Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MIGs Bomb Damascus!

In terms of sheer numbers and scale of the devastation, modern history has certainly known worse tragedies. But this particular tragedy is unfolding in Damascus, the oldest living repository of human memories in history. Moreover, it’s unfolding right now, in full daylight, and not long after the world made its “never again” promise. What good is the international order and what value have its promises if they cannot stand up to the madness and avarice of few mad men?

Tuesday September 18, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 160. The Breakdown: 67 in Damascus and suburbs where the majority died under aerial shelling in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and Mlheiha, 30 in Deir Ezzor, 26 in Aleppo, 16 in Idlib, 11 in Daraa, 6 in Homs, 2 in Raqqa, 1 in Hama and 1 in Banyas (LCC).


Special Reports
“To Assad, the rallies spurred by the Islam-bashing film were heaven-sent: they have given credence to his claims that the Arab Spring is at heart an Islamist spring and that al Qaeda and its affiliates will be empowered as a result,” says Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian activist based in America. “Meanwhile, the rallies have also distracted international attention from the current mayhem unfolding in Syria, and they might give pause to any calls for intervention.”
It remains to be seen whether the controversy will result in any lasting gains for Syria or for Hezbollah, whose reputation has suffered severely for siding with the Assad regime even after supporting revolts in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Bahrain.
Out of Istanbul, the two Gulf states play a game of conflicting favorites that is getting in the way creating a unified rebel force to topple the Assad regime
Owen Bennett Jones asks how and why Syria's House of Assad has survived so long.
The Syrian government has tried with great determination and dexterity to fragment the society and to exploit sectarian differences and class differences to prevent the emergence of a secular nonsectarian nationalist opposition. Michael Provence is the director of the Middle East Studies Programs at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on the colonial and post-colonial Arab world, particularly popular insurgency and nationalism, and he has travelled and lived in many countries in the region including Lebanon and Syria.
Although many Turks at first agreed with their government’s support for the Syrian opposition, many now believe it is undermining Turkey’s economy and security.
How the Gaza flotilla organizers became the best hope of Syrian refugees abandoned by the world.

Ammar Abdulhamid & Khawla Yusuf: The Shredded Tapestry: The State of Syria Today
And here is an interview to a Turkish TV channel conducted by my old friend and partner in crime in Tharwa, Barzan Iso: Video, Transcript

The Great Distraction

Building on my quote in the Daily Beast today:

“To Assad, the current rallies spurred by Islam-bashing film were heaven-sent: they have given credence to his claims that the Arab Spring is at heart an Islamist Spring and that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates will be empowered as a result.”

Indeed, Assad’s violent and bloody crackdown against protesters and his war crimes must seem all justified now to his followers in whose minds he must now appear as a prophet as well as a protector. From now forward, Assad’s followers will fight for him with even greater zeal, committing more massacres with greater impunity and relish.

“Meanwhile, the rallies have also distracted international attention from the current mayhem unfolding in Syria and might still give pause to any calling for intervention.

On the other hand, this development is already making many revolutionaries question even the Islamists’ commitment to the main goal of the revolution: the establishment of a democratic civil state. The divide between secularist and Islamist revolutionaries (by now mostly Sunni Arabs) continues to expand. But this is unlikely to push secular Sunnis back in the direction of Alawites and other confessional minorities in Syria. The sense of betrayal is too deep, and secular Sunni Arabs are still too divided along regional and ideological lines to be able to come together and decide on a common vision. They might the largest group demographically, but they are the most divided of all.

Meanwhile, MIGs have taken part in bombarding Damascus City for the first time today. Funny how the tragedy of it all seems so insignificant and irrelevant at this stage!

Video Highlights

Helicopter gunships take part in pounding the restive neighborhoods in southern parts of Damascus City and Eastern Ghoutah Region: Mleihah , Mazzeh Al-Qadam , MIGs took part in the pounding as well: Saqba , , Kafar Batna

Local rebels in the town of Eizaz, Aleppo Province, carry out a summary execution of a local informant: no specifics are provided. But the town has been under continuous pounding by MIGs for weeks