Monday, January 7, 2013

Exquisitely Clueless!

Clueless, irrational but deadly and armed with a Finitiative (that is, an initiative to end all initiatives), Assad has secured a spot for himself in the pantheon of delusional dictators going down in flames, and his supporters will soon have to develop a second persecution complex even as they perpetrate more and more massacres.

Monday January 7, 2013

Today’s Death Toll: 72, (including 7 children and 3 women): 29 martyrs were reported in Aleppo, 26 martyrs in Damascus and its Suburbs, 5 martyrs in Daraa, 4 martyrs in Raqqa, 3 martyrs in Hama, 2 martyrs in Homs, 1 martyr in Idlib and 1 martyr in Hasaka (LCCs).

Points of Random Shelling: 153: 3 points were shelled by warplanes, Taibat Al-Imam was targeted by Cluster Bombs, 70 points were shelled by artillery (the fiercest was in Damascus Suburbs), 52 points by missiles and 31 points by mortars (LCCs).

Clashes: FSA rebels clashed with regime forces in 65 locations. In Aleppo, FSA rebels targeted Manag and Kwairis Military Airports using mortar shells, damaging a helicopter in Manag. In Aleppo City, rebels blocked an attempt by regime forces to storm Karm Al-Jabal and Salah Al-Deen neighborhoods and gained control of Nabi Yousef Mosque in Khan Al-Assal which is used as a headquarter by the regime forces. In Hama, FSA rebels blocked a military convoy heading to Tal Burhan checkpoint destroying 4 military vehicles in the attack; rebels also attacked the Madajen checkpoint in Taibat Al-Imam. Elsewhere in Hama,  22 soldiers (including non-commissioned officer) defected from the Military Security Forces. In Raqqa, FSA rebels gained control of Ein Isa checkpoint following fierce clashes (LCCs).

News
Stop war in Syria before it becomes "field of ruins": pope Syria is bring "torn apart by endless slaughter and (is) the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population," he said. The pope called for an "end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins". Benedict urged the diplomats gathered in the Sala Regia of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to push their governments to do everything possible to face "this grave humanitarian situation", telling them political authorities had "a grave responsibility to work for peace".
Russian banks should beware blacklisted Syria banks: U.S. official The U.S. Treasury believes Russian banks continue to deal with Syria's central bank and with the Commercial Bank of Syria, a state-owned Syrian financial institution, both of which have been blacklisted by the United States, the official said.
Syria rebels 'monitor' chemical weapons sites Free Syrian Army commander says special units have been tasked with securing depots if regime falls.

Special Reports
It is a sight almost as surreal as it is disturbing: three boys, on the cusp of being teenagers, digging furiously with their hands and sticks. It is in some ways playtime, but there is little innocence left in this refugee camp sandwiched between Syria's north and an unwelcoming Turkish border. Muhammad Zafir says their frantic excavations are in case "jets come and drop bombs," he said. "We put children here to hide them, but of course we will make it much bigger for 20 to 30."
Sectarian strife was never an issue that was discussed publicly, though a minority, the Alawites, was ruling the majority, the Sunnis. It's was all a big black lie, a real lie, and all 23 million Syrians mastered the game, and made us all believe that they are different, but not anymore. The Syrian crisis widened the sectarian strife along the region, Shiites and Sunnis are no longer covering up their feelings towards each other. They're blatantly attacking each other's beliefs, ignoring all common factors that brought them together for decades.
As President Obama watches Islamic extremists gain power in the chaos of the Syrian uprising against the Bashar al-Assad regime, he should consider the precedent of the US intervention in Kosovo – where extremists have been kept at bay and democracy is growing.
The 60,000 deaths in Syria reported by the United Nations last week is a big jump from the 40,000- 45,000 deaths that most other organizations report.
Syrian towns and villages seeking to survive the extreme deprivations of daily life 22 months into their country’s political crisis are inundating a Turkish charity with requests to send flour, fuel, clothes and blankets across the border into their devastated land. Arriving by Skype, telephone or email, and often hand-carried, the pleas show the level of despair in rebel-held areas where forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have been accused of deliberately bombing bakeries, hospitals and other civilian targets in retaliation for rebel advances.
Across Syria and in neighboring Turkey, a small group of lawyers is quietly collecting testimony from Syrians victimized by the vast network of intelligence services that the government has used against the rebellion. They have relayed accusations to rebel-established courts in three Syrian provinces, which have issued more than 140 arrest warrants, most for war-related crimes. The lawyers hope the written accusations will eventually be used against senior government officials in an international court, and they say the outstanding warrants include one for President Bashar al-Assad. Most, they expect, will be tried in Syrian courtrooms. It is unclear whether the warrants, let alone the courts, have any authority in a country still officially ruled by Assad and where the entire legal system is likely to be overhauled if the regime falls. But the lawyers say that to wait for a transitional government would be to invite more summary executions.
Syrian Kurds, bordered by two booming economies in Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey, had hoped that geography might offer them some economic advantage. But Turkey has clamped down on the Syrian borders, making it nigh impossible for businessmen (even smugglers) to carry on. As for Iraqi Kurdistan, the border is at the mercy of intra-Kurdish politics. The Syrian side of the boundary is manned by forces affiliated with the Union Democratic Party (PYD), which is closely tied with the PKK, which in turn is at war with the Turkish state. As a result, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, anxious to soothe its new Turkish ally’s feelings, has closed the Syrian crossings for much of the winter. (The central government in Baghdad periodically closed its crossing at al-Qa‘im for the same reasons.) The local Kurds on the Syrian side grumble about the treatment they receive from KRG guards when they try to fetch basic goods for their afflicted region.

Video Highlights

The rain and cold make living conditions miserable for Syrian refugees in Al-Zaatari Camp in Jordan http://youtu.be/oHfAme4-bMQ

In Sheikh Miskeen, Daraa, two local women lie dying in the street with the local men unable to salvage the bodies on account of sniper activities http://youtu.be/bcbBuNEn_wg In Basr Al-Harir, rebels repel an attack by loyalist militias http://youtu.be/NstFcy4vzD8

Rebels and pro-Assad militias clash in the Camp of Yarmouk, Damascus City http://youtu.be/dajw0cBcam4 , http://youtu.be/Gg2lXqzw1xY

Shelling by rockets leaves many dead in Al-Mashad neighborhood in Aleppo city http://youtu.be/CY6a52j-pNs , http://youtu.be/x_WPE9QSgwQ , http://youtu.be/82VSYDfiarw , http://youtu.be/nayD1hytkts , http://youtu.be/DcKEsH6QcCk the moment of impact http://youtu.be/iK9M7B-yYIU

The shelling of the airport of Manag damages one helicopter http://youtu.be/8GmZyFGDmlw The pounding http://youtu.be/SO1RjP26JJw , http://youtu.be/rVCxT3aECI0