Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Silent Wringing!

The predictable continues to happen in Syria, as world leaders hold on to their well-rehearsed befuddlement, wringing their hands, while fate wrings our necks.  

Tuesday April 9, 2013

News
Syria's al-Nusra Front 'part of al-Qaeda' Al-Qaeda in Iraq has confirmed for the first time that a prominent jihadist group fighting in Syria is part of its network. The al-Nusra Front is at the forefront of the armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The leader of the Iraqi wing of al-Qaeda said that al-Nusra is battling for an Islamic state in Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State in Iraq, added that both groups were merging. He said: "We announce the abolition of the Islamic state of Iraq's name and Jabhat Al-Nusra's name and their amalgamation in one state under one name: The Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant."
Libya arms fueling conflicts in Syria, Mali and beyond: U.N. experts The experts said transfers of arms to Syria - where a two-year-old civil war has killed more than 70,000 people - had been organized from various locations in Libya, including Misrata and Benghazi, via Turkey or northern Lebanon. "The significant size of some shipments and the logistics involved suggest that representatives of the Libyan local authorities might have at least been aware of the transfers, if not actually directly involved," the experts said.
Syria 'death video' of Sheikh al-Bouti poses questions A video currently circulating on the internet, purporting to show the explosion on 21 March that killed Sheikh Muhammad al-Bouti in a Damascus mosque, raises many questions about the death of a man who was more familiar to Syrian TV viewers than anybody other than President Bashar al-Assad.


Special Reports
In Syria, some brace for the next war The capture last month of the city of Raqqah, Syria’s first provincial capital to fall under opposition control, consolidated the gains of an assortment of mostly Islamist-inclined groups across three northeastern provinces. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad cling to just a tiny number of scattered bases and could be ejected anytime. Yet even as the regime continues to hold out, schisms are emerging among rebel groups over ideology, the shape of a future Syrian state and control of the significant resources concentrated in this long-neglected but crucial corner of the country.
Syria's Jihadists face test of government in eastern city Hardline Islamist brigades patrol streets abandoned by police. A religious court has replaced a collapsed judicial system, and minorities have fled, according to civic activists in Raqqa, the largest city to fall to the opposition since the uprising against four decades of Assad family rule broke out in March 2011. The Jihadist show of force coupled with the absence of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, the main grouping of the political opposition, could consolidate an Islamist sweep in the north and east of the country. But the experience of Raqqa, where there have been demonstrations and strikes, shows that Islamist rule has got off to a difficult start.
Why Turkey Won't Attack Syria The government doesn't want to boost the stature of the military, it has a big Alawite community, and plenty of other reasons.
A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War’s Casualty Count He has been called a tool of the Qatari government, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Central Intelligence Agency and Rifaat al-Assad, the exiled uncle of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, among others. The Syrian government and even some rebels have accused him of treachery. “Rami’s objectivity is killing us,” said Manhal Bareesh, an activist from Saraqib who knew him before the war. But he and other activists in Syria credit him with working hard to document all the cases, and not hesitating to document potential war crimes.

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

Two days ago, this Scud missile fell on the village of Salhabiyeh in Raqqah Province, but failed to explode http://youtu.be/gxPDvik9w6k

The pounding of restive neighborhoods in east and south Damascus City continues: Jobar http://youtu.be/Ce5sCtCFIS4 , http://youtu.be/PcOEXoycaj0 Al-Hajar Al-Aswad http://youtu.be/tmxSVglOgZQ , http://youtu.be/IlnSmOKjO2M Al-Madniyeh http://youtu.be/RouNVgSjnAk

Meanwhile warplanes continue their bombardment of the towns and suburbs of Eastern Ghoutah http://youtu.be/Pa0XcZgP5u8 But sometimes, pro-Assad militias are too eager, and accidents happen in which they end up hurting each other http://youtu.be/Cj6tiRzUXII

Tanks keep trying to pound their way into the town of Daraya, west of Damascus City http://youtu.be/pAmXIxa4SVw , http://youtu.be/haIdMXOCjec , http://youtu.be/lC0DLSepJ-I , http://youtu.be/OuOZWmVLECo , http://youtu.be/eU8_JwVbiaI Meanwhile, tanks lay siege and continue their pounding of the nearby town of Moadamiya http://youtu.be/dpjsvuDRuBE , http://youtu.be/y8HGRkBbBw8