Sunday, July 1, 2012

R2P vs. D2A – Transition Vs. Partition!

While world leaders refuse to commit to their Responsibility to Protect, as evidenced by the fiasco in Geneva, Assad is wholeheartedly committed to his “Duty to Annihilate,” as he so kindly put it. Political pressures will not change Assad’s mind. Unless plans are formed in consultation with Syrian opposition groups and introduced under UN Chapter VII allowing for clear enforcement mechanisms to be agreed, Assad’s war against the Syrian people will continue, so will the massacres, the ethnic cleansing, and the irrevocable disintegration of Syria. 

Sunday July 01, 2012

A number of massacres were perpetrated by pro-Assad militias over the last 48 hours. The largest of which took place lace in Saturday June 30 in the Damascene Suburb of Zamalka when 85 people were killed when a car bomb went off during the funeral for a local activist.

The moment of the explosion http://youtu.be/HNUg448Erls The first few seconds following the explosion http://youtu.be/RlBM2wj-44M Retrieving bodies http://youtu.be/6LBdU9xzHsg , http://youtu.be/U-Sm9EQ7DIc , http://youtu.be/UglcLe5YgqE Helping the wounded http://youtu.be/LW9HqAvj1T4 Collecting the bodies in the local field hospital http://youtu.be/YMIq4AoTPBQ Preparing for the burial http://youtu.be/FP0kozCv0wQ , http://youtu.be/xjB-NEdb20w The burial http://youtu.be/L17lhUIZdfc , http://youtu.be/uKVwd8FZrEc

News




Op-Eds & Special Reports
Disorganized Like a Fox Why it's a great thing that the Syrian opposition is fragmented.





Paper trail leads to Damascus Sticking to its reactionary, faux-revolutionary politics, the paper (Al-Akhbar) has regularly delivered fulsome praise for Assad, portraying him as the last bulwark against Western imperialism.

This time, the delay in sending out updates was not caused by traveling but by power outage caused by the recent storm that hit the Washington Metro Areas.  

This interview was given on May 31, some things have changed since, but most arguments remain quite relevant
 "After more than a year of conflict, the violence in Syria is finally being recognized as a civil war. This weekend, world powers are preparing for a high-level meeting that the US hopes will be a turning point in the Syria crisis. To discuss the international community's search for solutions and the goals of protesters, AAM sits down with Ammar Abdulhamid, a leading Syrian human rights and pro-democracy activist, and fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies." (The interview could also be watched on YouTube).

By Ammar Abdulhamid, Reuf Bajrovic and Kurt Bassuener
“U.S. domestic politics emboldened Milosevic in both Bosnia and Kosovo; it is doing the same in Syria. To prevent Syria from becoming the new Bosnia, the West should apply its Balkan lessons before Assad finishes applying his. The United States must lead, lest it once again stain its collective conscience.”

On the Geneva Conference and the proposed unity government

A plan without clear endgame and clear enforcement mechanisms is not a plan meant to save Syria, but one meant to stall for time and save face of certain leaders who couldn’t agree on anything of substance.


“Rebels report that nearly 200 tanks have moved to positions on the Turkish border, north of the city of Aleppo. The tanks are apparently there to attack rebel held towns, not fight invading Turks. In the last two days, the Turks have moved more troops and anti-aircraft missile units to the Syrian border.”

Comment: We should soon find out if the Turks mean business or if their move is another empty gesture. Assad and his militias are willing to gamble, because they believe they have a strong fallback position along the coast. The only thing they have to lose is control over areas that are already beyond their control. So, while world leaders talk transition, Assad & Co. are working towards partition.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s and NATO’s true intentions are more accurately captured by these comments by Andrew Finkel in the New Yorker:

Yes, Syria’s implosion could degenerate into a regional conflict involving Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and maybe even Russia. And yes, Turkey has summoned other NATO members to discuss the threat to its national security under Article 4 of the alliance’s treaty. But the odds that these tensions with Syria will trigger Article 5 and require NATO to respond in collective self-defense are basically nonexistent: The last and only time that article was invoked was in response to 9/11. Neither Turkey nor the rest of NATO is looking for a fight.

But the world does not move by intentions. There are now hundreds of tanks and missile batteries on either sides of a very porous and hot border, which opens the doors for all different sorts of nasty possibilities, and a showdown of sorts is looming.

The Obama Administration’s attempt at containing the matter by casting doubts on the Turkish version of what took place in regard to the downing of the Turkish jet is not only inadvisable, it’s downright foolish. Undermining your only NATO ally in the region is stupid politics. First E.U. gives Turkey the cold shoulder and now the U.S. Meanwhile, Russia is sticking by her allies through thick and thin.

Turkey might be about to get embroiled in a war after many months of trying to stay aloof. The final decision has not been made yet, and the U.S. may be trying to dissuade the Turks, but this may not be that realistic at this stage. Just as Obama has certain domestic calculations to take into account, so do Turkey’s leaders.

Indeed Erdogan might truly distrust his generals, but Assad’s actions are challenging his and his generals’ credibility at this stage. As such, they may not have a choice but to put their differences aside and embark on a course of action meant primarily to shore up their embattled image at home, and their ability to retain credibility in a region that shows no mercy for the weak.  The vacillations of Turkey over the last few months and the inherent contradictions between official statements and official actions have had a negative effect on the way Turkey and her leaders are being perceived in the region. Seeing that Turkey has no alternative at this stage but to pursue its eastward drive, its shaken image there has to be redressed. Erdogan in particular needs to show that he is capable of making difficult choices when it comes to foreign entanglements. 

Video Highlights

Locals in Mourek, Hama Province, find unidentified bodies in their town http://youtu.be/By4QLCcYric

The pounding of Houla, Homs Province, continues http://youtu.be/aMWv1O3n36k , http://youtu.be/vDR5mmr_kgk

Locals from the Damascene Suburb of Arbeen claim that the object we see here falling from a helicopter gunship is a person that was executed by pro-Assad troops http://youtu.be/LVUfcfM8Npg

In Homs City, the pounding of the Old Neighborhood continues http://youtu.be/6M4PVXbZydo , http://youtu.be/sVQa_Idf3wE , http://youtu.be/o3jCtgL2i6k Meanwhile, the pounding of Houla continues http://youtu.be/R5wguG-iqEs , http://youtu.be/YxDDXdrPZtc , http://youtu.be/Y8SscIVImm8 and Talbisseh http://youtu.be/4tNwakqPxNA In Rastan, choppers take part in the pounding http://youtu.be/78mDGGjS5e4 In Bouaydah Sharqiyeh http://youtu.be/zekie3xZJu8 The ethnic cleansing of the town of Ghanto is almost complete http://youtu.be/hDswlo4blJ8 But in Houla, locals bury their dead and remain defiant http://youtu.be/WXNn158RUpI

In Deir Ezzor City: rescuing the wounded of today’s shelling http://youtu.be/cC_tnPZI3W8

In Khirbet Ghazaleh, Daraa, the pounding continues http://youtu.be/8hJL6TdkadY In Daraa City as well http://youtu.be/gS13aDz22Wo A helicopter gunship takes part in the pounding in Matayeh http://youtu.be/M8IFf83NLVk And in Taybeh http://youtu.be/CAgzGWsp3uc

In the restive areas of Lattakia Province, pro-Assad militias start forest fires to drive out local fighters http://youtu.be/BEHYVk0meQ8 IN nearby town of Jisr Ashoughour in Idlib Province, the same tactic is employed http://youtu.be/BlknPrEtwew And in Rastan http://youtu.be/shH1INddCrs

In Damascus Suburbs, the regime follows the massacre in Zamalka, by intensive pounding of the nearby towns of Harasta http://youtu.be/YlOzqjQmR5c , http://youtu.be/0bOFzIxjGns and Douma http://youtu.be/McGLmxdDXUQ

The Geneva Conference