Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Worst Case Unfolding!

Through a combination of American indifference and Russian connivance, the nightmare scenario in Syria we have been dreading for long has now been created. Whether this was done intentionally, as the conspiracy-minded among us will vehemently assert, or unintentionally, as a result of the shortsightedness, indifference and the general lack of resolve that often befalls American policy-making circles, does not really matter. This is what we have to contend with now. It is not clear whether a change at the helm in the U.S. will bring the change in attitude necessary to make an immediate difference in this regard.

Monday November 05, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 162. The Breakdown: Toll includes 7 children and 8 women: 72 in Idlib (32 killed in the aerial raid on Kafrenbel), 47 in Damascus and Suburbs, 17 in Aleppo; 12 in Deir Ezzor; 5 in Daraa; 4 in Lattakia; 3 in Homs; and 2 in Hama (LCC).

News

Special Reports
Desperate for foreign intervention, some rebels say they hope the party that brought on the Iraq war might also bring America to Syria.
It's been more than three months since rebels in Syria launched an offensive to take Aleppo. In the early days of the offensive, the rebels were able to take about half the city. But since then, neither the rebels nor government forces have managed to gain the upper hand, leaving many to declare the battle for Aleppo — and the battle for Syria — a stalemate.
The outsiders, who entered Aleppo in July, have fought to a deadlock with government forces. Many residents of the once-prosperous city resent the fighters' presence.
Even if they oppose Assad, many Kurds, particularly those aligned with the PYD, see the rebels as Islamist thugs acting on behalf neighboring Turkey to control a post-Assad Syria. Many insurgents, meanwhile, resent the PYD and its armed supporters for staying out of the war against Assad, accusing it of being a cat’s paw for the regime.
ALEPPO, Syria — Syrian rebels at the front are turning against their commanders, accusing them of being cowards by fleeing abroad and failing to unite a cause that has been increasingly hijacked by Islamists.

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

What began as a diverse cross-communal protest movement in Syria soon devolved into a civil war – a development facilitated by an overwhelming use of force and deployment of sectarian tactics on part of the Assad regime coupled with international indifference. But the devolution of the conflict into a civil war pitting the majority Sunni community against a regime supported mostly by loyalist Alawite militias and enjoying tacit support from Christians, Druzes and some in the Sunni merchant elite, did not stop at this stage.

Presently, each community in Syria, including the Alawite community, is having a minor civil war of its own pitting pro- and anti-Assad groups against each other: infighting can now be seen in the ranks of the Palestinians, the Kurds (albeit their battles are less intense at this stage), and even the Alawites (albeit the situation in this case has not yet devolved into a regular happening). Meanwhile, secular and Islamists rebel groups are clashing with increasing frequency.

Border crossings with Turkey are controlled by Islamist groups, even though some tend to succeed in covering up their identity giving an impression of moderation, and even secularity. Aid going to the rebels across the Turkish border, therefore, is being filtered through Jihadi elements. It’s no wonder that most of it end up with more extremist groups.

Turkish and Kurdish gangs are involved in the process as well, with Turkish authorities turning a blind eye for some reason.

In Kurdish-majority communities like Kobani, Hasheesh farming and smuggling is now a flourishing trade, controlled mostly by criminal elements affiliated with the PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK, still ranked as a terrorist organization by the State Department.  

Anti-Americanism is rife in all quarters. But while some rebels are pinning their hopes on a new more robust American policy of support following the upcoming elections, a policy that does not go beyond supplying rebels with arms, and that is not based on a serious understanding of the continually changing dynamics on the ground is bound to bring much disenchantment, feeding rather than alleviating anti-American tendencies.

Indeed, through a combination of American indifference and Russian connivance, the nightmare scenario in Syria we have been dreading for long has now been created. Whether this was done intentionally, as the conspiracy-minded among us will vehemently assert, or unintentionally, as a result of the short-sightedness, indifference and the general lack of resolve that often befalls American policymaking circles, does not really matter. This is what we have to contend with now. It is not clear whether a change at the helm in the U.S. will bring the change in attitude that can actually make an immediate difference in this regard.

Video Highlights

MiGs and Sukhoys continue their pounding of restive Damascene suburbs of Eastern Ghoutah Region, as well as the southern neighborhoods in Damascus City: Misraba http://youtu.be/IijeGVxkPQQ , http://youtu.be/oAIoXBzUABc , http://youtu.be/otRYJilp1IY Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/Oxwh6YatMpc , http://youtu.be/7owr55CimHI Jisreen http://youtu.be/J5r6ClqgZsc Al-Qadam http://youtu.be/QIKHZbDYVkw Pulling bodies of the dead from under the rubble in Ain Terma http://youtu.be/SsfxasXIINE

Huge sections of the Yarmouke Camp and Tadamon Neighborhood, majority-Palestinian areas in Damascus City have been laid to rubble http://youtu.be/u8fBF5r8MA0

Pulling bodies from under the rubble following an aerial raid in Harem, Idlib Province http://youtu.be/GTToFJr4OxA Meanwhile, the nearby town of Kafrenbel comes under intense aerial bombardment leaving dozens dead http://youtu.be/3xSy92Kjk7U , http://youtu.be/tqXTd4M-Ics Pulloing the dead from under the rubble and fire http://youtu.be/iXpAg__mMhQ

Rebels storm a loyalist positions in Lairamoon Neighborhood in Aleppo City http://youtu.be/_ILJoBLeHm0