Posts Tagged ‘US’

UDDebatt now on Twitter

7 augusti, 2016

I have been thinking for a long time that maybe I should have a Twitter account to accompany this blog. But I always decided against it.

You all know that I write long, detailed posts that try to explain what really is going on behind the scenes. Which is absolutely necessary. You cannot explain complex international events and developments with thousands of years of history behind it in a soundbite of 7-10 seconds.

That’s the MSM/Old media/politician way. And they very carefully “chose” what they want to report or not.

But I now think it is time to try out Twitter as “soundbite” complement to this blog.

The lead words: Truth, Freedom, Justice, Responsibility and Accountability

As the blog, it is going to be a frank, open and interesting forum. Concentrating on the important “Stuff” that the MSM/Old media “chose” to ignore.

It’s not going to be an instant news type, More highlighting important news that MSM media don’t think you should care about,

You find it here: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt and my username @UDDebatt.

Here is two examples of my tweets:

Syria: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762068121263960065

https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/761667989586468864

Ukraine: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762039648478699522

Russia: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762276440545062912

EU: https://twitter.com/UDDebatt/status/762275868932771844

So enjoy and engage!

Sophia

Annonser

How the Assad regime with the help of Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah transformed peaceful protester to fighters

16 augusti, 2012

Our mistake was to ever believe there could be peaceful change in this country,” he said. ”We wasted time and sacrificed many lives trying to be peaceful. We should have just gone straight to an armed uprising.”

By taking such extreme steps against the moderate opposition the regime is pushing all of its opponents to join the armed rebellion; the regime is making it clear there is no place for the peaceful activists,” said a Syrian political analyst.”

”The cases of Mazen Darwish, Kifah Ali Deeb and Rami Hinawi show very plainly the regime is not fighting militant Islamists but is actually at war with any advocates of real reform in this country, even those who insist on peaceful methods.”

There are no more peaceful demonstrations, there’s no point, we’re not able to move a single metre before the security forces and army start shooting at us,” he says.”

“Liberal, secular, often well educated members of the opposition say their influence over the uprising has been undermined, both through widespread use of indiscriminate violence by the authorities and mass arrests of peaceful dissidents, taking them out of circulation and leaving the field open to more radical groups.”

Here in a nutshell is the description how a brutal dictator transformed peaceful protesters, who only wanted some freedom, to fighters.

In ALL of this, the Assad regime was helped by Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah. With training, advisors and guidance, troops, snipers, material, spare parts, maintenance, weapons, ammunition, intelligence, money, political backing on ALL levels etc.

In ALL of this, the Assad regime was ALSO helped by USA, EU, UN, Turkey, and The Arab League who did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING during 12 months but talked and had meetings. And then they only sent “observers” who dutifully observed the slaughter and massacres taking place, day in day out .

And ALL the TIME the death toll of civilians keep rising, First it was a 1000, then 5000, then 10 000, then 15 000, then 20 000, and now 23 000.

Massacre after Massacre.

Torture, Slaughter, Summarily Executions and Rape.

A systematic assault on human dignity and civilian lives and freedom on a colossal scale.

Day in Day out.

And the TOTAL destruction of block after block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood in countless cities and villages. Using, aside from bombs and howitzers, tanks, rockets etc., the Russian 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bomb to “fight” against these unarmed civilians.

The world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

This weapon system is notable for its capability to conduct a “plunging attack,” in which the munition is fired at a high angle and comes down nearly perpendicular to penetrate a building or fortification.

This is the same weapon that Russia used to destroy Grozny in 1994-96. And now they have passed on these “skills” to the Syrians.

By the way, the use of such weapons in dense urban environments is a war crime.

Here is just one small example from Friday August 10 of Cities and Towns under shelling and destruction by the Assad regime. And the list is not complete:

Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Deir Al-Asafeer, Ain Terma, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Midan, Tadamon, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh, Salhiyeh, Ruknaddine, Dafelshawk (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak , Saida, Tal Shihab (Daraa), Rastan, Talbisseh, Houla, Tal Kalakh, Al-Qusayr, Al-Hosn, Al-Ghanto, Al-Bouaydah, Old Homs (Homs Province), Hreitan, Elbab, Eizaz, Marei, Bayanoun (Aleppo Province), Haffeh, Jabal Al-Akrad (Lattakia), Deir Ezzor City, Mouhassan, Albou Kamal (Deir Ezzor Province), Kafar Zeiteh, Hawash, Shahshabo, Hama City (Hama Province), Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, Ma’rrat Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha, Kafroumah, Al-Rami, Khan Shaikhoon (Idlib).

An other example from yesterday August 15 when the “brave and courageous” pilots of Assads Air Force bombed a residential area in Azaz and obliterated a whole block:

The report here including video:

Syria: Fighter Jet Bombing Kills Over 40 Civilians

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/16/syria-fighter-jet-bombing-kills-over-40-civilians

“(Azaz) – A Syrian government fighter jet bombed a residential neighborhood, killing more than 40 civilians and wounding at least 100 others in the town of Azaz, including many women and children, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting the town.  In the attack on August 15, 2012, at least two bombs destroyed an entire block of houses in the al-Hara al-Kablie neighborhood of Azaz, in Syria’s northern Aleppo province.

Human Rights Watch investigated the site of the bombing two hours after the attack and interviewed witnesses, victims, medical personnel, and relatives of those killed.

This horrific attack killed and wounded scores of civilians and destroyed a whole residential block,” said Anna Neistat, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.  “Yet again, Syrian government forces attacked with callous disregard for civilian life.”

What is left of the al-Hara al-Kablie neighborhood of Azaz after the bombing – NOTHING!

An another brave effort by Assads Air Force – They bombed the hospital in Aleppo

Syria: Fighter Planes Strike Aleppo Hospital

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/15/syria-fighter-planes-strike-aleppo-hospital

(Aleppo) – Syrian government fighter planes fired rockets that struck the main emergency hospital in an opposition-controlled area of Aleppo on August 14, 2012, wounding two civilians and causing significant damage, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting the damaged hospital.

A rocket attack by government aircraft on the hospital two days earlier, on August 12, apparently killed four civilians and wounded three, Human Rights Watch said.

Fighter jet attacks on a hospital twice in three days indicate that this was no accident,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By firing rockets at a clearly marked hospital, the government shows blatant disregard for civilian lives.”

Dar al Shifaa Hospital in Aleppo after the attack

And by the way, these airplanes are provide by Russia, the pilots trained by Russia, the ammunition supplied by Russia, spare parts and maintenance done by Russia, air control and directions done by Russia, intelligence supplied by Russia etc.

Russian ammunition boxes used by the Assad army in Aleppo

They are SOOO HELPFUL these Russians wouldn’t you say?

And ALL of these politicians, governments, international organisations did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING during these 18 months but observed and talked and had meetings.

I say only one thing: You should be REALLY BE PROUD of yourselves and the children of Syria will remember you. Each one of you.

To the children of Syria!

See my previous post Russia’s solution for Syria – More Carpet Bombing and Total Destruction for links to my previous 18 posts on the situation in Syria.

The National hospital in Homs destroyed by Assad forces

Syria‘s youth found peaceful protest ‘became irrelevant’

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/syrias-youth-found-peaceful-protest-became-irrelevant

Phil Sands

”DAMASCUS // No great soul-searching accompanied his transformation from peaceful demonstrator to rebel with the Free Syrian Army; it is a path many of his friends had already taken.

Arrested for protesting in the Damascus suburb of Dummar, Mohammed, 23, spent two months in an overcrowded military intelligence detention cell, and was released without charge to find demonstrations had been superseded by armed conflict.

”I wasn’t thinking about taking up a weapon and fighting the regime when I left prison,” he says.

”I went straight out to protest and saw the other opposition people in Dummar were now carrying rifles and I realised I had to do the same.”

Since the start of the Syrian uprising, Mohammed had been part of the Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists organising peaceful demonstrations and tracking civilian deaths.

While the LCCs are still operating and peaceful demonstrations do still take place, Mohammed and other rebels in Damascus say circumstances have rendered the unarmed protests irrelevant.

There are no more peaceful demonstrations, there’s no point, we’re not able to move a single metre before the security forces and army start shooting at us,” he says.

(The hospital in Qusier, Homs. destroyed by Assad forces. The sign reads – Smoking is Forbidden in The Patients Room)

Not all of those involved in the grassroots opposition movement agree, but a broad range of activists concede that those advocating peaceful revolt have been squeezed out by the demands of war.

Liberal, secular, often well educated members of the opposition say their influence over the uprising has been undermined, both through widespread use of indiscriminate violence by the authorities and mass arrests of peaceful dissidents, taking them out of circulation and leaving the field open to more radical groups.

On Sunday two prominent grassroots activists, Kifah Ali Deeb and Rami Hinawi, were detained by a Popular Committee – a pro-government armed militia – in their home neighbourhood of Sahnaya, south of Damascus.

Ms Deeb, an artist and author of children’s books, sits on the governing board of the opposition National Coordination Committees, a political bloc that has called for non-violent democratic change in Syria.

The NCC has been at odds with other opposition factions, including the exiled Syrian National Council, which has called for foreign military intervention to aid rebels.

Ms Deeb, 30, is a member of the Alawite sect, which forms the nucleus of Bashar Al Assad’s regime and dominates ultra-loyalist branches of the security forces and military.

Mr Hinawi, 33, who has long campaigned peacefully for democratic reforms alongside Ms Deeb, is a Druze.

Both are believed to be in the hands of air force intelligence, the most feared branch of the Syrian security forces, although, as with other detentions, no information has been released by the authorities in connection with the detentions.

Sectarian politics are complex in Syria but one of the key arguments made by supporters of Mr Al Assad is that his regime is all that protects Christian, Druze, Alawite and other minority groups from annihilation at the hands of the Sunni majority.

That has brought even sharper focus on members of those minorities who stand with the opposition, rather than the authorities.

                           (Ramadan in Aleppo)

Another influential advocate of a peaceful uprising in Syria, Mazen Darwish, also an Alawite, has been held by air force security for six months.

Although a civilian, he is facing prosecution in a military court usually reserved for army officers. There is no chance of appeal and no defence lawyer, proceedings are secret and the military judge can choose to issue a death sentence.

The human rights lawyer Anwar Al Bunni, a regular fixture at the Damascus courts of justice, said Mr Darwish and thousands of others facing special military courts had been thrown into a black hole, outside of Syria’s regular – and highly flawed – legal system.

”They have had all of their basic rights taken from them, we know nothing about their situation, all the files are kept secret. We are not even allowed to know the names of all of those facing military trials,” he said.

It emerged that Mr Darwish is facing a military court only when a judge summoned him to appear as a witness in another case, and air force security said they would not permit him to do so because he was being held for military trial.

Syrian officials do not talk about court cases but the authorities have long insisted they act in accordance with national laws and have dismissed evidence of widespread torture of detainees that has been compiled by the United Nations and rights monitors.

The use of draconian measures against advocates of non-violence has only accelerated the slide into an increasingly brutal conflict, one that rights monitors say has already killed upwards of 20,000 people, a majority of them civilians.

By taking such extreme steps against the moderate opposition the regime is pushing all of its opponents to join the armed rebellion; the regime is making it clear there is no place for the peaceful activists,” said a Syrian political analyst.

”The cases of Mazen Darwish, Kifah Ali Deeb and Rami Hinawi show very plainly the regime is not fighting militant Islamists but is actually at war with any advocates of real reform in this country, even those who insist on peaceful methods.”

In Dummar, Mohammed admits he has little idea of how to wage war as a guerrilla, never having been in the army or taught how to fire a weapon.

A shortage of arms and ammunition among rebels in Damascus means he is used as a runner to convey messages between fighters when they are in action.

Nevertheless, he believes that is a more productive way of trying to overthrow the Syrian regime than stinging street protests.

Our mistake was to ever believe there could be peaceful change in this country,” he said. ”We wasted time and sacrificed many lives trying to be peaceful. We should have just gone straight to an armed uprising.”

Hezbollah Mercenaries fighting for Assad in front of the Citadel in Aleppo

LEAKED VIDEO – Inside a helicopter gunship over Syria used to bomb and kill civilians in cities

(These videos where taken by Assad troops themselves to show how “good” they are at killing civilians, as trophies, to prove their loyalty etc. etc.)

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Russia’s solution for Syria – More Carpet Bombing and Total Destruction

29 juli, 2012

Just a quick comment of the accelerated slaughter going on in Syria. And Russia’s continued role as the main weapons, ammunition, economic, personal, training, intelligence, diplomatic etc provider and support for Assad.

Here is what captain Konstantin Sivkov, a former strategist for the Russian General Staff between 1995 and 2007, now the first vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Doctor of Military Sciences, concluded after a “visit” in May and talks with the Assad’s gang:

http://world.time.com/2012/07/26/russia-and-syrias-assad-the-end-of-the-affair/

Sivkov was surprised, he says, with how “gentle” Assad has been in crushing the revolution. “Believe me, some of our guys have told Bashar to adopt much harsher methods, carpet bombing, total destruction,” Sivkov told TIME after returning to Moscow. “If that approach was chosen in Syria, there would be no rebels left after one week, and everyone would be happy.”

Yeah, that’s the Russian way – Total destruction and Carpet bombings of civilians. After all, they have a long experience in Afghanistan, Chechnya etc. And they taught their Syrian pupils well.

Here are just some pictures of the according to Russia “to gentle” Assad treatment of civilians in cities.

In this case from Homs, a major industrial center, and with a population of at least 652,609 people according to the 2004 census:

This is the guy who also told Izvestiya on March 22 this year regarding project 949A, were Antei nuclear-powered submarines will be completed and modernized and armed with new cruise missiles with range up to 1,500 km.

http://rusnavy.com/news/navy/index.php?ELEMENT_ID=14659

“In particular, the newspaper cites Capt 1 rank (retired) Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of Geopolitics Academy saying that Antei-class subs would be equipped with Caliber missiles in order to destroy missile defense assets deployed in Europe.”

That is in plain language EU. Who have done everything possible not to “irritate” Russia and have bent over backwards every time Russia raises its eyebrow.

And this is what he said on March 25 2010 “World War III Has Already Begun”

World War III Has Already Begun

http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/25-03-2010/112718-world_war_three-0/

http://moodle.fhs.cuni.cz/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=4137

“A resource-poor countries and people, but rich in modern technology and weapons will also want their share. From this perspective, Russia has become the primary objective of aggression.”

“The only limiting factor at this moment is Russia’s nuclear arsenal. According to the experts they predicted that the West will attempt to remove the Russian nuclear shield. “

Yeah, these as always helpful and peaceful Russians.

This is the country, and the persons, that the Obama administration had a “reset” with and has given de facto veto power of the US foreign policy.

Here are my previous posts on Syria:

My first series:

Part 1 – Introduction

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 1

Part 2 – Reports

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 2

Part 3 – Russia

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 3

Part 4 – Iran

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 4

Part 5 – China

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 5

Part 6 – Turkey

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 6

Part 7 – Arab League

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 7

Part 8 – EU and NATO

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 8

Part 9 – UN and Kofi Annan

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 9

Part 10 – US and the Obama administartion

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 10

Part 11 – Paul Conroy and the targeting and killing of journalists

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 11

My second series:

It is now nearly one month since I finished my 11 parts series of background on what is going on in Syria (Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs  Part 1-11). So I thought it would be appropriate to give an update of what has happened or not happened since then. And here are some more updates.

The Houla Massacre and the Assad thugs

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 1

Russia, Iran and China

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 2

Turkey and EU

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 3

NATO and UN

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 4

USA and the Obama Administration

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 5

What Does the Syrian Opposition Believe, The Shabiha and the armed opposition

The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 6

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The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 6

16 juni, 2012

Some observations:

We have come to the end of this follow up after my first series about what is going on in Syria. I could easily write 250 pages of observations but I am going to spare you that. Instead, I am just going to write about three things: the perception of the opposition in Syria, the Shabiha and the armed opposition.

First the perception of the opposition in Syria.

It has always amassed me that the “do nothing crowd”, (i.e. The Obama administration, NATO, EU, Turkey, Arab league etc), are actually the same ones that are ACTIVELY promoting and supporting the muslim fundamentalist i.e. SNC/The Muslim Brotherhood.

One of the excuses from the west (Obama administration, NATO, EU) has always been that they don’t want to give support to extreme/fundamentalist muslims. Which is quite “funny” if it weren’t so hypocritical because that is what you EXACTLY did in Libya. You armed, trained and fought with al-Qaida and other fundamentalist groups.

So the brutal fact, which so many don’t want to admit, is that most of the opposition are normal people how just want do defend themselves from the attacks of the Assad regime. And they also want a change for the better regarding basic freedoms and liberties.

I would say that these are very reasonable demands wouldn’t you say?

So instead of supporting this secular, civil opposition the Obama administration, NATO and EU is ACTIVELY supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which literally hates these countries and what their societies stands for.

And if the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, with the help of the money and support of the west, their policy would be ANTI USA, ANTI EU, ANTI NATO and of course destroy Israel.

Seems like a VERY smart policy wouldn’t you say?

And our tax money goes to this madness!

And in the meantime the civilian population in Syria, including the secular, civil opposition, is getting slaughtered and massacred.

The big difference as I wrote in my original series is that after over 45 years of brutal dictatorship the FEAR IS GONE. If you don’t understand that you don’t understand very much of what is going on now.

Here is one of the very, very few opinion polls of what the opposition really thinks:

What Does the Syrian Opposition Believe?

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/what-does-the-syrian-opposition-believe

“There are increasing calls for international intervention inSyriaafter this weekend’s massacre in Houla, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces murdered more than 100 civilians. Obstacles to intervention remain, however, especially concern that the opposition to Assad’s regime is dominated by religious fundamentalists. Until recently, for example, the Syrian National Council, a group of exiled opponents of the regime, was led by Burhan Ghalioun, whose unwillingness to counter the Muslim Brotherhood was widely viewed in the West as a troubling sign of Islamist influence.

But a confidential survey of opposition activists living inSyriareveals that Islamists are only a minority among them. Domestic opponents of Assad, the survey indicates, look toTurkeyas a model for Syrian governance — and even widely admire theUnited States.

Pechter Polls, which conducts opinion surveys in tough spots in theMiddle East,AfricaandAsia, completed the Syria opposition poll in December 2011. Respondents were contacted over a secure Skype connection by someone they could trust — all native Syrians — who asked them to fill out a short questionnaire anonymously in Arabic. Interviewers were selected from different social and political groups to ensure that respondents reflected a rough cross-section of overall opposition attitudes. To ensure confidentiality, the online survey could be accessed only through a series of proxy servers, bypassing the regime-controlled Internet.

Given the survey’s unusual security requirements, respondents were selected by a referral (or ”controlled snowball”) technique, rather than in a purely random fashion. To be as representative as possible, the survey employed five different starting points for independent referral chains, all operating from different locations. The resulting sample consisted of 186 individuals inSyriaidentified as either opposition activists themselves (two-thirds of the total) or in contact with the opposition.

What do these ”inside” opposition supporters believe? Only about one-third expressed a favorable opinion of the Muslim Brotherhood. Almost half voiced a negative view, and the remainder were neutral. On this question, no significant differences emerged across regions.

Most of the survey’s questions asked, ”On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 means the most negative and 7 the most positive, how would you rate your opinion of X?” Answers of 1 to 3 were considered negative, 4 as neutral, and 5 to 7 as positive.

While many respondents supported religious values in public life, only a small fraction strongly favored Shariah law, clerical influence in government, or heavy emphasis on Islamic education. A large majority (73%) said it was ”important for the new Syrian government to protect the rights of Christians.” Only 20% said that religious leaders have a great influence on their political views.

This broad rejection of Islamic fundamentalism was also reflected in the respondents’ views on government. The poll asked each respondent what country he or she would ”like to see Syria emulate politically,” and which countries the respondent ”would like to see Syria emulate economically.” The poll listed 12 countries, each with a scale of 1 to 7. Just 5% had even a mildly positive view of Saudi Arabia as a political model. In contrast, 82% gave Turkey a favorable rating as both a political and economic model (including over 40% extremely favorable). The U.S. earned 69% favorable ratings as a political model, with France, Germany and Britain close behind. Tunisia rated only 37% and Egypt 22%.

Iran was rated lowest of any country included in the survey, including Russia and China: Not even 2% of respondents had positive views of Iran as a political model. Fully 90% expressed an unfavorable view of Hezbollah, including 78% with the most negative possible attitude.

One of the surprises in the results is the scope of the opposition’s network inside Damascus, despite their difficulties in demonstrating publicly. One-third of the respondents, whether activists or sympathizers, said they live in the Syrian capital. (To protect their privacy, the survey did not ask for more precise identification.)

This ”inside” opposition is well-educated, with just over half identifying as college graduates. The ratio of male to female respondents was approximately 3 to 1, and 86% were Sunni Arab.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they were ambivalent about Syrian Kurdish demands for ”political decentralization” (like autonomy). Views of ”Kurdish parties” were evenly divided among negative, neutral and positive. (Such feelings are evidently mutual: In the six months since the survey was completed, Syrian Kurdish organizations have increasingly decided to go their own way, separate from the other opposition groups.)

Based on a statistical analysis of the survey, most secularists among the respondents prefer weak central government, presumably as a way to safeguard their personal freedoms. On the other hand, the one-third of respondents who support the Muslim Brotherhood also tend to have a favorable view of Hamas, despite the latter movement’s previous association with the Assad regime.

The survey demonstrates that the core of the Syrian opposition inside the country is not made up of the Muslim Brotherhood or other fundamentalist forces, and certainly not of al Qaeda or other jihadi organizations. To be sure, a revolution started by secularists could pave the way for Islamists to win elections, as has occurred in Egypt. But the Syrian opposition is solidly favorable to the U.S. and overwhelmingly negative toward both Hezbollah and Iran.”

David Pollock is the Kaufman fellow at The Washington Institute and a consultant to Pechter Polls.

The Shabiha, the murderous thugs that do most of the massacres

Assad’s Pact With the Devil

Syrian Regime Using Hired Killers to Cling to Power

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/analysis-of-the-aftermath-of-houla-massacre-in-syria-a-836848.html

“The regime of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad has enlisted gangs of murderous thugs known as ‘Shabiha.’ No assignment is too brutal or bloody for these men who are free to kill, plunder and rape. Assad knows that outright victory over the opposition is his only remaining chance to stay in power.”

“Europe, the United States and perhaps even Kofi Annan are slowly realizing that there will be no compromise with Syrian President Bashar Assad, because there can be no compromise with Assad. Now that more than 10,000 people have died and tens of thousands have been tortured, the phase in which protesters were still staging peaceful demonstrations, and in which negotiations, transitional governments and compromises were possible is irrevocably over.

When the regime was still able to negotiate its own exit, it didn’t want to. Now it no longer has that option, because any sign of weakness would lead to its overthrow.

This realization hasn’t been triggered by the fact that the regime is massacring civilians to save itself. Similar bloodbaths have already taken place in the past. In April of last year, more than 60 people disappeared without a trace in Homs, after government troops had mowed down a group of peaceful protesters. In January, several families in a southeastern Homs neighborhood were massacred in a way that resembled the Houla killings. And when the Bab Amr neighborhood was captured by regime troops several weeks later, after having been almost destroyed by artillery fire, witnesses said that there were mass executions of those who hadn’t fled.

What was different this time was that on Saturday morning, only hours after the killing frenzy, a team of UN observers managed to reach Houla, where they saw and counted the bodies, heard what the survivors had to say and saw the tracks the tanks had made. ”The evidence is clear — it is not murky,” said German UN Ambassador Peter Wittig. ”There is a clear government footprint in those killings.” Whereas earlier massacres were only documented in reports by the Syrian opposition and video recordings that could not be corroborated, this was a different situation.

By failing, the UN mission appears finally to be having an impact. The roughly 300 unarmed observers cannot possibly monitor a nonexistent cease-fire, during which more than 2,000 people had been killed by the end of last week. The UN observers cannot prevent what is happening, but they can prevent it from being covered up. This isn’t much, and for angry Syrians who burned images of Annan, it’s far too little. ”We called the observers during the massacre,” a man from Houla who calls himself Abu Emad was quoted as saying, ”but they refused to come and stop the murders. Damn then, and damn the entire mission!”

“The men, some in civilian clothing and others dressed in army uniforms, went from house to house, reported survivors like 11-year-old Ali, who told CBS News: ”They came to our house at night. First they took out my father and then my oldest brother. My mother shouted: Why are you doing this? Then they shot both of them, and after that my mother. Then one of the men came in with a flashlight and saw my sister Rasha. He shot her in the head.Ali hid with his two little brothers. The man saw them and shot the brothers, but he missed Ali.

Other survivors who hid or played dead consistently gave the same accounts: The men combed through house after house and room after room, killing everyone, some with knives and some with guns. The massacre continued until the morning hours. When the UN observers arrived, they found nothing but corpses in the villages controlled by regime forces. The survivors had fled to neighborhoods held by the FSA, where they placed the bodies they had recovered on mats in the mosques before filming and burying them.

The regime in Damascus could not deny that the massacre had taken place. But Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, parroting the government’s standard position, promptly blamed the killings on ”armed terrorists” and ”Islamists.” The Russian government, which had blocked every Security Council resolution condemning Syria, launched into a bizarre attempt to apportion the blame. The regime was apparently responsible for the assault by tanks and mortars, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. But the brutish murders, said Alexey Puchkov, chairman of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, ”were definitely committed by the other side.”

Igor Pankin, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, agreed: ”We cannot imagine that it is in the Syrian regime’s interest to sabotage Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s visit to Damascus.” And he is right in one respect. In PR terms, a massacre of children cannot be helpful to the Assad regime. But he was wrong in another sense, inadvertently putting his finger on Russia’s growing frustration with its ally: Syria‘s leadership is no longer taking decisions that would make sense for a government hoping to reach a political solution to the crisis.

By gradually concentrating power in the hands of the Alawite minority, to which the Assad clan belongs, the regime is fomenting a religious war against the Sunni majority, the very conflict it claims it wants to prevent. Now Assad has backed himself into a corner from which he believes there is only way out: victory. This is why the latest proposal from Berlin and Washington to attempt the ”Yemeni solution,” which would be to depose Assad but keep the regime in power, will not work. The regime is relying solely on violence, accompanied by an outrageous propaganda narrative that blames foreign terrorists and al-Qaida for the uprising.

This conspiratorial obsession is nothing new. Starting in 2003, the intelligence services began secretly organizing the transfer of jihadists from Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait across the Syrian border into Iraq, to deter the Americans from seeking regime change in Damascus as well. At the same time, the regime painted itself as a bulwark in the fight against al-Qaida. Foreigners who were later arrested reported how they had been kept in Syrian intelligence camps in Homs while waiting to be transferred into Iraq.

The attacks on several Scandinavian embassies in Damascus after the Danish cartoon controversy in early 2006 were blamed on an Islamist mob, but as it turned out, the regime had planted Islamists in the crowd. As a precaution, it also removed the guards from in front of a general’s house next to the Norwegian Embassy. Although there was no evidence that the regime was behind the major bombing attacks in Damascus, Aleppo and Deir al-Zor in recent months, they had several strange elements in common: The bombers had immense quantities of explosives, which they easily managed to get through all government checkpoints, and they detonated most of their bombs in front of empty buildings. When the regime published its death tolls after the first attack on Dec. 23, they included the names of men who had already died elsewhere. During the ostentatious burial service at the Umayyad Mosque, signs attached to many of the coffins read ”anonymous martyr.” On May 9, just before a bomb exploded near the convoy of UN observer mission chief Robert Mood, the vehicles were detained at a military checkpoint just long enough so that they would be nearby at the time of detonation.

“Murderous ‘Ghosts’

What happened in Houla followed the pattern of earlier attacks like the one in Homs. First, the target is bombarded with tanks and artillery from a great distance. Then the regular troops move in and drive out or shoot the last remaining rebels. Finally, the regime sends in its helpers, the Shabiha (”ghosts”), over which it has less and less control.

What were once gangs of thugs and smugglers from the hills around Latakia, the home turf of the Assad clan, have turned into an army of irregular troops numbering in the thousands. The gangs are backed by the beneficiaries of the regime, those who profit the most from Syria‘s façade of a market economy, and who now have the most to lose. It’s a Faustian bargain. As long as they are loyal to Assad, they are permitted to murder, loot and rape, as was the case in Houla, where the Shabiha came from neighboring villages to the south.

The Shabiha were also active in the capital Damascusin August 2011. Every evening during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, dozens of them stood in front of mosques in Sunni neighborhoods, prepared to bludgeon and drag off anyone who said anything derogatory about the regime after emerging from prayers. At about 8 p.m., swarms of Shabiha thugs emerged from the intelligence service quarters, were loaded into requisitioned buses and driven to their deployment locations, where they lay in wait until the faithful dispersed after leaving the mosques.

The Shabiha are criminals and day laborers, mostly Alawites, but also Kurds with the PKK terrorist group, members of Sunni clans from Aleppo loyal to the regime, and some Christians. The Shabiha are the shadow force of a regime that no longer trusts its own army, but instead has created a monster that is taking on a life of its own, undermining the Syrian government long before it suffers a military defeat.

Months ago, the author and dissident Yassin al-Haj Saleh, who is in hiding in Damascus, wrote: ”The current heads of the security services may very well reform themselves into a mafia-type organization after the collapse of the regime and continue to practice the violence, theft and discrimination at which they are so adept.”Syria could eventually be controlled by marauding gangs, driven by greed and the fear of reprisal, which becomes more justified with each new wave of killings.”

The Shabiha: Inside Assad’s death squads

The Shabiha started off as racketeers and smugglers. But now, as ultra-loyal enforcers ofSyria’s brutal regime, they have taken on a far more bloodthirsty role, write Harriet Alexander and Ruth Sherlock.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9307411/The-Shabiha-Inside-Assads-death-squads.html

“The door to Dr Mousab Azzawi’s clinic, on the Mediterranean coast ofSyria, was always open to anyone who needed help. But, operating in the heartland of the feared Shabiha militia, there were some patients the doctor would have preferred not to treat.

They were like monsters,” said Dr Azzawi, who worked in Latakia. ”They had huge muscles, big bellies, big beards. They were all very tall and frightening, and took steroids to pump up their bodies.

I had to talk to them like children, because the Shabiha likes people with low intelligence. But that is what makes them so terrifying – the combination of brute strength and blind allegiance to the regime.”

As President Bashar al-Assad’s country continues its savage slide towards full-blown civil war, the violent, dark and secretive world of the Shabiha is coming out into the open.

Nine days ago, 108 people were butchered by the Shabiha in the town of Houla. The pro-Assad thugs went through the village, house to house, and slit the throats of anyone they came across – including 49 children. Exactly a week later, the Shabiha pulled 12 factory workers off a bus in the town of Qusayr, 40 miles to the south; tied their hands behind their backs, and shot them in the head. “

“The world is learning just how bloodthirsty the Shabiha can be. But insideSyria, their capacity for hideous brutality has long been known.

”Even before the revolution, any time there was unrest they would go out into the streets and stop it for the government,” said Selma, who comes from a prominent Alawite family – a Shia Muslim sect, into which the Assad family was born, and to which almost all of the Shabiha belong. Her cousins are Shabiha.

They would just break people’s arms and legs. They would fight for Bashar to the death. It is natural – they have to defend their sect.”

Her cousins wore civilian clothes, she explained – ”then the television can say that these are just civilians who love Bashar.”

President Assad, and his father Hafez before him, used the Shabiha to terrorise Syrians into obedience, brainwashing the militia into believing the Sunni majority was their enemy. “

“After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Syria’s French rulers needed soldiers willing to defend the regime from a Sunni uprising, so they incorporated large numbers of Alawites into the army, who were only too happy to fight their Sunni ”oppressors”.

They became the most politically powerful sect in Syria, and the vast majority of the country’s top intelligence and military officers adhere to the faith. It was from the army that Hafez al-Assad emerged to stage his coup.

Initially the Shabiha were a mafia clan, making money through racketeering. Selma, the Alawite with Shabiha family, said her cousins were ”filthy rich” through smuggling in diesel, milk and electronics. ”Anything toLebanon that is cheaper inSyria, and whatever is needed inSyria fromLebanon,” she said.

The ruling Assad family turned a blind eye to their criminal behaviour and violent methods. In return, the Shabiha became the Assads’ fiercely loyal defenders and enforcers.

”They are fuelled by this belief that they are fighting for their survival,” said Dr Azzawi. ”Assad tells them that they must defend the government or else they will be destroyed; it’s kill, or be killed.”

“An enormous man, identified on the video as Areen al-Assad – a member of the president’s family clan – posed with his gun, grinned from the steering wheel of his car, and flexed his muscles. His huge bicep bulged with a tattoo of the president’s face.

At the end of the video, the posturing Shabiha militants proclaim: ”Bashar, do not be sad: you have men who drink blood.”

”It is their motto,” explained Dr Azzawi, who said that many of the men were recruited from bodybuilding clubs and encouraged to take steroids. ”They are treated like animals, and manipulated by their bosses to carry out these murders. They are unstoppable.”

“The militia operated with blind devotion to the leaders, referred to as ”muallim”, meaning boss, or ”khaal”, uncle. And indeed, it was in many ways a family business.

Mr Assad’s cousin Numir has taken over as one of the key rulers of the Shabiha – even though the government is careful to avoid direct association with the militia and their murderous acts.

How the men are paid is unclear, although many claim the Shabiha is funded by businessmen tied into the Alawite clique that dominates the government.

What is known is that the Shabiha have a strong economic motives for backing the regime. Foot soldiers can earn up to £120 for a day’s thuggery – a fortune in Syria.”

“”If they know the whole area is against the regime they have no problem killing everybody,” she said. ”That is how it works.”

The armed opposition

It has been fascinating to watch the development during the last 15 months of the opposition’s developing from the first few demonstrations. How the demonstrations started spreading and got bigger and bigger.

To the first sporadic attempts from civilians to defend themselves and their families, villages, neighbourhoods etc. against the attacks by the Assad regime. Via the first appearance of the defectors from the Assad army. Until today where you have a lot of groups going from hit-and-run attacks to learning how to coordinate and organize more sophisticated attacks against stronger targets.

They are learning, and they are learning fast because they have to.

In addition, they have increased the pressure on the regime many times over, increasing attrition and increasing defections etc

Still the armed opposition desperately lacks weapons and ammunition, especially to defend against Assad’s tanks and helicopter gunships.

The rebels are also gaining confidence. “Every day we control more territory, every day we have more defections, and we are having better organization in our ranks,” said Maj. Sami al-Kurdi, a spokesman for the Homs Military Council, one of the new military structures that are being established around the country. “The regime now controls only the territory under its tanks, and the evidence is that they don’t dare step out of their tanks.”

And as I said, they are growing in effectiveness and strength.

After driving rebels from strongholds in the Baba Amr district of Homs and several Idlib towns in March, the government has since been unable to press home the advantage. Repeated efforts to dislodge the FSA from the provincial Homs towns of Rastan and Qusair have failed, and a major offensive launched last week against a rebel stronghold in the town of Haffa, northeast of Latakia, faltered despite intense shelling and the deployment of combat helicopters.

The Assad regime can go in and suppress an area with heavy weapons, but as soon as they leave it, it losses the control.

The result is that many parts of northern and central Syria have effectively fallen under the sway of the opposition,

Which also makes it really hard for the regime to move around, and for them to get out of their checkpoints that they are barricaded in. The Assad forces are in many cases pinned down.

Remember that I two months ago talked about how the Syrian army de facto had defected “in place”? Well, now the defections have started to increase and continues at a steady rate. And regular troops are weary after nearly 15 months of continuous deployment since no new conscripts have been called in.

One example – Of 400 soldiers originally stationed in the provincial capital of Idlib, just around 60 remained last week defending their base near the centre of the city, which has seen significant fighting. In the small city of Maraa, near Aleppo, 15 soldiers defected within the space of a weekas many as in the entire previous year.

The rebels also are starting to inflict heavy casualties on government troop’s security forces. It is likely to hit a record level in June for the second month in a row. As of Monday, June 11, the state news agency has announced the funerals of 259 soldiers and police officers who were killed in combat with rebels this month, a record 57 of them Saturday June 10 alone. Well ahead of May’s pace, when 404 such burials took place

Just during the period of June 10 to June 13, here are some of the main events:

– FSA Attacked the Taftanaz military airport.

– In Deir Ezzor several BMP:s and tanks where destroyed there alone. In Baba Amr, where the massacre occurred, well the FSA is back and on June 12 they destroyed two BMP:s.

– And on the same day three tanks where destroyed in Haritan,Aleppo

– The FSA captured the Deir Ezzor checkpoint operated by Army and shabiha. They captured lots of weaponry and ammunition after the attack

– FSA attacked a big regime convoy outside Latakia in operation ‘Cutting the snake’.

– Capture by FSA of shabiha and army in one of their strongpoints in Al Qusayr on June 10.

– Syrian rebels on June 11 briefly seized control of the strategic army base al-Ghanto (surface-to-air missiles are stationed there), close to the central town of Rastan before the army rained down artillery and forced them out of the station. They seized a lot of weapons and ammunition.

– On June 3, rebels attacked a Syrian Air Force As Suwayda air base east of the southern town of Deraa opposite the Israeli Golan border – their first such attack in the 14-month uprising,  Several rebel groups firing mortars set fire to fighter aircraft and assault helicopters in their hangars and ripped up runways.

Does this sounds like some “ragtag” wild bands on the lose?

Inside Syria: You will never guess who arms the rebels

In any revolution, getting weapons is a key challenge. Syria’s rebels have found an interesting solution.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120606/syrian-rebels-weapons-arms-revolution

“JABAL AL-ZAWIYA, Syria— At the Free Syrian Army base here, a group of men led a nervous prisoner from his cell to a car waiting outside. A few hours later, the rebels returned alone, with a trunkload of weapons.

As they loaded the store room with new bullets and rocket-propelled grenades, Hamza Fatahallah, an army defector who joined the Free Syrian Army nine months ago, described the transaction that had taken place.

We have caught many army prisoners,” he said. “We send them back home for a small amount of money on the condition they do not return to the regime. We use the money to buy weapons.”

For the release of this prisoner, Ahmed Haseeba, the group received $500. With this money, Fatahallah said they were able to buy ammunition from their main supplier: Syria’s national army, also known as the enemy.

This strange cycle of exchanging prisoners for weapons has been playing out between rebel forces and President Bashar al-Assad’s army since the beginning of the revolution.

Fatahallah estimated that his village purchased 40 percent of their weapons from the regime. Prisoner exchanges have so far contributed almost $80,000 toward weapons purchases, he said. And they obtain an additional 50 percent of their weapons during battle. The remaining 10 percent are donated and smuggled from outside the country, or are purchased from private merchants, mostly from Iraq.

Occasionally, prisoners are also exchanged directly for weapons, Fatahallah said. They have received up to two Kalashnikov rifles in exchange for a prisoner in the past.

For the regime, or at least the duplicitous members of it, supplying the enemy is a big business. Government officers also sell Kalashnikov bullets, which typically sold for less than 40 cents before the uprising, for about $4 each, according to Ahmed Al Sheikh, the leader of the armed opposition in Jabal al-Zawiya. He leads about 6,000 men from eight battalions that are collectively known as the Sham Falcons.

Kalashnikovs are bought for about $1,000, he said. Rocket-propelled grenade launchers, complete with a set of four rockets, cost up to $4,000, as does a BKT machine gun.

“These officers sell to us not because they love the revolution but because they love money,” Al Sheikh said of his chain of suppliers. “Their loyalty is to their pockets only, not the regime.

While most of the sellers are corrupt officers, they said lower ranking soldiers have occasionally stolen supplies from government weapons storage and sold them to the rebel forces.

The relationship is not always a smooth one.

Back at the base, the men were relaxing after lunch when a loud explosion shocked everyone to their feet. As they feared, the previous night’s purchase of Kalashnikov bullets had been booby-trapped. This time their colleagues were lucky enough to survive the discovery.

The men had learned from prior experience — bullets acquired from the regime are sometimes emptied of their gunpowder and filled with TNT designed to destroy the Kalashnikov and its owner, rather than the enemy.

After several injuries and the loss of two rifles, the men had learned to spot the fakes. To everyone’s relief this had been a controlled explosion, by someone suspicious of the new batch. The damage inflicted was only a blackened hand, some singed hair and a hole in the table.

“These ones here are good bullets,” said battalion leader Asad Ibrahim, showing the red marking on the base of one of the bullets. Holding up another with a slightly darker red off-center mark he said, “These are Bashar’s bullets to explode our guns.”

The men said bullets like these have destroyed many guns and killed or seriously injured several of their fellow fighters. But desperate for ammunition, they take the risk.

Commander Al Sheikh said that half of the Sham Falcon arsenal are seized from the enemy. Most are taken either during battle, or after attacks on government checkpoints. And the rebels carry out organized raids on government weapon stores whenever they can.

During an attack on a checkpoint in Mughara last week, Al Sheikh proudly boasted that his men had managed a rare grab: a T62 tank along with anti-aircraft weapons.

Another source of arms is from the army defectors themselves, who bring their own weapons along when they join the rebel forces.

Sitting at the base, the men laughed as they recalled the story of two friends, both defectors, who told their superior they needed one of the gun-mounted vehicles and some heavy weapons to check on a call regarding rebel activity. Loading the truck with as much ammunition and weapons as they could find, they drove straight toward the rebels, checking in by radio with their boss with stories of hunting down “rebel traitors” hours after they had already betrayed sides.

While the Free Syrian Army has been adept at obtaining weapons, it has also proven skillful in manufacturing their own.

In a secret warehouse across town from the base, fertilizer and sugar were being boiled in a large pot. Everything from teapots to large metal pipes were being filled to make roadside bombs for attacks on tanks and army vehicles. 23mm bullet casings were filled with explosives with a small wick on top, looking more like an ACME special from a Loony Tunes cartoon than a deadly hand grenade.

We are using very simple weapons against the highly sophisticated weapons of the regime — tanks, rockets, missiles. What a government! What a regime. Doing nothing but killing their people,” Fatahallah said during a tour of the busy workshop.

The men from the battalion spoke constantly of the need, not for military intervention from abroad, but for international help in obtaining more weapons. But with or without this support, they vowed to continue the fight until Assad is removed.

“The Quran says to prepare whatever weapons you can to fight your enemy,” said Al Sheikh, the commander, as his local leaders discussed preparations for their next mission.

“Even if no weapons are available and all we have left to use are stones, we will go on with our revolution until Assad falls.”

Syrian rebels in Turkey doubtful over new Arab arms supplies

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-syria-crisis-turkeybre85d10p-20120614,0,3789440.story

“ANTAKYA, Turkey(Reuters) – Syrian rebels resting and recovering from wounds in Turkeysay that far from receiving a host of heavy weapons to take the fight to government forces, they feel forgotten by their Western and Arab backers.

Some rebels and opposition figures inside and outside Syria say there has been an upsurge in recent weeks of heavier weaponry being smuggled into Syria via Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq from suppliers inSaudi Arabia and Qatar.

The weapons, which according to the rebels are being supplied by private sponsors, include thousands of shells, hundreds of sniper rifles, as well as anti-armor missiles.

But in the verdant hills, wooded mountainsides and languid refugee camps of Turkey’s southern Hatay province, Free Syrian Army rebels returning from the fight to rest and tend their wounds, said they had seen no sign of any new weapons.

One rebel said less than half the fighters in his unit even had a gun. What weapons they did have, the rebels said, came from inside Syria.

This is an absolute lie. We have not seen anything. If they are coming through Lebanon, maybe, but if they were, we would see these weapons. We don’t see them, where are they? said one rebel who gave his name only as Ahmad.

Every household has had one person killed or wounded. If we had weapons we could defend ourselves,” said Ahmad, clean-shaven and dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, not fitting the typical image of a rebel fighter.”

“After the tanks push their way through the town and surrounding villages, Ahmad said, Assad’s soldiers, move from house to house rounding up young men and looting their homes. What they leave behind, they destroy, he said.

From a hospital ward in Hatay’s main cityAntakya, Ahmad becomes frustrated when speaking about weapons. He motions his hands emphatically to drive home his point.

By God, we don’t trust anyone. We don’t believe anyone anymore. The world has forgotten us,” he said.

Like most of the Syrians inTurkey, Ahmad would only give one name for fear of reprisals against his relatives at home.

As Ahmad spoke, the newest wounded arrival, 31-year-old Lutfi, was wheeled into the emergency department below. Lutfi, a Free Army fighter was shot in the leg during a clash with government troops in Jabal al-Krad near the western city of Latakia.

Lutfi said he and some 150 rebel fighters ambushed around 200-250 of Assad’s men who were on their way to occupy one of the surrounding villages. Two rebels were killed in the clash and another four were wounded.

The right leg of his camouflage military trousers has been ripped off, revealing a bandage covering his bullet wound. Lutfi laughed when asked whether new weapons had reached his men.

There are no new weapons. All we can do is attack and retreat. They are nothing against their weapons,” he said.

ONLY 40 PERCENT HAVE WEAPONS

Some 45 km (30 miles) south of Antakya only minutes from the Syrian border, Nasim, another rebel stands outside the Yayladagi refugee camp – tents erected inside an old, derelict tobacco factory that now serves as his temporary home.

Like at the others camps scattered around Hatay and further to the east, here fighters come to recoup with comrades or family members. Syrians are free to enter and leave the camp but access to the media is restricted.

Nasim says he regularly crosses back into Syriato smuggle food and blankets to fighters stationed inside but said he had not seen any new weapons cross from Turkey into Syria and that all the weapons he had seen had been acquired in the country.

”Three months ago I heard that Arab countries were going to send us money or weapons but I have not seen anything. Not one country has sent us money or weapons,” said Nasim, a short, stocky, scruffily dressed man in his 30s with a full black beard.

”The only weapons we get are by pooling our money together and buying them in Syria, or someone who supports us will come and give us their hunting rifle or something. Sometimes soldiers from the army sell us weapons,” he said.

Only around 40 percent of his unit even had a weapon, Nasim said, ”and these are light weapons. Assad is hitting us with tanks.”

Some 40 rebels and activists who spoke to Reuters this week all said that apart from a small number of light weapons which had been bought on the black market, they had not seen any weapons smuggled to Syria through Turkey.

While Turkey has thrown its support behind Assad’s opposition, has called for the Syrian leader to step down and given sanctuary to senior defected Syrian army officers, it has opposed any outside military intervention in its neighbor.

Turkish officials sayAnkara is not arming the rebels and have denied reports that weapons from other countries are being smuggled over Turkish territory.

Corroborating accounts of what is happening inside Syria is difficult because the government tightly restricts foreign media access. Most rebels also cross into Syria during darkness and Turkish security forces do not allow media near informal border crossings.

But for the rebels it does not matter where the weapons originate or how they get there, as long as they come.

Wherever they come from it does not matter. We want weapons. We want to be able to defend our women and our families. We don’t want money, just weapons,” said Omar, another rebel smuggler at Yayladagi.”

Syrian Army Unable to Stop Flood of Deserters

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/syrian-army-unable-to-stop-flood-of-deserters-a-838188.html

“Yet the cynical joke about the soldiers at the checkpoint reflects a reality that grows closer with each day, one which is welcomed by many Syrians: The regime is finding its soldiers slipping out of its grasp. One noncommissioned officer from the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, just hours after defecting to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), relates breathlessly how he made his escape: ”The officer was sitting there, and when he was alone with me and a friend of mine, he demanded, ‘What are you still doing here? Go on and get out of here!’ The officer will issue the order to shoot them, the defector says, and he’ll call their families and threaten them, but all that is nothing but show. It’s over, he says, and it was time for them to disappear.

Shooting from a Distance

Of 400 soldiers originally stationed in the provincial capital of Idlib, just a couple dozen remained last week defending their base near the center of the city, which has seen significant fighting. In the small city of Maraa, near Aleppo, 15 soldiers defected within the space of a week — as many as in the entire previous year.

In Azaz, where Assad’s troops still control a checkpoint at the edge of the city, a heavily fortified city quarter and the minarets of the largest mosque, two soldiers defected a few days ago under the cover of a fake attack. They reported they had received hardly any supplies in weeks, and that they were living on dried out bread and brackish water. One earlier defector had taken with him the numbers of everyone in his unit who owned a cell phone. The FSA then contacted each of them, offering to help them escape. Many of the soldiers found it an attractive offer.

This is just one small insight into the situation in northern Syria, but deserters from other parts of the country who have managed to make their way back to their native villages near Aleppo tell of similar conditions in their own units. Reports of the types of attacks carried out by Assad’s troops also suggest the situation in the south, in the area around Damascus, in Deir al-Zor in the east and in Homs in the west is much the same as it is in the north: In many cases, the army no longer deploys its troops, but instead shoots from great distances using tanks and heavy artillery, or from helicopters, strategies which decrease the risk to the army.

One defector from Homs, a city that has also been the site of heavy fighting, describes a cycle of accelerating collapse. ”If I’d left sooner, state security would have arrested my family and burned down my house,” he says. ”But they’re not going to come now, certainly not just because of me.”

Diminishing Fear

With each bit of the country that slips from the regime’s control, the soldiers’ fear diminishes. That in turn increases the number of defectors, more and more of whom join the FSA. One officer, who defected to the FSA and has a precise mind for figures, estimates the group has around 40,000 former army soldiers in its ranks, although the proportion of soldiers and civilians varies among regions.

Outwardly, power dynamics in Syria have changed little in the past 15 months. The rebellion has gripped the cities, but unlike in Libya, here there is no still no large, contiguous region for the rebels to defend. But the appearance of stability is deceptive. While it’s true that soldiers are no longer allowed to travel by intercity bus without a permit, and that many of those who escape still risk being shot by the omnipresent intelligence service, the fact remains that the regime is no longer able to stay the gradual erosion of its army.

The impression of power and control emanating from the centers of Damascus, Aleppo and other major cities may also be deceptive. The Western half of Syria is a land of villages and small cities, which have joined together with the insurgency in the most densely populated provinces. The area around Aleppo, Idlib, Homs, Hama and Daraa together forms a zone in which the government’s troops may attack anywhere, at any time, yet are no longer able to control the area permanently. And in many places, the people living here have switched sides. Sunni Muslims have certainly done so, but so have most Druzes and Ismailis. And though Kurdish villages in the northwest, such as Basuta and Ain Dara, have started flying the Kurdish flag in recent weeks, rather than the revolutionary flag with its three stars, there’s no one left here who still defends the regime.

Around 50 soldiers are stationed on Sheikh Barakat Mountain near the Churchof St. Simeon, northern Syria’s famous late antiquity ruin, but for the past two months they’ve received supplies only by air, because convoys are no longer able to pass through the surrounding area, which is completely under the FSA’s control

‘We Don’t Get Orders’

The FSA itself is a peculiar entity. It’s clear that it’s effectively organized at the village level and in small cities, each group loosely connected with other districts and provinces, but without a set hierarchy or command structure. ”We have a good relationship with the FSA’s commander in exile in Turkey,” says one local commander, ”but we don’t get orders. We’re in charge of ourselves.”

This set-up isn’t enough to allow coordinated attacks on the regime’s centers of power, but it appears to be good enough to control the rest of the country. What’s sustaining the regime is its monopoly on heavy weaponry, as well as its tough core of 100,000 to 200,000 officers, secret police, elite soldiers and militia members, most of whom are Alawis and fear that the regime’s fall would spell their own end as well. These troops have their stronghold in the Ansariyah Mountains in the west of the country and control parts of the larger cities as well, but they no longer hold all the land between.

Everyone — the rebels, the hundreds of thousands of undecided currently fleeing through the country to wherever they feel they will be somewhat safer, even those who support the regime — are all dreading the ”next step,” in the words of Abu Ali al-Dirri, an officer who changed sides six months ago. The next step is the air force.

‘They’re Going to Bomb the Country’

Syria has made massive improvements to its air force in the past year, but so far, aside from the helicopters, hardly put it into action. ”But before the Assads go down, they’re going to bomb the country,” Dirri believes. For years, he says, the regime has made a point of ensuring the loyalty of the air force, the branch of the military where President Bashar Assad’s father Hafez began his career. ”They’ve increased the proportion of Alawi cadets at the military academy in Aleppo constantly, especially in the air force,” he says. ”They knew things would turn against them at some point.”

At most, Dirri says, the regime would face the problem that many older pilots have been discharged in recent years, while many newer pilots have only barely completed the number of flying hours necessary in order to fly a fighter jet. Dirri himself, as a Sunni, hasn’t even been allowed to carry a gun since the revolution began.

For years, the officer says, ”Russia didn’t want to supply replacement parts any more, because we never paid, but now Russia is providing enormous amounts of assistance, even sending over personnel.” He adds that more than 1,000 Russian engineers were present in the country this January. Many of them were officially there as agricultural consultants, ”but their work doesn’t have much to do with agriculture.” Iran has sent arms and ammunition, he adds, but not much in the way of personnel, while China has a group of air force specialists stationed at Aleppo‘s military airports.

Around half of the air force’s 360 fighter jets are fully operational, Dirri says. It’s roughly the same proportion with its 120 helicopters. Its French ”Gazelle” helicopters, equipped with armor-piercing weapons, are in the best condition, ”but not a single one of them has ever taken off — they’re all stationed at the presidential palace airport.”

Where Will the West Draw a Line?

As long as the West continues to declare every few days that it has no intention of carrying out a military intervention, says Colonel Dirri, the regime in Syria will continue to use everything at its disposal. ”Its strength rests in the fact that the whole world is saying, ‘We’re not going to get involved,'” he says. ”If this Rasmussen” — a reference to NATO’s secretary general — ”would just shut his mouth for once, that alone would do Syria a great service!”

At the very latest, after the massacres in Houla two weeks ago and in Mazraat al-Qubair last Wednesday, none of the rebels in northern Syrian still believe the UN’s peace plan will be successful. Instead, their greatest hope is little more than a rumor: that at some point the US must surely draw a line, and perhaps Russia too. What will it take to reach that line? The deployment of Syria‘s air force to carpet-bomb the country? Or perhaps the regime resorting to its arsenal of chemical weapons?

One thing is clear: With or without a vote from the UN Security Council, the rebels want an intervention.”

The T-HOMS 75

Finally the T-HOMS 75. It is a Toyota pickup fitted with steel plates to protect teams of three rebel fighters each behind the rockets and machine guns. Under the motto, “you take what you have”

This is what NATO and Anders Fogh Rasmussen probably would call “a serious proliferation of weapons in the region”.

And this piece from Haaretz on the left and very critical of Israeli policies. Regarding the deafening silence from nearly ALL Israeli Arab artists in Israel and Jewish radicals, the peace movement etc.

A deafening silence

Tolerance in the face of Assad’s bloody murderousness is liable to have the same effect on Arab-Jewish radicalism in Israel.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/a-deafening-silence.premium-1.436292

By Ari Shavit

“Remember Deir Yassin? The number of innocent people murdered in Syriaover the past year is 100 times greater than the number of innocent people who were murdered in this Arab village at the edge of Jerusalem in 1948.

Remember the Qibya incident? The number of innocent people killed in Syriaover the past year is 250 times the number of innocent people killed in this pastoral village in Jordan in 1953.

Remember Sabra and Shatila? The number of innocent people butchered during the past year in Syria is 20 times the number of innocent people who were butchered in those Palestinian refugee camps in western Beirut in 1982.

Remember the bloody rioting in October 2000? The number of innocent people who were shot to death in Syria during the past year is 1,000 times the number of innocent people who were shot to death by the Israel Police in the Galilee and the Triangle area in central Israel.

Remember Operation Cast Lead? The number of innocent people who were felled in Syria during this past year is dozens of times the number of innocent people who fell in the Gaza Strip during that widely condemned Israeli military operation in the winter of 2008-09.

The picture is clear: During one year, the secular Arab nationalism of Bashar Assad has spilled more innocent blood than the Zionists have in decades. This Arab tyrant, who in the past was the darling of Arab Knesset members, is massacring his fellow Arabs in a way that Israel never did.

Arab cities are being bombed, Arab women are murdered, Arab children are slaughtered. An Arab society is being shredded, and an Arab state shattered into fragments.

Despite all this, the The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel is not demanding that the United Nations intervene to stop the bloodshed. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, is not petitioning the International Criminal Court in the Hague to put the war criminals on trial. Large Land Day type demonstrations have not been called. Protesters who take part in mass marches every October aren’t marching. Arab students who mark the Palestinian Nakba of 1948 aren’t coming out against the Syrian Nakba of 2012. Israel’s Arab minority and its anti-Zionist left are watching as thousands of Arab are massacred – and are standing idly by.

It’s crystal clear that the Syrian tragedy unfolding before our eyes has serious international ramifications. It is taking all meaning out concepts such as international community, international law and the idea of moral validity in international relations.

It’s crystal clear that the Syrian tragedy has serious pan-Arab ramifications. It is taking all meaning out of concepts such as Arab unity, Arab solidarity and the idea that the contemporary Arab world accords any real meaning to human rights.

But the Syrian tragedy has serious ramifications for Israel’s anti-Zionist community as well. The inability of this community to directly confront Arab evil undermines the moral basis for its battle against Israeli evil.

Its unwillingness to demand that universal values be upheld in Hama and in Homs pulls the rug out from under its demands that universal values be upheld in Ramallah and Nazareth. Its silence when faced with the butcher of Damascus makes its condemnations of the State of Israel sound hollow.

The Syrian challenge is a moral challenge. There are some Israeli Arabs who are passing this test honorably. For example, Azmi Bishara, the former MK who fled Israel after being questioned on suspicion of aiding the enemy, who in the past was close to Assad, is today waging a brave and intensive campaign against him on Al Jazeera tv. Unfortunately, few of Bishara’s colleagues in Israel are following suit.

Israeli Arab artists in Israel and Jewish radicals in Israel are silent about what’s going on just over the border. This troublesome silence makes one wonder if their declared humanitarianism is authentic. When they spoke up – against Israel – about human dignity and freedom, perhaps they were simply fooling us?

Communism in the West was destroyed in the 1950s because it tolerated Stalin’s bloody dictatorship. Tolerance in the face of Assad’s bloody murderousness is liable to have the same effect on Arab-Jewish radicalism in Israel.

See Part 1 – Introduction in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 1

See Part 2 – Reports in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 2

Refusing to arm or help the opposition will not end the conflict or limit it; it will drag on as all the  examples of  like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc. shows. Leading to more massacres and atrocities.

And by waiting the situation gets worse and much more complex, then “they” used its complexity as an excuse not to intervene while decrying the lost opportunity for intervention. And ALL this time the killing and atrocities committed by Assad’s regime just continues as nothing has happened.

On the contrary, the Assad regime has increased it’s attacks since Bashar al-Assad agreed to implement the “new” peace plan.

The international community’s response has been ludicrous. Syrians on the ground have felt forgotten and betrayed. A system that is supposed to protect civilians from brutal force has failed on a monumental scale.

And to ALL these countries, USA, EU, NATO, Turkey etc. that are supposed to defend and protect freedom, liberty and human rights.

To ALL these global government organisations (UN),and local ones like the Arab League etc.

To ALL the statesmen and politicians that talk so loudly about “responsibility to protect” (Samantha Power anyone?), freedom, liberty and human rights.

I say only one thing: You should be REALLY BE PROUD of yourselves and the children of  Syria will remember you. Each one of you.

                             To the children of Syria!

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The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 5

12 juni, 2012

Third, the countries and organizations that makes this possible (continuation):

USA and the Obama Administration

You can say much about the Obama administrations Middle East policies. But the easiest is to state the obvious – it is an utter and total failure. In fact, it is even worse than that.

Because what Obama has managed to do is to totally destroy US reputation and standing in the region. He has single-handed managed to alienate ALL the traditional allies in the region like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.

The Saudis was so upset after the way Obama throw Mubarak under the buss that they decided that they could NO longer trust this man. After that, they strengthen the Gulf Cooperation Council, intervened in Bahrain etc.

And how Obama have supported the Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist take over after Mubarak and the military regime.

And the Israelis, the way the have been treated regarding the fundamental and existential treat from a nuclear Iran.

Make no mistake; this is a fundamental strategic break. That America will suffer the consequences for many years to come.

Add to that the total failure inIraq where you now have a US installed government that is closely allied to Iran. And is helping Iran support Assad in Syria.

You can add to that the disintegration of Afghanistan. Yemen, where the Obama administration forced out the sitting president Ali Abdullah Saleh and now al-Qaidi controls large parts of that country.

Etc.

Etc.

Remember also that Obama and Hillary Clinton switched the policy 180 degrees compared to the Bush time. Assad was “their” man because he was a ”reformer”. And there was a parade of American politicians going toDamascus to shake the “reformers” hand and praising Assad for his “reforms”.

Even several months into this uprising and the slaughter, Obama and Hillary Clinton still vehemently defend him as a reformer refusing to condemn what was going on.

And Turkey, under his close personal friend Erdogan, witch Obama has hold up as a role model for the rest of the Middle East.

A Turkey under Erdogan which have, on purpose, slowly but very determined Islamized Turkey.  With hundreds of political prisoners like journalist, judges, layers, military, kurds etc. Who have spent years and years in prison without a trial.

And the latest example of how far this process have gone:

This Week, Turkey Went a Long Way Toward Becoming an Islamic Republic

http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/06/this-week-turkey-went-long-way-toward.html

“Hardly surprising; deeply upsetting; and geo-strategically catastrophic, it’s official. Turkey has now passed over toward being an Islamist state. That turning point is marked by a tiny event of gigantic importance. Fazil Say is an internationally acclaimed Turkish classical pianist. He has performed with prestigious symphony orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Berlin, Israel Philharmonic, France, and Tokyo as well as being a European Union cultural ambassador. The Turkish state is now going to put him on trial.

An Istanbul court has accepted the prosecutor’s charge, which amounts to heresy. Specifically, he is accused of insulting Islam because of tweets he sent. Say suggested that since the Koran says there are rivers of drinks in heaven that makes it sound like a pub, while the beautiful women available there make it sound like a brothel. A number of his tweets are quoted here. That’s his crime, writing a couple of sentences to describe his thoughts.

We are not talking of someone criticizing Say or disagreeing with him. We are talking about the power of the Turkish state being used to charge a man with a crime and send him to prison for exercising free speech. True, they are only asking for a sentence of eighteen months in prison but once the precedent is set their ambitions will expand.

There are already hundreds of political prisoners in Turkey today who have been in prison for over three years without any trial at all. Now if criticizing Islam in Turkey is a crime, Turkey is not a secular state. And with all of those innocent people already thrown in jail by the regime on trumped-up charges of treason and terrorism, Turkey is no longer a democratic state either.

Yeap, that really sound like a good role model for the rest of the Middle East!

This is the same Turkey, with active American help, trying to make Syrian National Council (SNC, i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood) the sole “representative of the Syrian opposition. Thereby fuelling ALL resources to them and not to the rest of the more secular, democratic opposition inside Syria.

Doesn’t this also seems like another excellent policy by the Obama administration if you REALLY want to be sure of a democratic development in Syria in the future??

And this obsession of Obama and Hillary Clinton that the Russians has to “approve” everything before he actually do anything.

The Obama administration is actually, which is astounding, giving Russia de facto veto power over US foreign policy. A Russia, which literally hates everything USA stands for and it’s position in the world. And witch have done everything it can to interrupt, damage or sabotage US foreign policy.

Russia is the one that is supporting and protecting Assad, Iran etc. Russia is the one selling ALL these weapons to Syria and Iran etc.

And remember that Obama actually told outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on March 26 that he is going to be “more flexible” after the election in November.

MORE FLEXIBLE???

Just to give some recent examples of the “democratic development” in Russia:

This is the Russia that just raised the fines for participating in unsanctioned rallies or demonstration from 300 rubles to 300,000 rubles, a year salary for a normal Russian.

Putin signed the bill on June 8.

The Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council said in a statement the bill violates an article in the constitution guaranteeing freedom of assembly.

And oh by the way, the Russian authorities don’t very often give “permission” for demonstrations.

In March, a discriminatory ban on “homosexual propaganda” went into effect in St. Petersburg.

And on the same theme – Moscow Bans Gay Pride Parades For 100 Years

Yeas, you read right. Moscow city courts has banned ALL pride parades for the NEXT 100 years!

http://www.queerty.com/moscow-bans-gay-pride-parades-for-100-years-20120608/

“Yikes,Russia! A week after protestors for gay rights were arrested in Moscow, a district court upheld the decision by a Moscow city court to ban gay pride parades for 100 years. Yes, the government can now legally forbid gay pride for a century, from March 2012 to March 2112.”

And this how the Russian government defend it:

“The Russian government has said that rulings such as that of the Moscow City Council are not anti-gay but rather rulings that protect ”the majority’s rights.”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2893357/posts

Not to mention the regular killings of journalist, layers, judges etc.

And just today some more “democratic” developments:

Russian Opposition Leaders’ Homes Raided

http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-opposition-leaders-homes-searched/24610215.html

“Russian police have searched the homes of leading opposition figures in an apparent crackdown on the eve of a planned mass protest against President Vladimir Putin’s third term as president.

The opposition figures have been summoned for questioning by investigators on June 12 — the same day as the planned protest.

Police, some armed with assault rifles, carried out searches on the homes of opposition figures including Boris Nemtsov, Ilya Yashin, Ksenia Sobchak, Sergei Udaltsov, Aleksei Navalny, and at least five others.

Udaltsov said police showed up at his door early in the morning.

Police and Investigative Committee officers started banging on my door early in the morning, at 7 a.m. At the same time, they searched my parents’ home,” Udaltsov said. ”They presented a search warrant as part of the criminal investigation of the events of May 6.”

Udaltsov said police confiscated his computer, a flash stick, his iPad, and mobile telephone.”

By the way “the criminal investigation of the events of May 6.”  was a demonstration against Putin.

I could continue another 3-4 pages with some more recent “democratic” developments inRussia. But I think you get the picture.

Doesn’t this also seems like another excellent policy by the Obama administration??

Begging Russia,  your enemy, to “help” you and de facto giving them veto power over your policies.

After ALL the “resets”Russia hasn’t moved one millimeter to help USA. On the contrary

Just a few examples:

US condemns Syria massacre and looks for Russian help to oust Assad Hillary Clinton harshly condemns Syrian president as Obama reportedly plans to urge Putin to back a transition of power

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/27/us-condemns-syria-massacre-russia?newsfeed=true

“The comments came amid reports that President Barack Obama is preparing to push Russia to back the departure of Assad under a scheme modelled on the transition of power in Yemen.

According to an article in the New York Times, Obama hopes to enlist President Vladimir Putin’s support over a transition of power in Syria during a meeting next month – the first between the pair since Putin’s return to the Kremlin.

Under the reported plan, the international community would broker a settlement in which Assad would leave, but remnants of the political structure would remain intact.

But for the plan to have a chance of succeeding it would need greater backing from Moscow, which to date has been strongly opposed to Assad’s removal.

Russia, as one of Assad’s few remaining allies, has long blocked tough sanctions against the regime proposed by the United Nations, claiming that it could lead to the bloody ouster of Assad.”

And more peddling of the same:

Clinton presses Russia to back political change in Syria

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ickPHmGjO2L1vDcfS4yInarU-gvw?docId=CNG.6b132c77c83405c53dd440d729dc1b73.c1

““STOCKHOLM — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Russia Sunday to get behind a political transition in Syria, saying President Bashar al-Assad’s departure was not a precondition but should be ”an outcome”.

Clinton spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by telephone at the weekend to say that Washington and Moscow needed to work together on a plan that would halt the violence and bring about political change in the country.

”In my conversation with him, I made it very clear there would be no point to any meeting unless it included all elements of Kofi Annan’s (peace) plan, and that certainly means we have to focus on a path forward for a political transition,” Clinton told reporters Sunday during a visit to Stockholm.

”Assad’s departure does not have to be a precondition but it should be an outcome, so the people of Syria have a chance to express themselves,” she said.”

Russia has resisted UN Security Council efforts to sanction the Assad regime, a longtime ally of Moscow, questioning the effectiveness of sanctions and warning that outside meddling could lead to civil war.

Clinton has sharply criticised Moscow for ”propping up” the Assad regime with continued arms shipments, prompting President Vladimir Putin to defend Russia‘s stance in meetings with the leaders of Germany and France.”

“She said her message to Lavrov was: ”We all have to intensify our efforts to achieve a political transition, and Russia has to be at the table helping that occur. The Syrian people want and deserve change.”

U.S. Hopes Assad Can Be Eased Out With Russia’s Aid

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/world/middleeast/us-seeks-russias-help-in-removing-assad-in-syria.html?pagewanted=all

“WASHINGTON — In a new effort to halt more than a year of bloodshed in Syria, President Obama will push for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad under a proposal modeled on the transition in another strife-torn Arab country, Yemen.

The plan calls for a negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Mr. Assad’s government in place. Its goal is the kind of transition under way in Yemen, where after months of violent unrest, President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down and hand control to his vice president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in a deal arranged byYemen’s Arab neighbors. Mr. Hadi, though later elected in an uncontested vote, is viewed as a transitional leader.

The success of the plan hinges on Russia, one of Mr. Assad’s staunchest allies, which has strongly opposed his removal.

In the past year, Russia has blocked any tough United Nations Security Council action against Mr. Assad, arguing that it could lead to his forced ouster and the kind of fates suffered by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi ofLibya, who was killed, or Hosni Mubarak ofEgypt, who was imprisoned and put on trial. ButRussia is facing intense international pressure to use its influence to bring about the removal of Mr. Assad as the killings inSyria continue unabated, including the massacre of more than 90 people in a village nearHoms that was reported by United Nations officials on Saturday. “

The Yemen example has been widely discussed in Moscow, so much so that the option has become known by its Russian term, “the Yemenskii Variant,” even in theUnited States. In part, that reflectsRussia’s desperation for a solution to the crisis in Syria, where, the United Nations says, thousands of civilians have been killed since protests began there in March of last year.

Mr. Obama, administration officials said, will press the proposal with President Vladimir V. Putin ofRussianext month at their first meeting since Mr. Putin returned to his old post on May 7. Thomas E. Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, raised the plan with Mr. Putin in Moscow three weeks ago.

When Mr. Obama brought it up with Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia at the Group of 8 meeting at Camp Davidlast weekend, Mr. Medvedev appeared receptive, American officials said, signaling that Russia would prefer that option to other transitions in the Arab upheaval. During the meeting, “Medvedev raised the example of Mubarak in a cage,” a senior official said, referring to Mr. Mubarak’s confinement at his trial. The official, who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the discussions, said Mr. Obama had then “countered withYemen, and the indication was, yes, this was something we could talk about.”

And

“After the hopeless gridlock at the special UN session on the Syrian crisis Thursday, an American delegation headed by Fred Hoff, the Secretary of State’s special adviser on Syria, drew a blank in the talks it conducted at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow Friday, June 8, with Syrian expert, Mikhail Bogdanov.

Moscow has flatly rejected President Barack Obama’s proposal to post 5,000 armed UN monitors in Syria, most of them Russian troops, as the core of a new plan to resolve the Syrian crisis. The Russians may consider convening an international conference, but only if its remit is limited to offering a basis for negotiations between the Assad regime and the opposition and new political reforms. On no account must it deal with Bashar Assad’s removal.

Moscow’s position has grown tougher in the last few days. After Russian officials stated this week that keeping the Assad regime in power was not a priority, Bogdanev said Friday: Moscow isn’t discussing ways to promote Bashar al-Assad’s ouster with Washington. “We aren’t holding such talks.”

He stressed that the only way forward on the Syrian issue was by expanding Annan’s peace plan.

However, the only thing that all the participants at the UN could agree on was that the Annan peace plan had failed. And now that the US mission to Moscow has run into another dead end, the violence in Syria will continue to run riot with no world power or body prepared to step in and stop it.

Adding to the complications, the Syrian conflict and the Iranian nuclear controversy are becoming inextricably intermeshed. The U Sofficial Hoff knew he was arriving in Moscow at a grave disadvantage after Iran indicated to the six world powers that it was seriously considering not turning up for their third round of nuclear talks in Moscow on June 18-19.

Its pretext: The West had failed to come up with “serious proposals.”

Most of all, Tehran took umbrage over US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s demand that Iran come to the talks prepared with “concrete steps to curb its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity.”

When she spoke, Clinton knew there was not the slightest chance of the Iranians accepting this demand.

Tehran also pulled in its horns at International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters inVienna when confronted Friday, June 8, with demands to open up its suspect nuclear sites to international inspection.

These related developments all point in one direction: US President Barack Obama’s deep reluctance to intervene directly in Syria and preference for Russia and Iran to take over have run up against equally powerful reluctance in Moscow and Tehran to put their hands in the Syrian fire or take part in any international effort to quench its flames.

Indeed, the Russians and Iranians believe that as the flames of the civil war already raging there spread, the US president will be blamed by the American public and the Arab world for the horrendous sectarian bloodbath.

And if Obama and America’s European allies do decide on military intervention, they will be too late and find themselves pulled down into a bottomless quagmire.”

Here is yet another example of the utter folly of the Obama administrations policy:

How Can Obama’s Middle East Policy Possibly Get Worse? Answer: Look at Syria

http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/05/29/how-can-obamas-middle-east-policy-possibly-get-worse-answer-look-at-syria/

“Some of my readers are unhappy that I keep criticizing President Barack Obama and his government. The problem is that this administration keeps doing terrible things in the Middle East. And the most damning evidence on these actions comes not from Obama’s enemies but from the administration itself and the supportive mass media.

Here’s the latest such item:

“U.S. Hopes Assad Can Be Eased Out withRussia’s Aid,” by Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, in the New York Times.

For almost three years, Obama insisted he would win over the Syrian dictatorship and make it America’s friend rather than Iran’s number-one ally. That was ludicrous. Forced by the uprising to back away from Damascus, the Obama administration has spent almost a year bumbling about what to do.

The U.S. government’s main activity was to entrust to the Turkish Islamist regime the job of forming an umbrella Syrian opposition leadership. Not surprisingly, Ankara pursued its own interest by assembling a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated group, the Syrian National Congress. Though several members resigned, complaining of the radical Islamist control, the Obama administration is still trying to force hostile oppositionists to join.

Now the administration has unveiled a new and equally terrible policy. I’ll let the New York Times’ reporters explain it:

President Obama will push for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad under a plan that calls for a negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Assad’s government in place. The success of the plan hinges on Russia, one of Assad’s staunchest allies, which has strongly opposed his removal. Obama, administration officials said, will press the proposal with President Putin ofRussia at their meeting next month. Obama’s national security adviser raised the plan with Putin inMoscow three weeks ago.

Good grief! There are four different acts of strategic insanity involved in this paragraph. They are…

1. “A negotiated political settlement that…could leave remnants of Assad’s government in place.”

The Syrian dictatorship is led by murderous thugs who know this is a case of kill or be killed. They aren’t going to give up any of their power. And why should they since they think they’re winning and may well be right? They know the outside world won’t do anything, despite the regime killing around 10,000 civilians.

2. “A negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Assad’s government in place.”

The opposition is not so foolish as a Washington pundit, policymaker, or politician. They know that their only hope is to destroy the regime entirely. The democrats want to do so in order to have a modern democracy. The Islamists want Islamism. The Kurds and Druze want autonomy. How could there possibly be a coalition? Both sides know that within days people would be murdering each other. How could anyone expect this kind of deal would work or that the opposition would accept it?

If anyone in Syria might favor such a plan it’s the Muslim Brotherhood. which has toyed with the idea of using such a transition period to strengthen its own hand. So the idea cannot succeed but reveals once again that the Obama administration seems to get many of its strategies from the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s an observation, not a conspiracy theory.

3. “The success of the plan hinges on Russia, one of Assad’s staunchest allies, which has strongly opposed his removal.”

Just think about that sentence! The Obama administration wants to depend on a country that’s disdainful of U.S. interests, wants to sabotage them, and is on the opposite side! The president wants to ask a country that is “strongly opposed” to Assad’s removal to remove Assad!

And finally, equally amazingly:

4. “Obama, administration officials said, will press the proposal with President Putin of Russia at their meeting next month. Obama’s national security adviser raised the plan with Putin in Moscow three weeks ago.”

It’s Obama, not Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who is pushing this plan to put Russia in control! If your enemy tries to fool or cheat you, that’s a problem. If you beg him to cheat you and hand him the means to do so, that’s a betrayal of U.S. interests.

To summarize, the Obama policy shows three characteristics that have wider implications for the president’s strategies:

•It favors Islamist enemies.

It “leads from behind” by giving the initiative to those who wish America no good.

And it shows no interest in helping genuinely pro-American moderates who are fighting for their lives.

And that, friends, is why I spend so much time bashing Obama’s Middle East policy, because it is so very bad and dangerous.

Now a possible explanation for all of this would be that Obama doesn’t really want to do anything about Syria for other reasons. The United States doesn’t want to get dragged into direct intervention; it’s a lower-priority issue; there’s no great policy option; and his only concern is the American election.

But so what? It’s still possible to come up with a better policy than this, a policy that would make Obama look good as well as serve U.S. interests. He could call for Assad’s overthrow; back truly moderate oppositionists; subvert Islamist influence; and send arms and money, but only to the moderates. In order to portray himself as decisive, heroic, and a friend of democracy, Obama could take every possible overt and covert opportunity to weaken Assad, even helping at a low cost to create a no-fly zone and safe havens. None of this is going to happen.

Instead, though, he turns over dealing with the opposition to an Islamist regime in Turkey and subcontracts dealing with the regime to a pro-regime Russian government. I’d say that Obama’s policy in the region could not easily be worse, but who knows what’s next, especially if there’s a second term.”

More on the Kurdish question and Obamas push for them to join SNC:

Syrian Kurdish Dissident: BreakSyriaInto Pieces

http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/05/syrian-kurdish-dissident-break-syria-into-pieces/

“Sherkoh Abbas, a veteran Syrian Kurdish dissident, called on Israel this week to support the break-up of Syria into a series of federal structures based on the country’s various ethnicities.

Speaking from Washington, Abbas was also critical of US attempts to induce Syrian Kurds to join and work with the main opposition body, the Syrian National Council. Abbas, who heads the Washington- based Kurdistan National Assembly, said that dismantling Syria into ethnic enclaves with a federal administration would serve to “break the link” between Syria and the Iran-led “Shi’a crescent.”

Syrian Kurdish, Druse, Alawite and Sunni Arab federal areas, he suggested, would have no interest in aligning with Iran.

At the same time, a federalized Syria would avoid the possibility of a resurgent, Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Sunni Islamist Syria emerging as a new challenge to Israel and the West.

“We need to break Syria into pieces,” Abbas said.

The Syrian Kurdish dissident argued that a federal Syria, separated into four or five regions on an ethnic basis, would also serve as a natural “buffer” forIsraelagainst both Sunni and Shi’ite Islamist forces.”

And

Two Obama Administration Scandals on Syria?

http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/05/17/two-obama-administration-scandals-on-syria/

“When a delegation of Syrian Kurdish rebels recently visited Washington, D.C., the State Department met them to ask for a favor. What was it? The Obama administration urged them to join the Syrian National Council (SNC), the organization created by the U.S. government through Turkey to lead the opposition movement and receive Western aid for all Syrian opposition groups.

But the Turkish Islamist regime, which Obama put in charge of forming the SNC, put the Muslim Brotherhood in control, a fact I pointed out within hours of the announcement of the SNC leadership’s names.

Now that several SNC leaders have resigned complaining about Brotherhood domination, followed by some Arab journalists pointing out the obvious Brotherhood domination at the SNC’s last meeting, that reality is clear. But the implications of such an incredibly foolish policy—America putting an anti-American, antisemitic group into the “official” leadership of Syria’s rebels — have never been properly examined as a case study for Obama’s disastrous Middle East policy.

The Kurds had walked out of the talks that formed the SNC last year when they saw how Islamists would be in control. Not only do they oppose Islamism itself but they also see the Brotherhood as an Arabizing and centralizing group that would impose a regime oppressing the non-Arab Kurds.

The new U.S. effort so backfired  that, with the Obama administration ignoring their concerns, the enraged Kurds in the delegation spoke for the first time of breaking up Syria altogether!

To sum up, Obama policy has strengthened the Islamist forces in the opposition and fragmented the rebels, thus helping preserve a radical anti-American Syrian regime that is an ally of Iran or helping make any revolution more likely to produce a radical anti-American Syrian Islamist regime that will be an ally of an Islamist Egypt.

Now comes a very peculiar story in the Washington Post with the headline, “Syrian rebels get influx of arms with Gulf Neighbors’ Money, U.S. coordination.” Let’s break this down logically:

–The Saudis and Qataris have been providing arms already.

–They know how to buy weapons, how to get them to the Syrian border, and how to give them to Syrian rebels.

What do they need American “coordination” for? What does the word “coordination” mean? I presume it means that the Obama administration, absolutely clueless about what to do regarding Syria, simply wants to take credit for others’ actions. It is part of the pre-election spin about what a great job Obama is doing.

Yet there is another problem here, a potentially devastating one. Who is getting the weapons? There are different people and groups in the Syrian opposition. Some are Salafists who feel comfortable with al-Qaida; some are Brotherhood men; some are ex-Syrian army officers, professionals and relatively apolitical; and some are liberals who really want democracy.

Whoever gets these weapons will be tremendously empowered. So what’s to say that the arms being “coordinated” by the United States aren’t going to revolutionary Islamists? While this is a complex subject, there is information that these arms supplies up until now have not been sufficiently discriminatory toward moderates and away from Islamist radicals. We will know more in the weeks to come if we can see and identify which opposition groups in what parts of Syria have become better armed.

And if it comes out that the U.S. government is “coordinating” the arming of such people with weapons — as it is already helping their political counterparts in the SNC — wouldn’t that be a tremendous scandal?

Let’s be clear here: A proper U.S.policy would help moderate Syrians overthrow the Assad dictatorship and make sure weapons went to the best elements in the Free Syrian Army’s decentralized forces. Such a policy would make sure to deny money, weapons, and power to the Islamists and Salafists, who are proportionately far weaker in Syria than in Egypt.

Obama policy follows the worst possible course. It minimizes U.S. help to the revolution while at the same time ensuring that a disproportionately large amount goes to Islamists.”

And

Will There Be Room for Kurds and Other Minorities in a Post-Assad Syria?

http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/115831/sec_id/115831

“New York Times reported that the US hopes that Russia, one of the Assad regime’s allies, along with the Islamic Republic of Iran and China, might offer some assistance to facilitate Assad leaving the embattled regime in Damascus. Prof. Eyal Zisser of the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University in a recent Israel Hayom article, “The Road to Damascus Runs Through Moscow,” noted the transition proposal of the Obama Administration:

The Americans pulled a new rabbit out of their hat in the form of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They suggested that Moscow and Washington jointly impose the ”Yemen solution” on Syria, which calls for Assad’s removal while keeping his regime in place to rule Syria until elections can be held; similar to what took place in Egypt and Tunisia. The Americans hope that such a solution will appeal to those inside Assad’s inner circle, who feel his end is near and will agree to abandon him in order to ensure their own futures.

However that may be a vain hope. Given US, Turkey, Saudi, Qatar and Gulf Emirate support for the Syrian National Council what might follow in Syria could be a Sunni Arab nationalist regime.  A regime dominated by a fundamentalist Islamist coalition. That would dash hopes of minority ethnic and religious groups for a secular democratic federal republic. A federal republic that might include secular Sunni and Alawi moderates, Christians, Druze, Turkmen and the country’s second largest ethnic group, the Kurds. Arabs constitute nearly three-fifths (57 percent) of the country’s 22 million population. That is the hope of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KURDNAS) leader Sherkoh Abbas. He has joined with US Syrian Sunni reformer Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser to advance this cause via the Syrian Democratic Coalition.”

“For Abbas and other Syrian Kurds, the past four decades witnessed socio-economic deprivations and Arabization of the Kurdistan Region by the Assad regimes – a virtual ethnic cleansing. An estimated 500,000 Kurds were denied Syrian citizenship following a special census in 1963. They lived as aliens in their ancestral lands in the northeastern border areas adjacent to Turkey on the north and Iraq to the east. Arable land and control of valuable oil resources in the Syrian Kurdistan heartland were seized to become the personal wealth of the Assad family. Instruction and schooling in Kurdish language and culture was stopped. This repression of Syria’s Kurds witnessed virtual starvation and usurpation of their national provenance. That led to the uprising in 2004. Dozens of Kurds were killed; more than 4000 were jailed and tortured. “

“Abbas demurs. He maintains that Syria post-Assad may not become another fundamentalist Sunni Arab post-revolutionary government. He noted in a recent Front Page Magazine interview with Joseph Puder, “Syria: An Alternative Choice”:

The Muslim Brotherhood, with the support of President Obama and Turkey, will not succeed in controlling all of Syria. The Alawis and Hezbollah backed by Iran, Russia and China, will not give up power easily.

Asked what the US role might be in the current struggle, Abbas asserted:

The US has a moral responsibility to insure freedom and democracy for all Syrians. .. an Arab nationalist or Islamist regime would lead to more violence and civil war.”

“Gordon:  Recently, the US State Department held meetings in Washington with the Syrian National Kurdish Council. What were the purposes of the session, who attended and what did the Obama Administration hope to achieve?

Abbas:  The U.S. Administration has asked the Kurdish National Council delegation to join the Syrian National Council, and wanted this meeting to directly hear Kurdish opinion. The interpretation of the U.S. Administration in support for the Kurdish political movement is premature. This was a positive event, but the US government should contact and meet various representatives of the Syrian Kurdish street, especially those that work for a federal Syria and want to bring down the Assad terrorist regime.

Gordon:  Do you believe that the Obama Administration has played a productive role in fostering Syrian dissident opposition during this crisis?

Abbas:  Unfortunately, the Obama administration played a role in the mismanagement of the Syrian crisis. It did not encourage a clear and supportive policy toward democratic groups. If the Syrian Revolution fails, the current U.S. administration will have had a key role. This policy is producing harmful results for the Syrian people and encourages the system to continue to commit crimes against humanity. The question for President Obama is what is his Administration’s goal? Is the goal either keeping the Baathists in power in Damascus or bringing Muslim Brotherhood Islamists who control the SNC to power? Both cases do not serve the interests of either the majority of the Syrian people or the international community.”

And the Obama administration stopped a France and Saudi plan to in one strike take out the top Assad leadership:

“US President Obama recently vetoed a detailed Franco-Saudi plan for ending President Bashar Assad’s rule by means of a massive air strike against his palace that would at one fell swoop wipe him, his family and top leadership circle out,

Their plan was for the presidential palace situated atop Mount Qassioun northeast of Damascus to be devastated by French warplanes taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off Syria’s Mediterranean coast and Saudi and United Arab Emirates bombers flying in through Jordan.

They would bomb the palace for 12 hours in several sorties while at the same time American fighter jets launched from a US aircraft carrier cruising in the Mediterranean or Red Sea would shut down Syria’s air defenses, which are considered among the most sophisticated and densely-arrayed in the region.

US warplanes would also keep the Syrian Air Force grounded and prevented from repulsing the incoming bombers.

This plan was presented to President Obama separately by Nicolas Sarkozy before he was voted out of office and Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman, who arrived at the White House on April 12 for a personal presentation. The prince maintained that there is no end in sight for the Syrian conflict; it would only spread and ignite the rest of the Middle East. The peril could only be rooted out at source by a single, sharp military strike that would remove Assad and his close clan for good. This would be the only acceptable kind of Western-Arab armed intervention in Syria and it had the added advantage of being effective without bringing foreign boots to Syrian soil.

In early May, Sarkozy was still trying to talk Obama around to the plan. He spent his last days in the Elysée Palace in long telephone conversations with the White House in which he drove home three points:

1. Because Assad has concentrated his family, top military command and intelligence chiefs at a single nerve center behind the fortified walls of the Qassioun Palace, the snake’s head can feasibly be cut off at one stroke.

The case of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi was different because, unlike Assad, he never stayed long in one place and was constantly on the move.

2. Once that nerve center is destroyed, Syrian army and intelligence would be bereft of their sources of command. Their troops may remain in their bases and wait for news, while their officers may use the sudden political vacuum inDamascus to try and seize power. In either case, the Syrian military would be free of its orders to crush the anti-Assad revolt.

3. The French, Saudi and UAE air forces lack a central command center capable of coordinating a major combined air operation and therefore depend on the United States to provide this essential component. American military input is also vital for paralyzingSyria’s air defenses by applying its cyber warfare capabilities to disrupt the radar systems ofSyria’s anti-air missile batteries.

Our Washington sources report that Obama consistently resisted repeated French and Saudi efforts to jump aboard their initiative.

The Saudi defense minister at one point in their conversation told the US president harshly that it was time for the Americans to stop talking and start acting. But Obama remained unmoved.

These events, provide the background for Presidents Barak Obama and Francois Hollande’s divergent responses Tuesday, May 29, to the al-Houla atrocity and its 108 brutally murdered victims.

The White House repeated its objection to military intervention in Syria “at this time,” because it would only “increase the carnage.” A military option was left on the table.

That was standard Obama-speak for the crisis in Syria, behind which he remains determined to stay out of armed action for unseating President Assad and instead seek a deal with the Russians on the Syrian ruler’s fate as part and parcel of a comprehensive accord on Syria and Iran’s nuclear program.

President Hollande was at first quoted as saying he does not rule out armed intervention in Syria. Elysée sources later watered down this statement with the qualifier: …”only with UN Security Council approval.”

On top of the American hurdle, Moscow and Beijing rushed Wednesday, May 30, to reiterate that they would oppose (veto) any Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention in Syria, so effectively nipping the French intention in the bud.

Bashar Assad accordingly had no qualms about sending UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan off empty-handed from a final bid to salvage his peace mission: The world powers have left him sitting pretty in his palace, unconcerned about his future and free to pursue one of the most vicious anti-opposition campaigns of modern times.”

I wrote six weeks ago:

“Samantha Power, a prominent advocate of humanitarian intervention and the principle of ”responsibility to protect”, is considered to be the key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya.

Power, was a senior foreign policy adviser to senator Obama, and now a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council.

But on Syria? NOT A PEEP!

And the same Samantha Power, Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council, mentioned above just got apointed by Obama to head the new White House Atrocities Prevention Board.

But still on Syria? NOT A PEEP!

So apparently she is Very SELECTIVE in which atrocities to “prevent”.”

And now over a month later, the White House Atrocities Prevention Board hasn’t said one letter or peep about Syria.

So apparently the slaughter of over 15 000 civilians, many of them children, in the most barbaric ways imaginable are not apparently considered by Samantha Power, The White house, Hillary Clinton or Obama; to be atrocities.

So the next time these people in their usual pompous ways start talking about human rights, peace, the UN Charter,  ”responsibility to protect”, prevention of atrocities etc. ; you know it’s utter crap and a lie.

Their hypocrisy is so staggering that it is sickening. Literally. And they are the enablers of this crime against humanity.

I have to stop here because this is way too long already. I could continue for another, say 30 pages. to describe the folly of the Obama administrations Middle East policy. But that I leave for another day.

See Part 10 – US and the Obama administartion in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 10

The final part in two or three days

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The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 4

9 juni, 2012

Third, the countries and organizations that makes this possible (continuation):

NATO

NATO is becoming more irrelevant and hypocritical by the day. Here is one of the latest masterpieces:

NATO action in Syria not on the table, US envoy says

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=403578

NATO military action in Syria was not on the table despite the massacre of civilians by the regime, the US envoy to the alliance said Thursday.

NATO allies have neither discussed an intervention in Syria nor made any military planning to stop the relentless crackdown by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad against dissidents, said US ambassador Ivo Daalder.

Daalder noted that the alliance launched its air war in Libya last year after three conditions were fulfilled: a ”demonstrable need” to intervene, support from nations in the region, and a UN Security Council mandate.

”With respect to a demonstrable need, clearly when government forces are attacking civilians with artillery and tanks, there is a need to bring that to an end. That was true in Libya and that is true in Syria,” he said.

But there is neither regional support nor a UN mandate to act militarily in Syria.

”So under those circumstances, the NATO countries understand that the issue of military intervention, which is also always complex, is not right now on the table when it comes to Syria,” Daalder said.

All NATO members, notably Syria‘s neighbor Turkey, are watching the situation ”very carefully and that is where things stand right now,” the ambassador added.

”How it will evolve in the future is anyone’s guess,” he said.

”But the point is that for now there is no active planning in NATO for a military intervention and there is no agreement among or even within the NATO members for moving in this direction at this point.”

This is interesting to say the least. Ivo Daalder just TOTALLY rewrote the NATO doctrine and reason d’être.

In Libyat here was only some “support” from nations in the region”. And the mandate from UN was very different for what they actually used it for.

And in Afghanistan the same thing, only some nations in the region supported that.

But in either case, it didn’t stop NATO from intervening.

So now suddenly when it comes to Syria, and NATO don’t want t do anything because there is “no” support from nations in the region. Well, there is A LOT OF SUPPORT IN THE REGION FOR THAT. So that’s not the real reason.

It seems that NATO is changing it’s doctrine to fit the circumstances and as an excuse for not doing things when it so chose.

In NATO: s new doctrine, the “New Strategic Concept” adopted in Lisbon in November 2010, there is no mention that a prerequisite for any NATO action is to have “support from nations in the region”.

If NATO doesn’t want to do anything in Syria, fine. But be straightforward and say so instead of hiding between “grand principles” and inventing excuses that is not in their doctrine.

It is sad to see an organisation that played such a crucial role for the protection of the Western European countries become what it now have become.

And it’s getting even more ridicules as I have written about before. NATO pretends that doing ANYTHING in Syria  “would fuel a proliferation of weapons in the region”.

So on one side Russia, Iran and China literally pouring in all types of heavy weapons (remember the 240 mm Russian mortar bomb), personal, training etc for the Assad regime.

On the other unarmed civilians and a resistance with some light arms.

And NATO is apparently very worried that if the civilians get anything more than Kalashnikovs and the odd RPG, so they at least can defend themselves and offer some resistance to the Assad forces, that that would constitute “a proliferation of weapons in the region”.

NATO opposes arming Syria rebels

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=382781

“NATO’s chief on Monday said the alliance was opposed to providing arms to the Syrian opposition seeking to counter a regime crackdown, warning that it would fuel a proliferation of weapons in the region.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for a diplomatic solution and reiterated that NATO, which led the Libya air war that contributed to Moammar Qaddafi’s downfall last year, had ”no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria.”

And to top it off:

We monitor the situation closely,” Rasmussen said, adding that the situation in Syria could impact neighboring Turkey, a NATO member.

It’s absolutely outrageous what we have witnessed in Syria,” he added.”

This must be one of the most hypocritical, cynical and ridiculous statements ever made by NATO.

The people of Syria will “thank you” for your “deep concern” as they are being slaughtered by the Assads forces.

So according to this superb NATO logic, the Russian 240 mm mortar bomb, supplied by the as always helpful Russia, used to destroy block after block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood in CIVILIAN Syrian cities, is NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER.

It is the largest mortar bomb known to be in production and use. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

But giving this to the resistance so they can defend themselves is a serious “proliferation of weapons in the region”

Really good work there NATO!

By the way, the use of such weapons in dense urban environments is a war crime.

This is the same NATO that without any hesitation went in full scale in Libya. Then it wasn’t any talk about “that it would fuel a proliferation of weapons in the region”.

See Part 8 – EU and NATO in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 8

UN and Kofi Annan

As for the do nothing as usual UN, it “proudly” upholds its tradition of doing ABSOLUTLY NOTHING when it really maters, like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc.  And now Syria.

Remember that the UN observers are now there in full “force” and all the slaughtering going on is happening on their watch.

Just to show the total and utter failure of this latest UN and Kofi Annan peace plan:

After the latest massacre, number XX in order, the UN observers where stopped by Assads troops from reaching the place of massacre. And then Assad troops shot at them.

Doesn’t it really seems that Assad is fulfilling EVERY POINT OF THE PEACE PLAN HE FORMERLY AGREED TO?

It’s pathetic and the people of Syria is, as usual, paying the price.

Heavy weapons, drones, gunfire used against UN monitors inSyria, Ban says

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/18731532/heavy-weapons-drones-gunfire-used-against-un-monitors-ban-says

Source: AFP

”NEW YORK– Heavy weapons, armor-piercing bullets and surveillance drones have been used against UN observers in Syria to hamper their efforts to monitor the worsening conflict, UN leader Ban Ki-moon told a Security Council meeting Thursday.

Diplomats inside a closed council briefing on Syriaquoted Ban as saying the tactics had been used to try to force the unarmed monitors to withdraw from areas where government forces have been accused of staging attacks.

Ban said the heavy shelling had been used to deter a UN Supervision Mission in Syria convoy, drones had monitored the movements of observers and the armor-piercing bullets had been fired at UN vehicles.

According to UN officials, UN vehicles are shot at almost every day in Syria.

Ban told the 15-nation council that UN observers had seen Syrian military convoys approaching villages and tried to stop tank assaults against populated areas but had been ”ignored.”

UN observers unable to reach Syria massacre site

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=406496

Syrian troops and local residents are preventing UN observers from reaching a site where 55 people were reported killed by pro-regime militants, the head of the UN mission in Syria said Thursday.

”The UN Supervision Mission in Syria dispatched UN observers to Al-Kubeir early Thursday morning to verify reports of large-scale killings in the village,” Major General Robert Mood said in a statement.

He said the observers were stopped at Syrian army checkpoints and in some cases turned back. He said civilians were also stopping the monitors.

”We are receiving information from residents of the area that the safety of our observers is at risk if we enter [the]village of Al-Kubeir,” Mood said.

”Despite these challenges, the observers are still working to get into the village to try to establish the facts on the ground,” he added.

Mood said he was concerned that the restrictions imposed on the movement of the monitors will impede their ability to carry out their mission.”

UN monitors shot at trying to get to Syria massacre, Ban says

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=406566

UN monitors trying to get to the scene of a new massacre in Syria were shot at, UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Thursday, calling the latest atrocity ”shocking and sickening.”

Ban discussed the attack on the UN monitors in a speech to the UN General Assembly hours after the reported slaughter of dozens of people in the village of Al-Kubeir.

”UN monitors were initially denied access,” Ban told the 193-country assembly.

They are working now to get to the scene and I just learned a few minutes ago that while trying to do so, the UN monitors were shot at with small arms.”

A UN spokesperson, Farhan Haq, later gave more details of the attack.

”The mission reports that, around 3:00 pmlocal time today, a four-vehicle convoy from the mission was hit by small arms fire in Hama, while en route to investigate yesterday’s alleged killings,” Haq said.

”No UN military observers were injured, but one vehicle was slightly damaged. The patrol was forced to withdraw to a nearby government checkpoint.”

Al-Kubeir is close to the protest city of Hama.

The monitors were not able to enter Al-Kubeir today. They will try again tomorrow,” Haq added.

Ban again strongly condemned President Bashar al-Assad’s government, saying it had ”lost all legitimacy,” with its record further tarnished by the massacres in Houla last month and in Al-Kubeir.

”The trail of blood leads back to those responsible,” he said. ”Any regime or leader that tolerates such killing of innocents has lost its fundamental humanity.”

Ban called the reports coming from Al-Kubeir ”shocking and sickening.”

We condemn this unspeakable barbarity and renew our determination to bring those responsible to account,” he said.”

On Friday, the observers finally managed to get to al-Qubair:

UN’s Syria monitors sift through debris of al-Qubair attack Scenes of burned-out houses and charred human remains in village where up to 78 people were reportedly killed in cold blood

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/08/un-syria-monitors-al-qubair?newsfeed=true

“UN monitors on Friday entered for the first time the Syrian village where up to 78 people were reportedly killed in cold blood on Wednesday, the latest in a series of atrocities that have underlined the gravity of the escalating crisis.

The observers were met with scenes of burned-out houses, charred human remains and the clear impression that a ”terrible crime” had occurred in Mazraat al-Qubair near Hama, according to a BBC correspondent following the UN team. On Thursday the monitors were fired at and their access blocked by Syrian forces.

”It is not hard to verify. As soon as you walk into the first house, you are hit by the stench of burnt flesh,” reported Paul Danahar. ”You can see that a terrible crime has taken place. Everything has been burnt, houses have been gutted. The most distressing scenes were at the house next door. I walked in and saw brains lying on the floor. There was a tablecloth covered in blood and flesh and someone had tried to mop the blood up by pushing it into the corner, but it seems they had given up because there was so much of it around.”

In a video clip posted on the internet, a Syrian woman named Lathat calmly described how the hamlet had been attacked by ”regime forces and Shabiha” (government militia) who killed children, including two of her daughters, with knives and axes. ”The army came with the Shabiha with a tank,” she said. ”May God take revenge on Bashar al-Assad.” Like much material emanating from Syria, it was impossible to verify independently.”

And

UN observers reach Syria massacre village, activists say

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=407010

“United Nations observers on Friday reached the Syrian village of Al-Kubeirwhere dozens of residents were massacred two days ago, activists told AFP.

The monitors on Thursday were fired at by gunmen and forced to turn back as they tried to reach the village located in a farming region in the centralprovince of Hama.

”The observers first headed to the village of Maarzaf where the victims were buried and then to Al-Kubeir to survey the damage from army shelling,” activist Abdel Karim al-Hamwi said.

He said soldiers at a checkpoint in Maarzaf ordered residents not to speak to the observers or face reprisals.”

“Paul Danahar, a BBC correspondent travelling on Friday with the UN convoy, reported seeing gutted buildings in Al-Kubeir and no sign of life.

”The largest of the two houses on a hilltop in Al-Kubeir has been gutted by fire. The stench of burnt flesh is still strong,” he wrote in a post on the social networking website Twitter.

He quoted activists as saying that government forces had removed the bodies of the victims on Thursday while the observers were being hindered from reaching the village.

Danahar said Al-Kubeir consists of just a few single-story flat-roofed buildings set in the middle of corn fields.”

And what do they do about these in their own words barbaric acts? – Nothing as usual!

Only more of the same, i.e. doing nothing:

Annan says Assad must face “consequences”

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=406593

Expressing horror at the latest massacre in Syria, UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the major powers on Thursday that it was time to threaten ”consequences” if President Bashar al-Assad does not act to halt the strife.

Annan and UN leader Ban Ki-moon condemned the reported slaughter of dozens of people in the villageof Al-Kubeir on Tuesday and told the 193-nation UN General Assembly it was time to increase pressure.

Annan expressed ”horror and condemnation” at the Al-Kubeir killings. Ban said the massacre reports were ”shocking and sickening.”

”The trail of blood leads back to those responsible,” Ban said, in describing how UN monitors trying to get to Al-Kubeir were shot at. ”Any regime or leader that tolerates such killing of innocents has lost its fundamental humanity.”

The international envoy, who secured Assad’s agreement to a six-point peace plan, grimly told the assembly: ”I must be frank and confirm that the plan is not being implemented.”

Yeah, it took him over two months to discover that witch was obvious to anyone with eyes and more than one brain cell after only the first week..

And AS USUAL what do the UN/Kofi Annan recommend? MORE OF THE SAME TOTALLY USELESS “measures”. While the slaughter is going on.

Annan called for stronger international action to back his peace plan, which includes demands for Assad to pull troops and guns out of cities and halt violence so that political talks can start. But a cessation of hostilities that officially started on April 12 has now all but collapsed.

Annan said the international community had united behind the peace planbut it now must take that unity to a new level.”

”We must find the will and the common ground to act—and act as one,” he said.

”Individual actions or interventions will not resolve the crisis. As we demand compliance with international law and the six-point plan, it must be made clear that there will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming.”

He warned that without change in Syria, ”the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war”

The future???

 IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING SINCE 15 months!

“UN leader Ban also expressed grave concern at the growing death toll, which Syrian activists say has now surpassed 13,000 in 15 months of conflict.

”In view of the deteriorating situation, I would welcome further international discussion on how we can act more effectively,” Ban said.

”No one can predict how the situation in Syria will evolve. We must be prepared for any eventuality. We must be ready to respond to many possible scenarios.”

As I said before what do the UN/Kofi Annan recommend? MORE OF THE SAME TOTALLY USELESS “measures”. While the slaughter is going on.

The most recent example: Annan now wants to create a new “contract group”.

It is to be composed of the five permanent Security Council members (US, UK, France, Russia and China) plus Iran,Turkey,Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

IRAN???

So it is NOT ENOUGH THAT RUSSIA and CHINA IS BLOCKING EVERY MOVE against Syria. Now that “genius” Annan wants IRAN, which together with Russia is the biggest supporter of Assad and made sure that he has survived so far, to be on the group that is supposed to make all the decisions regarding Syria.

And of course the Obama administration immediately approved of this plan. At least the French had the sense to demand that Iran be excluded from this group..

As for the rest of the countries on that list, they are the countries that have managed to do absolutely nothing during these 15 months of the slaughter and uprising,

Remember also that Iran have been trying for the last year to kill Saudi Arabian diplomats all over the world, including in USA. And Iran also want to overthrow ALL the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia. That’s what behind the troubles in Bahrain.

And Saudi Arabia on it’s hand is doing everything to thwart and overthrow the Iranian regime.

Doesn’t this sounds like a “lovely, peaceful and harmonious” group that is going to solve everything regarding Syria??

Only a “genius” like Annan and UN could come up with a so derailed plan. Because in their perverted world view it is ONLY diplomacy that MATTERS. If one plan fails, ok so we try another and another in all endlessness regardless of how useless or ridicules the plans are.

They change a comma here, add an asterisk there, change a word or the ending of a word here etc. in their “peace plans”.

And voila – everything is magically fixed and solved forever!

In the meantime, as we have seen time and time again ALL OVER THE WORLD, the civilian populations are getting killed and slaughtered year in and year out.

While the UN “observes” and condemns.

And do nothing in the name of the high charter they were founded on.

The contract group:

Iran stalled the US Secretary and UN-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan’s plan to present the world body’s special session Thursday, June 7, with a plan for a contract group based on five permanent Security Council members and Iran to handle the Syrian impasse. Tehran refused to join the group as long as it faces nuclear conditions, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Istanbul that Iran must come to the nuclear talks in Moscow “ready to take concrete steps” to curb its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity.

Discussion of the plan was therefore abandoned in the hall and confined to UN corridors. By forcing the pace at the special general assembly crisis session, Tehran once again demonstrated its refusal to play ball with the international community until its major power status in the Middle East is recognized.

Iranian sources have insisted in recent days that the six power talks with Iran were not just about its nuclear program but affected a wider spectrum, because the nuclear issue could be settled at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Tehran has made it clear that the continuation of nuclear diplomacy is contingent on the general recognition of Iran’s major power status.

Kofi Annan warned that if nothing changes in Syria, the future holds all-out civil war. His words attested to the helplessness of the world body to put a stop of the bloodshed in Syria, combined with the Obama administration’s refusal to intervene in the crisis in the expectation that Russia and Iran would step up. That expectation has faded.

Israel remains dormant despite the serious consequences to its strategic and security situation threatened by the new proposal the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan is to present to the UN Thursday, June 7, for saving his peace plan. The nub of his proposal, is the creation of a “contact group” for handling the hot Syrian potato. It is to be composed of the five permanent Security Council members (US, UK, France, Russia and China) plus Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The proposal has won the blessing of the Obama administration, meaning its consent to letting the two powers that will dominate the contact group, Russia and Iran, determine the course and outcome of the Syrian crisis.

Washington believes that only they have the clout in the Syrian army for bringing about Bashar Assad’s removal and his replacement in Damascus by a provisional military regime. Washingtonalso hopes, according to our sources, that this gesture will give Moscowa strong incentive to lean hard onTehran for concessions at the next round of its talk with the six world powers on June 13.

Neither Iran nor Moscow have promised the US anything of the sort, but the administration hopes Iran will start being forthcoming on its nuclear program after being permitted to assume a central role in Damascus.

There is less optimism outside administration circles and inIsrael. They expect from Tehran nothing more at the next round of talks than token nuclear concessions, and none at all toward curtailing its work on a nuclear weapon.

However the Obama administration appears to have opted for this course, even though it is the first time since the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in December 2010 that the United States is willing to let go of a major Middle East crisis and allow its foremost Middle East rivals, Moscow and Tehran, to take charge.

President Barack Obama had proposed to President Vladimir Putin the creation of a large force of 5,000 international monitors for Syria, most of them Russians, to safeguard Assad’s stock of biological and chemical weapons against falling into the hands of al Qaeda or Syrian rebels. This team consisting of thousands of Russian troops would be the operational arm of the future “contact group.”

As far as Israelis concerned, the plan has disastrous connotations. Instead of containing the spread of hostile Iranian influence in the region, as Obama promised Israel, he is opening for the door for Iran to extend its influence squarely in the countries neighboring on – and still at war with – Israel, while at the same time moving back from a focused effort to draw the sting of Iran’s nuclear bomb program.

Israel’s political and security tacticians never took into account that a consequence of the Syrian revolt would be the establishment of full-blown Iranian sway over Damascus in partnership with Russia. Indeed, for 15 months, they insisted that the Syrian uprising was proof ofAmerica’s success in breaking up the dangerous Tehran-Damascus-Hizballah axis.”

France backs new Syria “Contact Group,” says Foreign Ministry

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=406957

“France backs UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s bid to bring key powers into a contact group on the Syria crisis, but it opposes bringing Iran into the group, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

”We are favorable to any initiative that can help put into operation the Annan plan,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero told reporters.

But he noted that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had already stated two days ago that Iran, an ally of the regime led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, could in no way be involved in such a group.

Setting up a new contact group on Syria was not incompatible with the Friends of Syria group meeting on July 6 in Paris, said Valero.

That group seeks to co-ordinate Western and Arab efforts to stop the violence inSyria.

Annan is under pressure to revive his six-point peace plan, which the international community has accused Assad of flouting. A series of massacres of civilians have heightened international outrage over the conflict.

Annan’s proposal for a contact group however risks setting off new tensions over Syria.

The United States quickly made it known that it considered Iran to be a ”spoiler” in the worsening Syria crisis.

Russia, Assad’s last major ally, has offered to host an international conference on the situation in Syria.”

And this is the UN that wants to be a “world government” and a words power.

See Part 9 – UN and Kofi Annan in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 9

And finally some perspectives from the Israeli side after their talks with Russia and China:

Syria atrocities to go on

Op-ed: Condemnations of Assad meaningless as long asChina,RussiaandIranthink he’s legitimate

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4239906,00.html

“The Russians have no problem telling the truth: They have no idea of the direction the Syrian crisis is heading to. In ongoing diplomatic contacts amongIsraeland senior Russian officials, the Russians admit that their policy is determined from one week to the next.

In fact, they’re not alone. The Russian policy, which the Chinese share, is no different in essence than Europe’s and America’s policy towards Syria. In Mideastern terms we can say that both sides are making their decisions from one massacre to the next.

A few weeks ago, the head of Israel’s National Security Agency, Major-General Yaakov Amidror, visited Moscow in a bid to convince the Russians to end their support for Assad and stop pouring weapons to his regime. The Russians made it clear that they have no intention of doing so, and never had such intention.

It’s not as though they are clinging to Assad the man; they would have no trouble endorsing someone else, as long as he will be able to preserve Russia’s regional interests the way Assad can. They also have no trouble, alongside the arms shipments, to prepare the immediate evacuation of their people should Assad fall.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz heard the same mantra, more or less, when he visited China recently and the Syria issue came up.

The Foreign Ministry’s political research center, which is an intelligence agency in every way, has been drafting detailed lists of the civilians killed in Syria since the crisis erupted: The total stands at 12,500 people. The killing rate at this time stands at 50-60 dead civilians per day, on average.

See you in next massacre

Yet despite this, the conclusion of Foreign Ministry researchers is that the state of Assad’s regime today is essentially no different than it was six months ago. There is indeed gradual erosion, yet one cannot yet see the great crisis that will prompt its collapse.

Indeed, all the talk about Assad’s de-legitimacy is meaningless as long as the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians and the Lebanese think he’s legitimate. He also maintains his legitimacy for now in large sectors of Syrian society.

So the US State Department publicizes yet another plan referring to the need to invoke the UN’s Chapter 7 and accuse Assad of undermining the global order. Big deal. The Americans are talking about 3,000 monitors – instead of the current 300 – who would also engage in enforcement. They are again talking about buffer zones along the Syrian border and about humanitarian corridors deep in Syria to be protected by gunships. For the time being, it’s all talk.

So what did we have in Syria this week? Two brutal massacres, more horrific pictures, and a meeting of world leaders in Turkey that produced numerous declarations on the Syrian question and zero actions.

We’ll see you in the next massacre. Under this state of affairs, President Assad can survive for a long time. “

Next part in two or three days

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The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 3

8 juni, 2012

Third, the countries and organizations that makes this possible (continuation):

TURKEY

There are reports that Turkey has switched side again (for the fourth time). Remember that up to last summer Erdogan was Assads (and Iran’s) buddy and ally. Then Turkey switched to “neutrality”, sort of. Then last winter Turkey switched to sort of support for the opposition.

It is now reported that Ankara had secretly notified leaders of the rebel Free Syrian Army on Thursday, May 31 that it had withdrawn permission for them to launch operations against the Assad regime from Turkish soil.

So the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has double-crossed Western/UN/Arab Syrian policy and moved over to help prop Assad up at the very moment his regime was partly on the point of buckling under international after-shocks from the systematic massacres of his own people

That day, Foreign Minister Davutoglu announced over Turkish NTV: “We have never advised either the Syrian National Council or the Syrian administration to conduct an armed fight, and we will never do so.” He added: “The Syrian people will be the driving force that eventually topples the Syrian regime. Assad will leave as a result of the people’s will.”

This was precisely what Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the day before when he spoke out against violent rebellion, military intervention and sanctions to topple the Syrian ruler.

Obama and his administration have built their whole Syrian policy by letting Erdogan in practice be in the driving seat. Remember also that Obama repeatedly have said that he consider Erdogan to be a “close personal friend” and one of the five top international friends.

To be fair, Turkey had some proposals how to support the opposition and what to do, But they were ALL turned down by the Obama administration, And Turkey didn’t dare going at it alone.

See Part 6 –Turkeyin my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 6

EU

The joke that is called EU and its “united” foreign policy (EEAS) is now at round 15 of sanctions against Syria.

Just one example of the steady stream of UTTER MEANINGLESS BABBLE AND PRATTLE that’s coming from EU:

EU: Syria massacres ‘unforgivable’

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=406621

“European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday condemned the ”horrendous” and ”unforgivable” massacres of citizens in Syria.”

Just a hint – if they are SO ”horrendous” and ”unforgivable” why don’t you DO SOMETHING FOR A CHANGE!

”It is totally unacceptable and unforgivable that any party to the Syrian conflict, either government or opposition forces, continues to commit these heinous acts of violence against innocent Syrian citizens,” she said.”

So let’s se if I get this right – The Syrian civilian population are in effect, according to this “brilliant analysis of EU: s Foreign Minister, slaughtering themselves in the most barbaric way??

Yeah, that sounds right.

”I strongly condemn the brutal violence and killing of dozens of civilians yesterday” in the villages of Al-Kubeir and Maarzaf in Hama province, she added in a statement.

The Syrian government has the responsibility to protect its people,” the statement also said. ”I call for a full investigation of the horrendous crimes and support all efforts to this end.”

Well, the Assad regime doesn’t want to “protect” its people. It wants to slaughter ALL the opposition, which is most of the country.

“Ashton said the EU also condemned efforts to obstruct the implementation of Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s six point plan and called on the international community ”to unite behind a political process leading to a democratic transition.”

It is time for us to agree on a united way forward. There is no time to lose. The UN Security Council must continue to support Kofi Annan and use all its influence to stop the violence.”

“There is no time to lose”  Eehh – the slaughtering has been going on for over 15 months by now. With over 15 000 dead. And the brutal dictatorship has been going “on” for over 45 years.

After all this talk, what do they propose? More of the same that has failed all this time. And time and time again before Syria.

Another meaningless sanction.

Another condemnation.

Another meeting or conference.

Another “peace plan”.

Another “observation” mission.

Etc.

See Part 8 – EU and NATO in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 8

And some news from Syria- Nothing new here:

A new Massacre (number XX) – now in al-Qubeir. In the all too familiar pattern. First, the army begins by a merciless barrage of artillery on a village, town or neighborhood. Second, the   Shabiha goes in and literally slaughter EVERYONE. From the youngest child to the oldest pensioner.

Syria: full horror of al-Qubeir masacre emerges

The voice of Laith al-Hemary’s brother whispered on the mobile phone: ”There are shouts and screams coming from outside,” he said. ”They are killing everyone they find.” Then the line went dead.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9317692/Syria-full-horror-of-al-Qubeir-masacre-emerges.html

“This was the last time that Mr Hemary, 30, spoke to his brother before he was killed inside the family home in the Syrian hamlet of al-Qubeir on Wednesday.

He was among 78 victims who are believed to have died in a frenzied onslaught in this village in a farming district some 15 miles from the city ofHama.

The full horror of the atrocity was betrayed by bloody videos of mutilated children’s bodies and charred corpses.

In a few hours, almost the entire population of al-Qubeir was massacred in what appears to have been one of the bloodiest incidents since the start of the Syrian uprising.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were responsible, according to opposition activists. They said that regular forces were working in tandem with a pro-government militia, known as the Shabiha, recruited largely from Mr Assad’s minority Alawite sect.

The regime’s troops began the attack on Wednesday afternoon with a heavy artillery barrage, said the activists. Then Shabiha militiamen entered the hamlet armed with sticks, guns and knives. They attacked homes and farmhouses, shooting and slaughtering all the inhabitants they could find.

Mr Hemary and his cousin were among only a handful of survivors of the massacre. ”I could see thick smoke rising from al-Qubeir,” he said. ”I called my brother constantly on the mobile. He was hiding in our home. He told me cars full of Shabiha had come to the village and were attacking everyone and burning houses.”

At 5.10pm, three hours after the attack began, Mr Hemary’s brother’s voice died away and he stopped answering his calls. Pushing open the door of his home several hours later, Mr Hemary found the bodies of his mother, three sisters and three brothers lying bloodied on the ground.

They had been beaten on the head by sticks and stabbed with knives,” he said. ”I went to other homes. I saw family after family slaughtered by knives.”

After the militia departed and al-Qubeir fell quiet later that evening, people from nearby villages ventured into the stricken hamlet. ”I saw a two-month-old child without a head,” said Abou Hisham al-Hamouli, who lives in a village just over a mile from al-Qubeir. ”I saw the burnt corpse of a woman. Her two children were wrapped around, hugging her. They died like that. There were two many burnt bodies.”

Other eyewitnesses reported how the militiamen sang songs in praise of Mr Assad.

A former soldier who joined the rebel Free Syrian Army said that he reached the village within hours of the massacre, but left quickly because Syrian government troops were still in the area. ”I went into houses and saw children without a head, and others without arms. Some were burned and some were without eyes,” he said.

There were only five known survivors, he added. The exact number of victims could not be confirmed, but people from the nearby village of Maarizab said they had buried 57 corpses. A further thirty bodies were missing and had not yet been buried, said activists.

With almost no foreign reporters inSyria, the accounts of what happened in this remote farming village cannot be independently verified.

The massacre comes less than two weeks after an atrocity in the town of al-Houla in Homs province, where eyewitnesses blamed the killing on the same Shabiha milita.”

Or as EU:s Lady Ashton said: ”It is time for us to agree on a united way forward. There is no time to lose”

Yeah sure, You are going to hit Assad with a 16th round of sanctions and he will be “so scared” that he stops the slaughtering don’t you think?

And the as always helpful Russians are as usual blocking EVERY ACTION:

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=406647

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday vowed there would be no UN Security Council mandate for outside intervention in Syria, indicating Moscow would use its veto to block any military action.

There will not be a Security Council mandate for outside intervention, I guarantee you that,” Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of a trip toKazakhstan by President Vladimir Putin.”

This piece from Amal Hanano sums up the desperation inside Syria quite well:

Houla: Not a Game Changer

http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5853/-houla_not-a-game-changer-%20#Syria

“Confession: the images of the carnage in Houla did not move me like they seem to have moved the rest of the world. Yes, they were tragic, horrific acts of violence against the most innocent of victims. But they didn’t break anything inside of me that was not already broken, nor did they raise the level of outrage or sorrow I feel everyday over what is happening in Syria.

Maybe it was because in the twenty-fours hours before hearing about the Houla massacre, I had heard that a friend’s relative had been killed, I had heard that another friend’s elderly relative had been kidnapped by gangs for ransom, I had received desperate Skype messages from an activist in Homs, crying, “my precious ones are gone, my precious ones are gone,” referring to three Shaam News Network media activists who had been shot dead by Assad forces, I had spoken with the brother of a martyr in Aleppo, who told me that since his older brother was killed one week ago, he was trying to act normally but the truth was, his “heart was burning.” By late afternoon, when I watched the first video of the children of Houla, with their tiny throats slit open below their ashen, angelic faces, all I could feel was yet another heavy thud of dread. One we had felt many times before.

The days after Houla brought the news of the death of Basel Shehade, the brilliant, young filmmaker who was killed by the shells falling over Homs. (Will the shells ever stop falling over Homs?) The days after Houla brought news of continued shelling and burning of Aleppo’s and Idleb’s countryside, and the deaths of another a dozen men — their eyes blindfolded and hands bound — executed in Deir al-Zor. The days after Houla brought news of thousands of Syrian refugees inEgypt who found themselves stranded with empty homes, empty pockets, and a bleak, uncertain future.

The days after Houla continued as all the days had before. But the world’s eyes halted on the massacre.

Houla’s images instigated the world’s outrage in its predictable forms: in heart-wrenching eyewitness accounts of children watching their families being murdered; in sectarian-tainted op-eds that cynically questioned who had perpetrated the crimes; in dry-eyed, canned statements by regime mouthpieces complaining about the media’s “tsunami of lies” which painted the regime as criminal when in fact it was a “victim.” There was outrage over the images themselves andoutrage over the decision to exposing the international public to the violent images (as not to upset an innocent British boy or girl).

And the outrage moved from analysis and narrative to questions: Is the UN plan working? Is a regime-led investigation a fair way to proceed? Who committed the crimes? Is killing by shelling (by the regime) as bad as killing by close-range (by unknown “monsters” according to Bashar al-Assad)? Is it pronounced Houla or Huli? Were the slaughtered people Sunni or Shite (or Sunnis who had converted to Shiism)? Are we with or against foreign intervention? Who will replace Assad? Who will arm the rebels? Who are the rebels? Why is the Syrian opposition still fragmented?

And of course the debate: Will Houla be Syria’s Sabra and Shatila, Syria’s Srebrenica, Syria’s game changer?

What exactly is the “world” responding to? The graphic images? The sheer brutality? The number of dead? The gruesome stories?

Over the last fifteen months we have seen Houla and variations of Houla happen over and over. We witnessed slaughtered bodies in February in the Karm al-Zeitoun massacre. We have seen men and boys dripping with blood, with half their face blown off, still struggling to breath. We watched while an entire city was destroyed, missile by missile. We watched a man flattened by an Assad tank, over and over, into human road kill. We have seen dead children, not only slaughtered but bombed, burned, and mutilated. We know in addition to Houla’s fifty-two dead children, there are hundreds of others; in addition to Houla’s murdered men and women, there are thousands of others. Our dead have been left to rot on the streets of Homs. Our dead have been buried in the public parks ofHama. Houla’s mass grave is just one more to add to the others, inHoms,Hama, Rastan, and Jisr al-Shoughour. And let’s not forget the unknown thousands of Syrians buried under the concrete foundations of a luxury hotel inHama by Assad the elder.

Houla was tragedy. But it was not a game changer. Not even close. Not to us, at least. Maybe it was to those who have been hedging bets on Syria’s future. Or to those who keep a secret, magic “number” of how many Syrians are allowed to die before it’s too much.

How many more gruesome violent videos can we watch before we really can’t stomach it any more? How many people have to die before the world either says enough is enough, or turns away from their screens? How long before the daily death toll in Syria is no longer on the front pages and becomes an invisible battlefield, like Iraq, like Afghanistan, like Libya?

How long before you are desensitized?

How long before you forget?

The cynics still claim that the majority of the Syrian people still back the murderous regime, (although by this time the regime and its “silent majority” should be irrelevant like it would be anywhere else in the world in face of such violence, includingBahrain). When a regime decides to kill thousands of its own, its supporters have become accomplices not neutral citizens.

Why the empty debates? Because the cautiously-watching (yet horrified) world has not decided yet on our “so-called” revolution. They claim it has changed from its romantic (and just) beginnings and has become armed, violent, and sectarian. While the world doubts, we watched the “sectarian” Abd al-Basset Sarout and his “bloodthirsty Salafi” FSA brothers sing in a room to a gleaming wooden coffin with a cross, that held their friend Basel Shehade’s shrapnel-ridden body. We witnessed the regime shut down Basel’s memorial service last Thursday in Damascus to the peaceful thousands who wanted to join the church service and light a candle in his honor. We watched last Friday in mosques across Syria, as Muslim men performed an “absentee” prayer for their martyr,Syria’s martyr,Basel. These are the Syrian people too, whether the world wishes to see them or not. Or perhaps they only tolerate seeing them as shrouded corpses.

Those who still argue searching for game changers in Syria should stop exerting themselves. Those who wait for Assad to change his ways and stop the killing, don’t hold your breath. For those who have been waiting for their magic “number,” it’s too late. The number is too high and has passed the threshold of forgiveness.

The game changed months ago while you were turned away.

Whether your eyes decide to confront or slide away from the images of our slain children makes no difference. Because we have already moved on, to face tomorrow, which holds only one Syrian certainty: there will be blood.

I, along with thousands of Syrians, made a decision from the moment the first fingernails were torn from the innocent hands of Bashir Abazid and his schoolmates in Daraa. After decades of our own silence, we had two words for the Assad regime: Game Over.

As for the world, across the spectrum, from the ones fretting anxiously to the ones claiming Houla was a “hoax,” and everyone else in between: we have one question: What’s your number?”

That is a good question.

What is the number of dead and slaughtered civilians the world “accept”? It now stands at over 15 000 dead.

Next part in one or two days

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The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 2

6 juni, 2012

Third, the countries that makes this possible:

RUSSIA

Without the enormous Russian material support, weapons, training, intelligence, troops, personal, diplomatic support etc. the Syrian regime would not survive very long.

Russia has invested more than 55 years into this country and this regime going back to Soviet times. So the Russians are not going to give all that vested strategic interest up voluntarily. Regardless of how many civilians Assad is going to slaughter.

After all, Vladimir Putin is the butcher of Grozny and Chechnya. Or as Paul Conroy so aptly put it: “What Russia taught Syria: When you destroy a city, make sure no one — not even the story — gets out alive.”

And

“Five years later, Russia was back. And Putin’s new strategy was unbending: silence, encircle, pulverize, and ”cleanse.

To just give one small example of this Russian duplicity. While they “talk” about their support for the Annan peace plan another huge arms shipment was delivered toSyria.

Thursday, May 24, a Russian arms ship, the Professor Katsman (owned by the Russian arms company Rosoboronexport), was detected outside Cyprus. The crew had shut down ALL communications systems, including its transponder, in breach of international regulations and crept forward in silence. The ship also refused to disclose its cargo manifests.

The Russian vessel anchored in the Syrian port of  Tartus Friday May 25. Military equipment was then unloaded behind tarpaulin screens and transferred to waiting Syrian military truck convoys.

The cargo?  Large quantities of artillery and tank shells as well as spare parts for tanks.

And of course none of these shells is ever going to be fired at the Syrian civilian population, as they have been everyday for the last 15 months.

On June 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, as for reports that Russia is arming the Syrian military, “Russia is not shipping weapons that could be used in a civil conflict.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/world/middleeast/new-massacre-reported-in-syria.html?_r=1

Yea, shure!

And more arms are on the way, the North Korean arms ships Odai is also reported on its way to Tartus with hardware for the Syrian army.

Rosoboronexport by the way is Syria’s main weapons supplier. Since 2007, Rosoboronexport has had a virtual monopoly on arms exports from Russia.

According to shipping records collected by ThomsonReuters, at least four cargo ships have left Russia’s Black Sea port of Oktyabrsk – which Reuters said is used by Rosoboronexport for weapons shipments – for the Syrian port of Tartus since December 2011. In addition, a Russian-operated vessel, the MV Chariot, was carrying four containers of “dangerous cargo” from St. Petersburg to Syria when it stopped in Cyprus in January 2012. Although the ship ostensibly changed course for Turkey, it nevertheless traveled to Syria, according to Reuters, which described the cargo as ammunition reportedly supplied by Rosoboronexport. Davidenko, the company spokesman, declined to confirm or deny the report, telling Reuters, “We do not comment on where our deliveries go, when they leave port or how.”

Here is a list by SIPRI, which is considered an authoritative source on the trade in heavy weapons, of Russian arms transfers to Syria.  I want to point out that this by far IS NOT a complete list. This is the ones they found out. Also, it doesn’t include the huge quantities of ammunition, spare parts and lighter weapons etc:

36 Pantsyr-S1 mobile air-defense systems, delivered between 2008 and 2011;

•Some 700 surface-to-air missiles for use with the Pantsyr mobile air-defense systems, delivered between 2008 and 2011;

87 anti-ship missiles, delivered from 2009 to 2010;

Two Bastion-P mobile coastal defense systems, delivered from 2010 to 2011;

72 anti-ship cruise missiles, delivered from 2010 to 2011, for use with the Bastion-P coastal defense system;

300 air-to-air missiles, ordered in 2010 for use with MiG-29 combat aircraft;

Two surface-to-air missile systems, delivered in 2011, from an order for eight such systems;

40 surface-to-air missiles, delivered in 2011, from an order for 160 such missiles, for use with the missile systems;

36 Yak-130 jet trainers/combat aircraft ordered in 2011; and

24 MiG-29 fighter aircraft, ordered in 2007 (delivery pending).

In addition, Jane’s Defense Weekly in 2010 cited a deal for Russia to supply armored vehicles to Syria. The Moscow-based arms research organization Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) has reported that from 2007 to 2011, Russia completed a contract to upgrade 1,000 T-72 battle tanks. A media report indicates that Russia also has arms contracts with Syria worth $250-$400 million for delivery of ammunition, pistols, sub-machine guns, machine guns, anti-tank missiles, and rocket-propelled grenades.

Just to mention a “few” Russian arms deals.

These are the people that Obama and his administration are basing their whole policy on that they, the Russians, are going to “change” somehow.

In the “meantime”, every day Syrian civilians are slaughtered with Russian arms, Russian ammunition, Russian trained “soldiers” and “officers”, Russian advisers, sometimes directing at the “front”, and with the use of Russian intelligence.

See Part 3 –Russia in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 3

IRAN / Hezbollah

Without the enormous Iranian material support, weapons, training, intelligence, troops, personal, diplomatic support etc. the Syrian regime would not survive very long.

Between Russia and Iran, there is a division of labour of how they support Syria. Iran, usually, has more troops, personal, advisors etc direct on the “front line” where the direct slaughtering is going on.

Assad TOTALLY depends on Iran (together with Russia and China) for his survival.

For Iran, Syria plays a vital roll in its ambitions to control parts of the Middle East. In addition, Syria is crucial for Iran’s support and control of  Hezbollah and Lebanon.  And Hamas in Gaza.

For the first time the Iranian regime have openly admitted that it has troops in Syria and is actively supporting the Syrian thugs.

On May 27, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) first published and then removed an interview with a senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force in which he said Iran is involved inSyria.

The interview was here: http://isna.ir/fa/news/91030704628 before it was removed. However, it is still available on other Iranian websites http://baztab.net/fa/news/8156

“Someone” understood what a blunder this was and pulled the plug a few hours later.

The interview was with Deputy Quds Force commander Brigadier General Ismail Ghaani. He said ”Thanks to Iran’s presence in Syria– physically and nonphysically– big massacres were prevented.” He also said that “the Quds Force had had an ”effective” presence in Syria.”

He also claimed that ”if the Islamic republic had not been present in Syria, the massacre of its people would have been multiplied.” SIC!

And he said: ”Despite all the problems that the Syrian government has — and we have asked them to address thoseSyria is a location of resistance. The reason for all the pressure from the U.S. and Israel is that they have realized the country is impossible to occupy”.

In another twist of fate, Hezbollah, with over a 25-year record of kidnapping and murder against Israelis, Americans and other Westerners, have had a taste of their own medicine.

In two incidents, Hezbollah operatives were kidnapped by the Syrian opposition.

You should remember that Hezbollah, together with Iran, actively has helped the Assad regime against his own people.

The first group of eleven was captured on May 22 in a bus heading home through Aleppo from Iran. The story was that these people were “pilgrims” returning. In reality, they were Hezbollah operatives. They are now held by FSA.

The second and much more serious for Hezbollah was a very sophisticated commando raid outside Damascus, where 5 top Hezbollah officers was kidnapped. This has sent shock waves through Tehran and the Al Qods Brigades command there.

The unidentified commandos, guided apparently by precise intelligence, ambushed a Hezbollah car 15 km west of Damascus after they left the Syrian military base of Al-Hame 4 km from the Syrian capital. And captured five top-ranking Hezbollah officers. A sixth escaped.

Al-Hame is one of the two big military bases Hezbollah has outside Damascus. The other one is in Al Zabadani.  It is there that Hezbollah maintains its heavy Scud D long-range missiles, as well as it’s more sophisticated and advanced hardware and missiles/rockets it intends to use against Israel.

One of the kidnapped Hezbollah officers was Ali Safa, a senior officer of Hezbollah intelligence and nephew of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. The kidnapped also included Hussein Hamid, Dep. Commander of Hezbollah forces in South Lebanon; and Ali Zerayb, member of the Hezbollah Jihad Council.

This is part of Hezbollah core leadership so no wonder Tehran is worried.

It is said that Obama is doing nothing in Syria because he does not want to “disturb” the nuclear weapons negotiations with Iran. Negotiations that have led nowhere during all these years. In the meantime, Iran is SO MUCH closer to make nuclear weapons, if it decides to do so.

At the same time, every day Syrian civilians are slaughtered with Russian and Iranian arms, Russian ammunition, Iranian led “soldiers”, Iranian advisers and with Iranian intelligence.

See Part 4 –Iran in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 4

CHINA

Without the Chinese material support, weapons, training, intelligence, personal, diplomatic support etc. the Syrian regime would not survive very long. The Chinese support is however on a smaller scale than Russia and Iran.

China helps Assad mostly through its sanction busting system it has set up to help Iran.

China has helped Iran to sidestep the regular global financial system to create a huge clandestine money-transfer, commercial and currency exchange machine for getting around the US-led Western sanctions hurting Iran’s international trade.

They are assisting in the construction of this underground network as a pipeline through which Iran can continue to conduct its commercial business with the outside world. And to help Iran evade the financial isolation because of the sanctions regarding its nuclear weapons program.

China also profits enormously from these sanctions-busting measures. Two years ago, anticipating the blockage of its regular trade relations, Iran began transferring billions of dollars to Chinese banks, which as a rule do not enter into foreign currency transactions with foreign banks.

China undertook to make available the amounts need to buy essential goods that the embargo prevents Iran from acquiring directly.

Beijing does the shopping and draws on the Iranian deposits to pay for the purchases. The goods are delivered to China and transferred to Iran via Pakistan.

China is making a very tidy profit from its shopping service for Iran. China is charging Iran an extra four-percent to cover insurance dues and another four percent surcharge as a “risk fee,” over and above the expensive roundabout delivery route. Already, China may be clearing as much as a billion dollars a year from this service alone.

And the Chinese use this system to also help Assad with ALL the things he needs to suppress the uprising.

See Part 5 –China in my original series for more info

Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 5

Next part in one or two days

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The Slaughter in Syria and the countries that make it possible – 1

4 juni, 2012

It is now nearly one month since I finished my 11 parts series of background on what is going on in Syria (Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs  Part 1-11). So I thought it would be appropriate to give an update of what has happened or not happened since then.

And surprise, surprise – NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The same old same old.

The barbaric slaughter of civilians, including children continues unabated. While’s the rest of the world talks, make statements, have meetings etc. 

And yet Assad hangs on, slaughtering his own people, destroying and despoiling whole neighbourhoods, calling the bluff of the Arab League, Turkey, UN, USA and EU/NATO.

Helped to a very large degree by the enormous material support, weapons, training, intelligence, troops, personal etc. from Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah.

As for the do nothing as usual UN, it “proudly” upholds its tradition of doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING when it really maters, like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc.

And this is the UN that wants to be a “world government” and a words power.

So very shortly, here are some observations.

First the Houla Massacre:

Click on the satellite image and it gets bigger

These Assad Thugs are some of the people responsible for the Houla Massacre where 49 children were literally slaughtered one by one:

“Supervisor: Brigadier General Mohammad Anis, serving in the role of Deputy Commander of the 67th Brigade, Commander of Tank Battalion 11.

Implementer: Staff Colonel Ali Khalouf, head of Reconnaissance Brigade #67, Tank Battalion. He also looted homes and stole personal property. He personally raped the wife of a Colonel who was killed by internal security in Taldo.

Colonel Habib Mohammed, Battalion Tank Commander. He carried out the bombing.

Colonel Mohamed Nasr Khaddam, Commander of the Shabiha groups. He stole personal property and set fire to homes. He drives a Toyota Double Cabin pickup truck painted in camouflage colors.

Captain Tamam Rahija, platoon leader and shabih who stole houses and cars.

Lieutenant Shaher Ibrahim, a platoon leader and shabih who stole cars and robbed houses.

Lieutenant Colonel Nidal Salman, Commander of a Tank Company; responsible for the Taldo checkpoint. He robbed houses, stole cars, and raped women.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali Jahani, Company Commander and leader of secret patrols and shabiha. He is from Al-Masoudieh village inHoms.

Lieutenant Colonel Ayham Salameh, head of the Kafar Laha and Tal Dahab checkpoints. He murdered, robbed, tortured, and raped women in his office, which contains a torture chamber.”

”!HOULA MASSACRE –  THE CHILDREN HAD THEIR HANDS TIED BY ASSAD’S FORCES BEFORE THEY WERE SLAUGHTERED.

Bashar Al Assad’s forces first began shelling the town indiscriminately towards the city center. While on the outskirts of the town, where the people had no protection from the FSA, Assad’s forces moved from house to house and butchered men, women and children.”

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3430302.ece?shareToken=a75e882d8c03e8c5faeb975c6ae3343b

“The children of Houla were not killed by random shelling. The UN yesterday revealed that they were murdered one by one. The militia came in the night armed with knives and guns, and the young victims were executed with a bullet to the head or a knife to the throat.

One photograph shows a cherubic baby girl, no older than 2, with a tiny gold ear-stud. She is wrapped in a white shroud. Half her skull has been hacked or blown away. A saucer of bone juts from a bloody gash in what remains of her head.

Another shows what appears to be a boy of perhaps 6 or 7. The blanket in which he is wrapped has fallen away to expose a bare white shoulder. He looks as if he is sleeping, but the back of his head has been lopped off like the top of a boiled egg. His brain lies on the blanket behind him.

A third shows a pretty young girl staring upwards, her mouth slightly open as if smiling. Above her right eye there is a large, bloody bullet hole surrounded by a mess of flesh and bone.

The pictures go on, some mercifully out of focus, most far too shocking to print in The Times though our failure to do so spares the Assad regime.

There is a baby wearing nothing but a nappy, seemingly untouched except that it lacks an arm. Another young girl wearing a blood-soaked T-shirt with the word “Baby” or “Dolly” written on it has had her jaw shot away. A man carries the body of a child with only half a head remaining.

There are children — brothers, sisters, cousins? — wearing blood-drenched shorts and T-shirts with their eyes gouged out, with their faces slashed by knives or with neat bullet holes in their torsos. One girl has had her nose and cheek sliced off. A couple of the children lying on the floor of a makeshift mortuary appear to have had their hands bound.

These are some of the 49 children killed in the Houla massacre, not by random shelling but knifed to death or shot at close range by President Assad’s Shabiha thugs. They were summarily executed, the United Nations said yesterday.

At least 108 civilians were killed in total, 34 of them women, in a slaughter of infants and innocents with few modern precedents. Only 20 of the deaths could be attributed to artillery or tank fire, Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

“What is very clear is that this was an absolutely abominable event that took place in Houla, and at least a substantial part of it was summary executions of civilians, women and children. At this point it looks like entire families were shot in their houses,” he added.”

You can se the rest of the horrific pictures of the slaughtered children here:

http://storify.com/HamaEcho/houla-massacre

Syria: UN Inquiry Should Investigate Houla Killings

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/27/syria-un-inquiry-should-investigate-houla-killings

“An elderly woman from the Abdel Razzak family who survived the attack told Human Rights Watch:

I was in the house with my three grandsons, three granddaughters, sister-in-law, daughter, daughter in-law and cousin. [On May 25] around 6:30 p.m., before sunset, we heard gunshots. I was in a room by myself when I heard the sound of a man. He was shouting and yelling at my family. I hid behind the door. I saw another man standing outside by the entrance door and another one inside the house. They were wearing military clothes. I couldn’t see their faces. I thought they wanted to search the house. They walked in the house; I didn’t hear them break in because we never lock the doors. After three minutes, I heard all my family members screaming and yelling. The children, all aged between 10 and 14, were crying. I went down on the floor and tried to crawl so I could see what was happening. As I approached the door, I heard several gunshots. I was so terrified I couldn’t stand on my legs. I heard the soldiers leaving. I looked outside the room and saw all of my family members shot. They were shot in their bodies and their head. I was terrified to approach to see if they were alive. I kept crawling until I reached the back door. I went outside, and I ran away. I was in shock so I don’t know what happened later.”

A 10-year-old boy from the Abdel Razzak family told Human Rights Watch that he saw men wearing military clothes shoot his 13-year-old friend:

I was at home with my mother, my cousins, and my aunt. Suddenly I heard gunshots. It was the first time I heard so many gunshots. My mother grabbed me and took me to a barn to hide. I heard men screaming and shouting. I heard people crying especially women. I looked outside the window. I was peeking sometimes but I was afraid they would see me. Men wearing [uniforms] like army soldiers, green with other colors [camouflage] and white shoes, entered our house. They went outside after a couple of minutes. Then across the street I saw my friend Shafiq, 13 years old, outside standing alone. An armed man in military uniform grabbed him and put him at the corner of a house. He took his own weapon and shot him in the head. His mother and big sister – I think she was 14 years old – went outside and started shouting and crying. The same man shot at both of them more than once. Then the armed men left and the FSA soldiers came.

The boy’s mother confirmed many of the details to Human Rights Watch:

At around 6:30 – 7:00 p.m., we started hearing the sound of gunshots. They were very close to us. We ran and hid in the barn. After the armed men left, and I heard the sound of their cars driving away, my sister and I went outside. I saw Shafiq [the 13-year-old friend of her son] on the ground dead. I saw three families: three women, two of them with children. All of them were shot. Some were shot in the head and others had multiple shots in the body. One of the children survived. She is 14 years old. She was shot twice in the leg. I also saw my cousin who was shot in the chest. A 13-year-old boy who was paralyzed was shot three times in his chest as well.”

Remember also that the, as always, “helpful” Russians blamed this barbaric massacre on the opposition:

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said Friday that he rejected outside military intervention as an answer to the increasingly horrific bloodshed in Syria, and the Kremlin publicly sided with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in blaming Mr. Assad’s armed rebel opponents for a massacre there last week that incited world outrage. “

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/world/middleeast/new-massacre-reported-in-syria.html?_r=1

And

“Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said it was clear the army had used tank shells but not who shot civilians at point blank range.

“We are dealing with a situation where both sides participated in the killings of innocent civilians… this district is controlled by the armed militants and at the same time it’s encircled by the governmental forces and troops,” he said.”

And

Alexei Pushkov, chair of the international affairs committee of the Russian parliament, the Duma, was more explicit: “We have very strong doubts that those people who were shot at point blank [range] and were stabbed, that this was the action of forces loyal to President Assad,” he told the BBC.

“The shelling was probably the responsibility of the troops of Mr Assad, but the stabbing and point blank firing was definitely from the other side.”

These are the people that Obama and his administration are basing their whole policy on that they are going to somehow “change”.

Also remember that this massacre happened under the UN/Kofi Annan and their “observers” watch.

The independent Front Page May 27

Second the Assad thugs are continuing, now with UN “observers” watching, with what they always have been doing and are “good at” – atrocities and massacres:

There are SOOO MANY videos EVERY DAY showing their barbaric behaviour. It’s sickening. Here are just three.

LEAKED VIDEO – ”ASSAD’S FORCES RUN OVER A MAN IN THEIR TANKS – ONE AFTER ANOTHER. (Idleb) – Words can do no justice to the disgust and barbarity that epitomizes Assad, his forces and his supporters as they cheer and encourage such things.

Where on Earth can this happen other than Syria? How sick does one have to be to find joy in running over a human being in a tank?”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3DOo6gotEOwE8

LEAKED VIDEO – ”HORRIFIC – A TRUE SCENE OF HELL. ASSAD’S FORCES FILM INSIDE THE HOMES OF FAMILIES THEY JUST MURDERED IN BABA AMR & JOBAR. Homs (Baba Amr)Bodies of mutilated, burnt and crushed men and women are strewn about the rubble after Assad’s forces enter the district of Baba Amr after a month long siege where they shelled the area round-the-clock for 30 days and cut off all food and medical supplies.

When they finally entered the neighborhood, the most impoverished in Homs, they went from house to house and executed entire families or anyone that dared to stay. Many of their victims had their throats slit and were burnt.

This is Assad. These are his forces. This is what they do.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3Dp44x9WSSfWE

LEAKED VIDEO –  ”ASSAD’S FORCES FILM THEMSELVES SMILING AS THEY STAND ON THE BODIES OF MEN THEY JUST KILLED. Rastan (Date Unknown) – As is the case with many of these videos, Assad’s forces have no problems showing their faces, smiling and laughing over bodies of people they just killed.

They live in Assad’s Syria, where they are free to do as they please.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3DJ94tXDcvAaQ

                                         Next part tomorrow

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 6

23 april, 2012

And the “ceasefire” continuous.

“Al-Arabiya: Friday’s death toll in Syria rises to 45 people, activists say” (April 20)

Five, yeap you read right, five UN observers today made a BRIEF visit toHoms.

UN monitors visit Syria opposition stronghold

http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2012-04-21-ML-Syria/id-70fb3cdd81e24521b702a39149379c59

“But the situation was relatively calm as the five observers toured rebel-held areas in Homson Saturday. Activists said fighting and government shelling stopped and troops hid tanks in advance of the visit by U.N. cease-fire observers, their first to the city.”

“In the Jouret el-Shayah neighborhood of Homs, the observers were quickly thronged by residents who chanted, ”The people want military intervention,” according to video broadcast on the Al-Jazeera satellite TV station.

In amateur video from the same neighborhood, posted online Saturday, observers are seen walking silently through rubble-strewn deserted streets lined by heavily damaged apartment buildings.

A man in military uniform, apparently a rebel, pointed to the destruction, telling the team that ”it’s all destroyed buildings.” Dozens of residents chanted, ”The people want to execute the president,” and ”Freedom forever, against your will, Assad.”

As reported before by HWR and others (se my post 2), rape is useed as a weapon by Assad’s forces.

Rape as a weapon in Syria

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=388100

“On April 1, a Syrian doctor named Moussa al-Kurdi told Al-Jazeera that he received a report regarding the rape of two girls, aged 10 and 14, by government forces in southern Syria, which resulted in their being impregnated.

According to Kurdi, these two girls are part of a group of around 260 child refugees, boys and girls, whose parents were killed or arrested and who live in a hotel provided by a charity. Intelligence services in Syria prevented doctors from documenting the rapes and filing an official report about it. Kurdi said that the children are being threatened.

This story is a sample of the horrors committed against the Syrian people. For more than a year now, the Syrian regime has been fighting a war against its own people to regain control of the country. Rape may be the best means to destroy the morale of the enemy, not only in the present, but also for the future, as victims, especially those who became pregnant as a result of the rape, have to live with it for the rest of their lives, according to writer Hazem Saghiyeh. “

“However, according to a HRW researcher who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak on the subject, it has been confirmed that rape is being used as a method of torture against men and women in Syrian prisons. The researcher also mentioned reports of sexual assault against women when the army raids houses in search of wanted men or weapons. “

And the Iraqis have a problem:

Central Bank of Iraq: $10B Siphoned Off in Support of Iranian and Syrian Currencies

http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/6293.htm

“The deputy governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), Mudhhir Mohammad Saleh, has revealed that Iraq’s foreign currency reserves, estimated at $54 billion, have declined by $10 billion since last November, and that the money was used by banks, money-changers and money-transfer companies in support of the Iranian and Syrian economies, which are subject to sanctions. He asserted that speculators have exploited the monetary crisis in the two neighboring countries to make a quick profit. The rush to buy dollars has caused the Iraqi dinar to lose 11% of its value against the dollar, despite considerable foreign currency reserves available to support it. “

Same old same old:

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice wrote on Twitter April 18 that the “Syrian regime lied to the world, lied to its people & the biggest fabricator is Asad himself. Words are meaningless. Actions are what matter.”

http://twitter.com/#!/AmbassadorRice/status/192446044200648706

Ok, after this “great” and “sudden” insight after more than a year keeping up appearance while Assad was killing unarmed civilians, what then??

Well, who could have guessed – MORE OF THE SAME! I.E. doing nothing.

“Ambassador Rice’s interview with CNN the other day. When asked the most pressing question – what next? – Rice replied that the “next step really is for those who have maximum influence on Assad to continue to use it,”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1204/17/ampr.01.html

That is of course the very helpful Russians and Iranians. And if you have read any of my previous post, you know how “helpful” they have been. So this is the “great” Obama and Clinton plan – The two countries that has done the most to prop up and secure the Assad regime, with all means possible, are supposed to put “pressure on him???

Really???

Assad a “mafia bacteria”.

This is quite interesting. The people inside Syria has made some contacts withIsrael before. Like when the put the same message on the IDF Facebook site.

Syrian opposition leader, in unprecedented interview with Israel Radio, says Syrians want peace with Israel Speaking from Paris, Nofal Al-Dalawibi, son of a former Syrian PM, calls Assad a ‘mafia bacteria’ and says opposition will not negotiate with him

http://www.timesofisrael.com/syrian-opposition-leader-in-unprecedented-interview-with-israel-radio-says-syrians-want-peace-with-israel/

“In an unprecedented interview with Israel Radio, Nofal Al-Dalawibi, a Syrian opposition leader and son of former two-time Syrian prime minister Maarouf Al-Dalawibi, said that the Syrian people want peace, including with Israel, and seek stability after the ongoing bloodshed.

The interview comes against a background of decades of overt Syrian hostility to Israel, and shatters a taboo of Syrian representatives in any forum talking openly with Israelis. At international events, Syrian leaders have always sought to ensure that Israeli journalists are kept out of their press conferences, and ignored questions from Israeli reporters on the rare occasions when Israelis did manage to address them directly. Israeli journalists are never granted visas to enterSyria.”

”Dalawibi’s interview marked the potential beginning of a change from that mindset, should the Syrian opposition struggle prevail. When asked about the “fear that many Israelis have” that Islamic forces may occupy the political vacuum in Syria if Assad falls — and what effect that would have on Syria’s relationship with Israel — Dalawibi replied that the Syrian people do not want any more fighting. Syrian civilians have been left out of the political process for over 40 years and they only want peace, he added.

“Dalawibi also commented on the “long struggle” of the Syrian opposition. “We are not interested in negotiating with Assad,” Dalawibi told Zinger, and referred to the Syrian president as “mafia bacteria.”

Turkey

Recep Erdogan and his Islamic AKP party have ruledTurkeysince 2002. Their slow, but gradual, islamization of Turkish society has progressed. AKP has very effectively neutralized all the secular parties and organisations.

Including the military which was supposed to be the last guarantee of Ataturks legacy – a civilian society with separation of mosque and state.

Erdogan was imprisoned in 1998 for his involvement with the banned Welfare Party, which the Turkish government considered Islamist. Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy describes the Welfare Party as the “motherboard of Turkish Islamists since the 1980s,” saying it was inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2001, he founded the AKP, which took a more moderate line, portraying itself as committed to separation of mosque and state but “faithful governance,” as Dr. Essam El-Erian, the chief of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political bureau, described the AKP’s “moderate Islamist” ideology.

Dr. El-Erian praised Erdogan’s victory, saying that it was the result of the “exposing of the failure of the secular trend.” El-Erian confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood had close ties to the AKP, but the West treated Turkey as if nothing had changed. It wasn’t until Turkey steadfastly refused to allow U.S. soldiers to transit their territory to overthrow Saddam Hussein that the West began questioning the allegiance of Erdogan’s government.

As Erdogan said in the beginning of February this year, “We want to raise a religious youth”:

Erdogan resurrects debates of Islamization

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/02/09/193621.html

We want to raise a religious youth,” said Erdogan, himself a graduate of a clerical school and the leader of the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), during a parliamentary address last week.”

“Secular quarters argue Erdogan’s conservative government is also step by step imposing religion in every aspect of life, saying many restaurants already refuse to serve alcohol during Ramadan.”

“But since then the influence of the military, considered as guardian of secularism, has waned.

Dozens of retired and active army officers, academics, journalists and lawyers have been put behind bars in probes into alleged plots against Erdogan’s government.

Critics accuse the government of launching the probes as a tool to silence opponents and impose authoritarianism.

Secular quarters argue Erdogan’s conservative government is also step by step imposing religion in every aspect of life, saying many restaurants already refuse to serve alcohol during Ramadan.

They also criticize recent changes to legislation under which religious school graduates will now be able to access any university branch they like, while in the past they had only access to theology schools.

Birand expressed fears that the changes would not be confined to this and would lead to censorship in television broadcasts.

The Turkish television watchdog RTUK “will restrict all kissing scenes; they will confuse pornography with explicit broadcast and all television screens will be made pious,” he added.

Then will come religious foundations. After them, it will be municipalities. All kinds of Koran teaching courses, legal or illegal, will mushroom.”

As Turkish Penal Code specifies, ”Anyone who openly denigrates the religious values of a part of the population shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from six months to one year, where the act is sufficient to breach public peace.”

In the referendum 2010 26 amendments where made to the constitution. One example: It now permits the parliament to select who sits on the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges. Previously, the judiciary was independent, choosing its own leadership free of political influence. And since the AKP holds a majority in the parliament, its allows the party to oversee the judiciary without any significant checks and balances.

And a quote from Erdoğan:

Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2270642.stm

The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

Another example:

Paul Auster refuses Turkey visit over jailed scribes

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/paul-auster-refuses-turkey-visit-over-jailed-scribes-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=12523&NewsCatID=339

“Renowned U.S. author Paul Auster said he refused to visit Turkey because of the number of journalists and writers that have been jailed in the country.

Speaking to daily Hürriyet’s Buket Şahin, Auster said he had protested the Turkish and Chinese governments for their treatment of journalists.

I refuse to come to Turkey because of imprisoned journalists and writers. How many are jailed now? Over 100?” Auster said, adding that Turkey was the country he was most worried about.“

Erdogan and the Decline of the Turks

When I asked the prime minister about stories alleging a U.S.-Israeli murder and organ selling scheme in Iraq, he could not bring himself to condemn them..

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704875604575281392195250402.html

“To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness.”

“For example, while there was much hand-wringing in our own media about ”Who lost Turkey?” when U.S. forces were denied entry to Iraq from the north in 2003, no such introspection was evident in Ankara and Istanbul. Instead, Turks were fed a steady diet of imagined atrocities perpetrated by U.S. forces in Iraq, often with the implication that they were acting as muscle for the Jews. The newspaper Yeni Safak, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s daily read, claimed that Americans were tossing so many Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates that local mullahs had issued a fatwa ordering residents not to eat the fish. The same paper repeatedly claimed that the U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah. And it reported that Israeli soldiers had been deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq and that U.S. forces were harvesting the innards of dead Iraqis for sale on the U.S. ”organ market.”

The secular Hurriyet newspaper, meanwhile, accused Israeli soldiers of assassinating Turkish security personnel in Mosul and said the U.S.was starting an occupation of (Muslim) Indonesia under the guise of humanitarian assistance. Then U.S. ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman actually felt the need to organize a conference call to explain to the Turkish media that secret U.S. nuclear testing did not cause the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. One of the craziest theories circulating in Ankara was that the U.S.was colonizing the Middle East because its scientists were aware of an impending asteroid strike on North America.

The Mosul and organ harvesting stories were soon brought together in a hit Turkish movie called ”Valley of the Wolves,” which I saw in 2006 at a mall in Ankara. My poor Turkish was little barrier to understanding. The body parts of dead Iraqis could be clearly seen being placed into crates marked New York and Tel Aviv. It is no exaggeration to say that such anti-Semitic fare had not been played to mass audiences in Europe since the Third Reich.

When I interviewed Prime Minister Erdogan (one of several encounters) in 2006, he was unabashed about the narrative.

Erdogan: ”I believe the people who made this movie took media reports as their basis . . . for example, Abu Ghraib prison—we have seen this on TV, and now we are watching Guantanamo Bay in the world media, and of course it could be that this movie was prepared under these influences.”

Me: ”But do you believe that many Turks have such a view ofAmerica, that we’re the kind of people who’d go to Iraq and kill people to take their organs?”

Erdogan: ”These kind of things happen in the world. If it’s not happening in Iraq, then its happening in other countries.”

Me: ”Which kind of things? Killing people to take their organs?”

Erdogan: ”I’m not saying they are being killed. . . . There are people in poverty who use this as a means to get money.”

I was somewhat taken aback that the prime minister could not bring himself to condemn a fictional blood libel. I should not have been. He and his party have traded on America and Israel hatred ever since. There can be little doubt the Turkish flotilla that challenged the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza was organized with his approval, if not encouragement. Mr. Erodogan’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, is a proponent of a philosophy which calls on Turkey to loosen Western ties to the U.S., NATO and the European Union and seek its own sphere of influence to the east. Turkey‘s recent deal to help Iran enrich uranium should come as no surprise.”

‘Muslims Don’t Cause Genocide, especially in Sudan:

Erdogan: Israel Worse than Sudan, ‘Muslims Don’t Cause Genocide’

Turkish PM Erdogan says he would rather talk to Sudanese leader al-Bashir than to Israeli PM Netanyahu, because “Muslims cannot commit genocide.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/134297

“Erdogan claimed to know that Bashir is innocent, and that there is no genocide taking place in Sudan. “A Muslim can never commit genocide,” he said in explanation. “It’s not possible.”

The Turkish PM added that he had visited Darfur and did not see evidence of genocide during his trip.”

Much more can be said about AKP andTurkeybut that’s maybe for a later post.

So lets move on to Turkeysr elations with Syria, Iran and its foreign policy ambitions.

Yes, we are the New Ottomans

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/12/09ANKARA1717.html

“SUMMARY:  In a recent speech before the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) retreat, Turkey‘s Foreign Minister Davutoglu appeared to embrace the concept of  Neo-Ottomanism as a framework for Turkish foreign policy.”

“Twice yearly, AKP party leaders and members of  parliament meet at Kizilcahamam for a consultative retreat to go over party policies and the state ofTurkeyin a relaxed, informal environment.  At the most recent retreat, held November 21 and 22, FM Davutoglu co-opted his critics’ derisive term for his personalized foreign policy, saying,

”Yes, we are the New Ottomans.”  In so doing, he made coherent the past six years of Turkish foreign policy, which has seen an intensive interest in being part of peace negotiations stretching from Bosnia through Palestine to Afghanistan, the opening of embassies throughout much of  Africa, and rapprochement with previous rivals, such as Iran, Syria, andArmenia.

Davutoglu had previously hinted at such a policy in a speech made in Sarajevo on October 16, in which he envisioned an economically and culturally integrated Balkans and Middle East as the driver of a peaceful, affluent civilization, and not the crisis-ridden periphery it is perceived to be today. In his estimation, the Ottoman Empire is the ”only positive exception” to have created such an entity, and Turkey, as successor to the Ottoman state, should be the focus of the re-establishment of a strong Eastern Mediterranean.”

“Borrowing from Western rhetoric that Turkey is a bridge between the East and the West, Turkey is aspiring to broaden its horizons to include not just Europe but the

Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia in its strategic considerations as well.  The policy also attempts to promote two popular trains of thought among conservative Turkish intellectuals:  the concepts of a global Islamic solidarity (previously promoted by former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan) and the concept of a Turkish-Islamist synthesis (popular in nationalist circles and also among members of the Fethullah Gulen religious community).

AKP’s domestic detractors, however, see the policy as more evidence of Turkish society slowly turning away from the West; embracing regional autocrats, such as Bashar al-Assad, Mahmud Ahmedinejad, and Omar al-Bashir; and Islamization of the populace as part of their plan to one day install Sharia law ”overnight.”  Turkey’s choice of regional friends does at times highlight its religious outlook more than cultural ones:  estranging historical trade and military partner Israel over the Gaza crisis sits unsteadily when Turkey comes to Sudan’s defense.”

I think that sets the tone.

And then there is all the treats and demands on it’s “allies” in NATO, EU:

Erdogan issued a direct threat on NATO when he warned on September 27, 2011:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/09/27/v-print/125417/bellicose-talk-as-turkey-debuts.html

“ISTANBUL—Turkey officially accepted delivery of its first domestically manufactured warship Tuesday at a ceremony that underscored the country’s push to become a regional power.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the occasion to criticize oil drilling in the eastern Mediterranean by Greek interests. He pointedly noted that the ceremony took place on the 473rd anniversary of the Battle of Preveza in northwestern Greece, where a fleet from the Ottoman Turkish empire defeated a much larger Christian force.

”I recommend the international community take the necessary lessons from the Preveza victory”, Erdogan said. ”Turkey’s national interests in the seas reach from its surrounding waters to the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean.”

The battle of  Preveza 1538 was a” decisive Turkish/Ottoman naval battle against a Papal “Holy League” Pan-Christian Alliance”.

And

‘Turkeywill never share intelligence from NATO radar system with Israel’

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=3173

Turkey will never share intelligence gathered by a NATO radar system stationed on its soil with Israel, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday, during a joint news conference with visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Ankara.

Turkey agreed late last year to deploy the early warning radar system after seeking guarantees from the U.S. that Israel would not have access to intelligence gathered by it. NATO also agreed to post a high-ranking Turkish general at its headquarters in Germany, where intelligence gathered through the radar system would be processed, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

The radar system has been up and running since January, and has already drawn criticism from Tehran. “The U.S. radar stationed inTurkeyis no good for any Muslim country,” Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said at a mid-January press conference. “But we have confidence in our Turkish friends,” he said, adding that Iran would request more information on the matter.”

US senators voice worry over radar deal with Turkey

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ib10aqtbTnD_aXypBfZG3lTWYJmg?docId=CNG.0ab2ac77281cfe1c695dd46990421301.d11

“Two key US senators expressed concerns Tuesday about a possible agreement to base a missile-shield radar in Turkey, citing the NATO ally’s strained ties with Israel and relations with Iran.

Republican Senators Jon Kyl and Mark Kirk wrote Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seeking reassurances on the possible deal, which was described in a news report last week.

The lawmakers asked for ”written assurances” that data collected by a so-called X-band radar ”will be made available, in real time” to staunch US ally Israel to be ”fully integrated into its battlement management and control.”

They also sought a guarantee that ”Turkish entities are not engaged, or suspected of engaging” in activities that fall afoul of various US laws aimed at curbing suspected nuclear weapons programs in Iran and Syria and keeping sensitive know-how from North Korea.

And President Barack Obama’s administration must also certify that the powerful radar will only be operated by US personnel, and for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for maintenance breaks, the senators said.

Kirk and Kyl, the number-two Senate Republican, also questioned whether the reported decision to locate the radar in Turkey would ”ensure the best defense of the United States against the Iranian long-range ballistic missile threat.”

They cited a US Missile Defense Agency study that found that the South Caucasus to be ”the optimum placement” if the system is designed to defend against an eventual Iranian ballistic missile attack.

”The administration’s plans for missile defense will require the cooperation of the Congress; the prospects for such cooperation are jeopardized if the Congress is not provided the information it requests,” they warned.”

And

Turkey blocks Israeli bid for opening NATO office

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=turkey-blocks-israeli-bid-for-opening-nato-office-2011-09-18

“Turkish objections have thwarted Israel’s attempt to open a NATO office, says Turkish FM, stressing determination to also keepIsrael out of data-sharing after a high-powered US radar system is deployed inTurkey.

Turkey has blocked an Israeli move to open a representation office at NATO headquarters, its foreign minister said Sunday, adding that data collected by a radar system in eastern Turkey would not be shared with Israel.

“Israelrecently made an attempt to open an office at NATO [headquarters] in Brussels. We said we would veto this attempt and the issue was not even put on the agenda,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in an interview with the CNNTürk “news channel.

Turkey refused to allowIsrael to participate in annual military exercises also involving Italyand the U.S. Instead Turkeywill hold military exercises withSyria:

After snubbing Israel, Turkey to hold defense drills with Syria

Syrian defense minister says two nations to hold drills days afterTurkeynixed maneuvers withIsrael.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/after-snubbing-israel-turkey-to-hold-defense-drills-with-syria-1.6129

“Syriasaid on Tuesday it would hold military exercises with Turkey, shortly after Turkeycanceled maneuvers with Israel.

Ankara’s decision, which was commended by Syria, revived fears of cooler relations betweenIsrael and NATO memberTurkey.

We held our first joint land military exercise (with Turkey) last spring. And today we have agreed to do a more comprehensive, a bigger one,” said Syrian Defense Minister Ali Habib, speaking at a news conference. “

“In Washington, the U.S. State Department on Tuesday objected to Turkey‘s last-minute decision to exclude Israel from the exercise.

We think it’s inappropriate for any nation to be removed from an exercise like this at the last minute,” said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. “

And in a ironic twist when one consider what Turkey has “done” or not done regarding Syria, Turkey blocked in the beginning the US/NATO intervention in Libya.

Turkey Blocks NATO Mission in Libya

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,752222,00.html

“So far, the NATO alliance has been unable to reach an agreement on participation in the military implementation of the no-fly zone. Turkey is resisting the measure and is calling for a new review of other possible measures the alliance could take in Libya. Ankara has also called for an immediate Western cease-fire, with Turkish officials calling on NATO to give greater consideration in its discussions to the possibility of civilian deaths, a NATO diplomat told the news agency AFP under the condition of anonymity. Ankara has rejected any NATO intervention against Libya, including the implementation of a no-fly zone.

Another example:

Turkey to freeze EU ties if Cyprus gets EU presidency

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/18/us-turkey-cyprus-idUSTRE78H20L20110918

“Reuters) -EU-candidate Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if Cyprusis given the EU presidency in 2012, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Anatolian late on Saturday.”

Another:

Turkey warns Greek Cyprus on oil drilling ahead of Israeli PM visit

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-warns-greek-cyprus-on-oil-drilling-ahead-of-israeli-pm-visit–.aspx?pageID=238&nID=13894&NewsCatID=338

“Turkeywarned Thursday that it will not allow under any circumstances foreign oil companies to conduct unauthorized oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and will take all necessary measures to protect its rights in the areas within its continental shelf.

Turkey’s strong worded warning came after an announcement published in the EU Official Journal dated11 February 2012 that the Greek Cypriot administration has called for a new international tender for off-shore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation within its so-called economic exclusive zone.”

“This situation would bring those international companies  that might be interested in bidding for this illegal tender  into confrontation with the TRNC (TurkishRepublicof NorthernCyprus) and the TPAO (Turkish Petroleum Corporation) , and thus would lead to an  undesired tension in the region,” the statement said. “

Greek PM calls Erdogan to calm Cyprus gas tension

http://www.globalenergyworld.com/news/1845/Greek_PM_calls_Erdogan_to_calm_Cyprus_gas_tension.htm

“Greece’s prime minister called his Turkish counterpart Monday in a bid to calm a spiralling dispute over energy resources off Cyprus as a Turkish ship began explorations under military protection.

George Papandreou ”called for calm and restraint” and reiterated that Cyprus ”was entitled to decide what it wants to do”, said Greek government spokesman Elias Mossialos.

Papandreou also told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey has to ”avoid unilateral acts”, referring to Ankara‘s decision to retaliate in kind for the Greek Cypriot government’s launch of offshore energy exploration.”

“Cyprus government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou on Monday told reporters Nicosia was monitoring the situation closely.

”Where necessary it will make representations and form a political and diplomatic shield for Cyprus‘ right” to explore and exploit possible deposits, he said.

Stefanou also accused Turkey of violating international law and causing tension in the region.”

Etc. Etc.

But lets move on to Turkeys policies an actions regarding Iran and Syria. They have shifted drastically. First, as part of this “ottoman” expansion I talked about above, Turkey became very friendly with Iran and Syria. And cooperated on ALL matters with both of them building a strategic alliance. Including helping Syria and Iran fight their internal opposition and uprising.

That policies only started to change last summer and even more so at the beginning of this year.

Lets start with Iran

Turkey has never accepted any of the official EU and US sanction against Iran:

Gates Criticizes TurkeyVote Against Sanctions

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/world/europe/12nato.html?_r=1

“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates expressed frustration withTurkeyon Friday over its refusal to support a new round of United Nations sanctions against Iran, but he suggested that the alliance betweenWashington and Ankara remained robust.”

“I’ll be honest, I was disappointed in Turkey’s vote on the Iranian sanctions,” Mr. Gates said at the end of a two-day meeting of defense ministers at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. “Allies don’t always agree on things, but we move forward from here.

The Security Council on Wednesday approved its fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Twelve of the 15 nations on the Security Council voted for the measure, while Brazil and Turkey, which had negotiated a deal with Iran to swap some of its nuclear fuel, voted against, and Lebanon abstained. “

“Among other things, the sanctions took aim at military purchases, trade and financial transactions by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls Iran’s nuclear program and has taken a more central role in running the country and the economy. “

And

Turkey: Not bound by US sanctions against Iran

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-not-bound-by-us-sanctions-against-iran-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=11309&NewsCatID=338

“Turkey, which imports oil and gas from Iran, says it is only bound by U.N. sanctions against its eastern neighbor, despite the U.S. campaign to sanctionIran further over its nuclear program.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Turkey would evaluate the content of the U.S.sanctions but it ”does not feel it is bound by any other sanctions.” Unal spoke during a weekly news conference, which followed a meeting between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani.”

Ads the Turkish trade with Iran keeps growing, in direct contradiction of US and EU supposed strategy!

And as I said in my previous posts, Turkey too has its hands deep in sanctions-busting transactions with Iran: Its seventh largest bank, the state-owned Halkbank, is a conduit for Iran’s oil-related earnings. To facilitate Iran’s international oil sales

Turkey import large quantities of Iranian oil, and Iran use Turkish banks to facilitate its international oil sales.

Turkeyis also deeply involved in an effort to have the new Iranian and Iraqi pipelines to Europe routed through Turkey, reducing the Strait of  Hormuz’s crucial importance as a primary route for the world’s oil supplies. This pipeline would also hurt Saudi Arabiaand the other Gulf oil producers, all of whom are dead set against Erdogan’s hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.

Turkey and Iran’s military alliance:

Turkey Forms Alliance With Iran Against Kurds

http://www.newsmax.com/KenTimmerman/turkey-iran-/2007/10/15/id/337383

U.S.  ally Turkey and U.S. arch-enemy Iran have formed a military alliance to drive opposition Kurds from bases in northern Iraq they have used since 2004 to launch guerrilla operations inside Iran, rebel leaders told Newsmax at a secret base in the Qandil mountains.

Both Iran and Turkeyhave vowed to send troops into northern Iraq, but until now evidence of active military cooperation between them has remained a closely-held secret.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up political and diplomatic threats in recent days, telling the United States he would cut off U.S. access to the strategic Incirlik airbase in eastern Turkey if the U.S. tried to prevent Turkey from sending troops against the Kurdish bases in northern Iraq.

Leaders of the Party of Free Life of Iranian Kurdistan, known as PJAK, provided Newsmax with extensive evidence of the Iran-Turkey alliance in two days of exclusive interviews at a secret guerilla base deep in the Qandil mountains. An Iranian Revolutionary Guards outpost was visible on a nearby mountain peak.

“Iran and Turkey attacked jointly on August 16 against our forces inside Iran and against Turkish self-defense forces in northern Iraq,” a PJAK commander using the nom de guerre Xerat told Newsmax at the Iranian rebel base.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards “attacked us across a broad front in the areas of Sardasht, Piranshahr, Shaho, Urmieh, and along the border line,” Xerat said, citing the names of major cities in Iranian Kurdistan where PJAK rebels have been operating.

While those ground operations were underway, Iranian and Turkish artillery simultaneously began shelling civilian villages inside Iraqi Kurdistan from Metina, Zaab, Haftani, and Hakurke in the north, to Haji Oumran, Qalatdizza, Zeh, Marado, and Xinera in the south, he added.

Turkish artillery hit the northern villages, while Iranian gunners hit the southern ones.

Iranian troops attempted to cross into Iraq through the mountain passes, but PJAK fighters held the line.

The goal of the Iranians is to drive us from the border area,” rebel leader Biryar Gabar told Newsmax. “They want to turn this area into a no-man’s land, so they can use it to smuggle weapons and Islamist guerillas into Iraq to fight the Americans.”

He called the Iran-Turkey entente “an anti-American alliance,” not just an anti-Kurdish agreement, and said that it resulted from deliberate decisions from the ruling Islamist AKP party of Prime Minister Erdogan to transform Turkey into an increasingly Islamist state.

A senior European official, who was involved in talks to bring Turkey into the European Union, told Newsmax recently he had been “stunned” by the hard-line toward the Kurds taken by AKP party leader Abdullah Gul, now Turkey’s president.

He was totally uncompromising,” the official said. “He took a harder line than the Turkish military.”

Iran has been offering Turkeyan economic agreement with Iran in July to build a strategic pipeline that will bring Iranian natural gas to Europe, in defiance of a U.S. led effort to increase the economic squeeze on Iran.”

“Since the liberation of Iraq by the Coalition, PJAK has maintained control of the Iran-Iraq border in this area, and prevented infiltration by Iran or al-Qaida-related terrorists.

The U.S. military sent liaison officers to meet with PJAK in 2003 and again in 2005 to discuss Iranian efforts to infiltrateIraq, but have not pursued discussions further, PJAK officials said.

“From August 16-24, the Iranians tried to cross the border along the mountain ridge line, but we pushed them back,” Biryar Gabar said.

During the Iranian ground attacks, PJAK learned from its operatives on the ground inside Iran that Turkish officers were acting as military advisors to the Iranian troops, he told Newsmax.”

“Since the failed ground offensive by the Iranians, Turkish officers have begun training Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops in counter-insurgency operations at the Soleiman training camp near the Iranian city of Urmieh.

“The Iranians had little experience in counter-insurgency operations, so the Turks are training them,” guerilla leader Xenat said.

Our friends saw Turkish officers coordinating the operations of the Iranian army in the Kelaresh area,” he added. Kelaresh is in the border region outside of Salmas andUrmieh,Iran.

An exclusive Newsmax source in Iran reported in late August that eight Turkish officers were then in Urmieh, coordinating the anti-Kurdish military campaign with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

At the command level, Iranian and Turkish military officers have held monthly coordination meetings in the Turkish cities of Harakeh, Van, Bashakale, and in the Iranian cities of Urmieh, Mahabad, and Salmas, PJAK officials said.

The Iranian government sent a 12-member delegation to Hakkari, Turkey, for a summit meeting with Turkish officials on Sept. 10, PJAK officials said.”

“PJAK guerilla leaders also pointed to the recent creation by Iran of civilian village guards, known as “jash,” in the Iranian Kurdish areas, as another sign of Turkish military cooperation with Iran.

The Turkish army used a similar tactic when fighting the PKK in the 1990s,” said Xenat, a former PKK fighter who is originally fromTurkey but joined PJAK once the PKK dissolved its military wing in early 2000.

The “jash” village guards act as spies for the Revolutionary Guards to identify PJAK guerilla fighters., he said. They are also dressing up in Kurdish guerilla uniforms and attacking Iranian villagers, pretending to be PJAK fighters.

The Turks have been fighting a dirty war in anti-guerilla operations for 30 years. Now they are teaching this to the Iranians,” Xenat said.”

And Turkey supports Iran’s nuclear program

Turkey voices support for Iran’s nuclear program

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=381390

The government and nation of Turkey has always clearly supported the nuclear positions of the Islamic republic of Iran, and will continue to firmly follow the same policy in the future,” Erdogan was quoted as saying in the statement issued by Ahmadinejad’s office.

Ahmadinejad thanked Turkey for its ”clear and frank” stance on the issue, the statement added.”

Another interesting fact, in October 2011 the Chinese air force was in Turkey and took part in joint exercise with the Turkish air force. Before arriving inTurkey, the Chinese air force had been in Iran and had a similar joint exercise there.

And Israel was very concerned with what was going on inTurkeyand its relations with Iran:

If there is not a change in personality, then Turkeywill become Iran No. 2

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2010/me_turkey0896_09_15.asp

Israel‘s defense community has assessed that Turkey was moving toward becoming a radical and nuclear Islamic state.

Officials and leading analysts asserted that the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was rapidly dismantling the secular Turkish state. They said Erdogan could turn Turkey into another Iran, a radical Muslim state with nuclear weapons.

There could be a deep strategic change,” Amos Gilad, a senior Defense Ministry official, said.

Officials cited Turkey’s referendum that would revise the secular constitution. They said the 26 amendments approved by 58 percent of voters on Sept. 12 would significantly increase the authority of Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party while marginalizingTurkey’s military.

Leading officials expressed concern over Erdogan’s growing power in Turkey and his success in intimidating the once-powerful Turkish military. They said Erdogan could use his referendum victory to expand Turkey‘s alliance with neighboring Iran and Syria while fomenting another crisis with Israel.

If there is not a change in personality, then Turkey will become Iran No. 2,” former National Security Council director Uzi Dayan said.”

And most devious at all: Turkey has allowed Iran to supply Syria with arms to crush the civilian uprising through its territory. It only stopped in January this year.

Iran army supplies to Syria via the Turkish Dogubayazit route

In the middle of January, Turkey reported halting five Iranian trucks loaded with weapons for Syria at the Killis Turkish-Syrian border crossing and impounding its freight. Actually, the Iranian convoy was not really stopped at Killis but at the eastern Turkish Dobubayazit border crossing with Iran, near Mount Ararat. This supply route for Syria had been going strong for months. Ankara‘s decision to suspend it has reduced its volume by 60 percent.

The Turks kept very quiet about the Dogubayazit route because disclosure would have exposed them as working two sides of the Syrian conflict – letting Tehran set up a clandestine arms route for helping the Assad regime crack down on protest, while publicly posing as the leading champions of the Syrian protest movement – even to providing the Free Syria Army with bases and training facilities.

The influx of Iranian arms supplies via Turkey gave the Syrian army a major boost in quelling the uprising especially in the restive towns of Hama, Homs and Idlib, where demonstrations have dwindled. Now Ankara is worried about the consequences. Thursday, President Abdullah Gul raised fears of the Syrian uprising mutating into civil war.Ankara is concerned that sectarian conflict inSyria could spill over intoTurkey.

With “friends” like this how need enemies?

Over to Syria

A year ago Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan addressed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus as “my brother”.

And Hakan Fidan (very pro Iranian), chief of Turkish MIT intelligence service, has on Erdogans orders gone frequently to Damascus to update Assad’s regime on Syrian opposition activities. One of Assad’s key sources of information about what the opposition is up to.

This stopped on May 24, and even more so in August,  2011 when Erdogan finally realised that after three months of unstinting support for the Assad regime, the Turkish government circles seek to shun finding themselves ”backing a regime which shoots to kill Muslims in the street.” After the number of Syrian deaths rose past 1,100, one high-ranking official commented, ”Turkey is a Muslim democracy. It must not lend support to dictators who murder their citizens.”

So at least then Erdogan stopped to openly supporting Assad. It would take longer for Turkeyto actually start doing something. That happened in January this year.

And the rhetoric of setting up “safe” or “buffer zone” has been talked about by the Turks for nearly a year buy now and nothing has been done.

Turkey recalibrates its approach to Syria

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/21/uk-turkey-syria-idUKBRE82K11Y20120321

(Reuters) – Just over a year ago, Turkey’s prime minister addressed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus as “my brother”. Today, illusions of kinship are long gone and the region’s rising power finds itself marshalling efforts to press him from power, but increasingly wary of being pitched into military action.

The falling out between Assad and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan grew personal as well as diplomatic as Syria’s president ignored Turkish calls for restraint and pressed his attacks on protesters. Erdogan drew a comparison with Nazi Germany in some of the strongest words of any major leader onSyria.

In one email, intercepted and published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Assad’s wife Asma is asked if she would pass her email address to Erdogan’s wife. “I use this account only for family and friends,” she replies. “It would be difficult for me at this stage to consider her in either category after the insults they have directed towards the president.”

The Syrian insurrection has tested the limits of Turkish regional diplomatic power that has grown markedly under Erdogan’s stewardship. For years Ankara invested heavily in relations with Syria and Assad, calculating closer ties could foster both trade and reforms in its southern neighbour, as well as weaken its reliance on Iran, for centuries Turkey’s main regional rival.

“They thought that because of the personal relationship that had developed between Erdogan and Bashar, the Syrians would be a pushover,” said Philip Robins of Oxford University.

“There was a complete misunderstanding based on an assumption that they had manoeuvred the other side so that they would do their bidding, and that absolutely was not the case.”

Syrian protests escalated from March last year. Assad failed to heed ever more insistent telephone calls from Erdogan and visits from Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu appealing for reform. By August, Ankara had had enough.

TURKEY SEES RED LINES

Having seen the rapid revolution in Egypt and with the overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi seemingly imminent, Turkey sharply turned against its erstwhile ally in Damascus.

They wanted to position themselves on the right side of history, expecting the Syrian regime to fall in weeks as in Tunisia and Egypt,” said Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.

Turkey now hosts Syria’s main opposition groups and shelters the rebel Free Syria Army on its side of the common frontier. On April 1, it will be the venue of a meeting of Western and Middle Eastern officials and groups involved with Syria.

Assad has shown himself to be impervious to verbal assault and resilient to increasingly violent protests and guerrilla attacks. He is also for now at least largely insulated from strong United Nations-backed action due to the vetoes of China and his backer Russia on the Security Council.

“Right now there is a disappointing situation for Ankara,” said Salem. “What they banked on didn’t happen. Their bluff and bluster was met by bluff and bluster from the Syrian side and now we are certainly in a bit of a stalemate.”

Without backing from the U.N., or at least the Arab League and NATO, Turkey is unwilling to go it alone in Syria. But with a 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, more than 16,000 Syrian refugees on its soil and hundreds more arriving each day, it is not a problem from which Ankara can simply walk away.

Turkey has signalled a huge flood of refugees or massacres on its door-step would be red lines that would force it to act, but short of military intervention, there are few effective options available, analysts said.

Erdogan said last week setting up a “safe” or “buffer zone” along the border was one of the options under consideration, but that would mean troops going into Syria to seize and secure territory which the rebel Free Syrian Army has failed to do.

“We need to consider maybe to have a buffer zone inside Syrian territory, but without Syrian consent this may lead to some kind of military conflict … and this may escalate the situation,” said Kamer Kasim of the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK), Turkish think-tank.

Like it or not, Turkey finds itself centre stage of diplomatic efforts to dislodge Assad, and would be on the front line of any military intervention, whether an Arab peace force or arming the Free Syrian Army, both measures the Arab League could discuss when it holds a summit in Baghdad next week.

REGIONAL REALITIES

But there are very good reasons why Turkey should be wary of intervening in Syria, given its strategic backing by Turkey’s neighbour and regional power Iran, and the closeness to Iran of Ankara’s other Middle Eastern neighbour, Iraq.

Turkey has got itself into a position where it has a major foreign policy issue with its three Middle Eastern neighbours,” said Robins. “This is really not clever, especially in a part of the world where power politics is still the name of the game.”

“If it were just Turkey versus Syria then the Turks if they were minded to could probably just pile in,” he said. “But when you factor in the presence of other regional powers … and you also have Israel which is getting closer to Cyprus and Greece, and then of course you have the Russians to the north who are supporting Syria, it suddenly becomes much more complex.”

Some in Turkey see a Western attempt to pushAnkara into taking the leading role, and a large part of the risk, inSyria.

Parliament speaker Cemil Cicek, from Erdogan’s AK Party, blamed what he called “Western cunning” for trying to push Turkey into action. “Everyone is on the sidelines as if they are watching a match and saying ‘let Turkey sort it out’.”

That at least was how many observers saw last week’s visit to Ankara of CIA Director David Petraeus.

“It seems Turkeyhas been left holding the baby,” said Ali Nihat Ozcan, a security analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.

The Americans, he said, “are probably trying to encourage Turkey to get more involved. Turkey is having second thoughts.”

Turkey has not yet rowed back, but much of the rhetoric has been replaced by a determined attempt to forge more consensus on Syria, hosting a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul on April 1 to try keep it high on the international agenda.

There Turkey will do what it diplomatically does best, bringing together the West and the Middle East where it uniquely has a foot in both camps.

“I would have thought the thing to do is to get back in the pack as far as NATO and the Western alliance is concerned; you are not exposed in the way that Turkey has been,” said Robins.

“You can have your own perspective on what is happening. You are still deeply alarmed at the loss of life and devastation in Syria, but you can only really move in tandem with the alliance more generally and with the Americans in particular.”

What really turned the Turks to doing something was when Assda played the PKK card in January this year. And opened a direct route fromIraq via Syria to Turkey for PKK.

Remember that Turkey nearly invaded Syria in 1998 for sponsoring Kurdish terrorism.

On October 20, 1998, Syria and Turkey signed the Adana Agreement under pressure from Iran and Egypt. The agreement was for Syria to keep the PKK from threatening Turkish sovereignty from Syrian bases.

After that PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was expelled by Syrian authorities. Abdullah Öcalan then bounced around the capitals ofEurope, only to be captured in Kenya and handed over to the Turks by the CIA.

After the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria, Syria placed restrictions on PKK activity on its soil.

Idlib Binnish -”The People Who Represent Us are Those Fighting in the Trenches Not The Ones Sleeping in Hotels (SNC Members)”

And then there is the Turkish effort, with the Obama administrations backing and collaboration, to make SNC the sole voice of the opposition. So the SNC can receive all money and all supply toSyria must be funneled and coordinated through them so they are in full control.

Only one problem, SNC is in reality a Muslim Brotherhood controlled organization even if it pretends to be “neutral”.

See this video which shows Muslim Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni claiming that the Brotherhood chose Birhan Ghalioun to be the SNC leader as a front man because he would be more appealing to the West than an open Islamist.

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FWi7Rnpemkg

But the Syrian National Council (SNC) has failed. The people of Syria has seen trough this and rejected SNC as “a sole voice of the opposition”.

In fact, several SNC members, including Kamal al-Labwani and Haitham Maleh, have announced their resignations. They are both elderly veteran dissidents who are not Islamists. The reason being given most often for this crack-up is that the group’s leadership is “autocratic,” excluding most of the membership from any role in decision-making.

 Leaving aside the element of personal ambition, however, why is it autocratic? Because it is imposing the Muslim Brotherhood line rather than responding to the preferences of the activists within Syria, that’s why.

As the New York Times admits, al-Labwani, “accused Muslim Brotherhood members within the exile opposition of `monopolizing funding and military support.’” Yet there is not a word about how the Obama Administration pushed this Brotherhood-dominated leadership onto the Syrian opposition.

Most of the Kurds involved in the original talks angrily walked out of the negotiations because of their objection to Islamist leadership. The Obama Administration’s choice of  Turkey to coordinate this operation made it even harder to bring in Syrian Kurds, who play an important role in the revolution, since Turkey has fought a long war against Kurdish nationalism at home. Another issue of conflict is the SNC’s bad relationship with the FSA (Free Syrian Army) and its rejection of armed struggle to overthrow the dictatorship.

The opposition inside Syria say that this is because the Islamists hope to make a deal with the regime that would empower them (and they hope would eventually bring them to power in the longer-term) rather than fight it out.

Of the nineteen announced members of the top leadership of SNC, ten of them were Islamists, (Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist). A reliable Syrian opposition source tells that two more members are secretly Islamist tools.

In short, the U.S. government was helping to turn Syria’s revolution over to the Islamists. If this group had succeeded, the West would be facing still another radical Islamist regime that hated the West, wanted to go to war with Israel, and would be imposing a new dictatorship on its country.

That’s one of the reasons why there are more than a half-dozen other opposition groups have developed as rivals to the SNC.

And by the way, Erdogan is close personal friend of Obama which have made Turkeya key cornerstone in his Middle East policy.

Or as Barry Rubin puts it:

http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/03/26/obama-hearts-turkish-leader-erdogan-as-he-oppresses-his-own-people-and-stabs-america-in-the-back/

“President Barack Obama is continuing his love affair with Turkish Islamist leader Recep Erdogan. As Erdogan continues to undermine Turkish democracy, throw hundreds of moderates into jail, destroy the nation’s institutions, help Iran, throw hysterical tantrums about how much he hates Israel, promote Islamism in the region, and is fresh from still another meeting with Hamas leaders, Obama continues to use Erdogan as his guru.

When the two men met at the Seoul, South Korea, Nuclear Security Summit on March 25, Obama practically slobbered over the anti-American ruler, calling Erdogan his “friend and colleague….We find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues.”

When Erdogan goes to elections or is criticized by the opposition he uses statements like this to “prove” that his policies aren’t radical or anti-Western at all. Here’s a man whose regime can help terrorist groups organize a violent confrontation with Israel, preside over a virulently anti-American media, insist Iran isn’t seeking nuclear weapons and has a wonderful government, and then be lionized by the president of the United States.

Obama adds:

“I think it’s fair to say that over the last several years, the relationship between Turkey and the United States has continued to grow across every dimension.  And I find Prime Minister Erdogan to be an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues.”

What did the two men talk about? Well, they first discussed Syria, an issue on which Obama praised Erdogan’s “outstanding leadership.” In fact, Turkey has helped to engineer an Islamist leadership in the Syrian National Council that wrecked any chance that the opposition could unite.Turkey’s rulers did this not to promote democracy but to promote the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now, according to reliable sources, Obama is discouraging Erdogan from advocating a no-fly zone and safe haven in northern Syria because the U.S. government has basically decided not to help the opposition, which will ensure that the Syrian dictatorship crushes it and continues to be Iran’s main ally in the region.

Instead, Obama is opting, in his words, for “a process whereby a transition to a representative and legitimate government in Syria takes place.” In other words, Obama advocates a deal between the opposition and the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad  If this sounds like a contradiction, remember that this is also the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood line but is opposed by both the Free Syrian Army and the moderate oppositionists.

Of course, however, this strategy will merely buy time for the regime to achieve a bloody victory.  Erdogan is now headed to Tehran where he will try to convince his friends there to stop helping their friends in Syria. Does that sound like a mission likely to succeed?”

“Erdogan can well be delighted. He can do whatever he wants, trample on human rights at home; court radicals abroad including Hamas, Hizballah, and Iran; subvert U.S. interests, and still have Obama sit worshipfully at his feet.”

And to further prove that point that the Obama administration is ACTIVLY discouraging and opposing ANY small step Turkey wants to take regarding Syria:

US tells Turkey to back off  Syria

http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=378866

”In a previously unreported turn of events, it has now come to light that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her meeting with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu last month, emphatically dismissed a number of forward leaning options on Syria that the Turkish top diplomat proposed to the Obama administration.

What this means is that Washington, which at one point subcontracted its Syria policy to Ankara, has now called the Turks off the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

According to well-informed Turkish and US sources, during his meeting with Secretary Clinton, Davutoğlu put forward a set of measures, including, among others, creating a buffer zone and/or a humanitarian corridor, as well as organizing and equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The secretary of state responded in no uncertain terms that the Obama administration had no interest in pursuing any of these options. In fact, according to one account, Clinton told her Turkish counterpart no less than three times, “We are not there.”

This conversation fits well with the administration’s message to other regional allies, namely Saudi Arabia, against arming the FSA and pushing Washington’s preferred policy of going through the Russians, in an attempt to reach a “political solution” to the Syrian crisis.”

“Apparently, the Turks, much like the Saudis, were looking to the first Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis as a possible forum to bypass the Russians and begin a more muscular effort, with US backing. The Saudis found out at the meeting that no such action was forthcoming, and withdrew in frustration, while publicly voicing their preference for arming the Syrian rebels.

The Turks got their answer from Secretary Clinton well before the Tunis gathering, and, according to the Turkish sources, were dismayed at the Obama administration’s extraordinary passivity and refusal to lead.

The message conveyed to the Turks was the same one made clear to the Saudis. According to one US source, when Davutoğlu ended up asking Clinton where the administration was on the issue, her response simply repeated the mantra about the Arab League initiative and going to the Security Council again for another go at the Russians. In other words, it was more of the same.”

“As a result, the administration has found itself in the surreal position of siding closer with Assad’s Russian ally and at cross-purposes with its own regional allies – and, most significantly, in contradiction with its own stated policy of regime change in Syria.”

With “allies” like this who need enemies?

And finally some FSA comedy:

THE FREE SYRIAN ARMY COLLECTS DONATIONS FOR THE TURKISH ARMY – The FSA, who barely have enough weapons and supplies for themselves, conduct a charity drive for the Turkish Army.

Assad’s forces attacked a refugee camp in the town of Kilis on the Turkish side of the border and injured a couple of Turks in addition to wounding a dozen Syrians and killing two.

The Turkish Army has yet to respond to the attack, so the FSA conducted this donations drive for them.

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 5

19 april, 2012

The peace plan and ceasefire is working brilliantly wouldn’t you say?

“Al-Jazeera: Syria’s Tuesday death toll rises to 77, activists say “(April 18)

Yeap, that’s what I call a ceasefire.

And the as always “helpful” Russians:

Lavrov: Syrian armed opposition exercises provocative acts to foil Annan’s plan

http://www.sana.sy/eng/22/2012/04/18/413309.htm

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said that the Syrian armed opposition exercises provocative acts to bring back violence and foil Annan’s plan.”

“Lavrov added that Moscow calls to solve all issues in peaceful methods through dialogue without foreign interference in accordance to the international law and within respecting the countries’ sovereignty and independence.”

So according to the Russians it is the unarmed civilians that are provoking the SYSTEMATIC destruction of cities, block by block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood.

And remember the destruction is done by Russian weapons, sold by Russia, the Syrian crews and troops trained by Russia, with Russian advisers attached etc.: T-72s, 240mm mortar bomb system etc.

So that is what Lavrov means when he said “Moscow calls to solve all issues in peaceful methods through dialogue”.

This is the Russian version of “peaceful methods through dialogue”

And remember, as I said in my previous posts, one of the weapons used by the Syrian regime in Homs was the Russian 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bomb. The world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

This weapon system is notable for its capability to conduct a “plunging attack,” in which the munition is fired at a high angle and comes down nearly perpendicular to penetrate a building or fortification.

And Russians used a LOT of that “peaceful methods through dialogue” when the same weapon was used to destroy Grozny in 1994-96. And now they have passed on these “peaceful methods” to the Syrians

Remember also that Russia has blocked every attempt of a UN arms embargo. Just another helpful and friendly Russian way of “Moscow calls to solve all issues in peaceful methods through dialogue”.

And the French President Sarkozy has “discovered that Assad is lying and destroying Homs:

Sarkozy says Assad wants to “wipe Homs from the map”

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=387500

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday accused Syria‘s Bashar al-Assad of seeking to ”wipe Homs from the map,” comparing his campaign to the Libyan regime’s attacks on the city of Benghazi.

Bashar al-Assad is lying in a shameful way, he wants to wipe Homs from the map like [former Libyan strongman Moammar] Qaddafi wanted to wipe Benghazi from the map,” Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio station.

”The solution is the creation of humanitarian corridors so an opposition can exist inSyria,” he said.

The French president and other Western leaders had cited the Qaddafi regime’s attacks on Benghazi as reason for the international community to intervene in Libya.”

OK, so now you “got it”. And what exactly are you doing about it? More bombastic statements?

“Sarkozy also said that the isolation of Russia and China on Syria ”will not last” and that the two countries will eventually join the rest of the international community against Damascus.

”The Chinese and the Russians do not like being isolated,” he said.”

Well I wouldn’t bet on it. Russia and China will only change if the real costs are getting to high. And so far it is costing them nothing to protect and support Assad. On the contrary they feel that they have bolstered their position.

Some interesting stories from Syrian intelligence, police and army officers why they defected. Usually when they found out that the regime they where actively supporting had arrested, killed or destroyed houses of their relatives or family members.

Defectors Recount Tales of Conflict; ‘Blood on My Hands’ .

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304356604577337940580477550.html

“RAMTHA, JORDAN—Sitting among family in this Jordanian town on the Syrian border, an ex-army intelligence officer recounted how he worked against rebel forces by intimidating family members to prevent military defections.

Now he’s a defector.

At the start of the Syrian revolution a year ago, the 21-year-old said he sat in his barracks with colleagues and watched TV reports of widespread protests against the government that met with increasingly brutal crackdowns. One day, he said, the TVs were removed and his commanders told him and his colleagues they were fighting against terrorists aligned with the U.S. and Israel who were plotting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

The intelligence officer said he worked tirelessly to crush the uprising in western Homs for five months, finally being granted two days of leave in July. He returned to his home in southern Deraa but it was riddled with bullets. His brother had been arrested under the charge of ”protesting” and his cousin killed by bullets fired by Syrian troops while demonstrating, he and his family members said in interviews.

The officer then realized he hadn’t been fighting terrorists, but his own people, he said.

I have innocent blood on my hands,” he said, staring at the floor as his 3-year-old sister played beside him and his father and brother smoked cigarettes.”

“Here in Ramtha, a former lieutenant colonel recounted his swift—and short-lived—decision to desert the Syrian police and join rebel forces.

I fought until they locked up my father, interrogated my sisters and burned down my house,” said the former officer, while sitting on floor cushions with other refugees. ”Now that I’m no longer fighting and left Syria, the pressure on my family is less.”

“Elsewhere in Ramtha, a former soldier who escaped to Irbid, Jordan, near the Syrian border, said his brother defected from the Syrian air force in April only to be caught and arrested. When their father went to the prison to inquire about the brother, he too was locked up, the soldier said.

The rest of the family is too scared to ask after the father and son, worried they too will be jailed, the former soldier said.

”No country is providing us weapons, Saudi and Qatarsay they want to, but don’t,” said the former solider, 29 years old. ”If the West doesn’t help us or other Arab countries, we’ll go to Al Qaeda. We don’t want to accept them, but what can we do when our children are being killed?

“He said that what especially haunts him is the intelligence he provided to colleagues to arrest defectors’ female family members, a way to pressure the former soldiers to turn themselves in. He said he heard reports of rape perpetrated by his colleagues as another form of intimidation against family members, but hadn’t seen any firsthand.

I defected because of what I saw how they killed people, like my own cousin, and destroyed their houses,” he said. ”I decided I couldn’t do this.”

A normal sign on any road wouldn’t you say?

STOP. WATCH OUT FOR THE SNIPER

And here is former Syrian General Akil Hashem take on the Uprising in Syria:

(His background: Joined the Syrian Army in 1962 and were promoted in the Military ranks until Brigadier General. He served in the armoured military units to become the Head of Operations for the Armoured Brigade.

He fought in 1967 June War and the 1973 October War, were he was badly injured, for that he was granted medals for his bravery: He retired – upon his request – in 1989.)

Former Syrian General Akil Hashem on the Uprising in Syria

Without Intervention, No End in Sight

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/discussions/interviews/former-syrian-general-akil-hashem-on-the-uprising-in-syria?page=show

“For a military perspective, Foreign Affairs’ Jordan Hirsch spoke with former Syrian Brigadier General Akil Hashem about the overall state of the rebellion, the capabilities of the military and the opposition, and what it will take to oust Assad. Excerpts:

Over a year after the uprising in Syria began, what is the state of the revolution?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is rapidly escalating its military campaign and will continue killing no matter what. But at the same time, the revolution will continue no matter what. This stalemate will not end unless the international community intervenes militarily.

One of the main reasons given by Western powers for their reluctance to intervene in Syriais the power of Syria’s military and air defenses. As a former brigadier general, what is your assessment?

I cannot believe that the United States, Britain, and France, with all of their intelligence capabilities, do not realize that the Syrian military is weak, largely thanks to rampant corruption. It’s one thing to have equipment and weapons, but it’s another thing to have the leadership to deploy them. And the leadership of the Syrian military is particularly decrepit. It starts with junior officers who ask soldiers to buy them cigarettes and then refuse to pay them back and goes all the way up to division commanders who divert army matériel to build their castles, villas, and mansions, ordering soldiers to construct them without compensation.

What about matériel?

The Syrian military is relatively well equipped, but the weapons that it does have are severely outdated. The T-72 tank, the top-of-the-line tank in Syrianow, entered service in 1979. The air defense missiles, except for some new ones from Iran, were purchased in that era as well. The same goes for armed vehicles. So this notion that Syria has a sophisticated air defense system or army is ridiculous

“Where do you see the uprising heading over the next several months?

Assad cannot put down the rebellion. More than 10,000 people have been killed, but there are millions of Syrians participating directly or indirectly in the revolt, so the revolution will continue. That said, the rebels cannot win on their own. If the international community does not intervene, the conflict will persist indefinitely unless there is a military coup, an assassination of Assad or of top members of his regime, or a mass defection among the Alawite sect itself. The battle could continue like this for at least a year, if not longer. “

“What would it take for the West to intervene?

Western countries will only intervene if the Assad regime escalates its killing, or there is a massacre on the scale of Srebrenica. According to my sources, the regime actually regulates how many should be killed per day. At the beginning of the armed uprising, the number was about 50; after the assault on the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the number increased to 100. Assad knows that if he commits a large-scale massacre, he will trigger intervention. So if the numbers climb to 30,000 or 40,000 dead, or many thousands are killed at once, then you may see the international community act.Syria may also provoke its neighbors — similar to what happened last week, when Syrian troops fired across the border into a Turkish refugee camp.

If Assad were to fall, what would Syria look like?

There will be chaos. It will be like Iraq — a totalitarian regime that controlled everything suddenly collapsing, opening the door for all kinds of problems, even sectarian violence. But anything that comes after the regime would be a million times better than what we currently have. The doomsday scenarios of the Muslim Brotherhood or al Qaeda taking over Syria are ridiculous. Eventually, the opposition forces in the diaspora and within the country will find a way to unite to establish a free, democratic country.”

And the wifes of Britain’s U.N. envoy and Germany’s U.N. ambassador (Sheila Lyall Grant and Huberta von Voss-Wittig) have produce a video were they appeal to Assads wife Asma ‘Stop your husband’

“Stand up for peace, Asma. Speak out now. For the sake of your people. Stop your husband,” asks the video. “Stop being a bystander. No one cares about your image. We care about your action

“We strongly believe in Asma’s responsibility as a woman, as a wife and as a mother. As the vocal female Arab leader that she used to be, as a champion of female equality, she can not hide behind her husband,” Lyall Grant and Wittig said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Well good luck with that. But I wouldn’t count on anything.

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzUViTShIAo

China

I was going to write about Chinas help and support for the Assad regime but it became to long. So I just am going to make two quick points.

First, that China, together with Russia, has blocked ANY international intervention or condemnation of the Syrian regime. Through vetos in the UN Security Council, voted against sanctions, voted against condemnations of the Assads regimes human rights record in various international bodies etc.

And China doesn’t recognize ANY of sanctions by the UN, EU etc.

Second, that China helps Assad mostly through Iran.

China has helped Iran to sidestep the regular global financial system to create a huge clandestine money-transfer, commercial and currency exchange machine for getting around the US-led Western sanctions hurting Irans international trade.

They are assisting in the construction of this underground network as a pipeline through whichIran can continue to conduct its commercial business with the outside world. And to help Iran evade the financial isolation because of the sanctions regarding its nuclear weapons program.

China also profits enormously from these sanctions-busting measures. Two years ago, anticipating the blockage of its regular trade relations, Iran began transferring billions of dollars to Chinese banks, which as a rule do not enter into foreign currency transactions with foreign banks.

However, the sums were so vast and the profits so tempting that China was persuaded to make an exception to this rule. International financial circles estimate that Iran transferred sums in the $ 25-50 billion range to Chinese banks.

China undertook to make available the amounts need to buy essential goods that the embargo prevents Iran from acquiring directly.

Beijing does the shopping and draws on the Iranian deposits to pay for the purchases. The goods are delivered to China and transferred to Iran via Pakistan.

China is making a very tidy profit from its shopping service for Iran. China is charging Iran an extra four-percent to cover insurance dues and another four percent surcharge as a “risk fee,” over and above the expensive roundabout delivery route. Already, China may be clearing as much as a billion dollars a year from this service alone.

When Washington found out about these arrangements about a month ago, US officials turned to China to get them stopped. They ran into a blank wall; the Chinese refused to give up their hugely profitable service for Iran

And the Chinese use this system to also help Assad with ALL the things he needs to suppress the uprising.

And as I told you in my previous post that Assad is short of money to pay for all the costly fuel (via Lebanon) his troops need to suppress the uprising. Because the embargo on fuel sales to Syria puts Assad in the hands of these Lebanese merchants.

So he has offered Russia and China $30 billion worth of government bonds for a massive injection of funds to his government.

Anyone want to buy?

And here is a “funny one”:

China says considering sending observers to Syria

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=387513

“China said Thursday it was considering sending observers to monitor a Syrian ceasefire that came into force last week but is under threat as violence escalates.

”China is earnestly looking into whether to send observers to Syria or not,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin told reporters at a regular briefing.”

OK, lets see if I got it: first you send money, arms, specialist, training etc. to help Assad to suppress the uprising and killing unarmed civilians, And then you send “observers” to see and make sure that the help you sent Assad has the effect it was supposed to. Of course all in the name of “observing the peace plan”.

The future for this peace plan and ceasefire looks better and better wouldn’t you say?

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 4

17 april, 2012

“What will the monitors do?” Asked one banner. “Make sure that it’s real blood they are seeing and not Ketchup?”

The six unarmed U.N. military observers have arrived in Damascus. It started “well” as you would have expected:

In Syria, U.N. observers face tough task

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/un-observers-face-tough-task-in-syria/2012/04/15/gIQAlRWXJT_story.html

“The extent to which the monitors would be able to work independently was also called into question Sunday, as Syrian officials insisted that they take an active role in the work of the observers.

Government spokeswoman Bouthaina Shaaban told reporters Sunday that the government could not be responsible for the safety of the monitors unless it was involved in “all steps on the ground.” She added that Syria reserved the right to reject observers according to nationality. “

Ehhh, maybe I have misunderstood something here but that’s called discrimination and racism. In addition, it is wildly condemned and outlawed according to various UN charters. So the same UN that outlaws and forbid discrimination and racism is allowing the Syrians regime to pick and chose which colour and country the observers come from.

“But an activist outside the city of Hama said that demonstrators had been chanting against the presence of U.N. monitors.We don’t want more people to watch us be killed,” said Mousab Alhamadee via Skype, calling instead for practical help for the opposition, including arming rebel forces. “

We don’t want more people to watch us be killed,” I would say that that is a reasonably demand wouldn’t you?

And wasn’t there supposed to be a truce with the observers in place and all?

“Al-Arabiya: Syrian security forces killed 45 people Monday, activists say”

And the destruction and shelling of block after block, neigbourhood after neigbourhood continues as if nothing has happened from the Syrian regime.

One example of this “ceasfire” and destruction from the Syrian regime you can see here:

“Homs (Khalidiyeh): Apr 15, 2012 – Unbelievable level of destruction. Five (5) shells land in the span of 54 seconds on this small area alone.”

And in this video, also from Homs, you can litterally hear one shell a second.

“SO MANY SHELLS HIT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU CAN COUNT ONE EVERY SECOND Homs (Qarabis): Apr 15, 2012 – Assad’s forces are literally blanket-shelling the city of Homs. They are erasing the entire city and wiping off the map of Syria. There are no military targets in the city – only Syrian residents.

The world pats itself on its back for every shell that lands – after all, Assad ‘agreed’ to the so-called ‘ceasefire’ …. no response was thought of when he broke it … “

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XNxOB0U7i0&feature=player_embedded

And an Assad minister have built a “modest” palace:

“At a time when pro-Assad troops and death squads are busy pounding towns and villages all over the country, the country’s Minister of Economy (note: I had earlier said Interior, which was a mistake of course), a George Washington University Alumnus, Nedal Alchaar, was busy putting the final touches on his villa in Aleppo City. Work was “finally” done, to use his own words, and he posted pictures of the villa on his Facebook page earlier yesterday, before he removed it when people began chatting about it on the net. Too late. It’s this kind of impunity by Assad officials that paved the way to the revolution. It’s this kind of impunity that will continue to fuel it, until the whole regime is brought down.”

Ammar Abduhamid a liberal democracy activist

Russia, as always “helpful”, announced on Friday, April 13, “A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis.”

Russian Warships to Patrol Syrian Coast

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120413/172799962.html

Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, a high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday.

A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis,” the source said. The Russian Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy is currently deployed near the Syrian coast.

“Another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace the Smetlivy in May,” the source said, adding that several Russian warships were on their way to the Mediterranean.”

It is the first time that Russia officially has announced the permanent deployment of naval vessels in the eastern Mediterranean and off Syria. Thus extending a protective shield over Assad and his regime against outside military intervention.

IRAN

Like Russia, Iran’s strategic interest and massive support forSyria in all shapes and form goes way back, to the 1979 revolution in Iran.

For Iran, Syria plays a vital roll in it’s ambitions to control parts of the Middle East. And Syria is crucial for Iran’s support and control of Hezbollah and Lebanon.  And Hamas in Gaza.

Syria was the first Arab country to recognize the provisional government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan after the shah’s ouster. Syria also provided invaluable diplomatic and military support to Iran after Iraq’s 1980 invasion.

Both countries worked together against their mutual foe Saddam Hussein and Iraq, Syria was also a channel for arms shipments to Iran during the Iran-Iraq conflict.  Etc

The alliance was first formalized in March 1982 with a series of bilateral agreements on oil, trade and a secret pact on military cooperation.

They cooperated on everything from development of ballistic missiles. To arming, training and supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. To influence events in Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. Etc.

Both also provided significant aid to internal and foreign forces in Iraq, challenging the U.S. military and the new government in Baghdad.

Interestingly the balance of power in the Syrian-Iranian alliance has shifted since 1979. Syria was the dominant partner in the 1980-90s. Today Iran is the stronger partner and Assad depends on Iran (together with Russia) for his survival.

One example: From 1976 to 2005, Syria was the more dominant player in Lebanon due to its military presence. But its leverage weakened after Damascus was forced to pull out troops in 2005. Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian party and militia, has since become the most influential ally in Lebanese politics even if Syria still has a very strong influence there.

Another interesting aspect is that they cooperate very well even if they have very different ideological and political goals.

For example,Syria and Iraq were intense political rivals, and often came close to military blows, because they shared the same Baa’thist ideology. The political elites in Tehran and Damascus were never competing.

Iran has vied for leadership of the Islamist bloc in the Middle East and beyond, a role in which secular Syria has no interest. Syria has long sought to be ”the beating heart of Arabism,” a role in which Iran, a non-Arab country, has no interest. Except for a brief period of rival ambitions in Lebanon, the two countries have never been in competition — ideologically, economically, or militarily. Neither has tried to upstage the other.

But enough of background, lets go to present times.

As I said above, today Iran is the stronger partner and Assad TOTALLY depends on Iran (together with Russia and China) for his survival.

Iran has spent many billions on shoring up the survival of the Assad regime and the Syrian economy against the uprising. It has sent thousands of Iranian military, intelligence, cyber warfare and drone warfare personnel and civilian experts to fight on its behalf.

Iran thinks that by backing the “winning horse” in Damascus they have empowered their Russian partnership as well as the pro-Iranian bloc embracing Assad’s Syria, the Lebanese Hizballah and the Hamaz on the Gaza Strip.

Iran is de facto the banker of last resort for Assad. So far, every time Assad has asked the Iranians for more money he got it. Although Iran is enduring hard times itself.

It is estimated that Iran has sent more than two billion dollars into the Syrian treasury emptied by Western sanctions.

Iranian financial and banking agents also act for Syriain overseas transactions. Iran arranged for Syrian oil to reach buyers, putting to work the sanctions-busting measures it had developed to overcome the sanctions imposed on Iran itself by the US, Europe and Arab countries.

One example:

Iran helps Syria ship oil to China

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/30/us-china-iran-syria-idUSBRE82T0D420120330

Iran is helping its ally Syria defy Western sanctions by providing a vessel to ship Syrian oil to a state-run company in China, potentially giving the government of President Bashar al-Assad a financial boost worth an estimated $80 million.”

Another:

Iran covers the payroll for the military and security personnel and the government departments that’s keep the regime functioning – to the tune of more than half a billion dollars a month, according to estimates.

Assad’s biggest problem now is to keep the money flowing to buy fuel for the Syrian war machine. All the Russian tanks, self-propelled artillery, trucks etc. are constantly on the move from one rebel flashpoint to another, reinforcing units and ferrying troops, equipment and ammunition.

But the embargo on fuel sales to Syria puts Assad in the hands of Lebanese merchants. He has run out of funds to meet their exorbitant charges for petrol and diesel, without which his military crackdown would grind to a stop. So now, Russia and China have therefore been asked for the necessary funding since Iranis already paying for so much.

Assad has survived so far thanks to massive Russian and Iranian backing and cooperation.

Another example of this cooperation and High-level Iranian-Russian coordination:

As I wrote in my previous post:

“Russia knew exactly what Assad needed after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov had paid a visit to Damascus on February 7 and talked to Assad.

While the visit was billed as a Russian bid to persuade him to accept political reforms, “They were seeking to find ways for stabilisation in Syria through democratic reforms.” http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/337363_print.html, it actually focused on the ways and means in which Russia could help the Syrian ruler quickly stamp out the armed revolt against his rule.

Moreover, this move was coordinated with Iran. Iran and Russia have a division of labour so to say between themselves. They have divided who does what in a high-level coordination.”

Well guess what,

Iran’s al Qods Brigades commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani was there February 5-6 at the head of a large military-intelligence delegation. And when the Iranians left, the Russians arrived.

Their combined missions: to finalize Russian-Iranian-Syrian collaboration in Syria and the Middle East after the regime finally suppresses the revolt.

So while the Obama administration was working through Moscow to bring Iran to the negotiating table with the Six Powers on its nuclear program, Russian and Iranian clandestine agencies were busy working together in Syria to undercut US and Western positions.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei put two top officials in charge of the Save Assad mission and the cementing of Iranian-Syrian ties: Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi and Al-Qods Brigades’ commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The pair operated in close sync both with the Syrian leadership and their Russian colleagues, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov and Mikhail Margelov, the Kremlin’s ambassador-at-large in Arabia, whose formal title is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.

The Quds Force is normally Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) special department tasked with furthering the Islamic revolution outside of the country’s borders, and is also responsible for arming and training Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad – as well as supporting Iran-backed terror operations around the world.

As the Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi claimed with some justification on March 27 “Iran has the most powerful intelligence service in the region”

http://irna.ir/ENNewsShow.aspx?NID=80053141

The ‘men’ in the house are: Bashar Al Assad, Vladimir Putin, Ayatollah Khaemeni and Hassan Nasrallah.

Another area where Iran has really helped Assad is in controlling and suppressing civilian uprising in the cities and social media.

Iran sent Syria thousands of military, intelligence and security strategists and riot dispersal experts, surveillance equipment for guidance and training in cracking down on the uprising in the cities. Cyber warfare specialists to help the work of Syrian security and intelligence services. It has also shared techniques on Internet surveillance and disruption. Etc.

The Iranians become masters of this during the crackdown on the Green Revolution witch started June 13 2009. And they are now passing on this lessons to Assda’s regime.

(You can see some of the names of the killed and detained here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2009/jun/29/iran-election-dead-detained)

And by the way, Obama did nothing to support that uprising either. Except some platitudes of course.

On example:

It was the Iranians agents and special operations units that disabled the Western logistical intelligence network in beleaguered Homs and helped Syrian intelligence block Syrian rebel arms smuggling routes incoming fromIraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Etc.

Remember the killed journalist in Homs? A “successful” cooperation of Russian SIGINT satellite tracking and Iranian special forces on the ground.

They have been so successful that Assad has lifted restrictions on social networking web sties to lure dissents out into the open.

Iran reportedly aiding Syrian crackdown

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iran-reportedly-aiding-syrian-crackdown/2011/05/27/AGUJe0CH_story.html

Iranian-assisted computer surveillance is believed to have led to the arrests of hundreds of Syrians seized from their homes in recent weeks” (May 2011).

“In the account provided by the diplomat and the U.S. officials, the Iranian military trainers were being brought to Damascus to instruct Syrians in techniques Iran used against the nation’s “Green Movement’’ in 2009, the diplomat said. The Iranians were brutally effective in crushing those protests.

Officers from Iran’s notorious Quds Force have played a key role in Syria’s crackdown since at least mid-April (2011), said the U.S. and allied officials. They said U.S. sanctions imposed against the Quds Force in April were implicitly intended as a warning to Iran to halt the practice.”

“The Obama administration mentioned the role of the Quds Forces in announcing two sets of sanctions imposed against Syrian government officials in the past month. A White House executive order last week that targeted Assad and six other top government officials also included a little-noticed reference to Mohsen Chizari, an Iranian military officer who is the No. 3 leader in the Quds Force in charge of training.”

Imagine how EASY it is to track the opposition if they use Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc, In an INSTANT you have hundreds of names and contact details. YUM for any dictator.

And by the way, that “warning” one year ago from the Obama administration to Iran to halt it’s “practice” seems to have fallen on totally deaf ears.

Iran helping Assad to put down protests – officials

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/24/uk-iran-syria-crackdown-idUKBRE82M16H20120324

“Iranian security officials have also travelled to Damascus to advise Assad’s entourage how to counter dissent, the official said. Some Iranian officials have stayed on inSyriato advise Assad’s forces, he added.

A European official said that the Iranians were providing Syrian security agencies with hardware and software that would help them disrupt efforts to organize protests inside Syria and efforts by anti-government elements to spread their message to supporters outside the country.

Officials said that Syria had also obtained some surveillance technology from European suppliers.

The Treasury imposed U.S. economic sanctions on Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam and Ahmad-Reza Radan, chief and deputy chief of Iran’s national police force, because their agency had ”provided support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate and dispatched personnel to Damascus in April to assist the Syrian government in suppressing the Syrian people.”

The Treasury alleged that Radan had travelled to Damascus to meet with Syrian security agencies, to whom he allegedly provided ”expertise to aid in the Syrian government crackdown on the Syrian people.”

“WITHDRAWL OF THE CITIES FROM ARMY (HELD) AREAS” … Assad’s army has not withdrawn from all cities as agreed to in the UN brokered ‘Ceasefire’ plan. So, the people of Kafranbel have anther suggestion…

How Iran Keeps Assad in Power in Syria

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68230/geneive-abdo/how-iran-keeps-assad-in-power-in-syria

“The Iranian regime has also provided Assad with technology to monitor e-mail, cell phones, and social media. Iran developed these capabilities in the wake of the 2009 protests and spent millions of dollars establishing a ”cyber army” to track down dissidents online. Iran’s monitoring technology is believed to be among the most sophisticated in the world — second, perhaps, only to China. Shortly after Iran shared its know-how with Syria this summer, Assad lifted restrictions on social networking Web sties, presumably to lure dissents out into the open.

In addition to sharing weapons and surveillance tools credible reports from Syrian refugees indicate that Tehran sent its own forces to Syriato quash the protests. A number of revolutionary guards from the elite Quds Force are also reported to be there, presumably to train Syrian forces. On May 18, the U.S. Treasury Department mentioned the role of the Quds Force directly, asserting that Mohsen Chizari, the Quds Force’s third-in-command, was training the security services to fight against the protestors”

In really desperate situation for the Syrian regime the Iranians “come out of their shadows” and take directly part:

Syrian refugees say Iranian forces involved in crackdown

http://www.payvand.com/n ews/11/jun/1103.html

“Mostafa, an injured Syrian refugee, said: ”There were both plainclothes and uniformed Iranian soldiers. I saw them with my own eyes. We asked them not to attack us, but they didn’t speak Arabic.”

The 23-year-old man added that his attackers wore black shirts, which is uncommon in Syria, and wore beards. He added that the Syrian military is forbidden to wear beards.

A 17-year-old Syrian student named Akram reported: ”Most of these people are snipers. They do not speak Arabic and, most significantly, they carry weapons that are unfamiliar to us.”

Guardian correspondent Martin Chulov on Iranian soldiers inSyria

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MSalUBcGqs&feature=player_embedded

And Iran is also helping with surveillance drones:

Iran helping Assad to put down protests – officials

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/24/uk-iran-syria-crackdown-idUKBRE82M16H20120324

”Over the past year,Iran has provided security assistance to Damascus to help shore up Assad. Tehran during the last couple of months has been aiding the Syrian regime with lethal assistance – including rifles, ammunition, and other military equipment – to help it put down the opposition,” a U.S. official said.

”Iran has provided Damascus (with) monitoring tools to help the regime suppress the opposition. It has also shared techniques on Internet surveillance and disruption,” the official continued.

He added that Iran had also provided Assad’s government with ”unarmed drones that Damascus is using along with its own technology to monitor opposition forces.”

The more advanced drones Iran supply directly to Syria. But Syria’s military industry manufactures some less advanced Iranian drones. The drones are manufactured at Syria’s Scientific Research Center, where rockets and advanced missiles are also manufactured.

And then there is the Iran-Iraq-Syria and of course Lebanon axis.

As it is now  Iran has a massive leverage in Baghdad. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s is considered by the Saudis and the Gulf States to be just a Iranian agent or at least committed to a very pro-Iranian policy.

In 1979, al-Maliki fled Iraq after he was discovered to be a member of the outlawed Islamic Dawa Party. He left Iraq via Jordan and to Syria. He then left Syria for Iran in 1982, where he lived inTehran until 1990, before returning to Damascus where he remained until U.S. coalition forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam’s regime in 2003. While living inSyria, he worked as a political officer for Dawa, developing close ties with Hezbollah and particularly withIran, supporting that country’s effort to topple Saddam’s regime.

Why is this important? Well most of the massive Iranian aid and support for Assad goes via or over Iraq.

In February this year, Iran organized the biggest airlift with aid to Assad. The biggest Iran had ever organized and it was critical in helping Assad win out over the revolt.

As OC US Central Command Gen. James Mattis explained March 3 to the Senate Armed Services Committee: They (Iranians) are working earnestly to keep Assad in power. They have flown in experts. They are flying in weapons. It is a full-throated effort by Iran to keep Assad there and oppressing his own people.”

And this heavy airlift was made possible by Baghdad’s permission to fly over Iraq directly to Syria. Obama tried interceding with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to block the Iranian transport flights to Syria only to be turned down.

US concerned about Iranian flights over Iraq to Syria

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=376918

The United States said Friday it is concerned about Iranian cargo flights over Iraq to Syria, saying it has warned Iraq they might contain arms that could be used by Damascus to crush protests.

”Without getting into intelligence matters, we are concerned about the over flight of Iraq by Iranian cargo flights headed to Syria,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

We are consulting with Iraq about them and we are making the point that any export of arms or related materials from Iran, frankly, to any destination would be a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1747,” she said.

Nuland said the Iraqis were also being told ”that any arms sent to the Syrian regime at this time would obviously be used in the brutal repression that the regime is exacting on its own people.”

She added: ”So we are in consultation with Iraq… encouraging the government of Iraq to be absolutely sure about any cargo that is overflying its territory.”

Iraqi Premier Nuri al-Maliki insisted Friday that all items transported through Iraq to Syria were humanitarian goods, after a US newspaper reported Iran was moving weapons to Syria via Iraqi air space.”

Very strange “humanitarian goods” since it’s sole purpose is to kill people.

And Obama was turned down by Nouri al-Maliki and this exceptionally heavy airlift by the Iranian military was just “humanitarian goods”.

Yeap, that was a VERY good return for overthrowing Saddam and installing Nuri al-Maliki as premier in Iraq.

Was it worth ALL these allied lives??

Killed in Iraq

US    –   4486

UK     –    179

Other  –  139

And the ENORMOUS money you spent??

Total cost for US around $2 Trillion.

And by the way, Iran now ALSO have a permanent naval base in Latakia  inSyria.

On February. 25, an Iranian-Syrian naval cooperation accord was signed providing for Iranto build its first Mediterranean naval base at the Syrian port. The base will include a large Iranian Revolutionary Guards weapons depot stocked with hardware chosen by the IRGC subject to prior notification to Damascus. Latakia harbor will be deepened, widened and provided with new “coastal installations” to accommodate the large warships and submarines destined to use these facilities.

Quiet a coup for Iran. It has acquired its first military foothold on a Mediterranean shore and its first permanent military presence on Syrian soil. Tehran will be setting in place the logistical infrastructure for accommodating incoming Iranian troops to fight in a potential Middle East war.

Syrian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Ali Mohammad Habib said:” At a ceremony in honor of the Iranian Navy Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Habib said: ”Iranian warships’ presence in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time after 32 years is a great move that is going to cripple Israel.”

So for the first time in 32 years two Iranian warships were allowed to pass through the Suez Canal (the Egyptians have stopped them before), and they are now building a permanent naval base in the Mediterranean.

And the as always very helpful Russians have said that they are willing to contribute towards the Iranian port’s defenses and looking forward to cooperation between the Russian, Iranian and Syrian fleets in the eastern Mediterranean opposite the US Sixth Fleet’s regular beat.

I think I stop here.

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 3

14 april, 2012

I think this sums it up quiet well:

Nothing impresses anymore: killing entire families by smashing their skulls or slashing their throats, pounding residential neighborhood with tanks, missiles, choppers and heavy artillery, burning people alive, commanding snipers to target children… nothing! The world remains indifferent to our suffering. After all, it’s nothing people haven’t seen before. Just another dictator torturing and killing his people, so what! So what!”

Ammar Abdulhamid  a liberal democracy activist

And there are signs of ethnic cleansing:

“In the mountains along the coast, where Sunni, Alawite, Christian, Kurdish and Turkmen communities intermingle, pro-Assad militias have conducted a major raid against Sunni communities (namely the villages of Al-Kabaneh and ‘Akko) near the town of Slenfehin Al-Akrad Mountain. The ensuing clashes left at least 2 dead and drove hundreds away from their homes, as pro-Assad militias ransacked their homes. Another troubling report from the Coast comes from the city of Jablehwhere local activists say that walls have recently been constructed to separate Sunni and Alawite neighborhoods. The Sunnis represent a little less than 30% of the local population and seldom venture out of their neighborhoods at this stage, as they are often subject to harassment and arrests. Pro-Assad militias, made up mostly of Alawite inhabitants, periodically ransack and loot their shops”

The issue of ethnic cleansing in the coastal regions and surrounding mountains is something that requires careful monitoring, because, regardless of what people say about the viability or non-viability of an Alawite state, most pro-Assad militias seem to have adopted a philosophy that calls for cleansing their traditional strongholds of Sunnis, irrespective of whether the end product is the creation of an Alawite state or not. It’s a philosophy inspired in part by pure sectarian vindictiveness (preventative vindictiveness to be specific), and in another by a just-in-case mentality. In either case, it’s a dire foreteller of things to come.”

Russia

The Russian strategic interest and massive support in all shapes and form goes way back to the1950s and Soviet times.

Most of the Syrian political and military “structures” where modelled after the Soviet ideas and structures and Soviet methods. Done to the smallest lever and minute detail.

The command structure, which used to be modelled on that of France, was restructured after that of the Soviet Union. Some uniforms, such as the army combat clothing, have been changed to resemble Soviet prototypes. Etc.

Virtually all Syrians sent abroad for military training went to the Soviet Bloc and all foreign instructors have come from there. A Soviet style ”political department” was introduced to assure ideological homogeneity among the soldiers and officers. The Syrian military introduced a fourth service, the Air-Defence Command, patterned on the Soviet Troops of Air Defence. Etc.

And Soviet personnel have taken over military operations within Syria in emergencies. During the 1973 war with Israel, the headquarter staffs of a Soviet airborne division was flown to Damascus to prepare for the defence of that city.

Soviet pilots flew combat missions in Syrian airplanes and operated a reconnaissance squadron of MiG-25s in the 1970s with their own soviet ground crews. Etc.

The Syrians acquire over 95 percent of their weapons, some of them extremely advanced, from the Soviet Union. A practice that goes on still to day with Russia.

In the mid 1980s, Syria has contracted for $19 billion in Soviet military hardware.

For example, Syria had the most sophisticated and densest Soviet-supplied air defence system outside the Soviet Union.

This air-defence network in Syria was (and is) linked electronically to stations in the Soviet Union/Russia. And to Soviet/Russian ships in the Mediterranean. Making Syria an integral part of the Soviet/Russian security apparatus. The Soviets had ”hands on” control of air activity based in Syria: according to U.S. intelligence. All of the radar data, missile readiness status, interceptor aircraft conditions-such as fuel and armaments-and other battle information that is fed into central command posts in Syria will also be displayed for Soviet/Russian generals in the Soviet Union/Russia via space relayed transmissions.

And at all times, there was a huge number of Soviet/Russian troops, advisors, technicians etc, more than in any other Third Worldcountry.

Not to forget the Soviet/Russian bases in Syria. Soviet submarines operating in the Mediterraneanwhere based primarily at Tartus and their naval airplanes have access to the Tiyas field etc

Syrian leaders consistently and closely identified with Soviet goals. For example, Syria was one of very few states freely choosing to vote at the UN in favour of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. And it agreed with the Soviet Union on every issue in the UN etc.

Damascus supported all the causes of the Soviet bloc and in return, Syria’s received support from the whole Soviet bloc. Just one example, when Syria needed military help in 1973 and 1974, Cuba provided tank operators, MiG- and helicopter pilots.

Another example, the 1980 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, created a ”strategic alliance between the two great forces of socialism and national liberation.” So the Syrian-Soviet ties were VERY CLOSE.

And the Soviet Union and now Russia built up and trained, and supervised, the Syrian intelligence and internal protection forces.

One example:  In mid-1980, at the peak of a revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood, 500 KGB advisors were training Syrian intelligence officers at an army base south of Damascus. Other Syrians went to the Soviet Union for similar training. A few days after the rebellion in Hama erupted in 1982, the chief of Syrian internal security, ‘Ali Duba, requested help from the Soviets. Twelve Soviet officers, experts in street fighting, went to Hama, where three of them were killed.

Somewhere between 20 000 to 40 000 civilians, from the youngest child to the oldest person – no “discrimination” in killing here, were slaughtered in Hama in February 1982. The Syrian army, under the orders of the president, Hafez al-Assad, conducted a scorched earth operation against the town of Hama in order to quell a revolt by the Sunni Muslim community against the regime of al-Assad. The Hama massacre was carried out by the Syrian Army under General Rifaat al-Assad, president Assad’s younger brother.

So to recapitulate:Soviet Union trained, “advised” and took part with the troops that slaughtered the civilians in Hama. Besides supplying the weapons used.

There was another massacre in Hama in April 1981. The Syrian, Alawite dominated, army massacred about 400 of the Sunni Hama’s inhabitants, chosen randomly among the male population over the age of 14.

As you can see, it is really a “family affair” and a tradition of the Assad’s. And the “business model” seems to be slaughter of civilians.

But enough of background, lets go to present times.

As we have already established, first theSoviet Union, and nowRussia, have a long history of massive support and protection of the Assad’s and the Syrian regime.

So let’s start with the arms.

Russian arms STILL accounts for around 95 % of Syrian weapons imports

According to the latest “official” figures just released by SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute):

http://www.sipri.org/media/pressreleases/rise-in-international-arms-transfers-is-driven-by-asian-demand-says-sipri

Russia supplied 78 per cent of Syria’s imports in 2007–11. During 2011 Russia continued deliveries of Buk-M2E SAM systems and Bastion-P coastal defence missile systems to Syria, as well as securing an order for 36 Yak-130 trainer / combat aircraft. These deliveries contributed to a 580 per cent increase in the volume of Syrian arms imports between 2002–2006 and 2007–11.”

Nearly $1bn worth of Russian missiles and aircraft upgrades were reportedly sold to Syria in 2011, while shipments of smaller weapons have been harder to trace.

The second biggest supplier in 2007-2011 was Belarus, which supplied 17% of the total.

Remember that the Belarus weapons in reality are Russian weapons.

The third one was Iran with 5% of imported weapons to Syria. Some of these weapons are also Russian.

And remember, as I said in my previous posts, one of the weapons used by the Syrian regime in Homs was the Russian 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bomb. The world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

This weapon system is notable for its capability to conduct a “plunging attack,” in which the munition is fired at a high angle and comes down nearly perpendicular to penetrate a building or fortification.

This is the same weapon that Russia used to destroy Grozny in 1994-96. And now they have passed on these “skills” to the Syrians.

Remember also that Russia has blocked every attempt of a UN arms embargo.

“In addition, SIPRI experts point out that the main importer of weapons to SyriaRussia – ignores the UN proposal to impose an embargo on arms supplies to Syria and plans further deliveries, including 24 combat aircraft MiG-29M2 and 36 Yak-130.”

Virtually all of Moscow’s arms sales are processed by the state-owned corporation Rosoboronexport, the Russian treasury have much to gain from a spike in Syrian arms deals.

Here is an example of the length Russia will go to break the arms embargo:

Russia boosts arms sales to Syria despite world pressure

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/21/us-syria-russia-arms-idUSTRE81K13420120221

In January, the Russian ship Chariot, loaded with arms and ammunition, was halted during a refuelling stop in Limassol, Cyprus. It gave reassurances it was not travelling to Syria. However, after being released, the ship dropped off the tracking systems and radar and sailed quietly to the Syrian port of Tartus.

To avoid attracting the attention of world powers increasingly frustrated byRussia and China’s refusal to back U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at ending violence,

“But rebel soldiers and an official who defected from the government say Moscow’s small arms trade with Damascusis booming, and the government doubled its military budget in 2011 to pay for the crackdown on the opposition.

I would say that on average the funds (for Defence Ministry expenditure) were doubled for 2011,” said Mahmoud Suleiman Haj Hamad, the former chief auditor for Syria‘s Defence Ministry who defected in January.

He said by telephone from Cairo that Russian arms accounted for 50 percent of all deals before Assad’s crackdown on the protesters. China and North Korea provided 30 percent, and Iran and other suppliers 20 percent, he said.

The government had boosted its defence budget and arms imports by cutting funds to other ministries in areas such as education and health by as much as 30 percent, he said.

Before the uprising, Russia was trading weapons with Syria in a more limited manner. More recently … Russia began giving more weapons to Syria,” he said.

”To my knowledge, Russia was shipping monthly,” he said, referring to deliveries prior to his defection last month.

Thomson Reuters shipping data shows at least four cargo ships since December that left the Black Sea port of Oktyabrsk – used by Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport for arms shipments – have headed for or reached the Syrianport of Tartous.

Separately was the Chariot, a Russian ship which docked at the Cypriot port of Limassol during stormy weather in mid-January. It promised to change its destination in accordance with a European Union ban on weapons to Syria but, hours after leaving Limassol, reset its course for Syria.

A Cypriot source said it was carrying a load of ammunition and a European security source said the ship was hauling ammunition and sniper rifles of the kind used increasingly by Syrian government forces against protesters.

The source also said Russian manufacturers had increased production to meet the demand from Syria. The ship’s owner Westberg said that the ship was carrying a ”dangerous cargo.”

Syria hosts a Russian naval facility on its Mediterranean coast, a rare outpost abroad forMoscow’s military. Damascus has also been a loyal Russian arms customer since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, when it used Soviet-made weapons against Israelwhich was largely supplied by theUnited States.

Numerous Russian weapons advisers work in Syria and Rosoboronexport has an office with a staff of about 20 in the country, a source close to the company said.

CAST, a Moscow-based defence think tank, says Russia sent Syria at least $960 million worth of heavy arms – which included several missile systems – in 2011 and has some $4 billion in outstanding contracts.

Hamad, the former military auditor, said many sales of Russian small arms are carried out through traders. It was not clear if they had the Kremlin’s blessing to trade the weapons.

Soviet arms are also sold by other states that have stockpiles of Soviet-era weapons that can be confused with arms coming from Russia.

”I know that Syria is paying for some of the weapons through traders and middlemen, not through contracts between states,” said Hamad.

But shipments of Russian arms to Syria have become so frequent that rebel soldiers try to track the deliveries from Syria’s ports to military bases in the interior.

A former army lieutenant who defected in August and gave his name only as Omar explained how he and dozens of other fighters use a network of port workers to find out when shipments of arms arrive and where they are going, sometimes ambushing convoys.

Every few weeks, trucks move weapons from the coast to bases in the interior,” he said. ”Almost all of them are Russian.

Another example from December 2011:

“Expanded Russian military and diplomatic support for the Assad regime was underscored by the deployment Friday, Dec. 16 (2011), of advanced Moscow-supplied Yakhont (SSN-26) shore-to-sea missiles along Syria‘s Mediterranean shore to fend off a potential Western-Turkish invasion by sea. Last week, Russia airlifted to Syria 3 million face masks against chemical and biological weapons and the Admiral Kutznetsov carrier and strike group was sent on its way to Syria‘s Mediterranean port of Tartus.

Russian naval sources in Moscow stressed that the flotilla is armed with the most advanced weapons against submarines and aerial attack. Upon arrival, the Russian craft will launch a major marine-air maneuver in which Syrian units will take part.

Syria has received from Russia 72 Yakhont missiles able to hit marine targets up to a distance of 300 kilometers – i.e., over the horizon, our military sources report. The missile’s radar remains inert, making it hard to detect, until it is close to target. It is then switched on to guide its aim.

Its high speed – 2,000 kmh – enables the Yakhont to strike before its target has time to activate self-defense systems.

Thursday night, in response to the deployment of 21 Syrian Scuds on the Turkish border, including five with chemical warheads, Ankara convened its top military council and declared its armed forces ready for war. Syria also rushed armored reinforcements to the Jordanian border.”

Another:

The 50 Pantsyr-S1 interceptor batteries, now the backbone of Syrian air and missile defenses, which Moscow sold Syria.  And that Russian military crews have since mid-January taken over their operation from Syrian personnel.

Another:

The only Russian naval base in the Middle East is Tartus, a deep-water military port in Syria. And Moscow has been restoring and upgrading that base since 2008. It also has permanently stationed ships and troops there.

And do the Russian have any intention of stopping the accelerated arms export to Syria? On the contrary, they boldly states that they will continue:

The Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed in a speech to Russia’s lower house of parliament in the beginning of March, with a straight face, that Russian weapons sent to Syria were for “external threats” and have not been used against civilians or peaceful demonstrators.

And on March 14, Russia‘s Deputy Defence Minister insisted his government would not halt weapons sales to Damascus. Despite the US and Europe imposing arms embargoes, Anatoly Antonov insisted that Russia’s deals with Syria were ”perfectly legitimate” and would continue.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-were-happy-to-sell-arms-to-assad-7565725.htm

Russia enjoys good and strong military technical co-operation with Syria, and we see no reason today to reconsider it. Russian-Syrian military co-operation is perfectly legitimate,” said Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov. “It’s part of our contractual obligations. When we supply weapons, we have to provide training

Despite this growing evidence that the arms it sells the regime are being used against civilians, Russia remains defiant. ”Russia enjoys good and strong military technical co-operation with Syria, and we see no reason today to reconsider it,” Mr Antonov said yesterday. ”Russian-Syrian military co-operation is perfectly legitimate,” he added. Mr Antonov admitted that Russia has military instructors on the ground in Syria training the Syrian army.

”It’s part of our contractual obligations,” said the minister. ”When we supply weapons, we have to provide training.” He denied thatRussia had sent special forces to assist in military planning.”

And are the Russian government upset with, or in any shape or form protesting the Syrian regimes mass slaughter of unarmed civilians?

Remember that in 1982 they ACTIVELY took part in the slaughter in Hama

On the contrary, they vigorously deny it and defend the Syrian regime.

One small example by Russian Embassy inWashington:

Russia makes its Syria case on Capitol Hill

(http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/03/russian_makes_its_syria_case_on_capitol_hill

“That the U.S.and most Western nations are at odds with Russian policy should not come as a surprise. Nevertheless, the manner in which Moscow is shamelessly pushing its case demonstrates the seriousness with which they view the Syrian issue. Take, for instance, the Capitol Hill briefing on Tuesday afternoon held by the Russian embassy and hosted by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). Led by embassy officials Anton Vushkarnik and Sergey Kuznetsov, they refused to even acknowledge that Bashar al-Assad was killing his own people. They brazenly defended their ongoing sale of arms to the Assad regime by citing that there was no international law that prevents such sales — even though it was Russia and China that vetoed the very UN Security Council resolution that would have put the ban in place.

The Russian embassy officials refused to acknowledge basic facts about the burgeoning conflict in Syria, including that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues to kill his own people. The Russia officials also claimed that an equal number of Syrian civilians have died at the hands of the Syrian opposition.

The Russian officials also defended their country’s ongoing arms sales to the Syrian regime, pointing out that there is no international law preventing such sales. (Of course, it was Russia along with China that vetoed the U.N. Security Council resolution that would have instituted such an arms embargo.) “

Another:

UN rights council orders extension of Syria probe

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=379320

”The UN Human Rights Council ordered Friday an extension of a probe into violations inSyria, asking investigators to map out abuses since a deadly crackdown on protests in the country erupted a year ago.

The resolution was passed by the 47-member state council with 41 votes in favor, two abstentions and three — Russia, China and Cuba — against.”

And this glaring example of the deceitful Russian hypocritical attitude when in a statement on March 22, the Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “deep concern” over human rights violations committed by armed groups affiliated with the Syrian opposition. Extensively citing an open letter on this issue published by Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch also learned that Russian diplomats used the open letter in informal Security Council discussions on March 22 in an attempt to equate the violence by both sides.

Human Rights Watch issued the following statement on March 23, 2012, concerning the Russian Foreign Ministry’s use of a Human Rights Watch statement to support a one-sided position onSyria:

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/23/russia-selective-use-syria-findings

“Since the beginning of the protests in Syria, Human Rights Watch has produced over 60 publications, including three extensive reports, on human rights violations by Syrian government forces. These publications contain detailed documentation of widespread and systematic abuses, including killings of peaceful protesters, shelling of residential neighborhoods, large-scale arbitrary detention and torture, “disappearances,” executions, denial of medical assistance, and looting.

Human Rights Watch concluded that that some of these violations constitute crimes against humanity and repeatedly called for an end to abuses and accountability for the perpetrators. Human Rights Watch presented the findings directly to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urgingRussia to use its strong bilateral relations with the Syrian government as well as its weight in the international arena to put an end to government abuses.

None of these findings have been ever acknowledged by Russian officials.

Instead, despite overwhelming evidence of egregious crimes committed by the Syrian security forces, Russia provides diplomatic and military support to Bashar al-Assad’s government and has repeatedly blocked international action aimed at stopping the violations and bringing those responsible for these crimes to justice.

Russia should not pick and choose. If it relies on Human Rights Watch’s findings to support its condemnation of abuses by the Syrian opposition, it should pay equal attention to the extensive documentation of violations by government forces and support international efforts to stop those violations.”

Russian anti-personal PMN-2  mines planted by Syria on the border with Turkey

And there is the Russian help to bypass all embargos and sanctions. Since the outbreak of the Syrian protests last March, Russia has undermined every possibility of external intervention. The fact that Russia is continuing to arm and assist the Assad regime makes Russia complicit in the growing list of Syrian government atrocities.

Russia, like China, does not recognize the legitimacy of the oil embargo or the financial sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe.

Western financial sources suspect a number of local Russian banks which have no business dealings with the American banking system may be handling transactions between Syrian, Iranian and Far Eastern banking institutions

Not to mention the veto’s in the UN security council. And the Russians work very had to ensure that there is NO hard conditions put on the Syrian regime.

Russia rejects deadline for Annan’s Syria peace plan

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=382719

Russia on Monday rejected Arab and Western calls for a deadline to be set for the Syrian regime’s implementation of a peace plan put forward by international mediator Kofi Annan.

”Ultimatums and artificial deadlines rarely help matters,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said while on a visit to the former Soviet nation of Armenia.

Lavrov added that only the UN Security Council, where Russia wields veto power, could put any time restrictions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s compliance with the six-point initiative.

”Annan has a Security Council mandate and it is up to the UN Security Council to decide who is complying with this plan and how,” he said.

The so-called ”Friends of Syria” meeting of Arab and Western nations in Istanbulagreed this weekend to ask the UN to give Assad a deadline to cooperate with Annan’s solution to the year-long conflict.

The plan itself demands that Assad pull out his forces from major flashpoint cities and introduce a daily two-hour ceasefire that could let aid workers deliver supplies and treat the thousands of injured civilians.

But it puts forward no time frame in which Assad has to comply.

Lavrov said the peace plan would not work unless rebel forces also agreed to halt fire.

”The demands should be put to all sides of the barricades,” Lavrov said.”

Another point of this cooperation:

Russia knew exactly what Assad needed after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov had paid a visit to Damascus on February 7 and talked to Assad.

While the visit was billed as a Russian bid to persuade him to accept political reforms, “They were seeking to find ways for stabilisation in Syria through democratic reforms.” http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/337363_print.html, it actually focused on the ways and means in which Russia could help the Syrian ruler quickly stamp out the armed revolt against his rule.

Moreover, this move was coordinated with Iran. Iran and Russia have a division of labour so to say between themselves. They have divided who does what in a high-level coordination..

And in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin is claiming as his personal victory the policy of holding the line against American and Western intervention in the Syrian uprising and their attempts to make Assad’s overthrow part of the Arab Spring against autocratic rulers. It was his idea to threaten to deploy Russian troops to Syria to stand in for local units transferred from their regular duties to suppressing dissidence.

And there is the intelligence cooperation and assistance.

One example:

In November two Russian (SIGINT) spy satellites monitoring military movements in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Israel and Syria began feeding Syrian president Assad‘s strategists precise intelligence on FSA units in Turkey and rebel concentrations within Syrian cities (military sources report).

This new resource enabled the special syrian forces stationed along the Syria-Turkey border to ambush the deserters moving back and forth, capturing some and liquidating many.

Since Assad gained access to reliable Russian intelligence, he no longer seeks to capture deserters for information and has ordered his troops to shoot them on sight where they stand.

These capabilities was also used to track, destroy an kill the  western journalist (Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik) in the makeshift “press centre” in Baba Amr (Homs).

The Russians have a long and expert practice of this, which they showed in Chechnya.

On April 21, 1996, Chechnya’s breakaway president, Dzhokhar Dudayev, was speaking on a satellite phone with Russian envoy Konstantin Borovoi about setting peace talks with Yeltsin. During the phone call, he was killed by a signal-guided missile fired from a Russian jet fighter. The warplane had received Dudayev’s coordinates from a Russian ELINT (electronic intelligence) plane that had picked up and locked on to the signal emitted by the satellite phone. It was Russian deception and brutality at its finest.

Another:

The Russians have a electronic and surveillance station at Jabal Al Harrah south of Damascus, They have now upgraded and expanded this complex with advanced technology and manpower. Today, its range extends to all parts of Israel and Jordan, the Gulf of Aqaba and northern Saudi Arabia

One reason behind the expansion was to add resources especially tailored to give Tehran early warning of an oncoming US or Israeli attack. Partly as a response to a complaint from Tehran that it could not longer count on Russiafor a real-time alert on an incoming US or Israeli military strike, because those resources were stretched to the limit in support of the Assad regime.

The Russians have also upgraded the Russian-equipped Syrian radar stationed on Lebanon’s Mount Sannine and connecting it to the Jabal Al Harrah facility in Syria. Russia is now able to track US and Israeli naval and aerial movements in the Eastern Mediterranean, up to and including Cyprus and Greece.

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kutznetsov’s stay at the Syrian port of  Tartus through most of January and up to mid-February had the special mission of keeping an eye out for any Israeli preparations for attacking Iran, Syriaor Hizballah. It filled the gap left by the Russian station south of Damascus which was fully occupied with feeding data on Syrian opposition movements to Bashar Assad and watching out for signs of foreign intervention, military or covert, against his regime.

The Russian vessel meanwhile followed increased traffic of US drone over Syria keeping track of the Syrian arsenal of missiles with chemical, biological and nerve gas warheads.

Moscow ordered the Admiral Kutznetsov to depart Tartus on Feb. 13 and sail to home port at Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula. The Russian stations in Syria and Lebanon were by then ready for their expanded missions.

Also the Russians have permanently stationed a Russian naval reconnaissance and surveillance ship in their naval base in Tartus.

I think I stop there. You get the picture.

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 2

12 april, 2012

April 10 was the latest day that Assad was supposed to stop all attacks and withdraw troops from the cities, according to the “peace” plan. Well, we already know that he did, as usual, the exact opposite. Also “as usual” following his previous pattern of seemingly agreeing to a “plan” or “accord” but with NO intention of ever following it. Instead, he is using these plans to buy time and at the same time crush all opposition.  .

Because he knows, he can get away with it. And the world let him do that as I said before again and again.

Especially the “brilliant minds” behind all these “peace” plans including the latest one, which put NO TIME FRAME OR DEADLINE in which Assad has to comply.

That’s REALLY a brilliant idea wouldn’t you say?

REPORTS

Here are some (and there is many out there), of the more important reports about the human rights situation in Syria:

Press release:

Syria: Extrajudicial Executions

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/09/syria-extrajudicial-executions

“In a desperate attempt to crush the uprising, Syrian forces have executed people in cold blood, civilians and opposition fighters alike,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “They are doing it in broad daylight and in front of witnesses, evidently not concerned about any accountability for their crimes.”

Syrian security forces will stop the executions only if they sense that accountability is inevitable,” Solvang said. “It is up to the Security Council to send this message.”

Report here:

In Cold Blood: Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Government Militias

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria0412webwcover.pdf

The 25-page report, “In Cold Blood: Summary Executions by Syrian Security Forces and Pro-Government Militias,” documents more than a dozen incidents involving at least 101 victims since late 2011, many of them in March 2012

Press release:

Syria: ‘Shoot to Kill’ Commanders Named

Security Council Should Refer Syria to ICC for Crimes Against Humanity

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/15/syria-shoot-kill-commanders-named

“Former Syrian soldiers identified by name 74 commanders and officials responsible for attacks on unarmed protesters, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report names commanders and officials from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies who allegedly ordered, authorized, or condoned widespread killings, torture, and unlawful arrests during the 2011 anti-government protests. Human Rights Watch has urged the Security Council to refer the situation inSyriato the International Criminal Court (ICC) and impose sanctions against the officials implicated in abuses.

The defectors’ statements leave no doubt that the Syrian security forces committed widespread and systematic abuses, including killings, arbitrary detention, and torture, as part of a state policy targeting the civilian population, Human Rights Watch said. These abuses constitute crimes against humanity.

About half the defectors Human Rights Watch interviewed said the commanders of their units or other officers also gave them direct orders to open fire at protesters or bystanders, and reassured them that they would not be held accountable. In some cases, officers themselves participated in the killings.”

“Amjad,” who was deployed to Daraa with the 35th Special Forces Regiment, said that he received direct verbal orders from his commander to open fire at the protestors on April 25:”

“Three defectors described to Human Rights Watch incidents of summary executions and deaths from torture, involving 19 victims. Lieutenant-Colonel “Ghassan,” who served in the Presidential Guard, said that around August 7, he witnessed a summary execution of a detainee at a checkpoint in Douma:”

Report here:

By All Means Necessary!”

Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria1211webwcover_0.pdf

The 88-page report, “‘By All Means Necessary!’: Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria,” is based on more than 60 interviews with defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies. The defectors provided detailed information about their units’ participation in attacks, abuses against Syrian citizens, and the orders they received from commanders and officials at various levels, who are named in the report.

Press release:

Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Homs

Arab League Should Suspend Syria

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/11/11/syria-crimes-against-humanity-homs

“The systematic nature of abuses against civilians in Homs by Syrian government forces, including torture and unlawful killings, indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch urged the Arab League, meeting inCairo onNovember 12, 2011, to suspendSyria’s membership in the League and to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo and sanctions against individuals responsible for the violations, and referSyria to the International Criminal Court.

As in much of the rest of Syria, security forces in Homs governorate subjected thousands of people to arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and systematic torture in detention. While most were released after several weeks in detention, several hundred remain missing. Most detainees were young men in their 20s or 30s, but security forces also detained children, women, and elderly people. Several witnesses reported that their parents or even grandparents – people in their 60s and 70s – had been detained.”

Report here:

“We Live as in War

Crackdown on Protesters in the Governorate of Homs,Syria

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria1111webwcover_0.pdf

The 63-page report, “‘We Live as in War’: Crackdown on Protesters in the Governorate of Homs,” is based on more than 110 interviews with victims and witnesses from Homs, both the city and the surrounding governorate of the same name. The area has emerged as a center of opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The report focuses on violations by Syrian security forces from mid-April to the end of August, during which time security forces killed at least 587 civilians, the highest number of casualties for any single governorate.

Press release:

Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Daraa

Killings, Torture in a Locked-Down City Under Siege

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/06/01/syria-crimes-against-humanity-daraa

“Systematic killings and torture by Syrian security forces in the city ofDaraasince protests began there onMarch 18, 2011, strongly suggest that these qualify as crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

”For more than two months now, Syrian security forces have been killing and torturing their own people with complete impunity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. ”They need to stop – and if they don’t, it is the Security Council’s responsibility to make sure that the people responsible face justice.”

“Witnesses from Daraa interviewed by Human Rights Watch provided consistent accounts of security forces using lethal force against protesters and bystanders, in most cases without advance warning or any effort to disperse the protesters by nonviolent means. Members of various branches of the mukhabarat (security services) and numerous snipers positioned on rooftops deliberately targeted the protesters, and many of the victims had lethal head, neck, and chest wounds. Human Rights Watch documented a number of cases in which security forces participating in the operations against protesters in Daraa and other cities had received ”shoot-to-kill” orders from their commanders. “

Syrian authorities also routinely denied wounded protesters access to medical assistance by preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded, and on several occasions opening fire on medical personnel or rescuers who tried to carry the wounded away. Security forces took control of most of the hospitals in Daraa and detained the wounded who were brought in. As a result, many wounded people avoided the hospitals and were treated in makeshift hospitals with limited facilities. In at least two cases documented by Human Rights Watch, people died because they were denied needed medical care.”

Syrian authorities also imposed an information blockade on Daraa. They prevented any independent observers from entering the town, and shut down all means of communication. Security forces searched for and confiscated cellphones that contained footage of events in Daraa, and arrested and tortured those whom they suspected of trying to get images or other information out, including some foreign nationals. In some areas, electricity and communications remain cut off. “

Report here:

We’ve Never Seen Such Horror

Crimes against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria0611webwcover.pdf

This 54-page report is based on more than 50 interviews with victims and witnesses to abuses. The report focuses on violations in Daraa governorate, where some of the worst violence took place after protests seeking greater freedoms began in various parts of the country. The specifics went largely unreported due to the information blockade imposed by the Syrian authorities. Victims and witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described systematic killings, beatings, torture using electroshock devices, and detention of people seeking medical care.

Syria: Local Residents Used as Human Shields

Reports of Residents Forced to March in Front of Soldiers in Idlib

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/25/syria-local-residents-used-human-shields

“Witnesses from the towns of al-Janoudyah, Kafr Nabl, Kafr Rouma, and Ayn Larouz in the Idlib governorate in northern Syria told Human Rights Watch that they saw the army and pro-government armed men, referred to locally as shabeeha, force people to march in front of the advancing army during the March 2012 offensive to retake control of areas that had fallen into the hands of the opposition. From the circumstances of these incidents, it was clear to the witnesses that the purpose of this was to protect the army from attack.”

By using civilians as human shields, the Syrian army is showing blatant disregard for their safety,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Syrian army should immediately stop this abhorrent practice.”

“The Syrian army’s use of human shields is yet another reason why the UN Security Council should refer Syria to the International Criminal Court” Solvang said. “Somebody should be made to answer for these violations.”

Syria: Government Uses Homs Tactics on Border Town

Indiscriminate Shelling, Sniper Killings, Attacks on Fleeing Residents

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/22/syria-government-uses-homs-tactics-border-town

Syrian security forces are committing serious abuses in their military campaign on al-Qusayr, a city of approximately 40,000 in Homs governorate near the Lebanese border. Witnesses describe heavy shelling of residential neighborhoods, snipers shooting residents on the streets, and attacks on fleeing residents. Humanitarian conditions are dire, including food and water shortages, communications blackouts, and virtually non-existent medical assistance.”

“Following their bloody siege of Homs, the Assad forces are applying their same brutal methods in al-Qusayr,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle Eastdirector at Human Rights Watch. “Having seen the devastation inflicted on Homs, the Russian government should stop arms sales to the Syrian government or risk becoming further implicated in human rights violations.”

‘Friends of Syria’: Push to End Indiscriminate Shelling

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/24/friends-syria-push-end-indiscriminate-shelling

“Local sources have reported that approximately 700 civilians have been killed and thousands wounded in Homs since the Syrian military began its current assault on the city onFebruary 3, 2012.

Video footage from Homsreviewed by Human Rights Watch indicates that the army has used Russian-made 240mm mortar systems against Homs. These systems fire the world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb, designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue.

This Russian-made munition shown in the video is the largest mortar bomb known to be in production and use. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

The indiscriminate attacks on populated areas with heavy-duty weapons in Homs and other cities demonstrate the price of blocking an international consensus to end the horrific human rights violations in Syria,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Russia and China have a particular responsibility to put pressure on Syria, given that they vetoed Security Council consensus, and Syria has so far shown itself impervious to condemnation by most other states of its actions.”

Marie Colvin, one of two Western journalists killed in Baba Amr on February 22 by Syrian army shelling, had reported the previous day that she had witnessed 14 shells fall on the neighborhood in the span of 30 seconds and had watched a baby die of shrapnel wounds for lack of proper medical care. Another Western journalist who was in Baba Amr from February 15 to 17 told Human Rights Watch that “on a good day, a shell hit the neighborhood every 4 to 5 minutes while on a bad day, they heard 55 shells in 15 minutes.”

UNICEF steps up its response to children affected by the crisis in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_62075.html

“The UN says that at least 500 Syrian children have been killed in the violence thus far, while hundreds more have been injured, put in detention or abused. Schools have closed and health centres have shut down or become too dangerous for families to reach. “

UNICEF denounces killings of children, women in Syrian city of Homs

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_61971.html

“UNICEF today denounced the reported killing of children and women whose bodies were found in the Syrian city ofHomson Sunday.

According to Syrian and international media reports, young children were among the victims discovered in the Homsneighbourhood of Karm el-Zeytoun. Some of the bodies had their throats slit. Others bore marks of torture.

It’s hard to come to terms with savagery on this scale especially when it involves children paying the highest price for events over which they have no control,” said UNICEF Regional Director Maria Calivis. “We urgently call on all sides in this crisis to live up to their responsibility to safeguard children.”

UNICEF statement on children caught in the bloodshed in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_61584.html

This must stop. Even one child killed in the violence is one child too many,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We urge the Syrian authorities to allow help to all those who need it desperately.”

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in Bangkok on the Human Rights Council Resolution on the human rights situation in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_60788.html

UNICEF is greatly disturbed by the confirmed reports of violent attacks on children in Syria. We share the deep concerns presented in the recent report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, and welcome the Human Rights Council’s Special Session that addressed among other things these grave violations of children’s rights.

“The HRC’s resolution reflects global outrage over the more than 300 children killed by state forces in Syria since March 2011 and confirmed reports of abhorrent abuses, including sexual violence against children in places of detention.

“Such blatant disregard for children’s lives must not be ignored. UNICEF urges the government of Syria to abide by its commitments to uphold the rights of children, and in particular to protect them from arbitrary arrest, detention, torture or sexual violence.”

UNICEF alarmed about reported extreme violence against children in Syria

http://www.unicef.org/media/media_58707.html

“Since mid-March, reports of children injured, detained, displaced and at times killed have been increasing.  While UNICEF cannot verify the reported cases and events, we are particularly disturbed by the recent video images of children who were arbitrarily detained and suffered torture or ill-treatment during their detention, leading in some cases to their death.  We call on the government to thoroughly investigate these reports and ensure that perpetrators of such horrific acts are identified and brought to justice. “

Syria: Security Forces Barring Protesters from Medical Care

At Least 28 Killed in Bloody Friday Crackdown in Daraa, Harasta, and Douma

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/04/12/syria-security-forces-barring-protesters-medical-care

“”Syrian security forces in at least two towns prevented medical personnel and others from reaching wounded protesters on April 8, 2011, and prevented injured protesters from accessing hospitals, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch, which interviewed 20 witnesses from three Syrian towns, urged Syrian authorities to allow injured protesters unimpeded access to medical treatment and to stop using unjustified lethal force against anti-government protesters.

To deprive wounded people of critical and perhaps life-saving medical treatment is both inhumane and illegal,” said Sarah Leah Whitson,Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Report reveals crimes against humanity in Syrian town

https://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/report-reveals-crimes-against-humanity-syrian-town-2011-07-06

“The brutal methods used in a devastating Syrian security operation in the western town of Tell Kalakhmay constitute crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

Crackdown inSyria: Terror in Tell Kalakh documents deaths in custody, torture and arbitrary detention that took place in May when Syrian army and security forces mounted a broad security sweep, lasting less than a week, against residents of the town near the Lebanese border.”

Syria: ‘I wanted to die’: Syria’s torture survivors speak out

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE24/016/2012/en

“A grim catalogue of torture has emerged from former detainees describing their treatment in Syria’s detention centres since the predominantly peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government began in March 2011. This report reveals that all the various security forces are routinely torturing and ill-treating detainees held in the context of the protests and unrest, using methods of cruelty mostly used for decades. The torture carried out appears to be part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population as part of Syrian government policy to crush dissent. “

Report here:

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/016/2012/en/708c3f40-538e-46a9-9798-ebae27f56946/mde240162012en.pdf

Syria: Health crisis: Syrian government targets the wounded and health workers

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/059/2011/en/74190b0e-cbc4-4596-91fc-eb89863362d8/mde240592011en.pdf

“The Syrian authorities have been blocking and manipulating access to health care for people wounded during the unrest that has swept across the country since mid-March 2011, putting many lives at risk. They have routinely deemed those wounded by firearms as opponents of the government and treated them as detainees and held them incommunicado. The patterns of abuse recorded in this report show how the authorities are preventing health care professionals from treating those wounded freely and without fear. Such actions flagrantly violateSyria’s obligations under international human rights law.”

Syria: Deadly detention: Deaths in custody amid popular protest in Syria

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/035/2011/en/874dfa1c-2041-4681-a610-dffe1aa1421c/mde240352011en.pdf

“Relentless repression has marked Syriasince March 2011, as the government continues its efforts to stifle increasing numbers of pro-reform protests. Scores of people – believed to have been detained for their actual or suspected involvement in the protests – are reported to have died in custody. Some were children. However, the Syrian authorities have failed to carry out credible investigations into any of the cases or ensure accountability for the perpetrators. Amnesty International is calling on the UN Security Council to refer the situation inSyria immediately to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”

Syria: The long reach of the Mukhabaraat: Violence and harassment against Syrians abroad and their relatives back home

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/057/2011/en/31e11754-c369-4f17-8956-548b2f7e1766/mde240572011en.pdf

“Many Syrians abroad have been vocally expressing their solidarity with the mass pro-reform protests which have rocked Syriasince March. In this briefing, Amnesty International is documenting the cases of more than 30 Syrian activists living in eight countries in Europeand North and South Americawho say they have faced intimidation from embassy officials and others apparently because of their activities in solidarity with the pro-reform movement in Syria. The long reach of the feared Syrian mukhabaraat, or intelligence services, seems to be in evidence.”

Press Conference by Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria

http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2011/111128_Syria.doc.htm

“The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syriahad concluded that Syria’s army and security forces committed crimes against humanity in their repression of a largely civilian population in the context of peaceful protests, members of the United Nations-backed panel said today. “

The widespread and systematic violations of human rights in Syria could not have happened without the consent of the highest ranking State officials,” he continued, noting that under international law, “the State of Syria is responsible for these violations and bears the duty to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and that the victims received reparations.”

Mr. Pinheiro said excessive force — including by live fire and snipers — was used against peaceful demonstrators.  Further, the State had shown little or no recognition of the rights of children in quelling dissent, and reliable sources had indicated that some 256 children had been killed by State forces as of 9 NovemberTorture, sexual violence and other forms of ill treatment were also inflicted against people sympathetic to the protests, regardless of their gender or age. “

The report here:

Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/SY/A.HRC.S-17.2.Add.1_en.pdf

The Human Rights Violations Documenting Center in Syria

Covers the period 15 March -15 October 2011 with details and names of killed

http://www.lccsyria.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/SYR_HR_Violations_Mar15_Oct15_Final-3.pdf

“The oppressive regime inSyriaused all its military and security forces against their unarmed people, waging open war on the crowds of peaceful demonstrators. In some documented cases, the regime used military equipment such as helicopters, armored sea vessels, and military tanks, to bomb residential neighborhoods in many cities. This is in addition to using internationally banned weapons, such as poison gas and expanding bullets, to disperse peaceful demonstrators.

Many public venues, such as cinemas, stadiums, and theaters, were turned into detention centers in which systematic brutal torture occurred, resulting in many death-under-torture cases. In addition, there have been several forced disappearance of citizens who were kidnapped for months, and disappeared completely thereafter.

There are many documented cases of hospitals that were invaded to prevent treating the wounded; in some cases, the wounded were detained or even killed. All of the above happened during seven months of an almost complete international silence, save a few shy statements by the international community that did not reach the point of condemning those documented cases as crimes against humanity.

It is unacceptable for the Arab nations, the Arab League, and the United Nations and their organizations to remain on an undecided weak stance. They have not been able, so far, to adopt one serious and strong move to stop the instruments of this regime from committing more crimes and violations against the peaceful people who are merely demanding their basic rights.

This hesitance and the lack of a conclusive stance is sending very negative signs to the Syrian people, who are starting to consider this indirect participation in the ongoing assault against. This also gives the regime the leeway to continue its nihilistic approach, and provides incentives to similar regimes in the world to commit atrocities against their own people and remain unaccountable.”

More reports from LCC Syria here: http://www.lccsyria.org/category/reports

The number of people killed

The Rising Death Toll inSyria

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/03/21/world/middleeast/death-toll-of-the-syrian-uprising.html?ref=syria#

With graphs, by day, week etc.

”One of the more detailed accounts — from the Violations Documenting Center (V.D.C.) — shows almost 10,000 deaths since the protest began last year on March 15.”

The number of killed (by age, sex, place, crowd map etc.) in the conflict, according to the Syrian opposition website

http://www.syrianshuhada.com/?lang=en&

                             Children killed by age

Women under siege – Reports, crowd map and documentation of rape

https://womenundersiegesyria.crowdmap.com/reports

“The stories are more atrocious than I could have imagined. We have evidence that there’s possible sexual enslavement going on, mutilation — really horrific atrocities,” Wolfe said.

Crowd Map, Reports plus detailed graphs

https://syriatracker.crowdmap.com/

11,813 Individuals killed,March 18, 2011thruMarch 25, 2012

Amnesty’s Syria page

http://www.eyesonsyria.org/

Human Rights Watch’s Syria page

http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/syria

The destruction of Homs and Baba Amr

Syria: New Satellite Images Show Homs Shelling

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/02/syria-new-satellite-images-show-homs-shelling

                                     Homs and Baba Amr

Picture

Red Dots are destroyed or damaged buildings, yellow dots are craters in fields or roads (pic taken on 25 Feb 2012, Baba Amr was retaken by Assad`s troops on March 1)

If you click on the picture it gets much larger

Picture2

Another close-up also shows a number of large dust clouds caused by the probable impact of several shells that landed within an estimated 10 to 15 minutes before the satellite image was recorded. It also shows hundreds of smaller impact craters across the adjacent fields next to the buildings, most of which are heavily damaged.

If you click on the picture it gets much larger

“These new satellite photos and witness accounts show the extent of the brutality unleashed on Baba Amr,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Despite the killing, Russia and China continue to block any international action.”

And remember, as I said in my previous post, one of the weapons used by the Syrian regime was the Russian 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bomb. The world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

This weapon system is notable for its capability to conduct a “plunging attack,” in which the munition is fired at a high angle and comes down nearly perpendicular to penetrate a building or fortification

In this video, you can see the total destruction and some pices of the mortar bomb. The footage was filmed in the old part of Baba Amr, known as al-Hakura

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iPVcw1Dd_0s#!

According to “The Military Balance 2011,” published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Syria possesses ten 240mm mortar systems.

But of course, any respectable “army” need these kind of weapons to fight very dangerous unarmed civilians. Especially since they are hiding in their own homes.

What a threat!

And by the way, this system has been used in the past to bring devastation to civilian neighbourhoods, by the Russians during the siege of the Chechen capital of Grozny over a decade ago, where thousands of civilians were killed and hundreds of buildings reduced to rubble.  So the Syrians have learned well from their master.

The use of such weapons in dense urban environments is a war crime.

The Syrian army also used 122mm howitzers and 120mm mortars and 81mm and 121mm shells and 107mm ground-to-ground rockets to “fight” against these unarmed civilians.

The secret Assad emails

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/assad-emails

The documents:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/assad-emails-the-documents

How the Assad emails came to light

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/14/how-assad-emails-came-light

“In late March last year, Syrian opposition activists say, a young government worker inDamascusnervously handed a scrap of paper to a friend. On it were four handwritten codes that the friend was instructed to pass to a small group of exiled Syrians who would know what to do with them.

The paper contained two email addresses: sam@alshahba.com and ak@alshahba.com. They are thought to have been the personal email usernames and passwords of the president, Bashar al-Assad, and his wife, Asma.

For the next nine months they were to offer a cell of activists an extraordinary window into what appeared to be the private lives ofSyria’s first family and their attempts to turn around the country’s steady descent towards the abyss.”

Very interesting reading to say the least!

As this one on December 24 from Hussein Mortada, an influential Lebanese businessman with strong connections to Iran.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/14/bashar-al-assad-syria12

“It is not in our interest to say that Al-Qaida is behind the operation because such statements clear theUSadministration and the Syrian opposition of any responsibility;Americais fighting Al-Qaida and it will condemn the operation.

Based on what we saw from events on the ground yesterday, we have to acknowledge how well orchestrated it was, and we have to say that the US administration, the opposition and the states which infiltrated weapons are behind the operation so that we can start the attack.

But blaming Al-Qaida alone won’t be in anyone’s interest but Al-Qaida’s, because the organisation has been in existence for decades and this is nothing new. I have even received contacts from Iran and Hezbollah – me being the head of many Iranian and Lebanese media channels – and they directed me not to mention that Al-Qaida was behind the operation cause it would be a blatant media and tactical mistake and futile.”

VIDEOS

There are soooo many videos out there taken by brave civilians, showing the brutal and barbaric killings and executions, And the destruction of whole blocks and neighbourhoods in cities.

So these are just a sample.

I am going to start with a special type of videos – the leaked ones. These videos where taken by Assad troops themselves to show how “good” they are at killing civilians, as trophies, to prove their loyalty etc. etc.

The text and translations are from opposition sites.

LEAKED VIDEO – Assad’s forces show off their latest mass excecution – Homs (Baba Amr): Date Unknown – An Assad lojaist clearly says to his commander “Sir, I shot this one in his eye, and in his eye and in his eye!”

Contains some sequence from the video above

LEAKED VIDEO –  An assadist soldier films the DESTRUCTION he and his FORCES BROUGHT UPON THE NEIGHBORHOOD of BABA AMR. Homs(Baba Amr) – He takes us through the destroyed streets and past the obliterated buildings. He then shows us a glimpse of a half dozen men in a room, all executed (as shown in this video of Assad mercenaries gloating about it).

To think that the world just sat back and watched an entire neighborhood of 12sq/km be erased off the map and it’s people cleansed …

LEAKED VIDEO –  Syrian Government snipers in action from a rooftop in Aleppo’s Atareb

More snipers:

LEAKED VIDEO –  ASSAD’S FORCES HAVE A “GRAND OL’ TIME” LAUGHING, JOKING, MURDERING …. Damascus(Dier Qanoun): This is what the “battle” looks like from the vantage point of Bashar Al Assad’s forces. They have no fears that anything remotely bad may happen to them … they know exactly who they are firing at … unarmed Syrian civilians. Watch as they joke, make small talk, smoke a cigarette in one hand and fire their guns with the other ….

LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES FIRE RANDOMLY INTO PEOPLE’S HOUSES TO SCARE THEM. Lattakia : (Date unknown) – Watch Bashar Al Assad’s mercenaries fire randomly down streets. Then they take aim at building directly above them and start firing away … laughing and joking until one of them finally says “ok guys, enough …”

Methodical destruction of homes:

LEAKED VIDEO – UNBELIEVABLE FOOTAGE OF ASSAD’S RUSSIAN MADE TANK FIRING RANDOMLY INTO THE HOMES OF SYRIAN CIVILIANS. Homs- As the tank fires randomly into the homes of innocent men, women and children, the cameraman (a fellow Assadist mercenary) cheers on with each explosion, exclaiming “God, Syria & Bashar!”.

LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES CASUALLY FILM THEMSELVES AND MAKE SMALL TALK AS THEY SHELL AND ATTACK THE TOWN. Homs (Quseir) – No, these men are not preparing to liberate the Golan Heights, they are casually shelling a small town of innocent and unarmed Syrians – their supposed brothers and sisters that Assad has successfully de-humanized in his propaganda campaign fed to his forces.

They are shelling the town of Quseirin preparation to invade. The tank you see firing a machine-gun is actually a Russian made “Shilka” anti-aircraft tank that can fire upto 1,000 rounds per minute. It’s meant to bring down fighter-jets, but in this case it’s used against human-beings. The other tanks are randomly shelling the town in order to “soften” it up for an all out invasion.

Notice how casual Assad’s forces are, laughing and joking and all eagerly filming the “action” as mementos…

LEAKED VIDEO – THIS IS WHAT A DESTROYED AND ANNIHILATED CITY LOOKS LIKE – FROM THE EYES OF THE PERPETRATORS THAT DID IT. Homs (Baba Amr)The footage is unbelievable as it is devastating. Every building on every street is destroyed. The entire neighborhood of Baba Amr has been literally wiped off the map. Its inhabitants either “cleansed” in Assad’s ordered genocide, arrested or expelled from their homes.

Assad’s mercenaries take pride in what they did to this town with their Russian backed weapons and supply lines. Filming themselves and waving to fellow cowards.

Never forget that it took 7,000 of the most elite mercenaries from Assad’s army along with 30 days of shelling by the world’s heaviest shells, complete blockade of all food, water, fuel and medicine in addition to the cut of all electricity and supply lines to the neighborhood in order for Assad’s forces to enter an area of 12 sq/km that was guarded by no more than a few hundred lightly armed and ill-trained Free Syrian Army fighters and thousands of unarmed civilians. Even then the FSA actually withdrew when they ran out of ammunition.

LEAKED VIDEO – A terrible massacre by Al-Assad and his thugs in Doumma-Damascus-Syria and “thugs” are celebrating

LEAKED VIDEO – A genocide by Al-Assad and his thugs in Baba Amr-Homs-Syria

Now to the videos taken by brave civilians.

A BRAVE CITIZEN JOURNALIST CONTINUES TO REPORT DESPITE ROCKETS LITERALLY FALLING ALL AROUND HIM. Homs: Apr 3, 2012- I don’t know his name yet and he’s been featured in a number of similar videos before. Watch as the rockets hit nearby buildings as he reports with his cameraman. They risk everything in order to show the world the miserable hell they live in.

Stark WARNING!these next five videos are VERY STRONG AND GRAPHIC with pictures of executed children, teenagers, women and old people.

If you are sensitive – DO NOT LOOK!

And remember these videos are just a few, there are HUNDREDS LIKE THIS out there!

Which show the shocking scale and barbarism of the Assad regime

There is still no clear idea about the final number of killed civilians in the last ten days, but what we documented is more than thundered person killed. The most brutal one was in al-Adawi, the following videos bring you close to the event:

Adawiyah: pro-Assad death squads break into a house and execute its occupants, all women

Homs, Martyrs of the massacres of Al-Rifai and Karm Al-Zetoon neighborhoods .. Mar 20, 2012

SyriaFreedom Fighters Captured an Assad Hitman

March 25, 2012 – Free Syria Army Captures this Assad Air Force Mukhabarat Secret Police Officer who admits in this video that he and Iranian and Hezbollah Accomplices kidnapped and killed a famous Syrian Freedom Activist- This Guy is a cold blooded killer and was the leader of the group of secret police who kidnapped , tortured and killed Ghrias Mattar, a famous pro Democracy Organizer in Dariya , Damascus.

The Secret Police killed Gaith Mattar and then Mattar’s Wake Was Attended by dignitaries such asUSAmbassador Robert Ford and the French Ambassador and the German Ambassador — It is important to note that immediately after the Ambassadors left the Wake the Assad Forces came and shot at the other people, The Syrians, who were attending the ceremony.

English Translation:

“I am sergent Rabi3 Abdallah Ramadan in the intelligence aviation (under) the branch of special missions

Question:  what was your mission in Daraya ?

A: I’m a driver of a black jeep, a black Mitsubishi.

Question: What were the missions you took part in?

A: We captured and shot the activist Ghiyath Matar..took him to the hospital  and  we  finished him there  (in the hospital) with the help of sergent Bashar Daher (also) known by the name of Abou Haidar

Question: Who was giving orders?

A: The officer Jamil Hassan and officer Ghassan Ismail

Question: Were there foreigners with you? 

A: Yes, the Irananian Revolutionary Guards and members of Hezbollah as well

Question: How (did you) break into Daraya houses?

A: We were getting orders to loot and steal (from) activist houses and burning them

Question: What is your advice to security forces?

Answer: I advice them to defect because this regime will fall for sure”

CNN – Syrians try to clear Russian ANTIPERSONNEL MINES NEAR TURKISH BORDER

CNN’s Ivan Watson reports on evidence Syrian forces mined border areas to stop fleeing civilians

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2012/03/29/watson-syria-land-mines.cnn

He took one out and brushed dirt off its green molded plastic case. It was about the size of a soup bowl and stamped with Cyrillic letters. Hajisa pointed at a raised black cross on the top of the device. “If you put pressure on this trigger,” he said, “It will explode.”

Hajisa’s deadly stash of booby-traps are just a fraction of more than 300 similar devices he claimed he and several other Syrian volunteers dug up from the border between Syria and Turkey over the last two months.

See also:

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2012/03/28/lkl-watson-turkey-syrian-refugees.cnn

And finally some desperate black humour from people inside Syria as they describe their situation:

”In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate … We, the free men of Idlib, announce the formation of the ‘We Hope to Be Armed’ brigade,” the speaker says. ”We do not have any weapons. We ask the National Council and the commander of the Free Army to fulfill their lying promises and to stop serenading the revolutionaries on the ground without sending weapons, because your serenades are killing us.”

And another one where a fighter is begging for bullets.

Brother, Can You Spare A Loaded Arms Clip?” FromHoms

”Just Give Me A Bullet Clip”, says this Syrian Freedom Fighter in Homs City as he mocks the failure of the World to arm the Syria Army Defectors who are struggling to bring Freedom and Democracy to the long suffering nation of Syria. The USA under Obama has sold out the Syrian people the same way that Obama sold out the Iranian Green Revolution a few years ago. After one whole year of Protests and Violent Repression and thousands of Dead Civlians – the US politicians like Hillary Clinton are still on TV even as of today talking Bullshit about ”setting Timetables” for Assad to stop killing his people. This is a sick joke as Assad is never going to stop killing Democracy Activists and he is never going to step down peacefully. The only thing the Assad Baathist Regime understands is Sheer Military Power, which is how they got in power in the first place, and the world must smarten up and must send a flood of arms to the Free Syria Army now , including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. This is one of those once-in-a-generation moments in time where the USA has the opportunity to get a ”4 for 1” victory for very little investment.

1) If the USarms the Syrian people they will overthrow the Assad Regime and bring Freedom to a nation that has lived under a Dictatorship for 50 years.

2) The US gets to screw the Iranians real good if Assad goes down –no more Iranian dreams of a new Persian Shiite Empire stretching fromTehran toBeirut.

3) the US gets to screw Hezbollah real good if Assad falls – They will be cut off fromIran and the Sunni Syrians will kick them all out ofSyria and they will shrink into a small local militia

4) the US gets to screw the Russians real good -Russia will get kicked out of its only navy port outside ofRussia and will lose air force landing rights inSyria and will lose its military contracts which can then go to the Western Democracies.

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 1

10 april, 2012

Introduction

There is so much to be said about the uprising in Syria and the extremely brutal suppression by the Assad regime. And as usual, most of it is not said in the mainstream media.

So I thought I give you some pieces that are to the point and that give you some perspective of this slaughter of civilians. In other words, some insight into the world of real politics. This is a different universe that the normal platitudes and declarations our political elites are so good at excelling at.

I have so much material, all from public and open sources, that it is ridiculously big and unwieldy. Therefore, I have to drastically cut it down. Otherwise, it would become a book. The focus is therefore going to be on some countries and international organisations and what they have done or not done in 11 posts.

Part 1- Introduction. Part 2-Repports/Videos/Photos, Part 3- Russia, Part 4- Iran, Part 5- China, Part 6- Turkey, Part 7- Arab league, Part 8- UN, Part 9- EU/NATO, Part 10- US and the Obama administration and Part 11- Paul Conroy

The explanation for the headline you get at the end of this post.

This Syrian uprising started little over a year ago. The movement began in Syria on March 15th of 2011 with spontaneous demonstrations that demanded that the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad reform Syria to a free and democratic state. Assad responded, as usual, with relentless force and a brutal crackdown. Which led to the people to call for the president to step down, and heed to his people’s will to relinquish his power. And for a peaceful transition to democracy.

All reasonably demands wouldn’t you say?

And from this start the Assad’s regimes force and a brutal crackdown have just intensified and widened. The death toll is around 11 000. Mostly civilians: children, women, families, elderly etc. Many of them executed in the most barbaric way.

On top of that, the deliberate destruction of WHOLE blocks of cities, Block after block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood.

Turning of electricity, water, telecommunications etc for cities and neighbourhoods. Destroying hospitals and preventing medicine and food to reach these areas etc.

I can add systematic rape to that mix of systematic violation of human rights.

Wouldn’t you say that this regime seems utterly barbaric and worthy of world condemnation?

And wouldn’t you have thought that the world would have done something by now?

And the answer to these questions is of course – YES ands as usual NO.

NOTHING have in realty been done except some cheap and empty rhetoric. A lot of grandstanding as usual with these people. And of course a lot of meetings, summits, conferences etc. Usually in very nice places very far from the reality they are supposed to talk about.

EU the other day “strengthened” sanctions, the 13 in a row, banned Assad’s wife from shopping on the Continent. Yea, I bet Syria’s dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad felt threatened to his core!

Some of these people, for over a year now, have assured us that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is about to fall. These assurances from the so-called “experts” are always delivered with great confidence.

And yet Assad, hangs on, slaughtering his own people, destroying and despoiling whole neighbourhoods, calling the bluff of the Arab League, Turkey, UN, USA and EU/NATO.

Helped to a very large degree by the enormous material support, weapons, training, intelligence, troops,  personal etc. from Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah.

And by a traditional policy of dived and conquer the different ethnic and religious groups in Syria. And of course by terror and fear.

Nonetheless, this is a regime, with an enormous arsenal of heavy weapons, which in a year has not been able to dispatch a divided, badly organized, having hardly any weapons, and disparate opposition. It can be defeated and it will implode  from the inside.  The slaughter would end much faster if the people got some, any support, from abroad.  And the fear is gone.

It is also very interesting to compare how eager the Obama administration, EU and NATO was to go into Libya with their do nothing attitude with Syria.

The dictator Gaddafi had not killed as many civilian people as Assad’s regimes have by a long shot. Or destroyed as many neighbourhoods as Assad. Nor did Gaddafi support so many terrorist groups as Assad. Or had the same strategic value for USA as Syria.

Nor did Gaddafi kill so many Americans as did Assad (Bashar  and Hafez al-Assad – It is A Faimly affair). Etc. Etc.

So in every way and shape or form, in comparison Libya under Gaddafi doesn’t even come close to Syria under Assad.

Samantha Power, a prominent advocate of humanitarian intervention and the principle of ”responsibility to protect”, is considered to be the key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya.

Power, was a senior foreign policy adviser to senator Obama, and now a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council.

But on Syria? NOT A PEEP!

And some of the “excuses” for not doing anything, like “the arms could end up in the wrong hands”, become ABSOLUTELY mind-boggling hypocritical when you remember that NATO and US special operations troops together with their intelligence operatives in Tripoli, armed and put Al-Hakim Belhadj in control over Tripoli. And gave him “the keys” to Gadhafis armoury.

Those arms were advanced items which British and French special operations forces gave the rebels, according to “a senior” American source.

Who is Al-Hakim Belhadj you may ask. He is a leader and commander of LIFG, the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Which by the way is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. He is an al Qaeda veteran from Afghanistan, he joined the Talliban etc.

He was first captured in Pakistan 2001 and handed over to US security officials, he was repatriated to Libya two months later. Later CIA captured him in Malaysia in 2004. He was then transferred to Bangkok, where he was then placed in the custody of the CIA.  Later they extradited him to Libya where he was kept in prison for six years by Qaddafi.

According to the Spanish, Al-Hakim Belhadj was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings etc. etc.

For the first time, therefore, the armies of Western members of NATO took part and helped directly in a bid by extremist Islamic forces to capture an Arab capital and overthrow its ruler.

As for the do nothing as usual UN, it “proudly” upholds its tradition of doing ABSOLUTLY NOTHING when it really maters, like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc.

Refusing to arm or help the opposition will not end the conflict or limit it, it will drag on as all the above examples shows.

And by waiting the situation gets worse and much more complex, then “they” used its complexity as an excuse not to intervene while decrying the lost opportunity for intervention. And ALL this time the killing and atrocities committed by Assad’s regime just continues as nothing has happened.

On the contrary, the Assad regime has increased it’s attacks since Bashar al-Assad agreed to implement the “new” peace plan.

From Kafrnabel, Idleb

A snapshot from Idlib province

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-idlib-offensive-20120401,0,6769772.story?page=2

“The feeling here is one of desperation — and steadfast defiance”

”They are planning to retake the region piece by piece,” said Abu Hamdo, a member of the Revolution Command Council in Idlib. ”But there is no going back, because if they catch us we are dead, and if we fight them we are dead.”

It is a scenario that is playing out repeatedly here: The army and security forces sweep into village after village, leaving behind bodies and burned homes, and the routed rebels must regroup.

Mazen Arja, an agricultural engineer “We have to organize anew and figure out who was killed and bring people together to begin the liberation of the northern region,” Arja said. “If we’re not patient and fight, we’re all dead anyway.”

When we first went out in protests, we had hope for foreign support, but that hope was dashed. We had hope for buffer areas; that was dashed. We had hope for support for the Free Syrian Army, and that was dashed,” said the militia’s 25-year-old leader, Bilal Khabeet, who like Free Syrian Army members is a military defector. ”A rifle and 120 bullets, that’s all I have. Once they are finished, I am finished.”

Or as Ammar Abdulhamid  a liberal democracy activist said:

“Of April Fools and Useless Tools!

The irony involved in holding an international conference on Syria on April Fools is all too noticeable, and the fact that just on the day before, an Assad official would claim victory simply adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the mix. But the Revolution-cum-Devolution goes on, no amount of irony or wishful thinking will make it go away.”

And

“Whatever the geopolitical calculations of Arab, regional and international leaders may be, ours is still a revolution for freedom, dignity, justice and equality. Is there any power in heaven or earth whose basic interests are commensurate with these aspirations of ours? If so, act now! Or forever be damned.”

Another snapshot from Daraa province:

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=383043

“Sayyed Mahmud, an activist in Daraa reached by Skype, told AFP the situation was extremely tense in Dael.

They burned down 14 houses yesterday. They are arresting people and have sent in troop reinforcements,” he said.

As part of the regime’s campaign to starve the people, troops are raiding homes, destroying food stocks and equipment,” he added. ”For example, if they see a sowing machine, they destroy it.

They go into bakeries and destroy the dough. There are 15-hour power cuts a day.”

You REALLY get “impressed” by these “brave soldiers” who “attacks” and destroy dough and sowing machines. Not to mention killing unarmed civilians.

That is really a “worthy” adversary for a real soldier.

And the endless deception and chicanery, round 27, of the Assad regime continues. Making a mockery of all so called “peace” deals. In addition, the world let him get away with it again and again.  Without doing ANYTHING except generate “new peace” plans.

With all the usual strong and optimistic words and platitudes. Or as one Syrian said:

“As Obama and Erdogan talk, Assad kills”

You can put whatever country and organisation there instead, it doesn’t change anything.

Assad’s Vision for Reform

Here is the latest:

Damascus sees no deadline to withdraw troops

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=383883

“The Syrian regime is not bound by a deadline to withdraw its troops from strife-torn areas, pro-government daily Al-Watan on Thursday quoted a government official as saying.

There is no set date or deadline,” the unnamed official said.

”April 10 is the date set for the beginning, not the end, of the withdrawal of troops and it does not constitute a deadline.”

Before that:

Syria says army will not be first to lay down arms, rejecting appeal by UN chief

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrian-official-says-army-will-not-make-1st-move-withdraw-troops-from-flashpoint-areas/2012/03/31/gIQAJhcpmS_story.html

Syria rejected international envoy Kofi Annan’s call for the regime to halt violence first just days after the government agreed to a cease-fire plan. A senior official declared victory over the opposition.

It was the government’s first response to an appeal by Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, to stop military operations first as “the stronger party” in a “gesture of good faith” to the lightly armed opposition. Annan brokered the agreement aimed at stopping the bloodshed and Assad agreed to it on Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi said the government will not pull tanks and troops from towns and cities engulfed by unrest before life returns to normal there.

“The battle to bring down the state in Syria has already ended and the battle of reinforcing stability has started,” Makdessi said in an apparent reference to a string of recent regime offensives that drove rebels from key strongholds. He spoke on state TV late Friday.”

An to rely prove this point :

“Certain he is safe from Western-Arab intervention, Bashar Assad Sunday unleashed an across-the board air and ground offensive against the last surviving rebel locations. 

Starting Sunday noon, April 8, 30 towns and villages were hit simultaneously. For the first time since the outbreak of revolt thirteen months ago, heavy long-range artillery and air force helicopters pounded the rebel positions remaining in the northern mountains of Idlib near the Turkish border. The scale of the onslaught was such that it is hard to come by casualty figures, but they certainly run into hundreds.

As he lifts all restraints, the Syrian ruler is also certain he is backed to the hilt byTehranandMoscow.”

And today, April 9 Assad’s forces attacked a Syrian refuge camp in Turkey.

Turkey: Three wounded as Syrian forces fire over border

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-three-wounded-as-syrian-forces-fire-over-border.aspx?pageID=238&nID=17975&NewsCatID=341

”A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, saidTurkeyimmediately protested the incident to the Syrian charge d’affaires and asked that the fire be halted, the Associated Press reported.

Two refugees and one Turkish citizen, a translator, were wounded inside the camp near the town of Kilisin the southwestern Gaziantep province, he said.”

Yeap, that’s REALLY showing respect for the “ceasefire” and UN “peace plan”. And the “world” will let Assad get away with again, and again.

Waiting for Syria’s regime to Change

And another snapshot from Kastanaz:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/06/us-turkey-syria-refugees-idUSBRE8341DC20120406

The army is destroying buildings and bombing them till they turn to charcoal,” said Mohammed Khatib, a refugee who said he came from Kastanaz, a Syrian town of 20,000 people.

”The army wants people to move out of their houses. If the residents refuse, they destroy them with the people inside.”

For the past three days there have been bodies lying in the streets. Around 200 have been killed. The town is now abandoned.”

I could go on an on to give one witness after another of atrocities and planed destruction.

Another from Sarmin:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9177910/Syria-eyewitness-dispatch-I-watched-as-Assads-tanks-rolled-in-to-destroy-a-rebel-town.html

“Using information stored on laptops, army intelligence officers detain all manner of people. Bad-mouthing the regime? Arrested. Seen at a protest? Arrested. Got an internet connection? Arrested. The list goes on.

”The shabiha (pro-government militia) came to my house and took my children,” said Fatoum Haj Housin, a resident of the town Sarmin, five miles north-west of Saraqeb, which had been attacked a few days earlier.

They took all three of them. They were young men in the army but they defected in January. The militia shot them in the head and burned their bodies in front of me in our courtyard. In the name of God, bring me a Kalashnikov and I will kill Assad myself!

There was still scorching and ash in front of her house – and much evidence elsewhere in Sarmin of destruction by ground forces. The field hospital had been torched, walls and houses sprayed with AK47 fire and the mosque smashed by three shells.

When the tanks leave the city centres and the ground forces come in, this is what happens – with nobody from the outside to see.

Yet for every person killed the rebels’ resolve seems to grow day by day.

”We can never go back now,” said Feras Mulheen, a student from Saraqeb who had just seen his house destroyed by the tanks. ”There’s nothing to go back to. We either win or we die trying. There’s nothing in between.”

The situation for the FSA (Free Syrian Army):

http://syrianfreedomls.tumblr.com/post/20479724510/free-syrian-army-has-the-worlds-support-but-no

“We are getting money mainly from individuals, from Syrians living abroad. We hear a lot of promises from the international community, but nobody will support us,” said Mohammed.

His unit has 50 men and two satellite phones in a country where mobile telephone networks are down, security forces tap landlines, and the Internet is dysfunctional.

As for the guns, Mohammed said, his unit has just light weapons, not enough to confront the Syrian army.

“The air force attacks us and we do not have artillery to fight back,” said the commander.

He said there are a lot of soldiers in the regular army who are too afraid to defect, but help the FSA from the inside.

Our unit exchanged a carton of cigarettes for 200 bullets; we get gasoline from a soldier who steals it from the tanks in the bases,” he said.

Other local commanders described their constant hustle to-and-fro across the Syrian-Turkish border to secure money for their supplies.

“We have enough men. The defectors’ numbers have increased. But they do not have weapons. If they have a gun, they do not have ammunition,” he said while busily working on his laptop.

Communications technologies are a precious commodity. Asked about internal FSA communications, Abu Muhammed, commander of a unit in the Idlib countryside, replied with sadness and irony, We use pigeons.”

“There’s not a lot of direct communication between the ground and the leadership,” he said, explaining how his men do not take specific daily orders from the officers sitting in the Turkish camps, like Col. Riad al Asaad, nominal head of the FSA.

“With the means we have, this is only self-defense,” he admitted.

See also (excerpts):

Undergunned and Overwhelmed

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/03/30/syria_undergunned_and_overwhelmed

“It’s a view widely shared by defectors, arms dealers, and refugees alike here along the Turkish-Syrian border. For months, Assad’s opponents have been buying black-market weapons from the countries bordering their volatile state — from Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan — as well as from within Syria, primarily from members of the corrupt regime or military sympathizers who remain embedded with loyalists. But it’s getting harder. Money doesn’t seem to be the main problem. Securing supplies is.

Nor have Assad’s staunchest enemies — the Arab Gulf kingdoms — opened their armories to the rebels. In late February, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal raised the FSA’s hopes when he said that arming Assad’s opponents was ”an excellent idea.” Yet, more than a month later, Saudi supplies have not made their way to the front, according to the FSA leadership as well as numerous rebel commanders inside Syria.

Still, the ire and resentment of many activists and fighters on the ground is directed primarily toward the so-called leaders of the opposition, all of whom are in exile. The depth of anger was perhaps best expressed in a short video in which a small group of men in civilian garb stand in two neat rows in front of an olive tree, scarves concealing their identities. The clip is not unlike countless others purporting to show members of the FSA, except that none of the nine men featured in it holds any weapons. Some carry lemons instead of grenades; others hold sticks as if they were rifles. One wields a hammer.

”In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate … We, the free men of Idlib, announce the formation of the ‘We Hope to Be Armed’ brigade,” the speaker says. ”We do not have any weapons. We ask the National Council and the commander of the Free Army to fulfill their lying promises and to stop serenading the revolutionaries on the ground without sending weapons, because your serenades are killing us.”

Col. Ahmad Hijazi, the FSA’s chief of staff, says he can understand the resentment. ”I don’t blame them,” he says. ”The people are angry and they are taking out their frustrations on us. But what can we do? They are asking us for more than what we can do. Governments must support the Free Army.”

In the absence of such aid, Syria‘s military defectors just wait. The camp housing the FSA officers looks just like the others Turkey has established for the thousands of civilians who have fled across its border — rows of white tents are neatly pitched along lanes of uneven loose white gravel. But unlike most of the others, the officers’ camp is isolated from nearby towns and villages. It’s in the middle of a lush agricultural plain in Apaydin, about 12 miles from Antakya, where verdant fields abut plowed, upturned earth, and snow-capped hills rim the horizon.

The FSA may claim to be operating a ”command and control center” for the anti-Assad military effort from the camp, but it’s unclear whether they can control much of anything from a base with regular power cuts. Its critics, like the ”We Hope to Be Armed Brigade,” say it has offered little to the men fighting and dying inside Syria in its name. How do the FSA’s commanders account for their seeming lack of impact on the ground?

Hijazi shifts uncomfortably in his plastic chair inside one of the many identical tents in the officers’ camp. He doesn’t like the question. Nor does his fellow officer, Major Maher Nuami, who is seated on a single bed (the only one) in the tent. ”It’s sensitive,” Hijazi finally says. They won’t say if the FSA has sent emissaries to Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Libya — which recently pledged $100 million to the Syrian opposition — but insist that they have received no help on the ground from these states.

If the international community doesn’t arm them and provide logistical support, ”everything” the world fears from the fall of Assad will come to pass, Nuami argues.

”The people will get weapons, one way or another, so help us,” Nuami continues. ”If you give us weapons, we can control them. We want the fall of the regime, not the fall of the state. If the international community helps us, we’ll help them. If it doesn’t, our people offer no guarantees.”

According to the FSA officers, the claims of foreign fighters in Syria — eagerly touted by the Assad regime — are wildly overblown. A lone Libyan had reportedly volunteered to fight with their FSA unit recently, but left after a few days. ”He said, ‘You guys are crazy, this is suicide, you don’t have weapons’,” Mokbat said. ”He was right. I wish the revolution would go back, it was better before. We used to shoot into the air, we didn’t worry about ammunition. Now we think twice about using each bullet.”

Although Turkey houses the FSA, it ”does not allow any weapon to be transferred to Syria in [an] illegal way,” a Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. Anyone caught trying will be arrested and the weapons confiscated, he added.

That’s exactly what many Syrian refugees, defectors and civilian revolutionaries accuse the high-level defectors in the camp of doing — just sitting there. In the absence of an organized military effort, the burden of securing weapons and funding has fallen to lower-level officers like Alaa, as well as ordinary Syrians like Abdel-Salim, a taxi driver turned thuwar who commands the ”Free Syrians,” a ragtag bunch of farmers, taxi drivers and other civilians from a string of villages abutting the Turkish border. Abdel-Salim, a 40-year-old with a bushy salt-and-pepper beard and high cheekbones, had crossed the border into southernTurkey to try and secure supplies for his group: 3,000 bullets, to be precise.

The ”Free Syrians” are under the FSA banner, he explains, and are in regular communication with its leadership via a few defectors in his group. ”We ask the defectors to go to the officers’ camp to ask for help but we haven’t got anything from the Free Army yet,” Abdel-Salim says. ”But to be fair, I don’t think the Free Army has anything itself.” 

Abdel-Salim recalls that he participated in peaceful protests for months, and only picked up a weapon four months ago, when he ”lost hope” in protests. He was shot about a month before that, in his stomach and his right leg, and spent 10 days recuperating in a Turkish hospital. He walks with a limp, but that didn’t deter him from crossing back into Syria to fight Assad’s army. ”I didn’t want to pick up a weapon,” he says, ”but I think Israel is more honorable than the Syrian regime.”

The longer Abdel-Salim speaks, the angrier he gets. ”Where is the money the Syrian opposition got from the Libyans?” he seethes. ”We haven’t seen any of the [Syrian] National Council members down here. … What is Riad al-Assad doing in Turkey anyway? Army commander? He should cross the border, lift people’s morale. What is he scared of — dying?”

             The Assad System – to kill more

Another from defected soldiers:

Defectors: Torture of children, rape by #Syrian army ‘routine’ !

http://syrianfreedomls.tumblr.com/post/20372447508/defectors-torture-of-children-rape-by-syrian-army

In addition to shooting unarmed civilians, Syrian military personnel routinely have raped women and girls, tortured children and encouraged troops to loot the houses they storm, former foot soldiers say.

“What I have seen with my own eyes, it was indescribable,” said Rolat Azad, 21, who said he’d served as a master sergeant in Idlib province in the northeast of Syria. There, he commanded 10 men who’d break into houses seeking to arrest men whose names they’d been given by the country’s intelligence agencies. “They gave us orders: ‘You are free to do what you like,’ ” he recalled.

Starting last July, he said, his unit arrested and tortured five to 10 people daily. “We had a torture room on our base,” he said. “There was physical torture — beatings — and psychological tortures,” said Azad, a Syrian Kurd who deserted and fled in March to the Kurdistan region of Iraq. “They also brought women and girls through. They put them in the closed room and called soldiers to rape them.”

The women often were killed, he said.

Azad — as with other former soldiers here, the name is a pseudonym assumed to protect his family, still in Syria — was interviewed at a camp that Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government set up for Syrian army deserters. He recalled the torture of two young teenage boys. He said they’d been arrested either for shooting videos of the military or showing disrespect for the military and the regime, something that wasn’t uncommon, even among children. “I once asked a small kid why he wasn’t going to school,” Azad said. “He said, ‘We won’t until this regime is gone.’ “

One boy, about 13, was brought into the torture room and given electrical shocks, Azad said. Another, 14, was brought into the room in late February. His screams could be heard in the camp outside the town of Jisr al Shughour. “It was painful for all the soldiers,” he said. Azad said he had no idea of the boy’s fate. “They held him one or two days. Either they killed him or sent him to military security,” he said.

Even worse, he said, was hearing the wailing and screaming of old men being tortured: “When they tortured old men, I couldn’t stand it. I went outside. Others closed their eyes. I could not stay.”

An independent U.N. commission of inquiry has described the Syrian government’s offensive against civilians as possible “crimes against humanity.” The commission, which reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, detailed arbitrary arrests, disappearances and torture, including the torture of children, in its latest report, issued in February, but it didn’t detail the practice of rape. Commission officials said they had yet to talk with a rape victim.

He was assigned to a military construction unit but was ordered to the scenes of demonstrations, where troops would shoot at civilians.

“It was an ugly scene. We were at the top of a building and would shoot at civilians: children, women, men, anyone against the regime.” He said the Syrian intelligence agencies stationed personnel to make sure they shot civilians. “They were watching anyone not shooting and taking down names,” he said.

Several soldiers said Kurdish and Sunni Muslim troops tried wherever possible to fire over people’s heads, but Alawites — members of the sect related to Shiite Islam that President Bashar Assad belongs to — boasted about how many demonstrators they’d killed.

“We had an order to shoot and kill,” said Khaled Derecki, 20. “But some of those demonstrating were my friends, and we fired over their heads. “But the Alawites in my unit were very proud. They’d say: ‘Today, we killed seven or eight.’ “

240mm mortar bombs

One of the weapons used by the Assad’s regime in “attacking” and destroying cities and neighbourhoods is the Russian SM-240 (2S4) 240-mm self-propelled mortar known to the West as the M-1975.

This systems fire the world’s largest high explosive mortar bomb (240mm F-864), designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks” according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue.

It is the largest mortar bomb known to be in production and use. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.

Other munitions used by Assad’s regime on the “attack”  is Russian 122mm howitzers and 120mm mortars and 121-mm and 81-mm shells.

You REALLY get “impressed” by these “brave soldiers” who attacks civilian cities and destroy whole blocks and neighbourhoods by using among other things 240mm mortar bombs. Designed to “demolish fortifications and fieldworks”

That is really a “worthy” adversary for a real soldier – killing unarmed civilians in their homes.

This is a photo of the 240mm mortar bomb. I cut it from a Russian instructional video.

So who are these “brave” men slaughtering unarmed civilians?

The main force is Assad’s loyal shabiha, a militia of an estimated 35,000 Alawites who have pledged loyalty to Assad and are his regime’s key prop.

The Syrian opposition refers to this ragtag band of Assad loyalists as jaysh abu shahhata— or the “army of the sandals,” referring to its shoddy equipment and lack of discipline.

Another one is the infamous Fourth Armored Division, under the control of the president’s brother, Maher. The Syrian 14th Infantry Division and the 40th and 90th mechanized brigades has also taken part.

In addition, they are not very “professional” or good at their work, except of course to destroy cities and kill civilians.

For example when the 4th Armored Division were sent (February 28) to the Baba Amr district of Homs, after Syrian forces failed in their three-week long offensive (including intensive shelling) to enter the city. It wasn’t until the army shut off the  last supply line that it was able to enter Baba Amr—spearheaded by nearly 7000 soldiers from the 4th Armored Division, which is roughly the entire unit.

The resistance there was carried by one of the most professional Syrian rebel group, The Al Farouk Brigades, which kept the Syrian military at bay for nearly a month although they have no ties with the FSA and number no more than 300 to 400 fighters. The rebel movement has some 40 small “brigades”, mixed freelancers who fight at random here and there but demonstrate little operational ability.

And what did this “glorious elite” Armored Division do after the capture?

Well one of the first thing it did was to behead 17 civilians.

A “normal routine” for any professional soldier wouldn’t you say?

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/michaelweiss/100140744/assads-security-forces-have-beheaded-17-civilians-in-baba-amr/

”Assad’s security forces have just beheaded – yes, beheaded – 17 civilians in Baba Amr, according to the human rights group Avaaz. I have been speaking to Will Davies, Avaaz’s media campaigner, who confirmed with me that he is ”100 per cent” sure that this story is true as it’s been corroborated by independent sources. In fact, he provided a list of all the victims:

1. Abdul-Haleem Sabouh 2. Abdul-Naser Sabouh 3. Abdul-Hameed Sabouh
4. Abdul-Rahman Sabouh 5. Abdul-Baset Sabouh 6. Amer son of Omer Sabouh
7. Abdul-Moueen Daboul 8. Abdul-Salam Kujuk 9. Barri al-Akidy
10. Ez al-Deen al-Akidy 11. Ahmad al-Akidy 12. Abdul-Rahman Jneed
13. Abdul-Kafi Juneed 14. Radwan Bitar 15. Mahmoud al-Zoubi
16. Mahmoud al-louz 17. Alaa al-Ali”

But for the most part, most of the army stays out of this. They have “defected in place”

From division level down to battalions and brigades level. Entire units from commander down defy orders from the General Staff in Damascus to fight the rebels without crossing the lines to the opposition. To keep the spreading passive mutiny, Assad keeps the defiant units supplied in their barracks with funds and food.

Another example of this passive mutiny by the Syrian army, was when the five Syrian divisions stationed on Syria’s Golan border with Israel and its frontier with South Lebanon; were told by their commanders in beginning of March to ignore orders from Damascus to join the crackdown on rebels because their mission was “to defend the Syrian homeland from external threats” – another form of “defection in place.”

In other words, we are so “busy” protecting the borders so we don’t want to and don’t have time for this kind of “nonsense”.

For the most part, the Syrian army is a declining, anachronistic force, whose high officers is afraid of the leader, and watch each other’s backs. The problems with corruption, nepotism, poorly organized technical and maintenance support etc. This keeps much of the army paralyzed.

Some Special Forces and armored units are exceptions, but promotion is highly dependent on favoritism and nepotism.

That is why – contrary to what the West believes – Assad is not using his army to crack down on the uprising but the loyal Alawite Shabiha brigades and battalions.

Many artists, writers etc have taken part in the protests and uprising. To name some:

Samar Yazbeck, Ibrahim Qashoush, Rasha Omran, Ali Farzat, Mai Skaf, Khaled Khalifa, Samih Shqair, Fadwa Sulaiman —there’s an impressive list of Syrian writers, musicians and artists who have bravely and unambiguously supported the people’s aspirations for dignity.

As the Alawi actress Fadwa Sulaiman, on November 8, 2011,  leading the crowd in besieged and blood-soaked Homsin chants of “No Muslim Brotherhood, No Salafis, We All Want Freedom.” And “One, One, the Syrian People are One.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZT1PdiQVNI&feature=player_embedded

A video statement she made on November 10, 2011, excerpts :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlQlLxh5rEE&feature=player_embedded

“Districts are being raided since last night, searching for me. People are being beaten to reveal my hiding place. In case I get arrested by the security or army forces, who might force me to appear on Al-Dunia channel to make me to admit that I am part of the conspiracy against Syria the way they did with the honorable Sheik Al-Sayasneh and the brave officier Hussein Harmoush. If they hurt me or any members of my family in any way, then I hold the government and its security apparatus and thugs fully responsible.”

“I urge the great Syrian people to continue their peaceful struggle until they topple the regime and achieve the democratic civic state that all Syrians dream of. And I invite you to unite and stand together to overthrow the regime which lost its legitimacy the moment the constitution was changed to accommodate the appointment of Bashar Al-Assad as president ofSyria, for no reason other than being the son of the late president.

I urge you to come out to the streets and squares today and every day to declare civil disobedience and hunger strike until the withdrawal of the security and military forces from the streets and the release of all the political and opinion prisoners which are currently in the oppressive jails and to spare the blood of all Syrians.

I urge all the Syrians around the world, and all people to support us and stand in front of our embassies around the world declaring hunger strike to express the right of people to express their opinion about their regimes without being killed by these regimes.”

“Baba Amr is living a real humanitarian disaster. Stand by Baba Amr, because no district or road in Syria is exempt from a fate similar to that of Bab Amr, as long as the Arab league is providing the regime with one extension after another so that it continues repressing the Syrian people, and depriving them from their freedom, dignity and life, and peace be upon Syria and its people.”

And journalist, writer and screenwriter Samar Yazbek speaks up on Syria in an Italian magazine, April 24, 2011

http://www.rayaagency.org/2011/04/samar-yazbek-speaks-up-on-syria-in-an-italian-magazine/

“I’m not optimistic, to the contrary. In recent weeks people have finally broken the silence and fear, I myself have participated in the demonstrations”, she says. “We have found the courage to ask for freedom and democracy, an end to emergency laws that oppress us since 1963. We demand real political parties and elections, the right to express ourselves. But the repression is very hard, with many deaths and arrests. As always, the regime makes promises, but does not maintain them. The army and security forces control everything.”

“The regime has indeed destroyed the Alawite religion, a peaceful religion, as it engaged in things foreign to the faith, leading some to become its Alawite thugs. But many of us are opponents, in jail, in exile, or banned from travel. The regime is playing with sectarianism to terrify “its” minority and get support. A game that will end, but first, I fear, there will be clashes between the communities. ”

In Syria, Holding a Camera is a Death Sentence

Most of the documentation, videos, photos etc from the Assad’s regimes slaughter of it’s own people has been documented by very brave civilians who risk their life every time they try to document and record what is happening. Many has paid with their life for this “crime”

Here is an interview with the founder of the of Syria’s Dier Press Network. How a group of doctors became the vanguard of Eastern Syria’s free press.

http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/3584/danny_thiemann_holding_a_camer/#.T2hKD2-TG5U.twitter

“In the town of Dierez-Zour on the road from Syria to Iraq, a doctor, who we’ll call Kareem, put down his medicine bottles. It wasMarch 15, 2011. The media blackout in Syria had just begun. Kareem had no experience as a journalist. But when he turned on the TV and saw the blackout, he picked up the phone. On the other end is his cousin, who we’ll call Ahmed, a young law student in theUK.

When Syria’s crackdown on protests began to intensify, Ahmed and Kareem made a commitment to respond. On March 21, they formed a network of smugglers, cameramen, and tech support that has become known as the Dier Press Network (DPN.), Syria’s first citizen-journalist media company.

One year later, Ahmed and Kareem reflect on the small company that has grown into a satellite TV network, the colleagues they’ve lost, and the future of the Syrian free press. Their names have been changed to protect their families.”

”Guernica: How did you start?

Ahmed: Kareem gave me a call one day. The government started using live ammunition on protesters, beating them up, and if you were caught you risked torture. You could hear the metal clang of tanks outside the classroom windows, the drone of airplanes above the teacher’s voice, the plodding of artillery, like footsteps of a faraway giant. I had already left the country about a year ago. But he was seeing all these things with his own eyes and he wanted to show the world what he saw.

Kareem: Most news was on the Western side ofSyria, but the East was rebelling and no one knew about it. I wanted to do something, but I was really starting from zero. It was a process of trial and error at the beginning.

Guernica: How did you build a citizen-journalist network? How would others do so?

Kareem: First thing was to start a Facebook page. The problem with this, we found out, was that Facebook was heavily monitored by the government. But still, we felt the most prominent way to spread the news during the media blackout was through Facebook.”

“Guernica: What is DPN exactly?

Ahmed: It stands for Dier ez-Zour Press Network. Dier ez-Zour is our province in Syria. DPN. is a non-partisan, non-sectarian news group. We rely on a mix of volunteers within and without the company. It is a sort of crowd-sourced journalism that relies on ordinary citizens.

Guernica: What are the next steps in expanding this kind of media network?

Ahmed: You need a lot of public support. We had it. But after the media blackout worsened, we depended less and less on trusted friends and more and more on anonymous volunteers. Basically, we went from one cameraman and Kareem to hundreds cameramen and hundreds of Kareems [smugglers]. The problem was that when the army entered towns like Dier ez-Zour, filming any citizens getting killed was very dangerous, and yet DPN. was carrying all of these videos. Carrying a camera was a death sentence.”

Some recent headlines from local media:

Al-Arabiya: Saturday’s death toll in Syriareaches 133 people (April 7)

Turkeysays 2,800 fleeSyria in one day (April 5)

More than 1,000 Syrian refugees flee toTurkey in single day (April 4)

Al-Jazeera: Wednesday’s death toll in Syriarises to 92 (April 4)

Al-Arabiya: Sunday’s death toll in Syriarises to 57 people (April 1)

Al-Jazeera: Syrian forces kill 50 people on Saturday, activists say (March 24)

Al-Jazeera: Syria’s Thursday death toll rises to 81, activists say (March 22)

Wednesday’s death toll in Syriarises to 70, Local Coordination Committees say (March 21)

Al-Arabiya: Syrian forces kill 55 people on Tuesday (March 20)

Monday March 19, 2012

Death toll: 52, including 6 inDeraaProvince, and 6 inDeirEzzorProvince. Explosions were heard in Arbeen and Harasta inEastern Ghoutah region ofDamascus, as well as in Qaboun District inDamascusCity itself. The pounding of Old Homs continues, as locals find 6 bodies belonging to local women killed by pro-Assad death squads.

Al-Arabiya: Friday’s death toll in Syriarises to 41 (March 16)

Al-Jazeera: Thursday’s death toll in Syriarises to 72 (March 15)

Syria planting border mines to stop refugee flight,Turkey says (March 15)

One thousand Syrians flee toTurkey in single day, official says (March 15)

More than 9,000 killed inSyria violence, monitors say (March 15)

Syria– one year after the revolution: 10,000 confirmed dead.20,000 missing / 120,000 detained / 230,000 internally displaced / 150,000 refugees(Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Gulf, Europe) / 1,400,000 at risk of famine(according to FAO).

Wednesday March 15, 2012

Tuesday: Forty people were executed by pro-Assad death squads near Bilal Mosque inIdlibCity. But ten loyalist troops were killed in an ambush in the city of Ma’aratAl-Nouman. In Homs City, the pounding of Jub Al-Jandali Neighborhood continued,leading to the death of at least 5 residents. In nearby Talbisseh, poundingleft 14 locals wounded. In the town ofDa’el,DeraaProvince, 12loyalists were killed in an ambush by local FSA units.

Wednesday: 85 people were killed mostly inIdlib City as pro-Assad death squads took controlover the city. The death toll also includes 6 who died under torture in HamaCity (3) and AleppoCity (3), 6 killed inDamascus and suburbs, and 11 who werekilled in a renewed incursion intoDeraaCity.

Thursday: 91 people were killed including at least 23 who were executed by pro-Assad death squadsinIdlib City. Death toll also includes 5 children and 4 defectors.

Al-Jazeera: Syrian security forces kill 76, activists say (March 14)

And by the way, the headline Vladimir Putin ‘The Butcher of Homswas given by the people on the streets in Homs and Babr Amr.  That’s as he so “fondly” known on the streets of Babr Amr.

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