Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 11, 2013

Syria: The Battle Is Still In Balance

The Islamist Syrian insurgent group that had kidnapped some Philippine UN peacekeepers and is also responsible for murdering a number of captured Syrian army soldiers has evidently received modern weapons through the U.S. led additional arming of the insurgency.

That such a group received such weaponry is proof that the plan to deliver weapons only to non-radical groups is not working at all. The myriad of militant groups and criminal gangs fighting in Syria are only gradually distinguishable in their sectarian mindset.

A large amount of weapons reached the insurgents through 75 planeloads from Croatia. These were delivered through Jordan and Turkey where British, French and U.S. forces train more insurgents. The British government, in breaking the EU embargo on weapons delivery to any side in Syria, has reportedly delivered another batch of weapons from its own stock.

The exiled political opposition has postponed a meeting it had planned to from an exile government. The attempts to install some pliant secular technocrat as the front man was sabotaged by the Muslim Brotherhood members of the opposition.

Last week the Jihadists of Jabath al-Nusra overran the eastern city of Raqqa where they are now killing government functionaries. Yesterday the insurgents attempted to reconquer Baba Amr in Homs. That offense seem to have failed. Overall the military conflict still seems to be in balance with little movement at the various fronts.

Posted by b on March 11, 2013 at 12:07 UTC | Permalink


I read you to make sure I see a broader perspective. However, I've noticed a consistent pattern that makes me pull back when I visit the site. Why are we ignoring the crimes committed by the Assads?

Posted by: JFW | Mar 11 2013 12:22 utc | 1

I always found quite strange that no rebel movement were made earlier towards Ar-Raqqah. That city is typically a weak defensive position, with waterways at is back and an empty land between the city and the Turkish border.

Two possible answers : to balance with the pro-opposition extra-large media coverage, or simply that there are far less of them than west supposes. So called "neutral NGO" (that Human Rights bullshit) are quite silent on this topic for a while now, reporting only battle casualties, and no longer any massacre, be it real or fantasy.

Posted by: Rhysa | Mar 11 2013 12:58 utc | 2

I'm not sure I agree with you b that balance havent changed - even media admit mercenaries are losing the ground. Like: "The statement came amid a series of successes by Assad’s military and security forces in capturing rebel-held positions."

Just now Syrian sunni grand Mufti called for jihad and said that its Muslims duty to join the Syrian army and fight against terrorists.

Thats why West and PGGC arabs are moving now from covert support to open aggression, otherwise balance is already shifted to Syrian side, especially if we believe what Syrian perspective is writing. Also Syria is getting better at forming and mass-training local militias, which by itself should be a turning point.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 11 2013 13:21 utc | 3

@JFW #1, I see that perspective also, yet I ask the same question of the mainstream media (often), likewise the anti-Assad element is funding/arming extremists that are 'normally' the foe. Logic dictates, much like Libya, why? Then the second most progressive country in Africa and now in chaos. So why remove a component less damming or damaging, not only to the region, but globally than the 'intended'? (The intended for Syria; still very questionable, much like the Libya conflict elements). What we do know they are global terrorists working and growing on our coin, and that is a oxymoron; much like Mali and the weapons proliferation from Libya supplied by Nato being used, likewise the missing SAM's still pending (bitting us in the ass), yet France via the Mali conflict made a great sale of their fighter jets worth billions.

Lastly, nobody is ignoring, some are analyzing, others are taking sides, others rationalizing, and all are free to point out the crimes, not sitting on the wall (pulling back); whatever the position - expect feedback, clarity, other points of view, and then argue/debate/deliberate.


Posted by: Kev | Mar 11 2013 13:22 utc | 4

JFW 1, do you think Assad is setting off car bombs? The US media suggests as much, every attack seems to be attributed to Assad, even when attacks are against the gov't. "The gov't is attacking itself" is not credible. Further, who gains from instability? Certainly not Assad. I don't like Dictators, but that doesn't mean we get to dictate who rules Syria, and that makes it democratic. We sent people to Assad to be tortured, I want to ask, "will be still be able to send people to Syria to be tortured? Will we have that kind of working relationship with the Salafists we're supporting?

Posted by: scottindallas | Mar 11 2013 13:38 utc | 5

JFW1, you need to keep asking questions.

Posted by: scottindallas | Mar 11 2013 13:39 utc | 6

Ever since 9-11 the American media made it clear that radical Islam is the enemy. What happened? When did it all change?

We are openly supporting the same terrorists we were told were the enemy of the century.

I am guessing JFW must be confused because he seems to believe the lame stream media.

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Mar 11 2013 14:33 utc | 7

It is a measure of the completely untenable hypocrisy of the "west", (its governments, media and public opinion), that we turn from considering the war crimes alleged against Uhuru Kenyatta, (inciting supporters to riot), to complacently observing as Hague, Obama, Hollande, Netanyahu and many others organise wave after wave of terrorist invasions of Syria.
And JFW wonders why b doesn't balance his reports by documenting Assad's, no doubt heavy handed, responses to attacks which have left tens of thousands dead and wounded and driven more than a million into exile.
There simply is no comparison between what the "world community" is doing to the inhabitants of Syria and what Assad is doing to any other country. Which is what the Treaties of Westphalia, centuries of international law and the Charter of the UN are all about: national sovereignty and the crime of unprovoked aggression.
As to what Assad has done in Syria, over the years, it is necessary to understand that Syria has been under continuous external pressure throughout its existence: foreign spies, armed terrorists, externally financed uprisings, Israeli aggressions, annexations and occupations, etc have made it very difficult, if not impossible, to relax the grip of the security forces on society. It is one of the aims of Syria's enemies that, so long as its government does not conform to Washington's orders, the country will be penalised in a hundred ways and forced to be constantly on guard against enemies. Such externally sponsored paranoia invariably forces regimes into making unpopular decisions, which, in turn, deepens the pool of potential supporters for the opposition.

The great fear of the sponsors of terrorism in Syria is not that Assad will survive but that he will do so by calling the people to take power and choose for themselves the sort of society they want to build: united Syrians cannot be defeated, but riven by sect and class divisions even the corrupt and cruel wahhabi tyrants of the Gulf can find traitors to fight for their prison states. Astonishingly, pseudo marxist parties in the "west" cheer them on under the lunatic delusion that the Saudi Security Forces are promoting communist revolution. And that William Hague is scraping the economic barrel to ensure that the Lenins and Trotskys of Damascus are not unarmed.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 11 2013 14:40 utc | 8

I wonder whether the rebels will be able to keep Raqqa. They are said to be only 450.

“The Uprising and the New Syria: Islamists Rise in Raqqa while Damascene Christians Dodge Fire” By Matthew Barber

This is pretty good on Raqqa, though I haven't quite understood why the tribes in Raqqa are paralysed, as he maintains.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 11 2013 15:26 utc | 9

Apart from what our friend bevin has said in #8, in an attempt to further emphasize the difference between Assad and the Western sponsored "opposition", I would add the following:

Which enemey do you fear more, which dictator would be more rutless and blood thirsty, which centre of power is more likely to commit acts of brutality with impunity? And finally which candidate for rulling Syria is more likely to make concessions to people (even if it is reluctant) and perhaps eventually evolve into something more representative?
The one who is battling the untied hegemony of major world powers, an enemy which is weak and can cannot afford to have the bulk of people turned against him (ie. Assad), or an opposition with the full support and force of USA, Western Europe and all the petro-dollars from the PG sheikhdoms behind it?
Which one do you fear more, a bunch of rusty MIG-23s, or the full force and hegemony of the 6th fleet? Who do you think is more likely to make more concessions to the Syrian people and eventually become more representative?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Mar 11 2013 15:38 utc | 10

If FUKUS were really behind regime change, it would be done by now. The real prize is the complete disintegration of a strong Iranian ally at a knockdown price. Sowing the seeds of chaos so Syria bleeds and bleeds and bleeds some more. Channelling enough weapons to keep the fight in the balance so that the Islamists and the Syrian Army break each other down to pieces.

How could FUKUS resist? No wonder they seem so intent on avoiding a peaceful settlement. Better to let the slaughter continue.

When the dust finally settles, if the will of the Syrian majority was to reject the role of Western lacky, then consider that their suffering in the face of this implosion was an act of spite.
If the will of the Syrian majority was to bring down the Syrian Government, then Syria's disintegration was a price that these Syrians were willing to pay. No hard feelings.

FUKUS can then rinse their hands of it.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Mar 11 2013 15:39 utc | 11

PB@11: " Sowing the seeds of chaos, so that Syria bleeds and bleeds and bleeds some more."

Does seem to be the "game" for now. It appears the empire, aka "west", is in no particular hurry for Assad to leave, but the installation of a more West friendly government, is, I believe, the goal.

Posted by: ben | Mar 11 2013 16:08 utc | 12

Beyond massive annihilation - which remains a threat - the USA is not gaining much or anything (?...) in power, influence, organization, future benefits, a better deal for its people, not even soft power since the last 20 years.

The military-industrial complex, the State military apparatus, the private contractors, the actions they undertake, the invasions, cost the earth and bring no or only symbolic and fragile victories, advantages.

Seen this way, US power in the world is much like health care at home: it costs a bomb but can’t compete or perform in dollar/health terms, as capitalistic stranglehold (in the form of rents, predation, tax payer, patient, squeezing), regulatory power (lobby induced laws that favor a few, some sectors) is a mechanism without any aim except short term ‘profit’ for some favored or accidental actors and profiteers.

Chaos provides revenues to some, that is all, like the reconstruction of Iraq.


The nasty is that there is nothing to be learned, such reports are mealy mouthed, as the aims were murder and profiteering from the start, and continue to be so. In Syria, auto-destruction is judged a new ‘paragdim’, it becomes expensive to invade, after some point.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 11 2013 16:21 utc | 13

Anhar Kochneva is free! :o)

Posted by: CE | Mar 11 2013 16:53 utc | 14

I believe its clear what is being attempted in Syria. The ultimate goal is to place a "west-friendly" regime in place of the current far too independent minded regime. The Turks increasingly view there Arab neighbors as "their" markets.

In the past 10 years Turkeys trade exports have grown exponentially to its southern neighbors primarily the Gulf Arab states, and this re-orientation did not happen by accident.

The Turks believe they are securing their supply lines to "their" markets in the Gulf by getting a more friendly neighbor to their now strategic southern gateway. This became ever more urgent with the "fall"of Iraq to Iran's camp i.e. the shia crescent literally closing the door on Turkey. The Gulf Arabs are afraid of everyone, especially those they cant buy. They view Irans rise or even its potential to rise as an existential threat, before the revolution Iran was nothing more than the US bulwark against the red menace and after it the Iranians suddenly had a mind of their own, especially when it came to remembering how the gulf states all but under-wrote Saddam's bloody and useless war against them. That's when he was "our man" and then in 1990 he became his own man, and he was over night hitler re-incarnate.

I think the message is clear to all would be middle eastern rulers, you must play by our strict rules or be disposed of when the opportunity presents itself. Clearly, the opportunity presented itself in Libya and was fully utilized. Caught off guard by the force of the winds of change, Bin Ali did not take his ques very well and ran. While Mubarak and Saleh were thrown to the wolves - as they had already out lived their usefulness, although the plans to manage the situation have not yet born fruit - stay tuned (Yemen is imploding in slow motion and Egypt is yet to figure out how to get out of their mostly economic woes without re-selling their souls to the west. I think Mr. Mursi is quickly learning to take the money and shut-up (his commitment to Camp David is greater than Mubaraks).

The remaining Arab rulers are mostly Monarchs - well trained to take western interests over those of their citizens and do as their told. The only remaining Arab countries are not candidates for change, with their populations exhausted from years of civil war and strife (Iraq, Algeria and Sudan). Although Sudan, continues to be a target for regime change even though they have literally given away half the country and almost all of the oil wealth - pretty much guaranteeing the regimes eventual demise, although Darfur is suddenly no longer the greatest war crime in all history... see, easy how that works.

In Algeria, popular uprising is a far away thing, the country saw too much in its decade long slug fest with Alqaeda and its affiliates (and more simply people are not interested in going down that road again).

Pretty much the same story, although the pain was inflicted by foreigners for the most part, the sectarian time bomb left behind by the Americans, pretty much guarantees Iraq will not be able to be of any real help to Iran in the foreseeable future - although it is now firmly in Iran's orbit. The Sunni's feel they have been screwed the most, as they lost the most, whereas the Kurds have gained the most - not quiet - but independence in all but name is a great result considering your surrounded by enemies of your cause. The US will play this card if it has to, or threaten with it to keep the central government ie Maliki, inline.

The Kurds will be kept on a short leash, the Turks are willing to play along for the moment - but the Kurds clearly see an opportunity in Syria to gain leverage.

The US and its Allies are clearly out of their depth, and that American "can do" attitude will yet be the end of us all :)

Posted by: OAB | Mar 11 2013 17:38 utc | 15

If we hope to be fairly balanced in our perspectives - we have to recognize that Assad has been killing people and dominating their personal lives for decades. That is reality - a dictator who has multiple, along with his father, killed his own people. This revolution would not have begun two years ago (peacefully it began remember) if Assad was managing his country responsibly. Why has Jordan not exploded? The King is in touch there.

By supporting a person like this we take away from the value of our morality. It is correct to hate on the fundamentalists that are fighting in Syria - but there are also PLENTY of regular fighters who come from the population of families that have had been violated over the decades.

Do remember - Assad came to power when he TOOK it from his father.

Posted by: JFW | Mar 11 2013 18:07 utc | 16

If we hope to be fairly balanced in our perspectives - we have to recognize that The USA has been killing people and dominating their personal lives for decades. That is reality - a neoliberal dictatorshipwho has multiple, along with his predecessors, killed his own people (Waco, Ruby Ridge Chris Dorner, Tuskegee project experiments, 50,000 casualties in the Nam). This revolution would not have begun years ago (peacefully it began remember "WE ARE THE 99%!!!!) if Obama was managing his country responsibly. Why has Iceland not exploded? The People are truly in charge there.

By supporting a person like this we take away from the value of our morality. It is correct to hate on the republicans that are fighting in Obama - but there are also PLENTY of regular dudes who come from the population of families that have had been violated over the decades.

Do remember - Bush jr. also came to power when he TOOK it from Gore..

JFW you need to google Yellow man in Aleppo and see his video in YOUTUBE. Then come back and maybe ill keep listening to you.

Posted by: Fernando | Mar 11 2013 19:01 utc | 17

@JFW - This revolution would not have begun two years ago (peacefully it began remember)

No, it didn't begin peacefully. In the very first days nine policeman were killed. A week or two later later a bunch of military officers were killed. This wasn't peaceful at all. It was a weaponized insurgency from the very beginning. It was planned and prepared by the U.S. since 2007.

Posted by: b | Mar 11 2013 19:06 utc | 18


Please... its a civil war not a Sunday picnic.

Look at the American Civil War where Sherman burned whole cities during "Sherman's March to the Sea". Lincoln was also a President that "killed his own people" as you refer to President Assad. In his case around 310,000 were killed in the South, only 72,000 of which were soldiers. No one condemns Lincoln because he was on the side of justice (freeing the Slaves). In Assad's case he is fighting off a foreign plot against a soveign state.

As President, Assad not only has a right to fight off "regime change" he has a duty to fight it. No free country would allow its neighbours to do what Syria's neighbours are doing. You think France would allow German, Spainish, British militaries to arm religious fanatics attacking the French state? You think the US would just sit by if Mexico and Canada were offering safe haven and weapons shipments to armed militia groups in America?

It's a civil war. No ones hands are clean. But Assad is fighting for the independence of his homeland, not fighting to turn it into some Saudi-Qatar or American puppet state.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 11 2013 19:12 utc | 19

JFW )but that is the point - why has Saudi Arabia and Jordan not exploded, ie. what is the Syrian conflict about, what are people fighting for. surely not democracy. and surely not human rights and an end to torture. if they were fighting for that they would have to respect the human rights of the other side in this civil war.

by the way, what is the situation in Libya now?

foreign policy is sold to us by our politicians in moral terms that have got nothing to do with realities on the ground.

Yes Syria has a secret service that is on par with the CIA, the Mossad and the Jordanian Mukhbarat. To get rid of them people would need to unite against all of them. People let themselves get divided.

I do not share b.'s illusion that a dictator has any chance to change the system from the top even if he wanted to. But any opposition to a dictatorship is responsible for the acts of violence they cause, and that violence will haunt them and in the end lead to new dictatorship.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2013 19:30 utc | 20

What needs to be understood is this is what JFW, and the whole network behind him/her, are defending. Either directly, or indirectly.

Child Martyred, Nine Injured after Targeting Kindergarten Microbus by Terrorists

"Terrorists on Sunday targeted a kindergarten microbus near Dahiat al-Assad Roundabout in Harasta in Damascus Countryside as a child was martyred and nine children were injured, some of them are in a critical situation."

The sort of "call for balance" the JFWs always demand are extreme NWO propaganda to be displayed side by side with slightly less extreme NWO propaganda with absolutely no truth allowed to be seen any where within the material.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 11 2013 20:22 utc | 21

Colm O' Toole | Mar 11, 2013 3:12:37 PM | 19

"It's a civil war."

I wouldn't go so far as to call this a civil war. This is an armed insurgency supported/facilitated by the west and its Gulf allies and the neighbouring countries (especially Jordan and Turkey). It's still not every group for itself. It's the sunni extremists with all the jihadists and foreign mercenaries they can muster.

Besides this a very good analogy about the Sherman/Lincoln part.

No way America would accept Mexico or Canada to support an armed insurgency within its borders (spot on analogy). The problem with Syria is that Turkey is a NATO member and attacking them would have meant the excuse the west was waiting for to pounce on Syria.

@JFW #1:

Street protests often turn violent as is witnessed everywhere in the world. BUT!! if at those street protests shots are fired at the police then I'd say there is a deliberate intent on escalating a protest to a riot and worse. Sure the cops there aren't really nice (try 'em out anywhere in the middle east see if they are nice) but all the reports of how this escalated paint a picture of a directed campaign at escalating a conflict as fast as possible.

Posted by: Gehenna | Mar 11 2013 20:38 utc | 22

V strange - RT interview with a member of the opposition who is against the arming of the rebels and against the forming of a transitional government saying it would be a farce. He says syria needs 10 to 20 years parliamentary government before removing power from the president.

Posted by: vic | Mar 11 2013 20:39 utc | 23

"Overall the military conflict still seems to be in balance with little movement at the various fronts."

There has actually been quite a bit of progress made against the terrorist Israeli/American-NATO insurgency. The urban region of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs are being gradually cleared of terrorists. Most that remain in these regions are scattered groups which are much smaller in number in comparison to what they were at the end of 2012. The corridor between Damascus and Aleppo has been cleared and reopened to travel. The terrorist attack on Al-Raqqa is a result of the terrorists losing ground, they are attacking these areas now because they have been largely driven out of their earlier strongholds in the west. Even in Al-Raqqa, the terrorists occupy only a section of the town, not the whole town, as the msm would have people believe. Like most of the terrorist "victories" trumpeted in the west, this is a minor incident hyped for propaganda purposes and of zero strategic or tactical value in the war.

Another recent improvement is with the expulsion of the terrorists from many regions, the Syrian government is now able to repair the local infrastructure and get food and medical services to those areas. As a result of this, Syrians are returning back home to these places.

The Syrians are fighting a terrorist insurgency, trained, led and supplied by the money bags in the west, much like Nicaragua did in the 1980's. But the major difference here is the Syrians are winning this war against the western fascists. Even with all their advances in waging these terrorist insurgencies, the vast upscaling of their resources for doing so, and their almost total grip on the western media, the NWO is failing in Syria.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 11 2013 21:09 utc | 24

Danish channel uses Assassin's Creed for news on Syria

"A Danish news channel appears to have used an image from the popular video game Assassin's Creed as the backdrop for a news story on Syria."

Hey, everything else the msm puts out about Syria is lies and staged fakery - why not.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 11 2013 21:24 utc | 25

Nothing seems to have changed for 200 years in the heart of darkness.

"With Steele and Coffman as his point men, Petraeus began pouring money from a multimillion dollar fund into what would become the Special Police Commandos. According to the US Government Accounts Office, they received a share of an $8.2bn (£5.4bn) fund paid for by the US taxpayer. The exact amount they received is classified.

With Petraeus's almost unlimited access to money and weapons, and Steele's field expertise in counterinsurgency the stage was set for the commandos to emerge as a terrifying force. One more element would complete the picture. The US had barred members of the violent Shia militias like the Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Army from joining the security forces, but by the summer of 2004 they had lifted the ban.

Shia militia members from all over the country arrived in Baghdad "by the lorry-load" to join the new commandos. These men were eager to fight the Sunnis: many sought revenge for decades of Sunni-supported, brutal Saddam rule, and a chance to hit back at the violent insurgents and the indiscriminate terror of al-Qaida.

Petraeus and Steele would unleash this local force on the Sunni population as well as the insurgents and their supporters and anyone else who was unlucky enough to get in the way. It was classic counterinsurgency. It was also letting a lethal, sectarian genie out of the bottle. The consequences for Iraqi society would be catastrophic. At the height of the civil war two years later 3,000 bodies a month were turning up on the streets of Iraq — many of them innocent civilians of sectarian war."

and of course there is this famous Petraeus project

BAQUBA, Iraq — Members of United States-allied Awakening Councils have quit or been dismissed from their positions in significant numbers in recent months, prey to an intensive recruitment campaign by the Sunni insurgency, according to government officials, current and former members of the Awakening and insurgents.

Although there are no firm figures, security and political officials say hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Beyond that, officials say that even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency.

Basically US/UK has fuelled the fight of Iraquis against each other. Best done by having both sides commit atrocities.

Neither Saddam Hussein nor Assad father and son are responsible for this number of deaths.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 11 2013 21:34 utc | 26

An insight to the Israeli involvement in the terrorist kidnapping of the UN peacekeepers can be gleamed from the connection of SITE with the terrorists who did the kidnapping. See:

And scroll down to the item titled:

"Al-Yarmouk Martyrs Battalion Releases New Video of UN Captives"

SITE is an Israeli intelligence front, noted for they're release of faked al Qaida videos.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 11 2013 21:36 utc | 27

Who cares if Assad's a tyrant? He's in a war against the Powers of Hell, and he should hold a vote? a debate? Rubbish.

Posted by: ruralito | Mar 11 2013 23:19 utc | 28

Ay Ruralito, you kill me hahaha. If you ask JFW he would like for the Syrian Arab Army to fight the evil doers/insurgents/rebels/ terrorists/ dissenters by throwing candy at them.

Posted by: Fernando | Mar 11 2013 23:24 utc | 29

I recall the words of Ho Chi Minh: I order the people to go forth and kill the enemy.

That man had a way with words.

Posted by: ruralito | Mar 11 2013 23:27 utc | 30

@ ruralito [#30],

"Snow fall today, not fall tomorrow.' - unknown Chinese peasant.

"Then we had only one dictator. Now we have hundreds,".

"Yesterday's history casts its shadows way beyond today's footsteps." - DR

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Mar 12 2013 0:20 utc | 31

@ DFW [#1],

When I tell you I'm objective, you may call me a liar.

When I tell you I'm trying to be objective, it's probably closer to the truth.

When I tell you about big snow storms and heavy rain around the globe as proof of the fact that there's no climate change, but leave out Australia's new colored heatwave charts, global dimming, increasing number of mega storms, droughts, falling water level of the great lakes and increasing levels of [invisible] water vapor, I might be right [in my own mind], but that wouldn't be fair to the wider audience now, would it? In many cases you'll find here what MSM has left out or people bringing to attention what might have been missed elsewhere.

Your proposal is like that of Israel: "You can't have a discussion about Palestine without the presence of an Israeli to balance out the blah, blah, blah..."

There's no need for anyone to agree with what's being said here by anyone else [as far as I'm concerned]. Unfortunately people do get banned here and others ask for others to remove themselves from this board/forum/site, therefore I can't claim [everyone's for or] freedom of speech is fully implemented here either.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Mar 12 2013 0:49 utc | 32

@ b, #18

"No, it didn't begin peacefully. In the very first days nine policeman were killed. A week or two later later a bunch of military officers were killed. This wasn't peaceful at all. It was a weaponized insurgency from the very beginning. It was planned and prepared by the U.S. since 2007."

Indeed, extensive tunnels systems and loads of weapons cashes didnt just happened over night, it was a long prepared operation. I remember interview with Lebanese (from UK) gang leader in Syria, he was telling how his battalion was trained and getting arms 6 months before "peaceful protests" started, and thats just one example.

Correction about the beginning, the go-ahead to prepare an attack on Syria was given in the end of 2001, as confirmed by General Wesley Clark, who was NATO EU Supreme Commander.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 12 2013 2:01 utc | 33

would like to register another thanks to b for posting, and a bit of a rub to Debs who I wish commented more. I still find great value in the comments, and find lamenting this bar or any medium's demise only adds to a general despair that gets us nowhere.

off topic, but I wonder if the billmon I'm following on twitter is that billmon.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 12 2013 2:03 utc | 34

32) How to do things with words - yes, words have consequences and free speech can mean murder. so, yes, b. has a duty to police this forum. There is also this classic on what "balance" on racism does.

Middle Eastern conflicts are still fuelled by ex-colonial powers and their US successor according to the mostly British (but also French/Italian) colonial cookbook. Peoples are intentionally kept divided and elites bought of. That does not mean there is no indigenous conflict.It just means it gets used exacerbated and "mediated" by outside powers.

Yes, the Syrian insurgency had been planned for a long time - presumably by exile groups since the last Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the 1980's. The US, Britain, France just had to support these groups (and as a matter of fact did not more than support)financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to weaken and blackmail a member of the axis of evil, and cut off the lifeline of Hezbollah.

So while all this happens nobody notices that the rich resources of the region are used to finance Western military industries.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 12 2013 7:44 utc | 35

@ somebody [#35]

Thanks for the link. Here's one for you kotodama. Conflicts in oil regions also result in heavily inflated oil prices. Both sides win. The losers are the Syrian people and all those others, who happen to live in the least democratic part of the planet. Btw, does Palestine now need a Rosa Parks too?

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Mar 12 2013 8:10 utc | 36

The heading is misleading. It's kind of like saying the battle against Germany was in balance in middle of 1944. The Western army is in a grim situation now, but the West has some political and economic options with Russia that might change things a bit. And, of course, the West benefits from just weakening Syria, so a low-level campaign of terrorism might go on for years. That's not "a battle in balance", though.

Posted by: Ozawa | Mar 12 2013 10:29 utc | 37

JFW:"Why has Jordan not exploded? The King is in touch there."

LOL, there were constant protests in Jordan for a year, and the king is not well-liked. But like in Bahrain, Gulf monarchies was able to use force and bribe to prevent Jordan from collapse.

Posted by: nikon | Mar 12 2013 10:33 utc | 38

People who attack Assad as dictator are like the people who attack Stalin as dictator while he was leading the soviet army fighting against invasion by Nazi Germany.

Posted by: nikon | Mar 12 2013 10:42 utc | 39

Now here is some news that is quite telling:

Turkey and Al Nusra/Al Qaeda allies


Israel's position on Syria

Turkey and Al Nusra working together hints at some rather deep ties and (unfortunately) the long arm of the al qaeda affiliate.

Posted by: Gehenna | Mar 12 2013 19:33 utc | 40

A question nobody arises is whether at one point in the ongoing syrian conflict Iraqs army will intervene or not.

No matter whether Iraqi insurgents killed the 48 Syrians or their syrian jihadi brethren, fact is that it happened on Iraqi soil and 9 Iraqi soldiers were also killed.
Iraq should not tolerate such violence against its army.

As the Jihadis already have killed many Iraqi troops and denounce them as partners of Assad Maliki should think about what will happen when Assad falls.
Surely an Iraqi involvement means casualties, but these will be higher once battle-hardened, selfconfident and well-armed (thanks to Kerry and Cameron) former "syrian" rebels turn to Iraq to oust the Shia "infidels".


Posted by: KerKaraje | Mar 12 2013 22:20 utc | 41

@KerKaraje #41

Good point though Iraq is quite the opposite. There they have a Shia majority and a Sunni minority.

Make no mistake. Maliki and Al Nusra have been opposite each other before. Al Nusra is very closely affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and ISI (Islamic State of Iraq). I suggest you read the Quilliam report "Jabhat al-Nusra
Jabhat al-Nusra li-ahl al-Sham min Mujahedi al-Sham fi Sahat al-Jihad.
A Strategic Briefing"

It delves into the origins of al Nusra.

I think the majority of al Nusra cadre are either Iraqi or Iraq(jihadi) vets. I doubt they'd have the power to withstand a war on 2 fronts should Iraq get mixed in. It could seriously damage their supply lines though with the west supplying them from Turkey and Jordan it'd be a temporary setback. I'm not sure what Iraq will do. Joining Syria will get the ire of the west (and it's relations with the US aren't at it's best) but also the arab league. Not sure what would happen if Iraq would join the Iran/Syria axis. I think it'd turn the whole middle east into a sectarian powder keg.

Agree that Iraq can't let this attack slide.

Posted by: Gehenna | Mar 13 2013 0:08 utc | 42

Сирийский сайт опубликовал информацию о несостоявшемся покушении на Путина


"Syrian electronic poster Syria today (Surya al-AN) has published an article which talks about the failed assassination attempt on Vladimir Putin, which was planned during his recent visit to Turkey.
According to an unnamed source in Moscow, an attempt was planned to take place during the Russian president's visit to one of the Turkish naval bases on the Bosphorus, during which a large contingent of Turkish troops was officially going to greet Putin.
The plan was to use a car bomb driven by three suicide bombers, "al-Qaeda" - two Chechens and one Turk - disguised in the uniform of the Turkish army.
The plan was disclosed by Russian secret services and the Turkish security forces, Putin's trip on the Bosphorus was then canceled from the visit.
It is reported that the car that was prepared for the terrorist attack, was found. There has not been any information released about the fate of the terrorists.
After the disclosure of plot to assassinate, the security measures during the Russian president's trips abroad were reviewed."

The Americans or Israelis, probably both of them were behind this, are getting quite reckless in their terrorism. What if this plot had not been discovered and been successful?

Posted by: вот так | Mar 13 2013 1:07 utc | 43

US Army veteran joins al-Qaeda linked terrorist group in Syria

"A former US Army soldier has reportedly joined an al-Qaeda linked group in Syria to fight against Assad’s regime and Israel.

Eric Harroun, 30, joined Al-Nusra Front, an Islamic group of militant rebels designated by the United States as a terrorist organization, to fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as he was fascinated with the conflict in the Middle East. He also describes himself as a Sunni Muslim who hates Israel and Zionists and willing to fight side by side with Palestinian forces..."

And like the vast majority of these sectarian terrorists, he wants to fight Shia Muslims and saves most of his hate for them, not the zionists in Israel, whom these quislings work for.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 13 2013 1:14 utc | 44

Европейцы готовятся официально поставлять сирийским вооруженным группировкам ракетные установки

The main gist of this article is: European nations supporting the terrorists in Syria have begun supplying these terrorists with modern SA and AT missiles, in spite of their own restrictions against supplying these terrorists such weapons.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 13 2013 1:24 utc | 45

This is a decent article.

“Another Type of Warfare” in Syria: Washington’s Support to Insurgents, Subversives and Assassins

"...From the reports of third-party sniper-fire targeting both protestors and security personnel in the southern city of Daraa at the very onset of the conflict, to the horrendous attacks on the students of Aleppo University in January 2013 – those who have critically monitored the situation from the beginning are under no illusions – the influx of armaments and mercenary elements from abroad into Syria has brought the situation to where it is today. Western capitals have provided logistics, coordination, political support, and non-lethal aid, Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have openly provided weapons and monthly salaries for rebel fighters, and Turkey has allowed rebel fighters to receive training and arms from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the southeastern part of the country, allowing militants to pass into Syria freely.

Reports from the Washington Post [1] indicate that US support to anti-government groups in Syria began in 2005, transcending two presidential administrations:

“The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad. Syrian authorities ‘would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as tantamount to supporting regime change,’ read an April 2009 cable signed by the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Damascus at the time. ‘A reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-[government] factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive,’ the cable said. The cables report persistent fears among U.S. diplomats that Syrian state security agents had uncovered the money trail from Washington.”

The article describes how Washington funneled about $12 million to anti-government programs in Syria between 2005 and 2010 to recipients affiliated with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Israel, which is now illegally conducting exploratory drilling in the occupied Golan Heights, and the US view the toppling of Damascus as a means of extinguishing the critical conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, the political and militant Shi’a organization centered in Southern Lebanon, in addition to helping isolate the Palestinian resistance..."

Posted by: вот так | Mar 13 2013 1:55 utc | 46

Western MSM date the Syrian protests from mid-March 2011, with a timeline that begins with the boy in Homs getting killed. Some very small nonviolent protests were happening in Syrian cities in February. From what I have gathered, these were either ignored or met with arrests of leaders by the Syrian security services. Syria exploded in protests after the tide had turned in Libya. Unlike most other Arab Spring countries where our government was urging the protesters to refrain from violence, even as government forces were injuring or killing adtivists, from the beginning of the Syrian escalation of violence, Clinton was saying that Assad was killing his own people and that the protesters had a right to "defend" themselves. Like Jordan's king, Assad sought to defuse the protest momentum by offering reforms; unlike Jordan, a core group of activists refused any compromise or reform from the beginning, insisting that Assad must go.

Last week on Democracy Now's tribute to Chavez, someone told the old Latin American joke:
Q: Why hasn't the US ever had a coup?
A: Because there's no US embassy in its capitol.

Ambassador Robert Ford assumed his post in Syria just a matter of weeks before the uprising began there, meeting with many opposition groups before the protests began and in the early months of the uprising. The US/neocon fingerprints are all over this attempted coup.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Mar 13 2013 2:18 utc | 47

Regarding Al-Raqqa city, about five or six days ago I did a scan through many youtube videos from Al-Raqqa and concluded that the number of armed rebels present on the streets of Al-Raqqa was very small in the period 4 March to 10 March. Like maybe 250 rebels. Hence I couldn't strictly or strongly disagree with the Syrian minister of information when he said last week "there is no reason to worry over the presence of the armed groups in some areas in al-Raqqa.... It is just a matter of time." For the last few days the Al-Raqqa story is almost completely absent in the newspapers, which you can take as reliable evidence that the rebels are not making gains and not holding onto what they gained on 4 March. But I worry about how this event can have happened in Al-Raqqa and can have been sustained for the week following 4 March.

b says "the battle is still in balance" overall in Syria. Ozawa #37 says "this is not a battle in balance". Those two statements can both be correct if they use different definitions of what the "battle" is. In my view the "battle" is to restore and maintain basic security and law and order (with the enemy battling to destroy it). Today the Syrian security forces are in a position to eventually win the battle, but that has been true all along. Their position is no stronger today than it was at any earlier time. Their position looks weaker to me in the aspect that I'm seeing an ongoing failure by the security forces to win the battle. In Al-Raqqa city, which has been an orderly city all along, the rebels have suddenly won the destruction of law and order. Now, even though the rebels can't actually take over the city (and they definitely don't have the support of more than a smallish minority of the citizens of Al-Raqqa), the rebels can continue to subvert elementary security and normal life there, just as they have been doing and continue to do in Aleppo city.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Mar 13 2013 11:57 utc | 48


Isn't the "battle" to crush the other side's capabilities to continue the struggle? If that is the question, I would bet on the Syrian side, and that's why you see the optimism in Assad. Crime or terrorism may go on for years. The idea that the Syrian army was going to win all along is very debatable - for one thing, a significant minority hated the government, and another group was full of opportunists who thought the West would win and had money and power available. Now, the number of people who hates the government is small when compared to the number who hate the invaders, and the opportunists have failed to get the goodies they were hoping for. Also, the number of folks within Syria willing to take up arms against the government must be down incredibly as they are mostly dead - if they wouldn't do it when the West was offering a great deal, it's doubtful they would now.


Posted by: Paul | Mar 13 2013 15:17 utc | 49

A member of the EU delegation in Syria, killed by a rocket in Damascus

That Ashton isn't outright condemning the attack, but merely expressing her condolences, isn't a surprise. These are the rebels who take UN workers as hostages "for their own safety and protection". Surely they had good intentions, and probably did Ahmad Shihadeh a service, by blowing him apart, am I right Catherine?

What strikes me is, her, playing the numbers game:

As we approach the second anniversary of the uprising in Syria, I call again on all sides to take
urgent steps to end the violence, which has led to the deaths of some 100,000 innocent citizens and
over one million refugees seeking shelter in neighbouring countries.

How did they get to this number? Just yesterday, we were at 70,000. Two months ago, we were at 60,000. Before those numbers was made "official", 40,000.

Now we're at 100,000.

Posted by: never mind | Mar 13 2013 16:33 utc | 50

never mind | Mar 13, 2013 12:33:17 PM | 50

I remember a thread here a while back. Those nrs came from benetech a so called non profit tech company manipulating the nrs and thereby opinion.

Posted by: Gehenna | Mar 13 2013 18:28 utc | 51


Not only have the numbers jumped by 30,000 in just a few weeks. Ashton is calling all the dead "citizens," in contrast to Assad's contention that the majority of insurgents are foreign salafis and mercenaries. Even the MSM has reluctantly admitted that some of the FSA units are foreign salafis and that they have suffered casualties.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Mar 13 2013 19:35 utc | 52

never mind - 50

"How did they get to this number? Just yesterday, we were at 70,000. Two months ago, we were at 60,000. Before those numbers was made "official", 40,000.

Now we're at 100,000."

It's the same manipulative game of using false statistics that they played inflating the numbers of people killed by "communist" governments, and any other country they are running war propaganda against. They continue to inflate the numbers in the propaganda as time goes on. 10 years from now, these people will be saying Assad killed millions.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 13 2013 19:49 utc | 53

'Crazy Abkhaz' Journalists Cover Syria Frontline

"When a 57-year-old arbitration court judge from the Belgorod region was injured in Syria earlier this year, having been shot in the arm and face, observers asked the obvious question: What was he doing there?

It explained little that he said he was working as a volunteer for an obscure news group: the Abkhazian Network News Agency, or ANNA.

The online agency with a staff of about 50 people publishes half a dozen daily reports on the conflict in Syria, including graphic videos of fighting on the frontline that have gathered a total of almost 2.5 million views on YouTube, but few people have heard of it or know its mission.

Indeed, why would an organization in Christian-dominated Abkhazia, a tiny breakaway region of Georgia, send a crew of reporters to cover the ruthless fight between militant Islamists and the government forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad?..."

This is an article about the ANNA site I sometimes post videos from here, for example, in post 45. I'd been curious about who ANNA are and what brought them to Syria, but too lazy to seek the info out. It's an interesting piece on an interesting, unconventional news group. The arbitration judge mentioned at the start is the same man, Sergei Berezhnoi, whom I posted about on this site several weeks ago. It was an article in another Russia media site about him that lead me to the ANNA site.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 14 2013 5:26 utc | 54

If I'm not mistaken I found a video on liveleak from ANNA in which there was a firefight with a couple of terrorists on a roof. The SAA flanked them and killed them all (there were 3 of them). Later you can see their id's and they're all turkish citizens.

Seen the name pass by on quite some liveleak videos most of which are quite interesting (weapons caches and id's of terrorists). Problem is it's all in (assumption) Russian so I have no idea what they're saying.

Thanks Bot tak for the articlelink!

Posted by: Gehenna | Mar 14 2013 16:21 utc | 55

New info about the Anhar Kochneva kidnapping:

Qatar Blackmails Ukraine Abusing the Kidnap of Ukrainian Blogger Anhar in Syria

Now cant the Israeli cyberwar front Anonymous do this kind of hacking? They do, they hacked some emails between Assad and his wife so the western zionist media could then misrepresent them for a week.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 15 2013 21:00 utc | 56


ANNA used to post some of their video reports with English subtitles, but they have not been doing this lately. I think the person who could do that probably went back home. Most of the people working at ANNA are short term volunteers, according to a Moscow News piece about them - which I posted in #54. Translating the text with the video reports at ANNA News or their captions below the videos at youtube can give a general idea what the report is about, but those short descriptions are usually only outlines, unfortunately.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 15 2013 21:18 utc | 57

US seeks to expand assassination drone attacks to Syria: Report

"The CIA is considering a secret contingency plan to expand the US assassination drone strikes to Syria, former and current American officials say..."

I've read elsewhere of American drones doing recon of Syria - presumably from outside Syrian borders.

Posted by: вот так | Mar 16 2013 12:43 utc | 58

Some positive news:

EU snubs UK, France on Syria

"The European Union has snubbed Britain and France over their efforts to persuade the bloc to end its arms embargo on Syrian militants, saying it could damage regional stability..."

I've seen reports saying the Camaron weasel has backed down on arming the terrorists unilaterally. Though that probably doesn'y mean much since the UK has been arming, training and supporting the terrorists secretly from the beginning, as the USA and Israel have been doing.

Lifting Syria arms embargo counterproductive: UN

"The United Nations has criticized French President Francois Hollande for his proposal to lift an EU arms embargo on Syria, describing it as “counterproductive.”..."

Posted by: вот так | Mar 16 2013 12:49 utc | 59

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