Monday, January 7, 2013

The Finitiative!

Whether it takes a week, a month, a year or a decade, it does not matter, Assad’s latest initiative is his final political act. By appearing so out-of-touch with reality, Assad has shown that he is not in control of his own regime. He, in fact, is the puppet, his bubble long burst. The question, therefore, is: who’s really running the show at this stage? And what do they want?

Sunday January 6, 2013

Today’s Death Toll: 101, including 2 children and 10 women: 28 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs, 22 in Aleppo, 14 in Daraa, 13 in Homs (most of them in Tasneen), 10 in Hama, 10 in Deir Ezzor, 3 in Idlib and 1 in Lattakia (LCCs).

Points of Random Shelling: 294: 7 points were shelled with warplanes, 2 points with cluster bombs, 122 points with mortars, 111 points with artillery and 51 points with missile shelling (LCCs).

Clashes: The Free Syrian Army clashed with the regime’s army at 150 points where they managed to block the regime forces’ attempt to storm Bustan neighborhood in Aleppo (with the defection of several personnel from the Police Academy). They also gained control of the Soldier’s Hotel in Khan Al-Assal and shelled Jarah Military Airport in Maskana in Aleppo. In Deir Ezzor the FSA surround the Political Security branch and dismantled several military machines and in Damascus Suburbs they blocked an attempt by regime’s army to storm Eastern Ghota, through Hteitet Al-Turkman road, and destroyed more than 15 military vehicles and 4 tanks. In Hama, they seized a lot of ammunition and a food unit on the agricultural road connecting between Soqailbiya and Tal Burhan. Also, they destroyed several military vehicles and captured several regime army personnel throughout Syria (LCCs).

Reports from local activists confirm that the son of the newly appointed Minister of Defense, Rustom Ghazali, one of the few Syrian officials accused in plotting the assassination of former Lebanese PM, Rafic Al-Hariri, has been kidnapped by rebels from his hometown in Khirbet al-Ghazali. This development led to increase in the intensity of clashes in the area, and throughout the Daraa Province. Authorities used loudspeakers threatening local of dire consequences should the Minister’s not be returned unharmed. Ghazali had only days ago replaced Mohammad Al-Shaar as Minister of Defense. Minister Al-Shaar had been injured in a rebel attack, received treatment in Beirut then returned to Syria where he disappeared from public view amidst increasing reports that he passed away.

News
Syria's Assad rejects dialogue with "puppet" opposition Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced what he described as a peace plan on Sunday, calling for a reconciliation conference with "those who have not betrayed Syria", to be followed by the formation of a new government and an amnesty. "The first stage of a political solution would require that regional powers stop funding and arming (the opposition), an end to terrorist operations and controlling the borders," he said in a speech in central Damascus, his first public comments in months. "We will not have dialogue with a puppet made by the West," he said.
Defiant Assad's peace plan rejected by rebels In his first public speech in six months, Assad laid out terms for a peace plan that keeps himself in power, ignoring international demands to step down and pledging to continue the battle "as long as there is one terrorist left" in Syria.
Defiant Assad Says Syria ‘Accepts Advice but Not Orders’ he offered no new acknowledgment of the gains by the rebels fighting against him, the excesses of his government or the aspirations of the Syrian people. Mr. Assad also ruled out talks with the armed opposition and pointedly ignored its central demand that he step down, instead using much of a nearly hourlong speech to justify his harsh military crackdown… Mr. Assad’s speech was a disappointment for international mediators and many Syrians who say they believe that without a negotiated settlement, Syria’s conflict will descend into an even bloodier stage.
Syrian opposition dismiss Assad call for talks amid attack on 'western puppets' Rebels say Syrian president offered no meaningful concessions in his first public speech in seven months.

Morsy backs Syrian calls for al-Assad to face war crimes trial "The Syrian people through their revolution and through the movement will -- when the bloodshed stops -- move to a new stage where they will have an independent parliament and a government of their choosing," Morsy, Egypt's first freely elected leader, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in Cairo. "And then they will decide what they want to do to those who committed crimes against them. It is the Syrian people who decide."
Israel warily watches shifts across its frontier with Syria Trenches lined with coils of razor wire have been dug along the Israeli side of the Golan frontier, and a new 15-foot-high steel fence is under construction, with plans to extend it the length of the boundary with Syria. Surveillance of the Syrian side, aided by cameras, also is being stepped up… Replacing a lower electronic warning fence, the imposing new barrier, encased in rolls of barbed wire, is intended to serve as a bulwark against infiltrators.

Special Reports
While there’s a common perception in Western capitals that the regime is on its last legs, there are plenty of signs on the ground that it remains very much intact—and very dangerous. Assad’s security forces have been forced to relinquish control of many rural areas and  have even ceded the impoverished peripheries of a number of Syrian cities, but it has escalated its attacks on areas under rebel control in recent months, deliberately imposing a heavier toll in humanitarian suffering. And rebels in many areas appear desperately short of funds and military resources, despite promises of expanded support from outside powers.


He wants to negotiate, but with whom, and over what?  

By appearing so out-of-touch with reality, Assad has shown that he is not in control of his own regime. He, in fact, is the puppet. The question, therefore, is: who’s really running the show at this stage? And what do they want?

Assad’s words provide few clues, but the subtext to his speech, the body language and apparent nervousness in delivery, his clear concern for how his speech will be viewed by his supporters as denoted by his repeated assertions that he is not giving up the fight against the “terrorists,” his dismissal of the external opposition coupled with his readiness to negotiate with their backers… all these things point to the presence of a radical camp inside the regime that seems to have taken charge of the day-to-day management of the crackdown, keeping Assad as a necessary window dressing.

What does this radical camp want? At this stage, and judging by developments on the ground, the only possible interpretation is that they want to buy enough time to draw the borders of their coveted enclave, while exacting revenge against the Sunni population all over the country through continued recourse to scorched earth policy.

In short, our descent into hell continues.

Video Highlights

Shortly after the speech delivered by Assad, clashes took place in several neighborhoods in Damascus City http://youtu.be/UvUNATTlasY , http://youtu.be/la_qMCdIlRM


Intense clashes took place in the town of Basr Al-Harir, Daraa as well http://youtu.be/f7jfaou4plI , http://youtu.be/hbGDSh9zhFs , http://youtu.be/dAxaNYkyVIc , http://youtu.be/JYFZpf0JhB0 , http://youtu.be/uAsLA2aWE58 Rebels take control of a BMP http://youtu.be/Bo4KM2HmHuk

Intense clashes took place in several neighborhoods in Homs City as well http://youtu.be/XAinJ2fUE1o

Clashes took place around the Police Academy in Aleppo City as well http://youtu.be/yMI1JAmefyk
Leaked video documents the use of missile launchers in the pounding of restive cities by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/O-djiFPf_qs

But Assad’s fighter jets kept dropping barrel bombs on Kuweirus Airport where rebels are positioned http://youtu.be/TPFkWEVVpa0