Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 17, 2013

Syria: News Roundup

Back from traveling here are some links to recent developments around Syria.

There is some background on a video that shows a Saudi al-Nusra fighter executing 12 captured and bound men. There is also new information on al-Mesreb village where locals clashed with al-Nusra terrorists who killed villagers and burned down houses.

Two suicide bombers opened an all out attack on the central prison in Aleppo which houses some 4,000 prisoners. I interpret this attack as an attempt to free prisoners to urgently get more personal for the insurgency. The attack was repelled by prison guards with significant losses for the attackers.

There are more reports of civilians clashing with insurgents as well as of fighting between various insurgency groups.

The Syrian army is still preparing to liberate the city of Qusayr which is situated on one of the main supply routes for both the insurgency as well as for the army. Civilians fleeing the surrounded city report that about a thousand insurgents in the city are digging in but are low on ammunition.

Anonymous U.S. intelligence people claim that Russia delivered a new version of anti-ship missiles to Syria. There is no mentioning of when exactly that is supposed to have happened. Last month, last year or three years ago? It also not clear why that is supposed to be a change. Syria already has able coast defense forces that would make a supply of the insurgents via a sea route quite dangerous. Additionally, as U.S. media only now note, there is new permanent Russian navy force in the Mediterranean that could challenge any attempts of a coastal siege or even a no-fly zone. The "new weapons" story seems to be a plant (to "Iraqi WMD" reporter Michael Gordon) to allege recent Russian delivery of arms to Syria even if there is no proof for such. But the claim can be used to justify the delivery of U.S. weapons to the insurgents.

The exiled Syrian opposition is now demanding new arms as a condition for agreeing to peace talks. The seem to understand that the current losing state of the insurgency does not give them any leverage in negotiations.

For the third time insurgents have abducted UN observers in the Golan height zone and looted their observation post. The Syrian government claims to have an email that prove contacts between the Qatari government and the UN kidnappers in one of the earlier cases. Qatar is said to have invested about $3 billion to keep the insurgency in Syria going and to be disliked by every side.

"Western" pro-insurgents "experts" claim that Syria is breaking up into various parts. As the facts on the ground would not yet agree to that, this campaign suggest that such a breakup is the aim of the "expert's" sponsors.

Obama met with the Turkish sultan Erdogan. There seems to be no agreement between them on how to continue their onslaught on Syria. The only point they agree on is a meaningless "Assad has to go" which would then be a starting point for "something". Zionist lobby "experts" urge the U.S. to further intervene with a no fly zone to save Erdogan's endangered political position and U.S. "credibility". In the run up to World War I it was Germany's "credibility" towards a misbehaving ally that had to be saved. That did not end well.

Posted by b on May 17, 2013 at 5:50 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Thanks for that.

Meanwhile, to the tune of Toto Coelo´s "We Eat Cannibals" the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) are thundering trough the last remnants of ZATO´s mercenaries and the Russian fleet is approaching....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTvdjlJUO8A

Posted by: Mrs.Magma | May 17 2013 6:23 utc | 1

It looks to me like all of the links are to ZATO sources, and they are full of spin and lies. It would be helpful to get alternatives. You are trying to analyze all these lies, but it's still a bit of a losing game because they are intentionally framed so that you accept a premise that is wrong. An example would be to debate whether the insurgents near Jordan are winning or the insurgents near Turkey are - with a supposed fight between these two groups in the future. This is a total waste of your time. The insurgents are getting crushed throughout the whole country.

Posted by: Paul | May 17 2013 6:27 utc | 2

@Paul I think the utter boldness of these lies are pretty revealing. Even if politics have always been about talking, deceiving,serving interests and the calculus of power in general, the NATO-conglomerate has rarely spun so hard: Its just brazen "WE know u know we are lying to you, but WE know you know that We dont care!" I mean just look at Cameron (i think someone posted a BBC article, giving the evidence) beginning with "We are happy the russians join our efforts in stopping the bloodshed (fastforward) we will up the non-lethat-aid to the (moderate, peaceful, whatever) oppostition!" Even the Main-Stream cant spin anymore on that issue and are forced to acknowledge those fucktards called opposition mostly stem from a vicious, uncontrollable slime of fanatics, payed mercs, criminals and low-lifes. Look at Merdogan, as he was asked about that "sound evidence, the saa uses chemweapons". Hes dancing around the lie until he trips. but noone cares. Obama concludes:"After all, chem weapons are not that important, civilians are massacred every day by evil Assad"...They dont care anymore. BUT: This means, they are exposed more than ever!Even people who are not really interested in those political games, see there is somethig strange about the whole "syria-conflict"! All their lies are about to hit the fan if they give in. So theyll continue on that trail until they think the resistance could falter and collapse.

Posted by: Kal | May 17 2013 8:39 utc | 3

Every day President Bashar al-Assad stays in power and the SAA advances, and more so with that 75% popular support he enjoys, is two day less for Turkey the neo-Ottoman-Muslim broderhood regime and the cheap clown Erdogan.

Hence the "he must go" whining. As it turned out, Obombah the house-n*gger (thank´s Belafonte) did´t provide what Erdogan had hoped for since he´s saving that for the upcoming summit with Putin in June. until then, there´s going to be a lot of hot air, possibly more false-flags from Erdogan & Co, but to no avail really...

Posted by: Mrs.Magma | May 17 2013 8:51 utc | 4

Even if its biaised, here are some news about the SAA stomping the "insurgency" in the head! http://syrianperspective.blogspot.de/

Posted by: Kal | May 17 2013 8:54 utc | 5

So the Russians have called Israel and US's bluff..They have delivered the defence weapons to Syria, what will Bibi/Obama do now?

I think the calls for talks by Kerry was a cynical ploy to further weaken the Syrian government and also paint Russia and Syria's backers are being intransigent and blocking a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In effect, it was a massive PR bluff that's fallen flat even before it flies. I personally don't believe there'll be a meeting. What's there to talk about when the Syrian army is on the offensive and actually making significant gains??

The entire region is primed for explosion and any further push to the extreme will sure set off the fireworks..

Interesting times....

Posted by: Zico | May 17 2013 9:21 utc | 6

Thank you for the great links B. $3 billion from Hamad Bin Gurion Al Thanii to support terrorismin Syria! If there is any justice in this world, that fat bastard will get what he deserves. It's good to see the Turkish people are finally being heard.I guess late is better than never.

Posted by: Hilmi | May 17 2013 10:46 utc | 7

I never thought I would see people defending eating parts of your dead enemies or executing prisoners, but they are out there in droves. The main theme is that these poor dears have been driven to this kind of barbarity by the Syrian government and thus deserving of our understanding and even pity.

Posted by: Qualtrough | May 17 2013 11:11 utc | 8

I never thought I would see people defending eating parts of your dead enemies or executing prisoners, but they are out there in droves. The main theme is that these poor dears have been driven to this kind of barbarity by the Syrian government and thus deserving of our understanding and even pity.


This is just a tip of the iceberg. They even blamed Hezbollah for that cannibal's action. It was seen as "revenge" for Hezbollah's involvement in routing the NATO mercs from Homs and other suburbs of Damascus, they say. Kinda like the same car bombings that are always, without fail, conveniently blamed on the "evil Assad regime". As a matter of fact, they don't even hide their lies anymore.

Funny how the Syrian conflict has exposed all that the West of not. They've proven to be nothing but savages filled with contempt for anyone opposed to them. But take heart, this project that was meant to weaken/destroy Syria will end up with the Golan being liberated back to Syria.

Posted by: Zico | May 17 2013 11:19 utc | 9

Or it'll end up like 1914

Posted by: Fernando | May 17 2013 12:13 utc | 10

Meanwhile, the BBC is positively foaming at the mouth at the news that Russia has delivered anti-ship missiles; and after all Ian Pannell's hard work yesterday presenting another embarrassing episode of opposition 'chemical weapons' propaganda.

There's a meeting on the EU arms embargo coming up. The BBC, especially Pannell, will be in overdrive for the next 2 weeks

Posted by: Pat Bateman | May 17 2013 13:01 utc | 11

Qualtrough, you must be young like me and didn't know about the death squads in Central and South America in the 80s, or counter insurgency in the 50s-70s, or colonial wars in the XIX century, ...

This has been going on for ages. Whatever is good for the elite strategy is disregarde as not relevant, and exception or false, or promoted as the way things must be (TM).

Posted by: ThePaper | May 17 2013 13:33 utc | 12

From Raw Story:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/17/russia-dismisses-uproar-over-syria-arms-sales/

Posted by: ben | May 17 2013 14:39 utc | 13

Russia is hanging tough with it's support for Syria...Good!

http://rt.com/politics/lavrov-syria-conflict-opposition-391/

Posted by: ben | May 17 2013 14:44 utc | 14

Penny's latest on Syria:

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ben | May 17 2013 15:10 utc | 15

According to Lavrov, no new contracts have been signed between Russia and Syria. "We have already gone through with some of our previous commitments and we intend to complete them. We do not want to break any international law, but also do not want to hurt our good name as arms suppliers," Lavrov said, as reported by Israel’s YNet News.

Lavrov defended the arms sale, claiming that the missiles are defensive systems. In a statement that observers see as a veiled warning to Israel and the U.S., he said: “Those who do not plan aggressive actions against a sovereign state have nothing to worry about, because air defense methods -- and this is clear from the name -- are a purely defensive system required to repel air attacks.”

Sergei Lavrov is a though guy, everybody (in the West) hates him: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/29/minister_no

The way I see this, missiles stories, it is an excuse for Washington to do nothing. Administration is faced with extreme right-wing hawks who with help of the Washington Post and FP magazine trying to cause another bloodbath, but this time it would be MENA conflagration.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 17 2013 15:39 utc | 16

Lavrov is fun! As is his sidekick at the UN ambassador Churkin.

---

A few more links:

AQ in Iraq has taken over the al-Nusra business. Al-Nusra falls apart:

Insight: Syria's Nusra Front eclipsed by Iraq-based al Qaeda

Al Qaeda's Iraq-based wing, which nurtured Nusra in the early stages of the rebellion against Assad, has moved in and sidelined the organization, Nusra sources and other rebels say.

Al Qaeda in Iraq includes thousands of foreign fighters whose ultimate goal is not toppling Assad but the anti-Western jihad of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri - a shift which could extend Syria's conflict well beyond any political accord between Assad and his foes.
...
"Nusra is now two Nusras. One that is pursuing al Qaeda's agenda of a greater Islamic nation, and another that is Syrian with a national agenda to help us fight Assad," said a senior rebel commander in Syria who has close ties to the Nusra Front.

"It is disintegrating from within."

Others said that Nusra's Syrian contingent has already effectively collapsed, with its leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani keeping a low profile and his fighters drifting off to join other rebel groups.
...
In a telling video published this week, masked fighters from Islamic State of Iraq and Levant executed three men they said were officers from Assad's Alawite minority sect in the eastern town of Raqqa.

After the shootings there were only muted chants of support for the fighters and activists said that small protests broke out at night condemning the execution and calling on the fighters to fight Assad instead of executing people.

Several Nusra fighters said they feared that if Baghdadi's influence continued to grow, his ultra-radical agenda would see the Iraqi Sahwa phenomenon played out again in Syria.

"We as Syrians do not want a repeat of that. The Baghdadi men have declared the Nusra fighters who left him... as infidels. We still reject his state, if Zawahri does not put an end to this then the situation will get worse," one said.

Always interesting Alastair Crooke's weekly comment

The fracture between liberal-seculars and Islamists-MB that is currently defining the increasingly hostile rivalry between Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan on one hand – and Turkey and Qatar on the other – is becoming a substantiveregional fracture, affecting politics particularly in Egypt and North Africa. We are seeing the fragmentation of politics everywhere across the Sunni world, as politics breaks up into mutual antagonism, the break-down of conversations which lead to compromise, and to sustained verbal artillery barrages of accusation and counter accusation.

---

Something is up with Israel. Netanyahoo has been told by Putin to shut up and stay out of Syria. Those S-300 will be (or maybe have been) delivered. Then we had this crude Israeli written NYT story: Israel Hints at New Strikes, Warning Syria Not to Hit Back

In a clear warning to Syria to stop the transfer of advanced weapons to Islamic militants in the region, a senior Israeli official signaled on Wednesday that Israel was considering additional military strikes to prevent that from happening and that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, would face crippling consequences if he retaliated.
That story was then answered by this CIA leak today: Russia Sends More Advanced Missiles to Aid Assad in Syria. Also today the CIA head went to Israel to talk with the defense minister.

My guess is that Obama has now joined Putin in telling Netanyahoo to shut the fuck up and to stand down.
---

A graph and some dates show that each time weapons were delivered to the insurgency in Syria the death toll peaked shortly afterwards.

Posted by: b | May 17 2013 16:11 utc | 17

Bill Neely of ITV after 10 days in Damascus

Syria's war: Nobody is really winning, there are only losers

The supporters of Syria's initial revolution are in a quandary; their 'policy', if we can call it that, is a mess.

The US, Britain, France and others are now seriously considering sending weapons to certain, vetted, rebel groups. But which ones? Does the heart-eater's group qualify?

How can Europe or America guarantee that the arms they ship will not end up in the hands of Islamists who later turn them against the West? Just remember Benghazi and the murder of a US Ambassador in the city the West began a war to save.

Inside Syria, President Assad's men may also be winning because the opposition is falling apart.

There is in truth no such thing as the Free Syrian Army. Aid organisations say they have to deal with around three hundred different rebel groups, many loosely grouped under the umbrella of the FSA. Many others are rivals of the FSA, like the al-Nusra group.

An 'army' is usually something with a command structure and a unified organisation. The FSA is nothing of the kind.

As for a political opposition to Assad, the Syrian National Coalition is a sorry bunch of squabbling exiles and mediocrities, neither national nor a united coalition.

Politicians in the West are tearing their hair out in despair at the failure of the 'opposition' to provide a credible alternative to the Assad government.
...

Posted by: b | May 17 2013 17:06 utc | 18

"Politicians in the West are tearing their hair out in despair at the failure of the 'opposition' to provide a credible alternative to the Assad government."

Aren't Salam Fayed and Anwar Ibrahim available?

Posted by: bevin | May 17 2013 18:16 utc | 19

@19 Don't underestimate Ghassan Hitto. He has an M.B.A. from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Posted by: dh | May 17 2013 18:30 utc | 20

Frank Lamb has a interesting piece, on the recent UN vote in support of cannibalism, at Counterpunch today:

"...After Qatar’s ambassador spoke in favor of the resolution his country drafted (and re-drafted several time), (Syria Ambassador to the UN) Ja’afari revealed that there existed an e-mail, from the representative of the Syrian opposition given to Syria’s embassy in Qatar, showing Qatar’s involvement in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade. He read out a phone number from the e-mail as several Gulf diplomats grimaced or scowled, and three left the Chamber.

"Visibly stunned, the UK Permanent Representative Lyall Grant called the whole matter “deeply confusing”. Another Permanent Representative, from a militia contributing country, said that if true, it’s “very problematic.” The reasons include the fact that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had just thanked Qatar for its roles in the release of the UN Peacekeepers the earlier kidnapping of whom the Qatari government may have planned, paid for and executed.

"Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said he would not disclose any more about the 'negotiations to free the peacekeepers or who was behind the crime.'

"Score a major diplomatic victory for Syria’s UN Ambassador as public opinion shifts in favor of the Assad government and pressure as well as certain optimism builds in the run-up to the Geneva II conference being organized by the White House and the Kremlin."

Posted by: bevin | May 17 2013 18:41 utc | 21

This is just the latest of many exemplary posts by b during the past 2 weeks. I get the feeling that many people (not just at MoA) are beginning to realise what a cowardly little twerp the World's Second ex-Superpower really is. Considering that the 'Superpower' myth is built on mercilessly bombing pissy, (harmless & defenseless) little counties to death, I can't begin to put into words how delighted I am to see Obama trying to pretend that he knows what to do next.
He doesn't.
Syria was always going to be hard (for a bunch of risk-averse pussies) to squish, and when Russia stepped up to the 'plate' it was Game Over for USUK's dangerously pathetic pro regime-change faggots. I'm still optimistic that we may yet see Sarko, Cameron and Hague tried for crimes against Humanity and then executed - or better still, executed and then given a fair trial - which is what Gaddafi got.
i.e. "Western Justice."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 17 2013 19:40 utc | 22

@b #17
Thanks! That reuters insight article is really interesting. I thought that declaration of a merger with AQI and the the declaration of allegiance to Al Qaeda/Zawahiri was an indication of some strife within the ranks of al Nusra.

What we can only hope for is that the infighting within JN and the FSA continues. As long as they're divided and the supply lines cut the SAA can continue mopping up the ratnests. This may also be an explanation for the attack on the Allepo prison. Running out of cannon fodder...

Posted by: Gehenna | May 17 2013 20:37 utc | 23

West/Israel block Iran participation in Syria-talks, shows how controlled this "revolution" is by western and israeli forces.

http://presstv.com/detail/2013/05/16/303904/west-hampering-talks-on-syria-lavrov/

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17 2013 20:41 utc | 24

@Hoarsewhisperer #22

'I'm still optimistic that we may yet see Sarko, Cameron and Hague tried for crimes against Humanity and then executed - or better still, executed and then given a fair trial - which is what Gaddafi got.
i.e. "Western Justice." '

I hear you Brother!

Hague is the slimiest piece of shit ever foisted upon the UK and I note Bliar and the Snot-Gobbler as primary contenders. I'll volunteer to pull the lever (although I'd much prefer that 'Madame' was brought back into service for these war criminals).

I cannot get my head round Israel's threat to Syria namely, 'We're going to attack you but you'd better not retaliate.' Since when has a Sovereign Nation had to accept terms of aggression? Jeebus Christos did'nt that guy Hitler miss a trick?

As for Qatar's involvement, well they may be pragmatic but they should ask themselves where all the morphed up Jihadis will go once their Syrian adventure has run its course. Always supposing there are any 'rebels' (hahahaha) left alive.

Go, go SAA!

Posted by: Senzar | May 17 2013 21:36 utc | 25

As expected, there'll be no talks...France is already demanding that Iran shouldn't be part of the talks and Russia is insisting otherwise.These "talks", same as the old ones, would have demanded some sort of ceasefire from the Syrian army ect etc etc, which will then be used by the "rebels" to regroup and resupply - FAT CHANCE!!!


I think they really should stop wasting people's time and concentrate on fixing their economies..

Posted by: Zico | May 18 2013 4:13 utc | 26

@zico no. 26

Diverting attention from its own economic problems is one of the few rational reason I can see for the West's current Mideast mis-adventures.

Posted by: sleepy | May 18 2013 4:35 utc | 27

"Meanwhile, the ‘Friends of Syria’ countries propose to meet in Jordan next week to deliberate on the US-Russia initiative regarding peace talks. The meet, if it takes place, will be one helluva meeting. The FOS were supposed to evict Bashar Al-Assad from power. Now, in effect, Obama says he can contest the election and be part of a ‘democratic Syria.”
Unsurprisingly, Russia is keeping its fingers crossed. As the Moscow-based strategic analyst Fyodor Lukyanov noted in an opinion piece in the official Novosti news agency, it is indeed a situation where things could go either way — “a critical moment, with advocates and opponents of a negotiated settlement in Syria at each other’s throats.” But Lukyanov knows, the Kremlin knows, Russia holds a winning hand. It has blasted a hole through the doctrine of (humanitarian) interventionism through which an elephant can walk through. "

And:

"Indeed, what Russia can do for the present is to make sure that any western adventurist enterprise to ratchet up the current level of military intervention in Syria proves costly and unacceptable.”
http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/

Posted by: Mrs.Magma | May 18 2013 6:10 utc | 28

People of #Aleppo speak:"We Want FSA OUT !! We Want #Syria-n Army" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0K5CljNFcs

Posted by: brian | May 18 2013 6:17 utc | 29

'For the third time insurgents have abducted UN observers in the Golan height zone and looted their observation post.'

and for the third time we see the freedom and impunity of FSA islamic terrorists to roam in Golan, unobstructed by israeli forces

Posted by: brian | May 18 2013 6:46 utc | 30

One year in prison for "misuse of free speech on Twitter"
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/six-bahraini-tweeters-sentenced-misusing-free-speech

Posted by: Zeno | May 18 2013 8:36 utc | 31

"I think they really should stop wasting people's time and concentrate on fixing their economies.."

It'd be nice if they were only wasting people's time. They're wasting lives.

How does John Kerry answer his own question, the one that made him who he is today. "How can you ask someone to be the last person to die for a lie" is easier to ask when it's Syrians and not Americans.

Posted by: guest77 | May 18 2013 8:36 utc | 32

Amazing how western press are giving the cannibal more air time. The media is actuakky giving him a chance to "explain" himself. The psychopathic monster actually accuses his victims of horrible crimes - probably with the scent of human liver still on his disgusting breath.

The funniest thing is that, though clearly the cannibal is making excuses for his barbaric behavior based on evidence that cannot be verified, the Western press hasn't trotted out their favorite sentence where it is finally actually applicable: "The contents of the video could not be independently verified."

Posted by: guest77 | May 18 2013 8:53 utc | 33

On the Turkish front, looks like Erdogan didn't get his wish in Washington. Obomber gave only vague assurance and promises about "all options" blah blah blah.The dude didn't commit himself to anything.Later, Erdogan was speaking at the Brooking(Bookies) Institute for strategic terror about how it's up to the UN to decide a no-fly zone. I guess he didn't get the memo that any UN decision for a no-fly zone at the UNSC runs through Russia and China.

One can understand why Erdogan NEEDS his no-fly zone so badly.He was basically goaded into the Syrian quagmire and was promised he won't be left alone.But now that the proverbial sh*t's hit the fan, he's realized NATO ain't going in and the US certainly won't commit suicide in Syria - that's the job for the jihadis. So now he's stuck with a copiously large amount of frustrated jihadist, sorry guests, on his soil with nowhere to go.

The bombing in Hatay province last week is clearly jihadi-related..Of course it's easier to blame Assad for it.In fact, it was Assad's fault that Erdogan's so stupid.

Posted by: Zico | May 18 2013 9:01 utc | 34

Idiotic commenter in NYTimes:

"My issue with the entire situation is Syria is the fact that the Syrian rebels are committing much the same atrocities that the Syrian government is."

How can he believe (if he does believe) that? I don't recall any videos of Syrian Army soldier eating human hearts.

Like N'43 said: It's amazing the amount of disinformation pumped into this war.

Posted by: guest77 | May 18 2013 9:04 utc | 35

I have to wonder, is that ‘Canibal’ video an elaborate hoax set up by western intel. services (or factions within them) with the purpose of justifying a policy shift away of the ‘rebels‘? There are certainly many indicators of such a shift. M K Bhadrakumar blogpost mentioned in comment 28 (full url) shows quite a few hints at recalibration on the part of the US (white house faction at the very least) and to a lesser extend the UK.

Posted by: Philippe | May 18 2013 9:14 utc | 36

@28

That particular form of foul behavior is the MO of many-a DoD/CIA-created terrorist organization. You can't put it past these "Syrian" "revolutionaries".

But then you can't put it past any of the groups within the US government either. Just like the CW claims were meant to force Obomber's hand well,... payback's a bitch.

The water is so fouled with the atrocious, under-handed behavior of the US government that its getting impossible to see even the slightest glimmer of sun light.
____

It was interesting to watch Lindsey Graham publicly declare that the president has the right to put US boots on the ground anywhere across the globe without the authorization of Congress (well, the claim is it's already been authorized). Usually you don't see someone committed enough to throw away the powers of the organization he is in, but Mr. Graham did it with gusto. No need to bother congress with such petty questions like "Is it okay to invade Syria?" or anything. They've got more important things to do like destroy the American social contract.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34986.htm

Posted by: guest77 | May 18 2013 10:21 utc | 37

@ Philippe #36

While cannibal is not a hoax, but its true lately media in the West shows terrorists in Syria as brutal savages, "even worse than evil Assad." NYT even said "there are no moderate rebels to speak of", etc.

Its a policy shift, but it doesnt automatically mean peaceful resolution, I can see multiple possible ways it can play out:

1) Peaceful resolution, with both sides making concessions, followed by democratic elections. Unlikely, because Syria would remain pro-Iran/Russia and West with PGGC arabs invested too much to just let it go. Gas and oil pipelines from arabs (and Mediterranean) to EU would help them to reduce dependence on Russia, etc. Such major geopolitical projects can be very difficult to abandon. Still if Assad wins decisively on the ground, West may have no choice but to salvage at least something while they can.

2) Syria is bombed "to save Syrians from terrorists," - a costly way, which primarily focuses on bombing SAA and not the terrorists, followed by the special forces trying to assassinate Assad and to do a coup. While its not what US wants, but PGGC arabs, Erdogan and Israel would absolutely want it to happen.

3) Choose plan B, a permanent state of lower-intensity terror and sabotage in Syria to keep it weak. West gives up the hope to install a puppet in Syria, but keeps sending well trained small groups of terrorists to instill as much damage as possible on Syria's infrastructure, car-bombs, assassinations of officials, etc. This would satisfy West, Israel and PGGC arabs.

Posted by: Harry | May 18 2013 11:30 utc | 38

38) agree, it is plan B now.

Posted by: somebody | May 18 2013 12:45 utc | 39

Harry,

Yes, Plan B makes sense. It would, however, lead to Syria and Iran returning the favor. They haven't been doing this much with the war going on inside Syria and due to Russian pressure. Once the main war is over, though, it would be a different ballgame. One question is whether the West would be happy with attacks in the Gulf states.

Posted by: Paul | May 18 2013 13:08 utc | 40

Report on al Houla's massacre
http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-one-year-after-the-houla-massacre-new-report-on-official-vs-real-truth

Posted by: Zeno | May 18 2013 14:57 utc | 41

Someone is quite in love with M K Bhadrakumar.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 18 2013 15:32 utc | 42

I just finished reading Jennet Conant's A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS, a book about Julia Child's years in the OSS during WWII and the post-war decade or so. The OSS was where she met her future husband, Paul Child, who was brought into the OSS for his art skills; Julia parlayed her Smith College history education into a clerical position which led to her being the manager of all the reports, records, and communications internally and between the OSS and Washington, allies, potential agents in SE Asia. She was known as being unmovable by the gossips who wanted to know what was going on; she kept confidences and secrets.

The book also is about the horror of the McCarthy years and the attacks he launched on purported Communists in the State Department after WWII, as well as on others not connected with the government. Paul Child, working for State, spent a long and anxiety ridden time of more than half a year fearing he would be tarred with "guilt by association" and lose his job or even be charged with espionage. The person who was the "guilty associate" was a woman name Jane Foster, the daughter of a wealthy California doctor and businessman who was also a staunch conservative Republican. Paul had worked with Jane and they had been friends during their work in SE Asia. Jane, perhaps in reaction to her father's politics, was attracted to the US Communist Party, artistic people, bohemians in general. She was also a talented artist, accomplished flirt, and general bon vivant.

Because of her language skills and having lived in the Dutch East Indies while married to a Dutch businessman (who, she learned at the end of the war, turned out to be a Dutch intelligence agent), the OSS hired her to work to keep Indonesia and other Southeast Asian colonies in the US camp, both during the war, but also going forward. Jane was something of a party girl -- flibbertigibbit* seems to fit her to a "T," as she was extremely talkative, often not editing herself very well, very emotional in her reactions, sexually active, and tended to drink too much. She had trouble making plans, but could pull things together when necessary. She also had very good skills in understanding others, and, when in Indonesia, seemed to develop a very good relationship with Sukarno, the nationalist who wanted independence. She was the OSS manager for its Indonesian propaganda activities and developed a network of native agents.

She wrote what could be called "white papers" about how the feeling for independence, cultivated by FDR and supported by the OSS's work, was deep and widespread in SE Asia, that it was not a Communist inspired plot but very much indigenous to the various populaces, and that the US should not work with their European allies to reinstall their colonial powers if it wanted to be a leader for these nations and have their support going forward.

When she returned to the US, she met with high level people at State and tried to persuade them of her understanding that the US could do nothing worse than work with the Europeans to try to recolonize their former colonies. State, and Truman by then, felt it was of utmost importance to support Europe and keep Communism out of Europe and out of the former colonies.

Jane quit the OSS, already being dismantled (and disrespected) by the Truman administration, and returned briefly to CA, where she made her white paper on Indonesia (it had never been received formally by the OSS bosses) and Viet Nam public, wrote a long letter-to-the-editor summarizing her findings which was published in the NYTimes, and gave speeches to try to activate the public against the move to assist the French in taking over Viet Nam again or help the Dutch in keeping Indonesia as the Dutch East Indies. Jane was not alone in her conclusions, but both government intel people and journalists were hounded if they supported these findings.


She eventually went back to NYC, where, it appears, she may have been enlisted as a spy by the USSR. However, those who accused her were also known to lie to please their own USSR spy masters, so their accusations may have been based more on needing to provide information to either their spy masters and, then, to the FBI to get lighter sentences than actual knowledge. When documentation became available out of Russia, it still was not clear she had been turned or that she did anything which meant she had been a spy. But her name was mentioned by the Russian spy runner in the US as someone they might want to try to turn. And she was close enough to actual spies that Hoover and the John Foster Dulles felt she must be guilty. She managed to get out of the US to avoid being sucked into criminal trials and spent the remainder of her life in France.

She married and accompanied her husband to his post in Austria, where she also managed US Information Services radio. Except for a harrowing year or so in the US, where she had returned to visit her very sick mother but was not allowed to return to her home and husband in Paris and had her passport taken away, Jane lived the rest of her life in France. Since her parents were wealthy and supported her, she did live well, but in constant fear of the FBI.

Jane's life after being a target for the FBI drained her spirit and she spent several different sessions in sanitariums for her mental health. But she loved her art and continued to paint; however, once macular degeneration destroyed her vision, she simply gave up on living.

The part of the whole narrative I found most depressing is the US seems to continually ignore those in its intelligence agencies, as well as outside experts, who warn against "foreign adventures," and almost all of them end badly for the US. There is a deep and abiding sense among those in power that the US can do what it wants to do and with its might simply overpower and prevail. And, as Viet Nam showed so clearly, that does not always happen. But, memories are short and when the Powers That Be scream about "security" most people withdraw from public action and simply accept that they can do nothing but try to hunker down and stay safe, from both the outside "danger" and the retaliation of the PTB's.

Overall, it was a good read, but so depressing. Our nation seems to learn so little. Or, rather, when people rise in rank and gain power, they are so easily co-opted that the essential power base remains the same. A John Kerry can say to a Congressional committee prior to the end of the Viet Nam War "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake," and then become a Secretary of State who talks about asking many more to die for the mistaken calculations of the US. Probably a mistake, but not to the PTB's.


*Flibbertigibbet -- Wiki:

Flibbertigibbet is a Middle English word referring to a flighty or whimsical person, usually a young woman. In modern use, it is used as a slang term, especially in Yorkshire, for a gossipy or overly talkative person. Its origin is in a meaningless representation of chattering.

Urban Dictionary (spelled flibberty jibbet) :

A north west England name for someone who is flashy and female,flaunting sexually. The term comes from the way someone "dances" about when being hung... hence the reference to "jibbet", or gallows.

Posted by: jawbone | May 18 2013 16:26 utc | 43

zico @ 26 -- "I think they really should stop wasting people's time and concentrate on fixing their economies.."

I know so many people here in the US who wish Obama would stop wasting time (and blood and treasure) and do something to fix the economy here.

I'm sure millions in both Europe and the US would appreciate that.

But, Austerians still rule. Even as their "intellectual" rationals keep falling apart.... (Link to Krugman)

Posted by: jawbone | May 18 2013 16:35 utc | 44

When war in Korea reached stalemate the only objective of the U.S. forces was to kill more Koreans. The same thing happened in Vietnam, when populations were not being “pacified” and “heart and mind” won not over they begin with annihilation of Vietnamese. Body-count policy, series of fixing reports and other cover ups lead Daniel Elsberg, that despicable imperialist, turned into celebrity-liberal icon and whistleblower, to call it “stalemate-machine”. It has certainly something to do with the nature of the U.S. psyche/society, i.e. extreme institutional racism and extreme violence of the system itself.

From 1965 on, the notion of a clear−cut victory receded into
the background and the objective became "to convince the
enemy that he could not win". [...] Since the enemy remained
unconvinced, the next goal appeared: "to avoid a humiliating
defeat" −− as though the hallmark of a defeat in war were mere
humiliation. What the Pentagon papers report is the haunting
fear of the impact of defeat, not on the welfare of the nation,
but on the reputation of the United States and its President.

H. Arendt about Vietnam war

Just as in any nation, tribalism and symbols of the tribe are very important particularly for right-wing one. The careful observer might notice similarity in the Syrian proxy war, too. Representative of National-security complex embodied in the President of the U.S. engulfed, presently, by half-dozens of criminal affairs are making desperate effort to save its reputation. Their goal is not reality oriented; the way they communicate is deception and lie by creating "image of omnipotence". Political capital and credibility is at stake and they are by day less relevant.

The "International Community" is defeated in series of military and counter psy-op operations by Damascus-Moscow-Teheran-Beirut (Hezbolah) axis, with Beijing following behind. If there is such thing as a Plan B, than it is "image-saving" one. Plainly it is Imperial Hubris. In that process the nations are destroyed, the nations of West Asia and “soft target” first and foremost, and their way of life – multiculturalism, not in a way defined by western liberalism but an organic one.

What I disagree with outlined Plan B is that I doubt that the Syrian Gov. will allow that. This two-years war was geared by Syrian Gov. toward political settlement from beginning, which "opposition" forces refused repeatedly, under decisive influence of the U.S. This is a classic case of "War as Politics by other Means". Some form of power-sharing settlement must be reached by Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran but peaceful settlement was not the goal of the West. I believe that SAA can defeat mercenaries outright, but because of future political consideration that is not desirable.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 18 2013 17:10 utc | 45

"Someone is quite in love with M K Bhadrakumar."

Someone is quite jealous...

Posted by: IQ | May 18 2013 17:33 utc | 46

the Kerry meetings and other leader meetings followed by "news" of Russian missiles shipped don't sound at all like any problem for the "west", as b sees it.
it looks more like the leaders negotiated a ruse for boots on the ground or drones in the air or a coup in Damascas or whatever - attacks from outside the borders.
the rebels can't, and the leaders having those meetings are all going to get what they want.

we are all pawns. and you may think Obama doesn't know what to do, but after WWIII, he can still live on an island wherever he wants, so how can he make a wrong move? they are all part of a class that understands that they, including Assad in the past, will get what they want and will help each other do it. Assad may not be in the club anymore, but Netanyahu is.

the only reason American people aren't the biggest fodder (yet) is just to keep the empire rolling forward. it's not because they have any human feelings for the fate of the babies they kiss for the cameras. where in history has this ever not been true?

Posted by: anon | May 18 2013 17:41 utc | 47

I'll add that Obama isn't engineering anything, he's just on the throne doing it.
again, it doesn't matter whether it's good planning or bad, and does not matter how many people die. it only matters that he stays in favor with the power that reigns over him.
he sits on top of the biggest tools, and so does Russia. but don't forget that there is a bigger divide between the set of leaders and the masses of pawns than between the separate powers. they can help each other one day and kill each other the next, but we don't count.

Posted by: anon | May 18 2013 17:48 utc | 48

"Someone is quite in love with M K Bhadrakumar."

Someone is quite jealous...

Yeah? On what? Open my eyes, if you would.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 18 2013 18:28 utc | 49

@jawbone #43

Quite incoherent story. Good story for gullible.

I do not know who the writer is but tendency is that imperial circles love to romanticize its past along with serviceman or servicewoman.

So, do you know how she became TV personality and famous chef. Joint venture with the CIA was popular at the time?

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 18 2013 18:44 utc | 50

Posted by: Zico | May 18, 2013 5:01:25 AM | 34

#Assad is to blame for droughts and pests, earthquakes, malaria, flying saucers etc etc

Posted by: brian | May 19 2013 6:01 utc | 51

Russia is not going to "challenge" the US and NATO and Israel and Turkey if they decide to conduct an air campaign against Syria.

Russia can "maneuever" and "threaten" all it wants but it's in no position to "challenge" the US and NATO.

And regardless of what weapons systems Russia supplies Syria, most of them will be destroyed in the first 72 hours of a US/NATO air campaign. Syria is in no position to make a US/NATO/Israel/Turkey air campaign so expensive as to be infeasible, regardless of the amount of air defenses they have. ANY and ALL air defenses of ANY country can be degraded over time with minimal casualties and loss of aircraft if that country cannot project its power outside its borders - which Syria cannot and Russia WILL NOT. Syria's air force is nothing compared to US capabilities. Ditto for its navy. Ditto for the Russian navy in the Mediterranean. Without such ability to project power against the airfields and naval assets deployed by the US and NATO, Syria CANNOT defeat a US/NATO air campaign.

Period. End of story.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2013 5:38 utc | 52

Richard Steven Hack @52
You mean like Serbia, or come think to about it it even Libya! You think Iran has not prepared for this eventuality?

Posted by: Hans | May 23 2013 10:30 utc | 53

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