Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Patriots for Turkey! Disdain for Rebels!

Wariness over providing support to rebel groups is legitimate and understandable, but it is becoming increasingly untenable. At one point the U.S. will have to secure Syria’s WMDs stockpiles. Without rebel cooperation, the task, which is already daunting, would become impossible. The U.S. needs to cultivate goodwill among rebel groups in Syria, and for this, it needs to begin providing them with the support they need in their battle to reclaim the country from the psychopaths in charge.

Tuesday December 4, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 184, including 1 woman and 33 children: 110 in Damascus and suburbs (including 40 in Bahdalieh and 30 students martyred when regime forces shelled a school in the Wafideen camp), 21 in Aleppo, 17 in Homs, 12 in Daraa, 10 in Deir Ezzor, 8 in Idlib, 5 in Hama, and 1 from Tartous killed in Idlib. Points of Random Shelling: 245. Clashes: 143. Rebels blocked several attempts at storming   different towns in Eastern Ghoutah Region in Damascus and shelled the Military Airport of Deir Ezzor (LCC).


Special Reports
Each day's news brings more reasons to believe the Assad regime's fall cannot be far away. Viewed individually these signs may not in themselves spell doom for the regime but collectively they do: 1) Withdrawal of UN and diplomatic personnel, 2) Jihad Makdissi flees, 3) Damascus airport [closed], 4) Internet shutdown, 5) US reviewing its options, and 6) Chemical weapons.
Syrian rebels have made significant gains in recent weeks as support for Assad shows signs of fraying.
…if you’re going to go the humanitarian intervention route you can’t have “overthrow Assad” as the stopping point. In fact, overthrowing Assad has to be the beginning of a very lengthy process of political reconciliation in an extraordinarily tense and dangerous environment.
For many months, Damascus was spared the worst of the fighting. But amid the increasing battles in and around the city, almost every Damascene household seems to be doubling or tripling up with extended family.
Like many men on the front line, the Sniper has found solace in religion, but his is a politicized form of Islam. He speaks admirably of the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra group that has been responsible for some of the most spectacular suicide bombings against regime targets. “They are clean and doing good work,” he says. He wants to join them, if he can “cleanse” his body and mind, he says pointing to a red pack of Gauloises cigarettes. A day later, he quit smoking.
The Syrians who walked 18 hours to seek refuge in Lebanon have escaped the fear of government attack. But with the brutal winter closing in, some would rather go back home to warfare.
Skyrocketing food prices and shortages mean some Syrian children are eating only one small meal a day, if that. Residents in one Aleppo neighborhood have taken matters into their own hands, collecting money to buy food for the neediest -- but it's never enough.
Inside Syria, Russian envoys are meeting opposition politicians. Two weeks from now, Russia will support a meeting in Italy of what it hopes will be a pro-Russian group: the National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change.
Upholding the U.S. declaration requires readiness to commit armed forces to eliminating Syria's CW capability and punishing the regime and its forces for using them. It means having military assets earmarked or in place to act quickly with overwhelming force, and to deal with the post-attack environment. It does not mean relying on diplomacy as the sole or even main response. Failure to respond with force to any use of chemical weapons would be dire. The regime would see it as a signal to conduct more attacks, and the opposition would see it as a complete abandonment.
The former secretary of state, speaking at the Women in the World Summit, addresses reports that chemical weapons are being readied by the Syrian government.
The fighting follows a number of gains for opposition forces in the north of Syria, which has sparked optimism among Syrians hoping for the downfall of the Assad regime.
Pro-democracy activists are concerned that US and Western reticence is inadvertently handing the initiative to radical Islamist forces which receive considerable financial and military assistance from the Gulf.

Video Highlights

Activists in Damascus produce their own video reportage on the siege of Damascus International Airport, getting within a hundred meters of the airport fence. Loyalist troops are nowhere to be seen, choosing to barricade themselves inside the fence. The local rebel commander says that the only reason they decided to target the airport is to cut off the regime supply lines of weapons http://youtu.be/7gQSgXToOL0

In Douma, Damascus, this video, found on the mobile phone of a loyalist soldier, document the last stand of a group of Alawite loyalists before rebels took over their position http://youtu.be/_oivjlNR7zE

A massacre in nearby Diyabiyeh http://youtu.be/ATMyfKU497I

Missile launchers in Mazzeh Airport in Damascus City target Daraya and other restive suburbs to the south of Damascus http://youtu.be/6OsAle_qCQo

Rebels in Damascus showcase some of the missiles that they have gained during their recent operations http://youtu.be/mj2oQio0j6k

Rebels showcase a tank they have gained in their operations near Agrab, Homs http://youtu.be/SOfMfGHpk5Y they also say that the random shelling does not discriminate between Sunni and Alawite inhabitants, albeit the shelling does come from nearby Alawite villages http://youtu.be/-cDHH_xPOBY

Rebels move to lay siege to Manag Military Airport, Aleppo Province http://youtu.be/YnpYMiRHLDU

Fears of a chemical attack prompted some activists to make a video on how a makeshift gas mask can be made http://youtu.be/B1i_Dues4Q8

Activists in Kafrenbel, Idlib, risk life and limb to document the impact of shelling on their community http://youtu.be/UEb8IoT7_Lo