Thursday, December 6, 2012

Assad the Terrorist!

The rise of Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria is a worrying phenomenon indeed, but their terrorist activities, the real and the mostly imagined, pale in comparison to those currently championed by Assad and his supporters who now seem poised to perpetrate a massacre of alarming proportions using chemical weapons. It’s Assad’s brand of terrorism that gave rise to Jabhat Al-Nusra, and it’s his terrorist activities that plague our lives today. So far, the world has done little to stop Assad. Had the world lived up to its moral obligations towards Syrians last year, we would not be steering into the abyss today. As we plan for the day after with its myriad challenges and strife, let’s not neglect the immense challenges still confronting us today. Assad must be stopped.

Wednesday December 5, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 107, including 8 women and 6 children: 45 in Damascus and suburbs, 20 in Aleppo, 22 in Idlib, 8 in Daraa, 4 in Raqqa, 3 in Lattakia, 3 in Deir Ezzor, and 2 in Homs. Points of Random Shelling: 188. Clashes: 93. Rebels were able to take control of the Aqraba Military Airport   in Damascus and repelled several attempts at storming towns in Eastern Ghoutah (LCC).

Syria loads chemical weapons into bombs; military awaits Assad's order The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

92 Senators vote to require Pentagon to report on Syria military options The resolution does not explicitly call for the Assad to step down in Syria, a matter of contention when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Syria earlier this year. It also explicitly does not authorize the use of military force in Syria. The legislation does say that any U.S. military activity with regard to Syria should be done in conjunction with allies, should not involve U.S. boots on the ground, and should minimize the risk to U.S. forces as well as financial costs to U.S. taxpayers.
Syria's rebels in new effort to unite ranks Final deals over the new structure were still being hammered out late on Wednesday at a secret meeting in Turkey which brought together a diverse array of rebel units long plagued by deep divisions and bitter rivalries that defy coordination.
Syria conflict threatens U.N. troops on Golan ceasefire line The U.N. force deployed after the 1973 Middle East war, in which Syria failed to recapture the Golan Heights taken by Israel seven years before and later annexed by the Jewish state in a move never recognized internationally.
Russia, Turkey discuss new ideas on Syria: Kremlin Putin and Erdogan agreed to differ on Syria at Monday's talks in Istanbul but Russia has distanced itself from President Bashar al-Assad and tried to position itself for his potential exit from power.

Syria's Civil War Spills Into Lebanon Gunmen loyal to opposite sides in Syria's civil war battled Wednesday in the streets of the Lebanese city of Tripoli. The fighting has killed six people and wounded nearly 60 since Monday, security officials said.

Special Reports
Although CBW's lethality and indiscriminate nature gives rise to terrorism concerns, the United States should distance itself from self-interested interventions reminiscent of the Bush doctrine. Instead, any red lines in the Syrian sand should be drawn in accordance with 21st century notions of international responsibilities to protect.
On Monday, Obama strongly warned Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad not to use chemical weapons as rebels advance on Damascus. What is the national interest in threatening US action? Obama must sort out the moral purpose.
Some Latin American nations voted against a UN resolution condemning violence in Syria this year. But the region can still send a message that the use of chemical weapons will end their support.
Some might say this is the last thing Syrians need now; that what they need are basic necessities like water, food and a safe home. But any diversion from an ugly and harsh reality -- if only for a few minutes -- could do wonders.
Acash left on Thanksgiving for Idlib, in northwest Syria on the Turkish border, where thousands of refugees have gathered in tents and a school building has been transformed into a field hospital. Volunteers there ring the school’s bell to summon doctors when a new wave of injured people arrive, some from cities and towns nearly 150 miles away.
In an attempt to not lose a single story that could be used as possible evidence for future war crimes trials, we are documenting reports of sexualized violence on a live, crowd-sourced map on Syria. We know, however, that evidence of crimes is being destroyed every day: More than 20% of the women in our reports are found dead or are killed after rape.
Their ferocity and fighting skills have made the jihadist “Al-Nusra Front the dominant force in Aleppo now,” eclipsing the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Liwa al-Tawhid, once the strongest brigade in the city, said another, Mustafa. Islamist militants are known not only for their discretion, but also for their selflessness in combat, prompting protesters on Friday to urge the FSA to man the front lines instead of staying in commandeered quarters.
Nusra first made its mark by claiming responsibility for a series of car and suicide bombings in Damascus that killed dozens last January and that U.S. officials later said bore the mark of the group al Qaida in Iraq. Since then, Nusra has become essential to the rebels’ battlefield operations.
Rather than ending Syria's civil war, the regime's fall might herald a new, more dangerous phase, and the United States should prepare accordingly.
Ankara does not want the conflict to escalate, but it cannot live with the civil war in Syria and the continued cross-border shelling it breeds, accidental or not.
Amid new chemical weapons activity in Syria, Washington must prepare for the practical implications of acting on its warnings.
Never before has a country with Weapons of Mass Destruction been on the verge of collapse, says an arms control expert who argues for regional coordination to prevent a catastrophe.
Only a half-decade after Iraqi businessmen fled civil war in their country, a second exodus is depleting another stronghold of Mesopotamian enterprise. Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a key hub on the old Silk Road, is the country’s industrial and commercial turbine.
Whatever the regime’s real intentions with regards to its chemical weapons, the next chapter in Syria will be an ugly one, and before it is all over, many people are going to die—from bullets and bombs if not from sarin gas. Thanks to the boy-who-cried-wolf legacy of the Iraq invasion and the W.M.D.-that-weren’t, it is not surprising that the alleged Syrian chemical weapons threat has thus far failed to cause panic in international circles. This could prove to be an unfortunate historical lesson, for, as things stand, there is no guarantee that they won’t be deployed. And if they are used, Syria’s conflict will become a threshold conflict in more ways than one.

Video Highlights

The pounding of Eastern Ghoutah, Damascus with MiGs continues: Douma , ,

Rebels lay siege to the Mayadeen Military Airport in Deir Ezzor , ,