Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Paradigm Shaft!

Where can one find a paradigm shift when one really needs one? With no one willing to provide it, is it any wonder that Syrians are turning to God, in the form of his self-appointed representatives on earth?  It seems we’re screwed no matter where we turn, and a paradigm shaft is the only thing we can look forward to.

Friday March 8, 2013

Today’s Death Toll: 81 martyrs, including 7 children, 3 women and 1 martyr under torture. 29 martyrs reported in Damascus and suburbs, 16 in Idlib, 13 in Aleppo, 10 in Homs, 6 in Daraa, 4 in Hama and 3 in Deir Ezzor (LCCs).

Points of Random Shelling: 346 points: 5 Ballistic missiles were reported; Explosive Barrels were reported in Dar Kabireh in Homs; artillery shelling was reported in 118 point; mortar shelling in 112 point; and shelling using rocket launchers was reported in 105 locations (LCCs).

Clashes: 105. Successful rebel operations include taking control of the Abbassin Sports Compound and defending rebel strongholds in Jobar and Yarmouk neighborhoods in Damascus City (LCCs).

Chemical weapons 'are being used on children and babies in Syria by Assad's army' Medics believe they have detected a nerve gas called Agent XV. Teenage victims are pictured in a French magazine suffering from horrific burns.
In Parts of Syria, Lack of Aid ‘Is a Catastrophe’ the vast majority of aid is going to territory controlled by President Bashar al-Assad, and the small amount reaching opposition-held areas is all but invisible.
Syrian Rebels Agree on Deal to Release Peacekeepers Josephine Guerrero, a spokeswoman for the United Nations departments that oversee its global peacekeeping activities, said “arrangements were made with all parties for the release of the 21 peacekeepers” and that a team had been sent to the location where they were held, but that soldiers remained captive as of Friday night. “Due to the late hour and the darkness it was considered unsafe to continue the operation,” Ms. Guerrero said in a statement. “Efforts will continue tomorrow.”
Syria Refugees Turn To Prostitution Out Of Desperation Scores of the Syrian women who escaped to Jordan are turning to prostitution, some forced or sold into it, even by their families. Some women refugees are highly vulnerable to exploitation by pimps or traffickers, particularly since a significant number fled without their husbands – sometimes with their children – and have little or no source of income… It's impossible to pin down how many Syrian refugees are now working as prostitutes in Jordan, but their presence is inescapable. Syrian women outnumbered those from any other country in several brothels, and in a couple of cases, virtually all the prostitutes were Syrian. Pimps say they have more women who are Syrian than of other nationalities.
Al-Qaida is not yet at Syria’s gates Claims that al-Qaida has taken control of the border zone between Syria and Israel are a bit exaggerated; meanwhile, Assad and the rebels are locked in a stalemate.
Syria crisis: Russia won't pressure Assad, says Lavrov Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says there is "absolutely" no chance of Moscow telling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down. He told the BBC that Russia was not in the "regime-change game".
Syria’s Assad hails Turkey anti-Erdogan opposition Assad told the Republican People’s Party delegation there was “a need to distinguish between the stance of the Turkish people, who support stability in Syria, and the positions of Erdogan’s government, which supports terrorism, extremism and destabilization in the region,” it said. “The Syrian people appreciates the position adopted by forces and parties in Turkey that reject the Erdogan government’s negative impact on our societies, which are multi-religious and multi-ethnic,” Assad said.

Special Reports
A policy paradigm shift is needed if the United States is truly committed to changing Assad's calculation. It will also be needed to counter the growing impression that the United States, burned in Iraq and stretched in Afghanistan, will bear no burden and fight no foe when it comes to Syria. Boots on the ground and even manned aircraft in the airspace are not on the table, but the United States can and should help foster an alternate Syrian government on the ground in liberated parts of Syria. That government should be recognized by the United States and all of the Friends of the Syrian People Group. It should be given the resources it will need to govern. NATO and regional powers should assist in its defense. Would a no fly zone really require an extended bombing campaign to neutralize air defenses when stand-off systems can kill, on the ground, much that flies? Might Assad's calculation be affected if key regime command facilities begin to disappear? Ideally these steps will not be necessary. Ideally Assad's calculation will change without them. Yet the West may, in the end, have to be as bloody-minded in trying to end the Assad-Iranian terror spree as the regime and its supporters have been in facilitating it.

My new paper, prepared for a briefing in Washington, D.C. that took place on January 15, 2013, is now out and is titled “Syria 2013: Rise of the Warlords.” It should be read in conjunction with my previous briefing “The Shredded Tapestry,” and my recent essay “The Creation of an Unbridgeable Divide.

Video Highlights

The people of Kafrenbel have a message for Secretary Kerry

The pro-regime soldiers in this video were killed less than a day after making it. This was their last celebration. They were cadets at the police academy in Aleppo. The video was found on a cell phones of one of them

Pro-Assad militias plucking the beard of two Sunni Sheikhs from Aleppo This one in Deir Ezzor City is taunting rebels

For over 30 years the Yellow Man was an Aleppo phenomenon that no one really understood. The man insisted on dressing in yellow down to his socks and underwear, and hang around certain spots in Aleppo City where he became part of the scenery. For some reason, some rebels thought he was an informant to the regime, they arrested him and humiliated him, in a development that earned them more popular criticism. The man was eventually released, and people who met him report that he refused to talk about the event  

The repatriation of the remain of pro-Assad soldiers who were killed in Iraq

Intense clashes take place in Sahel Al-Ghab, Hama ,