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The Obama Administration's position on the Syrian conflict has been brought into greater relief by its opposition to the call by French President Hollande for the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government to replace the Assad regime.

After eighteen months of murder by the Syrian government, crowned by the slaughter of more than 600 civilians in Daraya this week, the Obama Administration has said the call for the formation of a government to replace him is premature.

In a statement from the presidential palace yesterday, Hollande criticized his predecessor and other western leaders for foot-dragging on Syria, then he strengthened France's stand against the continuation of the Assad regime, saying:

"France asks the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government - inclusive and representative - that can become the legitimate representative of the new Syria," Hollande said in a speech to France's corps of ambassadors.

"We are including our Arab partners to accelerate this step," he said, without elaborating. "France will recognize the provisional government of Syria once it is formed."

The Syndey Morning Herald characterized the US response to this move as follows:
US lukewarm on call for shadow Syrian government
August 29, 2012
Anne Gearan, Suzan Fraser

ANKARA, Turkey: Scattergun diplomatic efforts aimed at curbing the worsening violence in Syria have grown more complicated, as France urges world recognition of a shadow Syrian government that the United States considers premature.

In making his plea, the French President, Francois Hollande, became the first Western leader to call on Syria's rebel movement to form a provisional government, putting pressure on the US President, Barack Obama, to back the diplomatic gambit or authorise US military action to protect civilians.

Mr Hollande said he hoped an internationally recognised alternative Syrian government would speed the fall of the President, Bashar al-Assad. More ...

Giving the US response to the French proposal, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, seemed to leave open the possibility that the murderous Assad regime still might survive and there would be no need for any provisional or transitional government at all:
What’s important is that this reflect views of the Syrian people and that it be something that is broadly consulted among all of the groups in Syria, that it be broadly representative of the different backgrounds, ethnicities, parts of the country, if and when that time comes, that it reflect the kinds of goals that are in the code of conduct that was put out in Cairo early in July – namely a respect for human rights, a democratic path forward, et cetera.
Requiring a provisional government "that is broadly consulted among all of the groups in Syria, that it be broadly representative of the different backgrounds, ethnicities, parts of the country" sounds very nice and democratic but those are also conditions that will be difficult, if not impossible, to meet as long as Assad is in power and a civil war ravages the country.

That brings us to this very big "if" in her statement.

The Obama Administration was still trying to do a peace deal with Assad even after the uprising against his regime began and it was slow in demanding that Assad step down.

Does it still have hopes that the Assad regime will survive?

1:14 PM PT: Now the Syrian opposition is weighing in on the US position on the French proposal:

Syrian opposition chief slams US remarks on Syria

Posted: 6:32 a.m. today

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press

BEIRUT — The head of the main Syrian opposition group is criticizing U.S. officials for saying it was premature to speak about a provisional Syrian government.

Abdelbaset Sieda of the Syrian National Council says the opposition is making "serious" preparations and consultations to announce a transitional government but admits it is not imminent.

French President Francoise Hollande called on the Syrian opposition Monday to quickly form a provisional government, saying France would recognize it.

U.S. officials called it premature because the opposition is too fragmented.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Sieda said Tuesday the U.S. comments show the international community "is not ready" to take decisive decisions when it comes to Syria.

From EAWorldView today we have this report on Syria:

Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Will a Few Thousand Deaths Change Anything?
Monday, August 27, 2012 at 4:53 | James Miller

Shelling and gunfire in the Khalidiyah district of Homs on Sunday


1938 GMT: Syria. The LCC's deathtoll is even higher than the CFDPC's. According to the Local Coordination Committees, 224 people have been killed nationwide by regime forces:

148 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs (including 42 martyrs in Zamalka, 39 in a new massacre in Daraya, and 25 in Mouadamiyeh) 27 in Daraa (including 11 in Jiza; most of them are women and children), 12 in Idlib; most of them in Ariha, 10 in Aleppo, 8 in Deir Ezzor, 10 in Homs (including a person who was martyred in Tadamun neighborhood, Damascus), and 9 in Hama.

Dissecting the numbers, it's worth noting that Zamalka is on the other side of the capital as Darayya and Moudamyah.


1927 GMT: Syria. The CFDPC has posted this summary of events in Zamalka, an eastern suburb of Damascus, where battles and shelling have been reported since dawn:

Tanks and helicopters of regime forces began to shell the Zamalka suburb of Damascus early morning causing the collapse of entire buildings on their residents.

So far the number of dead is about 30, among them children, while about 150 people were injured (some of them are in critical condition).

The Free Syrian Army defended the people of Zamalka and shot down a military helicopter leading to big losses in the ranks of regime forces; also some members of the Free Syrian army died.

Shelling and clashes led thousands of people to flee from the area.

The CFDPC has also posted a list of the confirmed dead, along with accompanying videos.

1815 GMT: Syria. UPDATED: A super-activist, Zilal, associated with the CFDPC, has sent us additional information about eastern Damascus. According to Zilal, the regime used MIG fighters to attack several key areas east of Damascus.

In this first video we see a MIG reportedly Qadam district, in southwest Damascus (map) above the Qaboun district (map), where the helicopter was shot down by the Free Syrian Army:


This video reportedly shows a MIG fighter dropping a bomb in the eastern Ghouta districts (approximate map). While we can't pinpoint the mosque because the video doesn't state exactly where this took place, one can briefly make out the minaret at the beginning of the video, adding credence that the MIG in the first half of the video actually dropped this bomb:


Another video claims to show fighter jets flying over eastern Ghouta.

Zilal says that this is the first time that the Eastern Ghouta region, the area to the east of Damascus's closest suburbs, has been attacked by MIG fighter jets.

1638 GMT: Syria. The bombs and shells keep falling in Zamalka (map). We've been counting the videos of the shelling, but the Local Coordination Committees have been counting the bodies. So far, there are many:

The number of martyrs has risen to 42 thus far, however, regime forces continue to shell and bomb the town using warplanes, artillery and tanks.

1610 GMT: Syria. Clashes between the FSA and the syrian military continue in Zamalka. This video shows gunfire and smoke near what appears to be a checkpoint on the central highway (map):


1438 GMT: Syria. According to the Local Coordination Committees, 113 people have been killed by regime forces so far today:

59 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs; including 25 martyrs in Zamalka, 12 in Daraa, 12 in Idlib; most of them in Ariha, 10 in Aleppo, 7 in Deir Ezzor, 7 in Homs, and 6 in Hama.

A note on the source - the LCC is an activist network working inside and outside of Syria. They purport to use rigorous verification techniques, and are often available to provide details when pressed. Their numbers populate a database of those killed in the crisis, the VDC. Their numbers are a mix of insurgents and civilians. No regime casualties are included in their death tolls, and the Syrian media has also stopped reporting regime deaths.

1335 GMT: Yemen. With solutions to a water crisis largely put on the back burner as terrorism, a political crisis, and tribal conflict beset the country, The Guardian reports that Yemen's capital could be the first capital city in the world to run out of water:

Beset with crises, the new president, Abd Rabbu Mansoor Hadi, has put little energy towards resolving the water crisis threatening the majority of Yemenis. Ghassan Madieh, a water specialist for UN children's fund Unicef, said he did not "see any serious attention being given to the issue of water scarcity, or the low coverage in water and sanitation"...

The spectre of a country run dry looms over Yemen's nearly 25 million inhabitants. With its streams and natural aquifers shallower every day, Sana'a risks becoming the first capital in the world to run out of a viable water supply. The water table in the city has dropped far beyond sustainable levels, Shami said, because of an exploding population, lack of water resource management and, most of all, unregulated drilling. Where Sana'a's water table was 30 metres below the surface in the 1970s, he said, it has now dropped to 1,200 metres in some areas.


1310 GMT: Syria. More escalation in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. According to the latest from the LCC, a network of activists, 25 people have already been killed in Saqba, and the shells are falling at nearly a rate of once a minute (map).

1242 GMT: Syria. Things are intense in the eastern suburbs of Damascus. This video reportedly shows shells falling in Douma today (map):


Slightly to the south, in Irbin (map), clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the military are reported. These shells are reportedly falling not far from an air force intelligence headquarters:


And now an unverified claims (which matches rumors on Twitter) that there have been a number of defections, and the FSA fighters have captured this BMP armored vehicle:


1203 GMT: Syria. Two Turkish journalists, missing in Syria, appear to be in government hands, according to a news broadcast in Turkey:

NTV television on Monday showed the video of Cuneyt Unal, a cameraman who was working for the U.S.-funded al-Hurra network when he and a colleague, Bashar Fahmi, were believed to have been captured while covering fighting in the northern city of Aleppo a week ago.

Turkey's Anadolu news agency says the video was first broadcast on a pro-regime television station in Syria.

On the video, Unal has bruises under his eyes. He says he crossed into Syria with foreign fighters, and one image shows him holding a weapon.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says Unal was coerced into making a statement and that Syria is responsible for his wellbeing.

The two went missing from Aleppo on the same day that Mika Yamamoto, a Japanese journalist, was killed in the city.

In an unrelated incident, American journalist Austin Tice is still missing in Syria.

1150 GMT: Syria. For the record, this is not the first time the FSA has shot down a helicopter. There were two confirmed cases of downed helicopters in the 10 square miles around Ma'arrat al Nouman, Idlib province, back in late June. Also, a jet fighter was shot down in Deir Ez Zor on August 13th.

So far, however, there is no hard evidence that the FSA has used anti-aircraft weapons provided from the outside. These incidents all appear to be the work of anti-aircraft guns that were captured from the Assad regime itself.

1133 GMT: Syria. As the blogger Brown Moses points out (see previous update), the evidence is strong that a helicopter has been shot down in Qaboun (map), an area in north Damascus. We see reports that the fighting that brought down the helicopter started today as regime forces appear to now be focused on the northern and eastern suburbs. What this is likely to mean is that any fighting there, which was already intense enough, will intensify much further as Qaboun, Harasta, Douma, and some of the other nearby suburbs have had a strong presence of FSA fighters, and their sympathizers, for many months.

There's already evidence of an intensification, as eyewitness reports say there is a spike in bombing and shelling in the area. The LCC, for instance,posts this video, reportedly showing cars and buildings on fire in Harasta, just northeast of Qaboun (map):


James Miller takes over today's livee coverage. Thanks to a tireless Scott Lucas for earlier updates.

1047 GMT: Syria. Insurgents are declaringing they shot down a regime helicopter over Damsacus today:

Claimed footage of the wreckage:

Brown Moses summarises the episode and provides more pictures and footage.

1045 GMT: UAE. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has dismissed criticism of the arrest of more than 50 dissidents since March as a “condescending monologue”.

In an article in the State-owned The National, Gargash continued:

The UAE’s end goal is not a liberal multiparty system,” wrote Mr Gargash in the opinion piece published on Sunday. This model does not correspond with our culture or historical development. There is insufficient evidence that a multiparty system works in the Arab world....

Recent developments in the Arab world augment this view, and political parties remain polarised, threatening the unity of the state and the cohesiveness of the society.

1035 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees report that 34 people have been killed by security forces so far today, including 21 in Damascus and its suburbs.

0955 GMT: Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities have announced they foiled a "terror plot" as they arrested two Saudis and six Yemenis, suspected of links to Al Qa'eda.

The Ministry of Interior said the suspects were working on "recruiting elements to execute criminal attacks targeting security forces, citizens and foreign residents, as well as public installations....Investigations revealed that those elements were at an advanced stage... including preparing explosives and testing them outside Riyadh."

Two other Saudi nationals are wanted for questioning.

0950 GMT: Bahrain. On Sunday we reported that Maryam Alkhawaja, the international representative of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was again being held at Cairo airport and denied entry into Egypt.

In April, Alkhawaja was allowed into the country after a wait of several hours. This time, however, authorities would not relent --- she is now in South Africa.

0940 GMT: Syria. Another "foreign fighter" story, this time in Reuters, but the tale is much different from that of well-trained "jihadists":

Talal Mohammad is a long way from Tennessee, and he's out of his depth.

In an olive grove a few miles from the frontlines of Aleppo, he's at a loss to explain to a battle-hardened bunch of Syrian rebels what exactly this prosperous, U.S.-trained Saudi dentist is doing there --- and what he can offer to their cause.

"Why have you come?" asked one of his new comrades, sharply, as they shared a traditional evening meal, the iftar to break the Ramadan fast, in the twilight of a makeshift training camp.

"Don't get us wrong," the man adds quickly, anxious to show due respect to a guest at this solemn ritual of shared faith in Islam. "We appreciate your solidarity. But if you'd brought us money and weapons, that would have been much better."...

Senior fighters around Aleppo say it is a common story.

"This week alone, I have welcomed to Syria two doctors, a lawyer, a karate trainer and a social worker from Britain," said one who goes by the name Abu Mohammed and who leads a formation known as the Soqour al-Sham, or Falcon of Syria, Brigade.

"We have no shortage of men at all," he added. But some are more trouble than they're worth.

"I realize it's a religious duty to come to Syria for many of our brothers," said Abu Mohammed. "But those who come with no idea how they can help beyond their faith can be a burden."

0430 GMT: Syria. We begin the morning with a snap analysis by James Miller, "The Escalation of Death: What Comes Next?":

The pattern of last week's violence is becoming clearer, and more disturbing. In the areas that have resisted the regime the hardest, the bombs fell, then the shells, then the helicopters attacked, then the tanks and the soldiers entered the towns and cities. Pro-regime infantry and militia killed on a grand scale, targeting all fighting-aged men in places like Moudamyah and Darayya.

With this amount of escalation, people are already talking about the consequences.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
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

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 1-)

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

    by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 08:54:59 AM PDT

  •  Quote mining, that's just sad (12+ / 0-)

    http://www.state.gov/...

    QUESTION: Just to follow-up on that. I wonder, but do you think that the coordination and collaboration that you’ve been encouraging, are they in any way close to a point where you could even talk about forming a provisional government?

    MS. NULAND: Well, I think that’s a decision for them to make. What’s important is that this reflect views of the Syrian people and that it be something that is broadly consulted among all of the groups in Syria, that it be broadly representative of the different backgrounds, ethnicities, parts of the country, if and when that time comes, that it reflect the kinds of goals that are in the code of conduct that was put out in Cairo early in July – namely a respect for human rights, a democratic path forward, et cetera.

    Why leave out the part that shows what the 'if and when' applies to, that is, the Syrian opposition?

    "If God dropped acid, would he see people?" -- Steven Wright

    by tytalus on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 09:06:02 AM PDT

    •  If and when the time comes to form a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clay Claiborne

      provisional government- means that the time might not come- and the diarist calls attention to this, our government's position.

    •  Umm, that doesn't make any sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clay Claiborne, mookins

      Your quote isn't substantially different.  It still suggests that the Obama administration is equivocal on whether a new government will ever come at all.

      Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:55:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A new government WILL come eventually (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, mookins, Lost and Found

        But, it will have to be one that the US will accept. At this moment the US is attempting to shape any new government for Syria.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...
             By Damien McElroy, Istanbul
            7:30PM BST 26 Aug 2012

            An underground network of Syrian opposition activists is receiving training and supplies of vital equipment from a combined American and British effort to forge an effective alternative to the Damascus regime.

            Dozens of dissidents have been ferried out of Syria to be vetted for foreign backing. Recipients of the aid are given satellite communications and computers so that they can act as a local "hub" linking local activists and the outside world.
            ...
            The schemes are overseen by the US State Department's Office of Syrian Opposition Support (OSOS) and Foreign Office officials. America has set aside $25 million for political opponents of President Bashar al-Assad while Britain is granting £5 million to the cause of overthrowing the regime.
            ...
            Officials are adamant there will be no crossover between the civilian "non-lethal" assistance and the military campaign waged by the rebel fighters.
            ...
             But in a barely furnished office in a tower block near Istanbul airport an SNC official decried the false promises of its allies. "We've heard a lot of promises from the very beginning of the SNC but none of those have been fulfilled," the SNC official said. "This has reflected absolutely negatively on our work. The opposition of Syria wants the world to provide humanitarian aid for the people in need and the Free Syria Army wants intervention to stop planes bombing their positions.

            "Instead they go around behind our back undermining our role."

            A Whitehall official said the effort was not about building an alternative to the SNC but a means to enhance the role of those dissidents still within Syria.

            Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesman, confirmed the OSOS programme last week and said its full effect would only be seen when President Assad leaves office.
            ...

        •  That is useful information (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clay Claiborne, mookins

          and fleshes out some of the administrations position.

          however, it is not relevant to the completely unfounded accusation of quote mining.  

          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:11:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When you showed it to be unfounded (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund, Lost and Found

            did you leave some key part of your argument out?  :)  Like how the diarist left out a sentence in order to make the administration's rhetoric look like something it wasn't?

            "If God dropped acid, would he see people?" -- Steven Wright

            by tytalus on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:18:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are serious? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clay Claiborne

              This is the sentence that was left out:

              MS. NULAND: Well, I think that’s a decision for them to make.
              That doesn't change the meaning of Nuland's response one jot.  Are you seriously suggesting that this statement means that the Obama administration is calling for the formation of a provisional government NOW as Hollande has called for?  Because it sure sounds like a "no, not yet" to me.  And THAT is, you might notice, the opposite of what Hollande called for.

              Here it is again:

              Hollande:  form a government now
              Nuland:  It's for them to decided.  If and when we get there, the government should look like this.

              How on earth can you not read those as two totally differetn positions on the timing of the formation of the provisional government?

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:26:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The sentence left out (5+ / 0-)

                shows why the Obama administration would choose to wait. Your fixation on the timing is a distraction from the diarist's attempt at misinformation. The diarist's falsehood has to do with why there would be any delay. They want you to think that the Obama administration is trying to keep Assad in power.

                "If God dropped acid, would he see people?" -- Steven Wright

                by tytalus on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:37:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Clay's statement (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Clay Claiborne

                  is that the US opposes the French plan to establish a provisional government now.  The first sentence doesn't change the fact that the US envisions not forming a government now, but rather later.  

                  That is what the diarist actually said.

                  Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                  by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 06:38:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You for all the time and effort (4+ / 0-)

    you put in .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 09:11:16 AM PDT

  •  Your selective editing and "spin" of Nuland's (22+ / 0-)

    presser, while not unexpected, is simply pathetic. Why anyone might still view your posts on Syria as at all credible is beyond me.

    This...

    Does [the Obama administration] still have hopes that the Assad regime will survive?
    ...is belied by reality.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 09:13:06 AM PDT

  •  Sorry, as much as I appreciate your effort (5+ / 0-)

    and hard work in providing detail information of what is going on in Syria, you spoiled it with the way you presents the administration diplomatic statement. The Syrian rebel need every sympathy they can get. US being in the for front of agitating for the rebel is not going to be well receive in some quarters. You forget that China and Russia is still supporting Assad. The last thing you want is to turn Syria into a proxy war zone

    •  You do realize you just agreed with Clay? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clay Claiborne

      There may be very good reasons for the Obama administration to take a different position than the French, but you just acknowledged taht on this question, the OBama administration has in fact taken a different position, which, in fact, is what he reported.

      Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:03:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is not what he reported (3+ / 0-)

        He reported this:

        #Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria

        President Obama is not shown to "oppose" the French announcement..

        The French announcement concerned the formation of a shadow government, not with the concept of support for the resistance itself.

        So it is a lie piled atop a lie.

        So, in fact, you are trying to add credence to this double lie.

        Fortunately it looks like there are few buyers here in DKland.

        •  O.k. (0+ / 0-)

          let's try again, shall we?

          Hollande called for a government now.

          Nuland replied that that would be appropriate if and we get to that point.  That is not now as Hollande has called for.

          So, yes, Nuland's statement stands in opposition to Hollande's.

          But no, reality often suffers once the gang shows up.

          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:28:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Oppose" is not "neutral" (0+ / 0-)

            Nor is a call to form a shadow gov't the same thing as supporting the opposition effort itself.

            LEARN G_D ENGLISH

            •  That's hella ironic (0+ / 0-)

              from someone who seems to have completely failed to comprehend the basics of the administrations statement on it's position (i.e., it is too early to form a government).  That's not neutral, it's in complete disagreement.

              Neutral would be "now is fine, later is fine" which is NOT what the administration actually said.

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:21:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  That's some very creative spinning you're doing. (5+ / 0-)

            Look at the title of this diary:

            #Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
            Wow! It looks like France wants to support the opposition in Syria, but Obama is opposing the French efforts. Therefore Obama must be pro-Assad, right?

            But the actual issue relates to the timetable for officially recognizing an opposition government, as you acknowledge here:

            Nuland replied that that would be appropriate if and we get to that point.  That is not now as Hollande has called for.

            So, yes, Nuland's statement stands in opposition to Hollande's.

            Clay Claiborne is once again trying to falsely accuse Obama of being overtly pro-Assad. There are many legitimate ways to disagree with the Obama administration's handling of Syria, but nobody should be defending the kind of outright bullshit that Claiborne has been peddling.
            •  Except that he isn't accusing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clay Claiborne

              The administration of any such thing

              And he's just about the only person consistently keeping this on the radar when we have fair number of Assad apologists here.  And it is hard to ignore that the administrations position has been typically tepid.  People keep accusing Clay of lying when in fact the administration has opposed arming the FSA which only helps one party.  Maybe Obama is right but it sure as hell is a valid criticism.  I know that many of out commenters will tolerate no criticism of the regime whatsoever and that need to go

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:02:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  As he did not in the diary you cite (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clay Claiborne

              In fact, Claiborne says the following at the end:

              In our culture a "green light" tells you when it is safe to do something, and while it can't be said that what Assad is doing has Obama's approval, he would prefer that he resigns, it can at the very least be said that he has Obama's acquiescence.
              In otherwords, Claiborne's conclusion is exactly NOT what you claim. Instead, here we see, yet again, more distortions and fairly false accusations based on intentional misrepresentations by the administrations more zealous defenders.

              I don't see why I should dignify any of this with anything other than a sharp call out.

              Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:35:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, FFS. It's right in the title of the diary. (4+ / 0-)
                UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
                The scare quotes don't reverse the meaning of his claim. That's complete nonsense.
                •  FFS indeed (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  indycam

                  In fact, CC explains precisely what he means in the diary that standing aside and taking the threat of military intervention removes one potential consideration from Assad's calculation by putting the red line not at massacring civilians, but only in using chemical weapons to do so.

                  As CC explains, that assertion arguably sent the signal that is was 'safe" for Assad to do so.  As he also explains, that is how CC uses the term.

                  So, we see, yet again, more distortions and smears from the administration's defenders.  I don't agree with everything CC writes, but I really disagree with the mugging he's getting here.  It's a total disgrace.

                  Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                  by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 01:39:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I would also add that Israel has supported Assad (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mindful Nature

                    in much the same way.

                    They have signaled to him that he should have no fear in removing troops from the Golan Heights at this time, so he can feel free to use them to suppress the revolution.

                    If they wanted to support his overthrow, they could have easily done some "saber rattling" that would make him thing twice about moving those troops.

                    I know that for this observation I will now be charged with promoting Israeli saber rattling, but what can one do?

                    Some people here are so confused between objective reality and subjective wishes that they confuse the two.

                    For example, if I make the observation that no one is planning to implement a no-fly zone anytime soon. an assessment that is hard to avoid for anyone in touch with the political realities of the moment, I'll bet that I would be immediately accused of supporting a no-fly zone.

                    But as I said, what can one do?

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

                    by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:49:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  If you read my post carefuly (0+ / 0-)

        you will realize that I am not disputing what he said but the way he said it.

  •  Have donut for yet another misleading title. (5+ / 0-)

    Nowhere does it say that Obama actively opposes the French plan.

    Republicans believe you need an ID to vote but you can donate millions to any candidate completely anonymously. (h/t jbou)

    by Calouste on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 09:33:51 AM PDT

    •  Are you saying he is a troll ? (0+ / 0-)

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 09:38:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Including in the diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clay Claiborne

      In fact, Clay also does not say that Obama actively opposes the plan.  However, Nuland's statement clearly takes a different position than the French on this issue.  

      Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:04:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps you should read again? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, vcmvo2, Lost and Found
        In fact, Clay also does not say that Obama actively opposes the plan.
        From the Title: "Obama opposes French "
        Obama. That means President of the USA, Barack H. Obama.

        Opposes. This is a word that means "opposes"

        French: Refers to a European nation currently led by President Hollande.

        The first paragraph.

        The Obama Administration's position on the Syrian conflict has been brought into greater relief by its opposition to the call by French President Hollande for the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government to replace the Assad regime.
        You are strongly advised to actually read this diary before you follow through with your threat to toss arund donuts.
      •  Clay infers Obama opposes the plan due to ulterior (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, Quicklund, vcmvo2, Smoh

        motives...

        Claiborne:

        The Obama Administration was still trying to do a peace deal with Assad even after the uprising against his regime began and it was slow in demanding that Assad step down.

        Does it still have hopes that the Assad regime will survive?

        •  that may be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clay Claiborne

          but that's an entirely different matter from this totally specious accusations of selective quoting.  What we have here is a bunch of people who don't like the criticism that Clay is launching against the administration and then launching their own unfounded smear campaign based on total fabrications.  

          I may not share Clay's interpretation of the administration's slow-walking here, but I have zero patience for the shout-down school of politics some pursue on this board.

          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:15:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  In previous diaries, (0+ / 0-)

          Clay has been repeatedly asked what he thinks Obama's specific response to the situation should be.  I have never seen a reply.  If I missed it, I apologize and would like to see it.  And not from this latest - "Agree with France" is not adequate at this point.  Why do you think he avoids it?

          Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

          by Smoh on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 10:29:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  * (0+ / 0-)

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 09:34:47 AM PDT

  •  Just out of curiosity (8+ / 0-)

    since you clearly want the U.S. to intervene in Syria militarily, in what is equally clearly a civil war, how many American lives are you willing to lose? And how do you justify that sacrifice, and all the others this would entail, to a country weary of war?

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 09:51:45 AM PDT

    •  That's an interesting question . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC

      How would you answer that question ?
      Say you were French and the American revolution was going on ?
      Or during the Bosnian War ?
      Or during a genocide ?
      Or pre Dec 7th 1941 ?

      I hate what is going on in Syria , I wish it would end
      but I can't see a way for the U.S. to really do any good ,
      its terrible to want to help and not be able .

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:10:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think you're hurting the case for intervention (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Lost and Found, vcmvo2, Smoh

    We have serious arguments to confront and overcome and I don't think these diaries are doing the job. We're well past the point where you should be able to shame the US government into waging war.

    Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:02:22 AM PDT

  •  Urged: Read the State Dep't presser yourself (12+ / 0-)

    Press conference transcript of Victoria Nuland State Dep't spokeswoman.

    There is nothing, nothing in it to support this diary's title. Which is (in case it is later edited): #Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria

    That title is a lie. A flat-out lie.

    Read it for yourself and decide if this diarist has earned your trust.

  •  * (0+ / 0-)

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:16:57 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps Claiborne needs to do a diary (0+ / 0-)

    telling us which of the Syrian opposition forces are to be supported so that Obama can put America's military and diplomatic might behind them. Maybe Obama can ask the SSG who to support?

    http://www.syriansupportgroup.org/...
    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:  OFAC LICENSE

    The Syrian Support Group, Inc. (“SSG”) received a license (the “License”) from the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) that permits the organization to raise funds and provide certain services to the Free Syrian Army (the “FSA”).  The following “frequently asked questions” provide additional details regarding the scope and application of the License.

    Q.1. Who is the Syrian Support Group?

    A – SSG is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization formed to support the establishment of a free, independent and democratic Syria.  Towards that end, it seeks to facilitate, through all legal means, the protection of Syrian civilians during their historic struggle for freedom against the Assad regime.

    Q.6. Can the FSA use the funds to purchase arms, ammunition and other military supplies?  

    A – Use of the funds that are distributed to the military councils of the FSA will be at their discretion.  The FSA may and will likely utilize the funds to purchase much-needed arms, ammunition and other military supplies.

    Q.7. Will the SSG tell the FSA how to use the funds or impose other conditions?

    A – As a general matter, the SSG intends to support only those military councils that have adopted the FSA’s Proclamation of Principles and will not seek to impose any other conditions on the use of the funds.

    Looks pretty simple to me
    /snark
  •  The arguments put forward seem to revolve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mindful Nature

    around Nuland's statement "if and when that time comes".

    What will be the scenario if Assad is removed but elements of the regime remains? Possibly Nuland's remarks are a 'Freudian slip" of that scenario?

    U.S. defense chief: Syria military must remain intact when Assad goes

    "I think it's important when Assad leaves, and he will leave, to try to preserve stability in that country," Panetta said.

    "The best way to preserve that kind of stability is to maintain as much of the military and police as you can, along with security forces, and hope that they will transition to a democratic form of government. That's the key."

    The Bush administration's decision to disband Iraqi security forces, made shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, was an important catalyst for the bloody civil war that followed.

    Just think of the massive amounts of military hardware within Syria and the consequences to the region if they should fall into the hands of Islamic militants.

    FSA capture S-200 rockets from base

    •  Thank you for that! (0+ / 0-)

      That shows better than a hundred Obama quotes and administration platitudes what the real stand of the Obama admin is. Is this true?

      U.S. defense chief: Syria military must remain intact when Assad goes

      In case you need a reminder, check my diary yesterday for attitude of the Syria military towards the people of Syria.

      So now the US is demanding that these murderous bastards  be a part of any future Syrian government? No wonder they opposed the Hollande plan, no wonder they think it "too soon."

      Do they really expect the brave patriots who left the SAA under threat of death for them and their families, to reunite with the military that has slaughtered 25,000 of their people?

      I seriously think I should write a diary about that with the title:

      Obama demands Syrian people marry their rapist

      because that is pretty much what that U.S. defense chief said.

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:49:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It does (0+ / 0-)

      That is the crux of it.

      however, I think given the history of the region, the argument about "what if Islamic militants get it" is one that should be engaged in very carefully, given the long and bloody history of that argument is supporting a number of incredibly nasty regimes, including the Assad regime.

      As we are seeing in Egypt, allowing the military institutions to maintain power is not a particularly reliable approach toward fostering democracy.

      As a side note, I do not share CC's pessimistic view here, as he expressed below.

      Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 01:47:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  History has shown that it has been a failure (0+ / 0-)

        to take into consideration factors which would lead to unintended consequences.

        "what if Islamic militants get it" is a relatively recent development in the history of the ME - just in the last decade or so.

        It appears that France is prepared to confer legitimacy on the SNC which is opposed by the US due the strong influence of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.  The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) also oppose such a move for much the same reasons.

        •  That's a very interesting read (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          First, please let me extend my thanks for taking up a substantive discussion of the issues.  It is the perfect balm for my otherwise cranky mood.

          That's an interesting issue that the division between the US and France here is one of inclusion of the SMB.  On the one hand, Nuland's statement would seem to suggest that a broad based government would be welcomed (which would naturally include the SMB).  However, it seems that perhaps Hollande may be thinking of getting stronger influence by being the first government in.  After all, having had a colonial presence in the region I'm guessing that both Hollande and the french electorate are seeing value in being involved in Syria, post Assad.  

          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 06:34:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  What does the world's media see the US position on (0+ / 0-)

    Hollande's statement?

    Since Kossacks are now accusing me of lying, mis-presenting, quote mining and various other crimes, I thought it might be instructive to see how others are calling it.

    These same Kossacks need to be writing angry letters to AP for their scandalous headline:

    US decries deaths in Syria; against French plans

    The Seattle Times went with the same "against French plans" headline. So did thousands of other publications, according to a Google news search.

    The Washington Post went with a slight variation: US decries death of 300 in Syria this weekend; not backing French call for opposition gov’t

    The Denver Post was more direct:

    U.S. opposed to France's call for provisional Syrian government

    3New NZ wrote:

    US opposes French calls on Syria

    I could go on and on because facts are stubborn things but my point is that all those commenters that think I have mis-represented Obama's position on this had better sharpen their pencils because they have a lot of letters to the editor to write.

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

    by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:19:37 PM PDT

    •  What you misrepresented, sir (3+ / 0-)

      was motive. Have a good day.

      "If God dropped acid, would he see people?" -- Steven Wright

      by tytalus on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:36:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In other words (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clay Claiborne

        the host of comments accusing CC of misquoting or misrepresenting the positiong of the administration were completely wrong.

        CC is in fact correct about waht the administration is doing.

        As to CC's supposition as to why the administration is doing, none of us know one way or the other.  However, you are one of very few to draw that rather key distinction.

        We can certainly have that discussion, but only after all the other slanders are cleared out.

        Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 01:49:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow (3+ / 0-)
    Does it still have hopes that the Assad regime will survive?
    Wow.  This diary is totally crazy.   Clay, do you really, seriously, believe that Obama supports the Assad regime?  I bet you not even Sarah Palin believes that.  
  •  In the end, Hollande's statement should be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fire bad tree pretty

    understood in terms of domestic French politics. His approval numbers are heading downward, he's being hit from every direction over unemployment and he's been taking a beating in the media this summer from Sarkozy, Fillon et alii. Hollande is trying to show some foreign-policy backbone on an issue that has historic significance for the French and, frankly, an issue that polls well among his domestic audience.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 12:57:14 PM PDT

  •  George Galloway paid £80k for joining 'pro-Syria' (0+ / 0-)

    George Galloway paid £80k for joining 'pro-Syria' TV channel

    Say it ain't so Joe.

    I told you pro-Assad people you were missing a paycheck. A great big fat one, it would seem!

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

    by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 01:08:59 PM PDT

  •  Inside Daraya, Syria: How a failed prisoner swap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice

    turned into a massacre

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/...

    The first Western journalist to enter the town that felt Assad's fury hears witness accounts of Syria's bloodiest episode
    ...
    The men and women to whom we could talk, two of whom had lost loved ones on Daraya's day of infamy four days ago, told a story different from the version that has been repeated around the world: theirs was a tale of hostage-taking by the Free Syria Army and desperate prisoner-exchange negotiations between the armed opponents of the regime and the Syrian army, before President Bashar al-Assad's government forces stormed into the town to seize it back from rebel control.

    •  That sound a lot like you are trying to justify (0+ / 0-)

      Daraya massacre or blame it on the FSA.

      Why does that not surprise me?

      From the article you cite:

      senior Syrian officers told The Independent how they had "exhausted all possibilities of reconciliation" with those holding the town,
      Well that certainly sounds like they really did have no choice but to slaughter 630 people. Never mind, I'll delete my diary because clearly, according to "senior Syrian officers" the FSA isn't made up of defectors, its made up of soldiers being held hostage.

      So here you are again peddling the Assad version of events.

      Well, I guess you have your reasons.

      Here's an alternative view on why those people got slaughtered. I'm repeating myself here because this if from my diary on Daraya, but you didn't post this there, did you?

         Daraya: the defiance that led to the Syrian massacre of hundreds
       
        Phil Sands
          Aug 27, 2012

          DAMASCUS // For a rather non-descript town of drab cement block buildings on the southern outskirts of Damascus, Daraya in two short months acquired a significance far exceeding its size or the apparent ordinariness of its neighbourhoods.

          Until the start of last week's all-out assault by regime loyalists, which culminated with the alleged massacre of at least 300 people, the community took up the task of governing themselves - a highly emblematic piece of defiance against a regime that has long warned chaos and Islamic extremism would engulf areas outside of its strict control.

          Rather than sliding into anarchy after security forces withdrew entirely from the town this summer, Daraya had instead been run with a certain quiet efficiency by opposition activists and volunteers drawn from the town's 200,000 or so population.

          There was no state police in the area, but traffic flowed freely and residents reported little crime. Modest rebuilding projects to repair damage from previous army operations had been carried out, paid for by local donations.

          Stores and wood workshops were open, an independent community newspaper was being published and volunteer street cleaners swept and washed down roads. People even queued politely at the local petrol station.

          With no security forces on hand to make arrests, activists would stand at major intersections and hand out leaflets designed to educate residents on the key principles of the revolution, as drawn up by committees of local men and women.

          The leaflets said there must be equality between all religious and ethnic groups in the new Syria and stressed the importance of ensuring justice and rejecting revenge in dealing with regime officials. They also spelt out that with new freedoms would come enormous responsibilities and duties for every citizen, including caring for the environment and conserving scarce water resources.

          Daraya was one of a growing number of places living on the fraying edge of central authority in Syria, but its slide out of the government's grasp was made all the more remarkable by its proximity to the very centre of power.  More...

      and BTW, this is what you are attempting to justify:

      Which is why you fucking disgust me.

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:19:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Read the report in it's entirety (0+ / 0-)

        Sands reports Daraya was a strategic military target.

        The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) sought to keep a low profile in the area. It did not set up checkpoints, fearing it would only bring about a quick, violent response from regime forces. Still, it grew in strength, boasting hundreds of fighters and according to one local activist, perhaps up to 3,000.

        That force had proven capable of pushing out police and more lightly armed regime security units earlier this year. Afterwards, the Daraya police station lay ransacked and abandoned, the municipal offices shut.

        Without government security forces present in Daraya, the town was poised to become a key staging ground for a renewed assault on Damascus by rebel groups after their attempt last month was beaten down.

        Free to move inside Daraya's urban centre and through the farmland at its edges - Daraya was once famed for its grapes - the insurgents established ties with the residents of the densely populated, working class sprawl that forms southern Damascus and reaches in to the very heart of the capital.

        That range enabled Daraya's rebels to coordinate their activities with militants in other key urban battlegrounds such as Nahar Aisha, Kafa Susa and Qadam. If FSA units are to replicate in Damascus the assault their fellow fighters have mounted in the northern city of Aleppo for the last month, these districts will have a major role to play.

        Crucially, the northern edge of Daraya borders the Damascus military airport, where the regime detains thousands of prisoners, deploys combat helicopters and, in nearby fortified compounds, houses members of the loyalist officer corps.

        Given the strategic and political significance of rebel-controlled Dayara, it was then probably just a matter of time before government units moved against it in force. Even activists and residents of the town understood that, saying days before the start of last week's assault that it was a matter of when, not if, the regime would try to retake control of the town.

        BTW, were do you get the 630 number from? The highest I've seen is 320.

        Here's what Fisk reported:

        The men and women to whom we could talk, two of whom had lost loved ones on Daraya's day of infamy four days ago, told a story different from the version that has been repeated around the world: theirs was a tale of hostage-taking by the Free Syria Army and desperate prisoner-exchange negotiations between the armed opponents of the regime and the Syrian army, before President Bashar al-Assad's government forces stormed into the town to seize it back from rebel control.

        Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/...

        Time will tell what the truth is. But, it won't happen before the UN meeting at the end of the month.

        BTW, I'm not trying to justify anything. You really need to get off your "if you are not with me, you are with the enemy".

        Your appeals to emotion don't work with me. I've seen way too many videos of American atrocities and massacres from Iraq. You just need to change the descriptors - they are the same.

  •  Syria's non-violent opposition groups seek end (0+ / 0-)

    of fighting

    Some 20 non-violent Syrian opposition parties and movements said in a meeting in Damascus on Tuesday that they seek to establish a democratic regime without resorting to arms.

    "We are faced with two sides that use violence, but weapons only lead to attrition," said Raja Nassar, who coordinated the gathering.

    Syria's 17-month uprising started off as a peaceful revolt, but was faced with such brutal repression that it turned into a bloody armed insurgency against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Opposed both to the regime and to the rebel Free Syrian Army, the movements said they were organizing a conference in September to call for "democratic change that preserves the unity of the nation and social peace."

    To read more: http://www.nowlebanon.com/...
    Only 25% of a given NOW Lebanon article can be republished. For information on republishing rights from NOW Lebanon: http://www.nowlebanon.com/...

    •  So this group held a press conference in Damascus (0+ / 0-)

      today?

      How'd they do that?

      I don't imagine Assad would let the FSA or the SNC hold a press conference in Damascus.

      Why can this group?

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:31:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know. Here's photos of the presser (0+ / 0-)
        http://news.yahoo.com/...

        Louai Hussein, the president of the group "Building Syria" (L) and Raja al-Nasser, long-time opponent to the government regime and General Secretary of the Coordinating Committee for Democratic National Change, give a press conference in the Syrian capital, Damascus. (AFP Photo/Louai Beshara)

        Here's the full AFP report:

        http://reliefweb.int/...

        BTW, I had posted to one of your diaries some of the following which discusses these groups. You need to get away from the twittersphere and start doing some real research.

        Syria One Year After the Beginning of the Revolution (Part I)

        Part 1: Who is Behind the Popular Movement?

        The Syrian people have been struggling for a year now against a criminal and authoritarian regime. Over the past year, the regime has forgone any human consideration in its response to the uprising. Examples of human rights crimes include the recent massacres of women and children in Homs. Despite terrible repression, the popular movement in Syria continues to demonstrate in the streets to demand the overthrow of the regime.

        The Syrian opposition has been very often reduced by the regional and international media to the Syrian National Council (SNC). In reality, the Syrian political scene is very rich and complex.

        Syria One Year After the Beginning of the Revolution (Part II)

        Part 2: A Sectarian Movement?

        Over the past year, Syria has been experiencing a popular and national uprising, bringing together all the communities encompassed by the Syrian state. Arab Sunnis are the bulk of the protesters because they are the majority of the population, but this does not mean the minorities do not play an important role in the uprising.

        Syria One Year After the Beginning of the Revolution (Part III)

        Part 3: Strategy, Tactics and Geopolitics

        The Syrian revolution has always been characterized by its non-violent actions, from demonstrations to civil disobedience and strike campaigns as we saw in December 2011. But the regional and international press is focusing exclusively on the clashes between the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). This has been contrasted with the peaceful nature of revolutions in places like Egypt. The use of arms by some sections of the Syrian opposition in self-defence has been condemned. The US and western countries have declared their refusal to arm the FSA.
        ...
        One possible scenario envisioned by the different actors from allies to enemies of Assad is that of a political transition controlled by Gulf and Western countries exemplified by Yemen, which keeps the structure of the regime as it is while sacrificing the head of state. The only actor that would not be satisfied would be the Syrian people and their allies, many of whom are envisioning a truly revolutionary alternative.

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