Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Wounded Lion!

Jubilation and continuing bloodshed, but things are bound to get worse, because a wounded lion is a dangerous animal.

Wednesday July 18, 2012

Today’s Death toll:  187. The Breakdown: 106 in Damascus (69 in the Suburbs, including 60 in Sit Zeinab, and 37 in the City), 16 in Daraa, 15 in Aleppo, 15 in Idlib, 10 in Dier Ezzor, 7 in Hama, 2 in Lattakia, 2 in Suweida and 1 in Qunaitra.


Op-Eds & Special Reports

Battle in Damascus Netizens question whether deadly blast could be the beginning of the end for President Assad's government.

What Americans would do for Syriaresults of a new survey by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, published exclusively today on, reveals a general consensus among Americans of what they are and are not willing to do to help end the bloodshed in Syria.  A sizable majority of those polled support a U.S. role in enforcing sanctions and a no-fly zone in Syria (though a larger majority opposes bombing Syrian air defenses, which could be a prerequisite step to enforcing a no-fly zone). At the same time, overwhelming majorities oppose more forceful measures such as arming the Syrian opposition or sending troops into Syria.

I won’t delve into the countless conspiracy theories being promoted by different experts and their informed sources regarding the assassinations of some of Assad’s most senior partners. For beyond all conspiracy theories, there lies an important fact of which we should be quite mindful at this stage, namely that a wounded lion is the most dangerous animal of all. This is even more true, if the wound is self-inflicted, as some who see in the assassinations an internal liquidation of potential rivals argue.

As we near end-game in Syria, the potential use of WMDs in the conflict grows exponentially. If Assad is bent on holding on, whether as president of a re-tamed state or of an ethnically cleansed and loyal enclave, there is no other weapons in his arsenal that can help him achieve this end. After so many months of shelling and failing to subdue, Assad and his supporters must see by now the limits of conventional weapons. Since, we are not dealing here with people who are prone to sudden attacks of decency, we have to begin to seriously consider the fact that use of WMDs in this conflict might be just around the corner.

Yet, the only contingency plans for dealing with the potential use of WMDs in Syria that came to my attention are those that will be employed after the fact. This is not only unacceptable, it’s downright immoral and shameful.  

Preemption is what we need to be concerned about in this case. The risks are already too real, as evidenced by the recent moving of parts of the WMD stockpile, according to the State Department’s own leaks.  There is no matter preemption in case of wounded than finishing the job. The U.S. should act to put Assad out of our misery.

As for what other steps the administration could do, Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute makes excellent recommendations:

·         In coordination with key allies, urge Assad both publicly and privately to leave for exile with his remaining family while he still has a chance to avoid the fate of Muammar Qadhafi and Saddam Hussein.
·         Privately urge Iran and Russia to remove any residual military presence in Syria.
·         Convene leaders of the Syrian opposition (both civilian and military) and key "Friends of Syria" (e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and major European powers) to discuss a blueprint for the endgame, including the formation of a successor government-in-waiting. Neither Russia nor Iran should be invited. This is as much political theater as practical policymaking, given that the goal at the moment should be to drive an ever-deeper wedge between Assad and his shrinking circle of support, especially among Alawites outside his clan and his remaining Sunni collaborators.
·         Work with the Syrian opposition, the Arab League, and Turkey to issue a statement offering specific commitments to the protection of Syrian minorities in the event of Assad's departure, with reference to Alawites, Christians, Kurds, and Druze.
·         Dispatch military/security officials to consult with Syria's neighbors -- Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel -- in a high-profile display of coordination to warn Assad against a desperate, last-chance external adventure.
·         Begin intensive preparations for the deployment of an international stabilization and humanitarian support force designed to reduce the risks associated with post-Assad transition. Its mission should include securing and possibly removing Syria's chemical weapons stocks, supporting the successor government's efforts to prevent violent retribution against Alawites and others perceived as pro-Assad, and providing humanitarian assistance. The latter element should include medical care (on hospital ships and onshore) and other aid to Syrians who suffered during the regime's brutal crackdown, as well as assisting in the repatriation of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Although this could eventually become a UN-sanctioned operation, it is important for the United States to take the lead in defining the mission with key allies as soon as possible.

Damascus Video Highlights


The pounding by helicopter gunships leaves over 60 dead in Sit Zeinab (AKA Sayyida Zeinab) ,

Mass grave was uncovered in eh suburb of Douma


Parts of Midan District have fallen completely under the control of the local resistance who can now patrol its alleys openly , A tank was destroyed in clashes meant to secure the neighborhoods The pounding of Midan These are the pro-Assad militias pouring into Midan

Protesters come under fire in Filasteen Camp Some were wounded But members of the local resistance soon rush in to protect the local inhabitants Protesters control the local police station

In Jobar, a helicopter gunship takes part in the pounding

In Suwaiqah, local barricade themselves Clashes take place in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad Clashes take place in Kafar Sousseh

The neighborhood of Al-Qadam was pounded , Snipers weigh on as well And pro-Assad militias carry out some field executions when they can

At 7:30 pm local time, explosions could be heard from downtown Damascus, near the headquarters of Syrian Arab News Agency in Baramkeh

Black smoke rises over the city

At night, members of the local resistance conduct several operations, leading to the destructions of a number of tanks in Midan Al-Qadam: nighttime pounding , Nighttime clashes take place in Kafar Sousseh At night, parts of the Mazzeh District, came under fire

Helicopter gunships take off from Mazzeh Military Airport to take turn pounding the neighborhoods ,

The Burbs

Black smoke rises over the Eastern Ghoutah (Ain Terma) as a result of clashes and pounding: Zamalka

Saqba comes under intense pounding , Nearby Kafar Batna witness some clashes as well Harasta was pounded

In the suburbs, Daraya was pounded (night)

Other Video Highlights

In Saraqib, Idlib, a massacre takes place on account of the shelling that the town suffered. There were many children among the dead , , A mother and two daughters

The nearby Ma’arrat Al-Nouman is pounded Kafar Sajnah is pounded ,

The pounding of Arba’een Neighborhood in Hama City

In Na’eemah, Daraa, a funeral comes under fire

Jabal Al-Akrad in Lattakia, pounded by helicopter gunships Forests fires keep raging The pounding continues

Members of the local resistance in Eizaz, Aleppo, destroy four another tanks belonging to the pro-Assad militias , /But helicopter gunships continue to pound the city

The local resistance controls the town of Marei

Defectors organize a unit fighting unit in Aleppo

The pounding of Deir Ezzor City continues Martyrs