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“America, is trying to prolong the Syrian revolution.”
                           -- Firas Tlass (a high level Assad defector)
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I am a relatively insignificant person, so the fact that I think Obama has liked Assad, as expressed it in my last diary, is hardly worth all the angst and vitriol it generated.

However, the fact that a growing number of Syrians, and a growing mindset on the Arab Street, is of the opinion that the United States has really been supporting the murderous Assad dictatorship and not the people in this struggle, is something that should be of great concern to all Americans and can't be changed by a thousand donuts from Kossacks because it is based on what the US has done rather than what its leaders have said.

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Even before the Wright brothers invented powered flight, aerial assault had proven to be one of the most efficient, if indiscriminate, ways to kill human beings. Sadly, for those of us still living down below, "Death from Above" brought in a banner crop in 2012.

Almost certainly the award for the most kills from the air in 2012 goes to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. More than 50,000 people were killed in Syria last year, many of them by Assad's use of air power.

Even while he loses territory to those fighting for a free Syria because he lacks the manpower to put enough boots on the ground to hold it, he has still been able to make life unlivable in these liberated zones through aerial bombardment.

As a result, the entire region is now being destabilized by what is quickly approaching a million Syrians that have fled their country for the safety of a neighbor's and some of the oldest inhabited cities on Earth are being destroyed.

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A new battle for Damascus has been initiated by the Free Syrian Army. Perhaps the final battle! From samer (@samersniper) we have this report

The latest developments of the Grand Epic battle (Comeuppance 2) to liberate the capital Damascus.
Wednesday 6th of February 2013 | 25th of Rabi Awwal 1434 AH
Several FSA battalions and brigades in Eastern Ghotta destroy both Hirmilleh and Kabbas checkpoints on the Southern ring road, at the eastern entrance of the capital Damascus

As usual Reuters is on the ball, as I get ready to publish, they beat me to it with:

Syrian rebels fight close to heart of Damascus

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Mariam Karouny
AMMAN | Wed Feb 6, 2013 6:08pm EST
Syrian rebels battled President Bashar al-Assad's forces on the edge of central Damascus on Wednesday, opposition activists said, seeking to break through to the heart of the capital.

Their offensive aims to break a stalemate in the city of 2 million people, where artillery and air strikes have prevented rebels entrenched to the east from advancing despite their capture of army fortifications, the activists said.

"We have moved the battle to Jobar," said Captain Islam Alloush of the rebel Islam Brigade. The district links rebel strongholds in the suburbs with the central Abbasid Square.

"The heaviest fighting is taking place in Jobar because it is the key to the heart of Damascus," he said. More...

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from Syrian Revolution Digest, 6 Feb 2013:

How You Failed Syria!

How you failed Syria, let me count the ways: you abandoned her when her movement for democratic change was nonviolent. You let Assad violate her and kill her children. You turned your back on her children when they rushed to her rescue, and pretended you were unaware. You uttered words of sympathy and encouragement, and sent few blankets and tents to people who were at the mercy of mortars and MiGs, not only the elements. You tied her fortunes to complicated geopolitical agendas that are beyond her control or interest. You let her legitimate aspirations and her all too human and humanitarian needs be the last entry on a long list of objectives. What do you expect of her now? Would tell her she is wrong to hate you? Would you blame her should she implode? Do you really think she would care anymore?
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According to observations being reported by EAWorldview and Brown Moses, there are strong indications that the secular Free Syrian Army has recently been getting a significant supply of new weapons of types not possessed by the Assad regime, and so not captured weapons.

These new weapons appear to be going mainly if not exclusively to the "moderates", al Nursa and the the jihadist don't seem to have any.

These new weapons, which include advanced anti-tank weapons, recoilless rifles and RPGs, but not anti-aircraft missiles or MANPADS, are starting to have an effect on the battlefield and have played a big part in recent FSA advances on the ground, most notably in Damascus.

And it is these rapid fire advances on the ground that are driving this whole process at the international level including the latest flurry of big power "discussions" [jockeying for position] around the Syrian crisis, Brahimi's new leaks and the exodus of Russians from Syria.

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When NATO intervened in the Libyan conflict by enforcing a no-fly zone and providing air support for the revolutionary armies, there was a large segment of the left and the anti-war movement that cried bloody murder.

They said it was deji vu all over again. They predicted that the air strikes were just a prelude to NATO boots on the ground and they hit the streets to demand "NATO out of Libya", "US hands off Libya" and so on. They were "The Anti-Interventionists" and Libya today is an example of what happened when they failed, when their demands were ignored, and the world intervened to stop a dictator from using military power to slaughter his own people in spite of them.

That is why they don't hesitate to trash Libya today at every opportunity.

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Below the fold are a number of Stratfor Global Intelligence file emails that I have found in my research in the the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front [DHKP-C] that is being widely blamed for the suicide bomber attack against the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

These documents, which have been obtained by Wikileaks are being released  as part of an investigative partnership between WikiLeaks and myself..

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Featuring New Wikileaks Stratfor GI File releases on Turkish group behind the attack!

Syrian Intelligence Agencies Implicated!

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According to Reuters, a self-proclaimed Turkish Marxist group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

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Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 01:46 PM PST

MSM wrong on Libya again

by Clay Claiborne

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Libya in Transition Exhibit @ UNHQ's

The pictures in this photostream document Libya’s early challenges and accomplishments as the nation strives to become a democracy in the aftermath of the Gaddafi regime’s legacy of repression and the fighting that led to its overthrow.

All images are part of an exhibition entitled “Libya in Transition: Helping to Build a New Democratic Libya”, which was produced by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), a political mission overseen by the Department of Political Affairs, and displayed at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 29 January to 6 February 2013. More...

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What ever happened to Assad's vaunted air defense systems? You know, the ones that were said to be so formidable, so far above what Qaddafi had, that the very idea of imposing a "No Fly Zone" over Syria was unthinkable?

After all, it hasn't even been degraded yet, except by Assad's turning his fighters into bombers so that he could use them for destroying his nation instead of defending it. All his ground based air defenses should be intact and yet Israeli jets were able to penetrate miles into Syria unopposed and hit targets near Damascus.

What's up with that?

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For all the carping and name calling that my first diary on this generated, I haven't seen a single argument in the comment gallery that even speaks to, let alone undermines, my basic thesis that Obama's "No MANPADS for you" policy with regards to Assad's opposition in Syria, which he claimed was to assure that no MANPADS fell into the hands of jihadists has, in fact, led to MANPADS falling into the hands of jihadists.

Once again, by the numbers let me spell it out because I am dense.

1) We know that al Nursa Front [declared an official terror group  --- by Obama?!] has MANPADS now that they didn't have a few months ago. Other Islamic extremist groups in Syria as well as the FSA are also getting them.

2) And where are they getting them? From taking Assad's bases and raiding his armories.

3) And how did al Nursa and others like them get to form up in Syria? Because this war has dragged on so long that they have been able take advantage and establish themselves. In other words, they have been able to use the past year of inaction by all the permanent members of the UNSC to put themselves in a position where they could avail themselves of Assad's MANPADS, among other things.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been vicious in his use of air power against his opposition. That is the principal reason the death toll has been so high, counting more than 65,000 Syrian dead since 15 March 2011, the start of the uprising.

Almost from the beginning he was quick to use his attack helicopters against protesters and he has continuously escalated to the point that now he is dropping cluster bombs and incendiaries on opposition neighborhoods. Ever since the first Friday of "The No-Fly Zone" on 28 October 2011, the Syria people have demanded that a Libya type "No Fly Zone" be established to protect them from Assad's "Death from Above."

This has been denied them and the cost has been enormous in terms of human lives. President Barack Obama has been the most adamant of all the NATO leaders in denying the Syrian people a "No-Fly Zone" or the Syrian opposition any military support.

But Obama has taken it one step further, he has made it the business of the United States to see that the Syrian opposition received few heavy weapons from its supporters. Most especially, he has used our country's clout to "veto" precisely the weapon that the Syrian opposition has needed and demanded the most, MANPADS.

MANPADS are portable anti-aircraft missiles and everyone has known all along that they would be a game changer in Syria, as they have already proven to be in recent months since Assad's opposition, against Obama's best efforts, has managed to get their hands on them.

Bashar Assad has been able to slaughter his own people so easily from the air only because they lacked effective modern weapons with which to shoot down his aircraft. The lack of these weapons has probably allowed Assad to hang on for a year longer than he could have otherwise and cost the Syrian people, on both sides of this conflict, more than 50,000 unnecessary deaths.

Obama's "No MANPADS for You!" policy has had a very high price in Syrian blood. His stated reason for denying the Syrian opposition MANPADS has been his fear that they would fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.

Below the fold I will show how Obama's "No MANPADS for You!" policy with regards to the Free Syrian Army, has not only allowed Assad to hang on and extend this conflict into a third year, undoubtedly costing tens of thousands of Syrian lives, but also has had the unintended consequence of accomplishing precisely what Obama was seeking to avoid.

Now, as a result of Obama;s "No MANPADS for You!" policy, Islamic extremists in Syria are acquiring more MANPADS every week.

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After the tragic and untimely death of Aaron Swartz, we are all going to have to do a little bit more to make up for his loss. If he was still alive, I suspect I'd be receiving a letter from him about this very important development because our rights in Cyberspace are under attack again. Since he's not, I'll take up some of the slack by alerting you to this very important attack.

As of Sunday any iPhone, Blackberry or Android you purchase will be a lot less yours than it was the day before. Sunday it became illegal for you to "unlock" your smartphone. In two years it will also be a crime to "root" or "jailbreak" your smartphone. From the Atlantic

ADVISORY

BY DECREE OF THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS

IT SHALL HENCEFORCE BE ORDERED THAT AMERICANS SHALL NOT UNLOCK THEIR OWN SMARTPHONES.

PENALTY: In some situations, first time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both.*

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