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           "Two things know no limit: Syrian bravery and world hypocrisy." @Ugaritian
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While the actual fighting and dying in Syria has increased dramatically in the past week, it has been dampened down in the MSM lately, even Al Jazeera has failed to cover the things that are happening on the ground. Most of what is reported in my blog today most certainly is BREAKING NEWS in the sense that it has yet to be covered by Al Jazeera English of anyone else in the TV MSM.

The attack this weekend on Douma, a community of half a million people, got very little coverage, for while the murder of one family and the attack on the funeral were covered, one would not know from this coverage that a generalized attack by Syrian forces on opposition strongholds is taking place.

Frankly, I think most imperialist diplomats want Assad to stay in power, even Clinton and Obama, They may try to sound differently because they claim to stand for human rights and because when Assad goes down, they want a place at the table in Syria, but I've seen no proof that they have really done anything to help the opposition but work their mouths and they were so kind as to tell Assad early on that there wouldn't be a military response to his killing spree. That already was a green light. Whenever before has a US president explicitly taken the "military option" off the table?

For example the NY Times recently did a major piece about Obama administration support for the rebels and all it amounted to was:

A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
The article says they have only been there a few weeks, aren't actually supplying any arms, just trying to make sure no weapons being supplied by others fall into Al Qaeda's hands, and
The clandestine intelligence-gathering effort is the most detailed known instance of the limited American support for the military campaign against the Syrian government.
Which basically means there has been no military support for Assad's opposition from the US.

What the UN did on Saturday was to stab the Syrian people in the back. They are trying to force Assad down their throats in spite of the fact that he clearly is a mass murderer and war criminal many times over. Everybody wants the "stability" he has brought, everybody except the Syrians, who have stepped up their fight to overthrow the Assad regime as more forces leave the Syrian Army that kills its own soldiers for refusing to kill and join the Free Syrian Army.

All the great powers may be hoping Bashar al-Assad will survive, even the US, UK and Israel, but he will be taken down and by his own people. More and more, even his own army is turning against him.

Most of what I am reporting today was compiled by EAWorldView.

  Two insurgents try to destroy a regime armoured vehicle with an RPG in Deir Ez Zor  July 1, 2012

1518 GMT: Syria. More signs that the Syrian military is worried about its border - this video reportedly shows a report from a Free Syrian Army fighter in western Idlib, near the border with Turkey. He reports that the fires behind him are the result of helicopter attacks against insurgent positions, an attempt to shut the Free Syrian Army off from their supply lines in Turkey. According to the report, the attacks started at 6 AM
The regime is taking a calculated risk - it could spark tensions with Turkey, particularly if the trees burn across the border, as wildfires are a threat in the area. It's a sign that the Free Syrian Army is enough of a threat to merit the risk.

Thanks to super-activist Zilal for translation help today.

1510 GMT: Syria. With so much violence in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, they're still finding bodies in the streets of Douma (map). A graphic video shows the body of someone who appears as though they were riding their motorbike when killed. Another terrible video claims to show the youth of the city collecting bodies that were buried in the rubble.

1503 GMT: Syria. Perhaps the most important location of today's fighting is in Aleppo province. The countryside is virtually overrun by insurgents, and Syria's largest city is nearly surrounded by the Free Syrian Army, but the military is fighting back, and both civilians and insurgents are paying the price.

So far, heavy gunfire and snipers are reported in Al Bab (map). In Al Atareb (map), videos show widespread destruction after heavy shelling. And this video shows a tank, reportedly destroyed by the Free Syrian Army:

Azaz and Tal Rifat were also, shelled, [guardian] (map), and this video reportedly shows fighting between insurgents and regime military in Haritan (map), matching reports we received earlier:
A graphic video shows a body on the street and a car full of wounded, reportedly hit by gunfire in Anadan, north of Aleppo (map).

However, the battle in Anadan has not been all one sided. Translated by super-activist Zilal, this video claims to show the body of a colonel, Ahmad Sleiman , killed on the road, a direct retaliation by the FSA's Ansar Allah and Ahfad Omar brigades for the murder of so many who were killed in Zamalka on Saturday.

The entire region of Aleppo is witnessing heavy fighting, a sign of just how fast the regime appears to be losing ground.

1417 GMT: Syria. With hundreds dying every day, the streets of many cities are regularly filled with funeral processions, and as such the protest movement is once again surging, every funeral an excuse to voice opposition to the regime whom so many hold responsible for the deaths.

People protested deep into the night last night in the important Salah el Dine district of Aleppo (map):

Today's protests in Kafer Zita, north of Hama (map):
A large protest in the small town of Altimanah, in Idlib province (map):

Every protester in the street is another reminder of Assad's lack of support among the people of Syria.

1403 GMT: Syria. More death in Syria - according to the LCC, 73 people have been killed so far today:

In Homs, there were 23 martyrs, 19 in Hama, 16 in Damascus suburbs most of them in the city of Douma, 7 in Deir Ezzor, 3 in Aleppo, 2 in Daraa, 2 in Damascus and 1 martyr in Lattakia.
This video shows a home burning in tje Al Qusour district of Homs, near Khalidiyeh (map):
1353 GMT: Syria. The Guardian notes that things between Turkey and Syria have become more tense in recent days:


Turkey scrambled six F-16 warplanes in three separate incidents yesterday, Today's Zaman reports citing military sources.

    Turkey's armed forces command said the fighter jets were scrambled from Incirlik air base in response to Syrian helicopters flying south of the Turkish province of Hatay, within two to 2.5 miles of the Turkish border.

    In similar incidents on Saturday, Syrian helicopters were said to have come as close as four miles from the border.

With Syrian attack helicopters and artillery hitting targets that are only a few kilometers from the border with Turkey, the stakes are high, as are the chances for another accident that could spark an international crisis.

James Miller takes over today's live coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas for getting us through the morning.

1245 GMT: Syria
. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, quoted by the RIA Novosti agency, has said Moscow will hold talks with two Syrian opposition groups, officials from the Assad regime, and United Nations envoy Kofi Annan this.

Bogdanov saud the first group, headed by opposition leader Michel Kilowill, will arrive later this week, while another group with Syrian National Council head Abdulbaset Sieda will visit Moscow after 10 July.

1240 GMT: Syria
. Lebanon's General Security agency has announced, "On Monday at dawn, gunmen fired a rocket from Bqaiaa, in Lebanese territory, towards Syria, hitting a Syrian immigration post and wounding two border police."

The statement continued, "The Syrians pursued the gunmen and, during the pursuit, a Lebanese General Security post was hit. A Syrian unit arrived at the Lebanese post and apprehended two members of General Security, taking them into Syrian territory before releasing them."

The men who fired the rocket managed to escape, a General Security spokesperson said.

1235 GMT: Syria
. Insurgents film a destroyed regime tank in Atareb in Aleppo Province:

1230 GMT: Syria. Ghatan Sleiba, a long-time anchor and reporter for the pro-regime Addounia TV station, has defected to the opposition and revealed he secretly provided intelligence to insurgents for the past seven months.

Sleiba, 33, who arrived in Turkey last Wednesday, said, "There are some others who also want to run, but there are more who love the regime from the depths of their hearts."

The journalist claimed insurgents were now in control of much of eastern Syria, especially the countryside surrounding major towns and cities: "This is one of the things that they never wanted us to talk about. What we were doing was not reporting. It was simply acting as the tongue of the regime."

1220 GMT: Syria
. Back from an academic break to find that the main opposition groups in exile are holding a two-day meeting in Cairo to forge a common line for a political transition.

The Arab League's Secretary-General, Nabil Al Araby, who chaired the meeting of about 250 opposition figures, urged participants "not to waste this opportunity...[to] unite". He stressed the need for "a pluralist democratic system that does not discriminate between Syrians."

Nasser al-Qudwa, the deputy to United Nations envoy Kofi Annan, echoed the call: "Unify your vision and your performance....This is not a choice, but a necessity if the opposition wants to gain the trust of its people in Syria,"

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that a “weak and disorganised” opposition would only benefit the Assad regime while assuring:


There will be a transition and change in Syria. It is inevitable, and there will be a new administration and democratic regime in Syria eventually. It must be clear that only the Syrian people are to decide about the future of any agreement on their own country.
The foreign ministers of Turkey, Iraq and Kuwait were also present.
Al Harra Daraa Ugarit hot Horan, the funeral of the martyr Uday Alalosh July 2, 2012

         Mortars fired on the Damascus neighborhood of Ugarit  July 2, 2012

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:44:49 AM PDT

  •  I've been following your diaries. (4+ / 0-)

    I appreciate all your hard work, and think you may be right about the reason for the apparent lack of attention lately.

    "Differences in political opinion are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary." George Washington

    by civil wingnut on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:57:20 AM PDT

  •  You've been doing (4+ / 0-)

    yeoman work on this, and for that I thank you.

    Admin, has definitively walked back from "right to protect", that's obvious.  And, they are not alone.

    Without intervention, this pot just keeps stewing, and it seems the world is okay with that hoping there's something to salvage and hopefully prevent WW III before it's too late.

    We're just watching it burn...

    "Helpless" sucks don't it?

    Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

    by EdMass on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:02:19 AM PDT

    •  I feel a little less helpless (4+ / 0-)

      by blogging about it.

      I developed some pretty good twitter skills and contacts during Libya. I wasn't doing to give that level of attention to Syria, I can hardly afford to.

      But grabbing the material as it flies by on twitter and fixing to a blog where everyone can see it seems the least I can do.

      So I keep on blogging.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:40:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Assad has a lot more army and a lot less oil (0+ / 0-)

      that Qaddafi had so RTP [Rights To Petroleum] doesn't apply in this case.

      The Syrians are going to have to do this on their own. It will cost many more lives than it should, but that blood will be on our hands, not theirs.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:46:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More hyperbole (5+ / 0-)
        but that blood will be on our hands
        Everyone is sympathetic to those people standing up to Assad. But a few seconds thought is enough to give powerful reasons why Western intervention in Syria could cause more war and suffering that it would prevent. Your diaries entirely ignore these factors.
        •  I am not calling for Western Intervention (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But I am pointing out that the entire world is watching a dictator wipe out whole communities and doing nothing about it.

          This time, thanks to the Internet, we can all see what is happening and nobody does nothing.

          Remember the story about a women getting stabled to death and like 25 people witnessed it but nobody did nothing? This is that but on a world scale.

          This is like Rwanda, this is like the Holocaust, and nobody does nothing. Not in scale yet but wait. What's the magic number that will trigger action if 17K is not enough? At least when the Nazi's backed Franco the way the Russians are backing Assad, the left in this country sent freedom fighters ti defend the Spanish republic. What does it do today?

          It backs the dictator Assad and spreads his propaganda.

          I just think the way the world is handling Syria sets a very bad precedent. Peacemaking can not remain at the talking stage forever when people are being murdered.

          What happens if some country decides to wipe out its entire black population? Oh well, internal matter.

          When did never again become whenever?

          Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

          by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 03:07:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am very happy for your diaries (0+ / 0-)

            But scolding people with cries of "their blood is on your hands" is really counter-productive to persuasion.Describing the world diplomatic corps as soulless bastards (I paraphrase) because the international community has not solved this crisis is unfair. And unfair writing is writing that is not as persuasive as it could be.

            I hope you continue writing these diaries. Every bit of attention they bring is helpful. But they can do that and still acknowledge that people with the best of intent have failed to bring peace to this nation for over 45 years and counting. And not for a lack of trying. This is not easy-peasy.

          •  US helping arm rebels (paid for by KSA, Qtr, Trky) (0+ / 0-)
            the entire world is watching a dictator wipe out whole communities and doing nothing about it.
            That's not true, for better or worse:
            NYTimes: "C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition", published: June 21, 2012
            A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
            Furthermore, mobilizing high-level talks headed by Kofi Anan and involving the US, Russia, China, European allies, regional allies, other regional powers, etc., is not "doing nothing." If you have a good solution, let's hear it! :-)  Especially for the "afterwards" part, if Assad is overthrown.

            This comment also merits further research:

            Remember the story about a women getting stabled to death and like 25 people witnessed it but nobody did nothing?
            I assume you're refering to the murder of Kitty Genovese? Later analysis showed that the initial yellow-journalism reports were inaccurate. They grab our hearts so we remember it -- but not the way it happened.
            Later investigation by police and prosecutors revealed that approximately a dozen (but almost certainly not the 38 cited in the Times article) individuals nearby had heard or observed portions of the attack, though none saw or were aware of the entire incident. Only one witness, Joseph Fink, was aware she was stabbed in the first attack, and only Karl Ross was aware of it in the second attack. Many were entirely unaware that an assault or homicide was in progress; some thought that what they saw or heard was a lovers' quarrel or a drunken brawl or a group of friends leaving the bar when Moseley first approached Genovese.
            The [NY Times article] lead is dramatic but factually inaccurate. A 2007 study found many of the purported facts about the murder to be unfounded. The study found "no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive".
            None of the witnesses observed the attacks in their entirety. Because of the layout of the complex and the fact that the attacks took place in different locations, no witness saw the entire sequence of events. Most only heard portions of the incident without realizing its seriousness, a few saw only small portions of the initial assault, and no witnesses directly saw the final attack and rape, in an exterior hallway, which resulted in Genovese's death. Additionally, after the initial attack punctured her lungs, leading to her eventual death from asphyxiation, it is unlikely that she was able to scream at any volume. [...]
            One witness said his father called police after the initial attack... A few minutes after the final attack a witness, Karl Ross, called the police. Police arrived within minutes of Ross' call. [...]

            In September 2007, the American Psychologist published an examination of the factual basis... The three authors concluded that the story is more parable than fact, largely because of inaccurate newspaper coverage at the time of the incident. According to the authors, "despite this absence of evidence, the story continues to inhabit our introductory social psychology textbooks (and thus the minds of future social psychologists)." One interpretation of the parable is that the drama and ease of teaching the exaggerated story makes it easier for professors to capture student attention and interest.  [...] The story of the witnesses who did nothing "is taught in every introduction to psychology textbook in the United States and Britain, and in many other countries..."

      •  Are you now admitting that oil had a lot to do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        with NATO militarily intervening for regime change in Libya?

        I don't feel guilty in the least. The guilty are those that took up arms during the protests and those that are funding and supplying more weapons to them.

    •  WW3 because a dictator is facing revolt? (4+ / 0-)

      Hard to get more hyperbolic than that.

      A stronger case for a WW3 trigger could be made for an abrupt Western intervention in Syria. Because why? Because Syria is currently in a state of war with? That is right, with Israel.

      If British or French militiaries get involved, there is a high risk the Muslim world will see a replay of 1956 when Britain and France teamed up with Israel to capture the Suez Canal. There is a high risk of opening old wounds from the 'proctorate' era.

      If America intervenes it won't be seen as a reply of 1956 but it carries the same high risk of being seen as direct American participation in the I/P fighting. That's not likely to end well.

      If Turkey gets involved, well then we're back to a reply of the Ottoman domination of the region.

      These diaries talk about Western intervention like it would be the simplest, most straightforward thing in the world to do. A few seconds thought should be enough to reveal obvious reasons why such moves could instantly backfire.

      •  Not completely in agreement with what you say (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, angry marmot, science nerd

        but substantially so. The charge that the UN is some kind of enabler of Assad is just wrong. Syria is a very difficult problem. The USA and many countries have said that Assad and his regime must go. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to get there. Military intervention by NATO is not good at this stage. Few internecine conflicts like this aren't so bad that they can't be made a lot worse by military escalation. Right now, the economic sanctions against Syria have it running out of cash and credit. So the regime may grind to a halt soon. The Russians will do a lot for a customer, but credit isn't one of them.

        The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

        by Anne Elk on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 01:52:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am only saying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, science nerd

        That Clay is doing good work bringing what for some reason we only find on dkos.

        As to WW III,  it's way more than intervention.  If Syria collapses then what of its allies, Iran, Hezbolla, Hamas, Russia, China (?).  It's Arab opponents Saudi, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, et al.  Countries on the cusp, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya.  Then there's NATO with those nasty historical colonial interests.  

        There is nothing simple or straightforward in these diaries in my reading.  I read a plea that people are suffering and he world is somehow immobilized and unable to help them.  (See above paragraph)

        Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

        by EdMass on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 02:26:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  More power to Clay (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          EdMass, science nerd, Sharon Wraight

          And I'll I was saying is, bringing up some WW3 as a direct result over failure to intervene is hyperbole.

          There is no question the entire region is unstable. But does intervention add to the instability or reduce it? Does refusal to intervene raise or lower instability? Would intervention kick off another Arab/Israeli war?

          These are not simple questions. The weakness of this series is world leaders are not given credit for having to face these tough questions.

          •  World leaders want Assad in power, that's the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:


            world leaders are not given credit for having to face these tough questions.
            You're damn right I don't. Because their tough questions are not my tough questions or those of the people being slaughtered for rising up against a dictator.

            This series gives none of them credit, including Hillary Clinton and Kofi Annan, for  giving a fuck about the Syrian people.

            If Annan was any kind of champion for international peace and justice he would have called the US out for attacking Iraq when he was SG. And as for Clinton... well

            The "tough questions" all these world leaders are facing are 1.) What can I get out of this crisis for my side? and 2.) How can I just make this go away?

            So, yes, you are exactly right, this series doesn't give them any credit, difference is, I don't think its a weakness.

            Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

            by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 03:25:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  FSA enlist children in propaganda video (0+ / 0-)

    Watching this gives me the creeps....
    Video [1:35]
    Here is some undiluted terrorism. 'Free Syrian Army' dads write a script for their children to read, dress them in military uniform, and give them real guns! They have clearly been coerced. A small girl in uniform to the lower left for example looks very unhappy appears to be crying. This was the announcement for the formation of the child Baraem Brigade.

    The language and arguments are advanced and clearly something written by adults for the girl to recite. The script begins with the defection from school (!), and the declaration that they are leaving their toys (!!), and tells the listener that they are defending their childhood, so don't criticise them!!! This technique takes an obvious wrong (forcing children to leave school and depriving them of the right to play and be kids), and turns the situation around to suggest they are defending their childhood. That is quite advanced ability and blatant propaganda.

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