Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The No-State Solution!

At this stage, and considering the absence of any serious dialogue on the future of Syria, it seems that the Syrian opposition and their regional and international backers have embraced the no-state solution regarding the current conflict. We can blame international conspiracies all we want, but the fault is essentially ours: the push and pull of different groups, the clash of ideologies, personalities and individual ambitions, the inability to be pragmatic and accept the obvious, all these things are our faults. If Syria is not the first item on our separate agendas, if its integrity is not put above our ideological preferences, then it cannot survive, or prosper. If no common vision is put forward and agreed, there will be no peace, and no Syria.

Wednesday November 21, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 108, including 2 women and 3 children: 40 in Aleppo (most result of shelling in Al-Shaar), 30 in Damascus and suburbs, 11 in Homs, 8 in Idlib, 7 in Lattakia, 5 in Deir Ezzor, 4 in Daraa, and 1 in Raqqah. Points of Random Shelling:  196: 58 by mortar, 108 by artillery,  29 by missile, 14 by war jets, and by barrel bombs. Clashes:  82. Developments: Rebels blocked several regime attempts to storm cities and towns in Eastern Ghoutah, Damascus, and blew a number of personnel carriers in different areas across Syria (LCC).

News
Turkey has requested deployment of NATO air defense missiles over Syria civil war concerns NATO doesn’t want to be drawn into the Syrian conflict and said it would consider deploying the missiles purely to protect Turkey, a member country. Any deployment of NATO forces needs the approval of the alliance’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council.

Special Reports
"This is a war budget in which the bulk is spent on the army and state employees to keep the government machinery going so that it continues to function, especially in the areas that are still under its control, and to show that the state is still on its feet," said Samir Seifan, a prominent Syrian economist. He was involved in policymaking before the crisis but has since fled the country.
Protests gave birth to the anti-Assad uprising, but now some in Syria say they simply make for an easy target for regime planes. Others say they're important to keep new leaders accountable.
Mr Assad is no longer the patron of Hamas, a Sunni Islamist organisation which moved its headquarters out of Damascus after the Syrian uprising. Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader, has openly backed his Sunni brethren in their battle to oust Mr Assad’s minority Alawite regime… On Wednesday, in an apparent attempt by Damascus to remain relevant, Syrian media said a Palestinian militant group based in the country, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, had claimed responsibility for an explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv.
The capture of the fields is another blow to the Syrian government’s attempt to offset inflation and shortages of various goods in the areas it still controls. It also has set off a booming oil trade in this impoverished area. Dozens of trucks wait in line 24 hours a day to fill up at rebel-held wells, which produce a light crude that can be burned without refining, though the result is dense smoke. Some farmers insist the unrefined crude can be used to power farm equipment, though it seems primarily to be used for heat.
Leading opposition figure says $60b needed to prevent economy from collapsing within six months if Assad's regime falls.
China continues to leave off the table the possibility of sanctions or other punitive measures as a way to convince the regime to stop the violence. Without them, the Syrian government has no reason to end the bloodshed: it has the upper hand both militarily and politically, and it has more sophisticated equipment and control of government institutions. So what can China do to signal it is serious about a political settlement in Syria? Given Beijing’s reluctance to impose sanctions, a small but significant action would be to recognize the recently formed National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as representative of the opposition movement.
The Syrian opposition has elected its new leaders. Will this make outside intervention more likely? Marina Ottaway, Tony Badran, Mordechai Kedar, and others weigh in.
The insurgents on the ground in Syria appear to be winning more and more territory and confiscating more and more high-grade materiel from President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Just as Operation Pillar of Defense was kicking off over Gaza on Nov. 14, the Free Syrian Army took the entire city of al-Bukamal along the Iraqi border, where they also sacked two major airbases, giving the opposition a strong military foothold in Syria's easternmost province, a vital smuggling route for weapons.
MALOULA, Syria — In a country clouded by conflict, where neighbors and families are now divided by sectarian hatred, this mountaintop town renowned for its spiritual healing qualities and restorative air is an oasis of tolerance. Residents of the ancient and mainly Christian town — one of the last places where Western Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, is still spoken — vowed at the beginning of the Syrian conflict 20 months ago not to succumb to sectarianism and be dragged into the chaos.
The evidence surveyed here does not, as of yet, suggest the existence of an organized campaign of militant Islamic persecution of Christians throughout Syria, especially along the lines of what has happened in Iraq since 2003. Indeed, one should not overlook the fact that Christians have been playing active roles in the opposition. At the same time, disinformation exists about this phenomenon too.



Foreign fighters began trickling into Syria a few months after the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, according to Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident who is a fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Most of the opposition is made up of Sunni Muslims while Assad belongs to the minority Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam. Not all the foreign fighters are extremist or al-Qaeda affiliates. Some are moderate Muslims or liberals, driven by romantic notions and a sense of Arab solidarity, Abdulhamid said. …

The overwhelming majority are considered “dead weight,” said Abdulhamid. Tensions between rebels and foreign fighters mean that “oftentimes, foreign fighters stay in separate camps with a few like-minded Syrian recruits who help them secure their basic needs from nearby villages.”

Video Highlights

Rebels in Gassam, Daraa, trying to take down a MiG http://youtu.be/vY7Ussmdu4g On the other end of Syria, in Alboukamal, Deir Ezzor Province, rebels succeed in bringing down their target http://youtu.be/Wr8wvNeu7wI

Locals pull bodies from under the rubble in Aleppo City after a field hospital and a nearby building were bombed in Al-Shaar Neighborhood http://youtu.be/K55QZa3AaD0 , http://youtu.be/58fInKBbyBU , http://youtu.be/wKuasppHz28 , http://youtu.be/i5cNoNQjc_s , http://youtu.be/YieyrEapr6Q

Nearby towns were pounded by MiGs: Dar Azzah http://youtu.be/7POvoUypLEs

The pounding of the town of Zabadani along the Lebanese border in Damascus Suburbs continues http://youtu.be/OMI1mh1iwhc closer to Damascus City, missile launchers targeted the suburb of Daraya http://youtu.be/PoWJhAxP10Q

Rebels pushed back another attack on Eastern Ghoutah, Damascus: blowing up a tank in Ain Terma http://youtu.be/9sMI9DSD59E The pounding by jets continued in Jisreen http://youtu.be/_q8iXT9v30E Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/brYq79GZv1o Saqba http://youtu.be/szYcY4hSHgQ The people of Harasta leave the suburb en masse http://youtu.be/VV_3q8NeY18

In Homs, the pounding of Deir Baalbah Suburb intensifies http://youtu.be/cru-zpLdBmY  The pounding of the nearby town of Rastan continues http://youtu.be/P-VK6vVPpCc

Regime jets pound the town of Ma’rrat Al-Nouman in Idlib Province http://youtu.be/tmb2s7ZDgjU , http://youtu.be/ju9hT81nHGs Eltaman’ah also pounded http://youtu.be/vMSIca1OjtE And Mahambil http://youtu.be/kWYicrLYVt4 And Kafroumah http://youtu.be/3MZE0csBhuM

Rebels and loyalists clashed in Deir Ezzor City http://youtu.be/s9Br4kFK3kQ a rockets a rebel neighborhood http://youtu.be/xf-CyR5WJLI The pounding of the town of Mayadeen continues http://youtu.be/3feu0r-9D1Q