Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tired Baby, Tired!

It’s getting quite hard keeping track of it all: the cluster bombs and sectarian sentiments, the incendiary minds and arid hearts, the shifting red lines in our overloaded brains, the hypocrisy of it all. Yet, chronicling our irrelevance is an important part of the struggle. Tomorrow needs to know who the real heroes were, and who the imposters… and which emperors had no clothes, which emperors betrayed us all.

Wednesday January 16, 2013

Today’s Death Toll: 183, including 18 children and 9 women. 50 martyrs were reported in Damascus and Damascus Suburbs, 37 in Homs, 25 in Aleppo, 23 in Idlib, 15 in Hama, 16 in Daraa, 9 in Raqqah, 5 in Latakia, and 1 in Hasakeh (LCCs).

Points of Random Shelling: 331: including 20 points that were shelled by warplanes, 6 points using cluster bombs, 5 points using TNT barrels, and 2 points with vacuum bombs. Also, 135 points were shelled with heavy caliber artillery, 86 points were shelled with mortar, and 77 points were shelled with rockets (LCCs).

Clashes: FSA rebels clashed with regime forces in 145 locations. Rebels managed to successfully bring down 3 regime fighter planes, 1 in Al-Ramdan near Dumair city, 1 in Damascus suburbs, and 1 Talbeeseh in Homs. The FSA also seized control of Kuwairis military airport in Aleppo, and repelled regime attempts to storm Busr Al-Harir in Daraa, as well as in Daraya and Mouadamieh in Damascus Suburbs (LCCs).

U.S. Shoots Down Secret Report That Syria Used a Hallucinogen Weapon State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland has denied the report, saying that the Foreign Policy story ”did not accurately convey the anecdotal information that we had received from a third party regarding an alleged incident in Syria in December.” “At the time we looked into the allegations that were made and the information that we had received, and we found no credible evidence to corroborate or to confirm that chemical weapons were used,” she added. That’s a major deal, because the international community has repeatedly told the Assad Regime in Syria that the use of chemical weapons is beyond unacceptable. The White House issued a statement along similar lines.
The Case of Agent 15: Did Syria Use a Nerve Agent? what happened? Was the mystery gas in fact sarin, or a nerve agent like it? Did its use alter the dynamic of the Syrian conflict in fundamental ways? The brief answer to all of these questions is: so far, hard to say.
Syria to Receive More International Food Aid The World Food Program currently provides food aid to 1.5 million needy people inside Syria.  WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin says the agency has not been able to expand its operation because only the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has been authorized to distribute food. But last week, she says, the Syrian authorities gave the agency a list of 110 non-governmental organizations that can help distribute food.  Out of this list, she says WFP has chosen 44 groups with whom it will work. Cousin says this will enable WFP to scale up its operation to feed an additional one million people.
Iran gives Syria $1bn import credit line While the agreement is not a direct cash transfer to bolster Syria’s depleted foreign exchange reserves, it will allow Syrian importers credit to source consumer supplies from Iran at a time when it is hard for them to do so from many other countries.

Special Reports
Since mid-2012, Human Rights Watch and others have reported several times on civilian casualties caused by Syrian use of air-dropped cluster bombs, but Latamneh and other recent attacks are the first known instances of Syrian use of ground-based cluster munitions. The rockets were apparently launched from the vicinity of nearby Hama airport, which is under government control.
The immediate impact of the Syrian conflict on Jordan’s fragile polity is twofold: The influx of refugees into Jordan, and the outflow of jihadists from Jordan into Syria to join the fight.
An international criminal court investigation may split the United Nations – but it would change the civil war's political dynamics
Let’s be frank here: There are no red lines for this president when it comes to projecting U.S. military force. And if he won’t act when Syria is at issue, no realistic observer thinks he would act against Iran.

Video Highlights

In Anadan, Aleppo, rebels fend off an attack by pro-Assad militias

The town of Zabadani continues to be pounded Meanwhile, the towns of Eastern Ghouta continue to be pounded by MiGs  

People in the town of Rastan, Homs, rush to save the injured in the aftermath of an aerial raid Some of the dead