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Jonathan Freedland wrote a very important opinion piece in the Guardian today. It echos my frustration with the so-called "left" and liberal communities in the US:

When Israelis kill Arabs there is outrage. But Assad's brutal campaign has cost 30,000 lives and there've been no protests

We know the government hopes to do nothing, but what about the rest of us? Exactly one year after the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the chances of another round of Libya-style western military intervention, this time for Syria, hover close to zero. Even the hawkish Mitt Romney promises no such thing. Few politicians speak even of non-military options – of which there are many – let alone taking up arms.

They say nothing because there is no pressure on them to say anything. Here and abroad, there is virtual silence, save for the desperate pleas of a few Syrian expats and yesterday's cry for humanitarian help from the Turkish foreign minister. We know the facts, and we know what Bashar al-Assad has done since demonstrators took to the streets to protest against his rule 19 months ago. He and his forces have pursued a campaign of the most chilling brutality, using fighter planes to bomb civilian neighbourhoods, capturing, starving and torturing children as young as six, according to Save the Children, and racking up an estimated death toll of 30,000 victims.

People know all this but stay mute. Not that they should be demanding immediate military action. After Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, people are justifiably both weary and wary, with many regarding action in Syria as a practical impossibility. I understand that. But what I can't comprehend is the lack of public pressure on those doing the actual killing – starting with the Assad regime. Instead, public opinion seems utterly disengaged, unbothered by the slaughter under way in Aleppo, Homs and Damascus.

There are no mass demonstrations outside the Syrian embassy in London. The story is rarely on the front page or on the TV bulletins. Even when there is a shocking atrocity, such as the Daraya massacre of up to 400 people in August, it makes only a fleeting impact. There is no Disaster Emergency Committee appeal. At the Labour party conference, there were fringe meetings on every possible subject, from teenage spending habits to domestic pets. But there was not a single session focused solely on Syria – and this in the party that calls itself internationalist.

It's not as if this is par for the course, that we never get exercised by the loss of innocent life in the Middle East. We do. Nearly four years ago Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, designed to halt Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. It resulted in some 1,400 Palestinian deaths. For nearly a month that story was never off the front page, and it often led the TV news, here and around the world. There were large and loud public demonstrations. The DEC set up a fund and sought to air a televised appeal, famously refused by the BBC.

There is no such clamour now. The Stop the War Coalition is not summoning thousands to central London to demand an end to the fighting, as it did then. On the contrary, its statements are content simply to oppose western intervention – of which there is next to no prospect – while politely refusing to condemn Assad's war on his own people. Caryl Churchill has not written a new play, Seven Syrian Children, exploring the curious mindset of the Alawite people that makes them capable of such horrors, the way she rushed to the stage to probe the Jewish psyche in 2009. The slaughter in Syria has similarly failed to move the poet Tom Paulin to pick up his pen. Apparently, these Syrian deaths are not worthy of artistic note. The contrast has struck Robert Fisk, no defender of Israel.He puts it baldly: "[T]he message that goes out is simple: we demand justice and the right to life for Arabs if they are butchered by the west and its Israeli allies, but not when they are being butchered by their fellow Arabs."

Plenty resist that explanation. Some say the lethargy of both the public and anti-war left is due to the fact that Syria is now locked in a civil conflict, making it hard to tell good guys from bad guys. Yet NGOs were swamped with cash donations during the Kosovo crisis: the public did not write that off as a mere internal Balkan problem. Besides, though it's a civil war now, with both sides armed, for several months it was much more straightforward: peaceful demonstrators killed in cold blood. Yet few rallied to the Syrian people's cause then either.

Others wonder if Gaza in 2008-9 stirred greater outrage because it was such an intense episode, unfolding in a matter of weeks, while Syria has been a drip-drip horror story played out over nearly two years. But this hardly stacks up. Awful to speak in such terms, but the killing rate has been more, not less, intense in Syria: witness that massacre of 400 in a single day.

Anxious for answers, I called Lindsey German of Stop the War, who told me the organisation was not active on Syria because that "isn't Stop the War's job". Its focus is on what "Britain and the US are doing". Why, then, was it so vocal on Gaza? Because the west "was very much in support of the Israelis, so it was very different". (In fact, Britain did not support Operation Cast Lead but called for a ceasefire.) She adds that the Palestinian question "has its own dynamic, which isn't true of any other country".

The trouble is, such thinking surely leads to a very parochial form of internationalism – turning a blind eye to all those areas of the globe where one's own government is not involved. And that's if such a rule were applied consistently – which it is not. More...

From EAWorldView we have this report today:

Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 44 Dead in Airstrike on Ma'arat al-Numan

Friday, October 19, 2012 at 9:28 | James Miller


2227 GMT: Syria. The videos from Deir Ez Zor are terrible. While we cannot share them here, we have published a few in a separate video gallery (viewer discretion advised). It's dark, so impossible to count the bodies, but there may be dozens of videos like the ones we have posted - it's entirely possible that there are 75 bodies, or more, in Deir Ez Zor.

2208 GMT: Syria. Today's death toll could be staggering. According to the latest tally by the Local Coordination Committees,more than 230 people have died so far today:

69 martyrs in Damascus and its suburbs most of them were in Hamorya and Saqba massacres along with 9 martyrs were field executed in Yarmouk refugees camp and 4 were field executed in Qadam. 53 maryrs in Idlib most of them in Maarrat Alnoman massacre, 35 in Aleppo including 6 were found in Jam’eyat Alzahra, 24 in Homs, 18 in Daraa including 7 were field executed in Ma’raba and 4 were field executed in Inkhel, 14 in Deir Ezzor, 8 in Hama, 6 in Qunaitra and 3 martyrs in Raqqa.

LCC could also count 134 points at which the regime army randomly shelled civilians including 22 points [that] were bombarded by war planes. Regime forces also dropped explosive drums at 6 points which are Hamorya, Saqba, Shefoniya and Douma in Damascus suburbs, Maarrat Alnoman in Idlib and Western suburbs of Aleppo.

FSA documented 36 points of clashes with regime army and... 13 operations [conducted by the FSA] and... [the] capture many forces of regime army.

Even this number is already out of date. Several more casualties are reported by the LCC since this total, and a horrific story is emerging from Deir Ez Zor that more than 75 people have been found, executed by regime forces and dumped in a mass grave.

Now, a note on the casualty figures produced by the LCC:

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) is an activist network operating both inside and outside of Syria. They claim to use stringent verification processes to ensure that a member of the LCC can vouch for any information posted either on their Facebook page or their website. The LCC also populates a database of those killed in the Syrian conflict, which can be seen at the website for the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria.

The LCC's casualty figures are a mix of insurgents and civilians, and never include regime casualties. Syrian State Media has stopped reporting regime casualty figures.

While we cannot confirm these reports, the LCC has proven to be highly reliable in the past.

An activist puts things in perspective:

And another activist expresses frustration of the media's coverage of this conflict:

2200 GMT: Bahrain. EA's John Horne reports:

Multiple reports from Bahrain indicate a tense and repressive situation in Al-Eker village, where a policeman died last night. Security forces have reportedly blocked all access to the village. Opposition society AlWefaq issued an urgent statement claiming that a "status of emergency was unofficially imposed by the regime forces" in Al-Eker

Around three hours ago, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights members Zainab AlKhawaja and Said Yousif Almuhafda tried to enter the village but were blocked at a checkpoint. Zainab described the village as "now completely surrounded by riot police". Security forces told her that "nobody is allowed in or out of Al-Eker village". She was also told by locals that "riot police have broken into more than 25 houses".

Zainab also spoke with a 15 year old boy whose leg was injured after " riot police threw stun grenades" into his house

Between the screaming of the women and children crying, they grabbed his brother and started asking him where their cousin is. When he said he did not know, the masked men attacked him and started beating him severely. When the boy asked the masked men to stop beating his brother, they threw a stun grande at him, injuring his leg. The police then attacked the women, spraying their faces with chemical spray.

There is also violence being reported in other villages in the country. Several shotgun injuries have been reported in Karranah.

2008 GMT: Lebanon. And now the denials - Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi has condemned the bombing, ashas Hezbollah:

Hezbollah also called on Lebanese to stand united and urged an investigation into the Friday explosion. The Syrian government has also issued a statement condemning the terrorist attack as a 'cowardly' move.

1946 GMT: Lebanon/Syria. Walid Jumblatt, a prominent leader of the Lebanese Druze and the head of the Progressive Socialist Party, speaks to Al Jazeera English. He points the finger directly at Syrian President Bashar al Assad as being solely responsible for the death of Wissam al Hassan. Jumblatt stops short, however, of directly blaming Hezbollah. Instead, Jumblatt requested the quieting of sectarian tension and the focus on the real problem - the Syrian regime:

1920 GMT: Lebanon. Only yesterday Saad Hariri accused Hezbollah of committing crimes in Syria.

“The Lebanese -- Shiites, Sunnis and Christians -- know very well, even from the mouths of senior Hezbollah officials, the nature of [the party’s] involvement in what it alleged to be ‘a jihadi duty’ alongside the machine of killings, repression, crackdown and subjugation facing the Syrian people,” a statement released by Hariri's media office.

“There is no longer anything that can help to cover up this clear crime committed by Hezbollah first against Lebanon before Syria, especially it is fully aware that the days of its ally in Damascus are numbered.”

1825 GMT: Lebanon. Saad Heriri has pointed his finger firmly at Syria's President for the assassination by car bombing of security official Wissam al-Hassan:

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday of being behind the huge car bomb which killed senior Lebanese intelligence official Wissam al-Hassan in central Beirut.

Asked by Future Television who was responsible for the killing, Hariri replied: “Bashar Hafez al-Assad,” giving the full name of the Syrian president. Hariri’s father, Rafik al-Hariri, was killed seven years ago in a bombing which his supporters blamed on Damascus and Hezbollah, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, one of Lebanon's most prominent leaders of the Druze community, and head of the  Progressive Socialist Party, has also accused Assad of the crime:


1800 GMT: Lebanon. And now it begins - Saad Harari is speaking out against the assassination:

1731 GMT: Lebanon. More clashes are already being reported in the wake of the news of the death of Wissam al Hassan:

1721 GMT: Lebanon. David Kenner suggests that what has happened today in Beirut, the death of a very important intelligence officer in a car bombing, could be the start of a real horror story in the Middle East:

In Lebanon, each security branch is a fiefdom of a different political party. Hassan wasn't just a non-partisan official, but widely recognized as the central ally of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Future Movement, the country's most important Sunni party. As FP contributor Elias Muhanna writes, Hassan had "long been the target of...ire" from Lebanon's pro-Assad political alliance. Hassan had been riding high: His branch had just arrested Michel Samaha, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's staunchest allies in Beirut, on charges of plotting attacks against Christian areas on orders of the Syrian regime.

For Hariri and his anti-Assad allies, then, this looks like payback: They struck a blow against one of Assad's men, so the Syrian regime took revenge by killing the man who orchestrated the arrest. The backlash is already brewing: Lebanese press outlets have reported scattered clashes and blocked roads in areas of Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli that are typically flashpoints for violence.

Kenner ends by echoing our own fears: "The entire effort to keep Lebanon out of Syria's war could come crashing down."

1708 GMT: Jordan. It's looking more and more like what has happened in Amman was a simple ceiling collapse, and not an "explosion" as initially reported by the Associated Press. Clearly, however, tensions are high everywhere:


1700 GMT: Lebanon. This may be the event that triggers a series of major events across the Middle East. Lebanon has already been internally torn between whether to support Assad or not, with Hezbollah taking Assad's side and many in the Lebanese government, most especially General Wissam al Hassad, were pushing against Assad. This may be a catalyst for intense violence - then again, with the situation so confusing, it's still possible that quick leadership on the part of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hasan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, could disarm this conflict.

One problem - fighting has already started.






1650 GMT: Jordan. BREAKING news:





1645 GMT: Lebanon. Who was Brigadier-General Wissam al-Hassan, killed in today's blast? Blogger and academic Elias Muhanna, who was written extensively on al-Hassan, offers this overview:

Wissam al-Hassan was one of the most important security figures in Lebanon. He headed up the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces (i.e. the Lebanese police), and was recently responsible for arresting Michel Samaha, a former minister with close ties to Syria, for allegedly conspiring to have explosives blown up all around Lebanon in a bid to create havoc. The move was seen as hugely destabilizing in Lebanon — because Wissam al-Hassan is very close to the March 14th coalition while Samaha had long been regarded as “untouchable” because of his connections to Damascus — and yet none of Samaha’s Lebanese allies demanded his release.

Wissam al-Hassan also has a very interesting role in the investigation of the Hariri assassination.


See Muhanna's original post for links to significant pieces by him relevant to al-Hassan.

1609 GMT: Lebanon. More details on the significance of the reported death of Wissam al Hassan:





Whoever was responsible, this could easily ignite tensions between Lebanon and Syria.

1604 GMT: Lebanon. Back from a phone conference to find some major news. Wissam al-Hassan, a top Lebanese security official, was killed in today's bombing in Beirut. John Horne reports:

As the dust settles and the scale of the bombing - and its targets - become known, the finger pointing begins.

Two Lebanese MP's have already accused the Assad regime. Kataeb bloc MP Nadim Gemayel, who represents Ashrafieh, the area where the bombing took place, said, "The Syrian regime is not [detached] from such kind of explosions, which is political par excellence". He added, in an interview with LBC Television which is politically affiliated with the March 14 Alliance, "“the Syrian regime is collapsing and is trying to move its crisis to Lebanon.

Similarly, speaking to Saudi owned AlArabiya, Future bloc MP Nohad Mashnouq said, "The explosion is a message sent from the Syrian regime to terrorize the Lebanese people."

1442 GMT: Turkey/Egypt EA's John Horne reports:

The New York Times reports on an emerging alliance between Egypt and Turkey, following the ousting of the former's previous dictator and the escalting crisis in Syria:


Egypt and Turkey are considering plans to lift visa restrictions and recently completed joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. Turkey has offered a host of measures to bolster Egypt’s economy, including a $2 billion aid package. There is even talk of Turkey’s helping Egypt to restore its Ottoman-era buildings. A wider-ranging partnership is expected to be announced in the coming weeks when the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party shares an Islamist pedigree with Egypt’s leadership, goes to Cairo

(...)

The collapse in relations with Syria may have prompted Turkey to speed up its alliance with Egypt, but the partnership is also rooted in the Islamist politics of the leaders of the two countries and their respective movements: Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., and the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi. This connection offers chances for a new Sunni Islamic bloc, even as each country offers a different understanding of how Islam and democracy can coexist.


1439 GMT: Kuwait. EA's John Horne reports:

Kuwait's ruling family issued a statement yesterday calling for obedience to the Emir.

The statement was published on state news agency KUNA and opens with a verse from the Quaran:

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. (Surat Annisa, verse 59)

It continues:

The Council would like to reaffirm that any affair relating to the ruling family is not subject to publication in any form whether audio, visual or written.

His Highness the Crown Prince, in his capacity as President of the Council, would like also to assert His Highness the Emir's right to be obeyed.

The Council would like to reaffirm that any affair relating to the ruling family is not subject to publication in any form whether audio, visual or written.


This statement followed the arrest yesterday of two former MPs, Bader al-Dahum and Falah al-Sawwagh, accused of criticising the Emir during a large opposition rally on Monday. A third opposition politician was also brougth in for questioning. The rally was held days after the Emir dissolved parliament, increasing political tensions in the country.

Opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak, who appealed directly to the Emir in a speech at Monday's protest to not take Kuwait "into the abyss of autocracy", has so far not been arrested. He is reported as saying at the rally:


We will not allow you, your highness, to take Kuwait into the abyss of autocracy," he warned. "We no longer fear your prisons and your riot batons.


If your highness decides to change the election law by emiri decree, then you alone are responsible for complicating matters and you alone are responsible for resolving it.

A reader of academic As'ad AbuKhali's blog "The Angry Arab" sent the followingobservation about the significance of al-Barrak's comments:

The way this Kuwaiti opposition MP has broken the taboo of addressing the emir directly has set a precedent that will be difficult to reverse and is likely to be raising eyebrows in Gulf states. Twitter was going crazy with it. Historic indeed.  Don't be deceived by the speaker though. He's a populist and will say anything to get the crowd roaring. But this really is unprecedented and is worth a watch.

1438 GMT: Egypt. According to the Associated Press, "several thousand" protesters are demonstrating in Cairo "to demand the president and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters ensure the country's constitution represents all factions of society". The protesters are en route to Tahrir Square, the scene of violent clashes last friday between critics and supporters of President Morsi.

1423 GMT: Syria. Meanwhile, it's been another terribly bloody day in Syria. According to the Local Coordination Committees, 86 people have already been killed across the country:

29 martyrs were reported in Damacus and its suburbs; 14 in Idlib, including 7 in Maarshorein; 10 in Raqqa including 7 field-executed; 9 in Deir Ezzor; 8 in Hama; 6 in Homs; 6 in Daraa; and 4 in Aleppo.

See our note on the LCC and their published casualty figures.

Dozens of videos from Damascus and its suburbs show the wounded, treated in field hospitals, and the dead, prepared for funeral by their families.

1415 GMT: Lebanon. According to Lebanese NNA, at least 8 people have been killed and at least 78 have been wounded.

And the death toll could rise far higher:


1411 GMT: Turkey/Syria. EA's John Horne reports:

Turkey's Foreign Minister has called on major Western powers to take immedite action in Syria to avoid a humanitarian "disaster". Speaking to the Guardian, Ahmet Davutoglu said:

How long can this situation continue? I mean in Bosnia, now we have Ban Ki-moon [the UN secretary general] apologising 20 years after. Who will apologise for Syria in 20 years' time? How can we stay idle?"

We [Turkey] are doing all we can to help these people, using all diplomatic capacity to stop this bloodshed. But there should be a much more concerted effort by the international community. The best way we can see now is direct humanitarian intervention.

We want the international community to find a solution to resolve this issue inside Syria. All means can be discussed. But there must be proper humanitarian access. We have 145,000 refugees in Turkey but there are millions of people, two million people inside Syria who are IDPs [internally displaced people]. Those that are lucky can come to Turkey. They are the lucky ones.

So there has to be humanitarian access, a humanitarian mission inside Syria, and the international community must be ready to protect it. This is the question, whether it is a buffer zone or humanitarian access – how these people are to be protected inside Syria. We are calling for an international humanitarian mission to go into Syria and be protected to stop the refugee flow.

The international community must make a decision. Humanitarian access must be guaranteed by any means that is acceptable. These people are human beings. The winter is approaching. How will they survive the winter?

We're not bomb experts, but we've seen carbombs before, and to our untrained eye, the way the explosion has ripped apart that car suggests that this was a car bomb. So does this unconfirmed report:


1350 GMT: Syria. It's destined to be buried in today's headlines, but there are large Friday protests across Syria today. The Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Centre reports:

Today's protests have been called "America, are you not satisfied with our blood?", reflecting the frustration and anger of many Syrians that the US government does not support the revolution and is not doing as much as it could to stop Assad's slaughter. Despite the airstrikes, shelling and fighting protests are taking place in many places, as usual. The video shows Kafaranbel in Idlib province where the regular airstrikes haven't stopped them coming up with some good signs as always.


Binnish, Idlib:


Many suburbs of Damascus are reporting larger-than-normal protests, in response to, and threatened by, the increasingly violent bombing and shelling campaigns against these areas:


Even in Darayya, a town that has been heavily hit by several waves of massacres, executions, and shelling, large protests have been held today.

See our separate feature, Syria 1st-Hand: Darayya --- 6 Weeks After the Mass Killings (Sands).



1340 GMT: Bahrain. EA's John Horne reports:

Human Rights First has issued a statement following the news from the Ministry of Interior that a policeman has been killed and another seriously injured (see 0935GMT entry). Brian Dooley from the organisation said:


News that a policeman has been killed and another seriously wounded will only deepen the human rights crisis in Bahrain.

These attacks increase the polarization in an already deeply divided society and are likely to set back prospects for peaceful reform.

1334 GMT: Lebanon. The Guardian notes that the death toll is now somewhere between 4 and 8, but could rise further. They also clarify the location of the blast in Beirut:

As far as possible political targets are concerned, MTV station said the blast took place between the headquarters of the March 14 (anti-Assad) coalition and the Kataeb (Christian Maronite) party. Ashrafiyeh is a largely Christian district.

On the other hand, El-Nashra website said the explosion ripped through a building housing a branch of BEMO – a Syrian bank.

They also note that there is a dispute as to whether this is a car bomb or, as AJE's rula Amin is testifying, the bomb blast looks like it occurred inside a building.

1307 GMT: Lebanon. Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, and someone who witnessed the explosion, report live from Beirut:


1255 GMT: Lebanon. According to a journalist in Beirut speaking to Al Jazeera English, the neighborhood is a mix of commercial and residential buildings, and the explosion hit at the time when schools were getting out - the peak time for movement on the streets. If this is a car bomb, it was designed to inflict maximum civilian casualties.



1250 GMT: Lebanon. The Guardian notes report that the explosion took place near a Syrian bank, though it's not clear that the bank was a target. They also share this picture, which further suggests this was a car bomb. State media has also reported that it was the result of two car bombs. Again, all this news is unconfirmed as the explosion happened just about half an hour ago.



1242 GMT: Lebanon. Jess Hill, from the Global Mail, reports:




1234 GMT: Lebanon.  A security source has told Reuters that "at least two people were killed and 15 wounded" following the bomb that exploded in Ashrafieh, the predominately Christian area of east Beirut. A witness on the scene told Reuters that they had seen at least one dead body.

EA's Scott Lucas adds this conflict to this breaking news:

Ashrafieh is the mainly Christian area in east Beirut - If this had happened three years ago --- indeed, it did happen repeatedly --- first suspect would be Syrian regime.

1230 GMT: Lebanon. Reuters reports that an "explosion rocked central Beirut during rush hour on Friday". Details are still emerging.





James Miller takes over today's live coverage. Thanks to John Horne and Scott Lucas for getting us started.

1046 GMT: Syria. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly rejected a Turkish proposal for a transitional government led by Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa.

According to Al-Anbaa newspaper, Ahmadinejad told journalists in Kuwait, " “This means we are imposing a foreign solution on the Syrians. The solution must be Syrian rather than imposed from outside and the Syrian people should decide through elections."

Ahmadinejad reportedly met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an for 40 minutes earlier this week on the sidelines of a summit in Azerbaijan. The meeting occurred amid reports of a renewed attempt at an Egypt-Turkey-Iran "contact group" over the Syrian crisis.

1012 GMT: Syria. Insurgents claim that regime warplanes have again dropped cluster bombs in today's attacks on Ma'aret al-Numan.

Fighters showed an AFP correspondent debris from one cluster bomb and dozens of other bomblets that failed to explode on impact.

Electronic journalists and activists have been posting footage of the bombs this month. On Sunday, Human Rights Watch issued a statement accusing the Syrian air force of using the cluster bombs in populated areas.

The Syrian military has said it does not possess such weapons.

1005 GMT: Syria. The Joint Command for military and revolutionary councils, has said it is ready for a ceasefire during the Eid al-Adha holiday, as called for by United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, but only if several conditions are met:

0950 GMT: Tunisia. A co-ordinator of the opposition Call of Tunisia party has died in the southern town of Tataouine amid clashes between his supporters and those of the Government.

A Call of Tunisia official said Lotfi Naguedh died after he was beaten by pro-Government demonstrators who attacked his office.

Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khaled Tarrouche said Naguedh had died of a heart attack.

Ennahdha, the strongest party in the ruling coalition, expressed its condolences to Naqadh’s family and called for a judicial inquiry into the incident.

0945 GMT: Syria. Bjørn Holst Jespersen, via The Aviationist, has mapped both verified and "weak" reports of the downing of 10 planes and six helicopters, as well as attacks on airbases, by insurgents. Most of the incidents have been in Aleppo and Idlib Provinces.


View Syria: downed aerial vehicles. in a larger map

(Hat-tip to The Guardian)

0940 GMT: Saudi Arabia. The Washington Posthas noticed the protests and deaths in the Eastern Province, where demonstrators have been challenging the regime over detentions and rights:

The death toll here --- 14 civilians and two police officers since the beginning of last year --- is small compared with recent rebellions in other Arab countries, especially the civil war in Syria. And, unlike elsewhere, protesters here are not demanding the overthrow of their government.

They want long-denied basic rights: equal access to jobs, religious freedom, the release of political prisoners. But in the richest country in the Middle East, where even peaceful protests have long been banned, the clashes between police and demonstrators have become a big concern for King Abdullah and his ruling family.

See also Saudi Arabia Feature: An Introduction to the Protests, Prisoners, and Deaths in Qatif

0935 GMT: Bahrain. A Bahraini policeman has died of his injuries following a "terrorist bombing" after police confronted a protest on Thursday night, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Another policeman was injured in the clashes in Al-Eker, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the capital Manama.

The protesters had chanted, "The people want to topple the regime" and "Down, Down [King] Hamad".

0931 GMT: Syria. Hamza Hendawi writes for the Associated Press of a siege by insurgents on the villages of Zahraa and Nubl in Aleppo Province.

Opposition fighters have surrounded the enclaves, with about 35,000 people, since they took control of much of the province in July. They have put roadblocks, checkpoints, and snipers around the villages, forcing the government to send in supplies by helicopter.

The insurgents claim Zahraa and Nubl are harbouring pro-regime shabiha who shelled, killed, and kidnapped people in nearby villages.

0918 GMT: Turkey. Another pipeline explosion in eastern Turkey has halted the flow of Iranian natural gas and wounded 28 soldiers in a passing military vehicle, Turkish government and energy officials said.

The cause of the blast was not clear; however, the insurgent Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on pipelines.

The gas flow from Iran was halted earlier this month after an explosion and resumed a week later.

0909 GMT: Bahrain. According to pro-regime Gulf Daily News, MPs have warned US Ambassador Thomas Krajeski "to keep his nose out of Bahrain's business", calling on the Government to take action over his alleged interference in domestic affairs and meetings with opposition groups.

Parliament voted unanimously for the motion, submitted seven months ago. Last October, the MPs passed a no-confidence vote on his appointment.


"[Krajeski's] comments and meetings are unacceptable for the majority of Bahrain's population because they are backing those who incite division rather than helping solve anything," said MP Hassan Al Dossary.

MP Abdulla Bin Howail added, "We respect the US and have friendly ties with them, but that doesn't mean they can interfere and tell us what to do."

0900 GMT: Yemen. At least 10 soldiers and 11 insurgents have been killed in an assault on a military base in the southern town of Shuqra, according to medical and military sources.

Sources said insurgents first attacked the coastal base with an explosives-laden car, then approached from the sea.

0850 GMT: Egypt. El-Sayed El-Badawi, the head of the Wafd Party and CEO of the Sigma media company, has been sentenced to three years in prison for writing  a bad check to the Egyptian Football Association.

0450 GMT: Syria. At least 44 people died on Wednesday in the northwestern town of Ma'arat al-Numan, the target of regime airstrikes since it was claimed by insurgents more than a week ago. At least 23 of the dead are children.

Ma'arat al-Numan is in a vital location on the road between Damascus and Syria's largest city, Aleppo, where the opposition and regime forces have fought for almost three months, and its position near the Turkish border means it could be part of a "buffer zone" for the protection of civilians --- and effectively a safe area for insurgents.

At least 10 bombs were dropped on the town and its eastern outskirts, while insurgents continued to attack the nearby Wadi Deif army base, a key depot for tanks and fuel supplies.

The Local Coordination Committees reported that 230 people were killed by security forces on Thursday, including 69 in Damascus and its suburbs, 53 in Idlib Province, 35 in Aleppo Province, 24 in Homs Province, 18 in Daraa Province, and 14 in Deir Ez Zor Province.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
Syria Today: New videos from the revolutionary war
Syrian Defector: Assad behind "terrorist" bombs
How Assad fights "terrorism" in Syria
REVISITED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
Turkey attacks Syria
Truth Out: How Assad helped France kill Qaddafi
Panetta: Unilateral U.S. Military Intervention in Syria Would Be a Serious Mistake
BREAKING: 305 Syrians slaughtered in bloodiest day yet
Syria: Secret source of rebel arms revealed
BREAKING: Amnesty on Syria - Assad Regime guilty on indiscriminate slaughter
Syrian Revolution Digest shows "disgusting" photos!
Syria: The Killing Field the World is Learning to Live With
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
LIVE VIDEO: “World Silence is Killing #Syria” Rally in #DC
Free #Syria responds to Robert Fisk
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
#Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #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
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BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
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UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
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ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
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BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
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no blood for oil
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UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
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Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
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Syrian people rise up against the massacre
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Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
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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 Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 03:45:43 PM PDT

  •  Uh (10+ / 0-)

    Cause the US supports Israel with money, arms, etc.  The US and NATO do not support Asad (despite your many attempts to say we do), in fact, the US and NATO have imposed sanctions and supported the Asad opposition with money and arms (perhaps not as much as you would like, but they have).

    Here's the thing about protests, they only work for people you are supporting.  I mean seriously, if there is a big march in Washington of London, WTF is Asad gonna care?

    In contrast, if there is a big march against Israeli actions in London or Washington, Israel is gonna pay attention cause they are dependent on Western aid.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:08:54 PM PDT

    •  Actually, the US supplies arms (4+ / 0-)

      ...to the so-called rebels, which includes al Qaeda and other "volunteers" from the region.

      We do not arm Assad or the government.

      What more can the bewildered journalists quoted above want? Iran and the UN are working diplomatically to bring about a truce.


      A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

      by Pluto on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:16:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like I said (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, corvo, IndieGuy

        "supported the Asad opposition with with money and arms"

        Think you misread my comment.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:19:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The US does not supply arms to Assad's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mookins

        opposition and neither does Qatar or anyone else.

        Continued claims by Assad and his supporters don't mean a thing.

        I'd like to see you backup your claims with something like proof.

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

        by Clay Claiborne on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:23:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here (5+ / 0-)

          Here

          A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

          The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:28:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Pick a news source. (4+ / 0-)

          Or start with open source intelligence and use the embeded links to traditional news sources:

          http://www.strategic-culture.org/...

          USA and Al Qaeda: Holy Alliance

          Syria is flooded by terrorists of all kinds. Al Qaeda has committed a number of terrorist acts. According to former Commander of Turkish Naval Academy Admiral Turker Erturk it gets support from the USA. He says that the West and its Arab allies have decided to repeat the “Salvadorian scenario” counting on terrorist groups stepping in instead of the opposition. The suicide bomber raids in Damascus corroborate the fact. Let me remember the operation aimed at destabilization of Salvador with the help of suicide bombers was headed by John Negroponte, who later became US ambassador to Iraq, and would be US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford.

          Peter Oborne, a Daily Telegraph commentator, confirmed that the USA and Great Britain have intensified clandestine cooperation with Al Qaeda recently joining efforts in fight against the Syrian government. In its article Syria's Crisis is Leading Us to Unlikely Bedfellows he points out that the terror acts committed in Damascus before the New Year had all earmarks of the ones committed by the terrorist organization in Iraq. According to the British journalist the Al Qaeda militants had come to Syria from Libya across the “Turkish corridor”. Peter Oborne sees “the triple Washington-London-Al Qaeda alliance” as a great menace for the UK.

          Omar Al-Bakri, a religious extremist residing in Lebanon, confessed in an interview to the Daily Telegraph that Al Qaeda militants supported by Al Mustaqbal headed by Saad al-Hariri have already infiltrated into Syria from Lebanon. At a press-conference held in Baghdad Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari confirmed the fact that Al Qaeda does infiltrate into Syria across the Iraqi border in order to commit terror acts and bring in weapons.

          The Guardian has recently published an article called Military Intervention in Syria Would Be Disastrous for Its People. The author Sami Ramadani points out the fact an alliance between the USA and Al Qaeda has taken shape. The USA and Turkey intensively destabilize Syria using the oil funds provided by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. While Hillary Clinton is trying to persuade the world community an intervention in Syria is a necessary step, the CIA is actively involved in providing support and training to the militants. As is known the USA and NATO allies have recruited heads of terrorist organizations and common criminals from different countries of the world as mercenaries to make them go through special drilling course in the training camps located in Turkey and Lebanon. For instance, while in Homs a member of the League of Arab states observer mission working for Iraqi special services was very much surprised to see Pakistani, Iraqi and Afghan mercenaries. Especially striking was the fact that some of them had been his kidnappers in Iraq. It’s important to note that over a hundred of hirelings from Arab and other countries, including a significant number of French legionaries, were captured by Syrian authorities after freeing Homs.

          Hala Jaber, a Sunday Times correspondent, is sure religious extremists and foreign mercenaries infiltrating Syria from the territories of adjacent countries contributed to the exacerbation of violence to make international observers terminate their mission. Hala Jaber emphasized the calls of Saudi sheikhs to cross the Syrian border were followed by dozens of people coming from Lebanon, Tunisia, Algiers, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait full of fanatic aspiration to create an Arab caliphate in Syria and the region.

          The British Times published an article in January this year that said Saudi Arabia and Qatar joined in a covert deal to fund weapons acquisitions by the Syrian opposition to topple the regime of Bashar Assad. A secret accord between the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Syrian opposition was reached after the Arab League of Nations foreign ministers Cairo meeting in January. A representative of the Syria opposition told the British newspaper that Saudi Arabia offered any assistance. He added Turkey also took an active part in supporting the opposition by delivering arms across the Syria-Turkey border.

          Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, a deputy from the province of Hatay, said to a United Arab Emirates outlet the National there were great quantities of Turkey-made fire arms in Syria. Ediboglu was part of the Turkish Republican People's Party team coming to Syria in September 2011. The Syrian officials showed the delegation truckloads of weapons unloaded in deserted buffer zone between Syrian and Turkish checkpoints. According to the Turkish deputy’s interview the weapons were delivered by the Muslim Brothers.

          Pro-Israeli Debka internet-outlet close to the Israeli Intelligence Mossad reported as far back as August 2011 that NATO delivered shoulder-fired air defense systems, anti-tank weapons, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns to the opposition forces across the territory of Turkey. “Syrian rebels have been receiving training inside Turkey” Debka reported. NATO and the USA organized a campaign to recruit thousands of Muslim volunteers from different countries to boost the might of Syrian “rebels”. The Turkish army provided them with training and safe passage across the Turkey-Syrian border.

          According to the Guardian Saudi Arabia is ready to offer any financial assistance to the Free Syrian Army militants to incite mass defections from the Syria’s military ranks and increase pressure on the Assad’s government. Riyadh has already discussed the far-going plans with Washington and other Arab states. As the British outlet notes referring to the sources in three unnamed Arab capitals the idea didn’t originate from the Saudis but rather from their Arab allies willing to eliminate the Syrian statehood. The encouragement of Syrian defectors coincided with arms deliveries to Syria. The Guardian says the discussions with Arab countries officials make it clear the arms supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar (including automatic rifles, grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles) started since the middle of May. The Guardian’s Arab interlocutors said the final agreement to move weapons from storage points inside Turkey into rebel hands was hard won, with Ankara first insisting on diplomatic cover from the Arab states and the US. The authors of the article said Turkey had also allowed the establishment of a command centre in Istanbul which is coordinating supply lines in consultation with FSA leaders inside Syria. The Guardian witnessed the transfer of weapons in early June near the Turkish frontier.

          As the influential New York Times has reported, the CIA has already organized arms and equipment supplies to the opposition. According to the source experienced CIA operatives are “working” involved in distributing illegal assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers and other ammunition to Syrian opposition. Arms and ammunition are being brought over into Syria mainly with the help of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood network says Eric Schmitt, the author of the article. Expenses for rifles, grenade launchers and anti-tank systems are being shared by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The CIA operatives provide assistance on spot to deliver the cargo to the desired destination. The agency operatives might be helping the rebels with organizing a rudimentary intelligence and counterintelligence organization to fight Bashar Assad. Andrea Stone from the Huffington Post confirms this information. He notes Central Intelligence Agency officers have been working from southern Turkey since March to advise Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates which elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) they should arm. Besides, the Vice-President of the Turkish Labor Party, Bulent Aslanoglu, confirmed that about six thousand people of Arab, Afghan and Turkish nationalities have been recruited by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to commit terrorist acts in Syria.

          The USA and Al Qaeda’s alliance doesn’t confuse Reuel Marc Gerecht, former CIA operative and a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. On the pages of the Wall Street Journal he argues for “a muscular CIA operation launched from Turkey, Jordan and even Iraqi Kurdistan”. He thinks the limited in scope CIA undertaking against Assad coming into public view thanks to Western media will not lead to anything in concrete terms for those who strive to topple the ruling regime in Syria. Gerecht puts special importance to the fact that “Assad, who depends upon his Shiite Alawite minority (roughly 10%-15% of the population) for his military muscle, does not have the manpower for a multiple-front counterinsurgency”. The scholar of Foundation for Defense of Democracies thinks “a coordinated, CIA-led effort to pour anti-tank, antiaircraft, and anti-personnel weaponry through gaping holes in the regime's border security wouldn't be hard. The regime's lack of manpower and Syria's geography-low-rising mountains, arid steppes and forbidding deserts—would likely make it vulnerable to the opposition, if the opposition had enough firepower”. The former CIA operative is sure this Syrian action would not be a massive undertaking: “Even when the CIA ramped up its aid to Afghan anti-Soviet forces in 1986–87, the numbers involved (overseas and in Washington) were small, at roughly two dozen. An aggressive operation in Syria would probably require more CIA manpower than that, but likely still fewer than 50 U.S. officers working with allied services”.

          According to Gerecht most importantly, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has irreversibly broken with Assad. Jordan, the country enjoying the most intimate Arab liaison relationship with the USA, is also set against Damascus. Moreover the former CIA veteran assures Iraqi Kurdistan, always eager for more U.S. officials on its soil, would likely give the CIA considerable leeway provided Washington promised to stand by the Kurds in any dispute with Baghdad and Tehran.


          A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

          by Pluto on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:38:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see no proof here that the US is arming Al Qaeda (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Zornorph

            Just a lot of words claiming a US - Al Qaeda alliance.

            Where do you find this stuff?

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

            by Clay Claiborne on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:46:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Like you, I keep very close tabs (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, mickT, DarkLadyNyara, KenBee

              ...on the proxy war in Syria. I don't have a dog in this hunt. I'm indifferent to the politics but focused on the money flows. I can't afford to ignore reality in my line of work.


              A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

              by Pluto on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:58:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I do think you have a dog in this fight (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Zornorph

                That's why you bother to comment. Which dog can easily be determined by the content of your comments.

                Proxy war is Assad's line. I suppose the thousands of Syrian Army soldiers who defected and joined the FSA are receiving pay checks from NATO. Is that your view?

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

                by Clay Claiborne on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:26:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You make a good point. (8+ / 0-)

                  In the case of your Diaries, I do have a dog in the hunt.

                  Although I rarely comment in them, sometimes your tremendous bias is alarming to someone like me, with the bigger picture firmly in hand. I comment merely to neutralize the war lust you exude. The nightmare of the national drive of Americans to bomb and murder foreigners after 9/11 and more recently, Libya, is one I cannot ignore. The consequences for the US are a complete disaster.

                  So, I do what I can, if I have time.


                  A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

                  by Pluto on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:04:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It is obvious you have not been paying attention (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deward Hastings, Pluto

              to what is occurring in Syria. Tweets and Facebook are probably the least reliable source of information on the internet.

              I personally have posted dozens of reports, even from such pro rebel sources as Al Jazeera that state the rebels are being financed and supported with arms from Qatar and the Saudis.

              BTW, if you watch many of the 'rebel' videos you will see American M16's being used. Just check out the Youtube video you have posted in this diary at 1005GMT.

              BTW, the following are some of the men you want to be given advanced high tech arms:

              http://www.norwaypost.no/...
              Up to 100 Norwegians join Syrian war

              Around 100 young men with Norwegian citizenship have travelled to Syria to participate in the civil war, NRK reports, quoting Muslim sources.

              This is a much higher number than so far estimated by the Norwegian intelligence service.

              They have estimated that more than 20 radical Norwegian Islamists are in Syria at this time, and that at least seven of them are fighting on the side of Al Qaida.

              In Syria, the Norwegians are receiving training in the use of arms and explosives, and the intelligence service fears that this experience may later be used in Norway.

              •  M16s are readily available on the black market (0+ / 0-)

                Thanks to the US use of them in Iraq. The FSA gets most of their weapons from the black market.

                Why would you trust "Muslim sources" to give an accurate account when Norwegian intel sources say 20? They can be expected to exaggerate. Is it because their numbers better support your argument.

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

                by Clay Claiborne on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 09:49:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why would YOU trust Muslim requests for (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pluto

                  more high tech armaments over American/NATO sources that say it would be a bad thing to do?

                  M16's cost 3-4 times as much as AK47's on the black market and the ammunition is also more expensive and harder to get. When you see militia's armed with these, you know they have lots of money and good, reliable sources from outside the country.

                  You have now changed your mind on where the rebels are getting their arms? You have previously insisted that they only got them from defectors and from stealing from Syrian military.

        •  Oh really? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Pluto

          The so-called "rebels" make their own rpgs and anti-aircraft missiles?  They built their own satellite radio network (and slipstreamed it into US military satellites without the US knowing)? How clever of them . . .

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:00:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Empty Vessel -- You miss the WHOLE point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clay Claiborne

      A protest is simply a way of saying that the activity protested is offensive to one's understanding of proper behavior, morals, etc.

      Often a protest does nothing per se.  But the protest, if repeated, can get people motivated.

      Does 99% ring a bell?  Remember how that entered the vocabulary??

      "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." -- Patrick Henry November 6, 2012 MA-4 I am voting for my friends Barry, Liz and Joe (Obama, Warren and Kennedy)

      by BornDuringWWII on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:20:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The point of OWS (5+ / 0-)

        was to achieve something.  Namely to get Wall Street and the 1% regulated, taxed, fair shake for main street, etc.  The point being that the protests were occurring in America by American voters.

        Do you honestly think the protestors were trying to change the bankers' minds?  No, it was a show of strength to elected officials and the US government, which did care because it could become a social movement in the US.

        Marching against Syria in New York?  Yeah, that's gonna be really effective.  Asad would shake in his boots.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:24:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If Assad didn't care what the world thought, he (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins

      wouldn't spend so much spinning his narrative.

      The thing about protests is that they draw attention to the problem. I've never heard before that you only protest things you think you can directly effect.

      Doing the Vietnam War, there were protests around the world opposing the US slaughter. Were those protesters out of line?

      Ditto what I said below about US & NATO weapons to Assad's opposition. You are just repeating Assad's propaganda here.

      Where's the proof?

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:31:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What do you mean "we"? (6+ / 0-)

    in your title? I see very little criticism of Israel, much less condemnation. As a matter of fact, every four years presidential candidates fall all over themselves trying to paint their opponent as anti-Israel while trying to portray their position as the most pro-Israel ever.

    El-Assad has no appreciable amount of supporters in the U.S. and absolutely zero support among U.S. politicians. As a matter of fact the Republicans, in their usual bloodthirsty way, are loudly proclaiming how macho they would be if elected and how we should be arming the rebels with aircraft carriers and tactical nukes and ballistic missiles, anything to show how much more manly the Republican Party is than the wimpy Democrats.

    Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying desperately to avoid getting boots-on-the-ground involved in another conflict in another middle east country while trying to insure that arms are delivered to rebels who will not turn around and use them against our ambassadors or Iraq or Lebanon or (dare I speak the name?) Israel. These rebels fighting El-Assad hate Israel far more than anybody in the U.S.

    You're living in some kind of delusional space, my friend. I'm not quite sure what you are trying to suggest, but this country is tired of war and tired of being sucked into conflicts in the Middle East. Israel should consider herself lucky to have America as an ally.

    America is a land of freedom where people are allowed to protest or not protest as they see fit. If people here are "demonstrating" against Israel, you should take that as a sign of a healthy democracy where the right to protest is protected by our constitution. AND people are also protected from being FORCED to "protest" as well.

    Maybe if you stepped outside once in a while and read a few different newspapers or maybe took a stroll around the internet and, above all, shook a few of those cobwebs out of the reasoning centers of your brain you might be able to have a slightly more rational view of the world.

    OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

    by hillbrook green on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:35:51 PM PDT

  •  Assad knows he has lost the PR war. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ConfusedSkyes, KenBee, angry marmot

    I see Russia and Iran as the major obstacles to intervention in Syria. I worked hard to get attention and help for Libyans, with positive results. I could scream my head off 16 hours a day for Syria and it wouldn't change a thing, sadly.

    The founding fathers knew of the mutually corrupting influences of Church and state, wisely sending them to opposite corners.

    by emidesu on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:47:33 PM PDT

  •  Condemn the so-called "rebels" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, mickT, PhilK, Russgirl, BigAlinWashSt

    and the foreign governments supporting them for the killings . . . that's what started it.  As "bad" as the Assad government may be they are the relative "good guys" in this (substantially US sponsored) "war".

    This whole thing is just the US war on Iran being ramped up and "tested" in Syria . . . just as the MEK terrorists are being removed from the US "terrorist list" because they are on "our side" now.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:55:52 PM PDT

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, mickT, DarkLadyNyara

    When we begin giving Israel the same amount of aid (economic, military, or any other kind) as we give Syria, then you can make such a comparison.  Unlike Syria, Israel claims to be a democracy, and claims to believe in things like human rights.  Thus, when they commit genocide, the world laments the hypocrisy...loudly and uselessly.  Syria is neither a democracy nor a nation who upholds human rights, and it never has been.  

    What would a mass protest accomplish, by the way?  Do you really thing al-Assad cares if there are protests outside Syria?  A protest is a useless act without a goal...something the protesters wish to accomplish.

    As for the government, what do you expect us to do?  As is mentioned in your diary, armed intervention is currently very unlikely, and for good reason.  As a Muslim and as an American, I vehemently oppose arming the Free Syrian Army because it has been infiltrated by far too many al-Qaeda militants.  We are giving humanitarian aid.  We have sanctioned the top members of the Syrian regime.  We have tried, repeatedly, to get Security Council backing for some kind of international action, only to be met with a wall of vetoes from the East.  We have done what we can, and continue to look for other ways to help.  Or even to put a stop to this slaughter.  But the only way of doing that has already been ruled out, so I ask again: what do you want us to do?

    Terror has no religion.
    لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الل

    by downsouth on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:59:41 PM PDT

  •  This diary is way too long (7+ / 0-)

    Throwing a giant pile of information at people like that is just rude - you'e basically saying, 'read this, you ignorant fucks.'

    I don't know a single Kossack who supports Assad. He's a monster. But we don't see way to influence what is going on over there in the same way as Libya, for example, where arming and supporting one side was likely to help. In Syria, there are too many factions and the likelihood that more arms would make the situation worse is very real. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything, but it leaves a lot of us speechless. We're all looking for a good idea. If you have one in that giant pile you posted, edit your diary so we can see it.

    Israel, most of us believe, is still a relatively civilized country that could be directly influenced by US foreign policy if we so chose. Influencing the Israeli situation seems more probable (though I'm opposed to the boycott, as I think it will backfire; I think influencing that conflict should be done here at home with our own elected officials and trying to change the tone of the conversation).

    In other words, apples and oranges. Sorry the world is so complicated and fucked up, but it just is.

  •  Didn't Read It. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac

    Far too long, but the reason I didn't rad it is that the premise is flawed.  I don't know anyone who supports Assad, everyone thinks he's an ass who should be deposed.  But under such conditions, it's up to the country's population, not the ROW.  

    When fascism came to America, it was wrapped in a flag and carrying a bible.

    by BigBuck on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 09:00:43 PM PDT

  •  Which group do you intend to support and arm? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deward Hastings
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/...
    Holy Warriors
    A field guide to Syria's jihadi groups.

    OCTOBER 15, 2012

     Eighteen months into the Syrian uprising, the country's Sunni Arab insurgency is now fighting a largely sectarian war against a regime dominated by religious minorities, most notably the Alawite sect to which the Assad family belongs. While the exiled opposition movement in Turkey and elsewhere remains reasonably pluralistic, the armed insurgency that took off in mid-to-late 2011 has always been a Sunni Muslim Arab affair.

    This climate of sectarian polarization has triggered a slow but certain "Islamization" of the armed movement.  Ultraconservative Salafi-jihadis, in particular, have made rapid inroads among the rebels. They tend to organize in small, close-knit groups, but their ideological impact is visible across the rebel movement, with other factions increasingly adopting their religious discourse.

    Even the most well-known insurgent alliance, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a loose umbrella term used by several inter-related insurgent networks, is hardly the secular movement it is portrayed as in the West, where it is represented by a small coterie of exiled military defectors. In Syria, the main body of FSA networks has come to resemble a Sunni sectarian movement, which is increasingly influenced by Islamist ideology. For example, when a group of Western-backed FSA commanders established a Joint Command recently, they were seen to represent the most "secular" element of the armed uprising. But virtually all of the participants were Sunni Arabs, and in a nasty slap to minority sensibilities, they invited as their guest of honor Adnan al-Arour, a Salafi preacher infamous for his incitement against non-Sunni religious groups.
    ...
     Jihadis still make up a minority of the Syrian rebel movement and do not represent the opposition as a whole, but they punch far above their weight in terms of both military effectiveness and ideological influence. As such, they will play a role in the battle for Syria's future, though it remains to be seen just how large of a role that will be.  

    The following is a list of Syria's most significant jihadi and Islamist armed groups.
    ...

  •  Yet another installment in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deward Hastings

    "Clay Claiborne's Craptacular Calumnies."

    Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

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

    by angry marmot on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 05:58:35 AM PDT

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