If the curse of Gulf States is that they have oil, the curse of Syria is that she does not. No one seems to give a damn about mass massacres in a country that has no oil.
Capture of Hussain Harmoush more a blow to Erdogan than the defectors
Syrian TV ran an advertisement earlier for an interview to be aired on Thursday with Hussain Harmoush, the leader of the Free Officers Movement, who disappeared from a refugee camp in Turkey on August 29 http://youtu.be/jGO-qBS3rU8 From the clip, it’s clear that Harmoush, and Syrian propagandists, will be blaming the revolution on the works of external agents and that he will speak of his contacts with Syrian opposition figures and movements during his stint in a refugee camp in Turkey, including former VP Abdul Haleem Khaddam, uncle of Bashar Al-Assad, Rifa’at Al-Assad, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Antalya Group, etc. Looking at the brief clip, Mr. Harmoush seemed to be in a far better shape when he lived in the refugee camp, a not too surprising observation.
But how did Lt. Col. Harmoush end up captured by Assad’s loyalists? This is what all want to find out, including one Syrian dissident who managed to get close to PM Erdogan’s convoy in Cairo earlier in the day.
But after contacting several eyewitnesses from Idlib Province, again, it seems that placing the blame on Turkey may not fair. For, Harmoush, according to these witnesses, was captured in the same military raid that left his brother dead on September 9 in Ibleen in Idlib Province. He was neither kidnapped by Assad agents nor surrendered by Turkish authorities, as the rumor mill has it.
I have referred to these reports before, also on the basis of reports from eyewitness in the Idlib province, but the intensity of the rumors concerning Turkish duplicity circulated in opposition circles, coupled with the dismissive attitude of Turkish officials vis-à-vis repeated inquiries by members of the opposition, allowed the rumors to gain more currency and to appear more believable. If indeed Turkish officials are not to blame for this development, whether in the active sense (surrendering Harmoush) or the negative sense (failing to protect him), then they need to be careful about the public impressions they are creating in opposition circles, and of the Assads’ duplicity in stoking the fires of suspicion. Whether they like it or not, Turkish officials are caught up in this crisis, and they need to learn how to manage it more efficiently than they have already.
Be that as it may, and even while giving more credence to the reports claiming that Harmoush was captured inside Syria, because of how this incident has been perceived by so many Syrians, it constitutes a blow to Mr. Erdogan’s standing, and his advisors now have to rebuild trust with the Syrian opposition, if they indeed care. Allowing the UN and other international organizations greater access to and greater role in managing the refugee camps might help curb these rumors. Allowing easier access to journalists and foreign dignitaries will also help. Limited access creates perfect grounds for spreading malicious rumors.
On the other hand, the development is unlikely to affect the organizational capacity of the defectors, due to their decentralized operational philosophy, and might even facilitate the integration of the Free Officers Movement and the Free Syrian Army under the leadership of Colonel Riayd Al-Asaad, also based in Turkey, provided nothing untoward happens to him.
Bakkour calls for international protection
For his part Hama’s defecting Attorney General, Adnan Bakkour, believed to be still on the run somewhere in the country, deliver this little clip in which he demands international protection for the unarmed civilians http://youtu.be/2FNosGiW2Yc