Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bitter Betrayal!

Even if a thousand Al-Qaedas end up emerging in Syria, Western inaction will never be justified, forgotten, or forgiven. As the rest of the world chooses to develop a convenient case of amnesia regarding how things got started, we cannot and will not. We will forever remember the long months when our people protested peacefully, even as they faced tanks and heavy artillery, and how their pleas for help were ignored. We will forever remember how our repeated warnings that things cannot hold for long, that conditions were growing increasingly dire and that our people were getting increasingly desperate, went unheeded. The memory of this indifference will sink into our collective unconscious and will shape our world of view for decades to come. To be betrayed in such manner in the age of R2P and “never again” and by the very keepers of the global order is probably the biggest crime of all. If a staunchly westernized liberal can feel this way, how do you think the rest of Syrians feel? With chemical weapons now being used, while the dithering continues, we shouldn’t be surprised if their feelings proved to be slightly more radical than mine.

Saturday April 13, 2013

Death Toll: 115 martyrs, including 6 women, 8 children and 5 under torture. 32 martyrs in Idlib, mostly in Saraqeb; 26 in Aleppo; 25 in Damascus and its suburbs; 15 in Homs; 12 in Daraa; and 3 in Hama (LCC).

News
'Gas attack by Syrian army kills three in Aleppo' A woman and two children were killed and 16 people injured in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Saturday in what an anti-government violence monitoring group said was a gas attack by Syrian government forces. Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, cited witnesses as saying that two gas bombs had been dropped from an army helicopter. Doctors in the town of Afrin, where the injured were taken, told the Observatory that victims had "hallucinated, vomited, had excess mucus and felt their eyes were burning."
British Scientists: Chemical Weapons Used in Syria A British newspaper reports that British military scientists have found forensic evidence that chemical weapons were used in the conflict in Syria. The Times of London newspaper quoted unnamed defense sources Saturday as saying a soil sample smuggled out of Syria proved a chemical weapon was used.  The sources could not tell if the weapon was fired by Syrian government forces or rebels. One source disagreed with reports that have said the weapons are a riot-control agent.  The source said the weapons are something else but that it is not definite they are a sarin nerve agent.
Italian journalists kidnapped in Syria freed Four journalists working for broadcaster RAI abducted last week in northern Syria released, Italian PM says.
Al-Nusra pledge gives a lifeline to Syria regime For Thomas Pierret, an Islamic expert, “all one needs to do is look at the Western media frenzy” to realize the resonance of Al-Nusra’s announcement. “Assad can logically conclude that his opponents’ ideological excesses are more worrying to the West than the tons of explosives he is pouring each day on his population,” said Pierrot, a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Rather than embarrass the West, the announcement has only given it “a new, comfortable pretext to justify their inaction. Despite what they say, somewhat unconvincingly, they don’t really want to help the opposition,” he said.
Shells strike Lebanon as Syria border fight rages At least three shells fired from inside Syria fell on Lebanon’s eastern area of Hermel, a police report said. “One shell landed on the outskirts of the town of Al Qasr and two others in the town of Sahlat al-Maa in Hermel,” it said. The shelling caused no casualties, but it hit the electricity network in the area, Lebanon’s official National Agency said. Shells also hit the region of Akar in northern Lebanon for the second consecutive day, causing material damage and prompting people living in the area to flee to safety, a Lebanese police official said. On Thursday, Syrian jets struck the outskirts of the border town of Arsal, wounding at least five people. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman condemned the attacks as “unjustified”.
Lebanese Factions Deepen Involvement in Syria This month, the Syrian government started helping its Lebanese supporters in their efforts to disrupt pro-rebel logistical efforts in Lebanon by ordering up air strikes on cross-border smuggling routes used by the rebels. The latest air strike came on April 10, when a Syrian government helicopter fired missiles on targets in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in two separate raids. One was near the Lebanon-Syria border and the other three kilometers northeast of Arsal, a Lebanese town serving as hub for the smuggling to the rebels.

Special Reports
Why Rebels and Islamists Are Pitted Against Each Other in Aleppo Province’s Manbij The reluctance of jihadist groups to reprimand one of their own has tarnished their reputation among nationalist fighters in Manbij, a dynamic that is hurting Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups in many areas of the country. Nusra and nationalist rebels clashed in Deir Azzour and Raqqa to the east, and opposition leaders have been forced to distance themselves from Nusra after the group pledged allegiance to al-Qaida. Many of the same criticisms have been leveled at non-Islamist rebel groups, which have engaged in widespread looting and haven’t focused on punishing criminals within their ranks. Abu Ammar, the Golan’s leader, was quick to praise Nusra and Aharar al-Sham’s sacrifices on the battlefield, but he added that Manbij was already liberated and the priority now is to reestablish order. “We don’t want outsiders to come and dictate how we should live, especially when they are protecting criminals,” he said.
How a Ballistic Missile Wiped Out Two Families in Rural Aleppo Air strikes and ballistic missile attacks from Scuds and other large rockets are now daily events in Syria. The victims and damage are tallied in spreadsheets, and only a small portion of the details make the news, because this kind of carnage is no longer new. It’s expected. On March 29, a small town called Hreitan, just north of Aleppo, was subject to an especially violent military campaign.
Sen. Bob Casey And Sen. Marco Rubio: A new plan for Syria We also join our colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have called on the Obama administration to explore additional actions to help create space for this new transitional government to function, by defending liberated territory from the Assad regime’s jets and missiles. This may require the use of U.S. and allied military assets. Although getting involved in another conflict in the Middle East is no one’s first choice, the consequences of the status quo in Syria are mounting. We must act before it is too late and we get dragged into a broader conflict on terms that are not our own. All of these actions will advance U.S. interests and are consistent with our values. The United States can and must do more to support the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people and bring an end to a conflict that, unless America leads, is likely to destabilize the region for years to come.

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

In Daraa City, pro-regime militias destroyed the minaret of the historic Al-Omari Mosque http://youtu.be/7jd4QNsgl7I , http://youtu.be/S-SINuTZsV4 Close-up look http://youtu.be/ZWetD09OFWw

Using missile launchers hidden in between houses in the older parts of Mazzeh, the regime pounds rebel strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus http://youtu.be/rjohkkex0AA including the town of Moadamiyah http://youtu.be/m9OD_6ZIDbE Moadamiyah was also targeted by heavy artillery http://youtu.be/QMMbBxyCp0g and fighter jets http://youtu.be/kE81_G4v63g

In the neighborhood of Jobar in Damascus City, the pounding http://youtu.be/IGyYHqLrtdA leaves many dead in the streets http://youtu.be/zfeL67RcEZY the southern neighborhoods of Al-Qadam, Yarmouk and Tadamon were also targeted http://youtu.be/irO7wiMdkYA , http://youtu.be/ErgqifnSMS4 , http://youtu.be/PWxh35P1tzw

The suburb of Sbeineh in Eastern Ghoutah was targeted by fighter jets http://youtu.be/SfwyluhHY8w

Fighter jets pound the town of Saraqib in Idlib http://youtu.be/1ZYg49wmFLY , http://youtu.be/8lehnwCI2io