Friday, April 5, 2013

Will All Neptune’s Oceans?

I will never again underestimate the human capacity for indifference. Ours is a very public crucifixion, yet it might as well be happening on Mars. Some eyebrows are raised here, some dismayed looks can be detected there, and outbursts of condemnation and expressions of sympathy can be heard from time to time. Some sent aid to alleviate occasional political pressures, but not a guilty conscience, because guilt does not seem to factor much here. Some sent weapons, but not enough to determine the outcome for either side. The stalemate continues. It’s as if people are following this on their game consoles rather than TV or computer screens. The point is simply to score high, or move up a level or two, but not win. All the world's a PlayStation, And all the men and women merely digitized action figures.

Thursday April 4, 2013

News
Jordanians and Turks Are Focus of Syria’s Ire The criticisms in the state news media appeared to be part of an intensified propaganda response to new rebel gains in the two-year-old conflict and President Bashar al-Assad’s further isolation. It included snippets of an interview that Mr. Assad had given to a Turkish television station, in which he also denounced the Arab League for granting Syria’s seat to the opposition coalition bent on overthrowing him.
Jordan's assistance to rebels ratchets up tensions with Syria A front-page editorial in the government daily al-Thawra accused Amman of adopting a policy of "ambiguity" by training the rebels while at the same time publicly insisting on a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Jordan is "playing with fire," state radio said. "Jordan's attempt to put out the flame from the leaked information will not help as it continues with its mysterious policy, which brings it closer to the volcanic crater," al-Thawra said.
Red Cross: Syria Humanitarian Crisis Worsening Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said aid workers had been able to do make more trips into opposition-held areas in the past two weeks, indicating Damascus may be softening its stance on convoys into such territory. He said the workers were "not pleasantly surprised" by what they found in areas accessible for the first time, with the need for food, sanitation, water and medicine increasing. "We saw devastation and destruction," he said. "What we were able to achieve is not enough. The needs are growing exponentially while our ability to react is growing linearly," he said.
No agreement on Syria access for U.N. chemical arms inspectors "There's no agreement on access yet," a U.N. Security Council diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "The inspectors won't be deploying until there's agreement on access and other modalities." There has been an exchange of letters about access for the investigators between Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari and the head of the U.N. Office of Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane, according to a letter from Kane obtained by Reuters on Thursday.
Bombs Hit Damascus Like Shooting Stars as Battle Intensifies Syrian businessman Ammar Sinan was having dinner at a Damascus restaurant last week when mortar rounds fired by rebel insurgents fell “like shooting stars” a few streets away. “There were bombs, then the sound of sirens and then the whoosh of the Katyusha launchers responding to the source of fire,” Sinan said in an interview in Beirut. “Damascus is a dying city. You see it breaking up and there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said.


How Syria’s Women Can Help End the Civil War Syrian activist Mouna Ghanem tells Barbara Walters that the best way to get rid of Assad is through negotiation—and women need to be at the table.
Syrian Spillover: An interactive map tracking the internationalization of Syria's civil war. In this map, we've tried to track some of the international incidents and influences of the Syrian civil war. It is not comprehensive, and suggestions are welcome. It shows an uprising that increasingly travels like an electric current across filaments of ethnic and sectarian identity, regardless of borders. As the power vacuum grows, so will the opportunities for foreign countries to interject themselves further into the conflict.

Special Reports
In Syria, the only way out is a political deal Ideally, this effort would require countries like Russia to give up their support for Assad and persuade him to step down in exchange for guarantees that the political transition will be agreed to by all sides once the dictator is gone. Countries such as the United States, that support the Syrian opposition through the Syrian National Coalition, should make clear that any assistance will be conditional on the opposition refraining from reprisals and committing to integrate all the different parts of Syrian society into the post-Assad political system.
Why Putin supports Assad The Russian president and his supporters are convinced that both the Arab spring and the series of revolutions in the post-Soviet states were orchestrated in the United States… Putin’s distrust of the United States has growing support among the Russian electorate, even if they have little direct influence on foreign policy… Playing on these sentiments, Putin presents the intentions of the United States in the Middle East as colonialist.
Will Syria’s Refugee Crisis Drain Jordan of Its Water? Jordan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, subject to an ongoing drought that has devastated agricultural prospects in the country’s northern areas for nearly a decade. The large and rapid influx of Syrian refugees into the border cities of Ramtha and Mafraq, home to the Za’atari refugee camp, has strained water supplies to the breaking point — for two weeks in February, parts of Mafraq town had no water whatsoever. Summer’s soaring temperatures will put additional demands on a poor region that can hardly support its own population, let alone the surge of new refugees that are expected as the war in Syria grinds on.

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

* Mr. Daniel Pipes is advocating a different interventionist policy in Syria: http://youtu.be/gVFLZ_jV-fs. in an interview on Fox News, he says that, while his heart bleeds liberally for all those whose would suffer, and suffer in vain as he would have it, the U.S. should indeed interfere in Syria, but only to shore up the collapsing Assad regime, and do it just enough to maintain a state of stalemate between the different combatants. After all, since both sides are inimical to America’s interests, why not have them kill each for as long as possible. It’s undeniable that at this stage, America has few friends left in Syria. She started with few to begin with, and missed her opportunity to reverse the tides by failing to intervene on the side of peaceful protesters and moderate rebels back in the Summer of 2011. But adopting Pipes’ approach would go beyond getting cynical about the whole thing by becoming downright maniacal, complete with a straight-jacket and a mask. What next? Using refugees as subjects of scientific experiments instead of letting them go to waste wallowing in those miserable camps? Or shall we just “exterminate the brutes?”

Video Highlights

Damascus City: scores of missies fall on the neighborhood of Jobar (Apr. 3) http://youtu.be/YjjKatw-Eig But in nearby Abbasyeen Square, rebels put up a fight http://youtu.be/RYf0uq5tXpk The neighborhood of Barzeh is also pounded with missiles http://youtu.be/ZfEdFkxsQ3A , http://youtu.be/kDetW-MZutM Homes catch fire at night http://youtu.be/OiEN6iWMvx4 Digging through the rubble ion search of the wounded http://youtu.be/g6vYQNKwNb4

Damascus Suburbs: West of Damascus, tanks continue their deadly rounds of Daraya http://youtu.be/VYOjLRJI6B8 Missiles fall http://youtu.be/8VqBmjFLBGE , http://youtu.be/1BO1-6AaGc8 Clashes continue http://youtu.be/c0Y-1oKFcDY The pounding of nearby Moadamiya continues http://youtu.be/Ge5e0nDwrtI Clashes in Zamalka http://youtu.be/waDRTk4qjd0

Homs City: the pounding of Qarabees neighborhood resumes http://youtu.be/VxtjCCNfB7U

Raqqah City: rebels continue their siege of the last few loyalist strongholds http://youtu.be/-mDEsRw6zAs Except for three major camps, including the military Airport at Tabqa, the province is completely under rebel control.

Zaatari Camp: A sandstorm http://youtu.be/7ZImVuwh7vE