Syria: From War To Dissolution With Help Of Media

August 28, 2013

What are some irrelevant Syrian lives in the grand scheme of things, when the status quo’s wealth must be preserved at all costs.” (Opinion in web forums)

Coat_of_arms_of_SyriaThe Syrian opposition on has accused the government of launching a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs that killed large numbers of civilians as they slept and packed makeshift hospitals with hundreds of victims convulsing and gasping for breath. Photographs and videos posted online showed the bodies of men, women and children, many appearing to be dead, without visible wounds. Varying opposition claims put the death toll in the hundreds, with some saying it was more than a thousand.

While the public is shocked about news the Pentagon is making the initial preparations for a Cruise missile attack to punish Al-Assad regime. So has the “free and democratic world” forgotten the Iraq WMD disinformation campaign? In my opinion they should think twice as the right address might be Qatar-funded mercenaries led by Al Qaeda.

Mediawar

Most people think the horrendous news they watch on TV, read in the newspapers or hear on the radio is real. It is not as the question is more about media-war than neutral unbiased newscast.

One should again remember that in the Middle East there is a medi-awar ongoing. Some examples from recent shows:

a) The shooting session of the fake photos in Egypt: A part of film can be seen also via this link  or this youtube

Plyywood shooting session in Egypt

b) Video of MB sit-in where the dead bodies in their coffin wrappings were being dragged out of the ice tanks to the center of the sit-in, minutes before the Police raid:

c) Picture supposed to show a victim of ‘the gas attack’ in Damascus. The picture has also been used to show a victim of an attack in Egypt as well to show a victim of an attack in Palestine.

d) Related to Syria it was the rebels who use chemical weapons and Jihadists, not Assad, apparently behind reported chemical attack in Syria.

e) More media-war practice in the Middle East e.g. in Minimizing Collateral Damage In Gaza Conflict

There is a tendency for the concept to be invoked in the heat of action, giving the appearance of propriety for Western television viewers, but that it neglects the conflicts that are forgotten by the media or occur based on chronic distresses than sudden crises. For example the US launched two military campaigns against Serbia while ignoring real and more widespread slaughter in Rwanda .

Old practice new theatre

The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new. In the 1980s Washington’s secret services had assisted Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Then, in 1990, the US fought him in the Gulf. n both Afghanistan and the Gulf, the Pentagon had incurred debts to Islamist groups and their Middle Eastern sponsors. By 93 these groups, many supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia, were anxious to help Bosnian Muslims fighting in the former Yugoslavia and called in their debts with the Americans. Bill Clinton and the Pentagon were keen to be seen as creditworthy and repaid in the form of an Iran-Contra style operation – in flagrant violation of the UN Security Council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia. One could add that Ayman al-Zawahiri, later the leader of al Qaeda, came to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley for Bosnian jihadists.in 1993, Mr. bin Laden had appointed Sheik Ayman Al-Zawahiri, to direct his operations in the Balkans.

Image shows a M60 recoilless gun (YU) being used to attack an army outpost,Hajez Barad, in Busr al-Harir, Daraa, on March 2nd.

Image shows a M60 recoilless gun (YU) being used to attack an army outpost,Hajez Barad, in Busr al-Harir, Daraa, on March 2nd.

Unfortunately, history is repeating. From my point of view it remains to see if this newest U.S. clandestine recycling operation has better success that earlier in Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya … I doubt. More in U.S. Recycles Its Old Balkan Practice With Syria .

Only bad options

We can do this with no boots on the ground, from stand-off distances(US dream)

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, may have made the case. In a letter to Congressman Elliot Engel, Dempsey said the American military is clearly capable of taking out the Syrian air force. He wouldn’t do it because it would “offer no strategy for peace,” he wrote. “is a deeply rooted, long-term conflict among multiple factions, and violent struggles for power will continue after Assad’s rule ends. We should evaluate the effectiveness of limited military options in this context.” (Source: American Thinker )

Centcom’s Forward Command in Jordan is manned by 273 US officers. This underground facility near Amman is linked to US, Israel, Jordanian and Saudi Air Force commands ready for an order from President Barack Obama to impose planned air-strike as well a partial no-fly zone over Syria. There are today some 1,000 US military personnel in the Hashemite Kingdom, plus a squadron of F-16 fighters and several Patriot anti-missile batteries strung along the Jordanian-Syrian border to shield Jordanian and American bases and the capital, Amman. Obama’s final decision on a no fly and a buffer zone in Syria is expected in the coming two to three weeks.

Syria, cradle of civilizations, compared e.g. with US

Syria, cradle of civilizations, compared e.g. with US

Arming rebels and pushing for military intervention will not solve the problem Syria is facing but indeed could lead to the death of thousands of Syrians and to the breaking-up of the country falling under the control of violent fundamentalist Jihadist forces. It will mean the further fleeing of Syrians into surrounding countries which will themselves become destabilised. The entire Middle East will then become unstable and violence will spiral out of control.

Anyway if USA decides to bomb Syria wouldn’t the right address be Qatar-funded mercenaries led by Al Qaeda instead of the Assad regime.

Russia as a peacemaker?

While Obama/US is now in the corner with his ”red lines” Russia has became more reliable player in the Middle East as it is emerging:

as a vocal defender of Christianity against Muslim persecution around the world;

as a plausible peacemaker in the Middle East, with far better relationships with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria than America has today;

as the monopoly natural gas supplier for Germany, with the consent of the Franco-German axis;

as the only country with a credible a nuclear umbrella to protect its friends and deter its enemies;

To show Russia’s seriousness in the Middle East, President Putin has paid personal visits and kept contacts with all the players, including the Sisi regime in Egypt, Israel, Syria’s Assad, and Saudi Arabia.

Who has smoking gun?

It would be very peculiar if it was the government to do this at the exact moment the international inspectors come into the country(WMD inspector Rolf Ekeus)

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has now survived two years of civil war, and indeed he is even winning it.Only foreign intervention especially by the United States could defeat him. If so why he would do the one thing Obama said would trigger US action? Since both sides have been highlighting atrocities carried out by the other to garner support from outside Syria, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some unscrupulous rebel faction could have launched a so-called ‘false flag’ operation to discredit the regime even further.

At the moment, it is difficult to see what desperate situation would have caused al Assad to use chemical weapons and risk the worst. His opponents however have the motivation – using chemical weapons to force the United States to intervene and depose al Assad. It might be possible that lower-ranking officers in al Assad’s military used chemical weapons without his knowledge and perhaps against his wishes. While all options are open what happened in relation of chemical weapons from my perspective it is crucial to wait untill we know more, for example after investigations made by U.N team.

U.N., Israel and Syria hypocrisyBtw the latest news out of Syria is confirmed, namely that the the Syrian army has discovered rebels’ storehouse in the Damascus area, where toxic chemical substances, including chlorine, have been produced and kept,

Dissolution of Syria

In normal cases the United States and its coalition partners, are using humanitarian pretexts to pursue otherwise unacceptable geopolitical goals and to evade the non-intervention norm and legal prohibitions on the use of international force. This false pretented humanitarianism has become a legitimizing ideology for projection of U.S. hegemony in a post–Cold War world. For example NATO intervention in Kosovo was conducted largely to boost NATO’s credibility. With case of Syria US doesn’t have big geopolitical interests to go war, the main cause might be that Obama draw his red line – use of chemical weapon – and he now have to act on the red line principle or be shown to be one who bluffs. If Obama doesn’t act this would show US weakness.

Despite how US acts one should notice that there is already lot of foreign intervention in Syria: Russia, Hizbollah etc are giving weapons and support to al Assad regime; US, Saudis etc are giving weapons to sc freedom fighters; Qatar etc are financing al Qaeda’s fighters and Kurds get support e.g from Iraq. US might launch its air-strike but bottom line is that foreign fighters have already their boots on the ground. The Israelis are privately reluctant supporters of the al-Assad regime. It is a known quantity, with whom negotiation within established parameters is  possible. The alternative, of divided Sunni Islamist politics presenting a potentially existential danger to the Jewish state and the region as a whole, is all the more destabilising. EU is bystander as usual however ready to throw their money in when dirty job is done.

Balkanization of Syria Map credit The Economist

Balkanization of Syria

In my opinion the majority of the people of Syria are calling out for peace and reconciliation and a political solution to the crisis. The probable short term result will be dissolution of Syria – some kind of new balkanization or Somalization as it already happened in Iraq. The country might fragment, as Kurds and Alawites form their own mini-states. The positive outcome might be that second piece– after North Iraq – of Kurdistan will be established while it remains to see when regions from Iran and Turkey will join to this long-felt need.

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Appendix:

SYRIAN GIRL 8 Reasons Why The NWO Hates Syria


Iranians And Israeli Instead Of Israel Vs. Iran

August 3, 2013

<img source="http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/israel_iran_nuclear.jpg?w=252&h=189" alt="Israel, Iran and nuklear."</img>Two days before his inauguration, President of Iran, Hasan Rouhani said, “The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed”. A bit similar words were given by former President Ahmadinejad for years. On the other side Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu went on U.S television to remind the world that the threat from Iran remains very much alive. Speaking on “Face the Nation,” Netanyahu warned that the Islamic Republic is once again approaching a nuclear redline, and hinted that if the United States doesn’t take action soon, he will. Israeli leaders have been issuing such alarms for almost a decade now.

<img source="https://i0.wp.com/foreignaffairs.com/files/images/preview/Bibi3_0.jpg" alt="Israel, Iran and red line by Netanyahu."</img>While military strike still is a serious thread the secret war between Israel and Iran has been going on the whole time. From Israeli side well known actions are assassinations of some key figures in Iran’s nuclear program, Stuxnet and some strange blasts and explosions in Iran’s nuclear facilities. However its pleasure to find out that some civil activities will give hope that a non military development might be possible.

Jerusalem Film Festival

Recently in July 2013, Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an Iranian film maker and member of the Iranian political opposition who has won some 50 awards, visited Israel as a guest of honor at the Jerusalem Film Festival. He received an award for his efforts to promote freedom and democracy in Iran and hosted a film screening of his recent film The Gardener a film that explores the Bahai community in Israel. The Gardener is the first Iranian film since the 1979 Iranian Revolution to be filmed within Israel. A number of his other films were also highlighted at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Crowds of Israelis honored him with standing ovations. Makhmalbaf was the first high-profile Iranian artist and former revolutionary to visit the Jewish state since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Born in Tehran 56 years ago, the maker of 20 films took part in the demonstrations against the shah of Iran which saw him arrested at the age of 17 and spending more than four years in prison. After the 1979 Islamic revolution he was able to concentrate on cinema, but his approach and attempts to prevent censorship angered the new authorities. Makhmalbaf was forced into exile in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, where he remained underground, before moving to Paris for four years. He now lives in London.

“On many occasions the Iranian authorities sent killers after me. I narrowly escaped a grenade attack in Afghanistan. In Paris I lived 24 hours with 24 bodyguards,” he said.

All of his films and 30 books are banned in Iran, but his movies do find their way in through black market DVDs, satellite television or YouTube.

“After my visit to Israel, I’ll probably face a campaign accusing me of being a Mossad or CIA agent,” he predicted. (Source and more in Arutz Sheva)

Makhmalbaf came to Israel despite the fact that he could face up to five years in prison for such a visit should he ever decide to return to Iran. According to Makhmalbaf, he made this film in Israel just to provoke the fundamentalist elements in my country.

In response to Makhmalbaf’s visit to Israel, Javad Shamghadri, one of the authorities of the Ahmadinejad-controlled cinema agency, ordered the withdrawal of all of Makhmalbaf’s works from Iran’s cinema museum. Also a group of Iranian scholars, artists, journalists and activists who are deeply concerned by the decision of Makhmalbaf to take part in the Jerusalem International Film Festival as they see that his participation directly violates the International call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of the State of Israel campaign issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005, as well as the specific call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel issued in July 2004.

<img source="http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSk_70bXyX41gV605Jarg3usbfC2tNwijlDWM0h1swcQBmd4hJ8" alt="Israel, Iran and cyberwar."</img>Still, Makhmalbaf says he is “proud to have paved the way for Iranian cinema in Israel. Boycotting and writing statements does not solve anything. It only leads to war. We have to get to know each other through art, literature, and cinema, so we can become friends and end the hostility. That’s the reason I filmed my latest movie ‘The Gardener’ in Israel.” And, he adds, he hopes that someday soon, Israeli filmmakers will be able to shoot films in Iran.

In an interview by Payvand Iranian News Mohsen Makhmalbaf answer to critics e.g as follows:

However, I am very happy for a discussion to have started and I believe we have to elevate the level of the conversation. My point is that religious enmity and hatred, particularly in the Middle East, are threatening the security of the whole world. By traveling, by starting a dialogue between different ethnic and religious groups and creating bonds of friendship between the opposing sides, we have to try to reduce this hatred and religious prejudice. Turning away and boycotting worsens the hatred.”

Man lives on the planet Earth. Communities need to communicate with one another. Cultural interaction can clear the way for solving financial and political crises. For sixty years, we went along with boycotting. It is time to start a cultural dialogue, especially on the topic of peace. In Israel I said, ‘I love your people and as far as I have seen, Iranian people also love Israelis.’ There is no problem between the two nations; it is a political issue between the governments.”

More e.g. in Payvand Iranian News 

On the other hand more than 80 Iranian scholars, opposition group members, and human rights activists openly declared their support of Mohsen Makhmalbaf‘s decision to come to Israel by following words:

In gratitude for Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s peaceful efforts in Israel

Iranian director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who recently attended the Jerusalem Film Festival to screen his latest film “The Gardener”, received a special award from the festival organizers for “artistic achievements” and “for his long battle and struggle for democracy and freedom” in Iran.

Upon receiving the award, Mr. Makhmalbaf stated: “If politics separates us, art, on the other hand, can heal these rifts and distances and unite us in our peaceful efforts.”

He further mentioned that he wanted to dedicate his award to “artists, politicians, intellectuals and all the people in Iran and Israel who have worked for peace and friendship between two nations and believe in it.”

Mr. Makhmalbaf added in Jerusalem that he likes the people of Israel but an attack by Israel against Iran would only worsen the situation.

He stated that instead of a military attack, Israel should support the “democratic forces” in Iran which struggle for freedom.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf predicted, while making these statements, that he would soon face a wave of accusations, that he would be called a “spy of CIA and the Mossad.”

His prediction has come true in a way. Besides the media that is owned or affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a number of other Iranians inside and outside Iran (under the guise of peace and human rights activists and intellectuals), have published a letter condemning Makhmalbaf‘s trip to Israel “with grave concern” as it “violates human conscience” and stated that his presence at Jerusalem Film Festival was tantamount to support of the “apartheid politics of the Israeli government.”

It is at this juncture of time, and under the circumstances outlined above, we sign this letter to support and applaud Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s bravery for breaking the taboo of visiting the state of Israel and conveying the message of friendship between Iranian people and people of Isreal.

We believe that supporting the rights of the Palestinian people is not a sufficient justification to criticize an Iranian director’s professional trip to Israel.

We still remember those Israeli and Iranian citizens who last year launched a campaign of friendship between the two countries and exchanged written and video messages stating that they “loved “ each other just when it seemed that the chances of an Israeli strike against Iran was increasing.

We condemn the politics of war whether it is advanced by officials of the Islamic Regime or some officials in Israel. Instead, we endorse, support and welcome, the position of Mohsen Makhmalbaf that instead of a military attack, Iran’s “democratic forces” should be supported.

Just like Mohsen Makhmalbaf, we are unafraid to stretch out our hands in friendship with the citizens of Israel and believe that art can be a tool that brings people together regardless of people’s racial, linguistic and political differences.

We believe that instead of criticizing Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s trip to Israel, we should call him the ambassador of peace and friendship between the people of Iran and Israel.

Signatures: more than 80 members of opposition groups, scholars and human rights activists

Israelis love Iranians and vice versa

<img source="https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRoPVyYuBRt3Sh7mWIuFZTNG9-4Q7aa6Mzo8Um6I6meDvLfxtP1jA" alt="Israel loves Iran and vice versa."</img>

70 buses rode the streets of TelAviv carrying message for peace

There is many Iranians who support peace with Israel as seen in an article published in pages of United with Israel – a global grassroots movement:

I think there are many Iranians who live for the day that Iran has diplomatic relations with Israel,” says Mhyar Shams Ahmadi, who was born in Tehran 28 years ago but now lives in Toronto. “In my view, if you just look at relations between Iran and Israel, it is clear that it is in fact the ruling regime in Iran that is preventing diplomatic relations.”

Ahmadi is inspired by the high-tech advances and Western-style democracy that Israeli society has achieved. “Israel is already serving as a model for Iran, and other countries, on how to treat women and minorities,” he says. “Much like Canada, Israel does not oppress its citizens and allows them to think freely without fear of being persecuted no matter what your religion or beliefs are.”

Ahmadi criticizes Iranian leadership’s view of Israel as “little Satan” to the US’ “big Satan.” He says he is embarrassed and saddened that the present Iranian government remains opposed to Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. “Even with a new president, it is evident that Iran’s government hasn’t changed at all, and it is no surprise that Iran still continues to fail to live up to their international obligations,” he said.

Other Iranians are a bit more optimistic. “I think that the prospect of Israeli-Iranian relations will look good within the near future, either through the collapse of the regime, or by reform of Iranian politics,” says Pedram, an Iranian presently living in Stockholm, Sweden. “The Iranian and Jewish people have thousands of years of cultural and historical connection with each other and it cannot be broken just because we have an oppressive regime at the moment. I can with strong confidence say that the overwhelming majority of Iranians, both inside and outside the country, strongly support not only peace with Israel but also better relations in general.”

I highly appreciate people like Mohsen Makhmalbaf who have courage to act outside the box of their regime. Happily the Jerusalem Film Festival was not an isolated case. At grassroots there has been over one year a movement labelled as ”Israel loves Iran”. It is aline of communication between the people of Israel and Iran – a bridge in the Middle East between the people. The mission of this mostly virtual group is to break the wall of fear, built a bridge of communication as war happens where there is no communication.”And the only thing we can do…is communicate. Get the lines open. That’s hope…and that’s easy. Because of the internet” says in their mission statement. Israel loves Iran Facebook community can be found from here!

<img source="https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSaZtj1DEHNDMV2YuR99TPvHrvMQnyuI7P3y77VDwcykh1pv2bE" alt="Israel loves Iran and vice versa."</img>

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Some of my previous articles related to nuclear Iran:


Morsi Out, Military In, Can Democracy Slip Too In Egypt

July 4, 2013

When Mubarak was ousted in Spring 2011 I concluded following scenario in my article Days of Rage on the Arab street : Egypt’s society is diverse enough to withstand a despotic theocracy and if in doubt so the army is the final guarantor.”

Now it seems to came true as Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced July 3 that the country’s president, Mohammed Morsi, had been removed from office in the wake of popular unrest. In a short media statement, al-Sisi, who was flanked by the three armed services chiefs, opposition leaders, the sheikh of al-Azhar Mosque and the pope of the Coptic Church, announced that Adly Mansour, chief justice of the Constitutional Court, has replaced Morsi as interim president. He also announced that the constitution had been suspended. Mansour’s appointment is notable in that one of the key demands of the Tamarod protest movement was that he become president. The provisional government will be holding fresh parliamentary and presidential elections.

Army troops backed by armor and including commandos have deployed across much of the Egyptian capital, surrounding protests by the president’s supporters, and at key facilities and major intersections. But Morsi’s backers denounced the army’s intervention as a “coup”. At least 16 people, mostly supporters of the president, were killed and about 200 wounded when gunmen opened fire on pro-Morsi demonstrators at Cairo University campus. The Muslim Brotherhood accused uniformed police of the shooting. The Interior Ministry said it was investigating. Al Jazeera reports that several members of the Muslim Brotherhood have reportedly been arrested.
Deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said on the official Facebook page of the presidency that the July 3 announcement made by military amounts to a coup and that he rejects it, Al-Ahram reported. Egypt’s Salafist al-Nour Party announced its support for the military’s “roadmap” for the country’s political future and transition to new presidential elections, Al Arabiya reported July 3.

Door is open for reforms or even revolution as the coup and demonstrators might force elections in which ElBaradei or someone like him could be elected and Egypt might proceed on the path of democracy.

Final hours

<img source="http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQStlZ6MrIK-FUntE_XuhryDZZ6F7ir5cyOif15ag7PMgOQufCR" alt="Islam will dominate the world poster."</img>In an emotional, rambling midnight television address before ultimatum deadline, the president said he was democratically elected and would stay in office to uphold the constitutional order. Morsi acknowledged having made mistakes and said he was still willing to form a national unity government ahead of parliamentary elections and let a new parliament amend the constitution. But he offered no new initiative and rejected calls to step aside, saying it was his sacred duty to uphold legitimacy – a word he repeated dozens of times. The president accused remnants of Mubarak’s former regime and corrupt big money families of seeking to restore their privileges and lead the country into a dark tunnel. The official spokesman of his Muslim Brotherhood movement said his supporters were willing to become martyrs to defend Morsi.”We will not allow the will of the Egyptian people to be bullied again by the military machine.”
Liberal opposition leaders, who have vowed not to negotiate with Morsi since the ultimatum was issued, immediately denounced his refusal to go as a declaration of “civil war”. The opposition Dustour (constitution) party led former U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei appealed for military intervention to save Egyptian lives, saying Morsi’s speech showed he had “lost his mind” and incited bloodshed. “We ask the army to protect the souls of Egyptians after Morsi lost his mind and incited bloodshed of Egyptians,” the Dustour Party said in a statement.

The youth movement that organised the mass protests urged the Republican Guard to arrest Morsi immediately and present him for trial.

April 6 movement shows the way again

<img source="https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/99/April_6_Youth_Movement.jpg" alt="Egypt's April 6 youth movement flag."</img>I have been following events in Egypt mostly in April 6 movement’s facebook group. The movement was founded in 2008 and e.g New York Times has identified the movement as the political Facebook group in Egypt with the most dynamic debates. As of January 2009, it had 70,000 predominantly young and educated members. The April 6 Youth Movement helped organize the protests in 2011 that eventually toppled fomer dictator Mubarak out from power. Some signs that new wide revolts are coming was clear latest early this Spring.

April 6 founder, Ahmed Maher, had announced his support for the Islamist president, against his rival who was associated with the former regime, during last year’s presidential election. However on March 25, 2013 The movement compared a speech given by Mursi a day earlier to ones given by the former regime, describing it as “disappointing, especially from a leader who had claimed to have come to fulfill the goals of the uprising.” (Source: Aswat Masriya )

April 6 movement called for a “rage day” against President Mohamed Morsi on the fifth anniversary of its establishment. “The time has come to say to Mursi, ‘enough, you have broken all your promises; there are no programs to reform anything and every day we see destruction in Egypt. April 6, 2013, will be a day of anger; wait for us. Our strength is in our peaceful methods”.

On June 15th 2013 April 6 movement,assured that the movement began in preparing the groups around the state , to go down on June 30, explaining that the demonstrations will have one and clear demand ,early presidential elections after the failure of the president to fulfill any promise of his campaign promises and failing to achieve stability and prosperity,which he and his clan promised , beside breaking all the promises he promised to the National Front, which supported him in the presidential elections.

The opposition National Salvation Front, an umbrella group of liberal, secular and leftist parties, and the “Tamarud – Rebel!” youth movement leading the street protests have both nominated ElBaradei to negotiate with army leaders on a post-Morsi transition.

Tamarod-Rebel

“We ask the army to intervene to prevent the bloodshed of the Egyptian people …This is a people’s coup against a dictator and tyrant president and the army of the Egyptian people has to respond to the people’s demands and act upon them.” (Mahmoud Badr/ Tamarud)

Tamarod is a new grassroots protest movement in Egypt that has been behind the recent nationwide protests against President Mohammed Morsi, a year after he took office. The group, whose name means “rebel” or better rebellion in Arabic, Tamarod was founded in late April 2013 by members of the Egyptian Movement for Change – better known by its slogan Kefaya (Enough) and it claims it has collected more than 22 million signatures for a petition demanding Mr Morsi step down and allow fresh presidential elections to be held. Mainstream opposition groups soon put their weight behind the campaign, providing logistical support and office space. Exactly Tamarod gave the president an ultimatum to resign by 17:00 (15:00 GMT) on Tuesday or face a campaign of “complete civil disobedience”. It urged “state institutions including the army, the police and the judiciary, to clearly side with the popular will as represented by the crowds”.

Rebel Campaign (For the destitution of Mohamed Mursi Al Ayat)

  • We reject you … Because Security has not been recovered so far
  • We reject you… Because the deprived one has still no place to fit
  • We reject you … Because we are still begging loans from the outside
  • We reject you … Because no justice has been brought to the martyrs
  • We reject you. .. Because no dignity was left neither for me nor for my country
  • We reject you… Because the economy has collapsed, and depends only on begging
  • We reject you… Because Egypt is still following the footsteps of the USA

Since the arrival of Mohamed Mursi to power, the average citizen still has the feeling that nothing has been achieved so far from the revolution goals which were life in dignity, freedom, social justice and national independence. Mursi was a total failure in achieving every single goal, no security has been reestablished and no social security realized, thus and gave clear proof that he is not fit for the governance of such a country as Egypt.

The National Salvation Front

The National Salvation Front (NSF) is an opposition coalition formed amid the recent political crisis which has engulfed Egypt. It has successfully brought together the country’s fractious and divided opposition factions, who are now united in their resistance and rejection of what they see as a power grab by the president and his Islamist allies.

On 24 November 2012, a number of political parties and leading figures formed a coalition to force the president to rescind his decree; form a new, more representative constituent assembly; and issue a transitional justice law that guaranteed fair retrials for those responsible for the deaths of protesters during the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. The NSF includes a wide range of liberal, secular and leftist groups, such as the Egyptian Popular Current, al-Dustour, al-Tajammu, Free Egyptians, New Wafd, Democratic Front, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Nasserist Democratic Party and the Conference Party. The National Front for Salvation of the Revolution has more than 35 groups involved overall

Its three most prominent leaders are Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Amr Moussa, the former secretary general of the Arab League; and Hamdeen Sabahi, a Nasserist politician who came third in the presidential election.

Future road map (according opposition)

Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement held a press conference on Tuesday 2nd July 2013 to announce their six-step political map leading to early presidential elections.

FUTURE ROAD MAP

In order to achieve the requests of the Egyptians gathering in a magnificent popular scene in the streets and squares of Egypt, and demanding the organization of an early presidential election, the 6th April Youth Movement asks everyone to assume their responsibilities toward the country and to work together for the realization of the justified popular demands in this historic moment according the following road map:

First:

Tomorrow before 15:00, Morsi shall declare the following:

1. The suspension of the current constitution;

2. The dissolution of the Shoura Council (the Second Chamber of the Egyptian Parliament);

3. The transfer of powers to the Head of the Constitutional court.

Second:

A committee of the highest caliber 20 Constitutional Jurists and Professors of Law in the Egyptian universities shall be established. It revises, assesses and modifies the constitution. The political currents shall provide the committee with their proposals of the articles requested to be modified. The constitution shall be presented to the people for a universal suffrage.

Third:

The head of the constitutional court shall set, within one week of assuming the presidential role, the date for starting the presidential elections candidacy period according to March referendum 2012 conditions, within a maximum of two weeks. The elections and its results shall be held within a maximum period of three months from assuming the role.

Fourth:

Establishing of a National Salvation Government of No-Party-Based Technocrats. All political currents shall propose names for the Prime Minister as well as for three Deputies with well defined duties. The head of the Constitutional Court shall select among the proposed names after consultation with the political currents. The nominated person shall establish the government with the commitment to nominate the three deputies among the names proposed ex-ante.

Fifth:

Establishing a council for the protection of the revolution including all the political currents and youth without excluding anyone. Its duty is to direct the State Public Policy for a period of three months and till the election of the magistrate councils, achieve a comprehensive national conciliation between all the parties and national currents without marginalization or exclusion in order to start a new chapter immuned against internal divisions and polarization of the nation, while activating a law for transitional justice upon which everyone shall agree.

Sixth:

The Parliamentary elections shall be held within a period of six months-one year from the date in which the Head of the Constitutional Court assumes power.

6th April Youth

Patriotism ahead of Politics
Principle ahead of Interests

<img source="http://sphotos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/q71/971318_10152005627868294_578279646_n.jpg" alt="Egypt coup 2013, opposition demands ."</img>

My view

After the first successful thrust every revolution differentiates into political and class currents. This is the moment of greatest danger. The moment when the future of the revolution is decided.” (John Rees)

In my article Egypt at crossroads – theocracy, democracy or something between I highlighted two possible scenarios:

Egypt has came to a crossroads – Egyptians may choose to embrace the model of a secular reformist state with a prominent role for the military as Turkey has done; there is a second possibility that the Islamists exploit the influence to gradually take the country into a reverse direction – not towards modernity and reform but backward, nearest example could be Iran.

In my article Days of Rage on the Arab street I was a bit skeptical about possibilities for real revolution:

Egypt’s senior generals are part of the ruling establishment and army is up to its helmets in big business: shopping centers, tourism, property, hotels, steel, telecoms. A real revolution would require a Marxist revolutionary leadership by Egyptian workers and youth and there is no signs that such a party is possible to build in near future. There is a deep divide in the opposition and thus far do not appear to have been able to generate the type of mass movement that toppled the Shah of Iran’s regime in 1979.

Sustainable significant change requires a new political structure, as well as a new process that ensures free and fair elections and adequate opportunities for popular participation. Real democracy must be substantive as well as procedural, bringing human security to the people, including basic needs, decent work, and a police that protects rather than harasses.

Many, particularly Morsi’s supporters within the still-vast Muslim Brotherhood, will likely see July 3 as a military coup, the return of decades of military rule that always loathed the Brotherhood. The oppositio will surely claim that the military stepped in only to safeguard the people’s will from Morsi himself. Anyway be it coup or revolution I think that now there is a window of opportunity open for democratization and reforms. Lets hope that next time the army is not needed to depose rulers.


U.S. Recycles Its Old Balkan Practice With Syria

April 5, 2013

The Syrian rebellion began in earnest on March 11, 2011, when protests erupted. Since then, the Syrian civil conflict has become increasingly violent. About 70,000 people have died in the country’s civil war over the past two years. Millions of people have been displaced, both internally and abroad. For months regional and Western capitals have officially held back on arming the rebels, in part out of fear that the weapons would fall into the hands of terrorists.

Now however U.S. has begun to support arms delivery to Syrian opposition with recycling its old practice in Balkans. Multiple planeloads (some estimates are up to 160 cargo-planes, 3,500 tn) of weapons have left Croatia since December 2012, when many Yugoslav weapons, previously unseen in the Syrian civil war, began to appear in videos posted by rebels on YouTube. Saudi Arabia has financed a large purchase of infantry weapons from Croatia and quietly funneled them to anti-government fighters in Syria. American intelligence officers have helped the shipment with their earlier practice during Balkan wars. Earlier compared with the heavy weaponry employed by the Syrian regime, most of the equipment of Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been light so now the game is changing.

In Syria, a recoilless gun from the former Yugoslavia. Photo credit The NYT

Some foreign arms have been making their way to the Syrian opposition; the vast majority of guns were bought right from the regime – corrupt regime officials sold them. Another portion of their weapons was bought off the black market from Turkey or Jordan, which made them very expensive.

The opposition began as a secular struggle to overthrow the Assad regime. But many of the loosely linked brigades fighting the Assad regime have incorporated Islamist aims into their mission. These groups range from moderately Islamist outfits such as Liwaa al-Tawhid to more conservative groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, whose members have called for the countrywide implementation of Shariah, or Islamic law. There are also jihadist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN), which operates as an extension of al Qaeda’s Iraqi franchise and has been declared a terrorist organization by the U.S. JAN boasts foreign connections and members with years of fighting experience, making them invaluable to the uprising.

The M79 Osa, an anti-tank weapon of Yugoslav origin, seized from Syria’s opposition.

Officially besides about $385 million in humanitarian aid has been disbursed by the U.S., there is an additional $115 million in nonlethal support for the fighters. On the other hand U.S. (unofficial) decision to send in more weapons is aimed at another fear in the West about the role of jihadist groups in the opposition. Such groups have been seen as better equipped than many nationalist fighters and potentially more influential. U.S. is covertly working to get those weapons into the right hands. Western officials agree that helping Syrian rebels defeat the brutal Assad regime is a worthwhile cause, but recent reports suggest some of that assistance has already benefited jihadist groups – e.g. JAN fighters have been using weapons originating in Croatia. (Sources: NYT , IBT , Debkafile)

Weapons from Croatia

A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment” (Hugh Griffiths, SIPRI, who monitors illicit arms transfers)

Persian Gulf states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been orchestrating weapons shipments into the conflict for months. Weapons from the former Yugoslavia were spotted in Syria this winter, after a series of military cargo flights from Zagreb to Amman. The arms are typically sent to Turkey and shipped into Syria via ground transport. The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports. Also from Jordan and Turkey, trucks take the weapons to the border with Syria.

The anti-Assad front is not like-minded: Riyadh – and Prince Bandar in particular – accuses the Qataris of conspiring to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Damascus, including radical groups tied to Al Qaeda. Qatari Prime Minister and Secret Service Chief Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem has shot back with the charge that Saudi Arabia is maneuvering for control of the Syrian rebel movement.

The below video posted by the jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, a collection of various smaller groups based in the north of Syria, mainly around Idlib, Aleppo, and Hama, and not part of the Free Syrian Army, demonstrates that the Yugoslavian weapons – supplied via Croatia – being provided to FSA have now begun to reach the hands of jihadists. These include RBG-6 40mm grenade launcher , the M79 Osa rocket launcher, M79 rocket pods, Yugoslav-made recoilless gun, as well as other assault rifles, grenade launchers, machine guns, mortars and shoulder-fired rockets for use against tanks and armored vehicles.

Youtube video

 One should add that Croatia’s Foreign Ministry and arms-export agency has denied that such shipments had occurred. Croatia, poised this year to join the European Union, now strictly adheres to international rules on arms transfers. However, export figures obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) show that last December, Jordan suddenly began buying Croatian weapons.

MLRS in Syria too?

On March 2013 Syrian rebels in Aleppo have begun receiving their first heavy weapons – 220-mm MLRS rocket launchers – from a large-scale supply operation headed by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. According Debkafile in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, his agents produced snapped up Russian-made MLRS (Smerch) and Hurricane 9K57 launchers capable of firing scores of 220-mm rockets to a distance of 70 kilometers.

I have some doubts how this Russian made MLRS has came from Croatia. First only one source (Debkafile) indicates so, second I don’t have any confirmation that this system was for sale in Balkans, third some youtube videos from Syria which I have seen about this MLRS are so unclear that the question could be about some similar type of MLRS.

Image shows a M60 recoilless gun (YU) being used to attack an army outpost,Hajez Barad, in Busr al-Harir, Daraa, on March 2nd.

The Saudi operation for shipping heavy rocket launchers from the Balkans to Aleppo is complicated. The rockets are fixed to vehicles weighing 43.7 tons each. The rockets themselves are 7.6 meters long and weigh 800 kilograms. To arrange the transfer of this heavy artillery to the rebels in Aleppo, Prince Bandar contacted Hakan Fidan, head of the MIT-Turkish National Intelligence Organization. They agreed to set up an overland route from the Balkans via Turkey and across the Syrian border to Aleppo, under the protection of the Turkish army.

It may be that Syrian rebels have now also the BM-30 Smerch (tornado), the most powerful multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) in the world. It was developed in the early 1980s and was accepted to service with the Soviet Army in 1987. It is also in service with Belarus and the Ukraine, and has been exported to Kuwait (27 systems) and Algeria (18 systems).India placed an order for an initial 38 systems. Deliveries began in May 2007.

The heavy MLRS rocket launcher in Syrian rebel hands

Former Yugoslavia had three types of MLRS: M 63 Plamen(32 /128),M 77 Ogan(32/128) and M 87 Orkan(12/262) which was produced in cooperation with Iraq and army of Iraq used this system. The M87 Orkan (hurricane) is a MLRS, jointly developed by Yugoslavia and Iraq. Most of development was made in Yugoslavia and some manufacturing took place in Iraq. It was first publicly revealed in 1988 during defense exhibition in Iraq, labeled as the Ababil-50. The Orkan MLRS project was finished in the early 1990s due to collapse of the Yugoslavia and it is estimated that only few system were built. The most modern – 2011 – MLRS in Balkans is LRSVM, which is a modular self-propelled multitube rocket launch system developed by Serbia-based Vazduhoplovno Tehnicki Institut (VTI). Also Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Defense Technologies (EDT) has developed, manufactured and delivered the first unit of the MLRS, which was designed and manufactured locally in UAE but in collaboration with a leading Serbian defence contractor. Perhaps some of these are now in operation theatre.

M87 Organ (YU)

Aleppo is the key to win

The Saudi operation for shipping heavy rocket launchers from the Balkans to Aleppo is complicated. The rockets are fixed to vehicles weighing 43.7 tons each. The rockets themselves are 7.6 meters long and weigh 800 kilograms. To arrange the transfer of this heavy artillery to the rebels in Aleppo, Prince Bandar contacted Hakan Fidan, head of the MIT-Turkish National Intelligence Organization. They agreed to set up an overland route from the Balkans via Turkey and across the Syrian border to Aleppo, under the protection of the Turkish army.

On the other hand Russia brings down its cargo planes loaded with weapons and replacement parts for the Syrian army at Nairab air base attached to Aleppo’s international air port, after the air facilities around Damascus were targeted by rebel fire. Recently Russian and Iranian arms lifts to Nairab were doubled, after rebels seized many Alawite villages in the Aleppo and Idlib regions of northern Syria.

The Saudis hope to expedite the rebel capture of the big Syrian Nairab air base attached to Aleppo’s international air port. The Saudi prince has personally taken the Nairab battle under his wing, convinced that it is the key to the conquest of Aleppo, once Syria’s national commercial and population center, after more than a year’s impasse in the battle for its control. The fall of this air base would also substantially reduce the big Iranian and Russian airlifts to Assad’s army. Moscow has since warned the rebels that if they attack incoming or outgoing Russian planes at Nairab, Russian special forces will come in to wipe out their strength around the base and take over its protection themselves.

U.S., Croatia and common history of clandestine operations

It is not surprising that U.S. is using Croatia for its clandestine operations. Radical Islam has enforced and widened their activities in Balkans last 15 years. During Bosnian war many foreign Islamists came to fight in mujahedeen brigade also many Al Quida figures – including Osama bin Laden – were supporting Bosnian Muslims 1990’s. US took the side with these “freedom fighters” in Bosnia and later in Kosovo. US involvement in the Balkans is not about helping any of the people in the region — Muslims, Croats, Serbs, or Albanians. The only interest of the Pentagon is in creating weak, dependent puppet regimes in order to dominate the entire region economically and politically.

In the 1980s Washington’s secret services had assisted Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Then, in 1990, the US fought him in the Gulf. n both Afghanistan and the Gulf, the Pentagon had incurred debts to Islamist groups and their Middle Eastern sponsors. By 93 these groups, many supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia, were anxious to help Bosnian Muslims fighting in the former Yugoslavia and called in their debts with the Americans. Bill Clinton and the Pentagon were keen to be seen as creditworthy and repaid in the form of an Iran-Contra style operation – in flagrant violation of the UN Security Council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia. One could add that Ayman al-Zawahiri, later the leader of al Qaeda, came to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley for Bosnian jihadists.in 1993, Mr. bin Laden had appointed Sheik Ayman Al-Zawahiri, to direct his operations in the Balkans.

The recent history of this issue in Balkans started in June 1993, when President Clinton received the head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence service, Prince Turki al Faisal – a close adviser to his uncle, the King. The Prince urged Clinton to take the lead in the military assistance to Bosnia. The American administration did not dare to do so: the fear of a rift within NATO was too great. However, the United States did consider the Saudi Arabian signal to be important, and therefore a new strategy was elaborated. Its architect was to be Richard Holbrooke, who started to look for a way to arm the Bosnian Muslims. In the summer of 1993, the Pentagon was said to have drawn up a plan for arms assistance to the Bosnian Muslim Army (ABiH), which included supplies of AK-47s and other small arms. This operation was to demand almost three hundred C-130 Hercules transport aircraft flights.The first consignment from Iran landed in Zagreb on 4 May 1994, with sixty tons of explosives and military equipment on board. The arms were transported in Croatian army trucks along the Adriatic coast to Bosnia. Because the supplies attracted too much attention at Pleso Airport in Zagreb, the flights subsequently went mainly to the Croatian island of Krk. Shortly after Iranian cargo aircraft had landed there, a number of Croatian helicopters arrived to continue transporting the load after dusk.

Besides weapons the arrival in the Balkans of the so-called Afghan Arabs, who are from various Middle Eastern states and linked to al-Qaeda, began in 1992 – mujahedeen fighters who travelled to Afghanistan to resist the Soviet occupation in the 1980s later migrated to Bosnia hoping to assist their Islamic brethren in a struggle against Serbian Croatian forces.

In the summer and autumn of 1994 plans were elaborated for training the ABiH. An US ‘mercenary outfit’ was to arrange this training. This was carried out by Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), a company based in Virginia that employed various retired American generals and intelligence officials. With the consent of the State Department, MPRI trained the Hrvatska Vojska (HV, the Croatian Army) and later also the ABiH. MPRI’s role arose from the signing of the agreement between the United States and Croatia on military collaboration. By engaging MPRI, Washington also reduced the danger of ‘direct’ involvement. The CIA settled on 14,000 tons between May 1994 and December 1996. According to the State Department from May 1994 to January 1996 Iran delivered a total of 5000 tons of arms and ammunition via the Croatian pipeline to Bosnia. (Source Bill Clinton’s Bastard Army by Ares Demertzis ,Feb. 2009 in New English Review)

Links between drug trafficking and the supply of arms to the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) were established also mid-90s. In West KLA was described as terrorist organization but when US selected them as their ally it transformed organization officially to “freedom” fighters. After bombing Serbia 1999 KLA leaders again changed their crime clans officially to political parties. This public image however can not hide the origins of money and power, old channels and connections are still in place in conservative tribe society.  (More e.g in Quadruple Helix – Capturing Kosovo )

The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new.In both cases all sides committed atrocities, and American intervention in fact favored the side allied with al-Qaeda. Similarly the cause of intervention was fostered by blatant manipulation and falsification of the facts.

Assad is not the only war criminal

Reports of a chemical weapon attack in Syria’s Aleppo Province end of March 2013 provoked leaders and politicians, particularly in the West, to advocate more fiercely for the overthrow of the Assad regime, despite the vague details surrounding the attack. Current data seem to suggest, however, that it was not government forces behind the attack, but rebel forces.The attack, intelligence sources appear to agree, was launched by rebel fighters and not government forces. Since the victims were overwhelmingly the Syrian military, this was not a huge shock, but is important to reiterate. Likewise, the Assad forces called upon the United Nations to launch an investigation into the attack.

Last October, the rebel forces were responsible for four suicide bombings in Aleppo that killed approximately 40 civilians and wounded many more. Jebhat al-Nusra, a group linked to al-Qaeda, has taken credit for the bombings. Additionally, the rebels were also responsible for the massacre of over 90 people in Houla last year. Immediately following that event, the U.S., France, Great Britain, and Germany blamed Assad for the killings and expelled Syria’s ambassadors from their countries in protest. Later reports, however, pointed to evidence that the massacre was in fact carried out by anti-Assad rebel forces.

From the other side Iranian supplies are what keep Assad’s army functioning and his regime in Damascus and other Syrian towns able to survive the rebellion. Iraqi Al Qaeda is also preparing to push trucks loaded with Chlorine gas-CI trucks into Syria for the jihadists to use against Assad’s forces. U.S. has been unable to persuade Iraq cut short the Iranian airlift and land route through his country to Bashar Assad of weapons, fighters and cash.

From my point of view it remains to see if this newest U.S. clandestine recycling operation has better success that earlier in Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya … I doubt.

P.S.

Some sense of proportion should be applied with different conflicts:


Anti-Muslim Film Camouflaged Terrorist Campaign

September 20, 2012

Article (shorter version) first published as Anti-Muslim Film Camouflaged Terrorist Campaign on Technorati.

Muslim-protests, targeting symbols of US influence ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains, have been spreading around the world after the showing of an anti-Muslim film – “Innocence of Muslims” – on Youtube. In my opinion, this substandard film portraying the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light, might however be just an excuse and cover up not only for riots and angry protests across the Muslim world, but also for a more serious terrorist campaign. This campaign might well put recent U.S. Foreign policy in question, as well the re-election of President Obama.

I have been watching this film on Youtube. The film – “Innocence of Muslims”, dubbed version – depicts Muhammad variously as a cartoon-ish lecher, fool and thug. I am not any kind of expert with movies, but for me this film was amateurish, silly, low-budget ($ 5 million – LOL), and a miserably acted unpleasant piece of trash without any meaningful content.

Anyway, Mr Nakoula (a Copt Christian, born in Egypt) from Los Angeles – if he is behind this art work – is more known as a small criminal than from being part of the movie industry. That said, understanding Muhammed’s status within Islam even this kind of rubbish really can offend many Muslims.

The al Qaeda flag has been raised in Benghazi, Tunis, Sinai, and Syria

From Morocco to Indonesia — and even in Sydney, Australia — the Muslim masses continued their rioting over the weekend. U.S. embassies in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen were once again under attack.

Al-Qaida’s most active branch in the Middle East has called for more attacks on U.S. embassies to “set the fires blazing,” seeking to co-opt outrage over the film, as waves of protests have swept 20 countries during this last week.

The most serious violence took place in Libya, where U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate compound in the eastern city of Benghazi, the birthplace of the revolution that last year overthrew Moammar Gadhafi. The exact circumstances of the ambassador’s death remain unclear. On Tuesday night a group of extremists attacked the U.. consulate building, setting it on fire, and killing U.S. diplomatic officer with three of his staff.

Earlier in June there was an attack on the UK ambassador to Libya, Dominic Asquith. Two British bodyguards were injured after a rocket was fired at Asquith’s convoy in Benghazi, hitting his security escort. There have been similar attacks in Benghazi on the Red Cross and the UN.

U.S. Mission in Tirana has issued some travel warnings for Albania like around Muslim world. However dismissing rumours to the contrary, Albania’s League of Imams said they had no plans to stage any public protests against the notorious film that has caused such unrest in the Islamic world.

Protests against the film intensified in Tunisia and Sudan, and spread in Lebanon, with three Tunisians, three Sudanese and one Lebanese killed as clashes between demonstrators and police ensued on Friday (14th Sept.2012). Protesters briefly stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Tunisia’s capital, tearing down the American flag and raising a flag with the Muslim profession of faith on it as part of the protests. Protesters also set fire to and looted an American school adjacent to the embassy compound and prevented firefighters from approaching it.

Amid the recent wave of riots dozens of Salafist Islamist gunmen stormed a Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) base in Al-Jora in the Sinai Peninsula, leaving four officers wounded in an exchange of gunfire, as well as causing heavy damage to the base. The attackers tore down the international peacekeeping force’s flags from the guard posts, raising black flags that symbolize the militant Islamic groups operating in Sinai. During the incident, the protesters managed to easily overtake the MFO security detail, jump over the barbed wire fence, enter the base and wreak havoc once inside, where they seized control of radio equipment and ammunition depots.



Despite all mentioned above one must notice that this is in no way a “mass movement” of reaction. It is in fact very small and is actually being hyped up by the world media to look far bigger than it really is.

Film Camouflaged Terrorist Campaig

Related to Benghazi Debkafile’s counter-terror sources report that far from being a spontaneous raid by angry Islamists, it was a professionally executed terrorist operation by a professional Al Qaeda assassination team, whose 20 members acted under the orders of their leader Ayman al Zawahri after special training. They were all Libyans, freed last year from prisons where they were serving sentences for terrorism passed during the late Muammar Qaddafi’s rule.  In a video tape released a few hours before the attack, Zawahri called on the faithful to take revenge on the United States for liquidating one of the organization’s top operatives, Libyan-born Abu Yahya al-Libi in June by a US drone in northwestern Pakistan.

The protest in Benghazi exposed the alarming presence of al-Qaeda elements in Libya. When the “Arab Spring” erupted in Libya last year, Muammar Gaddafi warned that al-Qaeda would take Libya over if he is overthrown. US intelligence agencies were also aware of the presence of al-Qaeda elements in Libya and knew of their training in Afghanistan. The timing of the attack, a day after the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, was not coincidental.

U.S. Response

President Obama does not want to entangle his country in any foreign conflicts. It seems he would prefer to have the U.S. stay in the background. Quite descriptive, if not surprising, was that one of the first responses to the Benghazi events by the White House was to attack the Romney campaign and his remarks rather than to first and foremost condemn and address the murders of American citizens.

Rose Corona hits the nail in the head in her column in Forbes. A Quote:

This is not the first time the Obama administrations or the media’s response has been to focus on the distraction rather than the real issue. I liken it to the argument that they prefer to focus on a particular style of dishwasher for the kitchen or color of wallpaper in living room while all the time ignoring that fact that the house is on fire. The dishwasher and wallpaper does not matter if the house burns to the ground.

Obama gambled with the Middle East during his first term. He not only promised successful dialogue with Iran and, of course, to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he also assured us that he would be able to reconcile cultures.

On the other hand the Islamic view could be that Stevens previously was Obama’s representative to America’s puppet Libyan National Transition Council. It helped Washington and NATO partners ravage the country mercilessly. They’re responsible for killing tens of thousands of civilians, causing widespread destruction, leaving countless numbers homeless, displaced, and impoverished, as well as ending cherished social programs Gaddafi instituted.

Despite reports about a planned attack the White House and its minions continue to try to use this anti-Muhammed YouTube video as the “reason” for what is happening. This was not a terror attack carried out by a few people; it was initiated by thousands who wanted to convey the message that they do not want the Americans around. This is how they are trying to get rid of the Americans, who helped them rise to power.

Just as former President Jimmy Carter’s single term ended with the abduction of American diplomats in Tehran, Obama is now facing the collapse of his policy of support for the Islamic groups. He also has to deal with questions surrounding the fiasco in Benghazi.


Some of my articles related to Arab Street:

Israeli Vs Palestine Refugees – In, Out and No Return ,
US Giving a “Yellow Light” to an Israeli Strike
Days of Rage on the Arab street
Support for Iranian Opposition
Egypt at crossroads – theocrazy, democracy or something between
PaliLeaks, land swaps and desperate search of peace
Cyber war has became a tool between political and military options
Is Yemen the next target for the War on Terror?
Saudi-Israeli cooperation for attacking Iran
Fragments of the Middle East peace efforts
The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict


Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Negotiation Slot for a Month

July 31, 2011

While Palestinians try to unite (Hamas-Fatah deal) and promote their case in UN (recognition of independence) and on the ground (flopped air-flotilla and failed Flotilla II on July) and while so-called Middle East Quartet and EU foreign ministers are making their empty outdated statements to reopen stagnated Israeli-Palestinian negotiations also in Israel there is some need for new initiatives or refresh the old ones.

With the Middle East peace process at a standstill, the Palestinians, backed by the Arab League, have decided to seek full admission to the United Nations as part of what they are describing as a new approach to their national struggle. Israel opposes the Palestinian bid for UN membership and launched a diplomatic counteroffensive in Europe and beyond to oppose the UN vote. It is relying heavily on the United States to persuade the Palestinians to abandon the plan or veto the Security Council vote.

One of newest parts of Israeli counter-offensive is a video on YouTube, where Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon answers the use of such terms as “West Bank,” “occupied territories,” and “1967-lines,” and makes Israel’s case in clear, factual terms without equivocation. Ayalon says Judea and Samaria were taken from the occupying Jordanians during a defensive war and therefore the “settlements” are legal. “The idea behind the creation of the video is distributed in an innovative way and explains the Israeli position in fighting unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” Ayalon said.

The Truth About the West Bank -video
Israel’s Deputy FM Danny Ayalon explains the historical facts relating to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The video explains where the terms “West Bank”, “occupied territories” and “67 Borders” originated and how they are incorrectly used and applied.

Following the release of the video, the Palestinian Authority put out an official press release condemning the video claiming that it was a “cynical and falsified account of history and international law”. Chief Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erakat demanded an official explanation for the video. In reaction to the condemnation, Ayalon said: “For too long the Palestinian narrative of international law and rights has gone unchallenged and this over the top reaction to a public diplomacy video proves that they are acting like spoilt children who have had their way for too long. They are unable to challenge a single fact in the video and have completely avoided a legitimate and honest discussion on the issues.”

Earlier, Ayalon had proposed a public debate on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after Erekat sent out an official press release calling mentioned YouTube video “a falsified account of history and international law”. Erekat rejected offer. “Erekat is used to telling the world that Israel ‘s policies are illegal and against international law and I offered him the chance to back up his own statements and he is proving unable or unwilling to do so,” Ayalon added. “It demonstrates that their rhetoric is just empty words and slogans and folds like a house of cards once it is tested.” (Source: Press release of Minister Ayalon on 31st July, 2011)

Some new paradigms

Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline B. Glick claims in her new article that Israel has only two options: The Jewish state’s choices are to either annex Judea and Samaria or be destroyed by its neighbors. She concludes following:

If the Palestinians take control, they will establish a terror state in the areas, which – like their terror state in Gaza – will use its territory as a starting point for continued war against Israel. It isn’t only Israel’s experience with post-withdrawal Gaza and South Lebanon that make it clear that a post-withdrawal Palestinian-controlled Judea and Samaria will become a terror state.

The second option is for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria, complete with its hostile Arab population. Absorbing the Arab population of Judea and Samaria would increase Israel’s Arab minority from 20% to 33% of the overall population.Obviously such a scenario would present Israel with new and complex legal, social and law enforcement challenges. Israel would have to begin enforcing its laws toward its Arab citizens in a manner identical to the way it enforces its laws against its Jewish citizens.  But it would also provide Israel with substantial advantages and opportunities. On the other side, annexing Judea and Samaria holds unmistakable advantages for Israel. For instance, Israel would regain complete military control over the areas. Israel ceded much of this control to the PLO in 1996.

Indeed annexation won’t be easy, but if the alternative really is national suicide there could be some sense. A number of peace proposals have included the caveat found in President Obama’s recent speech: that the pre-1967 border can be modified as a result of mutually agreeable land swaps to permit Israeli settlers in areas close to Jerusalem to remain in what is now occupied Palestinian territory, with an equivalent amount of Israeli land to be transferred to the Palestinians.

A totally different approach to one-state solution is the one proposed by Maath Musleh, a Palestinian from Jerusalem and an activist in the Palestinian youth movement. His solution is to combine Israel, West-Bank, Gaza and Jordan together.

A one-state solution that would include the historic land of Palestine and what’s now known as Jordan. This solution could be the answer for all the concerned parties in the conflict; the Zionists, the Palestinians, and the Jordanians. The Jordanian monarchy was established in the early-mid 20th century. After being promised a united Arab kingdom, Abdullah was given a princedom based in Amman. This princedom has evolved to a kingdom due to the influx of Palestinians who were expelled from their homeland. In 1948, Jordan was happy to annex the West Bank to its territories before the disengagement in the 1980s. The king would not have a problem with a one-state solution that includes both historic Palestine and Jordan if he was still the king. This would have to be an honorary position like in the UK. But the refugee question is the core of the conflict. Most Palestinian refugees reside in Jordan. Thus, the large one-state solution would solve the issue without posing a demographic threat to the Jewish presence. With an honorary king ruled by a parliament formed by the residents, equality could be applied to all citizens. (Source Ma’an News Agency)

The proposal of mr Maath Musleh is a bit different than earlier sc Jordanian option. Israel considered a proposal by King Hussein (3/72) to join the West Bank with Jordan as a federation under Jordanian leadership. In the “London Agreement” (4/87) Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein unofficially agreed on Jordanian involvement in any resolution for the West Bank. Since then Jordanian option has not been out from agenda but during last years it has been refreshed as part of three-state solution, which also I have been propagated few years.

Jordanian option based to 1922 mandate

Delaying UN bid?

On Palestinian side there has been some discussions to delay UN-bid planed to on September. One reason is the money; first the US Aid money and second Aid from Arab neighbours. A Palestinian-led UN fight over Israel may provoke Congress to call for suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority, which is estimated to have been average of $600 million in annual support to the Palestinian Authority since 2008. The United States is also the single largest donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is charged with aiding Palestinian refugees, including those in Gaza. Also Palestinians PM Salam Fayyad reported that of the $971 million in pledges made by donors so far this year, only $330 million had actually been paid. Those arguing most strongly for Palestinian unilateralism, the PA’s Arab neighbors, are among the stingiest with aid — among them, only the UAE, Oman, and Algeria have fulfilled their aid pledges.

Some members in Palestinian leadership are worried it would put the Palestinians on a collision course with the Americans and Europeans, who are the Palestinians’ major founders. One government official noted that “anyone who knows the reality, understands the UN path is a dead end, and the only way to peace and Palestinian statehood is through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

Besides money there is also some uncertainty between not only Hamas and Fatah (implementation of their recent deal) but between Hamas and other groups in Gaza. According Debkafile Hamas began building fortifications to block the territory’s western boundary with Egyptian Sinai. Hamas is said to be anxious to ward off the spillover of

Libyian cars in Gaza

post-revolutionary chaos from Egypt and Sinai into the Gaza Strip and curtail the new influx of fighters and smugglers from Libya and Sinai Bedouin affiliated with al Qaeda. These groups have gone into the smuggling tunnel business on their own account and are causing mayhem. Hamas blames them for the resurgence of rocket fire into Israel in violation of the informal ceasefire agreed with Israel four months ago. Debkafile reports from sources familiar with the situation in the Gaza Strip report around a thousand shiny new Kia cars with Libyan number plates currently stocked in the Gaza Strip awaiting buyers in Arab countries. Hamas now finds the mafia shaping up between the Libyan intruders in flight from the war racking their country and al-Qaeda affiliates in Gaza and Sinai as a threat to its rule in the Gaza Strip.

On the Egyptian side over Gaza tensions are rising. Israel Hayom reported  on 31.07.2011 that gunmen launched rocket-propelled grenades at the al-Shulaq natural gas terminal (Sinai Peninsula), hitting the pipeline that directs gas to Israel and Jordan. The line, which has not been repaired since a previous attack on July 12, did not contain any gas. In a related development, Egyptian state media reported that at least six people were killed and at least 21 were injured in unrest that began Friday, when more than 100 armed men rode into the town of El-Arish in Sinai and tried to storm a police station. Authorities said some of the attackers waved flags bearing Islamic slogans as they fired shots into the air. Six people reported killed after 100 armed men try to storm El-Arish police station. After the attack on the pipeline and a separate weekend attack on a police station in the port town of El-Arish, Egyptian security sources told Israel Hayom that the new government in Cairo was losing control over part of the peninsula.

"The peace agreement between Israel and Egypt is crumbling." | Photo credit: AFP

Prospects of Violence

According analysis ( A Coming Storm? Prospects and Implications of UN Recognition of Palestinian Statehood ) made be The Washington Institute for Near East Policy there are increasing signs of a potential outbreak of Palestinian violence in the near term, with some analysts predicting the eruption of a “third intifada.” The influence of the Arab Spring, the prolonged deadlock in negotiations, and the prospect of a breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation (following the Fatah-Hamas agreement and the potential for the suspension of U.S. funding for the PA) all tend in this direction. In addition, there is growing popular and political support for Palestinian civil disobedience initiatives, which, in the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations, have often deteriorated into violent confrontation. There are mitigating factors as well, most notably the improvement of economic conditions in the West Bank and the lasting impact of the recent war in Gaza, that may make many Palestinians reluctant to return to violence.

According analysis mentioned there are bad options, and worse options, not good ones. Policy-makers may need to face the uncomfortable conclusion that whether efforts to frustrate the Palestinian UN initiative succeed or not, things are likely to get worse before there is even the prospect of them getting better. Whether or not Palestine is recognized at the UN, the downward spiral away from peacemaking seems to be intensifying at an alarming pace.

Israel is continuing to strengthen its defence for possible threads. It has successfully tested its Arrow 3 anti-missile interception system, a locally developed system designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles while they are still in the earth’s atmosphere. Once operational, Arrow 3 will become the upper tier of the Israel Defense Force’s multi-tiered active air defense concept, which aims to provide a comprehensive shield against a multitude of rocket and missile threats. Israel currently deploys the improved Arrow 2, which can shoot down long-range ballistic missiles. The Magic Wand and Iron Dome anti-missile systems were developed to shoot down shorter range projectiles. Magic Wand is still in production, while Iron Dome has already proven itself in operational incidents and is being deployed countrywide. (Source Israelhayom , more about Israel’s missile defence e.g in Will Iron Dome balance the HamasTerror? ). This year Israel has also developed both tactics and equipment of IDF to respond possible civilian upraisings (3rd Intifada) over borders and possible war with Hizbollah, which already has transferred more upgraded missiles from Syria to southern Libanon.

Concept of Demilitarized Palestinian state

As one part of solution Israel has called for any future Palestinian state to be demilitarized. During the Oslo Process, Israel insisted on maintaining full control over the external security perimeter of the Palestinian Authority (PA) while granting the Palestinians responsibility for internal security.

The main components of demilitarization are according the analysis made by The Reut Institute following:

  • Entity with no Military, but Police Force
  • Arms Restrictions
  • Israel is Responsible for External Security and Passages
  • Prohibition on Defense Pacts
  • Prohibition on Foreign Militaries or Armed Forces from Entering the PA
  • Special security arrangements for the border regime,
  • Israeli deployment in the West Bank during emergencies
  • IDF early warning stations on Palestinian territory

Negotiated solution is possible in coming months

We cannot underestimate the danger of long-range missiles and short-range minds.” (Ron Prosor)

International community and even both sides admit that a negotiated solution would be the best alternative to end conflict however regretting the stagnancy of them during last years. Anyway there has been whole time informal, clandestine talks between parties. According newspaper Haaretz President Shimon Peres has been holding intensive talks with Ramallah in an effort to resume negotiations and head off a unilateral Palestinian statehood bid at the UN in September. A senior Palestinian source in Ramallah confirmed that Erekat met a number of times with Peres, last time end of July 2011. The meetings are being held in complete coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According Haaretz article ( Peres holds secret talks with Palestinians in bid to restart negotiations by Akiva Eldar ) Peres held Tuesday night – 26th July 2011 – a long meeting with the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat. The two went over maps of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in an effort to find a formula that would bypass the dispute over establishing the June 4, 1967 border as a basis for negotiations toward a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. One option explored was the exchange of territory, and others was to compensate the Palestinians for settlement blocs annexed into Israel, on the basis of the U.S. proposal that the area of a Palestinian state be equal to the territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“I speak with all sides,” Peres said. “I know that there are exchanges in order to prevent [the crisis] in September and that the differences are very minor… Such a political move (negotiations) will allow for a breakthrough and will transform September into a month of hope,” he said. “I have noted the Palestinian preference for an agreement instead of continuing the conflict in a UN resolution.”

Israel Hayom reports , that Obama administration has ratified George Bush’s 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon guaranteeing settlement blocs will remain part of Israel in any future peace deal. A quote:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday (1st Aug. 2011) that he had reached a written agreement with the Obama administration according to which Israel would not be required to return to the 1967 borders in any future peace deal with the Palestinians. In addition, any future peace talks would take into account established “realities on the ground” – a term generally used in reference to Israel’s large settlement blocs of Ariel, Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion.

This means, that U.S. believes negotiations should be based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps and not the borders that existed on June 4, 1967. so taking into consideration the changes on the ground during any future talks. The same sources claim that PM Netanyahu is ready to negotiate with Palestinians based to mentioned principle.

My conclusions

In my opinion UN process – with whatever outcome – does not bring any solution for Israeli-Palestinian conflict more near, even opposite is possible. Unilateral actions or imposed solutions are not sustainable like has be seen e.g with Kosovo case. Thus the negotiation slot during coming one-two months should be used. From my viewpoint real talks can start only without any preconditions. This should be also applied to the paradigms of possible outcome. With two-state solutions also one-state (bi-national or confederation model), Jordanian option and three-state solution should be considered.

I have propagated long for sc “threestate” approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty. From my point of view this solution could also be more economically sustainable than other options. It could be a bit further developed by making a buffer zone between Israel and hard-liners in Gaza. With borders agreed by all main parties it is possible to look forwards, build new infrastructure to meet meet the needs of people with refugee status and transform them normal citizens with help of economic-social programmes backed with sufficient international Aid money. (More in The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict” )

If the outcome will be the two-state solution so then in my opinion the best base is sc Olmert’s proposal on 2008 , which so far in my opinion cleared most part of obstacles to reach sustainable peace for Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One proposal related to two-state solution and land swaps is earlier PM Ariel Sharon ‘s  2005 where for settlements Israel could as exchange land comprising a corridor between Gaza and the West Bank (about 35 miles), on which a railroad and highway could be built. It would be provided security by Israelis but owned and operated by Palestinians. This is just one possibility. (More recent peace proposals in PaliLeaks, land swaps and desperate search of peace).

And finally below a pragmatic hard-line view to issue (The relocation option):


Some framework to Syrian crisis

June 19, 2011

From June 10 the Syrian army began a siege on Jisr-al Shughour, NW Syria; local residents expected a massacre, proportional to the Hama massacre and in one week nearly 10.000 Syrians have escaped to Turkey. International media and public diplomacy is giving its high-flown statements about humanitarian crisis, some states may even demand to activate R2P principles – again. These are normal cover ups to hide de facto inactivity of international community. United Nations Security Council is facing immense international pressure to condemn Syria how it is copying protests at home.

Humanitarian aspect is however a minor point for international community, the key question is how events in Syria will affect on regional stability, what will be the outcome related to Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel as Syria is a key player in this context. Any destabilization of Syria in the fall of al-Assad will change the geopolitical map of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Some background

Last year, the United Nations Development Program released its Human Development Report for Arab states with the assistance of Arab scholars and researchers. The report stated that the Arab world is lacking in all areas of human development, such as freedom, empowerment of women and education. In addition, nearly 50 percent of the Arab world lives below the international poverty line. For the Arab world to merely maintain its current position, which is at the lowest rung on the development ladder, it will need to create 51 million jobs in the next 10 years. This socio-economic situation might be a common background for Arab Spring.

Syria has similar problems than the rest of Arab world. Several of the modern states of the Middle East were built on a mosaic of ancient religions, sects, and ethnic groups held uneasily and sometimes uncomfortably together by central government. Syria is a multi-cultural, multi-religious, secular and relatively tolerant country with a predominantly Muslim population (90%) and multi-racial background (Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Turkmen).

In Syria, the Baath Party has been in power since 1963. A state of emergency, which was imposed at that time remains in force. The president’s sources of power are the army and the security forces, which maintain a grip on the country. The Syrian police and security services are dreadfully effective and efficient, and that is why Syria has mostly been a stable and happy place to live for the past 50 years – the place to which Iraqi Christian and Muslim refugees have fled for safety.

When the wave of protests on the Arab Street started there was some demonstrations in Syria too. However, the Syrian regime managed to suppress the protest e.g. giving economic benefits, establishing a social relief fund with nearly 12 billion Syrian liras annual budget, increasing subsidies for state workers, creating a university graduate employment program and reducing some taxes. Same time the regime implemented firm suppression of all attempts of demonstrations as it has done years by attacking and squelching all opposition forces. The regime also tightened its control of the media and deployed more people to security forces. Opponents to Assad were using social media to prepare for a mass rallies using proxy servers to get around government restrictions on Facebook. Using of internet cafés is possible but users must register their names and police have the authority to confiscate the lists.

The Syrian government and non-government press openly supported the protests in Egypt and Tunisia, and did not hide its satisfaction over the ousting of presidents Mubarak and Ben Ali. The Syrian Democratic League called for a general strike and for civil disobedience against the authorities. There is big differences between Syrian revolt and the other Arab Spring events. In Syria the Dera’a street protests started with Sunni Muslims demanding that girls attending school should wear veils. The government refused, since veils are not compulsory under secular Syrian law. When the protests grew, the government gave in: girls in Dera’a are now forced to wear the veil.

During ongoing information war it might be wise some times to check also Syrian official position on issues. Real-time view of Syria’s regime can be checked from The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)

Real-time opposition view can be found e.g. from Facebook group “Syrian Upraising 2011 Information Centre”

Fragmented Opposition

The unions are strictly under the control of the state and, unlike Egypt, there has been no strike movement in Syria for decades. There are definitely people who want al-Assad and his regime to go: radical Saudi Wahhabites, Iranian Shia extremists; and the Muslim Brotherhood. Also the peasantry, the public sector working class, and the small and medium petite bourgeoisie in the towns and cities have been harshly hit by the so-called liberalization of the economy and are the ones on the streets.

Many Sunni Muslims in Syria and throughout the region feel that Assad’s Syria has unduly favoured the Alawites, a sect of Shiite Islam, who constitute some 12 percent of the population but control a vastly greater percentage of the country’s wealth.

Al Jazeera provided analysis of the largest opposition parties in Syria that might have great political influence in any change of power: Syrian People’s Democratic Party, Muslim Brotherhood, National Salvation Front, Movement for Justice and Development, Reform Party, Arab Socialist Movement, Arab Socialist Union, Workers Revolutionary Party and Communist Party of Labour. There is almost no national wide organization inside Syria among the protesters, however at local level some cooperation has took place. In the Governorate of Darr’a there has been signs of the organized working class beginning to move, with the trade unions severing all their links with the Ba’ath party.

There is not so much reliable information from the field but it seems that e.g. in Darr’a the intelligence forces were giving orders to the army units but at a certain point some officers refused to carry out the orders and turned their guns on the intelligence officers. Also in Facebook has been separate reports of a mutiny within the Syrian army but how widespread this has been is questionable.

 

Al-Assad has also supporters

Protests get head lines but speaking about revolt is overestimation; there should be at least ten times more people on the streets that one could call real uprising. The Assad’s regime has also its supporters as well those who keep neutral position to demonstrations. So far is the affluent middle class living in Syria’s biggest towns, Damascus and Aleppo, stood aside from the uprising. The Druze community which obeyed its leaders to stay out of it on orders coming from the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. Syria’s Christians who are the backbone of the country’s business community actively supported the Syrian ruler. More than 100 Iranian and Hizballah officers placed their active experience in crushing opponents at Assad’s disposal. They brought with them a whole range of manpower and equipment for breaking up demonstrations against which the popular demonstrators were helpless.


The nascent bourgeoisie and the upper layers of the petite bourgeoisie (especially the merchants) have been accumulating immense wealth in the recent years at the expense of the masses and thus are coming out fiercely against the movement.

On religious side Syria has a variety of minorities such as the Protestants, the Chaldeans, the Armenians, the Roman Catholics, the Maronite Catholics, the Greek Catholics, the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox etc. Indeed Syria has been a safe haven to many minorities surpressed elsewhere. So one can estimate that these religious groups are more afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood or any radical or fanatic group leading the country towards theocracy, better them to keep the current Syrian regime in place.

Outside factors

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has stated that there is evidence of active Iranian support for the Syrian government’s crackdown on demonstrators. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are being accused of suppressing the Syrian protesters at the orders of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran has denied any involvement in suppressing the protests. On the other hand, in mid-April, WikiLeaks revealed that the US has secretly been funding Syrian opposition groups with millions of dollars.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also using foreign cards to divert attention from country’s unrest by creating drama on Syrian-Israeli border. On June 5th he allowed Palestinian demonstrators attack in Golan Heights over the border to Israel. For Nakba Day or 3rd Intifada events a nice story was created how Palestinian “refugees” are attempting to return to their “former homes”; however a Syrian opposition group published details of Syrian government payments to those involved in the border riots and infiltrations. Indeed according DEBKAfile Assad’s security machine even paid $1,000 for every demonstrator who cut a piece of razor wire from the Israeli border fence and $10,000 for the families of volunteers shot by Israeli troops before they reached their goal.

The Palestinians in the refugee camps in Syria have been one of the President’s most loyal populations. However after Nakba Day al-Assad can not any more count on them. There was some causalities among Palestinians who tried march over the border and when the young killed ones were returned to the Yarmuk refugee camp, the camp erupted in riots, the anger of which, “was not directed against Israel, but against those who dispatched these young Palestinians to the Israeli border”.

Turkish military intervention?

“If the crisis is spreading to the city of Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, which are unique in terms of demographic mix of Islamic and Christian in Kurdish, as they may affect any security imbalance in Turkey directly.” (journalist in Al-Akhbar Ernest Khoury)

Turkey is deeply concerned by the Syrian disturbances and not only due humanitarian crisis on the border. Few years ago Turkey had warm relationship and various cooperation with Israel but Gaza flotilla changed the situation. Since then Turkey-Syria relations became deeper. One idea has been the creation of an economic bloc comprising Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, visa requirements are practically removed, cooperation with investments and technology know-how are rising. With Syria, this brought impressive results. Trade between Turkey and Syria reached last year $2,270bn. Cities close to the border like Gaziantep and Aleppo have enjoyed racing economic growth, thanks to this trade and an influx of Syrian and Turkish visitors taking advantage of visa-free travel.

Now there is rumours that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has secretly ordered his government officials to dump Ankara’s ties with Damascus with all speed; the fact is that he allowed Syrian opposition leaders to meet in Antalya on May 31-June 2 on ways to topple Bashar Assad. The turn is even more drastic as, according Debkafile at least, Turkish PM Erdogan on June 10, decided to move his army into northern Syria border and his government is considering defining its mission as the protection of civilian lives against a barbaric ruler citing the UN Security Council resolution on Libya. There is also plans that refugee camps will also go up on the Syrian side of the border to stem the flow into Turkey and rumours even limited Turkish military intervention in Syria and the establishment of a buffer zone.

The Turkey-Syria common border amounts more than eight hundred kilometers. Ankara has accepted nearly 10.000 refugees from Jisr al-Shughour and it is not prepared to take on tens or possible hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing from larger towns like Idlib, Maarat al-Numaana and the Kurdish regions abutting the Turkish border. Meanwhile President Assad has offered Syrian Kurds autonomy, and he invited Kurdish leaders for a meeting in Damascus right after the opposition meeting in Antalya.

Turkey is estimating that humanitarian crisis on the border can worse soon. One sign of this is that the Turkish organization IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) is considering the cancellation of the Gaza flotilla due to the tensions along the Syrian-Turkish border. 22 different ships are ready to rendezvous in international waters south of Cyprus, and sail to Gaza. (Source: Haarez )

International inactivity

United Nations Security Council is struggling with its Syria resolution, this like previous EU statements are anyway empty symbolic acts of condemnation and will not prevent Assad to crack down the unrest. One of the obstacles with UNSC Syria resolution is the experience got from ongoing Libya operation. Eric Walton (Green International Affairs Critic/Canada)hits the nail on head as saying that “The intent of the R2P resolution around Libya was to protect civilians in imminent danger, and not escalate the conflict into a regime-change-by-bombing-into-submission exercise. This creates a bad precedent that will undermine the appropriate application of R2P by the UN Security Council in other crisis situations.” (Source: Green Party of Canada )

The problem in Syria is similar than in Libya. Related to ongoing operation it is estimated that the NATO attacks had not disabled a single one of Qaddafi’s five brigades. This could be true also in Syria with similar intervention. Also thinking situation after intervention the problem in Syria could be the same as in Libya. It looks like there is no one in the Libyan rebel political or military leadership capable of taking over the reins of power in Tripoli and it is therefore assumed that a member of the Qaddafi clan will be chosen as Libya’s interim ruler.

According unconfirmed reports President Barak Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev Friday, May 27, came to an reciprocal understanding on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville about the fate of the Syrian and Libyan rulers. Obama is reported to have promised Medvedev to let Assad finish off the uprising against him without too much pressure from the US and the West. In return, the Russian president undertook to help the US draw the Libyan war to a close by means of an effort to bring about Muammar Qaddafi’s exit from power – in a word, the two big powers traded Qaddafi for Assad.

Energy aspect

Speaking about events and their effects on Arab Street, the energy aspect can not be ignored. Syria is in the middle of two important energy corridors: It links Turkey and the Caspian See to Israel and the Red Sea and it links Iraq to the Mediterranean. The Eastern Mediterranean gas fields have been the subject of negotiations between the E.U., Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Aside from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline, the existence of the Levantine natural gas fields is also the reason why the Kremlin has created a military foothold in Syria for the Russian Federation. This has been done by upgrading Soviet-era naval facilities in Syria. Moreover, it has been Iran that has agreed to explore and help develop these natural gas fields off the Levantine coast for Beirut and Damascus.

There is also new huge energy sources in Eastern Mediterranean – first Leviathan and Tamar fields some 90 kilometres west of Haifa/Israel with estimated 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 4.3 billion barrels of oil and second a bid north from Leviathan/Tamar fields Syria is seeking foreign investment for three offshore oil and gas concessions. If the present regime in Syria falls the question is who would control these energy routes. If western powers are taking more firm grip from Syria it would also mean that the large natural gas fields off the Lebanese and Syrian coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean would be out of reach for China and instead go to the E.U., Israel, and Washington.


Besides gas and oil also use of nuclear energy is actual in Syria as it is also in Iran. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has decided to refer Syria to the U.N. Security Council after the country failed to declare its covert nuclear reactor, which was discovered and destroyed by Israel four years ago.”Syria’s apparent attempt at constructing a covert, undeclared plutonium production reactor, a reactor with no credible peaceful purpose, represents one of the most serious safeguards violations possible,” said U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies. (Source: Arcamax

Bottom line

If the Syrian army’s middle and lower ranks, drawn mainly from the country’s Sunni majority, which comprises some 75% of the population, begin to turn against the senior ranks where the Alawite minority (10%, including the Assad family) predominates, the regime could begin to fall apart. So the core question is whether the security forces, on which the regime was founded when al-Assad’s father took over in 1970, will stay loyal.

So far the upraising has been weak and took place rural areas or smaller towns. If the unrest will spread to Damascus and Aleppo and if revolt gets more popular support the change of regime can be a reality; whether the outcome afterwards will be a civil war remains to seen.

If the Syrian regime were to be severely weakened by popular dissent, Iran’s influence in Arab affairs would almost certainly be reduced – in both Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Open conflict between Sunnis and Alawites in Syria would profoundly disturb the whole region.

What is really happening in Syria is unclear and lot of disinformation is spreading. There might also be some biased campaign launched by some international mass media against Syria. The positive aspect could be that Nato’s “mission creep” in Libya undermines R2P in Syria and so may prevent international community to make new mistakes soon.

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Some of my other Middle East articles:


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