Tag - Syria

Should Syria be Partitioned?

~ from a newsletter by Chuck Spinney

Attached is a short Syrian sitrep and summary of the central points of a plan being advocated by Joshua Landis, a professor at the Univ. of Oklahoma, and one of our nation’s leading experts on Syria.  Landis runs an informative blog, known as Syria Comment and his plan is discussed at this link in a video interview with Fareek Zakaria of CNN.  My guess is that Landis is well aware of the limitations and uncertainties of his proposal to solve what has become a gordian knot of contradictions.  Zakaria’s gushing enthusiasm for the Landis plan may not reflect Landis’s confidence in whether or not this plan will work.

For example, a subsequent blog entry on Landis’s site, The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra: A Looming Grand Jihadi Alliance?, Posted by Aymenn Al-Tamimi on Friday, November 14th, 2014, lays out a very interesting argument outlining reasons why al Nusra and ISIS are unlikely to form a lasting alliance.  If Al-Tamimi is correct, this may well render impossible any efforts to stabilize a moderate Sunni state.  The bullets below summarize Landis’s points as I understand them; my comments are in red.

In no way implying criticism, the Landis plan may be unworkable. But pressure to partition Syria is going to grow, so it is worth thinking about its implications.

Read More

A Climate of Unaccountability

They’re back!  John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney – the people who pushed the U.S. into the devastating mistake that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, have discovered yet another existential threat ready and able to destroy the world.  Back then it was Saddam Hussein and his mythical cache of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Now it is ISIS and its army of fanatical jihadists who are torturing, raping, crucifying, decapitating and genocidally killing anyone who stands in the way of the new caliphate they are building in what is left of the nations of Iraq and Syria.  It is precisely because there is a political, military, and economic vacuum in the heart of the Middle East that ISIS is able to thrive and expand.

The tragedy of American foreign policy is that the people who helped create that vacuum – who set into motion a war of aggression and choice – have never been held accountable for their mistake.  So here they are, this time doing the bidding of ISIS, spreading terror and fear into the hearts of the American people, priming the country for yet another war of aggression.  The foreign policy of these cheerleaders is encapsulated in one sentence, which ought to be carved on the tombstone of Bill Kristol, the man who said this: “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”   Read More


wishes to engage in a bit of “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.”

It was a bad idea to bomb Assad and I said so last year.

Read today’s headlines and fucking weep: 

US giving Syria intelligence on jihadists, sources say

The key to successful   strategy is to always have more options than your enemy, always preserve room for maneuver, rarely, if ever, burn a bridge and never, ever use force for anything less than vital strategic national interests.

When it comes to foreign policy the entire US establishment needs to take a remedial course on “strategery.”

Right and left: idiots all.

And Stephen Walt has their measure right here:

They’d all jump at their own shadow.

Jordanian warplanes hit convoy entering from Syria

Jordan took the rare step of using airstrikes to stop a convoy of vehicles entering Jordan from Syria.

UPI, By Ed Adamczyk, April 17

Amman – In defending its border with Syria, Jordan took the unusual move of firing upon vehicles from the air that were crossing the border, destroying a convoy of three trucks.

The Jordanian armed forces said in a statement its warplane fired upon the vehicles Wednesday after security demands and warning shots were ignored. “The army will not tolerate such actions,” it said, even though the border is routinely crossed by smugglers, Syrian insurgents and refugees.

No information was given about the occupants of the vehicles, which were pickup trucks. Syrian state media said they were not a part of the Syrian army.

Jordan air strike at Syrian border said to hit convoy of U.S.-trained rebels

Amman — For the first time, Jordan has launched air strikes on neighboring Syria.

The Jordanian military said fighter-jets attacked armored vehicles in southern Syria as they sought to cross the border into the Hashemite kingdom.

A military statement said the camouflaged vehicles, identified as Land Rovers, were destroyed.

Later, diplomatic sources said the vehicles, several of them pickups with mounted machine guns, were driven by U.S.-trained Sunni rebels who fled the Syrian Army and rival Islamist militias.

The sources said the vehicles were suspected of containing weapons and drugs. They said most of the occupants of the vehicles fled when they saw the Jordanian aircraft.

“The Royal Jordanian Air Force on Wednesday destroyed a number of armored vehicles when they attempted to enter into the kingdom from Syria,” the military said.

The statement marked the first time Jordan reported an air strike on Syria amid its three-year civil war.

USA kicks out Syrian diplomats


The State Department on Tuesday announced the official closing of the Syrian Embassy in Washington and said that Syrian diplomats there and in consulates elsewhere in the United States must leave by the end of this month.

Daniel Rubinstein, the Obama administration’s special envoy for Syria, tied the decision to this week’s three-year anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian upheaval.

“In consideration of the atrocities [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s] regime has committed against the Syrian people, we have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” Mr Rubinstein said in a statement.


Flyover Country


Pretty soon we can add Syria to a long list of countries destroyed by the American inability to mind its own fucking business, especially when it has no vital national interests at stake. And yes, I am quite comfortable putting the blame for most of the bloodshed on the US and its proxies like Turkey arming the rebels in the region. Had we not, Assad would probably had wrapped this up a year ago. Seriously, how much money and guns have we poured into Syria? And how can we not claim to be culpable, in at least some way, for what’s happening there?

Regardless, I defy anyone to name me one VITAL, existential, national interest at stake in Syria?

You cannot do it.

Aleppo, Yabrud, and the end of the war on Syria

Syrian Arab Army troops celebrate recent victory (liveleak.com)

Syrian Arab Army troops celebrate recent victory (liveleak.com)

The Syrian Arab Army may be on the verge of another set of victories that go far beyond those gained in the summer of 2013 when the Syrian army and Hezbollah took the rebel held city of Qusayr.   The hotly contested battles rage in the major city of Aleppo and the much smaller mountain city of Yabrud. Major gains in either locale would be significant.  Victories in both would raise questions about the various rebel factions and their ability to continue contesting for control of the country

Syria’s commercial center and largest city, Aleppo, was divided at the start of the Syrian conflict in July 2012.  The government lost control of half of the metropolitan area, key towns surrounding the city, and the international airport.

The situation has changed substantially since October 2013.   The Syrian army captured key towns in the countryside surrounding Aleppo, a critical army base, the international airport, and scores of smaller villages.   Government forces continue to take key locations in preparation for a final push to retake the city.  The tactics on both sides are brutal.  Syrian forces drop barrel bombs on Aleppo’s rebel strongholds.  Rebels recently executed twenty-one Syrian government sympathizers.    Read More

Assad – Saudi ideology threat to the world

(Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned during a meeting in Damascus on Wednesday with Iran’s foreign minister that Saudi Arabia’s political and religious ideology is “a threat to the world,” state television reported.

He was referring to Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim tradition which is predominant in Saudi Arabia, a key backer of Syria’s revolt against Assad.

“President Assad warns during his meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of the threat posed by Wahhabi thinking to all the world, not just to the region,” the report said.

“The Syrian people and some peoples in the region know how serious the threat posed by Wahhabism is, and everyone must contribute to the confrontation against it and to eradicating it from the root,” said Assad, who belongs to the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Gul makes his move in Turkey – the voice of ‘dialog and empathy’

pressealTurkey’s President Gul is making a bold move to calm the political chaos in Turkey.   Will he succeed or will the paranoid Prime Minister Recep Erdogan decide that Gul’s efforts are part of the conspiracy to remove Erdogan from power? (Image: Turkish Presidential Seal)

Since December 17, scores of Erdogan cronies have been arrested for graft and corruption.  This included his hand picked ministers and key political supporters.   The Prime Minister found this intolerable and began firing prosecutors and police.  Dismissals are now in the hundreds.  The PM maintains that a state within a state is attacking him.  Supposedly masterminded by Fethullah Gul (no relation to the president), a Muslim scholar residing in the United States, the plot explains the corruptions charges.

PM Erdogan is assuming dictatorial powers.  Turkey’s Constitution has clear rules about the separation of the judiciary and law enforcement from the executive branch.  Erdogan doesn’t care about the rule of law.  He made sure that prosecutors and police, many from his AK Party, were summarily dismissed after they brought corruption charges against Erdogan appointees and cronies.  He said he’d like to prosecute the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors when that group questioned the legality of the mass firings of prosecutors.  The council makes “decisions on appointments, promotions and assignments of those working under the judge class,” which includes prosecutors.  Read More

Finnegan begin again – Syria and the cycle of recursive violence

maelstrom2James Joyce began Finnegans Wake with this passage:

 “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s from swerve of shore to bend of bay bring us back by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howrth Castle and Environs.”  

Those sturdy enough to navigate the hallucinogenic, recursive, rhythmic prose to the very last page (or clever enough to proceed there right away) discover that the opening sentence is a continuation of the last sentence in the novel:  “A way a lone a long a last a long the ” …  “riverun” etc.  It’s all a loop, where Finn constantly begins again.

We see a multilayered, recursive cycle of beginning again from the point at which we’ve just ended in the cycles of the tragic assault on Syria and its people.

On December 7, 2013, the Islamic Front, a Saudi Arabian rebel concoction, attacked a major weapons depot  “belonging to the mainstream Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).”  The depot was just on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkey border.  “The Observatory [for Human Rights],” a FSA- sympathizing news source used by the Western media, “said the arms [in the depot] had been brought across the border from Turkey” (Daily Star, Dec 7).  Read More

Before the NYT on the Syria sarin attack, there was the Who Attacked Ghouta blog

 whoattackedThe only plausible scenario that fits the evidence is an attack by opposition forces. Following is a description of the main findings, with each one linked to the evidence that backs it.  Who Attacked Ghouta blog, Nov 1

The New York Time article casting doubt on the blame Syria interpretation of the chemical weapons attack is a remarkable event.  The mainstream media is carrying what should be carried – questions that speak truth (or the quest for truth) to power.

Before the New York Times article, well before it, we had the blog, Who Attacked Ghouta.  On November 1, this open source collaborative gathered enough evidence to reach a conclusion that the attack did not come from the Syrian government.  The New York Times article is based on a study by MIT Professor Theodore A. Postol and Tesla Labs analyst Richard Lloyd is significant.  Who Attacked Ghouta incorporated their preliminary comments in its analysis and conclusions.  Read More

NYT: New Study Refines View of Sarin Attack in Syria

New York Times, By C. J. Chivers, December 28

nytA new analysis of rockets linked to the nerve-agent attack on Damascus, Syria, in August has concluded that the rockets were most likely fired by multiple launchers and had a range of about three kilometers, according to the two authors of the analysis.

The authors said that their findings could help pinpoint accountability for the most lethal chemical warfare attack in decades, but that they also raised questions about the American government’s claims about the locations of launching points, and the technical intelligence behind them.  Read More

Exceptional writing from Edward Dark in Syria

Aleppo’s bloodiest week By Edward Dark, Al Monitor

ALEPPO, Syria — Aleppo has seen its bloodiest week since the Syrian conflict began more than 32 months ago. I’d even venture to say it’s the bloodiest in its entire recent history, a grotesque carnival of mayhem, death and carnage, perpetrated against the hapless and helpless citizens of this long-suffering ancient city. A thousand waves of invaders and marauders this city must have seen as countless civilizations upon its land rose and fell, but this recent episode is of such ferocious barbarity and bloodletting that it surely must rank somewhere at the top of its list of all time historical traumas.

Full article

Cameron must answer for deaths in Syria

PM Cameron must answer for his role in Syrian deaths  Image

PM Cameron must answer for his role in Syrian deaths Image

British Prime Minister David Cameron called for answers from the Syrian government for the death of a British doctor in a Syrian jail.   In a letter to the doctor’s mother, the PM said: “Abbas’ death is a sickening and appalling tragedy and it is right that the Syrian regime should answer for it.”

The death is truly unfortunate.  So are the deaths of 120,000 Syrians in a conflict that Cameron helped foment through funding and rhetoric that supported the rebel cause since its onset.  Just as the death of Dr. Khan is “sickening,” so are the massive losses in Syria over the past two and a half years.

PM Cameron is culpable in those deaths, along with his partners President Barack Obama, President Francois Hollande, PM Recep Erdogan of Turkey, and oligarchs in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

When Arab Spring style protests in Syria turned violent, Cameron and company blamed the Syrian government.   He failed to mention of attacks on Syrian police or pro regime demonstrations as large or larger than the opposition.  Read More

Syria Inferno – Country burns while UN and West fiddle

infernoSyria is a swirling cauldron of battles and tragedies as the thirty-day countdown begins for the January 22, 2013 United States-Russia sponsored peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland. (Image)

Syrian government sources reported between 80 and 100 killed in Adra, an industrial town northwest of Damascus.   Al Qaeda aligned Al Nusra rebels and the Saudi sponsored Islamic front entered the town on December 12 after a series of defeats in the surrounding area.  Reports indicate that Christian and Druze Syrians were singled out.  According to local workers, rebels infiltrated factories then began shooting workers.  Workers staged a protest on December 20 demanding a response by the United Nations and support from the International Labor Organization.

Battles between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and rebels heated up in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and the mountainous Qalamoun region near the border with Lebanon.

For the past week, government bombardment of rebel areas in Aleppo has intensified dramatically.  Attacks on rebel strongholds in the city occur daily.  Activists the city say that the military action is the most intense since the start of the conflict in 2011.  The regime is allegedly using “barrel bombs” targeting rebel groups holding out in the city.  The Archbishop of Aleppo described this Christmas as “one of sadness and bloodshed.” Read More