The fighting between the Syrian regime and rebels is intensifying. Observers say it is only a matter of time before President Bashar Assad loses his iron grip on power. But who will take over at the helm?
Syrian government forces and rebels are both claiming victory in key areas of the major commercial hub Aleppo. As fierce fighting in the northern Syrian city continued, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the attacks on Aleppo were evidence that President Bashar Assad lacked the legitimacy to rule.
"If they continue this kind of tragic attack on their own people in Aleppo, I think it ultimately will be a nail in Assad's own coffin," Panetta said, speaking to reporters at the start of a weeklong trip to the Middle East and North Africa.
"What Assad has been doing to his own people and what he continues to do to his own people makes clear that his regime is coming to an end," Panetta said. "It's lost all legitimacy. It's no longer a question of whether he's coming to an end, it's when."
Many observers think the more than 16-month uprising reached a turning point when a bomb struck at the core of Assad's high command on July 18, killing several members of the regime elite including the defense minister and Assad's brother-in-law. Jane Kinninmont, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House in London and an expert on opposition movements in the Arab world, said things could be over quicker than originally thought.
"It's anybody's guess, but the acceleration of violence since those members of the regime were killed indicates that it's a matter of months, not years," Kinninmont told DW.
Ready for action
Should the Syrian regime be toppled, the question arises who will fill the power vacuum left behind? The Syrian National Council (SNC) has acted as the international face of the revolution. But the organization has been unable to unite the various disparate rebel factions under one umbrella. The SNC secretariat convened in Qatar last week to try to agree on a transitional leadership should Assad's regime fall - but no decisions were made.
A major force being closely observed is Syria's Muslim Brotherhood. It holds the largest number of seats in the SNC and controls its relief committee - and thereby the distribution of SNC funds in Syria. The movement said it was ready for the post-Assad era.
"We have plans for the economy, the courts, politics," the Brotherhood's spokesman Mulhem al-Droubi told news agency AFP earlier this month. The group has stressed its moderate stance, saying it was committed to setting up a multi-party democracy if Assad was toppled.
Fighters in Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, believe they are destined to win within weeks
Though the Muslim Brotherhood has reemerged as a major political force since the turmoil in Syria began in March 2011, no one can say for certain just how popular it is within the country, said Syria expert Thomas Pierret.
"You can't reconstruct a popular base within a year's time - from abroad," said Pierret, a lecturer in contemporary Islam at the University of Edinburgh and author of the upcoming book "Religion and State in Syria."
"This is a movement in exile that has not had any activity within Syria for over 30 years," Pierret told DW "It is difficult to prove how powerful they are since they have been operating underground."
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 and branched into Syria in the 1940s. Originally part of the legal opposition, it was banned in 1963 when the Baath party took over office. Bashar Assad's father Hafez crushed an armed insurgency led by the Brotherhood in Hama in 1982, completely destroying the movement. Only a few members were able to flee and rebuild the group in exile.
Following own interests
Kinninmont said the stakes were high in Syria, as powers in the region were intent on following their own interests. Saudi Arabia, for example, is a key financial backer of the rebellion. It has given refuge to General Manaf Tlass, who defected in early July. He was a commander in the powerful Republican Guard and formerly a close confidant of the Assad's. Tlass said last week he would work to unite the opposition.
General Tlass, seen here with Assad in 2000, was the highest ranking officer to abandon the regime
"Saudi Arabia doesn't want the Muslim Brotherhood in power," Pierret said. "They are promoting General Tlass in the media as the man with the roadmap. Saudi Arabia wants stability and sees a military leadership achieving that." A man like Tlass could head an Egyptian-style supreme military council that could keep the Syrian armed forces intact and loyal.
Western powers, meanwhile, have been unable to end the impasse at the UN over the Syrian crisis. Both Russia and China have been blocking efforts to put more pressure on Assad.
Russia, which sells arms and makes use of a naval maintenance facility in Syria, has said its rejection of sanctions was not driven by support for Assad but rather by a conviction that Syrians must decide their own fate and opposition to military intervention. But without Russia's support, diplomatic efforts would not succeed, said Kinninmont.
"The West has limited options in Syria, and Russia is one of the key players," she said. There had been talks of a Yemen-style transfer of power in which Assad would voluntarily step down and Russia could put forward his successor. "Maybe that's an alternative."
Whatever future political composition evolves in Syria, it will most likely include various groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
"It would be very difficult - if not impossible - to exclude them from any future arrangement," Pierret said. "The SNC has a place, so the Muslim Brotherhood has a place. They're very ambitious but face many obstacles and rivals in the Islamic scene."
Kinninmont pointed out that there was no guarantee for success, as the example of Libya showed - where everyone thought Islamist groups would win and they didn't. In addition, even in countries where the Muslim Brotherhood had a strong following, it still didn't win an outright majority.
"If elections were to take place, you would most likely see a coalition government which would need to include factions from religious minorities," she said. In addition, she said, it was important to recognize that Syria has a strong secular culture, especially in Damascus and Aleppo.
Power could also be dispersed across the country, said Lebanese political scientist Ohannes Geukjian from the American University of Beirut. In an interview with the German daily Badische Zeitung, he said this could evolve along the lines of Iraq's structure, with an autonomous Kurdish region, and Alawite regions along the Mediterranean coast.
"There is frustration in Syria with the level of centralization of power in the hands of a few corrupt people," Kinninmont said. "I could imagine fiefdoms controlled by different groups, with Assad possibly in control of a rump state only."
Such a model, however, would open up an entirely new can of worms: international recognition. Western, Arab and Russian interests would most certainly clash on that point, as well.
Author: Sabina Casagrande
Editor: Rob Mudge
Editor: Rob Mudge
Remember when Cheney thought it would be a good idea for the US to attack Syria after Iraq?ReplyDelete
Dick Cheney wanted to invade several Middle East nations, not just Iraq, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reveals in his new book.
Blair writes that the former Vice President had a goal to remake the power structure of several countries in that part of the world.
Cheney "would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it -- Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.," Blair wrote in his memoir, "A Journey."
The former PM told Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s “This Week” that Cheney, 69, believed “the world had to be remade after September the 11th.”
Remember when the French used to occupy Syria?ReplyDelete
Yes, it was called colonialism. The French used to occupy Viet Nam as well. What is your point?Delete
Remember how the French when it turned Vichy just handed over to Germany Syria?ReplyDelete
Yes, the French were taken over by the Nazis. They were an occupied country. What is your point?Delete
Besides France did not turn “Vichy”. It was cut in half by the Germans with the southern half ruled by Pétain, who got his reward from the French when he was sentenced to death for collaborating with the Nazis. He was a traitor to France.Delete
Let's just call it what it is. The country is throwing off a brutal, repressive regime. Period.ReplyDelete
The Economy has been throwing off some "better than expected" Data the last week, or so.ReplyDelete
Why? I dunno; like I said, It was "unxpected."
Europe, and Japan are in recession, and the "heartland" is hunkered down, riding out the worst drought if fifty years. But, we have some companies, at least in the Memphis area, starting to hire again.ReplyDelete
For what it's worth, one of the local factories that's hiring makes Electric Motors.
Not itty-bitty electric motors like you would find in a Volt, or Prius, but Big, Honking Motors.Delete
We know people are adjusting. They're driving more miles, again, but continuing to use less, and less gasoline. They're buying fuel efficient cars.ReplyDelete
Midwest Manufacturing (as measured by the Chicago PMI) took a nice little jump last month, and it looks like a big part of that was auto production.
Could be bad news for a certain Republican challenger that has to win Ohio.
The "Party of Stupid" didn't get its moniker by accident. In 2008 McCrazy went to Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio campaigning against Ethanol. Now, the GOP's latest iteration of idiot has come out against Wind subsidies.ReplyDelete
Ohio has something like 500 Companies that are involved, in some way, with the manufacture of Wind Turbines, and every farmer in N. Ohio is looking forward to getting a couple of Wind Turbines on his land.
"The Party of Stupider" has now opened the southern border to anybody who wants to walk across, is backing 'gay marriage' even though every state that has voted on it has rejected it, refuses to build a needed pipeline from Canada when gas is still sky high, and is just itching to raise your taxes sky high so they can continue to spend like a drunken sailor, and funnel your money to their favorite folks.Delete
Exporting of Oil Must be Stopped
You're going to see more of this.
The northern and eastern grids tripped on Tuesday, leading to power failure in several States of the country affecting hundreds of millions of people.ReplyDelete
The northern grid collapsed for a second day on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the power supply was restored in the entire northern region following a disruption on Monday. The eastern transmission lines too failed on Tuesday afternoon, said officials at the Power Ministry and electricity companies.
Services in the national capital came to a grinding halt as power supply snapped around 1.30 p.m. The load fell to 40 MW and all of Delhi's generation station stopped working, because of the cascading effect of the fault in the grid.
"We don't have the details yet, but yes, there is a problem with the Grid again. Right now, the priority is to secure power supply for emergency services," said a senior official of the Delhi Government's Power Department.
Indian Grid Down Again
620 Million now without power in India.Delete
Consensus seems to be that they're trying to restart too quickly. TOD'ers say the Indian power system is managed by bureaucrats, and politicians, and are doing everything wrong. They're in a world of hurt.
They will soon be running low (lower) on Diesel.Delete
Twice the population of the U.S. is out of electricity, and will likely be that way for quite some time.
"Restarting" a Grid is hard, and slow work. Restarting a Grid that bad, and that large (especially one controlled by a bunch of ignorant politicians trying to "cut corners) might take weeks.
Those that argue that a parliamentary system is much more efficient than our system need only look at India. The bureaucracy in India is one major reason India will find it hard to overtake the Chinese. Their infrastructure (roads, bridges, grid, etc.) all suck and it's impossible to get anything meaningful done due to all the bureaucratic red tape. Here we have two parties at loggerheads, in India they have many.
"Vat vee nedt iss gooot King!"Delete
Further, given its declared purpose to incinerate the Jewish state, its possession of advanced delivery systems, and the belief of its leaders in the radical, Twelver version of Shi’a theology which envisions the return of the “Hidden Imam” in a millenarian conflagration, the bruited American policy of “containment” is doomed to failure. In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on March 3, 2012, President Obama rejected the principle of containment of a nuclear-armed Iran, but did not rule out containment of a nuclear-capable Iran—a sly distinction that does not inspire confidence. Who is to judge precisely when capability morphs into capacity?ReplyDelete
Israel to attack soon, this article argues -
maybe before the election.
President Obama rejected the principle of containment of a nuclear-armed Iran,ReplyDelete
laughable. Obama will be the first nuclear power to attack another nuclear power? I will make several predictions:
1. Israel will not attack Iran without the US.
2. If the US/Israel attacks Iraq before the election, Obama loses.
3. Six months after an attack by Israel or the US on Iranian nuclear facilities, Iran has a nuclear weapon. Then three, then nine and nothing will be done about that.
4. That will be the last time that the US gets dragged into a war with Israel calling the shots.
I agree Obama is taking no action.Delete
4) When has Israel dragged us into a war with Israel calling the shots? I forget.
1) Not so sure about this, but you may be right.
On Dec. 4, according to a report in Press TV, a news network owned by the Iranian government, Chinese rear admiral and prominent military commentator Zhang Zhaozhong said,Delete
“China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war.”
It is not clear when the statement was made or in what context. Once reported, the statement went viral in China and elsewhere.
Apart from being a rear admiral in the Chinese navy, Zhang is the director of the National Defense University Military Logistics and Equipment Department. He maintains nationalistic military blogs that receive millions of viewers and is also well known as a commentator who appears regularly on the state-run China Central Television (CCTV).
Zhang referred to an article in Israel’s Jerusalem Post, which suggested that Russia is only a superficial supporter of Iran, while China is Iran’s real pillar. Zhang said that China is even willing to open up a land passage to Pakistan in order to aid Iran directly.Delete
I do recall a post that said China's imports of oil from Iran have increased 20% since the EU embargo and US economic sanctions were imposed.
deuce says with emotion and no real facts...Delete
"4. That will be the last time that the US gets dragged into a war with Israel calling the shots."
More Israel hating?
Tell us deuce what war has Israel dragged the US into and Israel called the shots?
Inquiring minds want to know
And, in Pakstan:ReplyDelete
Prolonged and widespread power outage in most of Pakistan’s cities during scorching summer heat has triggered violent protests in most areas of the country.
Coupled with hot and humid summer weather, the prolonged blackout has forced outraged citizens to take to the streets to protest the tough living conditions.
The protests turned violent as some of the angry protesters reportedly attacked offices of the power supply department in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, damaging official and private properties.
Offices of Pepco, the Pakistan Electric Power Company, were also attacked in Islamabad, Abbottabad, Charsadda, Okara, Multan, Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot, and Sheikhupura and many of them were reportedly set ablaze.
Couldn't have happened to a more deserving group of people.Delete
Really brilliant, attack the power sources, making things worse. Morons.Delete
'Couldn't have happened to a more deserving group of people' --agree!
They need to start throwing stones at some minority group, or maybe the women, to appease allah, who is displeased, and sending them all that heat.
If Indonesia really does quit exporting coal in 2014 . . . . .ReplyDelete
Homo ergaster -ReplyDelete
attacks mate, thinking Romney is hustling his woman -
Leaving Australia as the only significant Coal Exporter in Asia/Pacific.ReplyDelete
Kim Jong Build RoadzReplyDelete
Y U No Has Buziness?
4. "That will be the last time that the US gets dragged into a war with Israel calling the shots."ReplyDelete
Here is a list of the wars Israel has dragged us into with Israel calling the shots -
A lengthy list, oddly enough we seem to be missing from it.
Israel has NEVER "dragged the US into a war with Israel calling he shots"Delete
Deuce's hatred blinds him from reality
Nijab TV - newest broadcasting look in Egypt -ReplyDelete
broadcasting from newly liberated Cairo.
Now for some fun facts....ReplyDelete
Iran is already at war with the USA.
And we are already at war with Iran.
It may be a low intensity war, it may be covert? but it's war.
Economic sanctions are acts of war.
Computer cyber attacks (ala Obama and his leaks) is an act of war.
Taking over the embassy? an act of war...
So many acts of war between the USA and Iran it would take me hours to list them all...
Iranian kidnapping of American soldiers, CIA chiefs, FBI agents, citizens, Sailors and more..
Car bombs against the Marine barracks, supplying terror groups safe havens, training, weapons, passports?
all acts of war...
Now will Israel attack Iran before the election?ReplyDelete
Those that know don't talk, those that talk don't know.
But I do know one thing. The middle east is shifting. No one knows the out come except that the outcome most likely will be JUST as Jew hating as yesterday.
So no matter if assad stays in power or goes, syria will still be a anti-Semitic Israel hating, Jew hating piece of shit.
Lebanon? will still suck...
The Palestinians? will still be hated by the entire arab world and they to will still suck...
Hamas? they will suck
Egypt? they will be 80 million people strong and will suck like 100 million crack whores...
Libya? they will continue to suck
Tunisia? they also will suck...
Jordan? they suck but they will stand strong no matter which way the wind blows they will follow the breeze.
Iran? major pile of dog shit and they suck
Iraq? lol a smaller pile of shit that iran, but they suck too.. 6 billion SPENT in iraq to train iraqi cops.. 5.9 BILLION ended up spent on hookers and crack.
The gulf states? they suck and of course the Saudi's?
they suck with the best of them....
So maybe if we are lucky they will imploded on one another all screaming allah akhar at each other...
Now the funniest news blip to come out of the middle east was from the arab league. they claimed that the bombardment of civilians by assad loyalists was a war crime...ReplyDelete
The silence on the bombardment of Israeli civilians by the fake nationalistic people self labeled as "palestinians" (or as I call them "the fecal people") is deafening.
During the opening of the It's ok to murder jewish athletes games commonly called the "olympics" the "fecal people" launched a 1/2 dozen rockets at the civilians of Israel.
The fact that the "fecal people" can get away with this shows us that there is one standard for savages and one standard for Israel.
Maybe if the syrians had invested in bomb shelters instead of suicide bombers they would not have to flee those "loud firecrackers" they are running away from...
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that the U.S. has been working on contingency plans for a possible conflict with Iran and is discussing them with Israel but brushed aside suggestions he would share "attack plans" during a visit that begins Tuesday.ReplyDelete
Mr. Panetta declined to offer details about "specific military plans that we have." But he added: "We obviously continue to work on a number of options in that area."
“Where are they? The Chechens, the Africans and the Pakistanis, all with so many weapons?” Asked Abu Suleiman, a rebel officer, crouching down in an alley as an attack on a fourth security post, near Sher Osman, predominantly manned by the Shabiha, was faltering due to ammunition running out and what appeared to be a Mig-23 dropping ordnance.ReplyDelete
“Can you believe that! Here we are risking our lives to free the country and that’s what the man says,” Abu Suleiman spread his hands as the fighters around him laughed.
He shouted: “Go with Basher then if you love him so much, old man. But you would not wish to go the place where we are sending him.”
Promiscuous war-making leads to unintended consequences. For example, U.S. intervention in Libya stoked the civil war in Mali, as Tuaregs serving in Gadhafi's army joined the fight after the dictator's fall.ReplyDelete
It's not clear that our expanded military presence in Africa serves any pressing U.S. national security need. But interventions have a way of generating their own justifications.
Before long, "blowback" from African adventurism may generate new crises for this or a future administration to solve.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012ReplyDelete
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows Mitt Romney attracting 47% of the vote, while President Obama earns support from 44%. Five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.
Romney has a 20-point advantage among white voters. Obama is supported by 91% of black voters and 57% of other minority voters.
The president’s support has stayed between 43% and 45% for ten straight days. During that stretch, Romney’s support has been between 46% and 49% every day. See tracking history.
Really nifty Noah's Ark sighted in Holland -ReplyDelete
On this date in 1975, powerful labor leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears while in Detroit. He is never seen again, and while rumors circulated that he was buried underneath Giants Stadium in New Jersey (roughly under section 104, if we remember correctly), his disappearance remains a mystery.ReplyDelete
Obama, who is really sucking gas these days, finds some previously unsuspected slave roots --ReplyDelete
John Punch was not a slave, he was slavish. He was also a Cherokee Indian with high cheekbones who fathered Elizabeth Warren. SHE just LOOKS young.
John Punch, like many of our smaller European allies, punched above his weight, whatever his weight was.
The birth mother was a wench named Elsie Slapntickle, of the Upper Highborne Slapntickles, not to be confused with the Slapntickles of the Lower East Side.
Never let the truth get in the way of a crisis.
So, what Is in those undisclosed Romney Tax Returns? This guy has a couple of educated guesses -ReplyDelete
Bermuda? Caymans? He didn't send his money there for the weather.
Neither did all those Democrats.Delete
I would too, if I had the money.
And, so would you.Delete
Rufus, you've become a Hot Air reader? Cause they headlined that story too.Delete
Not a bad site.
I bet Obama donated to charity a disgusting pathetic amount...Delete
I bet romney donated 10% of his income to charity... MILLIONS... this is why romney had little tax bill... HE donated 10's of millions of cash to charity
He donated 10% to the Mormon Church I am sure. They tithe. He donated more beyond that, a lot, I am also sure. If Obama donated more than Biden I think I'd eat my hat, and Biden didn't donate much.Delete
Rufus, what is the Indian name for Romney?
Dances With Tax Evasion
Obama just gave $5,000 to his own campaign. He can write that off. (I think)Delete
I've read Hot Air, daily, for years. I read almost everything except certified moron sites (am thinker, for ex.)Delete
fact is the reason that romney would have a reduction in federal income taxes would be that he is extremely generous with his charity giving.Delete
I hope romney makes a statement like this: "Line 16 of the last 10 years of my Schedule A tax return lists $141,999,899 dollars in charitable donations. This amount has reduced my tax liability. This amount is more than obama and biden have grossed as gross income in what would amount to 40 lifetimes of obama and biden's income level.
My donations have fed, housed and clothed literally millions of folk needing assistance.
I avoid paying "taxes" by donating CASH to worthily charities. ALL encouraged by our nation's tax laws...
Sarah/Tea Party backed Cruz takes out the Rino money man -ReplyDelete
Texas GOP U.S. Senate (36%)
Candidates Votes Percent
xCruz 373,798 54.4
Dewhurst 313,926 45.6
Slower growth in China's manufacturing sector in July added to a broader ramp-down in the region, as slack demand in Europe and the U.S. continued to erode growth in Asia's export-driven economies.ReplyDelete
In Australia, manufacturing activity hit a three-year low in July, according to the Australian Industry Group-PricewaterhouseCoopers Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index. The index fell 6.9 points to 40.3 during the month, as output in China, Australia's biggest trading partner, has slowed sharply.
Romney's Tax Plan
GOP: Don't worry. Be happy. It will all work out in the end once the crumbs starts to trickle down.
Study: Romney tax plan would result in cuts for rich, higher burden for others
Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul the tax code would produce cuts for the richest 5 percent of Americans — and bigger bills for everybody else, according to an independent analysis set for release Wednesday.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Brookings Institution and the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, who seem to bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate. To cover the cost of his plan — which would reduce tax rates by 20 percent, repeal the estate tax and eliminate taxes on investment income for middle-class taxpayers — the researchers assume that Romney would go after breaks for the richest taxpayers first.
They even look at what would happen if Republicans’ dreams for tax reform came true and the proposal generated significant revenue through economic growth.
None of it helped Romney. His rate-cutting plan for individuals would reduce tax collections by about $360 billion in 2015, the study says. To avoid increasing deficits — as Romney has pledged — the plan would have to generate an equivalent amount of revenue by slashing tax breaks for mortgage interest, employer-provided health care, education, medical expenses, state and local taxes, and child care — all breaks that benefit the middle class.
“It is not mathematically possible to design a revenue-neutral plan that preserves current incentives for savings and investment and that does not result in a net tax cut for high-income taxpayers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers,” the study concludes...
Why not a little MORE income disparity
Perhaps if we join the Mormon church, we can make up in charity what we lose in income.
Perhaps if you were to join the Mormon Church you'd finally be able to make up in the virtues what you've lost through charlatanry?Delete
Ah, the mittwit's minion speaks, fool to a fool, acolyte to an ass, deaf-dumb doofus to a doltish dimwit, the boob, meandering through the misama of Mormon mysticism to offer up the obtuse musings of a sorely troubled mind.
Hurt to the very quick, are ye Quirk?Delete
I doesn't matter what you call them, Jews, Israelis, Zionists or whatever, they are all scum of the earth.ReplyDelete