Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 08, 2013

Syria: Hizbullah's Involvement Is Limited

The offense of the Syrian army against the foreign insurgents continues:
The last rebel stronghold near the strategic town of Qusair, western Syria, has fallen to government forces, Syrian state TV says.

Eastern Bouweida village, which lies between Qusair and the restive city of Homs was captured by troops backed by militants from Lebanon's Hezbollah.

The Syrian army regained control of the town of Qusair on Wednesday after weeks of intense fighting with rebel forces.

The rebels have now lost a key supply route into neighbouring Lebanon.

 

The BBC map of areas held by the insurgents (blue) below still shows some of their pockets next to the eastern Lebanese borders. The next task is to turn these areas into government held red.

Hizbullah will be responsible for this task:

In the speech during which he announced the party’s involvement in the Syrian war, Nasrallah alluded to the direct objectives his party sought to achieve, and defined them as meant to put an end to the Syrian opposition’s military presence in three different areas: The Damascus’ countryside, which is home to the Sayyida Zaynab shrine; the Homs’ countryside, which includes the city of Qusair and surrounding villages; and the Qalamoun area, which includes the Zabadani region.
The Qalamoun area and Zabadani region is the still blue one just north of Damascus.

There is lots of talk by insurgency supporters of an alleged Hizbullah force near Aleppo. I for now doubt that such a force exists there. It makes little sense for Hizbullah to go there before the immediate tasks Nasrallah announced are achieved. The talk about the Aleppo force seems to be planted to exaggerate the Hizbullah "threat" in a renewed media campaign to get more weapons:

“If we don’t receive ammunition and weapons to change the position on the ground, to change the balance on the ground, very frankly I can say we will not go to Geneva,” Gen. Salim Idris said in a telephone interview from his headquarters in northern Syria. “There will be no Geneva.”
...
In the interview, however, General Idris said that the rebels remained woefully overmatched in firepower. During the recent fighting, he said, the Assad government has made liberal use of long-range artillery, tanks, surface-to-surface missiles and warplanes. In contrast, he added, rebel forces were relying on light weapons, including AK-47s, PKC machine guns, 120-millimeter mortars and RPG-7s, a type of rocket-propelled grenade.
...
The Assad government’s next target, he said, is Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, drawing on support from thousands of Hezbollah fighters, Iranian military operatives and Iraqi Shiite fighters.
(Btw - The ammunition for General Idris' 120mm mortars seem to come from Israel.)

The insurgency supporters suddenly have a lot of issues with "foreign fighters" in Syria. Are those Hizbullah soldiers who came just a month ago from Lebanon to fight near their border more "foreign" than those ten thousands who came over the last years from dozens of other countries to behead Syrian people and are still streaming in even while the original Syrian insurgency dies down?

Foreign Islamist extremists are streaming into Syria, apparently in response to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah’s more visible backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a development that analysts say is likely to lead to a major power struggle between foreign jihadists and Syrian rebels should the regime collapse.
...
On Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition research center in London, posted a video from Aleppo on its Facebook that purportedly shows members of the Nusra Front, a fighting group manned in large part by non-Syrians, replacing a Syrian revolutionary flag with the black flag associated with their al Qaida-aligned movement. The Observatory noted that “local civil activists have voiced much anger as a result.”
...
Latest figures from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is generally regarded as the most authoritative recorder of Syrian casualty figures, showed that 2,219 foreigners have been killed fighting on the rebels’ behalf since the conflict began. That’s more than the 1,965 dead who were identified as defectors from the Syrian army.

“Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s involvement was considered a foreign interference,” Nasrallah scoffed in his speech last month.

There is new confirmation that Hizbullah will indeed, for now, not engage in Aleppo:
Hizbullah will suspend its military operations in Syria after securing the Damascus suburb of Zabadani “from which rockets are being fired on Shiite villages in Baalbek and Hermel,” the Central News Agency reported on Saturday.
...
“It is not in the party's interest to engage in a war in Syria's heart (against rebels) as the Syrian army is capable of winning it,” the sources added.
The Carnegie Middle East Center predicts:
If the strategic equilibrium that has emerged since November 2012 tips further, it will be a decisive shift in the regime’s favor. The political and military wings of the opposition must address their most serious shortcomings. If they do not, they will be in retreat, if not full flight, by the end of 2013.
I agree with that. But I do not agree with this conclusion:
The regime cannot win. But the opposition can lose.
Unless there is an outright U.S. intervention, for which there is no appetite, I believe, like the Hizbullah sources, that the Syrian army can win the battle for its country.

Posted by b on June 8, 2013 at 02:34 PM | Permalink

Comments
next page »

Good read, as always.

Also article from Carnegie Middle East Center was surprisingly decent and quite objective. Granted author places too much trust in what "rebel say" and same as b I dont agree with his conclusion, but other than that its a solid work, much better than one would find in CNN/BBC and the likes.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 8, 2013 3:27:18 PM | 1

The war is Syria has created what the Wahabbi satraps in the Persian Gulf regions feared most and have been doing everything they could to get the US to prevent it. The much touted "Shia Crescent" - King midget of Jordan's own word, has finally been achieved and is now a reality.

With the hatred/threats spewed by Wahabbi/Salafi militants and terror gangs on youtube and every media platform they get against Shias, Shias and other religious minority groups in the region now have no choice but to fight for their very survival..From The Hindu Kush in Afghanistan to the Mediterranean sea, they will fight till Wahabbism/Salafism is totally defeated.

Hezbullah's involvement in Syria is just a natural progression f things. They didn't have to wait to fight those heart-eating Wahabbites on Lebanese soil. Better to fight them in Syria and soundly defeat them. They won't overstretch themselves. Their role will be the protection of the border towns. In fact, Hezbollah had already warned the fsa about their attacks on the villages along the border but the fsa chose to ignore it. Well, it's over for them now.

Posted by: Zico | Jun 8, 2013 4:42:28 PM | 2

I am not afraid of Iran, nor do I mistrust them. I'm not afraid of Hezbollah, and trust their mission is actually above-board.
So should I, as an American, hope for the Shia Crescent? It seems so. Al-Queda is Sunni. Taliban is Sunni. Wahabbi is Sunni.
I think we should make it so the Shia win, and not secretly. Then expect, very publicly, for a worked out Peace in the Middle East.
I 'spose Jordan might have to fall first, or be so threatened behind the scene, by US and Shia neighbors to play right.

Posted by: Richard W. Crews | Jun 8, 2013 4:55:21 PM | 3

Dear b, before making my comment let me add a note of admiration. You have over the past two years have made some of the most prescient observations over this war against Syria. I was convinced that Assad was toast as were many other more qualified observes of this war. It did look like Assad was fated to end up like Khaddafi. You on the other hand saw that he would hold out. That does seem to be what we are seeing today.

Right now what we are seeing is that the Clinton/Obama policy of 'Assad must go' is in total disarray. It seems pretty clear that the rebel positions just north of Damascus and in Homs cannot be defended. Once those positions fall, the war will move north and the most likely outcome will be thousands of rebels fleeing into Turkey. Those who have been terrorizing Aleppo will part of this route.

It seems totally nuts that Obama encouraged the rebels (i.e. foreign invaders) for so long and now that they are facing defeat has decided to withdraw US support. Just from an imperialist perspective: Why encourage and support those forces if Obama was unwilling to go all in and give them the backing that would be required for them to win the war? Whatever was going through Obama's mind it does look like he must realize that the whole adventure was a big mistake and is now willing to cut his losses. Without doubt, he may cut his losses but he has lost big. Iran, Russia and, of course Assad, are walking away with those loses.

I do not know how this will play out in the coming months. If Obama thinks he has to save face then there could be major escalation of US involvement in the Syrian war, but it does not look likely today.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 8, 2013 7:10:02 PM | 4

I think that Hezbollahs involvement is based on two factors. One, as publicly said, is Hezbollahs evident need to take care of Lebanon. The other one is a brilliant strategic conclusion addressing two issues:
- a clear message to israel and excluding a classical attack vector, namely, as has already happened, israel (and its thugs) using Lebanon as an entry and a pipeline for weapons and terrorists into Syria.
- the "bad guys" issue.
Being very much painted as bad guy, Assad and his peoples army have to act out of a crippled position so as to avoid "proving" the allegations. At the same time the other side is largely free to act in any really dirty, cruel and reckless way they please. There is basically no responsability because they are bad guys anyway and all their fukusi client need to do is making some political noise along the lines of not having known and of, of course, not supporting the bad bad guys (as opposed to the "good" bad guys) while sending them money and weapons covertly anyway.

Evidently it's next to impossible to win a de facto war when you are forced to be very careful and perfectly fair and correct while your opponents are free to maraude, mass murder and wanton kill, knowing well that the presstitutes will paint their mass murders as non-existing, false flag or, at the worst, as acts of desperation being cornered by the evil army while anything and everything Assads army does is painted as cruel and hitleresque.

While pro government and people Syrian militias have somewhat more room to maneuver they are also in danger of being painted as the "evil empires thugs" and counted as proof against Assad.

Hezollah, enjoying about the worst image anyone can have in zio controlled western media don't have those problems; they have nothing to lose, image wise, anyway. Actually - this possibly being strange humour - they can even *win*, considering that a bad image can be valuable in terms of psy warfare.
Short, if Hezbollah continues to succeed in supporting Assad, their anyway bad image (in the west) can't get any worse but it can add to their reputation locally and regionally.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 8, 2013 7:13:53 PM | 5

Some readers here may find this info very interesting...

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.ca/2013/06/israel-threatened-to-attack-syrian.html


it seems Israel threatened to attack Syrian forces at Queneitra on Thursday....


Posted by: Penny | Jun 8, 2013 7:18:04 PM | 6

I'm going to take these assessments cautiously.

McClatchy's "still streaming in" is based on reports from:
-- Elizabeth O’Bagy, a college student who moonlights for neocon Kim Kagan's ISW. O'Bagy has been an apologist for the anti-Syria fighters, as in her FP piece a year ago "Disorganized Like a Fox." (She's referring to the dis-organized opposition.)
--"the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition research center in London" which of course is merely the Coventry clothier as a cover for CIA/M16 propagandists. This report makes a big deal about two thugs placing a black flag on a phone pole in Aleppo: --> posted a video from Aleppo on its Facebook that purportedly shows members of the Nusra Front, a fighting group manned in large part by non-Syrians, replacing a Syrian revolutionary flag with the black flag associated with their al Qaida-aligned movement. The Observatory noted that “local civil activists have voiced much anger as a result.”
--Aaron Zelin from WINEP, an AIPAC propaganda arm. --“I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll see higher flows, especially after the statement of Qaradawi.” -- I really care if Aaron is surprised.
--Charles Lister, from Jane's, --said he’s noticed an unusual spike in the number of deaths of foreign fighters; six were reported on just one day earlier this week. Wow. Imagine that. I guess that proves "streaming in."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 8, 2013 7:18:20 PM | 7

We don't have evidence that Hez played a decisive role in Qusayr. I've seen only the SAA in photos.

Al-Monitor:

Sources in Qusair insist there were efforts to hand over the city and save it from the final assault. Lebanese journalist Mohammad Sahili revealed, "An agreement was about to be reached with Free Syrian Army Aleppo Cmdr. Abdul Salam al-Okeidy, but things changed at the last minute." According to Sahili, "The rebels were divided over the plan," and time was passing quickly.

The attack started abruptly and came from three sides, preceded by heavy artillery and rocket bombings. "There were so many shells that some hit one another," said an activist who fled Qusair to neighboring Dabaa.

"We turned a blind eye to provide an exit for the armed opposition and their families toward the village of Dabaa," said Alaa who lost four of his group members during the attack on Qusair. He elaborated, "We knew they'd leave if they had the chance and they didn't miss it; the attack started at 4 a.m. and by 6 a.m. it was over."


Then the SAA went after them.
WaPo, Jun 7
Government forces faced little resistance Friday as they took control of the villages of Salhiyeh and Masoudiyeh, just north of Qusair, activists and the state news agency SANA said. On Thursday, the rebels also lost control of the nearby village of Dabaa.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 8, 2013 7:29:34 PM | 8

2nd try

for those interested. it seems Israel threatened to attack Syria on Thursday

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.ca/2013/06/israel-threatened-to-attack-syrian.html

Posted by: Penny | Jun 8, 2013 7:34:50 PM | 9

I remember when George Bush the Elder was running for president, the discussion on whether he had "big mo" (momentum) or "little mo." President Assad now has big mo, with no organized opposition.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 8, 2013 8:03:07 PM | 10

The talk about the Aleppo force seems to be planted to exaggerate the Hizbullah "threat" in a renewed media campaign to get more weapons

More weapons, more radical sunnis to make up for the numbers lost in Qusair and, perhaps, to force an EU decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation - which the British Government is now pushing. I'm not sure what difference the latter could make, but there will be a motive for pursuing it.

@7, Don: This BBC video shows Hezbollah fighters in Qusair (skip to 1min 25)unless the yellow ribbons are a fashion statement. Difficult to prove the extent of their role, though.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 8, 2013 8:03:30 PM | 11

(Btw - The ammunition for General Idris' 120mm mortars seem to come from Israel.)

Imagine my complete non surprise at that. Seriously, just imagine it?


"The regime cannot win. But the opposition can lose."

What does that even mean?
It sounds like one of those empty platitudes
It's meant to 'sound' good when read, but it is devoid of any sensible meaning.

Is the implication that even if the opposition loses the regime does not win?
The next question is well then who would?
If not the regime, who would be the winner?
Would the Syrian people win?
A hollow statement to summarize a pretty shallow piece. IMO
One has to ask how do they conclude the piece in the manner done
when above the so called conclusion this is written

"If the strategic equilibrium that has emerged since November 2012 tips further, it will be a decisive shift in the regime’s favor."

I still cannot rule out a US 'lead from behind' intervention.
Dependent on many factors, one being economic


Posted by: Penny | Jun 8, 2013 8:05:48 PM | 12

Reportedly only 120mm flare rounds were found.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 8, 2013 8:50:48 PM | 13

We don't know how the US shift to Saudi Arabia support, from Qatar/Turkey, will affect the opposition fighters (particularly in the north) or even if it will affect anything, since the U.S. has little control.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 8, 2013 8:53:52 PM | 14

Israel threatened to attack Syria on Thursday

Friday is a big news day. They would never threaten to attack earlier in the week or on a weekend. Regarding tweets, they peak on Thursday and Friday, and retweets on Friday as seen here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 8, 2013 9:02:23 PM | 15

'Tunnels, IEDs factory, field hospitals then mass graveyards are some fingerprints of NATO sponsored terrorists and death squads they plant wherever they want to ‘democratize’. Initially they create terrorist groups under names inspired from the region targeted, then wreck havoc and commit mass killing then they go in to eliminate the terrorists as they ‘care for humanitarian suffering’. Sounds familiar? In Syria it didn’t work for them the way they wanted, and Syria could be the last time they attempt to impose the R2P act ‘Right to Protect’ in the United Nations as all their lies were exposed thanks only to the bravery and steadfastness of the Syrian people and their amazing Syrian Arab Army in addition to the hundreds of Syrian activists whom voluntarily jumped in to assist defend their country.'
http://www.syrianews.cc/mass-graveyard-qussayr-homs/

Posted by: brian | Jun 8, 2013 9:49:47 PM | 16

4) of course support is withdrawn now, we do not want these people in our countries ...

NOW: Most European countries have restricted visas for Syrians, fearing that they may seek asylum within the European Union. Does Russia have the same policy?

The article quoted is useless but the question is revealing.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2013 9:51:52 PM | 17

@7 'Sources in Qusair insist there were efforts to hand over the city and save it from the final assault. Lebanese journalist Mohammad Sahili revealed, "An agreement was about to be reached with Free Syrian Army Aleppo Cmdr. Abdul Salam al-Okeidy, but things changed at the last minute." According to Sahili, "The rebels were divided over the plan," and time was passing quickly.'

someone tell Almonitar that there are no 'rebels' just foreign insurgents serving GCC-USrael interests

Posted by: brian | Jun 8, 2013 10:06:55 PM | 18

Posted by: Richard W. Crews | Jun 8, 2013 4:55:21 PM | 3

as am american subject your influence on US policy is zero

Posted by: brian | Jun 8, 2013 10:08:43 PM | 19

Moon,
I would love to hear your speculations about the long term strategic situation in the Middle East now that Hezbol. and Syria have established a functioning military alliance. Hexbol. has established itself as a very effective military organization for traditional war in the 2006 33 day war with Israel and now as urban fighting force. Combine this with Syria's formidable forces, I would think that Israel is pretty much in Check if not Checkmate. So too NATO.
Best
TomV

Posted by: TomV | Jun 8, 2013 10:09:57 PM | 20

As reinforcement for b's "Hizbullah's Involvement Is Limited, " we have Hassan Nasrallah's May 25 speech. To save you from wading through it I have excerpted three key graphs:

Well, this exists now in Syria. Now I will say our vision clearly on which we build our acts and deeds. We consider that the takeover of these groups on Syria, or on a number of Syrian provinces especially these bordering Lebanon pose a great danger on Lebanon and the Lebanese and not only on Hezbollah or the Shiites in Lebanon. That poses danger on Lebanon, the Lebanese, the Lebanese state, the Lebanese resistance, and common existence.

I have evidence on that. I am not unfairly accusing these groups. In case these groups took over the provinces bordering Lebanon, they will pose threat to the Lebanese whether Muslims or Christians. When I talk about Muslims, I mean Sunnites, Druze, Shiites, and Alawis. So I do not mean the Shiites only.

So we are not approaching the issue from a Shiite or Sunni perspective as some try to accuse us. We are rather approaching the issue from a perspective from which we see Muslims and Christians alike threatened by this current, mentality, and Takfiri project that is creeping to the region. Here I am telling you. This project is funded and backed by America because this is what remained for it to destroy the region and thus to take over it again before the awakening of the peoples, the up-rising of the peoples, and the wills of the peoples.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 8, 2013 11:09:20 PM | 21

18) Israel is in a complete dead end as a political entity. They might survive as an US military asset though I do wonder about its usefulness to the US.

There is no political solution for Israel based on international law they can survive with. And the US is not strong enough as a backer to force a solution against international law.

The interesting - and strategically meaningful issue, is which way Turkey and Egypt will go. I assume that the US has found out that supporting the Muslim brotherhood does not work for them. I do wonder what supporting occupy in Turkey will mean for occupy in the US - things are so connected nowadays :-))


Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2013 11:59:32 PM | 22

see what I mean?

What happened?

The fire was too well contained. The government and police kept the rest of the people too afraid; too blind, ignorant, apathetic; sitting at home watching so-called reality TV. And the Occupy movement never quite reached the critical mass that was needed to affect real change in this country or in the world.

Here's hoping we haven't missed our chance!

Thankfully, brave men and women in Istanbul have taken up the mantle. Apparently, they will not tolerate the same kind of government abuse that Americans only complacently turned their eyes away from.

Will the Occupy movement ever return to the US with the kind of support that it really needs to thrive? Will it be a long journey of small steps of reform? Or will revolution be the only solution to our societal woes? Perhaps only time will tell.

Or perhaps we're now looking to Istanbul to lead the way.

or this here for Europe:

Erasmus students for occupy gezi

It has some potential. Summer holidays have not started yet.

But seriously, occupygezi is the first single issue(s) movement uniting political enemies from left to the extreme right. They unite against construction planned without consent of the local population, a sellout of national resources, police oppression and manage to keep everything else (lifestyle, ideology, religion, worldview, class) out of the equation. The concept has quite a future.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 9, 2013 12:12:08 AM | 23

@ToivoS #4--

"It seems totally nuts that Obama encouraged the rebels (i.e. foreign invaders) for so long and now that they are facing defeat has decided to withdraw US support. Just from an imperialist perspective: Why encourage and support those forces if Obama was unwilling to go all in and give them the backing that would be required for them to win the war? Whatever was going through Obama's mind it does look like he must realize that the whole adventure was a big mistake and is now willing to cut his losses."

Arguably, this goes back to 2001 when, under G. W. Bush the US committed its future to provoking and winning resource wars. This may have seemed a stupid course to commit to, but--remember Dick Chaney's phrase "the American way of life is non-negotiable"--the alternative was not attractive to US planners. So they launched their wars to grab resources, though with a bit less success than they had hoped. Come summer of 2008, the color revolution in Georgia has succeeded and the US has decided to back its new puppet against South Ossetia (and Russia). Georgia sits right on the Russian border so obviously the Russians are deeply upset. But what will they do? What can they do? Heretofore the Russians had seemed almost helpless in defending against hostile activity this close, but they surprise the US by going in with main force. The US-trained Georgians are no match for the Russians, and now the question is what will the US do? The US had counted on the Russians capitulating and now there is no back-up plan, no feasible, modest escalation to bring the situation back into US favor. Eschewing a jump to global nuclear war, the US abandons its ally, and the Russians wisely content themselves with the gains (freedom for the Ossetians) they had publicly affirmed.

The fact that the US had to abandon its ally made this a sharp and significant strategic defeat.

Now, five years later, the overall strategic approach of the US is unchanged, even as several wars have been more or less lost. The psychological cost of a more sensible policy is still just too great. Iran is still a target, and thus Syria is a target, being in the way. So the US launches an operation in Syria modeled on what it did in Libya. Will it work? Libya worked (seemingly). Again, much depends on the Russians, and how important they view this. It is not as close to their borders, and yet the strategic effect on them would be great. Oddly, although Obama often acts like he has no thoughts of his own, it is wise, not crazy, to refrain from committing heavily to a long-shot gamble as wild as this Syria venture. It makes sense to try a little venture first, and see how it goes. Well, it is going badly, and the Russians--for a variety of reasons--see this as very important to them, have already made major commitments, and are making more. Meanwhile, like in the Georgia War the US does not have the means to make a modest but effective escalation.

Sacrificing the invaders is a small thing: They are not even a country. Dishonorable, yes, but the US has already done much worse, very publicly.

--Gaianne

Posted by: Gaianne | Jun 9, 2013 1:05:38 AM | 24

report from qusair
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=511653112217574&set=vb.177828522266703&type=2&theater

Posted by: brian | Jun 9, 2013 2:08:07 AM | 25

HEZBOLLAH ORDERS HAMAS TO LEAVE THE SOUTH AFTER THE ARREST OF THEIR FIGHTERS IN AL-QASEIR !!!

A source has said that Hezbollah was shocked and stunned when it was discovered that most of the Terrorists arrested in the City of Al-Qaseir had originally trained in their camps and camps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be part of the Al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of the movement) in the Gaza Strip."

According to the source, these armed men are behind the astonishing creation of the network of tunnels which have been discovered in Al-Qaseir and the surrounding villages, which had been trained by Hezbollah in the techniques for use in the Gaza Strip on the borders with Israel, and not for fighting the Syrian Arab Army ..

The source added that Hezbollah Command gave the order for Hamas to leave, as a new serious security dimension and not only politically, and instructed "Hajj Wafic Safa the security official in Hezbollah, to inform the Hamas elements the decision of the party, which means that Hezbollah became seriously concerned with their presence, in which security has become seriously threatened by Israeli or semi- Israeli penetrations (from Israel's allies in the region, such as Jordan and Qatar), especially since the party's bitter experience in the past, when Investigations proved the involvement of elements of the security apparatus, Khaled Meshaal, in the assassination of Hezbollah's Military Commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus on February 12, 2008 after a breakthrough by Jordanian, Israeli and Saudi Arabia Intelligence ...

THE CORRUPTED TRAITORS OF HAMAS, HAVE OBVIOUSLY KNELT TO THEIR MASTERS ISRAEL A LONG TIME AGO, IF THEY ARE CONSPIRING AGAINST THEIR OWN PEOPLE, THEN WHAT'S LEFT TO SAY ABOUT THEIR UNFORGIVABLE TREACHERY OF SYRIA AND HEZBOLLAH ..

OUT HAMAS, BACK TO YOUR MASTERS ISRAEL, THEY WILL TURN ON YOU AGAIN SOON WHEN THEY ARE FINISHED WITH YOU, AND WE WILL BE WATCHING ... - J
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=466074876817367&set=a.199427616815429.47604.177413945683463&type=1

Posted by: brian | Jun 9, 2013 2:56:15 AM | 26

24) I am not sure who lost whom, as the US does not seem to have any client in Syria left. I find this new Quatar/Muslim Brotherhood versus Saudi/liberal forces idea quite hilarious.


Posted by: somebody | Jun 9, 2013 3:06:15 AM | 27

I believe, like the Hizbullah sources, that the Syrian army can win the battle for its country.

Yeah, that's right. Only it won't be a complete victory. There'll be lots lots of al-Qa'ida left hanging round the countryside, setting bombs outside mosques, when the faithful come out of prayers. Very difficult to eliminate entirely.

And the other point is the attitude of the Asad clan. If they're going to be punitive, the war could go on. They need to hold out a hand, to make peace. But they aren't really known for their generous political gestures.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 9, 2013 3:14:35 AM | 28

"The regime cannot win. But the opposition can lose."

This recalls one of Jeff Huber's insights on Pen and Sword.

So we’re in a contest to see if we have the will to stay in a country we don’t belong in longer than the people who do belong in it, and we’re committed to an objective that can’t be achieved because there’s nothing in Afghanistan to actually win. This follows the prime directive of the Long War policy; we can’t win any of our wars, but since the loser decides when the war is over, we can’t lose as long as we don’t quit, and since the other guys can’t quit, our wars can go on forever.

Posted by: Bob Jackson | Jun 9, 2013 4:35:18 AM | 29

And the other point is the attitude of the Asad clan. If they're going to be punitive, the war could go on. They need to hold out a hand, to make peace. But they aren't really known for their generous political gestures.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 9, 2013 3:14:35 AM | 28

r u kidding? who do you think is attacking syria? not mother teresa

'punitive war' there was none before the FSA invaded...alexno i suggest you go back to Langley

Posted by: brian | Jun 9, 2013 5:47:30 AM | 30

These must be confusing times for Mr Alexno:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/bashar-assad-issues-amnesty-decree-for-criminals/

Syria’s embattled president, Bashar Assad, issued a general amnesty for criminals Tuesday ahead of the country’s holiday marking the anniversary of the 1946 withdrawal of French troops.

According to the state-run SANA news agency, “President Assad has issued decree number 23, granting a general amnesty for crimes committed before April 16, 2013.” It added that “Syrians who joined a terrorist organization will only have to serve a quarter of their sentences.”

Under the decree, “the death penalty will be replaced with a life sentence of hard labor,” the agency said in a statement.

“The decision does not apply to those who avoided conscription,” the text added.

Assad has issued several pardons, including for those convicted of acts against the state, during the two-year crisis, usually ahead of national holidays.

Syria’s uprising began in March 2011 and has since turned into a civil war that has killed over 70,000 people, according to the UN.

On Wednesday, the pro-regime Syrian channel al-Ikhbariya is due to air an interview with Assad at 21:30 pm local time (18:30 GMT). The privately owned channel published a photo on its Facebook page showing the president seated in an office with two journalists.

In an interview earlier this month with a Turkish TV channel, Assad accused his neighbors of stoking the revolt against his rule and warned they would eventually pay a heavy price.

“We are surrounded by countries that help terrorists and allow them to enter Syria,” he told the Turkish TV station Ulusal Kanal.

“Everybody knows that if the disturbances in Syria reach the point of the country’s breakup, or terrorist forces control Syria … then this will immediately spill over into neighboring countries and there will be a domino effect that will reach countries across the Middle East,” he said.

AP contributed to this report.

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Jun 9, 2013 6:16:34 AM | 31

Don Bacon @ 15

"Friday is a big news day. They would never threaten to attack earlier in the week or on a weekend. Regarding tweets, they peak on Thursday and Friday, and retweets on Friday as seen here."


Friday is a 'big news day'?
Friday is a news day that most people ignore because 'everybody is working for the weekend'

And because Friday is a big news day Israel would never threaten to attack?????

Why?

FYI: Israel has attacked Syria twice. One mid week. One on the weekend
Regardless of the tweets from twitter

As for 'tweets' how is that relevant to the subject Israel threatened to strike Syria

Posted by: Penny | Jun 9, 2013 7:56:16 AM | 32

Penny, that big news is released on Friday has been going on for some time now for the very reason you mention.

the PTB have to release unpleasant (for them) news in order to be able to control the narrative and timing. If they release the info it allows them to put the proper spin on it and keeps others from breaking perhaps more accurate information that they would then have to defend or explain away. the first thing people hear is often what they remember and subsequent details are usually ignored.

so, you release it on Friday. corporate media takes the weekend off and by Monday, it is old news.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 9, 2013 8:54:53 AM | 33

@ 26 brian

On the betrayal of Hamas Qassam Brigade

A source has said that Hezbollah was shocked and stunned when it was discovered that most of the Terrorists arrested in the City of Al-Qaseir had originally trained in their camps and camps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be part of the Al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of the movement) in the Gaza Strip."

According to the source, these armed men are behind the astonishing creation of the network of tunnels which have been discovered in Al-Qaseir and the surrounding villages, which had been trained by Hezbollah in the techniques for use in the Gaza Strip on the borders with Israel, and not for fighting the Syrian Arab Army ...

This would be truly shocking if after Hezbollah helped train the Qassam brigade of Hamas, they turned around and helped the FSA fighters in Qusayr. This all goes back to last years split where Hamas decided to be sponsored by Qatar instead of its traditional sponsor Iran. At the time a lot of fighters in the military wing objected that while Qatar had money it would not be able to offer the same level of advanced weapons and training as Iran does.

It led to a split between Hamas political wing led by Meshal (recently photographed at a gym in Qatar) and the military wing (Qassam brigade) that was reluctant to leave the Resistance Axis. Three days ago The Angry Arab posted the most recent news:

Only the Qatari-funded, Al-Quds Al-`Arabi, has reported extensively on a growing rift in Hamas between the Mish`al cash leadership in Qatar and the Qassam organization in Gaza. The paper reported that the Qassam commanders wrote to Mish`al strongly protesting the statements by Qaradawi and calling for a public rebuke. They have also, according to the paper, reaffirmed their alliance with Hizbullah and Iran.

If these reports from Qusayr are true the Hamas military wing should stage a coup against the political wing (or the "cash leadership" as angry arab calls them). Sending the best Palestinian fighters away from the Israel front just to save the face of Qatar is treasonous. If Meshaal likes Qatar so much he should stay there. Qassam brigade controls the guns in Gaza city and who controls the guns controls the city.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 9, 2013 8:58:54 AM | 34

dan of steele

while I do appreciate your response. It neither answered the question I asked of Don Bacon or informed of something I did not already know.


Here is what Don Bacon said, quoted verbatim

"Friday is a big news day. They would never threaten to attack earlier in the week or on a weekend. Regarding tweets, they peak on Thursday and Friday, and retweets on Friday as seen here."

In response/retort to the quoted sentence above his statement in #15
Israel threatened to attack Syria on Thursday

As i pointed out Israel has already attacked Syria twice
once on a week end and once on a mid week day
I am really not that sure Israel concerns itself with the news cycle.. as the news or what passes for it is so skewed to Israel's advantage or point of view

Hopefully Don Bacon can clarify his statement
And thanks again

Posted by: Penny | Jun 9, 2013 10:05:27 AM | 35

re 31 These must be confusing times for Mr Alexno:

Don't be naive, HH, Bashshar's relatives are not very nice people. They could wreck a reconciliation effort, whatever Bashshar himself says. After all, if Bashshar had been able to implement his policies when he came to power 10 years ago, this war would never have happened. Most of the Syrians I know are afraid of the Mukhabarat, and of being slung into prison, whether they are for the regime or against it.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 9, 2013 11:00:31 AM | 36

@brian#26:

Since Hezbollah runs a tight ship information-wise, any statement from an unnamed source should be treated with caution (otherwise, it might be "Dani" from Lebanon). Even so, Hamas has shown strong solidarity with its MB allies through much of the Syrian conflict. Its media outlets, like palestine-info.co.uk, report about the Palestinian refugee camps only from the perspective of the rebels. Some of the refugee camps, like Yarmouk, have been divided since early in the conflict with Hamas members aiding and fighting along with insurgents. (Other Palestinian refugee camps, seeing what has happened to Yarmouk, have formed popular committees to keep insurgents from gaining a foothold in their camps).

Even so, outside of Hamas support with propaganda and activity in Palestinian refugee camps, I had not heard of Hamas involvement directly in the Syrian conflict. Of course, individual Hamas members might have responded to the calls of radical clerics in Tripoli, Saida or elsewhere, but it would be another order of involvement if Hamas has been sending in brigades to Syria.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 9, 2013 12:29:38 PM | 37

@24 "The fact that the US had to abandon its ally made this a sharp and significant strategic defeat. "

Absolutely. That tiny war will definitely make it into the history books as the geographic peak of US-NATO-Israel alliance. And of course as the symbol of Russia's recovery from the hell and humiliation of the western-imposed economic and social disaster of the 1990s.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 1:54:12 PM | 38

This may be slightly off topic, but I think the Syrian war might also put the stake into the heart of the whole "Shia vs. Sunni" nonsense - at least in those rhetorical terms.

The fact that many Sunnis stayed loyal to the Syrian secular government is big, and will presumably get a bigger voice in Syrian government. As long as Assad avoids retribution (which he seems to be doing - lowering the sentences of Syrian-born rebels) then likely Assad will have shown the Muslim world that a secular government can overcome the "schism" propaganda. Add to this Nasrallah's very measured statements: he clearly wasn't calling for an anti-Sunni war, he made clear that the fight against Israel trumps the Sunni/Shia conflict. And though may be wrong about the connotations of "Takfiri", it seems clear that when he makes the battle about them it means a battle not against the Sunnis as a whole, but against the intolerant among the Muslims.

It was never a "Sunni vs. Shia" conflict. It was the just the Shia being attacked ruthlessly and sadistically by a small group of well-armed (and likely, if the 1980s and 90s count, CIA trained) psychopaths. In response the Shia had no choice to retaliate, but it was centered around their death squads (also US-trained, hmm....) going after al Qaeda as opposed to the wholesale terror tactics that were visited on their community. Of course, many innocent Sunnis were probably killed during this period which lead to tensions (tensions in fact that became the basis for the "Sunni/Shia conflict" propaganda)... but that only benefited who again...?

Against the US/Israeli policy of divide and conquer, the Syrian state is now an even more dangerous example: a secular, battle-hardened state in which Sunnis-and-Shia came together to fight against the REAL anti-muslim apostates, the Takfiris, the West, and Israel. This can be a rallying point.

Of course the most insane Sunnis will never stop with the terrorism based on clan. But at least the rest of Islam can now see the Sunni/Shia conflict can now be seen for what it is - regular Muslims who want peace and security and tolerance within Islam vs. a small but well-funded bunch of Western-backed death-worshippers.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 2:19:27 PM | 39

Nato's hired killers are busy in Golan still.
Attacking reporters now.. and more
like how 'bout that fence in Golan?

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.ca/2013/06/natos-mercs-attack-russian-journalists.html

Posted by: Penny | Jun 9, 2013 2:30:05 PM | 40

@somebody #27--

A good, though different point. The US assumes it can create puppets at need, but sometimes, as in Libya, the assumption fails. I agree that it is failing in Syria as well.

--Gaianne

Posted by: Gaianne | Jun 9, 2013 4:22:49 PM | 41

@ guest77 #38--

Yes, but those history books won't be written by Americans.

Our history books will be more vague and self-justifying.

--Gaianne

Posted by: Gaianne | Jun 9, 2013 4:28:28 PM | 42

There's a fresh report that the leader of the Alk-Tawhid brigade, AbdulKader Saleh, who was recently with brigade members in Qusayr, has been killed in Aleppo, the brigade base. It needs to be verified.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 4:51:12 PM | 43

@ guest77 #39
Against the US/Israeli policy of divide and conquer, the Syrian state is now an even more dangerous example: a secular, battle-hardened state in which Sunnis-and-Shia came together to fight against the REAL anti-muslim apostates, the Takfiris, the West, and Israel. This can be a rallying point.

Excellent. You and Ayatollah Khamanei agree (a good thing). I think that Iran and Russia will push your argument, because it is theirs too.

But I would add that it hasn't been "Shia vs. Sunni" nonsense in Iraq, it has been real, which is the U.S. doing as I have posted previously (Samarra). So that makes Syria more remarkable, if Assad sustains his government.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 4:57:26 PM | 44

Hizb is participating in "North Storm" operation check yellow ribbon on shoulders of some soldiers.

Posted by: sajid | Jun 9, 2013 6:43:59 PM | 45

"After all, if Bashshar had been able to implement his policies when he came to power 10 years ago, this war would never have happened."

This is not an altogether outlandish statement, alexno, but it does not take into account the longstanding US plan to change the regime. In recent years we have seen a series of provocations designed to soften up Syria: the killing of Hariri and subsequent attempts to frame Syria for it was just part of a series of actions designed to weaken and divide the government.

As to the harshness of the baathists this cannot be understood without bearing in mind the constant subversion and pressure from the US-Israeli axis which force the government to be constantly on guard, not against paranoid suspicions but against real threats, from well armed and financed terrorists.

It is disingenuous to argue, as the feckless are wont, that the current situation in Syria began with liberals protesting for constitutional reform. Those involved knew better: from the first this was a movement co-ordinated with imperialist aggression. It is a movie we have seen many times in recent years and all involved were aware of the parts they were playing, the scripts they were reading from and the names of the co-producers in Washington and Europe.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 9, 2013 7:04:36 PM | 46

The US, possibly recognizing the error of its ways including the ill-advised invasion of Iraq, and its losses there, settled on a new strategy for the Middle East in 2005-2006. This new strategy included a shift to increased promotion of Sunni governments in an era of Sunni-Shia conflict.

First came the bombing of the Al-Askaria Mosque, under US aspices, in Samarra, Iraq, February 2006. The destruction of the Askariya Mosque, a symbol of Shia-Sunni brotherhood, sparked a civil religious war. President Bush said that the bombing "was clearly aimed at inflaming sectarian tensions."

Seymour Hersh wrote about "The Redirection" in a New Yorker article, Mar 5, 2007.

In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The “redirection,” as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.


This is what makes a reading of guest77 #39 so important.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 8:16:52 PM | 47

Mr. Hersh also had this jewel in his article.

The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” separating “reformers” and “extremists”; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were “on the other side of that divide.” (Syria’s Sunni majority is dominated by the Alawi sect.) Iran and Syria, she said, “have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 8:20:44 PM | 48

Over the past few days Al-Quseir has been proclaimed a notable victory by several top Syrian government officials including the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defense. I do not agree because (1) many rebels were able to withdraw from Quseir in the end without getting killed or captured, (2) there is no assurance that the security forces will be able to maintain security in Quseir in the long term if the rebels choose to go back to Quseir to subvert security again in the future, and (3) it's really only Quseir.

On 3 Jun 2013 Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said that in Quseir "the bandits [are] encircled in several city districts" and "the Syrian army is finishing a counter-terrorist operation" (ref). That's what everybody else thought too, on 3 June. On the night of 4-5 June the rebels successfully withdrew from Quseir. They announced their withdrawal early on the morning of 5 June. Later in the day of 5 June the Syrian army published an acknowledgement that a substantial number of rebels had had an "escape" and had "fled al-Qseir" (ref). Bashar Assad said on 17 Apr 2013: "It is inaccurate to talk about liberated areas, because we are not conducting military operations to liberate lands. We are in the process of expunging terrorists, and there’s a big difference between the two cases. If we do not eliminate the terrorists, it is meaningless to liberate any areas in Syria. By understanding this point, we can understand what is happening on the ground." (ref). I agree with Bashar's point. It follows for me that Quseir is nothing to boast about. In fact, Quseir on the night of 4-5 June seems to me to be yet another failure by the Syrian security forces in their fight against the bandits.

PS: As linked to by Don Bacon #8, one report from on the ground in Al-Quseir indicates that the rebels on the night of 4-5 June were able to flee to the village of Dabaa, and on 6 June they were able to flee from Dabaa to places further afield.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 9, 2013 8:37:45 PM | 49

@44 - Glad to know I'm not off in the wilderness then. You are of course right that the Sunni/Shia conflict in Iraq was a fabrication fed by the US - and on both ends.

Consolidating these gains against al Qaeda and extremism will be important. If Syria can survive, then Iraq should follow its' example. The recent mixed Shia/Sunni pronouncement against the recent bombings is a good step in the right direction.

The real test for the powers not wedded to the violent al Qaeda ideology: Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah, Iran for sure - and with Turkey (depending on how humbling the protests against Erdogan will be) and Egypt (mired in a political and economic morass) sidelined - will be to go after the gulf dictatorships who are funding these psychopaths.

The US of course holds all the military cards. Best outcome would simply be to sit back as we are doing and let the cannibals get crushed in Syria and Iraq. The question remains of course, just how much are we - supposedly its greatest enemy due to 9/11 - wedded to the al Qaeda ideology...?

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 8:57:07 PM | 50

@Parviziyi #49

Qusayr is important, and something for Syria to boast about, not only because it was a military defeat of its enemy in a strategically-located city, after the opposition had called for reinforcements and the enemy was boasting about prevailing, but also because of its propaganda value of victory at a time of an upcoming peace conference when the military and political opposition is in complete disarray.

A troubled country beset by powerful forces can't do better than that.

al akhbar

. . .After the fall of the city into government hands, the opposition admitted defeat and published the names of 431 fighters they said died in the battle.

More reliable opposition sources, however, put the number at over 1,200 dead and 1,000 injured. Al-Akhbar also learned that Hezbollah and government forces managed to capture around 1,000 fighters, including a number of female Chechen snipers and an Australian national, among others. As for Hezbollah, estimates are that it lost 93 fighters, with dozens more injured.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 8:58:14 PM | 51

@48 - My god that women had lies and duplicity coming out of every hole in her head.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 8:58:59 PM | 52

The Qusayr win for Syria has caused both the political and military sides of the opposition to say that they won't attend any peace conference.
George Sabra: "What is happening in Syria today completely closes the doors on any discussions about international conferences and political initiatives."
General Salim Idris: "If we don't receive ammunition and weapons to change the position on the ground, to change the balance on the ground, very frankly I can say we will not go to Geneva."

They're just poor sports, if you ask me.
Aleppo is next -- that'll be a shock.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 9:09:46 PM | 53

Last summer, Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, predicted Bashar Assad's regime would soon collapse. But this summer the agency instead believes the Syrian rebels are in trouble, as reported 22 May 2013 at http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/german-intelligence-believes-assad-regime-regaining-lost-power-a-901188.html

That nugget of news reaffirms my longstanding attitude that the foreign affairs establishment in Germany is just as stupidly prejudiced and blinkered as in America, France or anywhere else in the West.

But more to the point, the above nugget falls into a pattern I've come across elsewhere a number of times over the past couple of months and I want to talk about. The following is another version of it. The following is a false claim. As you read it, I invite you to ask yourself what's the basis for saying it is false.

Syrians have undergone a change of heart over the last six months. The change is seen most in the majority Sunni community, which was long thought to have supported the revolt. “The Sunnis have no love for Assad, but the great majority of the community is withdrawing from the revolt.... The people are sick of the war and hate the jihadists more than Assad.... Foreign fighters who are sponsored by Qatar and Saudi Arabia are seen by the Sunnis as far worse than Assad.”.... After two years of civil war, support for the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad is said to have sharply increased. http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/05/31/nato-data-assad-winning-the-war-for-syrians-hearts-and-minds/

Fact: The majority of Sunni Syrians did NOT support the revolt during its first year in 2011, nor during 2012. The turnout at anti-government street protests in 2011 was very small in relation to the whole Sunni population. Syria's two largest cities Damascus and Aleppo are both overwhelmingly Sunni and the turnout rates for protests in those two cities was paltry and miniscule in relation to the cities' population sizes. Meanwhile the turnout at parliamentary elections in May 2012 was pretty large in relation to the whole population (Sunni or not: 51%), and so was the turnout for the referendum on the new Constitution in February 2012 (57%). The Syrian business community, i.e. the managers of the larger private enterprises, is overwhelmingly Sunni and has been overwhelmingly pro-government throughout these last 26 months. The great majority of the Sunni clerical leadership (the mosque imams and muftis) has been pro-civil-process, anti-unconstitutional-process, anti-militant, and essentially pro-government. A Sunni cleric who is pro-civil-process is not the same thing in principle as one who is pro-government, but it is essentially the same thing in practice. The Syrian army is mostly Sunni and the army's rate of soldiers defecting to the militant opposition has always been smallish.

Regarding the Sunnis who favoured an unconstitutional overthrow of the government in 2011, nearly all of them are still in favour of the same in 2013.

Those apolitical Sunnis who didn't have an opinion about the political issues in 2011 were nevertheless against violence, mayhem and civil war in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Some observers in Western countries are today imagining that the Syrian government is going to emerge intact because the Sunni Syrians have had a change of mind. Those observers are misinformed about the political landscape in 2011 and 2012. There has been essentially no change in the percentage of Sunnis who support the government, and no change in the percentage who at least oppose violent overthrow of the government and support Constitutional political processes.

The main political opposition in Syria is the militant opposition. Any and all non-militant opposition factions have vanishingly small and feeble political support among the masses. The militant opposition must be defeated and exterminated by the army. The army has been unsuccessful in doing this vital job so far -- and that is the main problem in Syria, as I see it.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 9, 2013 9:26:31 PM | 54

The US did a similar divide-and-conquer operation twenty years ago in Yugoslavia. The "massacres," the stoking of hatred, all the same.

Robert Baer, former CIA agent

The propaganda was aimed to divide the republics and to ensure that the states are separated from the mother of Yugoslavia. We had to choose a sacrificial lamb that could be blamed for everything. Someone who would be responsible for the war and the violence. Serbia was chosen because it is in some ways the successor of Yugoslavia.

Yes, from 1992 I was in Bosnia again, but this time we had to train military units representing Bosnia, the new State which only just declared it’s independence. Srebrenica is an exaggerated story, and unfortunately many people have been manipulated by it. The numbers of the people killed…these were all part of the political marketing.

Simply the deaths in Srebrenica were due to the Bosnians, the Serbs and the Americans, us! But the blame for everything is laid at the feet of the Serbs.

Everything is clear, people who had quietly instigated the war and loudly shouted about the peace are now the owners of the companies that exploit a variety of mineral resources and the like in that land!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 9:33:01 PM | 55

US close to deciding on arming Syrian rebels: Report

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-close-to-deciding-on-arming-Syrian-rebels-Report/articleshow/20515248.cms

"U.S. officials said President Barack Obama was leaning closer toward signing off on sending weapons to vetted, moderate rebel units."

Well of course we all know this is completely impossible. So the President has either been hoodwinked or he knows full well that he'll be arming al Qaeda. Perhaps he subscribes to Mr. Lindsey Graham's "we can deal with them later" philosophy? When "later" is, I'm not sure. After the next 9/11 perhaps?

"It's unclear what American action would mean for relations with Russia, which has provided Assad with military and diplomatic support even as it claims that it is working with the United States to try to organize a Syrian peace conference."

Even as it claims? Oh lord, AP.

Of course sending weapons to the falling back rebels will not bring peace to Syria. Without a no fly zone - which appears out of the question - it will not even ensure a "rebel" victory. It will just prolong the bloodshed. That much a child could see.

If the foreign jihadi invaders refuse engage i peace efforts, then their lack of goodwill is clear, and the US should just assign them to the fate they've chosen. Will it? I guess the coming days will show if the US is a force for real peace or just an outside meddler intent on continuing the mayhem.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 9:41:06 PM | 56

Like the US (CIA) hasn't been providing arms, the operation that resulted in Ambassador Stevens' death.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 10:16:50 PM | 57

Prepare the surrender documents for the peace conference.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 10:20:17 PM | 58

President Hamid Karzai is in Doha for an Islamic Conference, and he gets it.

The Voice of Russia

Karzai: Did 'War on Terror' encourage radical Islam?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Sunday the Muslim world was "in turmoil" and wondered whether the "war on terror" led by the United States since 2001 was to blame for the radicalisation.

Addressing a forum on relations between the US and the Muslim world in Doha, Karzai declared: "The war on terror as it began in 2001 and moved forward until today has not been a happy one."

"Have we succeeded in the war on terror?" he went on.

"Did we address the sanctuaries of terrorism? And by waging this war on terrorism, have we brought less radicalism to the Muslim world, or caused more radicalism?"

The Afghan leader said: "Today, the Muslim world is in turmoil from Pakistan up to Nigeria," and stressed: "In my view, the West as led by the US needs to explain itself to the Muslim world."

"If things have gone wrong, action must be taken to correct ...," Karzai said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 10:51:52 PM | 59

guest77 (50)

The US of course holds all the military cards.

Is that so?

zusa has been involved early on (if they didn't start the Syria crisis in the first place). They have sent people, material and weapons/ammunitions into the theater and they have made deals with gcc regimes.

And so far they've lost.

Why didn't they simply send their "superior" military, why did they play the cards they alledgedly hold in a way so as to lose since 2 years?

Let's be frank: the americans do not hold the cards. Nor do they have the means, the money, or the power to control or dictate the events.

This can be verified quite simply; Assad has (re) gained power, Russia has gained respect and series of political success, Hezbollah was victorious - while zusa increasingly lost face, influence and respect.

In zusa bridges are collapsing, there is a shooting every week, federal agents go against local sheriffs and vice versa, and even their own soldiers and spies can't be counted on any longer.

The question remains of course, just how much are we - supposedly its greatest enemy due to 9/11 - wedded to the al Qaeda ideology...?

That's an easy one. How about "zusa payed and employed them in the 80ies and ever since".

Talking about terrorists: The really important question (for zusa) is whether they are capable to break free from aipac and israel and take care of the immense trouble they are in and let the Arabs take care of the israeli terror regime, or whether zusa will perish along with their terrorist "friends".

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 9, 2013 11:29:57 PM | 60

@Mr. Pragma#60, The problem -Arabs dont like/trust other Arabs and it's Ababs in bed with Israel against 'other' Ababs/Syria. So what 'Arabs' are you meaning?

Posted by: kev | Jun 10, 2013 12:12:10 AM | 61

Alexno, I spent a couple years in Syria. I did not see even one secret police. I did not walk around in fear of anyone in the government. My only problems were with taxi drivers who tried to overcharge me on the fair. As a dual Syrian and USA citizen, I will tell you I felt just as free in Syria as I did in Fairfax county Virginia. Actually, I could tell you plenty of stories of how the Police in Northern Virginia treat the local residents.

My experience is first hand, not from so called Syrians that probably never had any real contact with Syriian govt.

By the way, I am not afraid to use my real name on this blog. Maybe, I am being naive, huh?

Posted by: Hilmihakim | Jun 10, 2013 1:04:52 AM | 62

kev (61)

While you are quite probably right we must also see that the degree of problems between Arabs (term *very* broadly applied, incl. e.g. Iranians) is very much influenced by external, in particular zusa/zio influence.

Iran (largely Shia), for instance, has not started a war for > 250 years against any (Sunni or other) nation. Syria has been quite peaceful for a long time although there are different groups living there. I dare to say that even today most Sunnis wouldn't hunt and kill Shias and vice versa, which actually is a very different reality from what western presstitute propaganda suggests.
It's simple: They want and need peace - the west needs them to hate and fight each other or to least push this image into peoples minds.

The image created (and cited here by you) can be shown false quite easily. Why did they need to send (and pay) terrorists from diverse, partly quite far away regions if the Arabs dislike each other so much?

On a cynical sidenote it might be interesting to notice that americans always *hype* about (invented) terrorists from (preferredly Muslim) abroad while actually they kill each other without any outside "help".

To put it bluntly: Once israel has been taken care of and zusa has *officially* broken down (de facto they already are bankrupt in more than a financial sense) the major part of hatred between diverse muslims groups will be gone or on a quite low level.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 10, 2013 1:11:59 AM | 63

That nugget of news reaffirms my longstanding attitude that the foreign affairs establishment in Germany is just as stupidly prejudiced and blinkered as in America, France or anywhere else in the West.

I have been saying this since the troubles began, NATO/ZUSA underestimated Iran's counter intelligence skills. Add to ZUSA a FZUSA, F standing for the Federal Reserve, most of the traitors in Syria were paid for by monopoly money printed by the FED! See Aleppo!

Posted by: hans | Jun 10, 2013 1:22:18 AM | 64

@Mr. Pragma#63, Forgive me, but to a ‘regular’ white guy, its perplexing –It’s like a Mensa question (Below and my own creation for discussion and irony sake) and your point seems to have logic, remove the thorn, but the branch has many, and the tree has many branches - I see it like this; “Who is the enemy, is it China?, No! that was this morning, and at 3 PM, get a grip boy”.

As Mensa would see it;

Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs but a majority of Arabs are Muslims, and many non-Muslims are Arabs. But there are more non-Arab Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia than there are Arab Muslims. Given not all Arabs hate Jews, and not all Muslims hate Jews, and not all Jews hate Arabs and Muslims – but Arabs and Muslims have a dislike of and distrust for Jews, and vice-versa.
With an outcome like this: Given the above, who is the most hated;

A. Persians
B. Westerners
C. Africans
D. Palestinians
E. Chinese

Note: The percentage of hate crimes motivated by religious bias more than doubled, from 10% in the 2003-2006 period to 21% during 2007- 2011. At the same time, hate crimes motivated by racial or ethnic bias dropped from 64% to 54% over the two periods. The researchers did not offer reasons for the changes, but the rise in religiously based hate violence may be related to the fairly dramatic rise in Islamophobia in recent years.

In that, all I have stated is garbage, but it’s fitting all the same- All I am is an outsider trying to look in and thinking humanity is screwed!

Posted by: kev | Jun 10, 2013 1:40:28 AM | 65

@ Parviziyi, you are totally right in #54, but I dont agree with #49.

"(1) many rebels were able to withdraw from Quseir in the end without getting killed or captured"

Terrorists died: 1300+, injured 1000+ and surrendered ~1000, thats 3300 disabled terrorists out of 5000+, not a small number by any means. A lot were killed while getting in or out during blockade, though not the last wave. My guess is, SAA allowed them to leave (maybe even made a deal and gave few hours headstart), because its much easier to kill them outside of the city instead of entrenched in fortified positions, plus less destruction on the city itself.

"(2) there is no assurance that the security forces will be able to maintain security in Quseir in the long term if the rebels choose to go back to Quseir to subvert security again in the future"

Syria is quickly expanding NDF forces for exactly that purpose - to secure liberated areas, this frees SAA. Plus Hezbollah is present, or just an hour away if needed. Its no longer cat and mouse game as it was in the beginning. If enough of fortified NDF present, it will be very hard for terrorists to take over the town again. They would have to pull their dwindling forces from all over Syria, making it even easier for SAA to exterminate them.

"(3) it's really only Quseir."

No, its a gateway for terrorists from Lebanon. Its a massive military and moral victory, hence waterfall of crocodile tears from every "friend of Syria".

Posted by: Harry | Jun 10, 2013 6:45:49 AM | 66

(2) there is no assurance that the security forces will be able to maintain security in Quseir in the long term if the rebels choose to go back to Quseir to subvert security again in the future"

go back from where?

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 8:59:20 AM | 67

@54
'Last summer, Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, predicted Bashar Assad's regime would soon collaps'

so wrong twice": that the syrian govt would collapse and that there is a thing called the 'Bashar Assad's regime'

someones gonna be disappointed

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:00:54 AM | 68

PS: As linked to by Don Bacon #8, one report from on the ground in Al-Quseir indicates that the rebels on the night of 4-5 June were able to flee to the village of Dabaa, and on 6 June they were able to flee from Dabaa to places further afield.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 9, 2013 8:37:45 PM | 49

what 'places further afield'

and there are no 'rebels'..there are foreign jihadis who have been told by the media and persons like this:
http://www.timesofisrael.com/arm-rebels-or-risk-genocide-in-syria-pleads-uk-jewish-mp-who-held-meetings-with-assad/
they are fighting an evil regime

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxgFR9vYSmY‎

the reason we see any jihadi activity in syria at all ids almost entirely due to foreign media(aka BBC aljazeera NTY Boston globe alarabiya; and foreign politicians etc lying 24/7 about syria and Assad.

and people on this sit arent exactly helping the syrians by using the same language

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:06:13 AM | 69

@34 @37

'It led to a split between Hamas political wing led by Meshal (recently photographed at a gym in Qatar) '

id say thats a yes!

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:08:49 AM | 70

US close to deciding on arming Syrian rebels: Report

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-close-to-deciding-on-arming-Syrian-rebels-Report/articleshow/20515248.cms

etc

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 9:41:06 PM | 56

imagine if this read:

US close to deciding on arming islamic terrorists: Report

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-close-to-deciding-on-arming-Islamic-terrorists-Report/articleshow/20515248.cms

but then thatd be as likely as US or india actually become real democracies; and the media telling the truth

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:11:20 AM | 71

@24 "The fact that the US had to abandon its ally made this a sharp and significant strategic defeat. "

Absolutely. That tiny war will definitely make it into the history books as the geographic peak of US-NATO-Israel alliance. And of course as the symbol of Russia's recovery from the hell and humiliation of the western-imposed economic and social disaster of the 1990s.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 1:54:12 PM | 38

US has no 'allies' only interests!

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:12:41 AM | 72

Syria’s uprising began in March 2011 and has since turned into a civil war that has killed over 70,000 people, according to the UN.

On Wednesday, the pro-regime Syrian channel al-Ikhbariya is due to air an interview with Assad at 21:30 pm local time (18:30 GMT). The privately owned channel published a photo on its Facebook page showing the president seated in an office with two journalists.

In an interview earlier this month with a Turkish TV channel, Assad accused his neighbors of stoking the revolt against his rule and warned they would eventually pay a heavy price.

“We are surrounded by countries that help terrorists and allow them to enter Syria,” he told the Turkish TV station Ulusal Kanal.

“Everybody knows that if the disturbances in Syria reach the point of the country’s breakup, or terrorist forces control Syria … then this will immediately spill over into neighboring countries and there will be a domino effect that will reach countries across the Middle East,” he said.

AP contributed to this report.

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Jun 9, 2013 6:16:34 AM | 31

there never was an 'uprising' let alone any 'civil war'. and TimesofIsrael is no more honest media than the BBC or CIA

AP contributed.,.,.which part did they contribute? are they any humans at AP or Times?

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:15:15 AM | 73

@48 - My god that women had lies and duplicity coming out of every hole in her head.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 9, 2013 8:58:59 PM | 52

she make a good journalist

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:17:51 AM | 74

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 9, 2013 9:33:01 PM | 55

i guess Mr Baer plans on entering Holy Orders and has to make a clean breast

Posted by: brian | Jun 10, 2013 9:19:08 AM | 75

re 62.

Alexno, I spent a couple years in Syria. I did not see even one secret police. I did not walk around in fear of anyone in the government.

Obviously you had a nice time in Syria. So did I, and so did my daughter who was there for a year. However, native-born Syrians don't talk in the same way. They don't want to provoke the Mukhabarat. One of my students was in prison for several months last year, for something that wasn't his fault. And he is not opposed to the government.

On the other hand, I don't want to exaggerate. Nevertheless, there is going to have to be a certain changing of spots, if Asad and co are going a to make a go of bringing peace to Syria.

More likely, as I said, is that the government will win the war, but there will be a very high level of residual incidents - al-Qa'ida bombs all the time - and a low level of security, and indeed of government control over the country.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 10, 2013 11:08:51 AM | 76

@Mr Pragma - from an earlier comment I made and you responded to re: the S300 Sam system. To lot of us "natives" - Russia not completing a simple arms contract to a soverign nation looks bad. Why can the USA sell whatever it wants and deliver it to the petrocacies in the Persian Gulf and Isreal but Russia cannot do this with her customers, e.g. Syria and Iran. Whilst I understand what you are trying to say, I and others dont like the way Russia is been with arms deal - its almost like they are holding out waiting for the West (read:USA) to offer them something juicy in return to cancel the deal (like they DID with Iran).

This reminds me of the deals Nasser/Sadat made with the USSR in the early 1970s to get advanced weapons from Moscow. After a long meeting with Brezhnev - the Soviets agreed to send the Mig-25 to Egypt, along with advisers and SAM systems to protect them -BUT they wanted this to be a secret and for Egypt not to tell the world as Moscow was worried about the reaction from USA. What the Russians did'nt realise was Washington was busy signing multi-billion dollar contracts to supply the Shah of Iran with all sorts of advanced weapons. When the Russian's arrived in Alexandria - instead of keeping a low profile, they were openly wondering round showing locals and foreigners the Russians had arrived! When an Egyptian diplomat asked what the hell is going on to the Russians, they said oh dont worry we dont need to keep shuush about it, as the yankees have announced they will be arming the Shah - so they cant say anything to us for arming you!!

Posted by: Irshad | Jun 10, 2013 11:46:53 AM | 77

The taking of Qusayr cuts off an anti-Syria supply route, and on the flip side facilitates Syria logistics from Beirut and up the Bekaa Valley via Baalbeck to Qusayr as seen on this map.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 11:52:40 AM | 78

@39 and 44
Whilst I generally agree with the gist of what you are saying, I view what is happening in Syria is a battle between "Universal Islam" Versus "Sectarian Islam" - the former standing for peace and security for all people in a country regardless of sect or belief, where the priority is on socio-economic development and the latter to be one of death and destruction, with no socio-economic development for the general people, and the number 1. priority been the implementation of a fanatical/literallist interpretation of shariah on the masses - similar to what the Talban had in the 1990s.

Ay. Khameni calls and called for Muslim unity, Seyyed Nasrallah defined Muslims as "When I talk about Muslims, I mean Sunnites, Druze, Shiites, and Alawis." (quoted from Don@21). Juxtapost that with the recent announcements by Mr Qaradawi and the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia (see article on Al Arabiya) against shites and Iran. The latter never uttered such words in the defense of Palestinians! (but goes to show his govt. and his brand of Islam (wahabism) is comfortable with Isreal and not with fellow Muslims). This all poses a bigger threat to US allies in Saudi, Qatar, UAE, Kuwaut, pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, India, etc. as locals (Sunnis & Shiis) in each country kill and destroy each other thereby weakening those govts and regimes. Iran has to stay out of this and watch them reak havoc on each other and keep on calling for "Muslim unity". Only those who promise peace, security and order will prevail - which will be Iran and the axis of Resistance. The Middle East and Asia needs peace and stability for development to make the lives of the people better NOT more wars, death and destruction.

Posted by: Irshad | Jun 10, 2013 12:05:55 PM | 79

@57 Don: Very true, you're right.

Though certainly there would be a qualitative difference between funneling existing Libyan weapons to the cannibals and sending state of the art weapons like US manpads?

I mean, if the US makes an official announcement, it would be a more meaningful development.

@60 Mr. Pragma:

Well, you're also right, but I still don't feel that this is over. We seem to be in a spot where the Syrian government and Russia appear strong. My worry though is that the West still haven't played all of their cards.

And if their goal is not to "win" but simply to keep Syria in chaos, then that is likely very achievable.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 10, 2013 1:03:42 PM | 80

The Obomber administration seems to be about to start arming the insurgents directly, see http://news.antiwar.com/2013/06/09/officials-obama-close-to-arming-syrian-rebels/
It is just amazing what a rogue country ZUSA is... what's more, it's IsraHell's bitch and most americans ain't even aware of it. Disgusting. While America goes bankrupt, millions of americans on food stamps and all, the US government, whose executive and legislative have been bought by special interests, particularly by the zionists, will waste money sending weapons to continue to destroy a country and kill people. I'm convinced that this war is mostly a war for Israel, like Iraq was. Sure, each player has its own goals, say prince porky of Catar and Turkey want to see the iranian gas pipeline project fail and so on, but I believe the main shakers and movers behind this conspiracy to destroy Syria to be zionists.

Posted by: Luca K | Jun 10, 2013 1:13:07 PM | 81

@ guest77 #80 "Though certainly there would be a qualitative difference between funneling existing Libyan weapons to the cannibals and sending state of the art weapons like US manpads?"

It works both ways. FSA/Nusra already used some of West/arabs weapons against their masters, like Turkey. Imagine civilians planes dropping in the West from US manpads, if terrorists didnt liked some West decision?

Then we have SAA taking over a LOT of terrorists weapon caches, they can very easily turn US supplied weapons against West as well. Or supply to those who will.

Bottom line: outside of direct intervention, there is little West can do what they havent done to Syria before, and while better weapons could increase Syria's loses, greater loses will happen for the West/arabs too.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 10, 2013 1:27:58 PM | 82

So the battle for Aleppo is taking shape and the Syrian Army is pushing forward. I cannot understand the logic behind this, or am I missing something?

As one report observes:

Rebels in the city also seemed more focused on resolving day-to-day issues rather taking the fight to Assad.

This would account for why help never came for the militants in Qusair. Fellow militants are more concerned with controlling their little piece of Syria. So why push into Aleppo? Or is the Syrian Army preempting any decision by the US Government to officially arm militants - cutting the supply lines to the city?

Is the SAA looking to relieve besieged positions around the city perhaps - freeing up numbers in the process? I don't want to think that this push is being driven solely on the confidence generated from their victory in Qusair.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 10, 2013 1:29:08 PM | 83

About terrorists loses in Al Qusair from SyrPer:

2,745 rodents killed in Al-Qusayr fighting
344 wounded
1,000 arrested (note that SyrPer told its readers that 800 had surrendered on the first day of the attack)
600 estimated escapees

http://syrianperspective.blogspot.com/2013/06/first-post-june-10-2013-syrian-army.html

4089 terrorists removed from the battlefield just in Qusair, massive blow to mercenary jihadists and their masters.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 10, 2013 1:34:32 PM | 84

From today's SyrPer (reposting since post is gone):

2,745 rodents killed in Al-Qusayr fighting
344 wounded
1,000 arrested (note that SyrPer told its readers that 800 had surrendered on the first day of the attack)
600 estimated escapees

4089 terrorists removed from the battlefield just in Qusair, thats a massive loss to jihadi mercenaries and their masters.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 10, 2013 1:37:23 PM | 85

Irshad (77)

I feel that your post shows one reason for you seeing it the way you see it; you imply Russia today acting basically the same way the Sowjets did.
Don't get me wrong, you have your reasons to do so and I'm not going to call you plain wrong.

There are, however, very major differences (on which I will not elaborate here).

I'd like to invite you to focus on a different but immensely important point:

When Pution came to power, i.e. when Russia's modern existence really began, what was the situation? Because *that's* the basis from which Putin had to act.

At that time zusa was the undisputed superpower, Russia was basically laying there torn apart and in pieces, and zusa and oligarchs de facto ran and controlled the country.

Assume - and looking at him proves it - Putin was opposed to zusa being the superpower in a monopolar world, what could he do, which way could he chose to change that?

He had but one possibility. He had to rebuild his country (as well as its widely destroyed industry) quietly, looking friendly and smiling politely. And that's what he did.
When zusa/zato broke every major contract signed he could and did but grumble a little - and then he continued to rebuild his country even more decidedly.

His next step (in regard to zusa/zato) were actions that aren't visible and probaly won't be for some more decades. But rest assured that he did whatever he could do clandestinely against zusa/zato.
The americans are primitive and loud. When they kill a mosquito they and their presstitutes celebrate and blast it all over the planet; that does not mean, however, that the lack of noise in and around Russia equated to a lack of acivity (and successes) ...

Now fast forward to Iran.

First, missiles and AD systems are, like all weapons, a means to an end. You see that gain in Syria; it's basically quite meaningless whether those systems are physically there or not as long as the adversary must calculate as if they were (or could very quickly be brought) there.

Second, Iran has made tremendous progress. Actually they themselves said more than once that they have developped a system with capabilities very close to S-300.
Now, shipments of multiple batteries of S-300 are visible. Shipments or hand-outs of critical technical information are not ...

Third, Iran *has not been attacked*. I love Iran and have the greatest respect for that wonderful nation and the Iranians but I won't deny (but rather welcome) that they provoked zusa multiple times. A while ago a friend of mine said "The Iranians are pissing right into zusas face" and I smiled warmly.
Yet, Iran *has not been attacked*.

So, maybe Russia didn't ship those S-300 systems, yes. But then, until now Iran didn't need them either.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 10, 2013 1:52:49 PM | 86

@Harry #84
link to SyriaNews here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 3:04:38 PM | 87

@ brian #72--

"US has no 'allies' only interests!"

True. But an empire does not maintain its "interests" by losing territory and influence.

--Gaianne

Posted by: Gaianne | Jun 10, 2013 3:10:11 PM | 88

Unfortunately, the US too often works against its best interests while dumping allies.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 3:23:45 PM | 89

@ Harry #66, #84 : I believe the number of armed rebels in Quseir at any time during the past year was nowhere close to the 5000+ figure that you believe. Of course I don't have a quantitative basis for putting a number on it, but I've seen videos from Quseir when the rebels were in control there. I'm confident that if the rebel numbers were in the thousands I'd have seen the signs of it in the videos. I remember seeing videos from rebel-held Quseir this time last year during the ceasefire plan that Robert Mood's team was monitoring. That was at the time when the armed rebels in Homs City had recently withdrawn from Bab Amr and many of them had moved down the road to Quseir (or up the road to Rastan), and the Syrian army was complying with a rule that the army was not to enter populated areas (though the town quickly became largely depopulated after the rebels moved in in April 2012). The largest visible arrays of rebels I've seen in Quseir I saw then, sometime early last summer. I've watched videos from Quseir intermittently in the year since. I've never seen the hallmarks or telltale signs of thousands of rebels. So I can't believe anyone who delivers a figure of thousands of rebels and does not deliver dependable evidence to support it. If you've seen a video from on the ground in rebel-held Quseir that directly or indirectly supports a figure of thousands of rebels, I'd be interested in seeing it. I presume you haven't seen one and with that presumption I believe the number was less than a thousand (but not much less).

I said you didn't deliver dependable evidence. I'll add you didn't deliver any evidence of any kind, and not even a source for where the numbers came from. The link (thanks to Don Bacon) says "figures were released... 2,745 rebel fighters were killed". Release by whom? Not by the Syrian security authorities, I presume, because they don't publish estimates of rebel fighters killed in general, and to a large degree they are unable to make estimates, in general. See the following page for fighting details and notice that numbers of killed are almost always absent: http://www.documents.sy/news.php?lang=en There is reliable info like that info, but there is no reliable info about numbers. When the army shells a location, it generally does not know how many people at the location are killed. It doesn't know it on the day of the shelling nor does it find out on some later day.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 10, 2013 3:26:27 PM | 90

In continuation of #89, the link at #83 is saying the figure of 2,745 rebels killed in Quseir is coming from the Syrian ministry of defense. But that link doesn't provide a link to where it got that info. I'm dubious about the authenticity of the claim that the Syrian ministry of defense had published this. It'd be inconsistent with the ministry's usual practice. The ministry does not have a good basis for estimating number of rebels killed, and knows it doesn't, and normally doesn't do it, and especially it couldn't give an estimate to the precision of 2,745 instead of 2,750 or 2,700 or 2,800. In the unlikely event the ministry has actually published it, then I'd be dubious about its correctness.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 10, 2013 3:53:53 PM | 91

No need to worry about those human heart-eating fundamentalist cannibals anymore. They're no longer related to al Qaeda. HOW VERY FUCKING CONVENIENT.

Al Qaeda cancels merger of Iraqi, Syrian factions

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/304497-al-qaeda-cancels-merger-of-iraqi-syrian-factions-

But growing divisions between al Qaeda's Iraqi cell and al-Nusra's senior leadership, as well as the Sunni opposition groups that make up the majority of the Syrian rebel forces, forced al-Zawahri to take action, according to Reuters.

Defense Department and U.S. intelligence officials have been wary of infiltration of anti-Assad forces by JAN fighters and other militant groups — with the support of AQI — into the Syrian opposition since the early days of the uprising.

Those concerns have been the major roadblock in possible U.S.-led efforts to provide small arms and heavy weaponry to anti-Assad forces, due to fears those weapons could end up in the hands of al Qaeda fighters.

But as the civil war in Syria enters its third year, congressional pressure on the Obama administration to provide military support for the rebels has ramped up significantly.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 10, 2013 4:14:26 PM | 92

Date 10 Jun 2013: "Artillery bombardments take place on positions of Free Army militia in al-Zabadani and Jeroud towns of Damascus countryside and no human casualties were recorded." Source: http://www.documents.sy/news.php?id=7369&lang=en . A note about the interpretation of that sentence: It is not intending to say that no human casualties occurred. When the Syrian army bombards a position of the rebels, the army records that it has done so, but it generally does not record human casualites. The army has the information to record its own actions, but normally does not have the information to record human casualties. Sometimes it is able to observe that human casualties occurred, but not the number of the casualties.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jun 10, 2013 4:43:28 PM | 93

Guardian, May 8

Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra. -- FSA commanders say that entire units have gone over to al-Nusra while others have lost a quarter or more of their strength to them recently.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 5:53:23 PM | 94

@92

LOL. They'd never do that after we vet and arm them though....right?

*crickets*

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 10, 2013 6:31:00 PM | 95

The FSA units will have to sign a document affirming that they will never lend, sell or otherwise part company with their M60 machine gun or other weapon, and also they will never defect, singly or as part of a unit, to al-Nusrah, so help me allah. Or, as an alternative, they can have their picture taken with John McCain.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 9:15:10 PM | 96

And today at Foggy Bottom:

QUESTION: Well, are there any plans or – to raise the possibility of increasing your – increasing activity towards the Syrian opposition?
MS. PSAKI: Well, at the President’s direction, his national security team continues to consider all option – all possible options that would accomplish our objective of helping the Syrian opposition serve the essential needs of the Syrian people and hasten a political transition, which we talk quite a bit about. And a wide range of options have been prepared for the President’s consideration, and internal meetings to discuss the situation, which, of course, are routine, which are ongoing throughout last week, weeks ahead, of course.

So in terms of what they’ll be – I don’t want to get – I have nothing to announce for you. But we continue to look for ways, the President continues to look for ways, to help the opposition and increase aid, as we’ve talked about, and something we’re encouraging our allies around the world to do as well. . . the President has talked about how boots on the ground is not an option, as has the Secretary.


and the new spokesperson comes up with a new word, Psaki forsaking Nuland's "horrific" for "abhorrent" when conjuring up yet another "massacre."
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any numbers on foreign fighters. I can say that we do share, of course, the opposition’s deep concerns over the ground situation in Syria. Just this past weekend, there was an abhorrent massacre of at least 100 people fleeing Qusayr, including civilians. It’s heavy shelling clashes in the north, especially in the Aleppo suburbs, and the intense preparations for a siege on the city of Aleppo only reaffirms the urgent need for the international community to focus its efforts on doing all we can do to support the opposition as it works to change the balance on the ground.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 9:28:23 PM | 97

By the way, for you Nuland fans, President Obama said that he plans to nominate Victoria Nuland, married to historian Robert Kagan, as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs at State.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 9:34:34 PM | 98

@Don Bacon#96

Does the move count as a promotion, demotion or "being kicked upstairs?"

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 10, 2013 10:24:43 PM | 99

It's a PCS - Permanent Change of Stupid.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 10, 2013 11:33:38 PM | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.