Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Real Spillover Effect!

What’s the point of the international order that the United States in particular has played a crucial role in establishing, as flawed as it is, if conflicts like the one raging in Syria are neglected? What’s the point of working hard to come up with the legal notion of “Responsibility to Protect” if it is to be ignored when the challenge ahead is actually serious? Even if the dissolution of Syria followed by a regional meltdown had little impact on U.S. strategic interests, and that’s a rather big IF, the real spillover effect that we all should fear is the breakdown of the existing international order with no alternative in sight but chaos. It might take the world years before we get to this point, but we will get there eventually and the starting point will be the way the conflict in Syria was ignored and mismanaged. Why Syria and not Congo? The ongoing real time documentation of major developments over the last two years, the inherent racism in the current order which still ascribes more psychological and political relevance to developments closer to the West, and the timing of this development in Syria which coincides with a series of economic, social and political upheavals in different parts of the world, will combined in due course of time to give developments in Syria that weight. This has the potential of becoming the hair that broke the camel’s back.

Wednesday March 6, 2013

Today’s Death Toll: 141 martyrs, including 12 children, 11 women and 2 martyrs under torture. 34 martyrs reported in Damascus and Suburbs, 27 in Homs, 30 in Idlib, 18 in Raqqa, 16 in Aleppo, 6 in Deir Ezzor, 4 in Lattakia, 3 in Hama and 3 in Daraa (LCCs).

Points of Random Shelling: 440 points: Shelling with Warplanes was reported in 33 points, with the fiercest shelling taking place in Raqqa, shelling with SCUD missiles was documented in 3 points; cluster bombs in 5 points; where vacuum bombs in 1 point in Maaret Noaman, and another point in Dar Abeera in Homs; whereas, shelling with Mortars was reported in 130 points, with artillery in 155 and with rocket launchers in 113 points (LCCs).

Clashes: 142. Successful operations include “liberating” both the political and the military security headquarters in Raqqa City, shooting downa MiG in the town of Heesh, Idlib, and shelling the military airports of Minnigh and Nairab in Aleppo with local made rockets. In Homs, FSA rebels managed to destroy a loyalist checkpoint in Zablatanim, and in Damascus City, they repelled an attack on Jobar Neighborhood (LCCs).

Syria's refugee tide passes one-million mark Around half the refugees are children, most of them aged under 11, and the numbers leaving are mounting every week, the United Nations refugee agency said in statement. "With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a statement.
Syria crisis: Teenage mother 'becomes millionth refugee' (Video) A teenager has become the one millionth refugee of the crisis in Syria, according to the UN. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has warned the country is "spiralling towards full-scale disaster". Half of the refugees so far are children, the UN said, most of them under 11 and often traumatised by their experiences. Bushra, 19, registered as a refugee in Lebanon, along with her young children, as the BBC's Nik Gowing reports.
U.N.: 20 peacekeepers detained in Syria The U.N. Security Council demanded their immediate and unconditional release. The capture of the peacekeepers marked a new escalation in the spillover of Syria's civil war, now entering its third year. It followed the Feb. 25 announcement that a member of the peacekeeping force, known as UNDOF, was unaccounted for. The U.N. said the peacekeeping member, who has not been identified, is still missing. Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current Security Council president, said talks are under way between U.N. officials from the peacekeeping force, known as UNDOF, and the captors.
… ministers meeting in Cairo were divided on whether to let the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad take over Syria's seat, previously held by the Damascus government. "The discussions on giving the Syrian seat to the opposition are taking place now and there are countries for it and others against it," one diplomat said on the condition of anonymity.
Syria world's top destination for jihadists, says William Hague, as aid promised Syria has become the "top destination for jihadists" across the world, William Hague said on Wednesday, announcing that Britain will give the opposition "non-lethal" military equipment for the first time.
Syria War: Rebels Joined By Chechnya Islamic Militants In 'Jihad' Against Assad (VIDEO) "This is the first time that a mass number of Chechens have taken part in military actions abroad," said analyst Mairbek Vatchagayev, based in Paris, adding that claims were made that Chechens had fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but no definitive proof had been given.
Syria's Assad says Chavez death is "personal loss" Chavez, an ally and regular guest of Assad's, shipped diesel fuel to Syria last year to help it overcome shortages caused by Western sanctions, and described the Syrian conflict as an international plot backed by Western powers. Assad described Chavez's death as "a great loss to me personally and to the people of Syria".
Syria Civil War Threatens Cradle of World Cultures Tanks, looters prey on treasures of past civilizations of Macedonia, Rome and the Byzantine Empire and roots of Islam, Christianity and Judaism

Special Reports
In Aleppo, every footstep is a crunch. The streets are strewn with rubble and broken glass from destroyed buildings and shattered windows. It's a sound that distinguishes a walk around this war-torn Syrian town from any other city in the world.
After two years, 1 million refugees, and more than 70,000 dead, some Syrians -- and one American president -- are still looking to protect their own interests rather than save a country.
The regime continues to pay salaries to Syria’s civil servants, wherever they may be, even though government offices in swathes of the country are empty. Earlier this month the north-eastern provincial city of Raqqa fell to Mr Assad’s enemies—the first city to do so. Yet the show must go on. In Damascus the electricity board still issues citizens with bills. The postal service still delivers mail no more erratically than before. Even the Meteorological Office is on hand to publish forecasts of rain. For Syrians who enjoy star-gazing, the Astronomical Society has notified them to look out for a comet between March 12th and 14th.
One approach would be for western governments to initiate assistance programs through the multilateral agencies (such as the UN, Islamic Development Bank and World Bank Group) which were designed for this purpose, but equally importantly, have the resources to put personnel on the ground and devote the funds necessary to have a meaningful impact. Call it 'pre-emptive development'. Another idea is to create lending and guarantee schemes specifically earmarked for high risk post-conflict reconstruction. This has of course been done in the past, but usually too long after a conflict has ended, and often implemented too late to be maximally effective to those most in need. If we want post-conflict Syria to end up better prepared to survive the chaos and despair engulfing Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere in the region, we must do a much better job of marshalling and deploying the civilian, political and economic resources essential to the establishment of political stability. If this were to occur, perhaps Syria could serve as a turning point in 'pre-emptive' post-conflict reconstruction and development, rather than a continuation of the flawed approach that has been replicated numerous times over past decades, with predictable results.

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.

Quickly Noted

* “Pre-emptive development” is an interesting concept indeed, and one that the United States and European Union seems to be dabbling with at this stage in connection to developments in Syria, but the problem here is that the impact of such preemption will remain negligible so long as scuds and bombs keep raining down on people in liberated areas. Bear in mind what’s happening to Raqqah City at this stage: over 30 aerial raids have been undertaken and two scuds hit neighboring communities in the 24 hours following its liberation. What possible developmental activity can take place in these conditions? We don’t just anything to be done, we need the right thing to be done. If there no will to do that, than doing nothing might be preferable.

Video Highlights

A missile attack on Jobar Neighborhood, Damascus City The neighborhood of Tadamon was also pounded

In the town of Daraya, Damascus Suburbs, a local factory burns to the ground on account of the constant shelling by pro-regime militias

A Scud launched from the Qalamoun region in Damascus Suburbs takes course towards Raqqa Province passing over the town of Yabroud

The pounding of the town of Rabeeah in North Latakia by pro-regime militias

Rebels in Aleppo keep up their pounding of the Kuweiris Military Airport using home-made rockets , , ,

Raqqa City: Over 30 air raids in less than 24 hours following the city’s liberation took their toll , , ,

Turkmen protest the elections in Gaziantep for a council in Aleppo Province, claiming they are being marginalized  

The town of Jamla near the border with Israel continues to witness heavy clashes between rebels and loyalist militias It’s a group affiliated with the rebels in Jamla that is currently holding the UN observers