-nonprofit-wins-license-to-supply-free-syrian-army/

Their funding comes from the US State Department Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions

Posted by: Susan | Jul 28, 2012 1:43:04 PM | 72

@Susan
"Their funding comes from the US State Department Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions"
evidence of State funding SSG?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 28, 2012 2:20:43 PM | 73

So, going on the basis that almost ALL US Gov't agencies do the exact opposite of what most people THINK they do - then the "US State Department Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions" is actually a US Gov't Agency for financing Terrorists working for the US?

That's what it looks like to me anyhoo

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 2:23:35 PM | 74

"U.S. Nonprofit Wins License to Supply Free Syrian Army "

probably what Nuland meant when she mentioned 'non-lethal' assistance to the mercenaries of the so-called FSA - so if they hive it off to these guys, the Syrian Support Group, Inc. (SSG), it gives them a layer of deniability/unaccountability.

The US finances the SSG - not their fault if the SSG then provides LETHAL assistance to the Mercenaries of the FSA, is it?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 2:30:02 PM | 75

Hu Bris

"here's a rather ironic one from Whore-for-hire John Cantile"

I deeply resent the comparison. Whores provide a desired service for a mutually agreable price. No way can they be compared to payed liars for the war industry.

Posted by: Lysander | Jul 28, 2012 2:39:28 PM | 76

Well, when the SSG pays the salaries to the mercenaries, they will have to provide their own guns and ammo.

Posted by: Alexander | Jul 28, 2012 3:19:27 PM | 77

Actually, they are compensated for both salary and munitions expenses.

Posted by: Alexander | Jul 28, 2012 3:22:11 PM | 78

Was it on some twitter-link here a couple days ago - someone had quit their IT-job, JAVA-programmer, to join the FSA, because the money was a lot better. Seems there are different NGSs paying salaries and covering arms-expenses, and others providing both weapons and paying off people to defect the military for the FSA. This seems common knowledge nowadays, how come they don't see the moral dilemma in foreigners buying a revolution, the loss of integrity by foreign funding in this so-called grassroot-peoples-movement.. Anyway, the word is spreading, about the foreign jihadi groups, and that the FSA is heavily manned by foreign fighters, especially in the commanding posts. The image of this as a Syrian uprising is profoundly changing in the mainstream nowadays, I hope I'm not the only one gathering that from the MSM news.

Posted by: Alexander | Jul 28, 2012 3:40:55 PM | 79

"I deeply resent the comparison. Whores provide a desired service for a mutually agreable price. No way can they be compared to payed liars for the war industry."

My deepest and heartfelt apologies Lysander - you are of course completely correct

My comparison was not only unwarranted but also deeply insulting, I presume, to decent whores everywhere.

While causing insult to whores was not my intention, I accept that my comparison was completely uncalled for, and promise to TRY and not do that in the future

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 28, 2012 4:49:10 PM | 80

the tet offensive was not meant to be a military victory, though in many places including hue & saigon they proved their sublime military strategy. it was a considered strategy to win the war politically. & it was that, a political victory that had been served on u s imperialism for the first time

the political will of the imperialist was broken as it has been broken ever since - imperialism is capable of carrying out many forms of genocide but it is utterly incapable of waging war

war is like sex for those united states, they talk a lot about it but they are not capable of doing it, in any formal sense

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Jul 28, 2012 5:02:02 PM | 81

SANA's long-awaited big update on the "schwerpunkt in Aleppo":

28 Jul 2012: "Security authorities on Saturday clashed with an armed terrorist group in a car in al-Furqan neighborhood in the city of Aleppo. An official source in the province told SANA reporter that the clashes resulted in killing two of the terrorists and arresting three others, in addition to seizing their weapons and car." http://sana.sy/eng/337/2012/07/28/433613.htm

Ha ha ha.


Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 28, 2012 5:20:18 PM | 82

Heh.. somewhat of a anticlimax.

Posted by: Alexander | Jul 28, 2012 6:31:55 PM | 83

r'giap,

It's good to see you around here again, my friend.

I'm looking at a new book, "Days of Destruction Days of Revolt", a joint venture by Chris Hedges and the artist, Joe Sacco. It tells the story of American cities that are beginning to literally be pulled apart into social chaos, with the political structure being dissolved by corporate vultures. These places are described by Hedges as "sacrifice zones". We are looking at a pre-feudal arrangement starting up; and without revolt at some stage, this is the future that awaits us, and is presently gaining on us, in this country.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 28, 2012 8:05:38 PM | 84

The pho shopped photo the Kroner Zeitung published on 7-28,

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/s720x720/526431_392187634177046_21720650_n.jpg

with the EPA photo below:

Here is the original EPA photo

http://www.epa.eu/webgate/preview.php?UURL=c552415ae129732110a63cc0ec966f91&IMGID=50441600

Posted by: erichwwk | Jul 30, 2012 9:19:52 AM | 85

The comments to this entry are closed.