Thursday, July 26, 2012

Battlefield Aleppo!

With the current use of MIGs in the pounding of Aleppo and Homs, Assad has deployed every weapon in his arsenal but the WMDs. By now, it’s a toss-up as to what is more senseless and shameless: Assad’s crackdown, or the reaction of world leaders.

Wednesday July 25, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 146. The Breakdown: 27 in Damascus and Suburbs, 23 in Aleppo, 21 in Homs, 15 in Hassakeh, 12 in Hama, 12 inidlib, 11 in Deir Ezzor, 9 in Daraa, in Lattakia and 1 in Qunaitra.

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiyah, Haran Al-Awameed, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Modan, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak (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, Maar’at Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha (Idlib)

The defection of the Charge d’affaire in the Syrian Embassy in Cyprus, Lamia Hariri, was soon followed by the defection of her husband, Abdelfattah Sabbagh, the Syrian Ambassador in the UAE. There are also reports that the security chief in the Syrian Embassy in Oman has also defected.

News

Op-Eds & Special Reports
Moral mantle for action in Syria slips from UN to Obama The Obama administration has all but given up on the UN acting on Syria. It's beefing up aid to rebels taking other steps. But China and Russia can still save the UN's moral leadership by backing tougher sanctions on Assad.

Five things international community must give Syria after Bashar al-Assad Syria sits at the crossroads of a region undergoing tremendous upheaval and fragile democratization. Transition in Syria after Bashar al-Assad will be impossible without constructive international support. While the future of Syria must be in the hands of its people, the end of the Assad era, however it comes, will require resetting the way in which the world engages with the country. From outsiders, Syria will need these five key things…

In Syria, Kurdish Groups Divided Over Taking Up Arms Against Assad Though the regime made an early effort not to anger the minority group, the killing of a top Kurdish leader has led some groups to support violent resistance

Splits widen within Syrian opposition As Syria's rebels look beyond Bashar al-Assad's overthrow, distrust and jostling for power are eroding their credibility.

Syria's cyberwars: using social media against dissent Social media fueled the Arab Spring. In Syria, it's helping the government quash it. The Syrian uprising has opened a new chapter in the history of cyber-espionage, and activists and experts are watching closely to see how it plays out.

Syria crisis: 'a huge snowball that can destroy everything' The regime faces insurrection everywhere, but rebels warn that without western help, they will pay a heavy price for victory

Searching for the Truth Behind the Houla Massacre Initially, the United Nations was convinced that the Syrian government was behind the brutal Houla massacre. But then, some began to have doubts. SPIEGEL traveled to the town to interview survivors and witnesses -- and was able to reconstruct the horrifying slaughter.

Al Qaeda Taking Deadly New Role in Syria’s Conflict Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution, with a growing although still limited success that has American intelligence officials publicly concerned, and Iraqi officials next door openly alarmed.
Inside Syria: Foreign fighters join Syrian rebels in Aleppo battle On Wednesday, CNN’s crew met a Libyan fighter who had crossed into Syria from Turkey with four other Libyans. The fighter wore full camouflage and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. He said more Libyan fighters were on the way.

Cause for Celebration in Syria The fall of Assad’s pro-Iranian regime is a net gain for the U.S., even if what replaces it isn’t a reliable ally

The Time for Kurdistan Region of Syria Has Come The Kurdistan Region of Syria? Yes, it is possible. Now is the time to declare it. Today, the Kurds of Syria are in a position to be a strong player in the new Syria and the Middle East. But this depends a great deal on their Kurdish neighbors and co-fighters – namely, the KDP and PKK.

Syria Conflict: Breakaway Alawite State May Be President Bashar Assad's Last Resort In the recent sectarian violence in Syria, some observers see a grim pattern: Alawite fighters from President Bashar Assad's minority sect, they say, are trying to carve out a breakaway enclave for themselves by driving out local Sunnis, killing entire families and threatening anybody who stays behind.

Guile, Gas and Germs: Syria's Ultimate Weapons Part I of a two-part examination of Syria's chemical and biological weapons—how Syria built them, configures them. Poisoned Missiles: Syria's Doomsday Deterrent Part II catalogues Syria's present CBW stocks, investigates how Damascus has weaponized them, and ponders possible scenarios for their use.

Christian priest bears witness to Syrian bloodbath A Jesuit priest thrown out of Syria for criticizing Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy forces is visiting North America… He’s bringing a message for fellow Christians and others: It’s un-Christian and immoral to be fretting only or mostly about the possible plight of the Christian minority in post-Assad Syria, while doing little to save the overwhelming majority of Syrians being massacred by the Assad regime. Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio says the regime is “ethnic cleansing” those who oppose it, and is sowing sectarian divisions much the same way Slobodan Milosevic did in Bosnia in the 1990s.

Key Role Floated for Syrian Defector "Someone like Tlass is difficult to sell to the Syrian people," said Ammar Abdulhamid, an anti-Assad activist based in Washington. "He certainly can't play any leading role in a transition."

How and when to intervene are the only questions.

In “It's Time to Engage Iran, Russia on Syria,” Andrew Parasiliti, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-US, argues against the establishment of safe havens in Syria because:

Safe havens can also prolong rather than end the violence, creating a de facto partition and potentially increasing the prospects of the division or collapse of the state. A safe haven can also be a catalyst for mission creep, an enticement for further military intervention by the US and others, and facilitate an increase in the presence of foreign fighters, including terrorists.

His alternative is to have Washington

open an urgent new diplomatic front with Russia and Iran, the two countries which retain the most leverage with Assad.

These are valid points of course. The problem is that history is equally informative about the results of diplomatic engagement with Iran and Russia. It, too, can prolong conflicts and/or lead to the fragmentation of countries.

The reality is quite simple: you want to prevent the fragmentation of Syria, you have to intervene in Syria: it will be messy and thankless mission, but it’s far better than the much more messy and thankless alternative.

Video Highlight’s

Pro-Assad militias stormed the neighborhood of Qaboun and executed people in their homes http://youtu.be/2M9lHu0zSgE , http://youtu.be/aa81gnKEy_I The neighborhood and its shops were ransacked http://youtu.be/AoMky2fLhqY

The pounding of the neighborhood and other restive neighborhoods in Damascus City continues: Qaboun http://youtu.be/w-luEShen8A Al-Qadam http://youtu.be/wWXLJZNccq4 Al-Hajar Al-Aswad http://youtu.be/JQ8zpi53j2U And choppers did their part http://youtu.be/4xoeQbNWv64

In Kinsafrah, Jabal Al-Zawiyeh Region, Idlib Province: the dead we see her are the pro-Assad troops killed shortly following their capture http://youtu.be/SE2UNat8yxM during the liberation of the village http://youtu.be/bLcWGkmZeUo Assad had pulled most of his troops from the region to send to Aleppo, allowing the region to fall under the control of rebels http://youtu.be/z_MEYxTIhKI  This is the leader of the local FSA unit explaining what happened http://youtu.be/gMGl7sd0fd0

Battles continue to rage in Aleppo City: Sakhour http://youtu.be/scoOY1UxuaY Children keep paying the price http://youtu.be/yH8NeLnINfQ smoke rises over the City as the sounds of battle continue http://youtu.be/n7phXie5Np8 , http://youtu.be/YTGdp4DUduM Helicopter gunships take part in the battles http://youtu.be/2c9QHqgCQ-Y , http://youtu.be/v3lv6GW3Cy0 , http://youtu.be/O8Z87nlXYHg Impact of pounding is all too visible in Salaheddine http://youtu.be/DQURLE7l_hc Zibdiyeh http://youtu.be/1WJm-faJtWs Kallasseh’s police station http://youtu.be/7UvRjYAgQf8 , http://youtu.be/haVG3KsFucc

The pounding of Old Homs continues: Abou Zar Mosque is hit http://youtu.be/IwabAbNj4zA In Jouret Al-Shayah, tanks pound buildings into the ground http://youtu.be/rDR1cH6AIQY And mortar rounds keep falling indiscriminately http://youtu.be/3bJByKt0I7I , http://youtu.be/zh9oDT3d1qw

The pounding of Talbisseh, Homs Province, continues http://youtu.be/4VCuQtbrCy8 , http://youtu.be/gFqWTj5hCec MIGs take part in the pounding of the town http://youtu.be/isUgAffyAB4 The explosions resulting from MIG action are spectacular http://youtu.be/w0DGygZmPxs , http://youtu.be/RIbjceF_-Go , http://youtu.be/IgOfV7e6X1k

In Lattakia, the pounding of Sunni-majority villages in Jabal Al-Akrad continues http://youtu.be/cwE2gFjFSrQ , http://youtu.be/Pg3HveppeJs