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The horrific violence being applied by the Assad regime, and which is costing thousand of Syrians their lives seems to have slipped from the headlines of the world's media as its focus shifted to the tragic death of twelve people at the hands of one in the United States. I have just finished watching my morning news round-up, an hour of Al Jazeera and a half-hour each of France24 or Russia Today. All of them failed to even mention that the Syrian government was now bombing its largest city with jet air crafts in a terrible new escalation of the Syrian regimes attack on its own people. One writer, in discussing the attack on Aleppo, titled his piece today "Syria's Strategy Of Modern Blitzkrieg."

Major cities don't get bombed all that often and nothing creates as much death and destruction as air strikes from war planes, so already this should be news, but rarer still is a country bombing its own people. I have noticed generally in the past week that the level of killing by the Assad regime on the ground, particularly the intense use of tanks, artillery, helicopter gunships and now jet bombers to kill Syrians opposed to the regime, has been greatly underreported. While that have been a lot of reports about the comings and goings of diplomats and officials, and reports of clashes with the Free Syrian Army and their success in capturing some border crossings. Very little is being reported about the many, many massacres the Assad regime has been committing across Syrian with its army and shabiha forces. While the figure of 19,000 killed in the Syrian civil war has gotten wide publicity, the fact that there are also 65,000 missing and 216,000 detained has gotten less notice. And now the bombing of cities by jet aircraft is to be given no notice?

Fortunately at least the BBC News is reporting it on their website:

Syria conflict: Aleppo bombed by fighter planes
24 July 2012 Last updated at 11:14 ET

Fighter jets have bombed eastern areas of Syria's second city Aleppo, a BBC reporter near the city says.

The attack is seen as a significant escalation in the conflict.

It is thought to be the first time that warplanes have been used in Aleppo, our correspondent says.

Rebels launched an offensive against Aleppo at the weekend in an attempt to wrest control of the city from the army. Fierce fighting has been reported close to Aleppo's historic Old City.

Helicopter gunships were reportedly involved in the clashes earlier on Tuesday, the BBC's Ian Pannell says from the outskirts of Aleppo.

Pro-government troops bombarded the city, Syria's commercial centre, with shells and rocket fire as the government attempted to take back districts seized by the rebels. More ...

Wed Jul 25, 2012 at  8:08 PM PT:

More Breaking News from Syria you won't see on the MSM or Russia Today:

        Massive rally against Assad regime last night. These are the terrorists being bombed

        Assad regimes fires on peaceful protest in Zahraa area of Aleppo last night

Bombing the neighborhood of Aleppo Alsakhur and Hanano and displacement of residents

       People fleeing Aleppo today, these people have nowhere to go.

10:21 AM PT:

10:52 AM PT: Other news outlets are starting to chime in. Here is the NY Times piece:

Use of Warplanes Is Reported in Syrian Conflict


Published: July 24, 2012

Syrian armed forces battling insurgents in Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city and commercial hub, have bombed its eastern areas with fighter jets, a BBC correspondent traveling with the insurgents reported Tuesday.

If confirmed, the use of warplanes would signify an escalation by the Syrian government in its effort to crush armed resistance in the nearly 17-month-old conflict. More...

The Telegraph has this:
Syria: 'war planes bomb Aleppo'

Fighter jets have reportedly launched bomb attacks on Syria's second city of Aleppo, which, if confirmed, would be the first time Assad forces had used war planes against citizens.

By Barney Henderson, and agencies

3:41PM BST 24 Jul 2012

Syrian fighter jets launched strikes on Aleppo on Tuesday afternoon, according to the BBC. If such a tactic is confirmed, it would lead to a significant escalation in the 16-month-long conflict.

Reports of the strike came after eight people were killed in a mutiny at Aleppo prison.

Security forces "opened fire with bullets and tear gas on the detainees at Aleppo central prison in response to a peaceful sit-in organised by prisoners because of the great injustice of which they are victims," the Syrian National Council said in a statement.

"Eight people were martyred and a fire broke out inside the prison."

The statement said regime forces had fired on the prison from helicopters as the fire raged inside, preventing help from arriving at the facility.  More...

Also Spiegel OnLine International has just release a new report on that finds that the Assad regime paid the shabiha to carryout the Houla Massacre. This may before a separate diary. It is that important!
A Syrian Bloodbath Revisited

Searching for the Truth Behind the Houla Massacre

By Christoph Reuter and Abd al-Kadher Adhun



The region is also surrounded by a ring of Alawite villages, where the Syrian army has established bases from which it continues to fire at Houla with tanks and artillery. The regime provides arms to the villages, which in turn supply the pro-regime shabiha militias, which have set up checkpoints on area roads and are participating in attacks.

Taldou itself, home to more than 15,000 people before the revolution, is under the control of its own residents. They have formed a unit of the FSA, which protects them from smaller attacks, but not from bombardment. Parts of the village, including one of the areas where the massacre took place, remain inaccessible, because they are within the range of army snipers positioned on a ridge outside the town.

The SPIEGEL team spent two days in Taldou, where it was able to move about freely, interview surviving members of the Sayyid and Abdul Rassak families and speak with witnesses. Some of the witnesses spoke on camera, while others wanted to remain anonymous, because they still have relatives in prison or in cities controlled by the regime. To prevent collective memories from interfering with their own experiences, the witnesses were interviewed individually and asked what they had seen and heard.

After Friday prayers on May 25, the residents of Taldou formed their usual protest marches against the regime. But then, in the early afternoon, army forces began heavily bombarding the village from several surrounding bases. FSA units launched counter-attacks on a number of army checkpoints. Witnesses, though, say that there were hardly any FSA fighters in Taldou on that afternoon, which is why the advancing death squads faced no resistance. It was still broad daylight when the first wave arrived.


If the rebels had truly committed the massacre, why has the army continued to fire at and shell Taldou for months, including the days when the SPIEGEL reporters were there? And if the FSA was behind the massacre, why did a large number of army officers from Houla defect to the FSA afterwards?

After the massacre, Taldou residents buried the dead in a square in the center of the village. They say that there were more bodies than the 108 counted by the UN observers. Although this can no longer be verified, it makes sense, because many of the bodies could only be recovered days after the troops had withdrawn.  Much more...

Alex Thomson has a sobering piece out today on the outcome of the Assad regimes apparently successful attempt to regain full control of Damascus:
Assad's 'iron-fist defence' of Syrian capital
Tuesday 24 July 2012 3:40 pm

Yesterday it was Midan. Today it was al-Qaboon. In both the picture is pretty clear, that any rebel fighters in these areas have been driven from them. This is a comprehensive victory of the Assad Regime in its own backyard and capital.

The crackling of automatic fire, the crumbling explosion of incoming shellfire, the helicopter gunships quartering the city and firing machinegun bursts – all those sounds have gone pretty much from Damascus today. Replaced by the rather more prosaic hooting of car-horns.

Every now and then army trucks packed with cheering soldiers pass up the city’s main boulevards. It is not a good idea to film one of the world’s most secret armies – even in their moment of triumph.

When you spend any time in places like Midan and al-Qaboon among the rubble and debris, it seems hard to appreciate that just a week ago some excitable reports were predicting this was the final moment for President Assad.

Now the government will take great confidence from the iron-fist defence of the capital and will not be overly worried about the cost in terms of hearts and minds. This is about power. The maintenance of power. The demonstration of power. The use of power. More...

We get more coverage on the fighting in Aleppo from EAWorldView today:
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Heavy Fighting in Aleppo
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 9:46 | James Miller

See also Syria Analysis: Turkey Adjusts Its Strategy Amid Kurdish and Russian Complications Syria Feature: Searching for the Truth of the Mass Killing in Houla Syria Feature: US Officials --- We Are Hindered by "Intelligence Gaps" Inside Country Monday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Divided Country

1610 GMT: Syria. There are several activist reports of heavy fighting near a central hospital, the Dar Al-Shifa hospital, in the Shaar district of Aleppo (map). According to one activist Facebook page, the area has been under heavy attack from helicopters and heavy machine guns. another activist shares a live-stream (finished now) reportedly showing helicopters operating in the area.

This area is east of Bab al Hadid, but there are areas in the west of the city that are also sites of battles and regime shelling campaigns.

Nearly every corner of Aleppo is currently either a battleground, or is being attacked by shells or helicopters.

1556 GMT: Syria. More evidence that the FSA controls Bab al Hadid, in the center of Aleppo (see mapand last update):

1550 GMT: Syria. A group of activists share this live feed from the Bab al Hadid district in the center of Aleppo (map). The district is in the heart of the city, where fighting is reported. According to earlier reports, the FSA has control of the area. On the left is a stream from Daraa:

Watch live streaming video from syrianfreedom at

1535 GMT: Syria. The BBC and Al Jazeera have both confirmed that reporters on the ground, and activists, are reporting that they witnesses Mig fighter jets bombing locations inside Aleppo.

This is a huge escalation. As the battle for Aleppo is heating up, the general consensus, nay, the common knowledge, has been that the regime military is very strong in the city, and the lightly armed Free Syrian Army could not possibly hope to stand up to them. This is direct evidence to the contrary, as it may be the very first time that fighter jets have bombed ground targets (there are rumors of other examples, but certainly in no place as important at Aleppo).

The FSA is making remarkable progress in Aleppo. Expect the regime to continue to drastically escalate its counterattacks.

However, a few things need to be kept in mind - every bullet fired in Aleppo and Damascus is a  testament to the weakness of the Assad regime. This is, supposedly, their territory. Also, these two cities are among the only areas that had a working economy. Now, that illusion is shattered. The Free Syrian Army has proven, once again, that it is strong. At the end of the day, the FSA is likely to gain new recruits, new defectors, and is likely to gain new arms. The regime's military, however, can only take losses.

We'll stress that though these are very credible sources reporting this news of a jet being used, they are unconfirmed reports. It would be nice if their was video, or other confirmation. However, the rest of the news from Aleppo suggests that whether the news of the jet is real, the regime has another major fight on its hands.

1430 GMT: Syria. The Guardian has three quick pick-ups. The first, a report on Now Lebanon, that fighters from the Free Syrian Army are trying to come to the aid of a prison revolt in Aleppo:

People from inside the prison contacted members of the [rebel] Free Syrian Army to try and get some help. The FSA fighters responded to the phone call and surrounded the prison. The FSA fought with the army around the prison and called the general of the prison warning him to stop [the violence ...

The prisoners feel that there is hope and that the FSA will free us.

The second pickup, a remarkable claim from a BBC reporter inside Aleppo:

The third report, that the neighborhoods of al-Hadid, "Shaaar" and al-Sakhour have already fallen to insurgents, and the FSA is moving towards Al Nasr (map).

A rebel group in Aleppo, calling itself General Unity, has claimed control of four districts in the city, writes Rima Cherri.

Speaking via Skype from Aleppo its spokesman, Basheer Al Hejjie, told the Guardian:

"General Unity was established for the purpose of liberating Aleppo. We have successfully taken control of Saladin, al-Hadeed, al-Sakhour, and al-Shaaar."

The government forces committed a huge mistake when they brought their tanks to Aleppo to fight us. Yesterday, we captured two of their tanks, and fighting continues

If this report is true, then the FSA is holding territory in many different areas, from the east to west, the north to the south, in Syria's largest city.

1342 GMT: Syria. A quick rundown of the headlines in Damascus - Assad's military is focused on many key areas that were held by the opposition in the last 7 days, breaking into homes and making arrests, shelling neighborhoods, and even burning homes and shops of suspected anti-regime activists or supporters of the Free Syrian Army.

The areas receiving the harshest treatment are in the north and east. Barzeh, Qaboun, Irbeen, and Harasta (map). Videos show widespread destruction, and activists report heavy-handed arrest campaigns, as the military tries to disrupt the opposition in the area and intimidate residents.

In Nahr Eshe (map), in the south, columns of tanks hold the area. The CFDPC offers this summary of today's events:

Summary of the events since early morning till now:

After the siege, the artillery shelling and shelling by helicopters for 10 days, after the displacement of more than 90% of residents, thousands of members of the 4th division stormed the Nahar Eishe area of central Damascus raiding each house or shop without exception.
Assad forces stormed the neighborhood from several sides:

1 - from the international highway

2 - from the side of the Ministry of Transport

3 - from the side of the Consumer Corporation

4 - from the Dahadeel area.

Tanks and armored vehicles closed all the entrances preventing entry or exit to Damascus in general; regime forces enter each home, destroy the doors, loot and smash or burn the houses (they burn the houses if the occupants are wanted, while houses are just looted and destroyed if the occupants are not wanted).

The campaign of regime forces is still ongoing and it's the largest since the beginning of the revolution.

1320 GMT: The Guardian picks up an alarming report, carried by activists on the ground and by the rights group Avaaz, that there have been live rounds fired inside a prison in Homs in order to put down what may be a prisoner revolt.

What's interesting about the report - the BBC appears to have confirmed the gunfire.

The witnesses in communication with prisoners inside report that the prisoners are scrambling to get fresh air because of all the teargas. At least 3 have reportedly died as a result of live rounds.

James Miller takes over today's coverage. A big thanks to Scott Lucas for getting us through the morning.

1116 GMT: Syria. Residents and activists report that insurgents are fighting Syrian troops and intelligence forces at the gates of Aleppo's Old City, a United Nations World Heritage site.

1056 GMT: Syria. Turkey's Dogan News Agency is claiming that "thousands" of Iraqi Kurdish fighters are moving into Syria from Iraq's Zakho region, chanting, "We are going to get Qamishli".

The site posts video of the men travelling on foot. It says that, while they are unarmed, there are armed guards on the hills protecting their advance.

On Monday, Massoud Barzani, the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, said that Syrian Kurdish fighters were being training in Iraq. The day before, the KRG had declared, "A number of newspapers and websites have published reported that Kurdish Peshmerga forces have entered Kurdistan of Syria, but we firmly reject that news as baseless and far from the truth,”

1050 GMT: Syria. The opposition Syrian National Council is pulling back a comment by senior member George Sabra, made to AFP (see 0948 GMT), that it would support a transitional government led by regime figures if President Assad stepped down.

The SNC leader of the SNC, Abdel Basset Sayda, denied the statement on Al Jazeera Arabic, while Sabra said his remarks had been "misconstrued".

1042 GMT: Egypt. State media and the Freedom and Justice Party, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, reports that Minister of Irrigation Hesham Mohamed Qandil has been named Prime Minister by President Morsi.

0954 GMT: Bahrain. The latest court hearing of Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre (see 0620 GMT), has been adjourned until 5 August, when a verdict will be issued.

0948 GMT: Syria. A senior official of the opposition Syrian National Council, Georges Sabra, has told AFP, "We would agree to the departure of [President] Assad and the transfer of his powers to a regime figure, who would lead a transitional period like what happened in Yemen."

0941 GMT: Syria. The head of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, has said the days of the regime are numbered.

Speaking after an Arab League meeting which called on President Assad to step down, Elaraby declared, "There is now no talk about political reform, but a transfer of power."

Asked about the political survival of Assad,  "I cannot define a period, but the regime cannot continue for a long time."

0838 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees report 37 people killed so far today. It claims 16 deaths in Hama Province, including those slain when a shell fell on a vehicle with people fleeing Latamneh, and 11 in Aleppo, including nine detainees in the Central Prison (see 0825 GMT).

0835 GMT: Bahrain. Claimed footage of overnight clashes in Sitra between security forces and protesting youth:

0825 GMT: Syria. The opposition Syrian National Council has said eight people have been killed in an overnight protest at a prison in Aleppo during the night.

"[Security forces] opened fire with bullets and tear gas on the detainees at Aleppo central prison in response to a peaceful sit-in organized by prisoners because of the great injustice of which they are victims," the SNC said in a statement. "Eight people were martyred and a fire broke out inside the prison."

The statement said regime forces had fired on the prison from helicopters as the fire raged inside, preventing help from arriving at the facility.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission asserts that nine prisoners were slain.

There was also trouble last week in the central prison in Homs, with activists claiming two inmates were killed.

0705 GMT: Syria. The Foreign Ministry has tried to walk back Monday's statement by spokesman Jihad Makdisi that Damascus could use chemical weapons if it was attacked.

Syria had always denied that it possesses the weapons. The Foreign Ministry claims this morning:

The goal of the statement and the press conference wasn't to declare but rather to respond to a methodical media campaign targeting Syria to prepare world public opinion for the possibility of military intervention under the false premise of weapons of mass destruction (similar to what happened with Iraq) or the possibility of using such weapons against terrorist groups or civilians, or transporting them to a third party....

Such allegations are completely false, noting that nonetheless they are dangerous allegations as they are made by the same sides that are rallying against Syria in mass media and international circles, noting that these are the same sides that fabricated lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction which turned out to be false later....

Makdisi's statements were meant to explain the state's general defensive policies in response to false media speculations and allegations, stressing the need to commit to precision and professionalism in news related to Syria and putting them in the proper context.

0620 GMT: Bahrain. Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, is back in court today in the appeal of the three-month sentence he received earlier this month for "insulting" Tweeter messages. tweeting. Last night, activists in Bahrain held a rally outside Rajab's house calling for his immediate release. Former AlWefaq MP Sayed Hadi Al Mosawi, according to 14 February Youth Media, said:

We are standing by a man who embarrassed the regime by a simple tweet that was twisted to accuse him. Nabeel was able to fight against the regime using the international law - that's why they wanted to arrest him. Nabeel is using an international law and not a local law that they can manipulate to suit their wants and needs.

At the first appeal hearing on 19 July, Nabeel was put into a glass cage so he could not be heard. At a court appearance three days earlier, Rajab had said:

You sentenced me unjustly to 3 months on fabricated and false charges....You will not be able to change my convictions that the Prime Minister is a corrupted person who is not fit to manage the state. You will not be able to change my convictions or stop me whether you sentenced me to 3 months or 3 years or 30 years.

Yesterday, Amnesty International issued a statement calling for all prisoners of conscience to be released, specifically mentioning Rajab. Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's MENA Deputy Programme Director, said:

The charade of justice has gone on too long in Bahrain, and all prisoners of conscience must be set free immediately and unconditionally before these appeals take place. All convictions against them should be quashed.

Tomorrow sees further appeal hearings for Younis Ashoori, Ali Humaidan and Jaffer Salman, three Bahraini citizens who were arrested, abused, and sentenced before a military tribunal last year and have remained behind bars ever since.

0540 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees reports that 175 people were killed by security forces on Monday, with 90 of the deaths in Damascus and its suburbs.

0515 GMT: Syria. Fighting spread and grew more intense in Aleppo, the country's largest city, on Monday. Video offered dramatic images of street battles in neighbourhoods such as Hananon and of the Free Syrian Army destroying and capturing tanks. Foreign reporters in the city witnessed the clashes and wrote that the insurgents, who claimed the capture of the Salaheddin area, were "ightly armed and confident but army remains far stronger".

CNN posts a video report from Atareb, halfway between the Turkish border and the Syrian commercial capital Aleppo, noting that insurgents control the town and adding detail on an attack which we noted with footage over the weekend: "The commander of the local rebel brigade, Ahmed el Faj, was killed on Friday along with at least 11 of his fighters, rebels said, during a botched attack on a nearby regime-controlled police school."

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM 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

  •  That's disgusting (9+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, with Russia and China standing in the way, we can't provide air superiority cover like we did in Libya.  I'm not generally interested in military interventions, but preventing the wholesale bombing of a nation's civilian population, yes.

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

    by Phoenix Rising on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:21:29 AM PDT

  •  Clay we should not cheer on the progress of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl, JesseCW

    FSA as you do here. the FSA is a known human rights violator.

    Here for instance they are killing children:

    Also as HRW states:

    Armed opposition elements have carried out serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today in a public letter to the Syrian National Council (SNC) and other leading Syrian opposition groups. Abuses include kidnapping, detention, and torture of security force members, government supporters, and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabeeha. Human Rights Watch has also received reports of executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians.
    Also the UN investigator says:
    Syrian forces and opposition fighters continue to commit gross human rights violations in an “increasingly militarized context” despite a shaky six-week-old ceasefire, United Nations investigators said in a report on Thursday.
    You should be condemning the violence from both sides Clay, not cheering on one Human rights violator while condemning another.

    Join me in condemning the violence from both sides and seeking for a peaceful resolution to the conflict that will end the killing.

    •  I'm missing the mechanism here (0+ / 0-)

      How would a peaceful resolution come about? I mean as a concrete series of steps.

      •  The Annan Peace Plan could have been successful (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Russgirl, JesseCW

        But both sides will have to abide by it and not just the Assad forces. Our government and world government's should pressure both sides to abide by it and this is what Clay should endorse. Otherwise, the violence is being committed by both sides and Clay is only demonizing one side.

        Following the Houla massacre and the consequent FSA ultimatum to the Syrian government, the cease fire practically collapsed towards the end of May 2012, as FSA began nation-wide offensives against the government troops.
        Also from that same source:
        On 1 May, Hervé Ladsous, the United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that both sides had violated the 12 April ceasefire agreement. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said it was vital that government and opposition alike cooperate fully with the UN observer force.
        Guess who may be responsible for the Houla Massacre?
        A new report in one of Germany’s leading newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and most of the victims killed were members of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad.
      •  There can be no meaningful relief for the Syrian (0+ / 0-)

        people that doesn't include an armed response to Assad's violence.

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

        by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:18:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have you nothing to say about the bombing of the (7+ / 0-)

      Syrian people by the Assad regime?

      Why is it you only want to lower the bar to HR abuses so you can try to make the FSA out just as bad or worst than the Assad regime?

      Why is it that you always show up just minutes after I publish a dairy on Syria to defend the Assad regime and attack his opposition?

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:30:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't defend the Assad regime (4+ / 0-)

        I am condemning both sides, unlike you. Both sides are Human rights violators and are responsible for the deaths of innocents. I just want the violence to stop but both sides keep on perpetuating it.

        The UN claims that both sides have violated the ceasefire agreement. The UN is holding both sides responsible, why are you in turn holding only Assad responsible? The picture is much bigger than that.

      •  Take it as a complement, Clay (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oldliberal, Cynical Copper

        that they're watching you and think they have to counter you.

        Always keep in mind that these posters are promoting a conspiracy theory which is being generated and kept alive by Russian intelligence/propaganda agencies.  You may be facing unpaid amateurs with an awful lot of time on their hands, remarkable individual speed and coverage of all news Syria, unity of their views and argument strategies, and who just happen to check their DKos Stream every three minutes.  Or you may be dealing with professionals, an Internet surveillance machinery, preworked propaganda materials, and a political objective.

        •  Damn... the gigs up.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shawn Russell
        •  Yes. Everyone who disagrees that the Arab World (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shawn Russell, protectspice, BradyB

          can always be improved by offing a few tens of thousands of Arabs is part of a giant international conspiracy.

          That's a reasonable insinuation.

          Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

          by JesseCW on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 02:43:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So are you in favor (0+ / 0-)

            of a humanitarian intervention in Syria to prevent further killing?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  Maybe those lives don't matter so much to you.

            We know there's one way wars and killings continue and/or recur.  Which is that conflicts remain unresolved and historical ethnic/religious group scores unsettled.

            We know there are two way wars and killings stop and don't recur.  Which is that either (a) the sides decide to call the scores even and settled for all time, or (b) they fight until they feel the scores are settled.  After that the sides can't have a government in common, or if they must it must operate on a combined consensus, reflect a choice not to not further abuse each other in an enduring way, and be beneficial to both.  This basically means a government that reflects and evolves into liberal democracy.

            I don't like that it is this way but it's how it works.  Have a look at Northern Ireland or the former Yugoslavia as places where you'd think historical strife and insult could be easily forgiven and forgotten and everyone just goes off and lives the better life of Modern technology and goods.

            People simply don't and the result is that there is bloodshed that is essentially inevitable.  The reality is that we can't prevent it.  That leaves us with a duty, if we want to be helpful, of preferring a score resolving and liberal democracy resulting war rather than a nonresolving war.  The nonresolving war means likely further war- and a lot of additional victims- in a few years' time.

            That is the math on minimizing bloodshed in such conflicts if that is in fact your true metric.

            •  There is nothing stopping Obama from unilaterally (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              doing a humanitarian intervention. By your standards, this means these lives also don't matter to Obama.

              Polls show the majority of Americans, Europeans, British, Turks, Canadians, Chinese, Russians don't support military intervention.

              The way to have minimized bloodshed was to not have enabled it in the first place. Don't you find it ironic that the Sadi's and Qatari's were the first to arm the more Islamic orientated brigades of the opposition in a supposed bid for "democracy"?

              •  The Syrian opposition are not pawns of Sadi's and (0+ / 0-)

                Qatari's. This bloodshed belongs to Assad (and his supporters :-) ) not any foreigners.

                You seem to feel that Syria is a victim of foreign aggression. Are you already ready to defend Assad's use of WMD on that basis? Or will you call it a CIA false-flag? Or will you wait to see what RT says?

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

                by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:33:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The bloodshed belongs to all in Syria who (0+ / 0-)

                  have taken up arms (rebels and forces) as well as those from foreign nations that have exacerbated the situation by funding with arms and money.

                  You seem to feel that Syria is a victim of foreign aggression. Are you already ready to defend Assad's use of WMD on that basis? Or will you call it a CIA false-flag? Or will you wait to see what RT says?
                  You are writing nonsense here.

                  I suggest you calm down and read the following which comes from the viewpoint of one the opposition. The situation in Syria is a lot more complex than you make it out to be.

                  Islamism and the Syrian Uprising

                  Syria's uprising is not a secular one. Most participants are devout Muslims inspired by Islam. By virtue of Syria's demography most of the opposition is Sunni Muslim and often come from conservative areas. The death of the Arab left means religion has assumed a greater role in daily life throughout the Middle East. A minority is secular and another minority is comprised of ideological Islamists. The majority is made of religious-minded people with little ideology, like most Syrians. They are not fighting to defend secularism (nor is the regime) but they are also not fighting to establish a theocracy. But as the conflict grinds on, Islam is playing an increasing role in the uprising.

              •  I don't have a lives-only standard (0+ / 0-)

                and neither does Obama.  Your strained twisting is both wrong and futile.  The rest of your post involves some theory irrelevant to both me and the situation at hand.

    •  Condem the folks who sell them guns for both sides (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shawn Russell

      ...then reap whatever bloody "rewards" they are after.

    •  Shawn Russell advise to Clay in other ages (0+ / 0-)

      In 1864: Clay we should not cheer on the progress of the war that ended slavery the as you do here. The Union Army is a known human rights violator.

      In 1944: Clay we should not cheer on the progress of the war against Hitler as you do here. The UN  force is a known human rights violator.

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:17:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You have done good reporting on this. (8+ / 0-)


    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:25:38 AM PDT

  •  Like the Spanish civil war, (3+ / 0-)

    this is a vicious proxy war that has no prospect of being any less bloody. It's awful to see, especially since widespread hand-wringing is the only action anyone seems to be taking.

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

    by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:35:00 AM PDT

    •  except the proxies are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Iran/Russia and Saudi Arabia/USA, neither of which are worth any allegiance, unlike the republicans in Spain.

      Ah, to be free of proxies.

      “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” - Harriet Tubman

      by Publius2008 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:45:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Republicans were backed by the Soviet Union (4+ / 0-)

        And that fact was exploited by the fascists to undermine political support for their enemies.

        That the Western powers stayed out of the Spanish Civil War resulted in two things:

        1.)  The republicans being entirely coopted by brutal Soviet puppets. Who persecuted all fighters not dancing to Moscow's tune as Trotskyists and closet Fascists.  (Among those run out of the country being some fellow named George Orwell.)

        2.) The republicans losing the war. Thus securing Hitler's Southwest flank for WWII, thousands of Spanish fascist "volunteers" to throw at the Eastern Front, and decades more fascist rule under Franco.

        Follow Me on Twitter!!/ZeddRebel

        by TarantinoDork on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:05:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The FSA and Syrian protesters aren't tools (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger, idbecrazyif

        of proxies. The US has almost nothing to do with events in Syria, ditto SA. Iran has troops on the ground [kuds forces] and Russia is supplying the war planes ,cluster boobs and shells.

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

        by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:19:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that "tools" is a bit strong. (0+ / 0-)

          But the word is that Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been providing significant assistance. To that extent, there is a proxy situation developing.

          Since you are the resident expert here, Clay, it seems that a highly complicating issue may be the role of the kurds. Obviously, the Turks would be quite disturbed were a breakaway Kurdish entity arise from the ashes of an exploding Syria. I wonder if this is part of the apparent Turkish indecisiveness? Syria seems to be a bit of a nightmare for Turkey.

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

          by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:46:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "a proxy situation developing?" (0+ / 0-)

            What the hell does that mean?

            proxy :A person authorized to act for another; an agent or substitute. 2. The authority to act for another. 3. The written authorization to act in place of another.
            So if you give me "significant assistance" does that make me your proxy? Should I consider myself a proxy for everyone that has contributed to my movie making? Or perhaps just those that contribute over $1000.00

            There is no question but that the French gave "significant assistance"  to the American revolution. Did that make us proxies?

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

            by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:42:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When someone gets out a dictionary, Clay, (0+ / 0-)

              it's usually not a good sign. Colloquial usage is a little ahead of the dictionary on this one. Proxy in this context means that the local war is also part of a larger struggle, in this case a Sunni-Shia struggle.

              And, yes, to a remarkable extent, the American revolutionaries were proxies of the French and to some extent the Dutch who were very happy to see the English kicked out of North America. In fact, it's arguable that without the French fleet, the Americans might have failed at Yorktown. The appearance of the French fleet cut off the British army from sea-borne provisions. That's something Americans hate to admit usually.

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

              by Anne Elk on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 08:29:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'd love to get some cluster boobs (0+ / 0-)

          and would appreciate a link and price list.  ;-)

          No, a link to RedState or Free Republic is not what I'm looking for.  :-D

      •  But remember that the republicans (0+ / 0-)

        became proxies, or were seen as such, of the USSR.

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

        by Anne Elk on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:40:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The result of dysfunctional govts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Russgirl

    that cannot correct themselves.  Take heed, America.

    “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” - Harriet Tubman

    by Publius2008 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:35:57 AM PDT

  •  I Visted Aleppo Six Years Ago (4+ / 0-)

    It is the most exotic and cosmopolitan place, with populations of Armenians and Christians mixing with the Arabs.  There is a beautiful, ancient citadel on a mountain in the center of town, a World Heritage Site.  This makes me horribly sad.

  •  Horrifying, horrifying. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clay Claiborne

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:13:11 AM PDT

  •  Syrian blood etches a new line in the sand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Shawn Russell
    Jul 25, 2012
    Pepe Escobar

    Once upon a time, early in the previous century, a line in the sand was drawn, from Acre to Kirkuk. Two colonial powers - Britain and France - nonchalantly divided the Middle East between themselves; everything north of the line in the sand was France's; south, it was Britain's.

    Many blowbacks - and concentric tragedies - later, a new line in the sand is being drawn by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Between Syria and Iraq, they want it all. Talk about the return of the repressed; now, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Gulf Cooperation Council compound, they're in bed with their former colonial masters.
    Blowback meanwhile is ready to strike like the Medusa. What is for all practical purposes NATO-GCC mujahideen/jihadi death squads will be more than happy to bleed Syria across sectarian lines - in the sand and especially in urban areas. It's hunting season now, not only for Alawites but also Christians (10% of the population).

    A foreign policy that privileges Sunni jihadis formerly known as terrorists to create a "democratic" state in the Middle East seems to have been conjured by Bane - the Hannibal Lecter meets Darth Vader bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter of the Batman trilogy. And yes, we are his creators. While the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity, a masked Sunni jihadi superman is slouching towards Damascus to be born.

  •   Israeli officials voice confidence in security (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell

    of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal

    JERUSALEM — Top Israeli officials said Tuesday that Syria’s chemical weapons remain under the control of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, in a shift of emphasis from recent warnings.

    The remarks — made separately by a top Defense Ministry official and the Israeli army chief — appeared intended to calm jitters set off in the past week when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that Israel would take action, if it deemed it necessary, to prevent Syrian chemical weapons from falling into the hands of the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.
    In an interview this week on “Fox News Sunday,” Netanyahu said that Hezbollah’s possession of chemical weapons was “unacceptable” and “that this is something we will have to act to stop if the need arises. And that need might arise if there’s a regime collapse, not a regime change.”

  •  Fixed wing aircraft bombing civilians? (0+ / 0-)

    What's next? Chemical weapons? Putin is still protecting these criminals?

    We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

    by minorityusa on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 01:13:13 PM PDT

  •  (neo)Conservatives write letter to Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell
    Conservatives call on Obama to establish ‘safe zones’ in Syria
    Posted By Josh Rogin Tuesday, July 24, 2012

     Now that the Syrian opposition has established control over territory on the ground, it's time for the United States to help establish "safe zones" inside Syria, a group of mostly conservative experts and former officials said Tuesday.

    "We believe it is clear that multilateral diplomacy and non-military pressure, by themselves, will neither compel Assad to step down nor ensure that America's national security interests in Syria and the wider region are protected," read a new letter compiled by the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and sent to U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday, obtained in advance by The Cable.
     Dear Mr. President:

    The situation in Syria is, as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said on July 18th, "spinning out of control." ...

  •  Any word from Russia yet? (0+ / 0-)

    They seemed warmed to the idea of possible intervention if human rights violations escalated, at least in public. IN private they seem content to have their intelligence feed arms sales to Assad.

    I also had someone tell me that the Syrian military is running low on fuel for tanks, hence the ramp up on air use.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 01:54:12 PM PDT

  •   CIA ramps up intelligence operation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell

    to keep pace with Syria developments

    Al Qaeda exploiting a post-Assad era is something the U.S. intelligence community also fears. Assad out of power is a "classic chance for a marriage of convenience" between Al Qaeda fighters and the loose band of rebels now fighting him, the senior intelligence official said.

    In February, Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri urged foreign fighters to join rebels in Syria and overthrow Assad's government, calling it a "pernicious, cancerous regime," according to the Associated Press.
    At the time, a senior Iraqi security official told the Associated Press that recent intelligence revealed a flow of Al Qaeda fighters from Iraq into Syria. A senior intelligence official told Fox News that scenario is a reversal of the pipeline of foreign fighters flooding from Syria into Iraq several years ago during the Iraq war.

    •  I thought AQaeda only had about 200 people? (2+ / 0-)

      Numbers in wars for profit and control always get fudged, eh?

      •  That sounds like the number in Afghanistan (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Russgirl, InAntalya, Shawn Russell

        Don't forget, Al Qaeda is a franchise. Anyone can join.

        It's like a game of whack-a-mole. The US keeps whacking at them and more keep popping up.

        Basically, Al Qaeda is the name given to militant Islamists the west doesn't like. The ones the west uses and supports are called "freedom fighters". Of course, this may change at a moments notice depending on how the wind blows.

        •  These militants (0+ / 0-)

          are calling themselves Al Qaeda.  But it's not clear this means anything more in practice at this point than 'militant'.

          •  Panetta and other US officials called some (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            of the militant groups in Syria "Al Qaeda". As I said, Al Qaeda is a franchise and anyone can use the name - including officials in the US government if it serves their purpose.

            It is, after all, a loaded term that was used (and abused) as propaganda to strike fear into the hearts of Americans. It worked so superbly, many militant Islamic groups want to take the name on to enhance their prestige. Don't forget, it was "Al Qaeda" that has done the trillions of dollars of damage to the US and forced the country to dismantle many of it's freedoms.

            Sunni Extremists May Be Aiding Al Qaeda’s Ambitions in Syria, Analysts Say

             WASHINGTON — Sunni extremists, including fighters linked to Al Qaeda’s franchise in neighboring Iraq, are likely responsible for two big recent bombings in the Syrian capital as well as attacks on Friday in Aleppo, the country’s largest city, American officials said Wednesday.

            As the violence in Syria escalates, several analysts said, Al Qaeda is seeking to exploit the turmoil and reinvigorate its regional ambitions after being sidelined in the initial popular uprisings of the Arab Spring a year ago.

             The precise role of the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda in Syria is unclear. Some intelligence officials and diplomats in Washington, Baghdad and Beirut, Lebanon, said the Qaeda franchise was responsible for the deadly bombings in Aleppo last week and in Damascus, the capital, on Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, which killed scores of people. But they acknowledged that they did not have the forensic or electronic intercept evidence to prove it.

            Other officials said Sunni fighters loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda but not directly controlled by the terrorist group may also have been involved, operating in common cause with but independently of pro-democracy forces seeking to topple the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.

      •  Now that Osama bin Laden is dead (0+ / 0-)

        it's not clear whether 'Al Qaeda' identification has any specific meaning.  There were specific meanings attached to the term into the early 2000s when ObL had full direct control of the organization.  As his control became indirect and distant and incomplete it became increasingly vague and diffuse, years before he died.

        •  So USA killed OBL & chase the ghost WE created? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          Crazy world... time for sanity of PEACE for a welcome change.
          Politics may not be the world's oldest profession but the results are the same.
          No more neo con wars... no more.

          “Anyway, there is no “war.” Just a series of undeclared, open-ended, and illegal deployments of military force by a nation that has ceased to believe in the rule of law.”
          •  6,860 American soldiers died fighting Al Qaeda (0+ / 0-)

            related wars. I don't think there were that many Al Qaeda members to start with. With the addition of 50,000 wounded Americans, I'd say Al Qaeda won the war big time.

            •  That's just silly (0+ / 0-)

              By far the bulk of U.S. casualties have come from fighting the Iraqi army of Hussein and Iraqi faction militias and the Taliban.  All three forces are either local to Iraq and its civil war factions or, in the case of the so-called Taliban, a force that is the major residue of the internal South Asian conflicts since 1947.

              I'll grant that the fighting with the Iraqi factional militias was nonproductive and a profoundly stupid Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and neocon decision.  

              History will probably bear out that fighting the other two was ultimately productive.  We will not have a repeat of Hussein or the 2001 Taliban in their respective countries.

              •  Both wars had their roots (rightly or wrongly) (0+ / 0-)

                in the events of 9/11 which was a Bin Laden, Al Qaeda operation. Neither would have been able to occur w/o 9/11 as an excuse. Revenge for the Al Qaeda attack is central to both. Therefore, they are "Al Qaeda related wars".

                If America does not want a repeat of Hussein, the Taliban or 9/11 they must change their foreign policy. Both were arguably constructs and consequences of that policy. Sadly, I don't see any change on the horizon.

                Look at the state of the US right now. The mess it is in is a DIRECT result of the American government's response to Al Qaeda.

                Bin Laden won BIG TIME.....

                •  Sick Neo-Cons "pearl harbor" gave them excuses. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Claudius Bombarnac

                  No more.
                  "What's so funny about peace, love and understanding"?

                  •  I'm not so sure there will be a "no more" (0+ / 0-)

                    Each generation tends to forget the lessons from the previous. Most people can be readily manipulated to believe almost anything by the MSM. We are watching it at this very time during the election season.

                    "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time..."

                    and that is, unfortunately, all it takes.

                    I figure there's a 50-50 chance of America going to war against Iran in the next several years. The People have already been primed and are ready to rumble.

                    History has shown that once there is a will to war, facts can be 'massaged' to suit the requirements. No conspiracy required - just disparate groups/entities each acting in their own self-interest can provide the nexus for conflict.

                  •  100,000's innocent people obliterated by American (0+ / 0-)

                    bombs and you think it's funny? All that death and destruction (which is STILL FUCKING GOING ON) based on lies and deception. Assad at his worst cannot hold a Goddamn candle to American atrocities.

                    It's hardly been a decade and you've already fucking forgotten! Typical...

                    Here's Powell telling his lies to the United Nations attempting to get them to agree to go to war with the US based on "proven" Al Qaeda "connections" with Saddam.

                    But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenants.
                    But Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization, Ansar al-Islam, that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000 this agent offered al Qaeda safe haven in the region. After we swept al Qaeda from Afghanistan, some of its members accepted this safe haven. They remain their today.
                     During this stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These al Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've now been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months.

                    Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with al Qaeda. These denials are simply not credible. Last year an al Qaeda associate bragged that the situation in Iraq was, quote, "good," that Baghdad could be transited quickly.
                    Last year, two suspected al Qaeda operatives were arrested crossing from Iraq into Saudi Arabia. They were linked to associates of the Baghdad cell, and one of them received training in Afghanistan on how to use cyanide. From his terrorist network in Iraq, Zarqawi can direct his network in the Middle East and beyond
                     We are not surprised that Iraq is harboring Zarqawi and his subordinates. This understanding builds on decades long experience with respect to ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.

                    Going back to the early and mid-1990s, when bin Laden was based in Sudan, an al Qaeda source tells us that Saddam and bin Laden reached an understanding that al Qaeda would no longer support activities against Baghdad. Early al Qaeda ties were forged by secret, high-level intelligence service contacts with al Qaeda, secret Iraqi intelligence high-level contacts with al Qaeda.
                     This senior al Qaeda terrorist was responsible for one of al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan.

                    His information comes firsthand from his personal involvement at senior levels of al Qaeda. He says bin Laden and his top deputy in Afghanistan, deceased al Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef, did not believe that al Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were capable enough to manufacture these chemical or biological agents. They needed to go somewhere else. They had to look outside of Afghanistan for help. Where did they go? Where did they look? They went to Iraq.

                    The support that (inaudible) describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two al Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000. He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) had been sent to Iraq several times between 1997and 2000 for help in acquiring poisons and gases. Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.

    •  Fox News? Any port in a storm I guess (0+ / 0-)

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:48:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a dumb statement. The FOX News was citing (0+ / 0-)

        AP. BTW, here's similar from WP.
        In Syria conflict, U.S. struggles to fill intelligence gaps

        The lack of clarity has also fueled anxiety among U.S. allies in the region over who will control Syria if Assad falls. Even among Arab intelligence services eager to help rebels overthrow Assad, “the vetting process is still in the early stages,” said a Middle Eastern intelligence official, insisting on anonymity to discuss his country’s involvement in the Syrian crisis.

        The foreign official cited concern that the opposition is at risk of becoming dominated by Islamists pushing for a Muslim Brotherhood government after Assad.

        “We think this is a majority view, at least among those who are fighting in the streets,” the official said.
        “The United States has a rather checkered history with arming opposition groups — we’re currently fighting one,” an administration official said, alluding to the decision in the 1980s to arm militias in Afghanistan that later morphed into al-Qaeda. “You really have to think hard about the second- or third-order effects of making that decision,” the official said, adding that in Syria “there could be a number of extremist elements.”

  •  Clinton now wants 'discussions' with Assad regime? (0+ / 0-)

    She's starting to talk like Putin. I wonder how she is going to convince the FSA to negotiate? Taking away their weapons might be a constructive beginning.

    Clinton: Rebels must prepare to govern

    Published on Wednesday 25 July 2012 00:00

    Syrian rebels are gaining ground and will eventually control swathes of territory, but president Bashar al-Assad still has time to negotiate an exit, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
    “We do believe that it is not too late for the Assad regime to commence with planning for a transition, to find a way that ends the violence by beginning the kind of serious discussions that have not occurred to date.”

    •  That rich. (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      You want NATO to take weapons away from the FSA, but not Assad?

      I don't mind your posts so much as I do your dishonesty. Clearly you are pro-Assad. Strongly pro-Assad and that is why you keep posting long passages from Russia paid bloggers in support of Assad in the comment section of my diary.

      There is no question but that I support the Syrian opposition and the FSA and I'm not ashame to admit it. That's why I am doing this.

      Clearly you support the other side, thats why you are here trying to neutralize my support for the revolution.

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:50:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you check out the source of most of my posts (0+ / 0-)

        you will find they are mostly from US or NATO MSM.

        Clearly you support the other side, thats why you are here trying to neutralize my support for the revolution.
        Neither what you do nor I do will have the slightest difference in what happens in Syria. There are forces much, much more powerful than then few dozen people reading and discussing matters here on DKos.

        As each month goes by, fewer and fewer people even think about Syria and when they do, they have no taste for military intervention.

        Most of the things I post are just to counter your one-sided propaganda pieces. Many of your "Breaking" stories turned out to be hyped or outright false. There are many sides to this story which also needs to be told.

  •  Syria's rebels promise 'fireworks' for Assad, (0+ / 0-)

    using Afghan methods

    "Presents for Bashar al-Assad, we are holding a party for him here and in Aleppo," Emed Ali Akhdar said. "It will be like the party in Damascus, lots of fireworks."
     The prices have not gone down much, but now there were many more Kalashnikovs, as well as rocket-propelled grenade launchers and even some mortars. Mr Saif, an engineer who is now a revolutionary, acknowledged that he and his comrades were much better armed than before, but stressed that they suffered in comparison to the fighters with the real money, the Islamists, who were getting the lion's share of their funding from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

    "The rest of us are raising our own money, getting donations from supporters who may have good jobs. Where is the help we were promised by the SNC [Syrian National Council], the funds they are getting from all over the world?" he asked.

    "I know some of my friends pretend to be very religious so that they can get some of the weapons. They grow their beards long and some of them wear short trousers like the Salafists. But we are going to have a struggle with the Salafists when the regime falls.
     The leader, who said his name was Abu Obeid, said in response to questions: "We are here to fight for Syria, we are prepared to sacrifice ourselves. Where do we get our money from? That is our business, but it is not money stolen from the people like Assad's.

    "We have our views about the Americans and what they have done but now we are concentrating on defeating the regime. We are prepared to help all our fellow fighters because we have a common goal, after that we all have views about what Syria will be like, but of course we are Muslims and most people would want Sharia."

  •  Al Qaeda Taking Deadly New Role in Syria Conflict (0+ / 0-)

    CAIRO — It is the sort of image that has become a staple of the Syrian revolution, a video of masked men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and brandishing AK-47s — with one unsettling difference. In the background hang two flags of Al Qaeda, white Arabic writing on a black field.

     “We are now forming suicide cells to make jihad in the name of God,” said a speaker in the video using the classical Arabic favored by Al Qaeda.

    The video, posted on YouTube, is one more bit of evidence that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution, with a growing although still limited success that has American intelligence officials publicly concerned, and Iraqi officials next door openly alarmed.
    Joseph Holliday, an analyst from the Institute for the Study of War who studies Al Qaeda and the Arab Spring, said, “The emergence of Al Qaeda-linked terrorist cells working against the regime poses risks to the United States and a challenge to those calling for material support of the armed opposition.”

  •  Turkey to close all Syrian border gates (0+ / 0-)

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