Friday, August 10, 2012

To some, failure seems an option!

Iran, Russia, China, Assad and the rebels are doing their part, the rest of the world is not. Doing your part is more than an occasional show of sympathy, occasional infusion of cash, or an occasional shipment of light weapons and ammunition, a systematic assault on freedom requires an equally systematic response to make sure that the right side wins. But no one, it seems, has done his homework. Considering that this is the only consistent response on part of certain international players, perhaps then, to them, failure in Syria is something they think they can live with.

Thursday August 9, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 134. The Breakdown: 47 in Aleppo City, 40 in Damascus City and Suburbs (including 7 unidentified bodies in Kafar Sousseh), 21 in Idlib, 14 in Daraa, 5 in Deir Ezzor, 3 in Hama, 3 in Homs and 1 in Qamishlo (LCC figures).  

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Deir Al-Asafeer, Ain Terma, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Midan, Tadamon, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh, Salhiyeh, Ruknaddine, Dafelshawk (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak , Saida, Tal Shihab (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, Ma’rrat Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha, Kafroumah, Al-Rami, Khan Shaikhoon (Idlib).

News

Op-Eds & Special Reports
Is Syria's balance of firepower close to a tipping point? As Free Syrian Army blames ammunition shortage for pulling back in Damascus, regime is also struggling with logistics issues… What is counterintuitive… is how little hard evidence there is so far of large amounts of weapons being delivered from outside. What evidence there is of weapons entering the country suggests that so far it has largely been small arms.

State of War: Syria’s Crusader Castles and Medieval Fortresses TIME looks at a number of Syria's most famous medieval fortresses, some of which are nearly a millennium old.

Syria Conflict: Anadan Turned Into Ghost Town After Shelling In this town near Aleppo, "Freedom Square" has been renamed "Destruction Square" by a young Syrian activist who once sang to protesters gathered for peaceful pro-democracy rallies.

Out of Syria: An Expelled Italian Priest Calls for Peace and Reconciliation A 57-year-old Italian cleric who has lived in Syria for more than thirty years speaks out on the nature of the conflict and his hopes for peace.

The real test in Syria is whether fear is at an end All revolutions against dictatorial regimes are, at some level, about the transfer of fear. Populations afraid of regimes shift to regimes afraid of populations. The true test of progress, however, is whether the revolution undermines the use of fear as a tool of governance.

Iran preparing for post-Assad era in Syria Though Iran is still loyal to the Syrian regime, the time has come to start considering other options – Iran’s recent political maneuvers show that it is doing just that. Syria captive rift: Iran defiant, Hezbollah silent "The situation in Syria is complicated and every country is trying to protect its interests," said conservative Iranian parliament member Javad Jahangirzadeh. "Syria is Lebanon's neighbor, but not Iran's neighbor. So it's not surprising they are adopting different policies."


Every piece advice by an official or an analyst, every warning, every exhortation, every homily, is, by now, academic. Everything about this revolution and its course was all too predictable, and what needed to be done to prevent the devolution into mayhem that are witnessing today was known to each and every expert and politician willing to put ideology aside and see the facts for what they are: the situation in Syria begged for a combination of diplomatic pressures, air strikes and a willingness to work with the opposition on transition planning. Nothing less could have worked, nothing more was needed. But the powers-that-be have waited too long, each for its own purposes, and missed very conceivable opportunity to help produce an outcome that was there for the taking: a democratic pro-western Syria. Achieving this goal is not necessarily impossible now, but what could have been accomplished in months, and little expense and sacrifice, will now take years, if not decades, and a heavy investment in human and material terms. But the same calculations that prevented intervention before would likely prevent it in the future. Syria is being consigned to becoming a failed state.

Video Highlights

Aleppo City: The pounding of Salaheddine http://youtu.be/glKafCeL5qc , http://youtu.be/bIPZm7Y6XvY , http://youtu.be/pV1yc1KeLYA Clashes http://youtu.be/NpJonZiiKqI ,  http://youtu.be/5NlQKM0MBmo , http://youtu.be/d3RcrYiT7s4 , http://youtu.be/shx5D8JNMJk , http://youtu.be/kAX7TxnS2GU Fighter jets took part in the pounding http://youtu.be/3Ve6sI7JoeA , http://youtu.be/Dq0qcRE8vhA Building catches fire http://youtu.be/CjCOqTBlbZc Impact of shelling http://youtu.be/p1Ot8F1p9fQ , http://youtu.be/9CwbiY8qCh4 Building in Sheikh Faris Neighborhood catches fire on account of continuous pounding http://youtu.be/5PF4WrVPbVU Civilians streaming out of the neighborhood of Bab Al-Hadid http://youtu.be/f1xR86d-cBM to escape these clashes http://youtu.be/KbIBJBVgtVM

At end of the day, local fighters issue a statement saying that, contrary to new reports, they have not pulled out from Salaheddine http://youtu.be/BAqKMJtxwMs A similar statement was made by another fighter from a different part of the neighborhood http://youtu.be/HtJIxz29ykk But both statements were issued earlier on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Aleppo Province, a new fighting brigade is formed and given the name of the old armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood from back in 1970s and 1980s http://youtu.be/khY60GP0Jz8 Could this be one of the brigades being established by the Muslim Brotherhood that activists have long been talking about?

Now that Assad has been allowed to use fighter jets with nary a meaningful reaction from the international community, he using them everywhere and not only in Aleppo city and Province. Indeed, fighter jets are now used in the pounding of Mouhassan in Deir Ezzor Province to the northeast http://youtu.be/SwWD4UCnoNI and the pounding of Kafrenbel in Idlib province http://youtu.be/6L304KZb8bY , http://youtu.be/iLxFCgsvwaw Kafroumah, Idlib http://youtu.be/ZonQ9hIgYo8

This pattern of tentative use of a certain controversial weapon (beginning with tanks, mortars, heavy artillery, helicopter gunships and finally fighter jets) followed by larger scale use is clearly meant to gauge international reaction, and it’s clear that the lack of reaction is encouraging Assad to go all out. International dithering has clearly encouraged and fed Assad’s belligerence.

Despite this, the local rebels in Kafrenbel maintain their Guerilla attack against pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/JKPaz6bWYtk , http://youtu.be/rfvu05Zuel0 , http://youtu.be/Wuy_qSDjd2M , http://youtu.be/V16fjzVeBK4 and keep inflicting losses http://youtu.be/AGhtc9mCYZc This local activist says that the local rebels have destroyed Assad’s tanks with weapons they made with their own hands and vows to destroy Assad’s planes in the same way http://youtu.be/HotAtC6VXAs

The pounding of neighborhoods in Homs City continues: Baba Amr http://youtu.be/GWQyvXlq5Gw , http://youtu.be/wXSl28B31lQ

The pounding of the nearby cities of Rastan, Houla, Al-Qusary, Tal Kalakh and Talbisseh is continuing as well: Rastan http://youtu.be/RGLi9Vi2SKE

In Daraa City, locals bury 8 unidentified bodies belonging to rebels http://youtu.be/yJG2XCryKm4

In Lattakia province, local Turkmen clans form a new fighting brigade to defend their territory against ongoing attempt at ethnic cleansing by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/3d-LQ7LDSMU