Page 3 of 69 FirstFirst 123456781353 ... LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 1365

Thread: The Syrian conflict

Share             
  1. #41
    Senior Member Express's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    10,678
    Thanks
    7341
    Pakistan Pakistan

    Arab League offers Assad ‘safe exit’

    DOHA: The Arab League’s secretary general has offered Syrian President Bashar Assad a “safe exit” for him and his family if he steps down.

    Nabil Elaraby gave no further details on his proposal at an Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Doha, Qatar, early Monday morning.

    The League also promised $100 million for Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

    Tunisian President President Moncef Marzouki also offered Assad asylum in February if it would end the conflict.

    Assad has shown little inclination to step down.

    On Sunday, his forces attacked remaining rebel pockets of resistance in the capital Damascus.

    In his first public statements since a devastating rebel bombing wiped out his top security officers, Assad told his new army chief of staff Sunday to “continue the armed forces’ pursuit of terrorists


    http://dawn.com/2012/07/23/arab-leag...sad-safe-exit/

  2. #42
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England
    The Arab league is a defunct and useless organisation. If they were any good these matters would be resolved before lots of people were killed. They are ineffectual and made so because most of them despots and dictatorships.

  3. #43
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    SYRIA: REGIME CHANGE AND SMART POWER The rise and fall of Turkey's Erdogan

    Part 1

    SYRIA: REGIME CHANGE AND SMART POWER
    The rise and fall of Turkey's Erdogan
    By M K Bhadrakumar

    Israel's emergence from the woodwork can signal only one thing: the Syrian crisis is moving towards the decisive phase. The lights have been switched on in the operation theatre and the carving of Syria is beginning. What is going to follow won't be a pretty sight at all since the patient is not under anesthesia, and the chief surgeon prefers to lead from behind while sidekicks do the dirty job.
    So far, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have done the maximum they could to destabilize Syria and remove the regime headed by President Bashar al-Assad. But Bashar is still holding out. Israeli expertise is now needed to complete the unfinished business.

    Someone is needed to plunge a sharp knife deep into Bashar's back. Jordan's king can't do the job; he measures up only to Bashar's knees. The Saudi and Qatari sheikhs with their ponderous, flabby body are not used to physical activity; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization prefers to be left alone, having burnt its fingers in Libya with a bloody operation that borders on war crime. That leaves Turkey.
    In principle, Turkey has the muscle power, but intervention in Syria is fraught with risks and one of the enduring legacies of Kemal Ataturk is that Turkey avoids taking risks. Besides, Turkey's military is not quite in top form.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also unable to carry the majority opinion within Turkey in favor of a war in Syria, and he is navigating a tricky path himself, trying to amend his country's constitution and make himself a real sultan - as if French President Francois Hollande were to combine the jobs of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry.

    Obviously, Erdogan can't risk his career. Besides, there are imponderables - a potential backlash from the Alawite minority within Turkey (which resents the surge of Salafism under Erdogan's watch) and the perennial danger of walking into a trap set up by militant Kurds.

    Al-Jazeera interviewed a leader of the Alawite sect in Turkey last week who expressed concern over the increasingly sectarian tone of Syria's internal strife inspired by Salafist Sunnis. They fear a Salafist surge within Turkey. The Alawites in Turkey see Assad "trying to hold together a tolerant, pluralist Syria".

    Contingency plans
    But all that is becoming irrelevant. The New York Times reported on Friday, quoting American officials in Washington, that US President Barack Obama is "increasing aid to the rebels and redoubling efforts to rally a coalition of like-minded countries to forcibly bring down the [Syrian] government".

    It further reported that the CIA operatives who are based in southern Turkey "for several weeks" will continue with their mission to create violence against the Syrian regime. Meanwhile, the US and Turkey will also be working on putting together a post-Assad "provisional government" in Syria.

    Accordingly, the leaders of Syria's proscribed Muslim Brotherhood held a four-day conclave in Istanbul and announced plans on Friday to create an "Islamic party". "We are ready for the post-Assad era, we have plans for the economy, the courts, politics", the Brotherhood's spokesman announced.

    The New York Times said Washington is in close contact with Ankara and Tel Aviv to discuss "a broad range of contingency plans" over "how to manage a Syrian government collapse".

    The emergent operational plan is that while Ankara steps up the covert operations inside Syria (bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar), Israel will cross the border into Syria from the south and attack Bashar's military and degrade its capacity to resist the Turkish threat.

    Turkey has stepped up the psywar, projecting through the media that the Syrian regime is already tottering. Turkish commentators are spreading the word. Murat Yetkin of the establishment daily Hurriyet quoted a Turkish official as saying,
    Our people [Turkish intelligence] in the field are observing that the urban majority, which has preferred to remain neutral so far, has begun to support the opposition groups. We think the Syrian people have begun to perceive that the administration is breaking up.
    But such riveting stories also reflect the Turkish establishment's worry that the Syrian regime is still not showing signs of capitulation despite all the hits it took from the "rebels".

    Mission to Moscow
    Erdogan's best hope is that the Turkish intelligence could orchestrate some sort of "palace coup" in Damascus in the coming days or weeks. What suits Ankara will be to have Bashar replaced by a transitional structure that retains elements of the existing Baathist state structure, which could facilitate an orderly transfer of power to a new administration - that is to say, ideally, a transition not different from what followed in Egypt once Hosni Mubarak exited.

    But Erdogan is unsure whether Turkey can swing an Egypt-like coup in Damascus. His dash to Moscow last Wednesday aimed at sounding out Moscow if a new and stable transitional structure could be put together in Damascus through some kind of international cooperation. (Obama lent his weight to Erdogan's mission by telephoning Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to discuss Syria.)

    But curiously, just before Erdogan went into his scheduled meeting with Putin in the Kremlin, a massive terrorist attack took place in Damascus, killing the the Syrian defense minister and its intelligence chief. In the event, Moscow politely heard him out and assured Erdogan it would make a clinical separation between Russia's long-term strategic ties with Turkey and the Syrian issue. At any rate, the Russian stance remained unchanged, as evident from its veto at the United Security Council a week later.

    Clearly, Moscow sees that the end game is underway in Syria. In an interview with the Russia Today on Friday, Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, spoke in exceptionally strong terms about what is happening. He said the Western strategy is to "whip us tensions in and around Syria at every opportunity".

    Churkin said derisively, "There is much more geopolitics in their policy in Syria than humanism." Churkin also brought in Iran: "I would not rule out that then they would move on to Iran ... And this growing tension between Iran, the West and the Saudis is not helpful."

    Prior to the visit to Moscow, Erdogan also travelled to Beijing, which also senses that the US is closing the deal on Syria. The Global Times newspaper commented in an editorial on Friday that "It's likely that the Assad administration will be overthrown ... chances of a political solution are becoming increasingly small ... changes in Syria might come rapidly."

    US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is travelling to Beijing to explore if the Chinese stance on Syria can be moderated.

    Both Russia and China view the Erdogan era favorably for the upward curve in their ties with Turkey. Russia won a $20-$25 billion contract to build nuclear power plants in Turkey. China pulled in Turkey as a dialogue partner for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Turkey hosted a second military exercise with China recently and is aspiring to be a bridge between NATO and Beijing.

    A man for all seasons
    However, both Russia and China would factor in that as a "new cold war" builds up, Washington expects Turkey to get back into the fold and play its due role as ally in a vast swathe of land stretching from the Black Sea to the Caucasus and the Caspian and all the way to Central Asia. In the ultimate analysis, the US holds many trump cards, finessed through the Cold war era, to manipulate Turkish policies. This is quite evident from the centrality attached by Washington to the Iraqi Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, in the overall US strategy.

  4. #44
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England
    Part 2

    Obama received Barzani in the White House recently. Barzani has become a "lynchpin" in the US-Turkish policies on Syria. This was within months of ExxonMobil signing up in October to develop the fabulous oil fields located in the Kurdistan region controlled by Barzani, ignoring protests from Baghdad that such a deal with a provincial authority bypassing the central government would violate Iraq's sovereignty.

    Last week, the US oil giant Chevron announced that it too has acquired an 80% controlling share in a company operating in the region covering a combined area of 1,124 square kilometers that is under Barzani's control.

    The entry of ExxonMobile and Chevron is a game-changer in the regional politics over Syria. The point is, the best transportation route to the world market for the massive oil and gas deposits in Kurdistan will be via the Syrian port city of Latakia on the eastern Mediterranean. Indeed, an altogether new dimension to the US-Turkish game plan on Syria comes into view.

    Siyah Kalem, a Turkish engineering and construction company, has bid for the transportation of natural gas from Kurdistan. Evidently, somewhere in the subsoil, the interests of the Anatolian corporate business (which has links with Turkey's ruling Islamist party) and the country's foreign policy orientations toward Syria and Iraq are converging. The US and Turkish interests overlap in the geopolitics of northern Iraq's energy reserves.

    But Barzani is not only a business partner for Washington and Ankara but also a key agent who could leverage Turkey's Kurdish problem. With Washington's backing, he has launched a project to bring together the various Kurdish factions - Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian - on to a new political track.

    He held a meeting of the Kurdish factions in Arbil last month. Plainly, Barzani tried to bribe the leaders of various Kurdish factions with funds provided from Ankara. He claims he has succeeded in reconciling the different Kurdish groups in Syria. (The Kurdish insurgency in Turkey is led by ethnic Syrian Kurds.) He also claims to have persuaded the Syrian Kurds to snap their links with Bashar and line up with the Syrian opposition.

    These tidings from Arbil have a vital bearing on Erdogan's future course on Syria. As a prominent analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Soner Cagaptay, pointed out recently, the bottom line is that "Syria's restless and well-organized Kurdish minority doesn't for the most part trust Turkey."

    Salafism on Israeli wings
    However, in the final analysis, only Israel can resolve Erdogan's dilemma. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated over the weekend, "Syria has advanced anti-aircraft missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and elements of chemical weapons. I directed the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] to prepare for a situation where we will need to consider the possibility of an attack."

    Barak added that the "moment [Bashar] starts to fall, we [Israel] will conduct intelligence monitoring and will liaise with other agencies." He spoke after a secret visit by Donilon to Israel the previous weekend. Close on the heels of Donilon's consultations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travelled to Tel Aviv after a historic meeting in Cairo with the newly elected President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who assured Washington that he wouldn't contemplate creating any problems for Israel in a conceivable future.

    Barak's disclosure tears apart the thin veil of indifference that Tel Aviv so far maintained over the Syrian developments. What emerges, in retrospect, is that Washington kept Israel in abeyance for the ripe moment to physically demolish Bashar's war machinery, an enterprise that Erdogan is unwilling or incapable of undertaking.

    Most certainly, Erdogan was in the loop that he was going to partner Barak, but being a shrewd politician he kept up an appearance of agonizing publicly over the Syrian crisis - while, of course, covertly fueling it.

    Simply put, Washington has outwitted Moscow and Beijing. It kept assuring Russia and China that a military intervention by the US all by itself or a Libya-style NATO operation was the last thing on Obama's mind. No doubt, Obama kept its word.

    What is unfolding is a startlingly refreshing sight - Salafism riding the wings of the Israeli air force and landing in Damascus. Erdogan will now set out with renewed vigor to shake up the Bashar tree in Damascus, while any day from now Barak will begin chopping off the tree's branches in a lightning sweep.

    Erdogan and Barak will make the Bashar tree so naked and helpless that it will realize the futility of standing upright any more. There is no "military intervention" involved here, no NATO operations, no Libya-like analogy can be drawn. Nor is Erdogan to order his army to march into Syria.

    Secretary of State Clinton would say this is the "smart power". In a magnificent essay titled "The Art of Smart Power" penned by her last week, as she surveyed the curious twist to the tale of the Arab Spring, Clinton wrote that the US is nowadays "leading in new ways". [1]

    Clinton underscored that US is expanding its "foreign-policy toolbox [to] integrate every asset and partner, and fundamentally change the way we [US] do business ... [the] common thread running through all our efforts is a commitment to adapt America's global leadership for the needs of a changing world."

    At the end of the day, Erdogan will bite the bullet, which is greased with pork fat. The plain truth is that Israel is going to complete the messy job for him in Syria.

    Erdogan has no choice but to accept that he belongs to Washington's "toolbox" - nothing more, nothing less. He was never destined for the role to lead the Muslim Middle East. The West was merely pandering to his well-known vanity. That role is Washington's exclusive prerogative.

    Note:
    1. The art of smart power, New Statesman, July 18, 2012.

    Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG24Ak01.html


    I have been saying for some time that Saudis Qatar are complicit withIsraelis. It would appear that I am not alone in that. House of Saud are traitors to Muslims the world over

  5. #45
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    German intelligence: al-Qaeda all over Syria

    Jul 24, 2012

    German intelligence: al-Qaeda all over Syria
    By John Rosenthal

    German intelligence estimates that "around 90" terror attacks that "can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups" were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July, as reported by the German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). This was revealed


    by the German government in a response to a parliamentary question.

    In response to the same question, the German government admitted that it had received several reports from the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, on the May 25 massacre in the Syrian town of Houla. But it noted that the content of these reports was to remain classified "by reason of national interest", Like many other Western governments, Germany expelled Syria's ambassador in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, holding the Syrian government responsible for the violence.

    Meanwhile, at least three major German newspapers - Die Welt, the FAZ, and the mass-market tabloid Bild - have published reports attributing responsibility for the massacre to anti-government rebel forces or treating this as the most probable scenario.

    Writing in Bild, longtime German war correspondent Jurgen Todenhofer accused the rebels of "deliberately killing civilians and then presenting them as victims of the government". He described this "massacre-marketing strategy" as being "among the most disgusting things that I have ever experienced in an armed conflict". Todenhofer had recently been to Damascus, where he interviewed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for Germany's ARD public television.

    Wring in Die Welt, Alfred Hackensberger noted that Taldo, the sub-district of Houla where the massacre occurred, has been under rebel control since December 2011 and is in an open plain, making it unlikely that "hundreds of soldiers and Assad supporters" could have entered the village to commit the massacre. (An abridged version of Hackenberger's report also appeared in Die Berliner Morgenpost.) Hackensberger visited Houla to conduct investigations for his report.

    He also interviewed an alleged eyewitness - identified simply by the pseudonym "Jibril" - at the Saint James Monastery in Qara, Syria. In contrast to an earlier report in the FAZ, which had claimed that the victims were largely Shi'ites and Alawis, Jibril told Hackensberger that all of the victims were Sunnis "like everybody here". By his account, they were killed for refusing to support the rebellion. Jibril added that "a lot of people in Houla know what really happened" but would not say so out of fear for their lives. "Whoever says something," he explained, "can only repeat the rebels' version. Anything else is certain death."

    While traveling in the region of Homs, Hackensberger heard similar stories about the conduct of the rebels. One - now former - resident of the city of Qusayr told him that not only were Christians like himself expelled from the town, but that anyone who refused to enroll their children in the Free Syrian Army had been shot. Hackensberger's source held foreign Islamists responsible for the atrocities. "I have seen them with my own eyes," he said, "Pakistanis, Libyans, Tunisians and also Lebanese. They call Osama bin Laden their sheikh."

    A Sunni resident of Homs told Hackensberger that he had witnessed how an armed group stopped a bus: "The passengers were divided into two groups: on the one side, Sunnis; on the other, Alawis." According to Hackenberger's source, the insurgents then proceeded to decapitate the nine Alawi passengers.

    That the German government would cite national interest in refusing to disclose its information concerning the circumstances of the Houla massacre is particularly notable in light of Germany's support for the rebellion and its political arm, the Syrian National Council (SNC).

    While France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have figured as the most visible Western powers supporting the rebellion, Germany has been quietly playing a major role behind the scenes. According to a new report in the FAZ, the German foreign office is working with representatives of the Syrian opposition to develop "concrete plans" for a "political transition" in Syria following the fall of Assad.

    John Rosenthal is a journalist who specializes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. His website is Transatlantic Intelligencer


    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG24Ak02.html


    It would appear Saudis Israelis Americans and Al Qaeda are on the same page once again
    The Following User Says Thank You to Aryan_B For This Useful Post: Greater China


  6. #46
    Retired AgNoStIc MuSliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Michigan/Lahore
    Posts
    2,394
    Thanks
    2434
    Pakistan United States
    Expect the Western media to largely ignore this as well.

    The suicide attacks against Assad's forces and officials are a strong signature of Al Qaeda and AQ affiliated groups, unfortunately, even if Assad manages to cling on to power, I see a Algeria like situation developing, with AQ allied 'Islamists' taking over the movement and eventually shifting to attacking civilian targets along with military and government ones.

    And if Assad does fall eventually, the longer it takes for his regime to collapse, the more entrenched, in the Syrian rebel movement, Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups will become, which will not bode well for any government after Assad.
    The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to AgNoStIc MuSliM For This Useful Post: bilalhaider,Greater China


  7. #47
    Senior Member Express's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    10,678
    Thanks
    7341
    Pakistan Pakistan
    Very long read. But good. It is a shame that our Arabs brother can not act more united

  8. #48
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England
    I think that Israelis and Americans are teaching Assad and Syrians a lesson for them acting as Iran's ally. Remember there is a defence treaty between Iran and Syria

  9. #49
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    Syria warns will use chemical weapons in case of foreign attack

    Syria warns will use chemical weapons in case of foreign attack


    Published: 23 July, 2012, 21:33


    Syria says it will only use its chemical and biological arsenal against “external aggression,” and never against own population. The US has warned the Arab country against using the arsenal under any circumstances.

    *Torn by a 16-month civil conflict, Syria will not use the weapons against its own people, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi assured on Monday.


    "Any chemical or bacterial weapon will never be used – and I repeat will never be used – during the crisis in Syria regardless of the developments," he said.

    "All of these types of weapons are in storage and under security and the direct supervision of the Syrian armed forces and will never be used unless Syria is exposed to external aggression," added Makdissi .

    This is the first time authorities in Damascus have admitted that they possess chemical weapons – a fact guessed by many, but never supported by concrete evidence. Syria is purportedly in possession of nerve agents, including mustard gas, as well as Scud missiles capable of delivery.


    The country is one of six states that have not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws production. Besides Syria, the list of non-signatories includes Angola, North Korea, South Sudan, Egypt, and Somalia.


    Following the statement, the Pentagon warned Syria not to think "one iota about using chemical weapons."

    Worries over the Syrian arsenal have also spilled across the EU and UN.

    "It would be reprehensible if anyone in Syria would use weapons of mass destruction," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters.

    UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the use of chemicals by the Syrian government in any situation would be “unacceptable” and that the warning issued by Damascus on Monday “is typical of the complete illusion of this regime, that they are the victims of external aggression.”


    European Union foreign ministers stated they were "seriously concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria." This was later somewhat played down by the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who said that while information is limited, there is "no reason to have an immediate concern about them being taken out or removed" from the Arab country.


    Israel and US press Syria over chemical arsenal

    Syria's assurances come on top of Israel and the US’s voiced worries that the chemical arsenal risks ending up in the wrong hands as the Arab country continues to face a tense internal struggle.


    Thus, Israeli officials made several statements intimating that they reserve the right to react should the weapons end up in the hands of Hezbollah following the fall of President Bashar al-Assad’s. Tel Aviv has not ruled out using military intervention to prevent such a scenario from playing out.


    Some, however, see Israel’s rhetoric as mere talk.


    Amos Harel, a military commentator for Israeli newspaper Haaretz, questioned the Israeli top brass’ reasons for making such loud statements, saying that they are possibly little other than a ploy to divert Israelis’ attention from problems at home.


    “Is the main purpose of these comments to keep the eternal flame of security worries burning and distract Israelis from other issues? It's hard to miss, for example, how the storm over the draft of yeshiva students seems to have suddenly dissipated,” he wrote in his recent column.


    The United States also said earlier it would "hold accountable" any Syrian official involved in the release or use of the country's chemical weapons. Still, Washington seems to be a little more in the know on the matter.


    Senior officials have said their intelligence data shows that the Syrian army has relocated the stockpiles of chemical weapons from their storage location in the north of the country, away from intensified fighting.


    Though Washington called it a “responsible step” on the behalf of the Syrian government, they nevertheless seem to want more information.


    Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the Obama administration has recently deployed resources to collect information on the whereabouts of the weapons. He declined, however, to provide any details on what resources those may be, and whether the CIA has its agents working on the ground in Syria.


    Some critics believe neither Washington nor Tel Aviv would have any grounds for worry, had they not been supportive of an uprising in Syria in one way or another.


    “Who’s supporting the Salafi fundamentalists in Syria? Who’s supporting the Arab fundamentalists who are being smuggled into Syria? If there’s danger of such weapons falling into the hands of these people, the culprit would be Israelis and the United States,” political analyst Ibrahim Alloush, from the Zaytouneh University in Jordan, told RT.

    http://www.rt.com/news/syria-chemica...agression-873/



    Why should a state not use all the weapons at it's disposal if it is threatened by externally by the likes of Israel and America. Do the Israeli and Americans listen to the people they are attacking as to what weapon they should use when they killl people. In any event being killed by one weapon or another does not matter to those that are killed

  10. #50
    Senior Member Express's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    10,678
    Thanks
    7341
    Pakistan Pakistan
    I agree how can you tell an enemy what weapons to attack you with??

  11. #51
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    Syrian blood etches a new line in the sand

    Jul 25, 2012


    THE ROVING EYE
    Syrian blood etches a new line in the sand
    Pepe Escobar

    Once upon a time, early in the previous century, a line in the sand was drawn, from Acre to Kirkuk. Two colonial powers - Britain and France - nonchalantly divided the Middle East between themselves; everything north of the line in the sand was France's; south, it was Britain's.

    Many blowbacks - and concentric tragedies - later, a new line in the sand is being drawn by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Between Syria and Iraq, they want it all. Talk about the return of the repressed; now, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Gulf Cooperation Council compound, they're in bed with their former colonial masters.

    Blow by blow
    No matter what militarized Western corporate media spins, there's no endgame in Syria - yet. On the contrary; the sectarian game is just beginning.

    It's 1980s Afghanistan all over again. The over 100 heavily armed gangs engaged in civil war in Syria are overflowing with Gulf Cooperation Council funds financing their Russian RPGs bought on the black market. Salafi-jihadis cross into Syria in droves - not only from Iraq but also Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan, following enraged calls by their imams. Kidnapping, raping and slaughtering pro-Assad regime civilians is becoming the law of the land.

    They go after Christians with a vengeance. [1] They force Iraqi exiles in Damascus to leave, especially those settled in Sayyida Zainab, the predominantly Shi'ite neighborhood named after Prophet Muhammad's grand-daughter, buried in the beautiful local mosque. The BBC, to its credit, at least followed the story. [2]

    They perform summary executions; Iraq's deputy interior minister Adnan al-Assadi told AFP how Iraqi border guards saw the Free Syrian Army (FSA) take control of a border outpost and then "executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers".

    The Bab al-Hawa crossing between Syria and Turkey was overrun by no less than 150 multinational self-described mujahideen [3] - coming from Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Chechnya and even France, many proclaiming their allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

    They burned a lot of Turkish trucks. They shot their own promo video. They paraded their al-Qaeda flag. And they declared the whole border area an Islamic state.

    Hand over your terrorist ID
    There's no way to understand the Syrian dynamics without learning that most FSA commanders are not Syrians, but Iraqi Sunnis. The FSA could only capture the Abu Kamal border crossing between Syria and Iraq because the whole area is controlled by Sunni tribes viscerally antagonistic towards the al-Maliki government in Baghdad. The free flow of mujahideen, hardcore jihadis and weapons between Iraq and Syria is now more than established.

    The idea of the Arab League - behaving as NATO-GCC's fully robed spokesman - offering exile to Bashar al-Assad may be as ridiculous as the notion of the CIA supervising which mujahideen and jihadi outfits may have access to the weapons financed by Qatar and the Saudis.

    At first, it might have been just a bad joke. After all, the exile offer came from those exact same paragons of democracy, the House of Saud and Qatar, who control the Arab League and are financing the mujahideen and the anti-Syria jihad.

    Baghdad, though, publicly condemned the exile offer. And the aftermath - in fact on the same day - was worthy of The Joker (yes, Batman's foe); a wave of anti-Shi'ite bombings in Iraq, with over 100 people dead, duly claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qaeda's local franchise. Spokesman Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi energetically urged the Sunni tribes in Anbar and Nineveh to join the jihad and topple the "infidel" government in Baghdad.

    The mujahideen/jihadi back and forth between Syria and Iraq has been more than confirmed by Izzat al-Shahbandar, a senior member of Iraq's Parliament and close aide to Prime Minister al-Maliki. Baghdad even has updated lists. The crossover could only spawn more frenetic Orwellian newspeak, nailed by the website Moon of Alabama. [4]

    Mujahideen and jihadis active in Iraq are now "Iraqi insurgents". And mujahideen and jihadis active in Syria remain the usual "Syrian rebels". They have been all decommissioned as "terrorists". Under this logic, the Colorado Batman shooter may also be described as an "insurgent".

    Follow the money
    As it stands, the romanticized Syrian "rebels" plus the insurgents formerly known as terrorists cannot win against the Syria military - not even with the Saudis and Qataris showering them with loads of cash and weapons.

    Nor is there any evidence the regime is contemplating a retreat to the Alawite mountains in northern Syria, as evoked by this collective foreign policy blog discussion. After all the "rebels" do not control any territory.

    What's certain is who would profit from Syria being progressively balkanized. The House of Saud and Qatar would love nothing better than to have the civil war exported to Iraq and Lebanon; in their very narrow calculations, that would eventually yield fellow Sunni regimes.

    So expect Saudi and Qatari funds buying every well-connected Syrian regime apparatchik in sight - even while the urban Sunni bourgeosie still has not abandoned the ship.

    And as the civil war spreads out, a tsunami of weapons will keep inundating Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and of course Turkey, boosting assorted guerrilla outfits, Kurdish included - yet one more facet of now ostracized neo-Ottoman Turkey impotently watching nation states carved out of that 1920s colonial line in the sand being smashed.

    Strategically, this will always be a war by proxy; essentially Saudi Arabia vs Iran - with the House of Saud behind hardcore Islamists of all colors compared to Qatar supporting "its" Muslim Brotherhood. But most of all this is the US-NATO-GCC vs Iran.

    Israel's motives go way beyond the Saudi/Qatari sectarian lust. Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has just excavated a Bushism - calling Iran-Syria-Hezbollah an "axis of evil". What Tel Aviv wants in the long run is clear; for Washington, Obama administration or not, to bring down the axis.

    Meanwhile, this long-term goal does not prevent Defense Minister Ehud Barak from getting crazy - speculating on an invasion of Syria based on a hypothetical transfer of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles or even chemical weapons to Hezbollah.

    Washington for its part would love at least a pliable/puppet Sunni regime in Damascus to turbo-charge the encircling of Iran - without increasing Israel's substantial fears. Meanwhile, what passes for "smart power" is no more than glorified wishful thinking. Here in detail is how pro-Israel functionaries in the US are designing post-Assad Syria. [5]

    Meet the new Bane
    For all its production values, NATO's jihad - in conjunction with al-Qaeda affiliates and copycats - still has not delivered regime change. UN Security Council sanctions won't be forthcoming, as Beijing and Moscow have already stressed three times. So Plan Bs keep surfacing all the time. The latest is straight from the Iraq playbook; Damascus will attack civilians with chemical weapons. This lasted only for a few news cycles.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has already made it clear; regime change is anathema, especially for a reason that eludes most in the West - jihadis at the gates of Damascus means they are a stone's throw from the Caucasus, the possible new pearl in a lethal collar bound to destabilize Muslim Russia.

    Blowback meanwhile is ready to strike like the Medusa. What is for all practical purposes NATO-GCC mujahideen/jihadi death squads will be more than happy to bleed Syria across sectarian lines - in the sand and especially in urban areas. It's hunting season now, not only for Alawites but also Christians (10% of the population).

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

    Notes:
    1. http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage /world-news/detail/articolo/siria-syria-15868/
    2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18930876
    3, http://english.alarabiya.net/article...22/227739.html
    4. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/07/nyt-terrorists-are -now-insurgents.html#comments
    5. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/07/20/ inside_the_secret_effort_to_plan_for_a_post_assad_ syria


    Pepe Escobar


    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG25Ak02.html
    The Following User Says Thank You to Aryan_B For This Useful Post: Greater China


  12. #52
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    Holy war in Syria and the course of history

    Jul 26, 2012

    Holy war in Syria and the course of history

    By Dmitry Shlapentokh

    Washington is clearly displeased with the intransigence of both Beijing and Moscow on dealing with the Syrian crisis and their unwillingness to justify a direct US strike against President Bashar al-Assad with the full authorization of the United Nations. The US representatives to the UN have described vividly the brutality of the Assad regime as an appeal to the moral fiber of the international community and in particular, of course, China and Russia.

    The governments of both of those countries are unconvinced, and for a variety of reasons. One is that the moral indignation of Washington hardly stands the test of history. Washington was a good friend of Josef Stalin, Augusto Pinochet and the Shah of Iran. It has demonstrated that it had no prejudice when it comes to dealing with pressing geopolitical programs. It can deal with dictators on both the right and the left. It also has done nothing during genocidal slaughters, from the Jewish Holocaust to the Rwanda massacres.

    At the same time, it would not be logical to assume that Washington has no foreign friends in its Syrian venture. One that seems an unlikely ally is Kavkaz Center, the major Internet vehicle of jihadis from the Russian North Caucasus. Recently, Moscow intensified its efforts against the website, but Kavkaz Center successfully dodges the Kremlin efforts and continues to function as a weblog. Its contributors praise the Syrian opposition as kindred souls and implicitly praise their efforts to get rid of the Assad regime.

    This is not an isolated occurrence. Iraqi authorities have informed the world that a steady stream of jihadis has been moving into Syria to join the fight against Assad. They have not just praised US pressure on Assad but actually encouraged direct military involvement of the US in Syrian affairs and, implicitly, direct confrontation with Iran. Indeed, confrontation with Iran would most likely be the end result of such a conflict. But while encouraging its direct involvement, these jihadis are hardly friends of the US.

    After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Kavkaz Center published an article by Pavel Kosolapov, a Russian who converted to Islam - or, alternatively, someone who used his name - in which Americans were presented as ugly, immoral infidel zombies who deserved their fate. He stated that not a few thousand but tens if not hundreds of thousand perished, and he praised those who demonstrated how easily a superpower could be almost vanquished by a few smart and selfless heroes of the jihad.

    One could assume that this attitude of the jihadis, including those who are engaged in the conflict in Syria, is not a secret to Washington, and especially not to the conservatives who are so keen to engage in the conflict. Their drive is not, of course, due to a desire to save lives. Indeed, they do their best to destroy "Obamacare", regardless of data showing that many thousands of Americans die annually because of lack of medical treatment. The major goal here is to weaken Iran, the major geopolitical problem for the US in the Middle East.

    But where could such a strange misalliance lead? Smarty-pants Washingtonian analysts - possibly following the dictums of Edward Luttwak, an American military strategist and historian - believe that Washington could outsmart its adversaries in a Byzantine type of game. However, to understand the quite likely result of such a strategy, one should go to the birthplace of modern Byzantinism, Russia, and see how similar events worked out almost a century ago.

    Vladimir Lenin, a radical Marxist who matured politically in the beginning of the last century, was convinced that the contented masses would hardly rise to overthrow the global capitalist order and that the Bolsheviks, his party, were too weak to engage directly with the czarist regime, whose downfall could lead to worldwide revolution where the masses would establish a global, ideal socialist - and later communist - society, which reminds one of the global khalifat, the goal of the jihadis.

    The Bolsheviks, a tiny group in the beginning of the 20th century, could succeed only if the imperialists destroyed or weakened themselves. Hardly the friend of the German kaiser, Lenin nevertheless dreamed of a wholesale confrontation between Moscow and Berlin; in fact, he dreamed of a global war.

    Still, no major Europe-wide war was on the horizon; the last wars, those of Napoleon, were almost a hundred years ago. And everything suggested, if one assumed the sanity of the major European leaders, that such a war was unlikely. Weapons had become too destructive; major alliances counterbalanced one another. And Europeans had become so integrated economically and politically that only a madman like Friedrich Nietzsche, who predicted enormous bloodshed in the future, would believe that Europeans would engage in a major continent-wide conflict.

    Lenin understood this and vented his frustration in a letter to Maxim Gorky, the famous Russian radical writer. "Dear Aleksei Maximovich," Lenin wrote in 1912 - using, as is the practice in Russia and other countries, his first name and patronymic - "the great European war would be a great boon for revolution. Yet, unfortunately, neither Niki [Czar Nicholas of Russia] nor Willi [Kaiser Wilhelm] will provide us with such a pleasure." Yet Lenin (and he wasn't the only one) overestimated "Willi" and his advisers. They, similar to Washington neocons, believed that war would be a quick blitzkrieg; and taking their own "September 11", the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, as an excuse, they launched World War I.

    The war did not follow the German scenario, however, and the events were quite similar to those in the Middle East almost a century later. The blitzkrieg turned out to be an ugly war of attrition, and Germany's resources started to dwindle in its own version of the coming US "sequestration" of its military budget.

    While Europeans died in the millions, Lenin was ecstatic, for the huge suffering of the masses reinforced century-old grievances and made revolution in Russia possible. Berlin also noted Lenin and his followers and, similar to present-day Washington, thought it could use these Russian radicals to destabilize the situation in Russia and lead Germany to victory. So Berlin provided Lenin with funds and allowed him and a few other radicals to travel to Russia in "sealed trains" when the liberal Provisional Government that emerged after the February/March revolution of 1917 allowed them to return. The Bolsheviks, indeed, led Russia into a new revolution and opted out of the war in what Lenin called the "obscene treaty" of Brest-Litovsk.

    But Berlin did not enjoy the fruits of its stratagem for long. The germs of the revolution quickly spread to Germany, and the new revolution led to the end of the German monarchy. A few generations later, Lenin's spiritual/political children rolled their tanks into Berlin.

    Of course, history did not repeat itself word for word, but structurally the events had a lot of similarities. Jihadis - from the North Caucasus to the Middle East - believe that the collapse of Assad and, even better, war with Iran would accomplish what the US war with Iraq failed to accomplish: ignite chaos not just in the Middle East but possibly globally. And it is this that would cause the jihadis to thrive.

    Were that to occur, however, the tidal wave of terrorism could hit not just Moscow and Beijing, Washington's enemies, but also Jerusalem. This is the reason Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hardly excited by the spectacle of Assad's sudden collapse. Still, it appears that Washington hardly hears the sober voices from Jerusalem, not only because they could easily dump them as was the case with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak despite all assurances, and not only because they assumed they would not be affected by chaos and waves of terror, but also because of the fundamental changes in US policy.

    As the present economic troubles have become too evident to ignore, the US elite feels that not just economic but geopolitical predominance has started to slip away from its hands with great speed. America is not a woman who ages gracefully to prepare for a future - in this case, a new global order - where her economic standing, standard of living and influence would be much more modest.

    US President Barack Obama and the legions of commentators continue to proclaim that the present-day problems are just temporary before a new rise. And for this reason "she" can engage in reckless actions from which not she but her vigorous and charismatic jihadist lover, who is girded for perseverance, long-term planning and sacrifice - qualities hardly of any value in the US - would most likely benefit in the long run.

    And thus history could move in an absolutely different direction, as it did in 1914 when very few knew Lenin and even fewer were aware of Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and practically no one predicted what they would do in the future.

    As Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel rightly acknowledged, "the Owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk" - that is, the meaning of events can be understood only retrospectively.

    Dmitry Shlapentokh, PhD, is associate professor of history, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Indiana University South Bend. He is author of East Against West: The First Encounter - The Life of Themistocles (2005).

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG26Ak02.html

    America and its allies are playing with a fire that they may not be able to put once started

  13. #53
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    Israel catches Turkey in two minds

    Part 1

    Jul 27, 2012

    Israel catches Turkey in two minds
    By M K Bhadrakumar

    The crisis in Syria has prompted the Israeli leadership to make a strong pitch for repairing the ties with Turkey. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally took the initiative.

    The Israeli leader's move most certainly enjoys American backing, while Netanyahu also felt emboldened by his consolidation within Israel's ruling coalition to press ahead with the initiative. But the clincher would have been that Turkey is a manifestly divided house with regard to the policies to be pursued over the Syrian crisis. The ball is now on the Turkish side of the court.

    On Monday, Netanyahu met in his office an eight-member team of senior Turkish journalists in a high-profile attempt to break the ice between Israel and Turkey. This is the first such meeting since the incident in May 2010 involving the killing of nine Turks by Israeli commandos who tried to stop the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara from breaking the Gaza blockade, which pushed the ties between the two countries into a free-fall.

    Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador when Tel Aviv refused to meet its demands, which included an official apology for the incident, compensation for the families of the victims and an end to the Gaza blockade. Ankara also froze all military and security cooperation with Israel and filed criminal charges against the chiefs of the Israeli armed forces.

    Washington tried in vain to cool down tempers while Turkish and Israeli diplomats negotiated behind the scenes to reach a mutually acceptable formula. But Israeli hardliners including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman refused to countenance an apology or to allow Ankara a say in the blockade of Gaza.

    Israel today is in a mood to compromise. The recent inclusion of Kadima Party in the ruling coalition marginalizes "hardliners" like Lieberman. Netanyahu himself was never in two minds that rapprochement with Turkey was in Israel's interests.

    The second factor is of course the upheaval in Syria. The alienation from Turkey hurts Israel and accentuates its regional isolation and limits its options on the ground to be proactive despite Israel's unquestionable military superiority over Syria.

    The tumultuous flow of events in Syria vitally affects Israel's security - be it the civil war and fragmentation or the role of radical Islamists in the event of "regime change" in Damascus. The short point is that closest possible cooperation with Turkey at the level of the military and intelligence is needed to optimally handle the fallouts.

    The Israeli statement following Netanyahu's meeting with the Turkish media personalities quoted him as saying:

    "Turkey and Israel are two important, strong and stable countries in this region, which is very turbulent and unstable. The Turkish people and the Jewish people have had a long relationship. Turkey and Israel have had a long relationship. We have to keep looking for ways to restart the relationship we had because I think it is important for which of our countries, and it is particularly important now for the stability of this region at this time."

    Netanyahu told the Turkish journalists: "Since I believe in a common interest, both Israel and Turkey should do as much as they can to restore their relationship. We would like to restore our relations again and both countries are looking for opportunities to do so."

    In background briefings to the visiting Turkish journalists, Israeli officials were more explicit:

    "What is happening in Syria is a tragedy, and a greater tragedy is imminent … Both Turkey and Israel have close ties with the United States, and each of is shares important information about Syria with the Americans. We share the same concern…"

    Natural allies
    The big question is whether or not the Syrian crisis could inspire a Turkish-Israeli deal. A recent article in the New York Times co-authored by Michael Herzog (former chief of staff to Israel's defense minister) and Soner Cagaptay at the influential Washington Institute for Near East Policy, toyed with this big question. The two prominent pundits argued that there could be a "new degree of openness" in Tel Aviv and Ankara to the idea of reconciliation, but a rapprochement will still probably require American mediation. They wrote:

    "President Obama has a unique opportunity to help rebuild a strategically vital relationship between these two American allies. While their relationship is unlikely to return to past levels of strategic cooperation, normalizing it could advance important American interests in Syria, Iran and the eastern Mediterranean."

    They estimated that Israel's national security establishment is "firmly in favor of a reconciliation initiative" and a partnership at the operational level between Turkey and Israel could be very productive to bring about over the regime change in Syria:

  14. #54
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England
    Part 2

    "A normalized Turkish-Israeli relationship would also open opportunities for cooperation against the Assad government, with the Turks taking the political and regional lead and the Israelis providing intelligence and additional practical assets … Any Israeli contribution would, of course, have to be invisible in order not to create a sense that Israel was behind the Syrian uprising. This makes Turkish-Israeli cooperation against Mr Assad even more valuable, for it would allow Israel to provide untraceable assets to support Turkey's efforts to undermine the Assad government."

    Traditionally, Israel enjoyed deep pockets of influence in Ankara. The "Kemalists" were drawn to Israel and the Turkish-Israeli partnership flourished in the recent decades. The Turkish security and military establishment (which used to be the "deep state" up until recently when the civilian elected leadership gained control) valued Israel's expertise and professional acumen. Among the Turkish elites, there was high regard for Israel as an outpost of democracy in a region dotted with despots. Suffice to say, in the a priori history of Turkey's politics, the mainstream secular parties saw Israel as Turkey's natural ally in the Muslim Middle East.

    However, things began to change after the Islamist AKP stormed into power. In retrospect, a trend toward "downgrading" the ties with Israel began much before the Mavi Marmara incident. The leadership of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan moved according to a pre-determined plan to fundamentally reset Turkey's Middle Eastern relationships in which ties with Israel were downsized in a calibrated way. Arguably, Mavi Marmara episode provided a leitmotif to hasten the reset.

    Many sub-plots
    It cannot be that Israel is unaware of the reality that the deep chill in Turkey's relations with Israel is symptomatic of the massive transformations in Turkish society and politics during the past eight years, rather than being the inevitable consequence of an unfortunate incident, however tragic it might have been.

    The fact that Netanyahu nonetheless made his overture on such a sensitive issue to a group of journalists rather than discreetly at a political level or through diplomatic channels shows that Israel hopes to appeal to Turkish public opinion. A spokesperson of the Israeli foreign ministry Yigal Palmor, while briefing the visiting journalists, alleged that there are personal dislikes and feelings of mistrust between senior Turkish and Israeli officials. All the same, he added, "We want to have strong ties with Turkey, and we have not given up on relations with Turkey. We need to work on it. We do want to extend our hand to Turkey. We need to understand what is hurting each other. The doors are open."

    To be sure, Netanyahu's overture has many sub-plots. It weighs in on Turkey's acute predicament over the Syrian crisis and it most certainly enjoys US support. It estimates that Turkey is going to make some crucial moves over the Syrian situation in the coming days and weeks. And it tries to rally the enduring sections of Turkish opinion (which are by no means insubstantial) that always favored strategic ties with Israel.

    Prominent commentator Mehmet Ali Briand probably drew attention to just one such intriguing sub-plot when he sized up Netanyahu's olive branch in this way:

    "One important factor we should not ignore is that a Turkey which has no dialogue with Israel is not as interesting as it used to be in the eyes of the countries of the region … The change in the Arab world is also reflected in Turkey. And Turkey, involuntarily, has lost its former influence. Everyone knows that no Middle East policy can be conducted without Israel. It is also obvious that in the chess game of the Middle East, one cannot go anywhere with only Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries, or be influential just by forming a Sunni front. Turkey also should make a decision now. Paths in diplomacy never come to an end; there is always an exit."

    Meanwhile, ironically, one of the main Turkish conditions for reconciliation with Israel - ending the blockade of Gaza - has also been partly fulfilled. On Monday, Cairo announced the easing of restrictions for Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt. The unprecedented move followed last week's meeting in Cairo between President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

    Thus, it becomes highly significant that on Tuesday - within a day after Netanyahu made his overture - at an Iftar dinner at Erdogan's residence, there were surprise guests - a team of Hamas officials led by Mashaal.

    Mashaal used to be based in Damascus but his equations with the Syrian regime have lately become ambivalent. An estimated 500,000-strong Palestinian community lives in Syria. Hamas is also a "branch" of the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey is currently hosting the exiled leadership of Syria's Brotherhood.

    Erdogan's talks with Mashaal lasted well over three hours and it seems they will have substantial bearing on the Syrian situation. Erdogan was assisted at the meeting by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the head of the Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan. There will be a sigh of disappointment in Tel Aviv - and in Washington.

    Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.


    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG27Ak01.html

  15. #55
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    Wounded Syrian regime fights back

    Jul 28, 2012


    Wounded Syrian regime fights back
    By Victor Kotsev

    The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be mortally wounded, but its rule is not yet over. This is the grim message reinforced by armored columns rolling into the major cities, and of relentless air and artillery strikes on the capital Damascus and the commercial heart of the country, the northern city Aleppo.

    Assad tried to stick to the narrative that national unity could be salvaged by appointing three Sunni Muslims, all of them his hardline supporters, to fill in for the security chiefs who were assassinated last week.

    "The notorious Rustum Ghazali, who ruled Lebanon with an iron fist, is among them," the prominent Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, Joshua Landis, wrote in his blog. "This is an effort to keep the Sunni-Alawi alliance alive. Baathist rule has been built on the Sunni-Alawi alliance, which has all but collapsed since the beginning of the uprising. The defections of high level Sunnis recently underscores that it is moribund."

    The influential American-based intelligence analysis organization Stratfor concurs with the conclusion that despite all his efforts, Assad's days are numbered. "We have argued that so long as the military and security apparatus remain intact and effective, the regime could endure," Stratfor wrote in a recent analysis. "Although they continue to function, neither appears intact any longer; their control of key areas such as Damascus and Aleppo is in doubt, and the reliability of their personnel, given defections, is no longer certain ... The regime has not unraveled, but it is unraveling". [1]

    Nor does the option of Assad retreating to some sort of an Alawite "rump state" seem particularly viable. Some commentators have suggested that such a state could center around the Western port city of Latakia, a traditional Alawite stronghold (to see a map of the Syrian conflict, click here). A recent report in Abu Dhabi's The National, for example, argues that an accompanying process of brutal identity-based cleansing may already have started.

    "Recent attacks, such as the massacre on July 12 in the village of Tremseh, appeared calculated to push Sunnis in western Syria out of their traditional homes and east, away from potential Alawite strongholds," the newspaper writes. "The theory runs that the Assad regime plans to push fearful Sunnis out of the areas west of Homs and Hama, which both remain Sunni-majority cities." [2]

    However, the long-term sustainability of such a state is almost as questionable as the methods that may be implemented to usher it in. As Joshua Landis writes in a separate blog post,

    Most importantly, an Alawite state is indefensible. Alawite shabiha (thugs) and brigades of special forces may fall back to the Alawite Mountains when Damascus is lost. But how long could they last? As soon as Syria's Sunni militias unite, as presumably they will, they would make hasty work of any remaining Alawite resistance. Whoever owns Damascus and the central state will own the rest of Syria in short order. They will have the money, they will have legitimacy, and they will have international support. Syria could not survive without the coast. More importantly, it would not accept to do without the coast and the port cities of Tartus and Latakia. All the coastal cities remain majority Sunni to this day. [3]

    For now, nevertheless, Assad seems to have shored up his security apparatus, badly damaged after the urban offensive of the rebels and the high-profile terror attack in Damascus last week. According to most reports, his forces have largely "secured" the capital (where a large but unknown number of bodies have piled up) and are preparing for a decisive offensive in Aleppo. The use of both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft has picked up significantly, and fighter planes are allegedly employed heavily in the government counter-offensive.

    Comparisons with Libya are unavoidable even when diplomats seek to distance themselves from them. On Thursday, United States Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed concern during a press conference that "we will see a massacre in Aleppo, and that's what the regime appears to be lining up for".

    She rejected references to the situation in the Libyan city of Benghazi just prior to the aerial campaign against former Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, saying that "There are a vast number of differences," yet her words suggested that the differences pertain more to Assad's military strength and foreign backers, as well as to the lack of unity among the opposition, than to the American desire for action. [4]

    There are signs of a new initiative to unite the Syrian rebels. It is spearheaded by General Manaf Tlass, dubbed "Syria's most prominent defector," who abandoned Assad several weeks ago. Tlass is the scion of a prominent Sunni Muslim family in Syria which until recently was a key pillar of support for the regime. His hands, however, are clean in the current bloodshed, and despite lingering suspicions against him on the part of the opposition, he is seen as its potential leader - perhaps even somebody who could step in for Assad under a hypothetical internationally-backed deal.

    "I will try to help as much as I can to unite all the honorable people inside and outside Syria to put together a roadmap to get us out of this crisis, whether there is a role for me or not," Tlass told the newspaper Asharq Alawsat on Thursday during a visit in Saudi Arabia. His itinerary also reportedly includes Turkey, suggesting that he is trying to secure the backing of the Syrian opposition's key regional sponsors.

    In any case, however, neither rebel unity nor a foreign intervention in Syria appear to be imminent, whereas the decline in rebel momentum could mirror the failed opposition offensive in the city of Homs earlier this year, when speculations that Assad was finished proved similarly premature.

    Meanwhile, the Syrian regime seems to be implementing a lesson or two of its own from the Libyan case. Whether or not it was involved in any of the recent terror attacks in Bulgaria and elsewhere - Gaddafi also had threatened Europe with terror - Assad appears ready to take the fight into his enemies' territory, for example by allowing greater Kurdish autonomy in Syria as a way of destabilizing Turkey.

    In the last days, the Syrian army reportedly withdrew from at least six Kurdish towns, where a coalition of Kurdish (mostly political) forces took over. The Syrian Kurds are split among themselves, and have allegedly vowed to stay neutral in the civil war, but at least some of them are allied with Assad and the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) which is responsible for much of the terror activity in Turkey. The situation in which the PKK would have a base to operate freely in Syria is unpalatable to the Turkish leaders, and mirrors Ankara's treatment of Assad.

    The Turkish attempts in the last months to lure the Kurds by cultivating a close relationship with Iraq's Kurdish leadership may not work well in Syria, where the regime has enjoyed a long relationship with the PKK. As a Kurdish politician told the web site Rudaw.net, "The areas where these Kurdish factions have raised their flags are those Bashar al-Assad gave to them." [5]

    Reportedly, Western attempts to oust Assad are running aground also on account of deficient intelligence-gathering operations. "Interviews with US and foreign intelligence officials revealed that the CIA has been unable to establish a presence in Syria, in contrast with the agency's prominent role gathering intelligence from inside Egypt and Libya during revolts in those countries," the Washington Post wrote on Tuesday. "With no CIA operatives on the ground in Syria and only a handful stationed at key border posts, the agency has been heavily dependent on its counterparts in Jordan and Turkey and on other regional allies." [6]

    If the report is accurate, this would be a new illustration of the saying that the US is playing poker in the Middle East, while its enemies play chess.

    It is believed that Russia has the most extensive intelligence network in Syria, greater even than that of Iran. It would be the most likely culprit for a palace coup - as one scenario has it - as well as the best potential broker for a deal for Assad's voluntary ouster. As a Russian diplomat hinted last week, Russia may not be opposed to such a deal. [7] It is important to pay close attention to Russia's dealings with the Syrian opposition, as well as with figures such as Manaf Tlass.

    However, even Russia would presumably need broad support in order to help usher in a political transition in Syria, and a consensus seems unlikely in the immediate future. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the US of "direct endorsement of terrorism" [8] in the most recent episode in a series of heated exchanges.

    It appears, therefore, that conditions are ripe for the Assad regime to hang on to power for a while longer, and for the violence to continue to escalate.

    Notes:
    1. Consequences of the Fall of the Syrian Regime, , Stratfor, July 24, 2012
    2. Assads' family rule makes an Alawite state impossible, The National, July 24, 2012
    3. Five Reasons Why There Will Not Be an Alawite State, Syria Comment, July 21, 2012
    4. US fears Syria planning massacre in Aleppo, al-Jazeera, July 27, 2012.
    5. Kurdish Liberation Movement in Syria Continues Despite Criticism, Rudaw, July 26, 2012.
    6. In Syria conflict, U.S. struggles to fill intelligence gaps, Washington Post, July 24, 2012.
    7. Syria: Russian diplomat claims Assad 'ready to give up power', The Daily Telegraph, July 20, 2012.
    8. US position on Syria directly endorses terrorism – Lavrov, Russia Today, July 25, 2012.

    Victor Kotsev is a journalist and political analyst.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG28Ak03.html

  16. #56
    Retired AgNoStIc MuSliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Michigan/Lahore
    Posts
    2,394
    Thanks
    2434
    Pakistan United States
    Thank you Gulf States and the US/UK alliance for creating yet another violent, sectarian conflict in the Middle East.

  17. #57
    Forum Administrator bilalhaider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    6,605
    Thanks
    4000
    Pakistan Pakistan
    Sadly, Syria is in a state of turmoil (to say the least), and there seems to be no looking back, even if there is a military triumph for Assad. Before the conflict began, most of the people were pro-Assad. All thanks to external intervention, and recruiting of Arab terrorists, Syria finds itself where it is today. One also wonders if Assad could have done anything differently a few months ago to nip the situation in the bud, rather than adding fuel to the fire.
    The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to bilalhaider For This Useful Post: Aryan_B,kashifraza


  18. #58
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England
    The country or the family that upsets me in all this is the Al Sauds. Surely we are entitled to expect them to not be complicit in actions that are leading to their brother Arabs be killed

  19. #59
    Member Iranzamin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    543
    Thanks
    669
    Iran Iran

    Syria FM says rebels 'will be defeated'



    Rebels fighting government forces in Syria's commercial capital Aleppo "will definitely be defeated", Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on an unannounced visit to key ally Iran.

    "We believe that all the anti-Syrian forces have gathered in Aleppo to fight the government... and they will definitely be defeated," he told a joint news conference on Sunday in Tehran with Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister.

    His assertion came as Syrian troops, backed by air power and tanks, pushed on in the second day of an assault on the northern city of Aleppo, sparking international fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

    Salehi warned that, if the Syria conflict worsened and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad fell, the consequences "would engulf the region and eventually the whole world".

    He added that "it's naive and illusory to think that, if a [power] vacuum opens up in Syria and the government changes, a new government could be easily established".

    He urged Syria's neighbours to think hard about the situation, otherwise "everyone will lose".

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middle...326777958.html

  20. #60
    Administrator Aryan_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    14,322
    Thanks
    8763
    Pakistan England

    ‘British-born jihadists fighting Assad in Syria’ – captured photographer

    ‘British-born jihadists fighting Assad in Syria’ – captured photographer

    Published: 30 July, 2012, 08:01

    Radical Islamists with “British accents” are among the coalition forces looking to topple Bashar Assad, says Jeroen Oerlemans, a photographer who was held hostage in Syria for a week. The UK Foreign Office has launched an investigation.
    Oerlemans, a famous Dutch photo journalist, and John Cantlie, another photographer from the UK, were captured by a group of between 30 and 100 anti-Assad fighters when crossing the Syrian border from Turkey last week. They were then blindfolded.
    "One of the black jihadists freaked out and shouted: 'These are journalists and now they will see we are preparing an international jihad in this place.'" Oerlemans told NRC Handelsblatt newspaper. He said that none of the fighters was Syrian.
    "They all claimed they came from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and Chechnya and they said there was some vague 'emir' at the head of the group."
    About 40 per cent of the militants spoke English. In fact, several apparently talked with recognizable regional British accents, from Birmingham and London.
    The two photographers suspected that a ransom would be demanded for their release and tried to escape. Oerlemans was shot twice in the leg during the failed attempt and Cantlie, who has so far not spoken to any media, was wounded in the arm.
    The pair’s ordeal ended when the Free Syrian Army, the main anti-Assad force, demanded that their nominal allies hand them over.
    "They took us with them like a bunch of gangsters," Oerlemans said, "Shooting in the air as we rode out of there.”
    The Free Syrian Army released the men and the two are now resting in Turkey. They expect to travel home in the coming days.
    If it is confirmed, Oerleman’s story will add to reports that Syria has become a magnet for radical Islamists, who are there either as mercenaries or because of ideology.
    "As soon as Assad has fallen, these fighters want to introduce Islamic law, Sharia, in Syria," said Oerlemans.


    http://www.rt.com/news/british-jihad...ing-syria-360/

    Another Muslim country converted into a killing field by illegal interference in a sovereign nation by western forces

Page 3 of 69 FirstFirst 123456781353 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Etymology of an ethnic conflict
    By Aryan_B in forum World Affairs
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 27th October 2012, 10:02
  2. Siachen: Will this conflict ever end?
    By Batman in forum The Kashmir Dispute
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15th August 2012, 03:02
  3. The Syrian Conflict
    By Lord Of The Ring in forum World Affairs
    Replies: 50
    Last Post: 18th July 2012, 18:08

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Join us on twitter Follow us on twitter