Friday, April 19, 2013

From Kafrenbel With Love!

All decent people of the world have a common enemy: those who want to shape the world in accordance to their own desires, interests and beliefs irrespective of the desires, interests and beliefs of others, those are not willing to engage in the give-and-take of life in the name of whatever selfish principle they hold. That’s why the people of Kafrenbel, Saraqib, Houleh, Mayadeen, Daraya and Sanamein in Syria can stand in solidarity with the people of Boston, irrespective of differences and distances.

Friday April 19, 2013

Death Toll: 138 martyrs, including 17 women and 26 children: 56 in Damascus and Suburbs; 26 in Homs most of them from Deir Balbah; 21 in Idlib; 21 in Aleppo; 6 in Daraa; 3 in Hama; 2 in Deir Ezzor; 2 in Raqqa; and 1 in Qunaitera (LCC).

UN/Arab League envoy: Syria not cooperating, Security Council needs to take war seriously The joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria on Friday gave the Security Council a grim assessment of the Syrian civil war, saying that Damascus is completely uncooperative in negotiations. "With the Syrians, I got nowhere," Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters after the closed-door briefing… Brahimi also chided the Security Council for its ongoing deadlock over the war. Western and Arab nations blame the conflict on Assad's government. Russia insists on assigning equal blame to the Syrian rebel opposition, and has used it veto, along with China, to block draft council resolutions. "On the Security Council, with the Americans and the Russians, we made some progress but it is too little," Brahimi said… Brahimi denied rumors he was resigning.
Syria's Assad warns Jordan as southern border seethes Assad told Jordan this week it would be playing with fire by supporting the rebels, saying the Western-backed kingdom was just as vulnerable as his country to al Qaeda militants gaining ground in Syria's two-year conflict. His comments came after weeks of fighting in southern Syria, where rebels have seized military bases, made advances close to the Jordanian border and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and cut two main roads to Damascus.
Russia slams U.S. deployments in Jordan Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said such a move ran counter to internationally agreed principles for ending the crisis through negotiations. “These are absolutely not the actions that we now need to bring Syria out of its dead end,” Lukashevich told reporters. “These actions exacerbate the Syria crisis, which is now gaining the dimensions of a regional crisis,” the spokesman said.
More U.S. Support for Syria Rebels Would Hinge on Pledges to Abide by Law Secretary of State John Kerry planned to meet with opposition leaders in Istanbul on Saturday, as well as with foreign ministers from nations that are supporting them, to discuss both what the United States plans to do to help the rebels and what it expects from them. “It’s not a quid pro quo, but we want the opposition to do more,” said a senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s strategy. “Secretary Kerry will be discussing what steps we want them to take.”

Special Reports
We Need a Game Changer in Syria: Syria is really a proxy religious war between the Sunnis and the Shiites Another policy option is to impose a no-fly zone over Syria. This would remove the decisive tactical advantage of Assad's air force. This is feasible even though Syria possesses capable air defenses as they are no match for U.S. air power. A no-fly zone would not immediately end the conflict, but neutralizing the Syrian air force would erase one of the regime's most decisive advantages. Control of the air did the job in Bosnia and Kosovo. Keeping Assad's airplanes on the ground would show the Syrian military that it was saluting the wrong guy. Meanwhile, the opposition will remember the nations that came to its aid. Our closest allies, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are arming the rebels and eager to see Assad go. Allowing Syria to become an ungoverned land and thus a haven for terror and crime on the Mediterranean will prove far costlier in the long run. It may even provoke a larger regional war. And it must be wrong to let a massacre continue out of fear that something worse may follow, allowing the moderates to lose out to the radicals. If the Assad regime collapses, and if the jihadists ever acquire weapons of mass destruction such as chemical weapons, then we will then have a regional disaster. At the very least we should provide the Syrian resistance forces with everything we can in the way of communications, intelligence and other non-lethal assistance, and also seek to establish safe zones along Syria's borders with Jordan and Turkey where refugees could escape. The overthrow of Assad would remove the increasing Iranian presence in the region and change the regional balance of power.
Dennis Ross: It's Time to Act in Syria - American values and interests are at stake in stopping the country's slow-motion destruction. The zero-sum nature of the conflict makes it hard to create a political process that brings elements of the opposition together with members of the regime who don't have blood on their hands. The continuing Russian and Iranian protection of the Assad regime also reduces the prospect of Assad choosing to go. And as long as he remains, it is highly unlikely that there will be a political process to manage the transition. While a political process is unquestionably desirable, it is not made more likely by the ongoing military stalemate, which only raises the costs and deepens the sectarian divide… While there are costs in acting, the costs of inaction are growing by the day. Ironically, the costs of inaction may not only be felt in Syria, with the Syrian public, and in the surrounding areas. Inaction may also have implications for America's Iran policy. If we want diplomacy to work with Iran on the nuclear issue, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei must be convinced that the United States will actually use force if negotiations fail -- and America's hesitant posture toward Syria signals not readiness to use force, but reluctance.
Damascus fragments as the din of war grows louder State media report daily on operations by the "heroic" armed forces against "armed terrorist gangs" like Liwa al-Tawhid in Jobar or the Free Syrian Army in nearby Qaboun – both suburbs of Damascus proper, not the surrounding Damascus region, which is now largely beyond government control. "The steadfastness of the army will defeat the terrorist plots and conspiracies," the slogan says. In the city though, the reality is stalemate punctuated by sniper and mortar fire. There are no ground operations by an army unused to street fighting and, it is said, worried about casualties and mass defections: thus the constant use of artillery and air strikes – like the one that killed 10 children in Qaboun last weekend.
Jennifer Rubin: Obama’s Syria ruse The president was definitive, and if he really didn’t mean what he said, then he shouldn’t have said it. The U.S. dodging now signals to Tehran and Pyongyang that even when we draw a “red line,” we may not really mean it. That imperils our ability to force Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program and to contain Kim Jong Un. It is symptomatic of this administration in which every line is apparently written in sand. Neither Damascus nor Tehran (not to mention Jerusalem) believes we will take military action if needed to prevent acquisition or use of WMD’s in the Middle East. That makes it a far more dangerous place, and Americans far less safe.
Portrait of a Chechen Jihadist: Meet Abu Hamza, a Chechen who went to Syria to fight. With family in both Russia and Georgia, Abu Hamza, as he asked to be called, has been crossing back and forth across the border between the two countries for most of his 29 years. Late last year, in an unraveling marriage and only able to find sporadic work, he followed his brother-in-law to Syria. There, he joined a group of 60 or so militants opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- one of the thousands of independent brigades that make up the so-called Free Syrian Army. "I went there because I saw videos on the Internet of innocent women and children being killed by the regime. I wanted to fight the [Syrian] government and help the opposition; I wanted to kill Bashar," he said.

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.

Despite their ongoing travails, over the last few days, Syrian activists, protesters and rebels filled social media sites with condemnations of the attack in Boston. But, as usual, it was the wonderful people of Kafrenbel, Idlib Province, who captured the moment and sentiment.

Video Highlights

Scenes from the aftermath of an aerial raid on the town of Saraqib, Idlib Province , The attack left 8 children and a woman dead.

Rebels clash with loyalists in the neighborhood of Boustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo City ,

The pounding of Deir Ezzor City by pro-Assad militias continue ,

The pounding of rebel strongholds in and around Damascus City by pro-Assad militias continues: Zamalka