Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Qardaha Rebellion!

On Turkey’s retaliatory bombing, I have only this to say:  either go all the way armed with a strategy and an end-game in mind, one that is commensurate with the expectations of those seeking democratic change in Syria, or don’t go at all. We don’t need more gratuitous devastation in our country as the conflict is allowed to fester, the state to collapse, and the country to devolve. We need intervention with clear strategy and vision, not some haphazard strikes meant more to demonstrate toughness for the benefit of a domestic audience.

Monday October 1, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 200. The Breakdown: toll includes 15 children and 6 women. 67 in Damascus and Suburbs (among them 16 field-executed in Douma and 19 martyrs in Qudsaya), 43 in Aleppo, 29 in Idlib (including an entire family martyred due to shelling on Sahen town), 27 in Hama (mostly children and women),16 in Daraa, 8 in Homs, 7 in Deir Ezzor; and 3 in Raqqa (LCC).

News

Special Reports
In 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) determined that sovereignty requires states to protect their populations from atrocity crimes. The concept, known as the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2005 and by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a January 2009 report. The Security Council itself has invoked R2P in its resolutions regarding the Darfur and Libya crises. Even so, the ICISS report anticipated the problem of Security Council paralysis, leaving scope for R2P action without its authorization.
Residents of al-Raqqa, known as "hotel" of the revolution, tell combatants to spare them as rebels plan to take city.
Fierce fighting in Aleppo left a UNESCO World Heritage Site in tatters as world leaders left the UN General Assembly meeting no closer to a resolution for the 19-month conflict.
There seems no easy solution to end the crisis. But now, Syria’s neighbors are getting worried. Syria’s problems will not stay confined to Syria. Syria is a multi-sectarian society with shared identities with groups in other countries. As a result, the sectarian tensions that are being unleashed there are also spilling over from Syria’s borders.

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

The Qardaha  Rebellion

What began as simple dispute match between the head of pro-Assad militias in town and some members of rival clans soon turned into an armed clash the spilled over nearby communities. The details are still murky, but deaths were reported on both sides, and tanks had to move in to bring order back. At issue were the rising number of deaths among members of Assad critics in the Alawite communities vis-à-vis deaths reported within the Assad clan itself and its main allies: the Makhlouf and Shaleesh clans. It seems Assad what was not only sign Sunni and Christian recruit as cannon fodder in his war against rebels and their supporters, he was pushing members of rival Alawite clans into the front lines as well in order to safeguard his own loyalist base. Top Assad, not Alawites are equal, and that is beginning to show.

But what is showing even more is the proximity of rebel forces to Qardaha itself, among other Alawite villages and towns. Rebels in the al-Akrad and Turkmen mountains to the north of Lattakia, wedged between the city of Lattakia and the Turkish borders, have been gaining the upper hand against pro-Assad militias, for all the fires and the shelling taking part. Recently they have taken whole Alawite villages and shrines, long after their inhabitants were evacuated and are now within shouting distance from Assad’s hometown. The man, who presented himself to his community as their protector, has been focusing his attention everywhere else but the heartland of his community. As a result people now feel threatened.

Rebels pose for a photo next to a famous Alawite shrine, few kilometers from Assad’s hometown of Qardaha.
A video clips showing an overview of the hills and villages that fell under rebel control http://youtu.be/ljj6Nm-4VSw

But in Damascus, it’s the rebels and the inhabitants of the Suburbs and nearby neighborhoods in Damascus City itself who are embattled and threatened. Assad strategy there as elsewhere seem to call for creating a refugee problem by pushing the people further and further away from the major cities into the surrounding desert, hills and open fields. The earlier worries that a refugee problem could pave the way for intervention have long evaporated, and the Assad is about to send a few hundreds thousands refugees into neighboring countries, and increasing the numbers of the internally dislocated from 2 to several millions.

Video Highlights

The indiscriminate shelling of restive neighborhoods in Aleppo City continues: Kallasseh http://youtu.be/DYb58DZLFYE
The city of Taftanaz, Idlib, is pounded by fighter jets http://youtu.be/NfyJ6Unmg0A


A massacre perpetrated against the Palestinians inhabitants in Daraa City by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/GulFl4APOog , http://youtu.be/3KZckVJoqX0  

In addition to pounding rebellious suburbs to he East of Damascus City, pro-Assad militias shifted their attention to include towns to the west of the city, focusing in particular on Qoudsaya http://youtu.be/wo3MrHxNZH8 , http://youtu.be/C4GVKNGyp78 and Hameh http://youtu.be/b36UBI_mtok Meanwhile, the pounding of the town of Zabadani along the borders with Lebanon never abated http://youtu.be/iKcxPVr7C9Y , http://youtu.be/ytvxjXixA-o