Damascus gave Paul his life changing epiphany – could it do the same for Obama?
Tuesday July 17, 2012
Today’s Death toll: 82. The Breakdown: According to the LCCs, the toll includes 11 members of the FSA, 3 children and 2 women. 37 were killed in Damascus (24 in the City, and 13 in the Suburbs), 13 in Homs, 11 in Aleppo, 9 in Idlib, 6 in Deir Ezzor, 2 in Lattakia, 2 in Hama, 1 in Suweida and 1 in Daraa.
Tanzania: Local Troops for Syria Mission TANZANIA will send between 100 and 200 troops to a peacekeeping mission in war-torn Syria, the National Assembly was told here on Monday.
Op-Eds & Special Reports
Russia and the West lock horns over Syria President Putin offered no indication that Russia will support a UN Security Council resolution backed by the US, Britain, and France that would open the door for military intervention.
Syria's al Qaeda boomerang … for Syria's leadership, al Qaeda's work against the Bashar al-Assad regime is a boomerang. In an interview with CNN's Ivan Watson, the highest level government official to defect described further how Damascus has collaborated with al Qaeda since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Blanket Thinkers To call the Free Syrian Army a sectarian gang is tantamount to calling the Syrian people a sectarian gang. It betrays a willed ignorance of reality. The FSA was formed in response to the sickening violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime, which at this stage is certainly a sectarian gang. Its Alawi military units work with armed Alawi civilians to slaughter Sunnis. This is a disaster for the Alawis and everyone else; it sows the seeds of a potential war which would destroy the country for generations, and it’s one of the first reasons why the regime must go as soon as possible.
Syria's Plan B: An Allawite state? … in interviews with GlobalPost, regime supporters, insiders and experts say the Tremseh killings — in which regime forces used overwhelming firepower to destroy much of the village and eyewitnesses described Allawite militiamen executing dozens — fit a geographic pattern of attacks by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad that are attempting to carve out a breakaway Allawite state.
In Talbisseh, Homs Province, an airplane ejects a heavy bomb, probably 500-1000 pounds, on the town below, the ensuing explosion is huge: http://youtu.be/bpz-zAev7nY The town continued to be pounded, as we see below, by using heavy artillery http://youtu.be/MJJSNXnteM4
For those claiming that somehow the FSA is receiving sophisticated weaponry, this fighter from Homs sets the core straight: you don’t have to speak Arabic to understand http://youtu.be/6ZORhR160Yg
All those experts busy telling President Obama that his decision not to intervene in Syria is a wise one were the same ones who advised him to engage Assad saying Assad was a reformer. First, they said we are not ready for revolution, now they say we are not ready for democracy. They were wrong then, they are wrong now. But policymaking circles in U.S. are not about right and wrong, they are more often about people making careers for themselves as experts, pundits or politicians. That’s what it boils down to.
Barack Obama’s US government has warned its western allies and Syria’s opposition groups that it can do nothing to intervene in the country’s crisis until after November’s presidential election, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
At an average of 100 deaths daily, Obama’s electoral priorities will cost us 15,000 more lives at least, a figure that is bound to include hundreds of children.
President Obama is in good company when it come moral irresponsibility, for Jordan’s King too is wary of “Military Intervention In Syria,” so are the recently elected Presidents of Egypt and Tunisia.
But, as they say, those receiving the blows might have a slightly more nuanced perspective than those who are counting them. I wonder what the positions of these fine Arab leaders would have been had their former dictators opted to bomb the hell out of their people, instead of bowing out relatively gracefully?
Not intervening in Syria might earn you a career or win you an election, but it will not earn you any respect, or safeguard the national interest.
Assad could already be using chemical weapons in Syria, say reports. Meanwhile, the country prepares to break up
This doctor at a field hospital, for instance, suggested some months ago that some kind of neurological agent may have have featured in the siege of Baba Amr last February. Patients, he said, suffered from abnormal symptoms such as alopecia, cutaneous rash, muscle pain and memory loss, though of course there was no diagnostic equipment on hand to determine etiology.
For months, activists and opposition figures have been saying that Assad’s endgame is to retreat, once Damascus falls to the rebels, to an Alawite rump state along the Mediterranean where sectarian loyalists can protect their patrimonial and commercial interests. (The Assads come from the province of Latakia.) According to independent opposition figure Ammar Abdulhamid, the Kremlin is at least willing to entertain this doomsday scenario because it believes it will then retain control of its port at Tartus and its “secular” ally in the Levant (albeit one that partners with Hezbollah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and, according to Ambassador Fares, al-Qaeda).
Now Alawites themselves are confirming that this does indeed seem to be the regime’s plan. The GlobalPost interviewed Haidar, a 30 year-old Alawite whose father is active in the Syrian security services: “The massacres in the Sunni villages are to clean the west bank of the Orontes from Sunnis and the military operations in the area are to drive Sunnis eastward.” Haidar adds that his sect is being told that there are vast oil and gas deposits along the coast that will enrich the inhabitants.
Meanwhile, while no one was looking, another autonomous region was being born in the north-east of Syria – not out of psychopathic malice but out of sheer pragmatism and geopolitical cunning. Rival Kurdish factions have tactically reconciled to form their own de facto regional government, which comes complete with its own military apparatus.
The images below might help clarify the situation even further.
The BBC Map
The Ethnic Map
The Casualties Map
Bear in mind below that hundreds of rallies continue to take place every day in Damascus and across Syria. This is still one of the main features of the Revolution.
Salaheddine Aleppo City http://youtu.be/UmVNUTEHk7A Telmens, Idlib http://youtu.be/Y3ryvWb-H8w El-Hameh, Damascus http://youtu.be/ui4LxAq3ZrE Qoudsaya, Damascus http://youtu.be/JqwH3iqFoz8 Qamishlo, Hassakeh http://youtu.be/BlenW7TIMQA Jarajmeh, Hama http://youtu.be/ADN8kV05aqk Etc.
A video showing clashes in Tadamon on July 15 http://youtu.be/LsWtZD0wxX0 Today, the neighborhood was pounded again http://youtu.be/VyupEPv_5jw Local snipers take pot shots at a nearby minaret http://youtu.be/su0TV6Y8R5U
In Qaboun: Tanks pour in http://youtu.be/7dUP5xHlp2o The pounding start http://youtu.be/BRuLyGaer1Q , http://youtu.be/8tQtGfC9uI8 and intensifies http://youtu.be/ta9eChozF_4 and leaves many dead http://youtu.be/5y_x2jtB3sQ And lasts into dusk http://youtu.be/45-u85QMKro , http://youtu.be/uMBtQxW1UpU and into the night, with nighttime pounding leaving several homes on fire http://youtu.be/D41qcufhaqQ Choppers keep pounding http://youtu.be/qMzP7GJnqZY But earlier in the day, the local resistance managed to bring down one of the helicopters http://youtu.be/TYziAwMixFQ , http://youtu.be/RFT643hnfUA that took part in the pounding.
The nearby neighborhood of Barzeh was also pounded http://youtu.be/TLeb2XNK4Is And helicopter gunships played their deadly role http://youtu.be/spSePjELf4Y Clashes last into the night http://youtu.be/fAI91UgSFls And Al-Qadam http://youtu.be/Huk6fHZxq88 , http://youtu.be/SVAMB8aNTKk , http://youtu.be/SuDtPP0keG0 , http://youtu.be/v5AERhGJJDA And into the night http://youtu.be/XYGPEkLPOLw , http://youtu.be/tio4JRgr2_o
Midan: Tanks pour in http://youtu.be/nDOKVmOQboU , http://youtu.be/H8YB4D6YifM And helicopters fly over the neighborhoods http://youtu.be/Y_HT1po_T_Y Then the pounding begins from the eastern parts http://youtu.be/rt1_Gl87f6kty , yhttp://youtu.be/821e12A7E2o And intensifies http://youtu.be/ZVHBoC5q5ak , http://youtu.be/8QdqffcU-ts , http://youtu.be/NakjPg-jDFY , http://youtu.be/eTXb--ODgUE , http://youtu.be/d4mampTQ1tA
Clashes raged below while a chopper overflew the neighborhood http://youtu.be/lCw4PD-3l7A , http://youtu.be/0IR9wIVFUz8
Local resistance manage to gain control of some armored vehicles http://youtu.be/WHEyj-I8S18 And promise to fight on, saying “La Ruju’” meaning “no going back” http://youtu.be/Zc3KU8kBB0U
In other parts of the district, clashes were somewhat subdued http://youtu.be/FlXpj-rUqrU But local resistance managed to get their hands of some of the armored vehicles that tried to storm their neighborhood http://youtu.be/amLNKavcP-k While, some neighborhoods were being pounded, traffic in nearby streets went as normal http://youtu.be/dBuJGM_oYd8 Elsewhere, local activists tried to clean their neighborhood http://youtu.be/7WUhnGff6Xw
Nighttime clashes http://youtu.be/xw5IST0UUqs Nighttime fires http://youtu.be/ZT4Ncj28gpM , http://youtu.be/zjIyLKGo8eU Unknown martyr http://youtu.be/AFooefB636s a martyr from Qaboun http://youtu.be/ZPoMpaPpNBs Another http://youtu.be/C5nGu63YgUw
Black smoke rises over Naher Eisheh http://youtu.be/zdcS18ZIEgQ Nighttime clashes in Daf Al-Shawk http://youtu.be/vOSykhFe1m4
In Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, locals take control of official buildings and raise the revolution’s flag over some schools http://youtu.be/EWbzeJSogVI
Blocking traffic with burning tires was how activists in Kafar Sousseh http://youtu.be/vUiF_4Lv42Y and Shamdeen http://youtu.be/f0AaI56EBcg joined the fight.
Still, the way to Damascus City was not all fun and games for pro-Assad militias and troops, as some local resistance groups managed to attack and destroy some of their more vulnerable convoys http://youtu.be/IAHYbbx8cMo
In Sbeineh, Eastern Ghoutah, local resistance, managed to take control of the local police headquarters http://youtu.be/jhdCVyHgb_w capturing some of the shabiha in the process http://youtu.be/wesNCE0OLmc They In Yelda, local resistance manage to take control of the local political security branch http://youtu.be/63bhsEnnPIo Here we can see bodies belonging to pro-Assad militias lying un-reclaimed on the highway, after an attack http://youtu.be/hJuN2wDFcbo
One of the unit affiliated with the FSA taking part in the fight http://youtu.be/48hyMjno35E
Meanwhile, in the eastern suburbs, the suburbs of Eastern Ghoutah, just on the outskirts of Midan and other restive neighborhoods in Damascus City, tanks pour into the suburb of Saqba http://youtu.be/LGgJd4ygK9I and Hamouriyeh http://youtu.be/8fht2GZNyFM and Arbeen http://youtu.be/_ewyLxwY1uY and Jisreen http://youtu.be/PU5batqNbc8
A helicopter gunship that flies overhead suddenly fires a series of missiles http://youtu.be/0umdq1zI9IU , http://youtu.be/p7BaJ6lWNGw More missiles http://youtu.be/WXqsXFYyn9g , http://youtu.be/x_pTh7UOBXs
In the suburbs, of Arbeen is pounded with helicopter gunships http://youtu.be/pqn2YcCn1s4 , http://youtu.be/4fXzReulhv4 Even at night http://youtu.be/1lOwRENqVug Nearby Hamouriyeh was also targeted http://youtu.be/VIlwF7cj_GQ
In the Suburbs, the pounding touched several including Moadamiyeh http://youtu.be/7P00giin_HQ , http://youtu.be/FCAFAztBgw8 , http://youtu.be/2BmNrHQkny4 , http://youtu.be/9WIxKxeKm3I Sounds of clashes http://youtu.be/_G-mZCIfAjg Helicopter gunships take part http://youtu.be/jUXqMWkg0k8 Pro-Assad militias storm in http://youtu.be/RYq5CgLBYh0 But get pushed back http://youtu.be/3b3ohm2Beg4
The pounding of the town of Yabroud on the road between Homs and Damascus leaves many members of the local resistance dead when a missile hit their headquarters http://youtu.be/s--qndHYOhc The city has been quite for weeks, and local fighters felt free to gather in certain places, which exposed them to this attack.
To the west, the town of Zabadani is pounded http://youtu.be/twuRqiq2PJc , http://youtu.be/udqtr-Y1nZk , http://youtu.be/WmU-OTbkaZg , http://youtu.be/GmdiGZNBdSQ , http://youtu.be/a0Dqnb3Mg0A , http://youtu.be/koDxC4teTt0 , http://youtu.be/fHtwosFW1wY One of the tanks pounding the town http://youtu.be/OTtdDIQLThg , http://youtu.be/MdDwM9tjubY the pounding lasts into the night http://youtu.be/3p74pU071Ng , http://youtu.be/3p74pU071Ng , http://youtu.be/j54OZ7j7WKA
To the south, Qatana is pounded http://youtu.be/JBfe6V0Bf4Y
Other Video Highlights
Treimseh, Hama, Revisited http://youtu.be/6zkq0JGm_yE
Talbisseh, Homs Province, wakes up as it she slept, to the bomb shells and automatic gunfire http://youtu.be/rKgWVKrk7a0 The pounding was intense http://youtu.be/LfMjLMhBWpY , http://youtu.be/whV4pkg1OUE , http://youtu.be/uE4R93ZhCUw , http://youtu.be/3sT9yejvFjM , http://youtu.be/YzD826c5wPA New kind of bombs was used thrown from an airplane http://youtu.be/TVIEzQ3kzpY
But the local resistance quickly turns to work in support of their colleagues in Damascus, and they manage to mount a surprise operation and take over one of the local checkpoints with all the tanks there http://youtu.be/vlmAme0bd8k , http://youtu.be/7orHsEf7h5E , http://youtu.be/zddfNjvb-jk , http://youtu.be/NW5Yiqlquew , http://youtu.be/tvChSEtf2D0 A local activist introduces us to the scene: he claims the entire town now is under their control, and says that they only accept as legitimate those officers fighting alongside them in Syria not those who fled to Turkey or Jordan http://youtu.be/8_QqPTOK-xE
In Al-Qusayr, local resistance take control of a tank and begin firing at pro-Assad’s checkpoints at the city’s outskirts http://youtu.be/4RVWZDB7jAE
In Tal Kalakh, Homs, nighttime pounding leaves the local bakery, the last remaining bakery in town, on fire http://youtu.be/auhllGmG4WE The pounding continues http://youtu.be/Z9-Atus9zO4
In Rastan, Homs, daytime pounding reduces many home to rubble http://youtu.be/4_3HTD-f-S8 , http://youtu.be/qtKcwl0oBnM Helicopter gunships take part in the pounding http://youtu.be/qGOBc6FaCs4 Nighttime pounding leaves many homes on fire http://youtu.be/iCBlErrxm2E But the local resistance keep fighting back http://youtu.be/uTPGVCPVTjk , http://youtu.be/KgA7Asr9p9k , http://youtu.be/3mPAG5mid3U
And in Old Homs, the pounding never seems to stop: Jouret Al-Shayah http://youtu.be/WKhaSLVUXvo , http://youtu.be/hHc8iJCuuys , http://youtu.be/eE3IUC31094 , http://youtu.be/nG0iPcsNuz0 Mimas http://youtu.be/qmwugUJnOz4 Qoussour http://youtu.be/lMLDWu-v_gk , http://youtu.be/UdRwMu_jZpI The desolation that is Old Homs http://youtu.be/mB44ucqtifo , http://youtu.be/6UAdTGjAJdw , http://youtu.be/embUfbVVKQE An appeal in English http://youtu.be/bW8ZJ97tZMo
The inhabitants of Salqeen, Idlib Province, welcome members of the Free Syrian Army who rushed in to help the city, managing to liberate it http://youtu.be/100Nkm6Ul2w FSA clash with pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/JPDBBah-bMo , http://youtu.be/PqTUc_G5We4 Close-up look http://youtu.be/5DEtrDzIK80 Plumes of black smoke rise above city http://youtu.be/d-lPQn2IvxE At night, a mortar round targets the local Mosque of Rawdah http://youtu.be/tMFCVztnyLM
The nearby Kafar Takhareem gets pounded as well http://youtu.be/lYnLErBtYnQ
In Babouline, more soldiers defect http://youtu.be/XkvxxHOgn_0
The pounding of Daraa City intensifies: Al-Balad http://youtu.be/UY-_Y3NneiU , http://youtu.be/cn1uxFg2Py8 , http://youtu.be/ZYuc4_ds1bQ , http://youtu.be/rjMnk-UKWKE , http://youtu.be/gC2l1kDac80 , http://youtu.be/lYsb8KcpYlo , http://youtu.be/n16SkO0cl98 , http://youtu.be/lrTNA9a6NCs , http://youtu.be/Xa-EdsIO-XA , http://youtu.be/t6MAC5B-D5g , http://youtu.be/gnklvsVsxmI During the day, tanks took part in the pounding http://youtu.be/hk_K7suA20g
Nearby Al-Hraak is pounded by a helicopter gunship http://youtu.be/r3NaBC7Ehlg
Al-Lajat Region to the south of Daraa City was also severely pounded http://youtu.be/K9YSyHmqyUo Bosra was also pounded http://youtu.be/KDOPv-vNBKs
Clashes take place in the border town of Albou Kamal in Deir Ezzor Province: http://youtu.be/U6jq2drn7HM , http://youtu.be/oWRJvCxVTWM , http://youtu.be/hR8B07Bbc5M But local resistance try to fight back http://youtu.be/Q5gu58VTf-U
The pounding of Deir Ezzor City continues http://youtu.be/Fuyj2bhGbyw One of the positions taking part in pounding the city http://youtu.be/A54KUD-fX8E
In Aleppo, Eizaz was pounded by helicopters http://youtu.be/47maqgRvLRg Local resistance manage to take control of a truck load of ammunition http://youtu.be/ponYAhfqzBA And a tank http://youtu.be/i2OjOZmsbAI Anadan was pounded as well http://youtu.be/9bQfl7irKSc
In Jarablos, Aleppo, local fighters stand ready to defend their city http://youtu.be/1-tEXY9FTBc The dead bodies we see here belong to pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/Sutz1pA8JTw They also arrest one of the pro-Assad militia leaders, saying he and his friends were responsible for the death of 8 local fighters http://youtu.be/ueYt3NgUZG8 The fighters then dine on a meal of bread and vegetables http://youtu.be/4pU5SgGAHXg
In Jabal Al-Akrad, Lattakia Province, local fighters are now making their own missiles: here, they are testing one http://youtu.be/_rGSicsk7aE But the missiles falling on Salma fired by pro-Assad militias are all too devastating http://youtu.be/CMueNjwoXGI