How low can you go?
When the hand you hold is a loser. The holocaust card can always be played.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has called on Russia to use its influence with the Syrian regime to help get humanitarian aid to the besieged city of Homs.
Tense negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition entered their fifth day Tuesday, focusing on the transfer of power and helping besieged parts of Homs.
The emphasis on Homs and release of detainees are meant as confidence-building measures. A tentative agreement was reached in Geneva over the weekend for the evacuation of women and children trapped in Homs before aid convoys go in. Central Homs has been under siege for nearly two years.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, in a speech during international Holocaust commemoration day on Monday, said that just as Russian soldiers liberated Auschwitz in 1945, “the world again needs Russia to use its influence, this time to ensure that food reaches the desperate and starving people imprisoned in besieged Homs, Yarmouk, the Damascus suburbs and elsewhere.”
“The horrors of the Holocaust have no parallel but the world continues to confront crimes that shock the conscience,” Power said during an event where film director Steven Spielberg gave a keynote address and a survivor of the Nazi genocide also spoke. “In October, the Security Council spoke with a united voice about the need for action to address the humanitarian devastation in Syria. There are people who are imprisoned in their own neighborhoods.” “They need food desperately and yet food cannot reach them because the regime will not allow it.”
Oh, I can think of plenty of parallels, but, let’s pretend the Holocaust (TM) is the only one that counts.
So valued for so many reasons:
Crushing free speech
Playing the victim card
And let’s not forget- Used to traumatize young Israeli’s- I saved this one knowing the time would be right to use it!
Think of the value in traumatizing the populace. Fear and trauma allows for mass manipulation and ease of control.
Back to the invocation of the high holy holocaust meme
Russia’s mission to the UN criticized Power for bringing the Holocaust into the Syria issue.
“We regard such analogies as entirely inappropriate,” said Alexei Zaitsev, a spokesman for the mission, in an e-mail.
And these are inappropriate analogies. But, Samantha Power has always shown herself to be willing to stoop to the way down low level.
Sick. Considering the US and Israeli involvement in the ruin of Syria. Absolutely sick!
Congressional lawmakers have quietly authorized sending small arms, an assorted variety of rockets, and financial backing to so-called “moderate” rebels fighting in Syria’s civil war, according to a new report.
American and European security officials told Reuters that the US will provide anti-tank rockets, but nothing as deadly as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (known as MANPADs), which can be used to bring down military or civilian aircraft.
Legislators voted in closed-door meetings to fund the opposition forces through September 30, the end of the US government’s fiscal year. The decision is an about-face from congressional debates last year, in which the same committees were reluctant to supply arms over concerns that American weapons would wind up in the hands of radical Islamists fighting in the region, the Al-Qaeda-backed Al-Nusra being the most well known.
Now, though, those concerns appear to have lessened. Exactly when Congress approved the funding is not known, yet the sources speculated that it was signed in a classified section of a defense appropriations bill that was approved in December.
“The Syrian war is a stalemate,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and current foreign policy advisor to US President Obama with the Brookings Institution. “The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks to loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides’ external allies…are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future.”
Despite the uncertainty remaining around the conflict, Western officials have asserted in recent weeks that “moderate” rebels have strengthened their positions in the south of Syria and have begun excluding Al-Qaeda sympathizers. Extremists are known to be in control of rebel forces in the north and east, however.
US and British officials temporarily suspended “non-lethal aid” (a category that includes communications equipment and transportation vehicles) in December, although officials now say they hope to resume providing assistance to the Supreme Military Council (SMC), which oversees rebel forces favored by the West.
“We hope to be able to resume assistance to the SMC shortly, pending security and logistics considerations,” one source told Reuters. “But we have no announcement at this time.”
News of the funding comes as the Syrian government and the external opposition in Geneva have reached an agreement that would see humanitarian aid enter the besieged city of Homs, and would allow women and children to leave its war-ravaged areas.
What makes the deal dubious, however, is that it’s not yet clear how it will be implemented on the ground. Currently, the Syrian government is promising – voiced on Sunday by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad – that women and children can leave Homs safely. Another question is how rebels inside the city besieged by the army will react.
“If the armed terrorists in Homs allow women and children to leave the old city of Homs, we will allow them every access. Not only that, we will provide them with shelter, medicines and all that is needed,” he said, as cited by Reuters. “We are ready to allow any humanitarian aid to enter into the city through the arrangements made with the UN.”
US State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said that an evacuation is not a legitimate option because of how dire the need for aid is.
“We firmly believe that the Syrian regime must approve the convoys to deliver badly needed humanitarian assistance into the Old City of Homs now,” Vasquez said. “The situation is desperate and the people are starving.”
The results of a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland – where government officials sat across the negotiating table from representatives of the opposition on Monday – is so far unclear. Each side pledged its willingness to continue discussions, though progress so far has been nearly nonexistent.
United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters after the meeting Monday that even though the talks “haven’t produced much,” another session was scheduled for Tuesday.
“Once again, I tell you we never expected any miracle, there are no miracles here,” he said in a news conference. “My expectation from this conference is that the unjust war will stop. But I know this is not going to happen today or tomorrow or next week.”
Today the U.N. claims that “5000 people a month” are dying in Syria. As I have before, I have to demonstrate why I find this claim utterly non-credible. 5000/month would be 167 every single day. Now we don’t know what the standard deviation might be, but we have to assume it would be reasonably large, which would mean that some days would be much lower, while on other days, we could easily expect 300 or more to be killed in a single day, if the 5000/month were to be believable.
So let’s look at a report from today, when major battles are being reported. Looking through the article, we find (claims of) six mediators shot in Homs, eight Nusra front militants killed by Kurds, nine people killed at a checkpoint, and “several” regime fighters killed. All in all fewer than 30 were reported killed on a day when major battles are being fought. Is it remotely credible that an average of 167 are being killed every single day? Just yesterday we read about 40 people being killed in a single bombing in Iraq; when is the last time we read about an event in Syria which killed even that many people? And when was the last time we read about a day when more than 200 people died in Syria in just a single day? For my part, the answer would be: never.
I don’t know what the statistics are, and I’ll also state clearly that they make no difference whatsoever to my stand, which is: Hands off Syria! No U.S. intervention in Syria. However, because these numbers are being used (and, in my opinion, “ginned up”) to justify ever-increasing intervention in Syria, it is important to understand them, and rebut them, if they are false. Which, in my opinion, is without question.
- Kurdish leader says Syria Kurds not after forming own government (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Syrian Kurds to declare autonomy from Damascus (timesofisrael.com)
The new head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition said he expected advanced weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to reach militant mercenaries soon, strengthening their currently weak military position.
Ahmad Jarba, who has close links to Saudi Arabia, told Reuters in his first interview since being elected president of the coalition on Saturday that the opposition would not go to a proposed peace conference in Geneva sponsored by the United States and Russia unless its military position improves.
“Geneva in these circumstances is not possible. If we are going to go to Geneva we have to be strong on the ground, unlike the situation now, which is weak,” Jarba said on Sunday after returning from the northern Syrian province of Idlib, where he met commanders of insurgents’ brigades.
Asked if shoulder-fired weapons that could blunt President Bashar al-Assad’s massive advantage in armor and air power would reach the militant groups after Saudi Arabia took a lead role in supporting the opposition in recent weeks, Jarba said: “We are pushing in this direction.”
“I think the situation is better than before. I think these weapons will arrive in Syria soon,” he stated.
“We are working on getting advanced and medium-range weapons to the Free Syrian army and the liberated areas,” he added referring to the regions occupied by the armed opposition groups of foreign mercenaries fighting the Syrian government and people.
Jarba offered Assad’s forces a truce for the duration of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Tuesday, to stop fighting in the city of Homs, where armed gangs face a ferocious ground and air onslaught by the Syrian army. There has been no indication that the government is ready to accept such a truce, probable to fears of more military support the opposition might receive from foreign actors.
Homs, 140 km (90 miles) north of Damascus, is situated at a strategic crossing linking the capital with army bases in coastal. The city also links Damascus and the coast with neighboring Lebanon.
“We are staring at a real humanitarian disaster in Homs. Assad, whose military machine was on the verge of defeat, has been propped up by Iran and its Hezbollah proxy,” Jarba said, denying all the massacres committed by his militant groups against the people of Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Hama, Latakia and Deir Ezzor.
“I will not rest until I procure the advanced weapons needed to hit back at Assad and his allies. … I give myself one month to achieve what I am intent on doing,” Jarba said in an implicit hint at his intend to arm the opposition groups during month of Ramadan and exploit any possible truce period.
Jarba was speaking in Istanbul after a meeting of the so-called Syrian National Coalition, which has little physical presence in Syria and little influence over al-Nusra Front militant brigades that play a major role in the fight against President Assad’s forces.
As the battle for Qusayr winds down, regime forces are preparing to wrest Aleppo from the Syrian opposition, which overran the city last July.
According to Syrian security sources, the Syrian army has begun building up its forces in several areas in preparation to storm opposition-controlled Aleppo. The sources explained that they are in the process of surrounding the city in order to cut off the oppositions supply lines.
If it were to succeed, then the regime would have managed to regain two of Syria’s most important governorates: Homs and Aleppo.
Homs was the “capital of the Syrian revolution,” until government troops retook the city. Ten months have passed since opposition fighters managed to flood Aleppo by the thousands, surprising both the regime and the city’s residents. The city had remained solidly in the loyalist camp for more than a year into the Syrian crisis and no one expected it to fall into the hands of the opposition so quickly and easily.
Government sources attributed the fall of Aleppo to the collusion of Mohammed Mufleh, the former chief of Syrian Military Intelligence in Hama, with the opposition’s Tawhid Brigade. According to military sources, Mufleh was paid a large sum of money to facilitate the passage of thousands of opposition fighters into the city.
Military sources maintained that the Aleppans were not particularly welcoming of the opposition, which committed massacres against whole loyalist families, like the Bazzi clan. The same sources estimated the number of fighters in the city may have now reached 20,000.
Mufleh’s defection and the role he played in Aleppo is old news by now. What has not been known until now, however, is his relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Tawhid Brigade, particularly in its initial phases.
Reports suggested that the intelligence chief – before announcing his defection – was in cahoots with Tawhid as it tried to establish its hold in the areas of Aleppo and Idlib.
The relationship reached a point in which Mufleh was prepared to hand over all the weapons at his disposal to the brigade. Tawhid waged a series of successful side battles with other armed groups, accusing them of working for the regime.
After Mufleh’s defection, contacts between Tawhid and commanders loyal to him continued. The breaking point, however, came when these commanders requested that Tawhid “lay down its weapons and declare that it will enter into negotiations with the regime,” only to discover that the opposition brigade had opened up new channels with Turkey and Qatar, before finally announcing its loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Syria: Border Clashes Pit FSA Against Kurds (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Have Washington and Tel Aviv Miscalculated Events in al-Qusayr (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Homs Province, Syria – During a tour of some of the neighborhoods in Homs, Syria’s third largest city after Aleppo and Damascus, with a pre-conflict population of approximately 800,000 (nearly half Homs residents have fled over the past two years) located maybe about 22 miles NE of the current hot-spot of al-Qusayr, this observer engaged in a few interesting conversations. More accurately labeled diatribes–with some long bearded Sunni fundamentalists who claimed they came from Jabhat al Nusra, aka Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahl ash-Shām, “Front of Defense for the People of Greater Syria”), and were preparing to return to al Qusayr to fight “the deniers of Allah”!
It is the strategic crossroads town of al-Qusayr, and its environs, which whoever controls, can block supplies and reinforcements to and from Damascus and locations north and east. For those seeking the ouster of Syria’s government, including NATO countries led by Washington, were their “allies” to lose control of al-Qusayr it would mean the cutting off of supplies from along the Lebanese border, from which most of the local opposition’s weapons flow and fighters have been smuggled over the past 26 months. If the Assad regime forces regain control of the city, Washington believes they will move north and conquer current opposition positions in Homs and Rastan, both areas being dependent on support from Lebanon and al-Qusayr. Some analysts are saying this morning, with perhaps a bit of hyperbole that as al-Qusayr goes so goes Syria and the National Lebanese Resistance, led by Hezbollah.
If government forces can retake the city it will put an end to the Saudi-Qatari green light, in exchange for controlling al-Qusayr, of the setting up of a Salafist emirate in the area which would constitute a threat to the nearly two dozen Shia Lebanese inhabited villages of the Hermel region. If the Syrian army re-takes al-Qusayr, it would also avoid the likelihood of a full-fledged sectarian war on both sides of the border.
Meeting with a few self-proclaimed al Nusra Front militiaman last week, in Homs, one who spoke excellent British English, they had plenty to say to this observer about current events in al Qusayr to which they planned to return the next day to fight enemies “by all means Allah gives us”. One added, when asked if they had confronted Hezbollah: “Of course but Hezbollah can’t defeat us. Eventually they will withdraw from Syria on orders from Tehran. But first enshallah we will bleed Hezbollah with thousands of cut throats”, he boasted raucously as nearby kids cheered and gave V for victory signs, smiles, giggles and cackling all around.
Such Jihadist rants are music to more than a few US congressional and White House ears these days, as once more in this region, a major US-Israeli carefully calibrated regime change project, appears to be falling short.
This week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly to arm elements of the Syrian opposition with a recommendation to “provide defense articles, defense services, and military training” directly to the opposition throughout Syria, who naturally, will “have been properly and fully vetted and share common values and interests with the United States”. History teaches that the vetting part would not happen if the scheme is implemented, despite only a few in Congress objecting.
Perhaps lacking some of his father Ron Paul’s insights into US hegemonic plans for this region, Senator Rand Paul did object to the measure and he fumed at his colleagues: “This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”
According to the Hill Rag weekly, veteran war-hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, flashed a knowing smile but gave no rebuttal, perhaps realizing that Senator Paul is a bit untutored on the reality of current Obama Administration policy in Syria generally, and for al-Qusayr, in particular.
Contrary to the shock and anger expressed by Senator Paul, American policy in Syria is to de facto assist allies of al Qaeda including the US “Terrorist-listed” Al-Nusra Front as well as anti-Iran, anti-Shia and anti-Hezbollah groups gathering near al-Qusayr. These groups currently include, but are not limited to, Ahl al-Athr Brigade, Ahrar al-Sham, Basha’ir al-Nasr Brigades, Commandos Brigades, Fajr al-Islam Brigades, Independent Farouq Brigades, Khalid bin al-Waleed Brigade, Liwa al-Haq, Liwa al-Sadiq, Al-Nour Brigade, Al-Qusayr Brigade, Suqur al-Fatah, Al-Wadi Brigades, Al-Waleed Brigades and the 77th Brigade among the scores of other Jihadist cells currently operating in, near, or rushing to, al-Qusayr.
Their victory according to US Senate sources would be a severe blow and challenge to Iran’s rising influence in the region and Iran’s leadership of the increasing regional and global resistance to the Zionist occupiers of Palestine in favor of the full right to return of every ethnically cleansed Palestinian refugee.
While Congress was considering what else to do to help the “rebels”, on 5/22/13, no fewer than 11 so-called “World powers” foreign ministers, including Turkey and Jordan, met in Amman to condemn, with straight faces, even, tongues in cheek, the “flagrant intervention” in Syria by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters.” They urged their immediate withdrawal from the war-torn country. In a joint statement, the “Friends of Syria” group called “for the immediate withdrawal of Hezbollah and Iranian fighters, and other regime allied foreign fighters from Syrian territory.”
Not one peep of course, about the Salafist-Jihadist-Takfuri fighters from more than 30 countries now ravaging Syria’s population. The truth of the matter is that the governments represented by their foreign ministers this week in Amman, will follow the US lead which means they will assist, despite some cautionary public words, virtually any ally of al-Qaeda whose fighting in Syria may be seen as weakening the Assad government and its supporters in Iran and Lebanon.
According to one long-term Congressional aid to a prominent Democratic Senator from the West Coast, while the Amman gathering described Hezbollah’s armed presence in Syria as “a threat to regional stability”, the White House could not be more pleased that Hezbollah is in al-Qusayr. When pressed via email for elaboration, the Middle East specialist offered the view that the White House agrees with Israel that al-Qusayr may become Hezbollah’s Dien Bein Phu and the Syrian conflict could well turn into Iran’s “Vietnam”. “Quite a few folks around here (Capitol Hill) think al-Qusayr will remove Hezbollah from the list of current threats to Israel. And the longer they keep themselves bogged down in quick-sand over there the better for Washington and Tel Aviv. Hopefully they will remain in al-Qusayr for a long hot summer and gut their ranks in South Lebanon via battle field attrition and Israel can make its move and administer a coup de grace.”
The staffer followed up with another email with only one short sentence and a smiley:
“Of course the White House and its concrete wall-solid ally might be wrong!”
The dangers for Hezbollah are obvious – that it may be drawn ever deeper into a bottomless pit of conflict in Syria that could leave it severely depleted and prey to a hoped for death-blow from Israel.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and other party officials have dismissed that possibility.
The next few weeks may tell.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and Lebanon and can be reached c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Manufacturing Dissent is a documentary about the psychological-warfare by the media and political establishment of the west and their allies aimed at facilitating the US, European and Israeli agenda of getting rid of the current Syrian government. It demonstrates how the media has directly contributed to the bloodshed in Syria.
The documentary de-constructs the main allegations those actors have presented, namely that the Syrian government was systematically repressing peaceful protests and that it has lost legitimacy. It shows how such claims are supported by scant evidence and are therefore little more than propaganda to serve the foreign policy interests of their countries.
Manufacturing Dissent includes evidence of fake reports broadcasted/published by the likes of CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and others and interviews with a cross section of the Syrian population including an actor, a craftsman, a journalist, a resident from Homs and an activist who have all been affected by the crisis.
Produced by journalists Lizzie Phelan and Mostafa Afzalzadeh.
Edited by Lizzie Phelan.
Website for the documentary here http://www.manufacturing-dissent.com/ designed by Shahinaz Alsibahie.
- Israeli Media reports “Syrian Rebels Claim to Take Over Chemical Weapons” (pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com)
- “Progressive” War Propaganda: Deception with a Human Face (vaticproject.blogspot.com)
French journalist Gilles Jacquier, who lost his life in central Syria earlier this year, was killed by the Syrian opposition’s mortar fire, a report says.
“This investigation was carried out by French intelligence and based on a ballistic study carried out in the area. According to my contact, the mortar fire came from the Sunni rebel zone,” wrote Georges Malbrunot, a member of the editorial board of Le Figero, in the French newspaper.
This is while Western reports have put the blame on Damascus, saying Jacquier was killed by a Syrian army shell.
On January 11, Jacquier, 43, was killed in the central Syrian city of Homs.
The Western journalists were on a government-authorized trip to the city at the time of the attack.
Gilles Jacquier, working for France 2 TV, was the first Western reporter to die since the beginning of the unrest in Syria in mid-March 2011. He had covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
The Syrian government had previously blamed armed groups for the attack.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.
While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing protesters, Damascus blames ”outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
- Opposition offensive on Damascus a lie – Syrian gov’t (english.ruvr.ru)
- French Foreign Minister Accused of Falsifying Reports on Syria “To Provoke a War” (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
There are reports that “Syrian Helicopters have fired on rebel strongholds”
The news preceding that was the “US fears another massacre”
Addressing the first linked story. Where is the information coming from? The articles claim the information comes from the UN monitors. But, is it? Or are the UN monitors getting information from the rebels?
U.N. monitors say the Syrian government is using helicopters for air attacks against rebel strongholds, and there are fears that many civilians are trapped in besieged cities.
Exactly where the news is originating from is not being mentioned. Or intentionally omitted?
The use of helicopters gives NATO the justification to launch airstrikes.
The second linked story- Fears another massacre. In conjunction with news of helicopters being used feels a lot like were being prepped for a false flag to justify intervention
“Mr Hague said that Britain was (HAD?) training activists who were monitoring and recording atrocities, including that in Houla last month in which 108 men, women and children were killed.
Was training or had trained activists to monitor and record?? Or create and video?
Mr Hague, does not rule out intervention. Of course.
From Gulf News
Beirut: Six Syrian soldiers were killed and another 26 were buried with official ceremonies, as attacks by rebels across the country increased the pressure on President Bashar Al Assad’s army.
The soldiers died in Deir Al Zor in the country’s eastern oil-producing region, and rebel fighters also attacked a checkpoint in the village of Qusair in Homs, causing several casualties, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. Four security personnel died when an explosive device hit their vehicle in Idlib in the north, while army helicopters attacked rebels in the city of Al Rastan, the group said.
So, it is the Syrian Human Rights group reporting the helicopter attacks… via e-mail?
“The government is using helicopters more often now because of major losses to its tanks,” Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a phone interview from the UK on Monday.
UN Monitors Continue Mission
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the terrorist bomb attacks in two Syrian cities but said UN observers had brought some improvement in areas where they have been deployed.
The UN chief called on “all parties” in the Syria conflict to halt violence and work with the growing UN Supervision Mission in Syria, UN deputy spokesperson Eduardo del Buey said in a statement.
Ban “condemns” what he called “terrorist bomb attacks” in Idlib and Damascus on Monday, the spokesperson said.
“While noting improvements in areas where UN monitors are deployed, the secretary general remains gravely concerned by reports of continued violence, killing and abuses in Syria in recent days.”
“He calls for armed violence in all its forms by all parties to cease immediately and full cooperation of all parties with the work of UNSMIS as it expands its presence on the ground,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The UN monitors are scheduled to visit the western cities of Homs and Hama on Tuesday.
The latest UN schedule comes a day after at least 20 people were martyred and scores of others injured in two bomb attacks in Idlib.
Syria’s information minister has blamed “terrorist gangs” for the massacre in the central city of Homs, describing the killings as part of plans to increase international pressure on the Damascus government.
Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said on Monday that terrorist groups carried out the massacre in the Karm el-Zaytoun neighborhood of Homs to tarnish the image of the Syrian government.
“Terrorist gangs carried out the most horrible massacre in the Karm el-Zaytoun neighborhood of Homs … in order to incite international reaction against Syria,” Adnan Mahmoud told AFP news agency.
The Syrian minister also accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting “armed terrorist gangs” operating in Syria and hold them responsible for the killings in the country.
“Some of the countries backing armed terrorist gangs, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are accomplices to the terrorism targeting the Syrian people… and bear responsibility for the bloodletting,” Mahmoud said.
At least 45 people, including women and children, were tortured and killed in Karm el-Zaytoun on Sunday night.
Relatives of a number of victims have announced that they were kidnapped by armed groups several months ago.
Opposition activists, however, have blamed the pro-government forces for the killings.
From the Alawite Fantasy to the Surrealism of the UN
By PIERRE PICCININ | March 06, 2012
More than a year after civil unrest broke out and plunged part of Syria into the chaos of the ‘Arab Spring’, the Baath government remains firmly in control and the majority of the country is calm; almost untouched by an opposition which is scattered and confined to the cities of Homs and Hama, as well as a few towns on the Turkish and Lebanese border. The main reported cases of unrest are linked to regular attacks from Salafist bands which are of an extremely violent nature and more importantly, the Free Syrian Army. The latter counts amid its ranks numerous Qataris and Libyans, all whom have been trained in the art of urban guerilla warfare by the French army in refugee camps, which provide perfect bases from which to operate and orchestrate attacks.
How can one explain the resilience of this regime? A regime which is more or less in complete control despite facing what is usually described as a “revolutionary populist uprising”? One which is determined to overthrow the “Alawite dictatorship” from the political and economic realms of Syrian society, the so-called privilege of the Alawi, a community which accounts for no more than about 10% of the population?
Perhaps it is because the reality does not correspond to this over simplified equation.
Indeed, the communitarian and religious Syrian patchwork is far from closing ranks on the Alawi population. Moreover, this group, do not in fact monopolize the political landscape.
Therefore, even back in the 1980s, when Hafez Al-Assad, father of the incumbent president, Bashir, and author of the “Alawi coup d’état”, succumbed to serious health issues, he had designed a directorate of six members to run the Syrian government – All six were Sunnis.
Furthermore, all the prime ministers who have served in Bashir Al-Assad’s government have been Sunnis. Similarly key positions including the Ministers of Defence, Finance and Oil and the heads of the numerous police corps and the secret service do not depend on the Alawi community. The Druze, Christian, Shiite and Kurd minorities also benefit from governmental representation.
This would explain why the opposition is a fractious minority whose support base lies outside Syria’s borders rather than at the heart of the population.
In these circumstances it is understandable that Russia (and China), treading carefully in order to preserve her last card in the Middle East, resolutely opposes the pressure to sign up to the latest United Nations Security Council resolution. This would undoubtedly lead Syria into a scenario similar to Libya, where tens of thousands of civilians would perish as during the destruction of Sirte (and Russia has asked for there to be a UN commission to investigate these Atlantic war crimes).
The most striking element in this whole situation is that the UN has neither the right nor the objective, to decide the nature of a sovereign government, less still the identity of its head of state; meaning that the text proposed to the Security Council by the Arab league, calling for the departure of President Bashir Al-Assad, a text supported by Qatar with substantial French backing, is directly opposed to the basic principles of international law and completely surreal.
Furthermore, if the Baath regime is dictatorial and brutal, so are numerous factions of the opposition: an opposition which is seriously divided and made up of groups with conflicting objectives, none of which necessarily represent the Syrian population; for on the one hand there are the radical Islamic factions, who massacre their opponents and commit atrocities against the military (kidnappings, mutilations, decapitations…) but also civilians who refuse to support their objectives. This is why Russia has demanded that any UN resolution must be applied not only to the government forces but to all factions resorting to violence, including those supported by foreign states, specifically France and Qatar.
It would therefore seem that from an Alawite fantasy to the surrealism of the United Nations, Syria as depicted by the mass media certainly bears very little resemblance to the reality of the actual situation.
Pierre Piccinin is a professor of political science at the Ecole Européen de Bruxelles I.
- Israel’s No.1 asset in the Senate calls for airstrikes against Syria (alethonews.wordpress.com)