Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 11, 2013

Syria: Turkey Blamed For "Regime Change" Failure

Ten days ago the Guardian was the first "western" media to report on a massacre U.S supported insurgents and terrorists had committed back in August in Syria's Latakia governate. U.S. media did not follow up on this. But now Human Rights Watch, a U.S. influenced para-government organization which has intensely propagandized against the Syrian government, is publishing a report on Executions, Unlawful Killings, and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside.

The fact that such a report is now published by HRW can be interpreted as a sign that U.S. policies on Syria are changing sides and will now, slowly slowly, turn against the insurgents and in favor of the Syrian government. While this will not yet change U.S. calls for "Assad must go" it is a significant change of the direction the winds are blowing.

This change is confirmed by other sources:

“I am beginning to think that the regime’s hardliners could win,” says the [European] ambassador [in Beirut], who maintains close contacts with sources inside the Assad regime and opposition forces. “They are turning the opposition into Al Qaeda and we are all playing into it. I hear this from my colleagues. The main fight now is against Al Qaeda, it's not against the regime."
We have maintained all along that the insurgency was never a "peaceful protest" but an organized attack of sectarian radical Islamists on the Syrian state. As the true picture of the insurgency is now filtering into the "western" public, only 36% blame Assad for the chemical attack on August 21, someone will have to be blamed for the change of direction.

The HRW report sets up Turkey as the guilty party:

Given that most foreign fighters in these groups reportedly gain access to Syria via Turkey, from which they also smuggle their weapons, obtain money and other supplies, and retreat to for medical treatment, Turkey should increase border patrols, restrict entry of fighters and arm flows to groups credibly found to be implicated in systematic human rights violations. [...]

The UN Security Council and Turkey’s allies should call on Turkey in particular to do more to verify that no arms are passing through Turkey to these groups.

A Wall Street Journal piece published yesterday also takes shots at the head of Turkey's intelligence service MIT for enabling the radical insurgents:
Syrian opposition leaders, American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats who worked with Mr. Fidan say the MIT acted like a "traffic cop" that arranged weapons drops and let convoys through checkpoints along Turkey's 565-mile border with Syria.
In meetings with American officials and Syrian opposition leaders, Turkish officials said the threat posed by Jabhat al Nusra, the anti-Assad group, could be dealt with later, say U.S. officials and Syrian opposition leaders.
Mr. Obama told the Turkish leaders he wanted a close relationship, but he voiced concerns about Turkey's approach to arming the opposition. The goal was to convince the Turks that "not all fighters are good fighters" and that the Islamist threat could harm the wider region, says a senior U.S. official.
Meanwhile the Syrian army has some further successes against the insurgents. The logistic corridor to Aleppo has been reopened, some more suburbs around Damascus have been cleared and the insurgency siege on a chemical facility has been broken.

Turkey will now be pressed to stop providing to the insurgency in Syria. Without the very significant steady flow of fresh fighters and ammunition coming through Turkey the insurgency will slowly be starved off. This while the international mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons continues according to the plans, without any trouble and with full support of the Syrian government. The flawless Syrian cooperation with the Nobel Peace Prize carrying OPCW enhances the Syrian governments standing.

The tide has turned and the earlier defamed international legitimacy of the Syrian government and President Assad is now on a steady rise. But Assad is right to be careful and to distrust any U.S. commitment:

Those who perceive that by abandoning our chemical weapons and signing the chemical weapons convention we have protected Syria from war are naïve because the US - with its history of aggression and destruction for decades, particularly after World War II - does not need pretexts. It can create new ones every day, and if it loses one pretext, it will look for another in different areas.

The destruction of Syria's chemical weapons was unlikely to change the "regime change" course of the U.S. government. The propagandists of the military industrial complex are still pressing for war. But the slow recognition that the only realistic alternative to the "regime" is an Al-Qaeda friendly broken state like Libya has become now seems to create a sufficient momentum to change Washington's course.

This may also be the sign of a much wider metamorphosis of U.S. interests which is driven by a change in the public mood and the U.S. "system's" opinion about a U.S. led global empire and the costs to achieve and maintain it.

Posted by b on October 11, 2013 at 8:00 UTC | Permalink


IMHO 'b' is too optimistic about it, I dont see any signs US doesnt want jihadists weaponized, nor any actual attempts to stop their and weapons flow to Syria. All Western anti-Al Nusra quotes are nothing more but PR. They are just distancing themselves from radicals in the eyes of the public and to limit liability. US could very easily pressure PGGC, Jordan and Turkey to stop this flow, they never did. On the contrary, CIA helped transporting thousands tons of weapons, which later "accidentally" ended up in jihadists hands.

Lets not forget, 90% of "rebels" are islamists, and the remaining 10% of "moderate insurgents" are headed by cannibal, ethnic mass murderers, kidnappers (including of UN peacekeepers), etc.

"slow recognition that the only realistic alternative to the "regime" is an Al-Qaeda friendly broken state like Libya has become now seems to create a sufficient momentum to change Washington's course."

Sorry but no. Subservient to the West islamists ruled failed state like Libya is the Plan A. Libya was a huge success in the eyes of neocons, cheap victory too. US wanted it all along in Syria as well. If country is destroyed but not subservient, its still not a failure for zionists and neocons. If Plan A didnt work, Plan B was a desirable goal too.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 11 2013 8:35 utc | 1

A small gift for you: Syria: One of the most important video clips that proves whoever supported the 'Revolution' was either stupid or a fool - The beginning as per an activist..

Posted by: Arabi Souri | Oct 11 2013 10:17 utc | 2

The Roving Eye underscores b's point.

The suggestion that both b and Pepe make, it seems to me, is that the tectonic plates are shifting underneath the diplomatic world.

It is always easiest to bet on the "no change" option, if only because big movements do not take place instantaneously. But it has become clear since (not because of but not despite of either) the Snowden revelations, the British Parliamentary vote on Syria and, most importantly, Russia's extraordinary "they shall not pass" decision when an attack on Syria seemed likely (and was widely held to be inevitable-America having spoken), that the unipolar delusion is passing like a cloud through the brightening sky.

The Cold War tensions could not be sustained forever, they lasted from 1947 until last month, but now a new age dawns and new possibilities open. Who knows, if people stop obsessing about the mirage of islamic terror that the Jabotinsky fascists have projected upon us, we might be able to think clearly about the importance of bee populations, the passing of the Arctic ice cap and the fact that we are now living, under constant surveillance (file these comments under anarcho-communism, officer) in a totalitarian state.

As we do so, we can consider the, not entirely coincidental, fact that the newspapers which have for so long imposed their advertisers world views upon society are melting away even more quickly than the ice caps that they ignore. Recently the Boston Globe, last bought for a billion dollars, sold for 50 odd million. The same thing has happened to the Philadelphia Enquirer. Will we miss their lies and warmongering?

Posted by: bevin | Oct 11 2013 10:27 utc | 3

Foreigners reportedly train #Syrian rebels in Afghanistan to use chem weapons - Lavrov

Posted by: brian | Oct 11 2013 10:56 utc | 4

Thanks for the very interesting links, b.

It is the logical outcome of stopping US Muslim Brotherhood strategy after Egypt's "popular army coup" and giving Saudi Arabia coordinating power.

This here is Turkey's president Gül conspiring with Rouhani

Gül is backed by Saudi Arabia and Graham Fuller's Gülen movement. (Graham Fuller is quoted in your "conflicts forum" link, b.)

So yes, Turkey (Erdogan, MIT secret service) is blamed for supporting the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

I doubt, Saudi Arabia will continue to finance a Syrian rebel army. Supposedly they are glad if Syria finishes them off for them.

As the challenges in Syria grow, there are fears in Riyadh that the war could drag on for more than a decade, draining Saudi coffers and destabilising the region. There are also concerns in Tehran that the proxy conflict between the two countries is getting out of control.

“Regional tensions will not ease if Iran and Saudi Arabia do not reach some kind of agreement over Syria and Iraq,” said one senior adviser to the Iranian government. “If such hostilities are not contained, Saudis will continue doing their best to sabotage any nuclear deal between Iran and the US.”

Oh, and for some reason Al Qaeda's Zawahiri stopped to be sectarian

and this here makes it sound as if the main fighting force now has no outside funding.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 11 2013 11:19 utc | 5

I'm wondering where this leaves Turkey's turkeys. Erdogan's deaf, dumb, blind and bribed credulous traitors and morons have proved to be even stupider than Yankees; by believing their own and EVERYONE else's bullshit including, but not limited to, the bs of FrUKUS, EU and "Israel".

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 11 2013 12:03 utc | 6

Interestingly, this article was written on August 29, 2013, just ONE week after the Chemical Attack in alGhouta when the US bullies were threatening the Syrian people with air strikes!!.. Israel and Qatar/ Saudi Arabia led GCC have been a united force behind the destabilising of Syria (with the help & blessing of NATO of course!);

"The twin crises in Syria and Egypt have marked the emergence of a new superpower coalition in the Middle East, the odd-couple alliance of Israel and Saudi Arabia, with Jordon serving as an intermediary and the Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms playing a supporting role.

The potential impact of this new coalition can barely be overstated, with Israel bringing to the table its remarkable propaganda skills and its unparalleled influence over U.S. foreign policy and Saudi Arabia tapping into its vast reservoir of petrodollars and exploiting its global financial networks. Together the two countries are now shaping international responses to the conflicts in Syria and Egypt, but that may only be the start."

Posted by: brian | Oct 11 2013 12:05 utc | 7

There's a cruel irony to Turkey's change of fortunes. No other country I can think of has bent over backwards (and forwards?) and jumped THIS high in order to please people, who don't give a flying fuck about Turks, as frequently as Turkey has.
And for what ... more humiliation?
Turks need to grow a spine and 'topple' Erdogan & Co, and rescue their pride.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 11 2013 12:18 utc | 8

CIA's "handler" in Hatay Province has a famous predecessor.

A certain "George Poe", is reported to be the leading CIA officer, or "handler", in Hatay province.

(Website, some months ago) (I cannot find the precise article)

Looking for George Poe on the Internet, I stumbled on Tony Poe, deceased 2003:

Tony Poe, alias Anthony Poshepny, dead 2003, was leader of the CIA "dirty war" in Laos:

"CIA operant Tony Poe was assigned as the chief adviser to Vang Pao and to supervise his secret army’s operations.

Poe promised Hmong soldiers one dollar for a Pathet Lao’s ear and ten dollars for a severed head."

"Poshepny grew angry at Washington's attempts to control his activities," Ehrlich wrote. "So he sent a bag filled with human ears to the US embassy [in Laos] to prove his guerrillas were killing communists").

For his troubles, Tony Poshepny won the Central Intelligence Agency's highest award -- a CIA Star -- from directors Allen Dulles, in 1959, and William Colby, in 1975."

Whether George Poe is a direct relative or not, he must know about the exploits and methods of Poe Sr.

His methods are strangely similar - organizing a local group into an army against a neighboring state, using all available possibilities of deceit.

A similar method of payment only for documented cruelties - is also used, here for cruelty videos.

If we look at his bag of tricks , they correspond:

- starting with an irregular guerilla (which operates against Geneva Conventions)

- trying to set up a puppet government, first in Homs, since Aleppo

- trying to attack the capital

- transporting weapons (like in Laos)

- committing massacres and ascribing cruelties to the opponent

So this strenghtens the suspicion that all these cruelties are planned from the same center - hence CIA responsibility for the massacres, destruction of cultural heritage and civilian property.

The brigades of the Free Syrian Army were started in July 2011 after David Petraeus' visit to Turkey, and are led by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood under Farouk Tayfur, who was involved in the wave of terrorism in the 1980s.

Posted by: observer | Oct 11 2013 13:29 utc | 9

@ 7.
Some "Superpower"...
The Saudis & "Israelis" would have to be the wimpiest warriors on the planet - closely followed by the balls-free zone known as the US of A. All 3 have the same terminal flaw - unjustified faith in mountains of (largely irrelevant) hardware.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 11 2013 14:03 utc | 10

Annex 3 of the HRW report is highly interesting.

Click me!

Posted by: g_h | Oct 11 2013 14:29 utc | 11

I can't but feel optimistic concerning the seeming u-turn the empire is making on Syrian policy, but I'm not fully convinced. Right now, in the US, the oligarchs are making a move on dismantling the social safety net. When that is settled, one way or another, I think they'll return their attentions towards globalization, and the push for regime change in Syria. We'll see.

Posted by: ben | Oct 11 2013 14:55 utc | 12

But Assad still must go. What will the Axis do? Too many eyes on the ME; a false flag op would be hard to miss. All this blather about Freedom© and Democracy™ has become thin gruel. But the US can't retreat; looting the rest of the planet keeps the hoi polloi in honey-garlic ribs and budweisers. It's becoming easier to imagine The Big Implosion in the Home of the Depraved.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 11 2013 14:55 utc | 13

I'm not too sure whether it's worth taking Zawhiri seriously, but if you do, you will find plenty to chew on in this latest communique (apparently it was issued on 9/11/13, but it has only now reached the outside world. I haven't been able to find a verbatim copy, but I have assmebled this paragraph by rearranging the segments of it quoted on al-Akhbar:

There are US collaborators ruling our countries whose local agents must be deterred, but it is different from one place to another. In principle, the conflict should not be with them directly, except in the countries where confrontation is necessary. Concerning Jerusalem, the main and primary confrontation is with the Jews. There should be patience concerning local rulers in the Oslo authority, as much as possible. The goal of the conflict in Iraq is the liberation of Sunni areas from the Safavi heirs of the US. In Algeria, where US presence is small and negligible, the struggle is against the regime, in order to weaken it and spread the influence of Jihad in the Islamic Maghreb, countries on the western coast of Africa, and Sub-Saharan countries. In Somalia, the struggle is with the collaborators, since they are the spearhead of the crusader occupation. Confrontation in Syria is with US collaborators who will not allow an Islamic entity to exist, let alone if it was Jihadi. Their bloody history in attempting to eradicate Islam is known and witnessed. Confrontation with the US puppets in Afghanistan is inseparable from fighting the US itself. And also in Pakistan, it complements fighting the US for the liberation of Afghanistan, then creating a safe region for Mujahidin in Pakistan, then attempting to create an Islamic regime in Pakistan.

A commentator at al-Arabiya makes an interesting point (interesting because it is definitely not in accord with Saudi policy to admit this:
This rhetoric aims to make AQ members and sympathizers feel secure after the death (official death – RB) of UBL. It also serves the US desire to maintain the presence of an ongoing permanent terrorist threat ... Hostility between AQ and the US must continue for the interests of both parties: enmity with the US serves the interest of AQ, and vice versa. It’s also important to invest in the state of chaos inside countries of revolutions. This achieves US & Israeli orientations in the region.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 11 2013 16:41 utc | 14

Reflecting on the above, it strikes me that having made the general statement that " In principle, the conflict should not be directly with the US collaborators ruling our countries, or their local agents," Zawahiri then goes on to list every major theatre of AQ activity except Israel/Palestine as one "where confrontation is necessary" with these collaborations and their agents. It is in addition nonsensical to say "the main and primary confrontation is with the Jews" but that "there should be patience concerning local rulers in the Oslo authority," since the purpose the "the Oslo authority" is to suppress Palestinian resistance against "the Jews." So clearly Zawahihi is not interested in causing any problems for "the Jews," and in general his whole statement is just flim-flam. To me, the whole keynote of everything that is happening remains as I described it a week ago: it's all about US deniability. From now on, every effort must be made to make it appear that AQ and the US are at daggers drawn, and to prevent the dangerous belief that AQ and the US are covert allies from expanding its hold any further. At the same time, while that is being dealt with in the subjective plane, the actual covert alliance must continue on the objective plane and indeed must be intensified, because AQ is now going to have to carry the main burden of fighting the Syrian government, as the FSA is collapsing and disintegrating, and the other islamist rebels are in a chaos of competing coalitions any or all of which may be contaminated by AQ links.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 11 2013 18:43 utc | 15

As widely reported on or about 25 Sep 2013 a statement was issued by a large alliance of Syrian Islamist rebel groups (including Liwa al-Tawheed, Liwa al-Islam, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Ahrar al-Sham Al-Islamiya), stating that they are fighting for a State with an Islamic framework based on Sharia law as the sole source of legislation, but the practical meaning of "Islamic framework based on Sharia law as the sole source of legislation" was left undedefined and undetailed. The following news article has details of what it could mean or may mean, sourced from unnamed rebel sources including Jabhat al-Nusra: (that's a machine translated English version with half-hearted human editing; the original article in Arabic is at dated 6 Oct 2013). Here's a couple of items from it: (1) Sharia law courts are to be the institutional foundation for the State, and the empowerment of the Sharia courts is to shift the State in a non-democratic direction, intentionally leading to a State where power lies with Sunni clerics who are not elected by the masses. (2) The leadership in the nation (Umma) is to be in the hands of Sunnis specifically; and non-Sunnis will not be legally able to have leadership roles in the nation; futhermore non-Sunnis will not be allowed to be members of the army; but non-Sunnis will be okay in other domains of life.


By the way the former Minister of Defense of Syria, General Ali Habib, did an interview a week ago with journalist Hussein Mortada. The retired general said: "We were brought up and graduated in the school of the late President Hafez al-Assad, who taught us loyalty to the homeland.... [The opposition against the Assadists] will neither deceive this great people [the Syrians], nor shake us from our will.... We have no alternative but [to fight for a total] victory."

Posted by: Parviziyi | Oct 11 2013 19:43 utc | 16

"At the same time, while that is being dealt with in the subjective plane, the actual covert alliance must continue on the objective plane and indeed must be intensified, because AQ is now going to have to carry the main burden of fighting the Syrian government, as the FSA is collapsing and disintegrating, and the other islamist rebels are in a chaos of competing coalitions any or all of which may be contaminated by AQ links."

No, Rowan, your Heath-Robinson (Rube Goldberg) explanation here won't wash. What you see is what you get: the Saudis have gone too far and are being thrown under the bus. Bandar is finished, thanks again to Vlad (the impaler of statesmen playing out of their league)Putin. And Binyamin is beginning to look a bit shaky too.

I'm not saying that Assad won't go, but if he does it will be to a very desirable place. And his replacement will be a reliable ally. It's 6-0 in the final set of the Damascus Open.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 11 2013 21:59 utc | 17

The Guardian wasn't the first western newspaper to report the Latakia massacre. The Daily Telegraph reported it within days so there was no excuse for the Guardian to wait two months.

Posted by: rob | Oct 11 2013 22:23 utc | 18

The HRW report represents yet another hurdle for the already reeling FSA. This is from the NYT story by Anne Barnard:

[A]t least 20 groups took part in the fighting, the report says, including some affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, the loose-knit collection of mainly Syrian rebel forces the council is trying to organize.

And in a video filmed nearby during the operation, Gen. Salim Idris, who leads the military council, is seen insisting that his forces played a leading role, in statements responding to criticism from Islamist groups that his fighters were hanging back. The report said it was unclear whether forces linked to General Idris took part in the initial Aug. 4 attack, when forensic evidence suggests most of the civilians were killed. But it also said that anyone continuing to coordinate with such groups could be complicit in war crimes.

At the time it seemed liked a pitiful attempt by the FSA commander to appear relevant to what actually happened on the ground. Now it looks like it will end up being a costly if not catastrophic blunder.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Oct 11 2013 23:07 utc | 19

#Syrian_truth #Syria #Idleb #Explosive #terrorists

Syrian Truth l Terrorist with Explosive-Laden Motorbike Carrying Bread Gets Busted in Kfarya, Syria
In the town of Kfarya located north of Syria's Idlib province, a terrorist was tasked with blowing himself up in an explosive-laden motorbike carrying bread in the midst of a crowd of people in order to pave the way for an attack by other militants who are supposed to follow the explosion in order to gain control of the town. However, the attempt failed after the town guards ambushed and apprehended him before he could detonate the bomb, which was dismantled by a specialized unit of the Syrian Army.

Source: Sama TV (Syria)

Posted by: brian | Oct 12 2013 0:11 utc | 20

The debt crisis in the USA is a ploy by the Elite to cut government spending on middle class entitlements. Simply, it is Neo-liberal austerity eating away at the Western economy by continuing resolutions But, the radical Republicans have left the reservation and doing there best to torch everything by crashing the federal government.

The Oil Sheik-Likud Alliance had assumed that the USA would bomb away, once again. Maybe, sometime in the future, but the incipient neo-bourgeoisie revolution is currently diverting DC’s attention away from the Middle East and more war.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Oct 12 2013 1:00 utc | 21

An interesting story, though not a new one:

Posted by: bevin | Oct 12 2013 1:01 utc | 22
The above video dated 2 Oct 2013 shows a gathering of different rebel brigades in Deir Ezzor province who have come together for an alliance ceremony. Nearly all rebel brigades in Deir Ezzor province are represented according to the alliance's dedicated Facebook page at . The alliance calls itself "The Army of the Sunni Community" (for the precise meaning of the Arabic phrase أهل السنة والجماعة see ref). So there you have it: practically all the rebels in Deir Ezzor are self-consciously calling themselves Sunnis and rallying under the banner of Sunni Islam.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Oct 12 2013 1:01 utc | 23

Another wishful and naive thinking, going against all logic and facts. Pepe should know better than that.

Iran and the US share the same interests in Syria

This claim couldnt be more ridiculous if one even tried :) Their goals are diametrically opposite, always there.

Washington and Tehran could enter a partnership to fight Salafi-jihadis

Pepe must have forgotten so many things:

* US many times used Salafi-jihadis before (including recent terror in Libya), and is using them again in Syria. Why on Earth would US fight its own useful idiots? US only fights jihadists when they are going against its masters interests (or they are used as a pretext for invasions).

* US not only have good relationships with Salafi-jihadis motherland - Saudis, but this brutal monarchy is subservient to US.

* US doesnt care who is in power in colonized countries - dictators or democracies, salafis or secularists, as long as they do as their master tells them to. Salafis serve Saudis, who in turn serves US.

If anyone is naive and prefer to imagine that Saudis are independent and working against US wishes with impunity, such people dont know neither geopolitics, nor history, even the most recent one. Salafis in Syria arent doing anything now what they havent done a year ago, and yet US recently forced Qatar to hand over all reign over terrorists to Saudis, hence the shift from FSA/MB to Salafis, and that was done with US participation and blessings.

Therefore anyone believing US wants to fight with Syria/Iran against salafis in Syria, are not just victims of US propaganda, but detached from reality.

The price of oil and gas from the Persian Gulf would go down

Thats not what US elite and oil corporations want, neither do PGGC. Nor Russia for that matter.

no more sanctions, the sky is the limit for more trade, investment and energy options for the West

yes, this idealistic scenario will happen as soon as pigs start flying :)

US could be released from its self-imposed strategic dogma of depending on the Israeli-Saudi axis.

Sure, US will also be released from dependency on petrodollars and go bankrupt, followed by change of government system to deny zio influence :))

Posted by: Harry | Oct 12 2013 5:30 utc | 24

There must be a reason why so many people, as indicated by the inflated rhetoric of 'bevin', have fallen for the instant arab sunshine recipe. But we shall see.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 12 2013 6:23 utc | 25

Posted by: Parviziyi | Oct 11, 2013 9:01:57 PM | 22

they were never anything other than sunni...stupidly helping the zionist master plan at divide and conquer

Posted by: brian | Oct 12 2013 7:00 utc | 26

talking Turkey: Turkeys big lie: denies to HRW, terrorists are stationed in turkey and using it as a base to attack syria

Posted by: brian | Oct 12 2013 9:46 utc | 27

23) there is a realignment.

The air raids struck the town of Safira, on the edge of a sprawling military complex believed to hold chemical weapons production facilities, after overnight clashes between rebel fighters and Assad forces in a nearby village, activists said.

The army has fought hard to retain control of the Safira military complex and is now trying to recapture the town from rebel brigades including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Unless they succeed in pushing those fighters back, any attempt by the OPCW experts to visit Safira would be risky.

"Right now it would be impossible with the clashes and the air strikes, especially as there is a strong presence of the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, who don't believe in anything called the international community," said Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu appealed on Wednesday for temporary ceasefires to allow the mission to operate safely in conflict areas, but Abdulrahman said the Nusra Front and Islamic State fighters would not respect calls for a halt in hostilities.


A statement issued by the OPCW and United Nations on Friday said the mission has made "good progress" verifying information submitted by Syria and that material destroyed so far included munitions and chemical weapons production equipment.

A Western diplomat in the Middle East who is following the process said the cooperation shown by authorities would need to be reciprocated by rebels in the form of unhindered access to sites in conflict zones and complete safety for their work.

"There are clear signs from the joint team in Syria that the government is delivering on its responsibilities," he said. "However divided the opposition might be it would look very bad if the government were seen to cooperate fully while inspections were held up because of problems with the opposition."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 12 2013 11:12 utc | 28

above quote is from Reuters

The narrative in Syria is not as simple as a country’s oppressed majority fighting against an authoritarian regime. Extremist elements among the opposition make the West nervous, and Syria’s fragmented opposition lacks a clear directive. That could lead to further instability should the Assad regime fall.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 12 2013 11:17 utc | 29

Rowan @24
The reason that so many people sense that changes in the dominance of the US Empire have taken place is to be found in the increasing firmness of the various interests ignoring or resisting US demands.
Over Libya, for example, the Russians didn't veto the UN sanctioned "no fly zone." This was partly because Medvedev felt that he could extort quid pro quo and partly because more subtle minds saw it as 'giving the US enough rope to hang itself." In either case the response to US attempts to repeat its Libyan success in Syria failed. Not only Russia but China, obviously co-ordinating, turned down the idea flat. The US was faced with the novel threat of consequences and it backed down.

Rowan, I know that, in your theoretical framework, this is impossible but the US is in decline: militarily, economically, culturally it is being exposed as far short of hegemonic stature. And the world, long eager to witness the comeuppance, has noticed.
Add to this the fact that the American people, who have been under the spell of fear of foreign threats since 1947, when Vandenberg advised Truman to "scare the hell out of them" and the bi-partisan consolidation of the Military Industrial Complex began, are waking up to the extent of the sacrifices, in terms of living standards and civil rights, that they have been required to make for the dubious privilege of backing the winning team in great power competition (USA! USA!) and the hegemon's shrinkage is easily perceptible.
But, as you say, let us wait and see. The decline will not be in a straight line, there will be assertions of power, particularly in the Latin American neighbourhood, and cries that America is Back but the underlying reality is, as George Kennan noted back in the beginning, that the US has about 6% of the world's population and not too much more of its landmass and resources. Gravity is reasserting itself.
As to the "Arab Spring" that is a season, to which I do not subscribe. I live here and I can assure you that this is the Fall in America.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 12 2013 13:14 utc | 30

Bevin, I'm sure you said you were Canadian.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 12 2013 13:47 utc | 31

Vietnam Vet

Somebody (not the commentor of the same name) should do a review of how many of this "Tea Party" group
are consistent small government types like Rand Paul, who is himself a purposely watered-down version of his dad.
I mean, many of them support the Patriot Act, support the NSA, supported and still defend the Iraq War
and only opposed Obama on Syria and if so on Libya because it was Obama and not Romney doing it.
Not even to mention their general acceptance of Medicare, for at least it doesn't kill innocents
as far as I am aware.

Posted by: amspirnational | Oct 12 2013 18:12 utc | 32

So Turkey gets thrown under the bus as the US desperately tries to keep up the War on Terror facade, including snatching al-Liby, an asset or enemy depending on the decade, I believe, but failing spectacularly in Somalia. No mention of all those arms and fighters flowing in from NATO bases in Turkey... Quelle surprise! Punishment for trying to buy Chinese missiles? And here I thought we promoted free markets. Silly me.

Posted by: Colinjames | Oct 12 2013 18:18 utc | 33

Rowan @31
You might want to check this out on Google Maps: Canada is part of the North American continent. A very large part, in fact. I am therefore Canadian and I live on the 45th degree of latitude in Canada. Which is in North America.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 13 2013 1:17 utc | 34

@34 bevin :) Yes, indeed! 'American' is also a self description that some Latin American's are coming to embrace.

To most of the world it is the citizens of the richest and most powerful country in the 'America's' - the United States - that are almost exclusively identified as 'American' plus U.S.A is the only country in the entire N/S continent that has 'America' in its name.

Also, while Canadian's can self identify as Canadian or American, citizens of the U.S. of A have only one choice - American. Makes it easy for everyone not in the know to make a rather logical/honest mistake.

Posted by: thirsty | Oct 13 2013 3:53 utc | 35

Posted by: Harry | Oct 12, 2013 1:30:24 AM | 24

Betcha wish you'd read Pepe's rant to the very end before rushing into print to paraphrase the first (wishful thinking) half - from which he launched his (unread?, pigs might fly) conclusion?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 13 2013 6:53 utc | 36

The West is embarrassed to be caught with its pants down while cross dressing as Al Qaeda, but that won't change its perverted habits. The British started up Saud and Wahhab in business over 200 years ago, to debilitate and isolate the Muslim world by infecting it with a troglodyte ideology -- like a kind of bio-psychological warfare, using humans as viruses. After a discreet pause, after Syria's CW are destroyed, they'll be back. How can they resist. Look what a smashing success the destruction of Libya was.

Posted by: Progressive Press | Oct 13 2013 8:01 utc | 37

I know what you mean, but actually the Brits didn't 'start' either Wahhabism or the Sauds. They just got onto the little bandwagon and made it bigger, because it was such a useful counterfoil to both the Hashemites and the Ottomans.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 13 2013 8:44 utc | 38

".... Makes it easy for everyone not in the know to make a rather logical/honest mistake."
Yes. thirsty @35, you are probably right. But not in this case rowan was clearly either suggesting that I was lying (had forgotten my cover story) or, equally likely, being a pedantic prat.
My hope is that the latter was the case: another entirely speculative, evidence free, theory based upon the premiss that the US is behind everything that happens, anywhere, we can all do without.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 13 2013 14:00 utc | 39

I posted the other day about the OPWC, Org. for the Prohibition of Chem. Weapons, part of / under the umbrella of the UN, who organized the analysis of samples from the Aug. 21 2013 Syria CW Ghouta attacks.

Now they have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (War prize, with some exceptions, like to unknowns who support tree growing...)

The OPWC must have been aware of that possibility well before and put the champers on ice. (Before they turned in their results?)

In short, the USuk - Isr - W in general is blithely continuing on its steady path as evidenced in the upper layers of officialdom (UN, Nobel, etc. - very weak of course.) This is, imho, not just clumsy committee stupidity and negligence, but a kind of blind steadfast move forward.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 13 2013 15:21 utc | 40

@ 40.
Of course, if one says Nobel Peace Prize with a Nordic accent it sounds uncannily like the Nobel Piss Prize which, considering the number of unconvicted war criminals upon whom it has been bestowed, at least SOUNDS a lot closer to the truth than it LOOKS - considering that the General Public are getting used to feeling pissed upon (from a great height) amid some furtive guffaws from TPTB, when each new winner is announced.

Then again perhaps, like the "Israelis", the Nobel Prize Jokers mean 'Piece' when they write 'Peace' and still believe that Syria will eventually be carved up.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 13 2013 16:23 utc | 41

'"Right now it would be impossible with the clashes and the air strikes, especially as there is a strong presence of the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, who don't believe in anything called the international community," said Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights'

i dont believe in the 'international community' either: because its nothing but a band of like minded politicians

Posted by: brian | Oct 13 2013 21:24 utc | 42

It doesn't seem like the US are going to switch sides

Officials said Idriss heard reassurances over the weekend from Ambassador Robert Ford, the State Department’s envoy to the Syrian opposition, that the Obama administration would keep supporting and delivering aid to the command.

Posted by: Calig | Oct 14 2013 4:23 utc | 43

Officials said Idriss heard reassurances over the weekend from Ambassador Robert Ford, the State Department’s envoy to the Syrian opposition, that the Obama administration would keep supporting and delivering aid to the command.

I'm sure Ford give such assurances. It's what you do until the moment you pull the plug.

Posted by: alexno | Oct 14 2013 14:13 utc | 44

From the point of view of maximum deniability of US relations with AQ, an SNC/SMC/FSA shell should be preserved and allowed to 'twist in the wind' while US engages in 'hand-wringing' over it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 14 2013 14:56 utc | 45

Repoert from a recent AlAkhbar interview with Assad: Assad: Hamas Has Betrayed Us Repeatedly, But…

It is mostly not about Hamas. Has some interesting points

Posted by: b | Oct 14 2013 18:21 utc | 46

Khaled Mashaal back in Tehran! that man has no pride, no principles, nothing.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 14 2013 19:20 utc | 47

re 46. Interesting interview with Asad.

Posted by: alexno | Oct 14 2013 19:28 utc | 48

Posted by: b | Oct 14, 2013 2:21:26 PM | 46

'An image grab taken from a video shows an opposition fighter firing an rocket propelled grenade (RPG) on August 26, 2013 during clashes with regime forces over the strategic area of Khanasser, situated on the only road linking Aleppo to central Syria. (Photo: AFP - Salah al-Ashkar)

as for al akhbar: theres no 'regime' there is a syrian government: and 'opposition fighter'? is he even syrian?

yes Hamas has betrayed those who aided palestine...its as if Hamas wanted to aid israel in wiping palestine finally off the map!

Posted by: brian | Oct 14 2013 21:04 utc | 49

Posted by: alexno | Oct 14, 2013 10:13:24 AM | 44

'ambassador' Ford? how can he be an 'ambassador' to a group that represents no country? Can there be an 'ambassador' to the US 'Gun lobby'?

Posted by: brian | Oct 14 2013 21:06 utc | 50

Posted by: Calig | Oct 14, 2013 12:23:25 AM | 43

'ambassador' Ford? how can he be an 'ambassador' to a group that represents no country? Can there be an 'ambassador' to the US 'Gun lobby' or the league of miami terrorists?

Posted by: brian | Oct 14 2013 21:08 utc | 51

Re Assad's interview, in which he pours contempt upon Hamas but finally implies in a resigned sort of way that Syria might end up hosting their "external leadership" (Mashaal & co) again, the sad thing is that the only honest Palestinian party is the PFLP-GC, but Iran would rather support Hamas, who are Sunni bigots, than it would a left party like the PFLP-GC. This is because Iran's hatred for left parties overwhelms its objective assessment of what might be good for the Palestinians. And Assad knows that his policy regarding Palestinians will ultimately be dictated by Iran.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 15 2013 5:59 utc | 52

@brian | 49

"yes Hamas has betrayed those who aided palestine...its as if Hamas wanted to aid israel in wiping palestine finally off the map!"

Many things at play here:

1. Palestinian nation is deliberately degraded and dehumanized by zionists for almost 100 years. Same as Jews in Nazi camps, some of them pretty much turned into sub-humans and/or betrayed their own nation and alies.

2. Israel murdered most independent thinking Palestinian leaders, this allows slimy sell-outs like Mashaal to be in power (bought with PGGC money). Common illiterate Palestinians probably dont even know their leadership are just puppets of zionists.

Therefore its no wonder Mashaal because of his zio-masters orders cut-off ties with Syria, Hezbolah and Iran, and even send some of Hamas fighters to fight against Syria (one of very few countries which supported Palestinians). Now that axis-of-terror are losing, Mashaal is wiggling back to Iran.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 15 2013 6:36 utc | 53

. Palestinian nation is deliberately degraded and dehumanized by zionists for almost 100 years. Same as Jews in Nazi camps, some of them pretty much turned into sub-humans and/or betrayed their own nation and alies.

no not 100 years

Posted by: brian | Oct 15 2013 8:32 utc | 54

Two interesting links on Syria today.

The latter suggests that Bandar's reach remains impressive. Though his judgement is questionable. It would be interesting to learn what he smokes.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 15 2013 14:58 utc | 55

it is the narrative adopted by the British govt/ MSM that are further provoking British Jihadists to head to Syria;

"...With Syria, would-be jihadists find themselves adopting a not dissimilar view to Western governments — that Assad is guilty of committing atrocities against civilians, and that he should be removed."

Posted by: brian | Oct 16 2013 6:37 utc | 56

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