Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Policy or A Eulogy?

Anymore delays and the world will have to come up with a eulogy for Syria rather than a policy. But even then, one’s still has to wade in blood to attend the burial ceremonies. The fact that the world has chosen to turn its back on us does not mean that it will not be sucked, back first, into the developing black-hole.

Saturday October 20, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 123. The Breakdown: Toll includes 6 women and 5 children: 67 in Damascus its Suburbs (including 14 in Saqba and 10 in Arbeen), 19 in Aleppo, 14 in Deir Ezzor, 9 in Homs, 7 in Idlib, 4 in Daraa, and 3 in Hama. (LCC)

Other Developments: LCC counted 70 points of indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets including 8 shelled by fighter jets, and 5 with TNT barrels. Meanwhile, the FSA reported clashing with loyalist forces in 14 locations, carrying out 7 operations against regime loyalist positions.

News

Special Reports
Locals in eastern Turkey, bearing the brunt of the fallout from Turkey's involvement in Syria, believe Ankara is merely a pawn in US plans to foment conflict in the region.
Leading from the front against Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran, Wissam al-Hassan was an American ally.
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria has a long and tumultuous history of meddling into Lebanese affairs. For much of the past 30 years, the seven-times-smaller Lebanon has lived under Syrian military and political domination.
The blend of poverty, religious piety and anger could define the future of Aleppo, and perhaps the rest of Syria, if the rebels take over the country's largest city, which is also its economic engine. They may be tempted to push their own version of Islam, which is more fundamentalist than what is found in the city. Their bitterness at the business class may prompt them to seek ways of redistributing the wealth.
THE government of Syria, trying to contain a rapidly expanding insurgency, has resorted to one of the dirty tricks of the modern battlefield: salting the ammunition of anti-government fighters with ordnance that explodes inside rebels' weapons, often wounding and sometimes killing the fighters while destroying their hard-found arsenals.
Reporting from inside Syria is becoming increasingly difficult for foreign journalists. But all forms of media - particularly Syrian state TV - are strictly controlled to serve the interests of the regime, and Syria currently ranks 176th out of 179 countries in the International Press Freedom Index. BBC Monitoring's Mike Linstead explains how social media sites are becoming the new battleground for control of news and information as pro-government and anti-government activists use the internet to get their side of the conflict across.
Syria as a nation-state is crumbling…. The United States and Europe, in partnership with key regional states, must play a larger part in stemming the increasingly dangerous dimensions of the Syrian conflict. The reluctance of the United States to pursue difficult – but likely more effective – policy options, as well as the obvious divisions within the international community, are making a bad situation worse. This paper puts forward five policy principles to help revitalize the partnership between Syrians fighting for change and their supporters in the international community.

Op-Ed
Assad’s aggression is an expression of his contempt not just for Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan but, in addition, the United States. He sees, on the one hand, Iran rallying all the members of its alliance network in the region (Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite militants, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki) to prop him up and to isolate their common adversary, Turkey. On the other hand, Assad sees the US leaving its Turkish ally and the Syrian opposition alone in the cold.

Ammar Abdulhamid & Khawla Yusuf: The Shredded Tapestry: The State of Syria Today

Video Highlights

Leaked video shows pro-Assad militias celebrating around the burnt out remains of an activist from Douma Suburb, Damascus http://youtu.be/cpLoOqJOO20

Another leaked video, this one from Deir Ezzor City, shows how pro-Assad militias carry out their sweep operations, including intimidation of local civilians and random arrests http://youtu.be/bxXSeExN6Sk

A third leaked video shows a raid against a local field hospital. Pro-Assad militias interrogate and abuse the wounded asking to be shown where the guns are hidden. “Tell us where the guns are if you want to get out of here alive, otherwise you are all dead.” They focus their abuse especially on the man with a beard and a shaved moustache who is obviously a Salafi  http://youtu.be/t5T6usMTN8c

Sbeineh, Damascus: children among the dead http://youtu.be/RXOt5zbZiH0

Aleppo City: street battled continue in several locations: Salaheddine http://youtu.be/enPjkAKEa84

In Maraat Al-Nouman, Idlib Province: the pounding of the liberated city with fighter jets and TNT barrels continues http://youtu.be/Hgm9YSIPI0E

In Tal Abyad, Raqqah Province, a new Islamist fighting brigade is formed: The Grandchildren of the Prophet http://youtu.be/_Vh4MxVV2IA