“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hezbollah in large-scale confrontation with Sunni Muslim fighters from the al-Nusra front, many of whose fighters have come from other Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

Ferocious Battle Underway Over Syrian Border City

May 29, 2013
A ferocious battle is underway in the Syrian city of Qusair near the border with Lebanon between government forces bolstered by Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and anti-government rebels led by militiamen linked to al-Qaida, according to anti-government activists.

Government warplanes carried out several bombing raids on Qusair throughout Wednesday and Hezbollah rushed in reinforcements in an attempt to dislodge the rebels from Qusair, a strategic city on the main highway into central Lebanon, through the Bekaa Valley and on to Beirut.

Members of Hezbollah have become key battleground allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Both follow the Shiite sect of Islam and both are closely allied with Shiite Iran. Most of the rebels are Sunnis.

Clashes between Hezbollah and rebel forces led by Al Qaeda-linked fighters belonging to the Jabhat al-Nusra raged in many districts of Qusair. The bloodiest battles were centered in the northern districts of the city, where Hezbollah militiamen have been unable to dislodge Syrian rebels. Anti-government activists said the rebels had made headway in pushing back Hezbollah on the west side of the city.

Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi conceded that the north of Qusair was proving the hardest to subdue. “It is very hard and difficult to take. There are snipers everywhere. This will cost us but well take it,” Moussawi said.

Reports of chemical attacks
The see-saw battle over Qusair came as claims mounted of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons in the outskirts of Damascus, this time in the suburb of Jobar about two kilometers northeast of the old city walls. Reporters from the French newspaper Le Monde witnessed the after-effects of what they and rebels with the Tahrir al-Sham ('Liberation of Syria') brigade believe were gas attacks launched by government troops over several days this week.

“We thought it was a mortar that didn't explode, and no one really paid attention to it,” Omar Haidar, the brigade’s chief of operations, told the newspaper. “No odor, no smoke, not even a whistle to indicate the release of a toxic gas. And then the symptoms appear. The men cough violently. Their eyes burn, their pupils shrink, their vision blurs. Soon they experience difficulty breathing.”

The Assad government has denied using any chemical weapons. A few weeks ago, the government traded accusations over reports of the use of a chemical weapon in the northwest of the city of Aleppo that killed more than 20 people and wounded another 80, with each side blaming the other for the attack.
In December, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that any use of chemical weapons would be “totally unacceptable” and a “red line” that could trigger Western intervention.

US red line on chemical weapons

The Obama administration told Congress last month that U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed “with varying degrees of confidence” that Syria has used small amounts of chemical weapons in the conflict. But the U.S. president said he needed more conclusive evidence.

The British Foreign Office released a statement Wednesday saying, “The U.K. is extremely concerned about the ongoing allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria.” British officials confirmed they have provided more information to a United Nations inquiry team that the Assad government has prevented from entering Syria to investigate on the ground.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius reacted to the Le Monde report even more sharply. In a radio interview, Fabius warned of a “severe reaction” if chemical weapons had been used by Syrian government forces. Asked what “severe” meant, Fabius said: “It’s the final stage before a strike.”

Tests on samples brought from Syria by French reporters will take nearly a month to analyze, according to French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot.

The ferocity of the fighting in Qusair reflected the strategic significance of the city. Analysts believe Qusair would be crucial for Assad if he and his allies were forced to try to form an enclave near the coast north and east of Lebanon.
But Syrian rebel sources and their overseas supporters say the timing of the attacks on Qusair may have more to do with the Assad government maneuvering ahead of proposed peace talks next month that have been endorsed by both the U.S. and Russia.

Maneuvering for peace talks

“He’s determined to grab back as much lost ground as he can,” says Brian Sayers of the Syrian Support Group, a U.S.-based group that supports the rebellion and advocates for a democratic Syria.

The fight involving artillery bombardments and air strikes has for the first time brought Hezbollah in large-scale confrontation with Sunni Muslim fighters from the al-Nusra front, many of whose fighters have come from other Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

Rebel sources told VOA that al-Nusra fighters are taking the lead for the rebels on many fronts in Syria. Likewise, they claim that there are few Syrian government forces now in the fight. “We are fighting Hezbollah,” one of the sources said in a Skype call.
But the battle in Qusair is taking its toll on Hezbollah. The last few days have seen an increasing number of “martyrdom announcements” for fallen Hezbollah fighters from the Lebanese Shia movement.

A military analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense told VOA that Hezbollah leaders may have been surprised by the stiff resistance they have faced.
“I think only now are they appreciating what effective and experienced fighters they are facing,” the U.S. analyst said. “Many of the Hezbollah fighters have been trained for defensive actions against Israel and are not so used to offensive tactics.”

Trained in defense or not, Hezbollah is sending in more fighters into Qusair and further afield, according to Syrian opposition sources. Khaled Saleh, a spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, said Hezbollah operations are now stretching to the outskirts of Damascus.
“Something very dangerous is happening: the Hezbollah militia has begun to move into the outskirts of Damascus. This is a new development that we did not expect,” Saleh said.


  1. Zee Media Bureau

    Beirut: As many as 7000 Hezbollah fighters were involved in attacks on key Syrian town of Qusair, said the chief of rebel group Free Syrian Army, reports said Thursday.

    Speaking in an interview to the BBC, the rebel chief General Selim Idriss claimed that fighters from Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah, numbering over 7000, were “invading” Syrian town of Qusair where more than 50, 000 residents were trapped.

    Gen Idriss lamented that his group FSA was far outnumbered and out-gunned by the Hezbollah fighters as there were only 1500 Syria rebels armed with light weapons in Qusair.

    The rebel chief further made a plea to world powers for help and more weapons, fearing that thousands of residents of Qusair risked a massacre if Hezbollah fighters went on attacking.

    "We are dying. Please come and help us,” Gen Idriss said on the BBC.

    The rebel chief also claimed that there were Iranian fighters involved in the battle for Qusair, besides Hezbollah’s troops

    Lebanese militants have been gathering in Syria’s Qusair for some time now as Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah vowed to bring victory to Assad recently.

    The presence of Hezbollah fighters has been condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as it adopted a resolution Wednesday, condemning the intervention of foreign combatants in Syrian city of Qusair.

    The resolution, adopted after an urgent debate held during the council’s 23rd session, expressed deep concern that "their involvement further exacerbates the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation, which has a serious negative impact on its region".

  2. al Qaeda is losing in Qusair. Who wants to save al Qaeda?

  3. Double standard you say?

    “We welcome the EU action,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said a day after top European Union officials confirmed the bloc would not renew its prohibition on weapons sales to rebel groups in Syria, instead saying individual EU member states could now decide this question for themselves.

    “Support for the opposition is a track that we are pursuing,” Carney told reporters accompanying President Barack Obama to New Jersey.
    His comments came hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov strongly attacked the EU decision, describing it as illegitimate and a violation of international law.

    “Discussing at an official level whether or not to supply arms to non-state subjects is in conflict with all norms of international law, including the principles of non-interference in states’ internal affairs, not to mention military intervention,” Lavrov said in Paris.

    Another top Russian diplomat, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, struck a similar note and directly linked the EU decision to plans being orchestrated by the United States and Russia to convene an international conference with the aim of ending the two-year conflict in Syria.

    “This is a reflection of double standards and a direct blow to the international conference on Syria proposed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry on May 7,” Ryabkov said.

  4. {…}

    The Russia-US plans to convene the conference was announced with some fanfare earlier this month after talks between Kerry and Lavrov. Recent developments have cast a cloud over the plan.
    A US news website meanwhile reported that the White House had asked the Pentagon to draft plans for a no-fly zone over Syria.
    “The White House is still in contemplation mode but the planning is moving forward and it’s more advanced than it’s ever been,” The Daily Beast quoted one unnamed administration official as saying.
    As the United States expressed its hearty backing for the EU decision which opens the door for individual European countries to send weapons to Syrian opposition forces, it also reiterated its opposition to Russian plans to deliver sophisticated arms to the Syrian government.

    “We’ve made clear in the past and made clear again our firm belief that providing arms to the Assad regime does not bring us closer to the political transition that Syria deserves,” Carney said.

    State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell echoed his comments, and added: “We condemn the continued supply of Russian weapons to the (Syrian) regime.”

    Russia has said that it is honouring an agreement concluded before the outbreak of fighting in Syria to supply Damascus with S-300 anti-air missile defence systems. Moscow has recently stated that the delivery will go ahead despite the conflict, a decision strongly opposed by Israel in particular.

    Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said his country regarded the Russian weapons as a security threat and implied that Israel would retaliate in Syria should the Russian arms reach the war-torn country.
    "The shipments haven’t set out yet and I hope they won’t,” Israeli media quoted Yaalon as saying. “If they do arrive in Syria, God forbid, we’ll know what to do.”

    In confirming that the EU arms embargo would not be renewed, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that any arms sent to Syria would be “intended for the protection of civilians," and added that the EU governments would review the position on sanctions on Syria before August 1.

    Syria’s ambassador to Russia, Riad Haddad, meanwhile said Tuesday in Moscow that the EU’s decision will make the situation there worse.

    “Since the very start of the conflict the West has been secretly arming terrorist groups in Syria and now the Western countries are planning to do that openly,” he said.

    The Obama administration has refused to send arms to the Syrian opposition but has shipped tens of millions of dollars in non-lethal aid to opposition groups.

    Opponents of arming Syrian opposition rebels say they are not under any kind of unified command, that their ranks include fighters openly allied with al-Qaida and other radical Islamist movements and argue that once they enter Syria there is no way to keep any weapons out of the hands of Islamist radicals.

    Ventrell, questioned repeatedly on the issue, shrugged off suggestions that US support for possible EU arms shipments to Syria and staunch opposition to Russia arms sales to Syria were not contradictory.

    The Syrian government under President Bashar Assad “uses massive force against civilians … we’ve seen how the regime uses these arms,” Ventrell said.

    “When we’re talking about the opposition, that’s a different group and clearly people who are defending themselves in the face of an enormous onslaught and a despicable onslaught of violence against themselves.”

    First published in RIA Novosti.

  5. It took American know-how to save Iraq from Saddam

    Adding to Iraq’s recent spasms of violence, a car bomb killed about 20 people in a wedding party in a Baghdad neighborhood on Wednesday and wounded more than 50 others, according to officials. “This what happens in Iraq,” said Harish Ahmed, one of the wounded relatives. “We were here to celebrate a wedding in a try to bring a smile; instead it becomes a nightmare.” Bombs in another Baghdad neighborhood, near a market, killed 12 other people, The Associated Press reported.

  6. President Obama spoke last week about the importance of ultimately repealing the September 18, 2001, Authorization for Use of Military Force, due to the danger of remaining on permanent war footing.

    But what about the other grant of war powers that's still operative? As the sharp-eyed Marcy Wheeler first noted, there wasn't any mention of needing to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. This despite the fact that Obama declared the conflict officially over as of January 1, 2012. Isn't it worth repealing this authority to guard against mischief by a future president more inclined to delve back into the country than Congress or the people?

    After all, the GOP has a lot of politicians like that.

    The last time anyone tried to repeal the Iraq AUMF was November 29, 2011, when Rand Paul's effort failed 67 to 30 with three members abstaining. That's a staggering margin for keeping the war going.

  7. Iraq proves a lesson in the fall of Mideast regimes. 712 Iraqis have been killed in April alone

    By Michael Peel

    Conflict pits Sunni against Shia and threatens to destabilise a boiling region

    The terrible headlines from this troubled state at the heart of the Middle East have become all too routine. Scores of people are being killed some days – 712 during April alone, according to the UN – in a conflict that pits Sunni against Shia and threatens to further destabilise a boiling region.

    So far, so familiar. Except the country in question is not Syria but its neighbour Iraq, which has this year slipped into a deadly crisis. At least 66 people were killed in a series of car bombs on Monday, another of the increasingly frequent bloodbaths in the battle between members of the country’s Sunni minority and Nouri al-Maliki’s Shia-led government. Many see the conflict as likely to worsen in the run-up to national elections next year, heightening fears of a wider territorial conflagration – and crushing any hope that the US military withdrawal from Iraq almost 18 months ago would leave behind a nation where the myriad ethnic and religious groups lived in harmony.

    While lethal car-bombings have been a fact of postwar Iraqi life, the violence has surged in the past two months. One trigger was the deaths of at least 23 people in a raid by the Iraqi army on a Sunni protest camp in April, in what the government claimed – and activists denied – was a response to shooting by demonstrators. The camp was part of a movement that emerged in December in areas with large populations of Sunnis, who say they have been discriminated against and in some cases violently targeted since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 toppled the Sunni-dominated dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

    The camp killings and their aftermath are a sign that – while Iraq’s conflict has links to Syria’s – it is not primarily driven by the war there between Sunni-led rebels and President Bashar al-Assad, whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiaism. A more pivotal event for Iraq was the exit of US troops from Iraq in December 2011, which gave rein to domestic political tensions damped since Mr Maliki assumed office in 2006 as head of a coalition government carefully constructed out of the country’s various ethnic and religious interests.


    1. Then the Holocaust, that was just being what Europeons do to each other?
      No more, no less.

      And no, "Jews" have no special rights to steal from others, or to a state of their own.
      No more than the Kurds, Aztecs, Inca or the Apache.

      Of course the Jews started the fire. They attacked, committed the world's first recorded genocide, against the Canaanites, igniting the civil war in Middle East that rages on, today.

  8. {…}

    In particular, Mr Maliki’s opponents – including Iraqi Kurds fighting to preserve the political and energy autonomy of their Kurdistan homeland – accuse the prime minister of becoming dangerously autocratic. While the premier’s supporters deny he is building a new dictatorship, many analysts say there are legitimate concerns over the way he has taken control of crucial security agencies and the manner in which his political opponents have been hounded. The Sunni public demonstrations erupted after the arrest of bodyguards of Rafia al-Issawi, finance minister and one of the top-ranking Sunni officials.

    Syria’s crisis also plays its parts in Iraq’s troubles – and vice versa – via the western Iraqi border province of Anbar, a Sunni heartland. Jihadist fighters who once battled US forces there have been crossing the frontier to join Syria’s rebels, with al-Qaeda in Iraq claiming in April that it is bankrolling a leading anti-Assad militia known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The Maliki government says it has over the past week launched a military operation against alleged al-Qaeda groups and training camps in the western region, following a similar series of raids last year.

    Iraq’s future now hinges in good part on the parliamentary election, where Mr Maliki has a chance to strengthen his hold further, though only if the security and political conditions allow a credible poll to take place. While his State of Law coalition scored solidly enough during April local elections, his government angered Sunnis again by cancelling the polls in Anbar and neighbouring Nineveh province on security grounds. An increasingly concerned US administration – which has traditionally backed Mr Maliki as its least bad option, despite his alignment with Iran – has been condemning the violence and calling for calm.

    During Saddam’s time, Sunni-dominated Iraq and Alawite-ruled Syria were religiously mirror-image dictatorships, run by members of a minority sect who oppressed the majority and served a small kleptocratic elite. Iraq’s situation now is a lesson that the fall of such regimes is only a small first step to delivering the peace and fair treatment so many people in both these heterodox nations crave.

  9. The Iraq War is Not Over for the Iraqi People
    Justin Doolittle, May 29, 2013

    In 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg stated the following, in language that was introduced by Judge Robert Jackson, the lead American prosecutor of Axis war criminals:

    To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

    This means that those who launch a war of aggression are responsible for far more than just the initial death and destruction caused by the war. They should be held responsible for all of the “accumulated evil” that follows and that would not have otherwise occurred. This is a very succinct and intuitive ethical precept that is virtually impossible to argue against. But while this injunction can’t seriously be disputed, it can be ignored, and, in fact, often is by powerful states. Unfortunately, Jackson’s own government has never taken his words seriously, and this has never been more evident than in the case of Iraq.

    The United States launched a preventive – not preemptive, contrary to what we often read – war against Iraq in March of 2003. This is now considered old news. Most people are aware that the attack resulted in death and misery on a massive scale - millions of refugees, well over 100,000 dead civilians, an exponential increase in terrorism, and so on. Nevertheless, talk about Iraq has all but disappeared in the mainstream, following the U.S.’s much-ballyhooed “withdrawal” from the country in 2011. The general feeling seems to be that Iraq was a tragic episode, one of the worst “blunders” in the annals of American foreign policy, but is now thankfully behind us. No American service member has been killed in Iraq since November of 2011.


  10. {…}

    However, the war is far from over for the people of Iraq. They are living with the consequences of the war every day, and will be for quite some time. The country is, to this day, terrorized by suicide bombings, which, crucially, did not exist in Iraq prior to the American invasion. In early 2008, Robert Fisk called the acute reality of suicide terrorism in Iraq “perhaps the most ghoulish and frightening legacy of George Bush’s invasion.” Now, more than five years later, the “perhaps” can safely be removed from that sentence. On Tuesday, 16 more Iraqis were pointlessly killed in several bombings and shootings. The previous day was even more deadly, with a “wave” of bombings killing 58 and wounding 187. The death toll from sectarian violence has just passed 500 for this month alone. Iraq is, by any measure, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, far more dangerous than it was under Saddam. The United States and its allies have direct moral culpability for this state of sheer hell in which millions of Iraqis are living.

    Shockingly little attention has been paid to the “evil” that is still very much ”accumulating” in Iraq. It’s virtually impossible to imagine that any of the individuals responsible for carrying out this massive war crime will ever be brought to justice. In fact, the person more responsible than any other just had a fancy new library built in his name, and was the subject of lavish praise from his fellow American statesmen at the opening ceremony. It was a day for Bush to “bask in the sun,” according to the New York Times report on the celebration. Naturally, “Iraq” was one word that “never passed Bush’s lips, or those of the other four presidents who spoke.” That would have been such a buzz-kill.

    Judge Jackson’s morally eloquent words are destined to be ignored, because powerful actors generally do as they please, and turning themselves in for war crimes is typically not high on the agenda. At the very least, though, as responsible citizens, we can express, in a variety of ways, outrage and disapproval at our political class pushing the unconscionable horrors the U.S. has inflicted on the Iraqi people under the rug. Minimal standards of compassion and solidarity demand that much.

    Justin Doolittle writes a political blog called Crimethink. His writing has appeared on Alternet, Common Dreams, and Counterpunch.

  11. and here is the mentality expressed by:

    What is "Occupation"Thu May 30, 12:09:00 AM EDT
    I want them both to destroy each other.

    I want Iran to lose big.

    I want assad to die

    I want the sunni pricks and the shia bastards to set each other back to the 2nd century


    1. DeuceThu May 30, 12:40:00 AM EDT
      and here is the mentality expressed by:

      YOu are correct my words and I stand by them..........

      What is "Occupation"Thu May 30, 12:09:00 AM EDT

      I want them both to destroy each other. (the syrian government has murdered 70 thousand of it's own and has supported the murder of innocents for decades) (the rebels? are evil islamic shits that would slit your throat in a nanosecond)

      I want Iran to lose big. (Iran murders it's own and supports the murder of innocents all over the world)

      I want assad to die - (a personal murderer of thousands)

      I want the sunni pricks and the shia bastards to set each other back to the 2nd century (two evil assholes fighting)

      And you say this is shameful?

      What freakin planet do you live on Deuce?

      Be kind to mass murderers planet?

      "Never met a jihadist rapist i didnt like planet"?

      Deuce shameful REALLY?

      Pull that thing you call a head of your ass...

  12. This is what results when a religious sect believes it has a superior race, religion or some colonial entitlement to territory taken in war.

    1. qout is bullshitting, again.

      The Jews he told us, were the font of civilization.

      The group from which all good things spewed.

      It was this uncalled for hubris, the condensation towards others, his just being the rudest piece of shit imaginable, is what turned me against Israel and its' Europeon colonists.

    2. Hitler, quot wrote, was right.

      That it was his desire to rename this blog to celebrate his revelation about Hitler, whom quot now believes was right. He further regaled us of his new found knowledge that his father had been wrong, all along.

      These revelations, he told us, he gained from his participation, here at ".The Libertarian".

      He does not deny that.
      He claims that there was a context to his writing that made it acceptable.

      This being utterly bizarre, since there has nary been a mention of Hitler in anything but a disparaging manner, excepting quot's proclamation, two days after the Patriot Day bombing, in Boston.

      He refuses to clarify, he refuses to bring that post forward.
      He will not present evidence on his own behalf, even in mitigation.

      Why, one must ask, will quot not take a stand?

      Unless he knows he is standing upon quick sand.


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. No, quot.
      It is not for me to do so.

      You could always appeal to Deuce, to bring it forward.

      But as for me, I will use the Israeli standard.
      Never providing more than the minimum.

      You referenced fictional statements you attributed to me, for years. Refusing to reference when or where those alleged statements were made.

      I am allowing you the opportunity to bring the post forward, telling you and the world where to find it. Which is more than you ever did.

    5. We both know that Deuce red the post where ...

      Hitler, quot wrote, was right.

      We both know what you wrote about Hitler, and your father.
      We both know that Deuce is the judge.

      We both know that your contentions about me, will be deleted as baseless.

      The fact is the truth marches with me ...

      Hitler, quot wrote, was right.

      While the rest of America was in mourning for the victims of the Chechen terrorists, in Boston.

      Ask Deuce to help you.

    6. Hitler, quot wrote, was right.

      That it was his desire to rename this blog to celebrate his revelation about Hitler, whom quot now believes was right. He further regaled us of his new found knowledge that his father had been wrong, all along.

      These revelations, he told us, he gained from his participation, here at ".The Libertarian".

      He does not deny that.
      He claims that there was a context to his writing that made it acceptable.

      This being utterly bizarre, since there has nary been a mention of Hitler in anything but a disparaging manner, excepting quot's proclamation, two days after the Patriot Day bombing, in Boston.

      He refuses to clarify, he refuses to bring that post forward.
      He will not present evidence on his own behalf, even in mitigation.

      Why, one must ask, will quot not take a stand?

      Unless he knows he is standing upon quick sand.


    7. quot begged Deuce to delete my posts about his adulation of Herr Hitler.
      Begged Deuce to censor the truth of what quot had said.

      Time and again quot begged, for censorship

      Not once has he asked our host to provide the post in question.
      The post he made, jut two days after the Patriot Day bombing ...

      Hitler, quot wrote, was right

      It was a post authored by quot.

      If we need to see it again, the request, to the host, should come from the author.

      It is only common courtesy.

    8. Myself, I have no need to read that Hitler, as quot wrote, was right.

      Nor that his father was wrong.

      Once was enough for me to know that the Israeli admires the NAZI.

      We know that both the Israeli and the NAZI embrace the concept of Lebensraum ("living space") as being a law of nature for all healthy and vigorous peoples of superior races ...

  13. Replies
    1. They have a tribal priority, number one on the Tribal Chain Chart?

      Which tribe comes in second, third,.and last?

    2. Tell me that they belong there because number one, they are there.
      Number two, they are not leaving.
      Number three, they have superior fire power to enforce number one and number two.

      Spare me the goat skin bullshit, flaming bushes and manifest destiny.

    3. The Israeli know their guilt, and so argue incessantly in mitigation.

      Thinking that mitigation absolves guilt, which it never does.

    4. I understand exactly what the word mean, quot.

      By the way, has your father been right, since Patriot's Day?

    5. DeuceThu May 30, 06:39:00 AM EDT
      Tell me that they belong there because number one, they are there.
      Number two, they are not leaving.
      Number three, they have superior fire power to enforce number one and number two.

      Spare me the goat skin bullshit, flaming bushes and manifest destiny.

      If it was the manifest destiny? It would be the "river to the sea". But that has NEVER been the goal of the Modern State of Israel.

      One standard for all, not just one standard for 1/900th of the middle east.

    6. That would be 1/900th of Arabia.


    7. Not even the size of a major metropolitan area, in the Americas.

    8. Lots more city states then you originally thought, aye

    9. No, the point is that there are many nations, that are not countries.
      They are cities.

      Independent polities that are tiny places.
      There a lots of 'em.
      Though most are islands.

      Palestine is in Arabia, the Israeli portion of it, only an island in the mind.

      Most island nations do not insist that people call 'em 'state of ...'
      Barbados comes to mind.

      Residents of Granada, too, do not insist on their island being called the 'state of Granada'
      They do not suffer from inbred cultural insecurity ...
      One that requires constant reassurance, or the patient begins to shake, then rant, uncontrollably.

      Granada does not claim cultural superiority to the US, nor do they have professional beggars walking the corridors of the US Capital, looking for free money for their island nation.

      No, only Israel maintains an entire cadre of beggars, in DC.

  14. Syria has already received the first shipment of an advanced Russian air defence system, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is reported to have said in a Lebanese TV interview.

    Russia vowed to go ahead with sending the weapons earlier this week in defiance of Western objections.

    Mr Assad is also reported to have told Hezbollah-linked Al Manar TV that the tide of the war is turning.

    Earlier, a rebel leader told the BBC that Hezbollah was "invading" Syria.

    Gen Selim Idriss, the military chief of the main umbrella group of Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army, claimed that more than 7,000 fighters of the Lebanese Shia movement were taking part in attacks on the rebel-held town of Qusair.

    Gen Idriss made an emotional appeal to Western powers on the BBC World Service's Newshour programme, saying: "We are dying. Please come and help us."

    He appealed for more weapons "to defend our citizens".

    Gen Salim Idriss makes an appeal on the BBC's World Service: "We are dying, we are suffering, many, many people are now waiting to be killed"
    Gen Idriss said the FSA was fielding fewer than 1,500 fighters in the fight for Qusair, armed only with light weapons.

    More than 50,000 residents were trapped in the town and a "massacre" would occur if it fell, he added.

    The US State Department has demanded that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Hypocrisy

    The US State Department has demanded that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately.

    “Lincoln, withdraw your Irish brigades from Virginia immediately”, demanded the English Ambassador.

    How many of the 700,000 Americans, mostly Protestants, killed in the Civil War, were at the hands of Irish Catholic mercenaries?
    Mercenaries, in the army of Lincoln, determined to not allow the Southern States to withdraw from the federal government, all because Lincoln said so.

  17. Now this is a surprise (from Reuters):

    U.N. investigators say most Syria rebels not seeking democracy

    1. The US is at war with the murderous Sunni radicals, authorized by Congress on 14SEP01.
      It is not at war with the government of the Alawite pagans that have been ruling Syria for forty years.

      The enemy of the enemey ...

    2. Edit alert!!

      The enemy of the enemy ...


  18. Communications captured in Mali open a window to AL-Quieda, showing it for what it really is.

    A Criminal Organization, the uses religion as a wrap. Like the la Costra Nostra were Catholics

    You never call, you ignore meetings ... read al-Qaeda's letter to terrorist

    First and foremost, they quibble over the amount of money raised by the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler, the highest-ranking United Nations official in Niger, and his colleague. Belmoktar's men held both for four months, and in a book he later published, Fowler said he did not know if a ransom was paid.

    The letter says they referred the case to al-Qaeda central to force concessions in the US-led war in Afghanistan, a plan stymied when Belmoktar struck his own deal for 700,000 euros (about $A900,000) for both men. That's far below the $3 million per hostage that European governments were normally paying, according to global intelligence unit Stratfor.

    "Rather than walking alongside us in the plan we outlined, he managed the case as he liked,'' they write indignantly. "Here we must ask, who handled this important abduction poorly? ... Does it come from the unilateral behavior along the lines of our brother Abu Abbas, which produced a blatant inadequacy: Trading the weightiest case (Canadian diplomats!!) for the most meager price (700,000 euros)!!''

    1. From "Cause," to business, to Racket.

      All movements are the same.

  19. California continues to knock out 20% of its electricity from (non-large hydro) Renewables.

    Ca ISO

    1. Hey, did you see the stats on the German Army, circa 1941?

      80% horse drawn, marching into Russia.

    2. No, I would have, absolutely, Never dreamed that.

    3. When Eisenhower got his clock cleaned in his first N. African battle, his first response was to order 6,000 more Trucks.

      Then, skip on over to the story of "The Red Ball Express."

      War is about Logistics.

    4. You cain't shoot'em if you've run out of bullets.

    5. Is there a study of the differences in organisation of and efficiency of supplies of supply for the Afrika Corps which had no horses and the rest of the army?

      To what extent did the presence of horses have on operations and planning of the German Army?

      The scale of the use of horses may be glimpsed from the following:

      Into Russia: Depending on the weather and distance traveled, each infantry division needed up to 55 tons of feed per day for its horses. There were more than 750,000 horses in the attacking force in June of 1941 and they required 16,350 tons of feed per day.

      The German army causality losses during the 1941-45 period exceeded 6,700,000 horses (26,000 of which were eaten by starving German soldiers during the battle of Stalingrad).

    6. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that 80% number.

  20. Repeal the 14SEP01 AUMF or the US will Stay the Course!

    McClatchy Foreign Staff

    ISLAMABAD -- Missiles from a CIA drone killed a Pakistani Taliban leader Wednesday who was carrying a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, Pakistani security officials said, an indication that the Obama administration and the Pakistani military still are cooperating on the top-secret U.S. targeted killing program.

    The strike against Waliur Rehman Mehsud was the first in Pakistan since President Barack Obama outlined tighter rules for the controversial targeted killing program in a speech last week, and some experts questioned whether the criteria used to target him conformed to the president’s pledges of greater accountability and transparency.

    In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to confirm a U.S. hand in Mehsud’s death. But he contended that Mehsud “has participated in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO personnel and horrific attacks against Pakistani civilians and soldiers.”

    Read more here:

    Better a drone strike than sending in the Marines.

  21. On the National Geographic Channel ...

    Jesus: Rise to Power

    "Martyrs" Rome's attempt to stamp out Christianity ends up inspiring some Christians to become martyrs, ultimately helping Christianity develop into a worldwide political and religious force

    1. .

      You been watching the Naked Archeologist again, rat?


      Nothing like being burned at the stake, crucified, or being torn apart by lions for a good time.



    2. No, Q, this series is not the Naked Archeologist.

      It is the history of Christianity, serialized.
      It does not provide much information concerning the who the producers are.

      The episode on now ...
      Jesus: Rise to Power

      "Christians" in less than four centuries, Christianity evolves from the crucifixion of Jesus into a religious and political force woven into the Roman Empire.

      How the Byzantine Romans created a seamless connection 'tween the Christian church and the Roman state.


    3. inside-NGC-610x110.jpg
      Jesus’ Rise to Power
      Posted by National Geographic Channels in Inside NGC on March 28, 2013
      Share on email More »
      Jesus Rise to Power

      In less than four centuries, the little-known cult of Jesus rises from a disparate collection of beliefs that do not even go by the name of Christianity into a dynamic, coherent force that dominates the mighty Roman Empire. This extraordinary story is an epic human drama filled with suspense, political intrigue, brutal religious persecution, and sheer luck. In a landmark three-part series, Jesus: Rise to Power, Dr. Michael Scott sets outs across the historic landscapes of the ancient world to discover how and why Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire.

      First up at 8P is Jesus: Rise to Power: Messiahs: In his quest to find out about the rise of Christianity within the Roman Empire, Dr. Michael Scott tackles the birth of the Christian religion. The Romans executed Jewish Messiah Jesus of Nazareth in the most humiliating way they could. In a world where people are defined by the manner of their death, Jesus should have been branded a failure and rejected. But he is not. Jesus’ crucifixion becomes one of the defining moments in Christianity and he is heralded as the Messiah. Michael’s quest uncovers how the Christian message spread and grew through Roman expertise and technology, how it became more visible and therefore more vulnerable to attack by the Roman authorities, and how it organized itself and broke away from its Jewish roots.

    4. Michael is an Assistant Professor in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, UK. His research and teaching focuses on the ancient history and archaeology of the Greek and Roman worlds. He has written a number of books on aspects of ancient Greek and Roman society and written and presented a range of programmes for National Geographic, History Channel and the BBC including Delphi: bellybutton of the ancient world; Guilty Pleasures: luxury in the ancient and medieval words; Jesus: rise to power and Ancient Discoveries. He also writes for national and international newspapers and magazines, lectures to schools and groups in the UK and Europe, and has taught in the UK, Europe, US and Brazil. He is currently working on two new series for the BBC as well as a new series on BBC Radio 4, and will be publishing his next book with Princeton University Press in 2014.

  22. The Germans were going to conquer the world, and 80% of their logistics were, basically, based on Centuries-old technology.

    On the other hand, Our Army, and Marine Corps are pushing for Solar, while our Navy is pounding the drum for Biofuels.

    Don't get caught in Last Century thinking.

  23. Gasoline Demand continues to decline by a little over 3%, YOY.

    EIA Weekly Stats

    Thank God for "low hanging fruit."

    1. A few economies w/o much in the way of "low-hanging fruit:"




      I'm thinking, more and more often, that We might end up being "the last man standing."

    2. Look at the American Hemisphere, rufus, and the future is so bright, we better get new Ray-Bans.

    3. I agree. Europe's screwed, and China doesn't have enough time (or, agricultural potential.)

      You step back and look at it, and you've gotta LOVE the Americas.

  24. Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the 49 United States that are actually in America ...

    Venezuela, is on the brink of another revolution, Hugo is gone and the new fella, he ain't no Hugo.
    Colombia, stable and pretty dang secure, now.

    The Panama Canal expansion continues apace, financed as many socialized projects are, by Charlie Chi-com.
    But then so is 8% of US national debt.

    Most of the off shore tax havens are opening their books to the IRS.

    1. Colombia is kinda the "sleeper," there. Huge potential. Hasn't been needed, so far, but Huge potential.

  25. Did Kerry Offer Palestinians
    An Airport?

    Politically, the agenda of Palestinian officials is so loaded with existential issues such as the future border of the state and settlement activities that such small issues as travel permissions get little attention.

    In his strategic plans for a Palestinian state, former prime minister Salam Fayyad outlined the idea of a Palestinian airport near Jericho as one of the basic infrastructure projects that must commence work immediately. The location of the airport, like most of the areas in the Jordan Valley, is considered part of the so-called Area C and therefore under full Israeli security and civilian control. No action can be taken in these areas without Israeli permission. European Union officials have been pushing for years for Israel to ease its grip on Palestinian areas of development, especially in Area C.

    It is unclear if in fact Kerry made such an offer or if he received Israeli approval for work to begin on a Palestinian airport. The previous Palestinian airport in Gaza — opened with such fanfare by former US president Bill Clinton — now lies in ruin after Israeli bulldozers violently tore up the runway in 2002 as a collective punishment to Palestinians.

    Whatever the truth is about the secret offerings of the secretary of state, there is no doubt that the issue of freedom of travel is an important one for Palestinians that should be given priority with or without the return to direct talks.

    Daoud Kuttab is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor's Palestine Pulse.

    Read more:

  26. Quirk - further to our discussion yesterday of the international nature of the Syrian conflict:

    "Early in 2012, Russia took a strong stand in support of Syria's government and against international action—promoted by Western and Arab countries—to punish the government for its crackdown on the Syrian uprising. As one of five veto-wielding members of UN Security Council, Russia promised to veto any sanctions against the Syrian government put before the Security Council and continued supplying large amounts of arms that Syria had earlier contracted to buy.[3]

    The Syrian port city of Tartus hosts a Soviet-era naval supply and maintenance base, under a 1971 agreement with Syria. The base was established during the Cold War to support the Soviet Navy's fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. Since Russia forgave Syria of three-fourths, or $9.8 billion, of its $13.4 billion Soviet-era debt and became its main arms supplier.


    Syria for the past few years has reached out to Russia to obtain modern weapons that included many modern anti-tank and anti-air missile systems that will further improve its combat capabilities


    The Syrian occupation of Lebanon began in 1976 as a result of the civil war and ended in April 2005 in response to domestic and international pressure after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.


    Syria, Hezbollah and Iran: An Alliance in Flux


    The Origins of the Alliance

    To address this topic, we need to review the origins of the trilateral pact, starting with the formation of an alliance in 1979 between secular Alawite-Baathist Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ideologically speaking, the Syrian Alawite elite represent an offshoot of Shiite Islam that the Sunnis consider apostate. They found some commonality with the Shiite clerical elite in Tehran, but there were also broader strategic motivations in play. At the time, Syria was on a quest to establish the country's regional prowess, and it knew that the first steps toward this end had to be taken in Lebanon. From the Syrian point of view, Lebanon is not just a natural extension of Syria; it is the heartland of the Greater Syria province that existed during Ottoman times. Since the days of Phoenicia, what is modern-day Lebanon has been a vibrant trading hub, connecting routes from the east and south to the Mediterranean basin. For Syria to feel like it has any real worth in the region, it must dominate Lebanon

    1. ...

      It has now been more than five and a half years since the al-Hariri assassination, and there is little question that Syria, once again, has reclaimed its hegemonic position in Lebanon. The Syrian intelligence apparatus pervades the country, and Lebanese politicians who dared to speak out against the Syrian regime are now asking for forgiveness. In perhaps the most glaring demonstration of the political tide shifting back toward Damascus, Saad al-Hariri, the son of the slain al-Hariri and Lebanon's reluctant prime minister, announced in early June that Lebanon had "made a mistake" in making a "political accusation" against Syria for his father's murder. The message was clear: Syria was back.

      That message did not necessarily sit well with Hezbollah and Iran. Syria wants to keep Hezbollah in check, returning to the 1990s model when Syrian military and intelligence could still tightly control the group's movements and supplies. Iran and Hezbollah have also watched as Syria has used its comeback in Lebanon to diversify its foreign policy portfolio over the past year. Saudi Arabia and Turkey, for example, have been cozying up to Damascus and have quietly bargained with the al Assad regime to place checks on Hezbollah as a way to undermine Iran's key proxy in the Levant. As long as these regional powers recognize Syria's authority in Lebanon, Syria is willing to use those relationships to exonerate itself from the al-Hariri assassination tribunal, rake much-needed investment into the Syrian economy and, most important, re-establish itself as a regional power. Syrian President Bashar al Assad's decision to visit Beirut alongside Saudi King Abdullah was a deliberate signal to Hezbollah and Iran that Syria had options and was not afraid to display them.

      This does not mean Syria is ready and willing to sell out its Hezbollah and Iranian allies. On the contrary, Syria derives leverage from maintaining these relationships and acting as the bridge between the Shiite revivalists and the Sunni powers. Syria has illustrated as much in its current mediation efforts among the various Iraqi factions that are torn between Iran on one side and the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the other. But if we go back to reviewing the core reasons Syria agreed to an alliance with Iran and Hezbollah in the first place, it is easy to see why Hezbollah and Iran still have a lot of reason to be worried.

      One could continue on showing the regional (hence international given the number of nations involved) tensions, rivalries, and shifting alliances and I haven't even started on the US role in the region. The point being that the Syrian conflict is not simply restless Syrians agitating against and oppressive regime but rather a large mix (including al-Qaeda, Turkey, Israel ect) of players all with differing and dovetailing agendas.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. The internal strife, 'tween Sunni and Assad is legend.

      Assad Sr., took on the Muslim Brotherhood, killing tens of thousands of the radicalize Wahhabi.

      There is not another regime in the Islamic Arc that has taken the fight to the Wahhabi terrorists with international reach as hard as the Assads' have.

      If any Americans were to still be carrying a grudge towards Muslims, over the events of 11SEP2001, then he'd have to be rooting for the Alawite pagans in Syria and their leader, Doc Assad.

    4. .

      This, Ash, was my post that you are objecting to,


      It's merely been a bunch of dicks in the ME duking it out amongst themselves.

      Now elitists in the west insist on joining in.

      The post was a follow-up to a post WiO put up in which he indicated the Syrian Civil War had "always been an international conflict," which itself was in response to my initial post which dealt with the current civil, now regional, and soon to be international war, the escalation there and the latest threat of introducing sophisticated weapons there initiated by the west.

      I think most will agree that the war started in March, 2011 and continues to present. Yesterday, I gave you the background and the factors that precipitated the Syrian conflict in March, 2011. I pointed out that until the end of 2011 the conflict consisted mainly of Assad's reacting to local demonstrations. It was at the end of 2011 when the full fledged armed combat by opposing armies started, those of the rebel's and the government's. It was also at this point that regional players and their surrogates began providing men and material to the rebels which increased the sectarian violence and the scope of the fighting. It was mid-2012, when international players, primarily the UK and France started really politicking to remove the ban on providing arms to the rebels.

      As I pointed out, the battle began locally it progressed to regional and has been moving towards an international conflict; therefore, it has not "always" been an international conflict.

      You quote Stratfor yet you clearly have not noticed how most news outlets tend to differentiate between regional and international when referring to the conflict. Also, on July 15, 2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross assessed the Syrian conflict as a "non-international armed conflict" (the ICRC's legal term for civil war)...

      Even if we were to accept your definition of 'regional equals international', the progression of the war throughout 2011 shows that it was mostly a local uprising and not international in scope and thus has not "always been an international conflict".


    5. and the Russians, no, they aren't involved at all...

    6. .


      What for completing existing arms commitments?

      For insisting along with China that the international community not pick sides in the Syrian conflict, at least, internationally at the UN?

      You seem to forget that at the urging of the U.S. Russia put off it's deal to sell S300's to the Syrians. It was only when the EU cancelled its ban on selling weapons to the rebels that Russia indicated that they would go ahead with the sale.

      Regardless, that happened this year.

      The question was has the Syrian Civil War that started in March, 2011 "always been an international conflict". That is what you got your panties in a twist over.

      It hasn't.


    7. But, no, Q.

      The war did not start in March of 2011, it started in 1976.

      in 1976, a number of prominent Syrian officers and government servants, as well as "professional men, doctors, teachers," were assassinated. Most of the victims were Alawis, "which suggested that the assassins had targeted the community" but "no one could be sure who was behind" the killings.[6] The Muslim Brotherhood was blamed for the terror by the government, although the insurgents used names such as Kata'ib Muhammad (Phalanxes of Muhammad, begun in Hama in 1965 Marwan Hadid) to refer to their organization.[7]

      It was speculated that the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq provided logistical and military support to the Brotherhood, even though the Ba'athist regimes of both countries were allied during the Iraqi-Kurdish conflict.
      Local revolts: November 1979 - January 1982

      In November 1979, a Brotherhood leaflet stated:

      We reject all forms of despotism, out of respect for the very principles of Islam, and we don't demand the fall of Pharaoh so that another one can take his place. Religion is not imposed by force....[8]

      Widescale assassinations led up to the 16 June 1979 slaughter of cadets at the Aleppo Artillery School. On that day a member of school staff, Captain Ibrahim Yusuf, assembled the cadets in the dining-hall and then let in the gunmen who opened fire on the cadets. According to the official report 32 young men were killed. Unofficial sources say the "death toll was as high as 83."[9] This attack was the work of Tali'a muqatila, or Fighting Vanguard, a Sunni Islamist guerrilla group and spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood. `Adnan `Uqla, who later became the group's leader, helped plan the massacre.[10]

      The cadet massacre "marked the start of full-scale urban warfare" against Alawis, cadre of the ruling Ba'ath party, party offices, "police posts, military vehicles, barracks, factories and any other target the guerrillas could attack." In the city of Aleppo between 1979 and 1981 terrorists killed over 300 people, mainly Ba'thists and Alawis, but also a dozen Islamic clergy who had denounced the murders. Of these the most prominent was Shaykh Muhammad al-Shami, who was slain in his own mosque, the Sulaymaniya, on 2 February 1980.

      Simple story, from our friends at Wiki.

      The Sunni have been in constant revolt, the Muslim Brotherhood outlawed, since way back when..
      The Saudi and Qatar input into Syria, I think it safe to say it predates March 2011.

    8. The Russians, having those signed agreements that predate March of 2011, are in Syria, to maintain a port on the Med and to balance the Saudi political influence.

      Recall that it was the Saudi, working with Reagan, that drove down the price of oil, aiding immensely in the bankrupting of the Soviet Union.

      Animosity dies hard. Especially for the KGB alumni.

    9. Syria has been "internationalized" since the French colonial days.

      If not to be Euro-centric, Syria has been internationalized since ... the Persians
      Followed by

      Greeks ...
      Romans ...
      Mongols ...
      Crusaders ...

    10. .


      Do you think the poor in Syria who began demonstrating in March, 2011 gave a shit about the Romans and Greeks from thousands of years ago?

      Do you think the Syrian farmers suffering through the drought in 2010/2011 gave a shit about fueds between Russia and SA?

      Do you think the Syrian opposition which since 2008 and before, faced with escalating food and commodity prices as a result of the worldwide recession, faced with new economic reforms that exacerbated the spread between haves and have nots, that had seen Assad's promises of political reforms come to nothing, really gave a shit about crusaders or Mongols?

      You point out the obvious regarding the majority Sunnis (as well as the Kurds) being discrimnated against by a minority dictatorship. The new economic reforms tended to continue and expand on that discrimination. But that was local issue albeit a long-standing one.

      All of the things I mentioned precipitated the demonstrations that started in March, 2011. The Syrian opposition, mostly Sunni, were not demonstrating against something that happened in 1979. They were demonstrating against the discrimination, the deteriorating standard of living, and the lack of the political reforms they had been promised and had not recieved from Bashar Assad in March, 2011.

      In the end, you fall back on offering us a history of the ME resulting from the splitting up of the WWI mandates after WWII as if the Syrian Civil War of 2011 was a preordained event decades before it actually happened.

      Next, you will be blaming it on either Churchill or Alexander the Great.

      You will pardon me if I fail to take you too seriously.


    11. No, I don't thnk that many care about the Mongols.

      But they do care about what happened in Hama.
      They do know that the battle for Syria, did not start in 2011, but in 1976.

      The Syrians do know that the Muslim Brotherhood is a proxy for the Saudi mullahs, who stand four square as Wahhabi radicals.

      The idea that we can pull a date out of the air, and call it the 'start', is comical, Q.

      The revolt against the Assad's has been ongoing, like the conflict in Israel, since a religious minority claimed secular sovereign control of the polity. And had the gumption to hold it, in the face of civil and sectarian conflict.

    12. Quirk, you are treating the conflict as if it arose solely out of the demonstrations and Assad's reaction to them. The demonstrations are but one small part of the story - they do not exist in a world all their own. The 'civil war' did not arise simply as a function of the demonstrations.

    13. And support, for and against Assad, has been funded and supported by all kinds of international players, most all predating March of 2011.

      Assad was never a solo player, he had international support, well prior to March 2011.

      The Sunni, they have been revolting in Syria for at least 37 years.
      They have friends, financiers and fighters from across the world. And did prior to March 2011.

    14. The Russians are in Syria, in part, because 'Old Man' Assad dealt the Muslim Brotherhood such a heavy blow.

      Which was part of the same sectarian war that rages in Syria, now.

      It did not start in 2011.
      If it did, it WAS international in scope the day it started.
      All the players were already in place.

      The game was already afoot, in Mach 2011.

    15. The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria

      by Daniel Pipes

      'Alawis helped maintain French rule. They turned out in large numbers when most Syrians boycotted the French-sponsored elections of January 1926. They provided a disproportionate number of soldiers to the government, forming about half the eight infantry battalions making up the Troupes Spéciales du Levant, serving as police, and supplying intelligence. As late as May 1945, the vast majority of Troupes Spéciales remained loyal to their French commanders. 'Alawis broke up Sunni demonstrations, shut down strikes, and quelled rebellions. 'Alawis publicly favored the continuation of French rule, fearing that France's departure would lead to a reassertion of Sunni control over them. Henri de Jouvenel, the French High Commissioner for Syria (1925-27), quoted a leading 'Alawi politician telling him: "We have succeeded in making more progress in three or four years than we had in three or four centuries. Leave us therefore in our present situation."

      1926, the Alawis were battling the Sunni in Syria.

      And you're purporting to tell us the war started in Mach of 2011?

    16. 'Alawi resistance to Sunni rule took a new turn in 1939 with the launching of an armed rebellion led by Sulayman al-Murshid, the "half-sinister, half-ludicrous, figure of the obese, illiterate, miracle-working 'god.'" Murshid, a bandit who proclaimed himself divine, challenged Sunni rule with French weapons and some 5,000 'Alawi followers. In the words of a 1944 British consular report: "The local Alaouite leaders, whose conception of the new order in Syria is a Nationalist Government who will treat them after the fashion of the French, upholding their authority and condoning their excesses, are doing their best to combine, and the movement appears to be supported by the French." Murshid succeeded in keeping Damascus' authority out of the 'Alawi territories.

    17. When they came to power, the Sunni rulers in Damascus spared no effort to integrate Latakia into Syria (in part because this region offered the only access to the sea). Overcoming armed resistance, they abolished the 'Alawi state, 'Alawi military units, 'Alawi seats in parliament, and courts applying 'Alawi laws of personal status. These measures had some success; 'Alawis became reconciled to Syrian citizenship after the crushing of a Druze revolt in 1954 and henceforth gave up the dream of a separate state. This change of outlook, which seemed to be a matter of relatively minor importance at the time, in fact ushered in a new era of Syrian political life: the political ascent of the 'Alawis.
      Sunni leaders apparently believed that reserving the top positions for themselves would suffice to control the military forces. Accordingly, minorities filled the lower ranks and for some years found it difficult to rise above the company level. Ironically, this discrimination actually served them well; as senior officers engaged in innumerable military coups d'état between 1949 and 1963, each change of government was accompanied by ruinous power struggles among the Sunnis, leading to resignations and the depletion of Sunni ranks. Wags claimed, with some justice, that there were more officers outside the Syrian army than inside it. Standing apart from these conflicts, the non-Sunnis, and 'Alawis especially, benefited from the repeated purges. As Sunni officers eliminated each other, 'Alawis inherited their positions. With time, 'Alawis became increasingly senior; and, as one 'Alawi rose through the ranks, he brought his kinsmen along.

      Purges and counter-purges during the 1946-63 period bred a deep mistrust between the officers. Never knowing who might be plotting against whom, superior officers frequently bypassed the normal hierarchy of command in favor of kinship bonds.

    18. Three changes in regime marked the 'Alawi consolidation of power: the Ba'th coup d'état of March 1963, the 'Alawi coup of February 1966, and the Asad coup of November 1970.

      'Alawis had a major role in the coup of 8 March 1963 and took many of the key government positions in the Ba'th regime that followed. Between 1963 and 1966, sectarian battles pitting minorities against Sunnis took place within the military and the Ba'th Party.

      First the military: to resist President Amin al-Hafiz, a Sunni, and to consolidate their new position, 'Alawi leaders flooded the military with cosectarians. In this way, minority officers came to dominate the Syrian military establishment. When seven hundred vacancies opened in the army soon after the March 1963 coup, 'Alawis filled half the positions. So restricted were Sunnis, some graduating cadets were denied their commissions to the officer corps. ...

      The 'Alawi hold on power provoked bitter complaints from other communities. A Druze military leader, Salim Hatum, told the press after he fled Syria that 'Alawis in the army outnumbered the other religious communities by a ratio of 5-to-1. He noted that "the situation in Syria was being threatened by a civil war as a result of the growth of the sectarian and tribal spirit." He also observed that "whenever a Syrian military man is questioned about his free officers, his answer will be that they have been dismissed and driven away, and that only 'Alawi officers have remained." Playing on the Ba'th slogan, "One Arab nation with an eternal mission," Hatum mocked the rulers in Damascus, saying that they believe in "One 'Alawi state with an eternal mission."

      'Alawi domination did not assure stability. Two 'Alawi leaders, Salah Jadid and Hafiz al-Asad, fought each other for supremacy in Syria through the late 1960s, a rivalry that ended only when Asad prevailed in November 1970. In addition to differences in outlook - Jadid was more the ideologue and Asad more the pragmatist - they represented diverse 'Alawi sects. The September 1970 war between the PLO and the Jordanian government was the decisive event in Asad's rise to power. Jadid sent Syrian ground forces to help the Palestinians but Asad refused to send air cover. The defeat of Syrian armor precipitated Asad's bloodless coup d'état two months later. This, Syria's tenth military coup d'état in seventeen years, was to be the last for a long time to come. It also virtually ended intra-'Alawi fighting.

    19. Even before Assad had total control of Syria, he would not support the Sunni radicals, in the state of Jordan, Palestine.

    20. March 1, 2010 update:

      "Today, the Alawis of Syria are the only ruling religious minority in the Muslim world."

      With that striking statement, Yvette Talhamy, formerly of Haifa University, opens her important article, "The Fatwas and the Nusayri/Alawis of Syria" in Middle Eastern Studies.. She reviews fatwas hostile to the 'Alawis from before the twentieth century and three friendly ones from the twentieth century, arguing that "these fatwas shaped the history of the Nusayris." It's one of the few pieces of research to build on the subject of the article above.

    21. Funny that Yvette Talhamy, formerly of Haifa University, does not include the Jews of the state of Israel, Palestine on that list of a religious minorities ruling in the Islamic Arc.

    22. .

      Nice googling, rat, but irrelevant to the point we were arguing.

      We are talking about a specific military operation called the Syrian Civil War much as we talk about other military events that are identified similarly such as The Six-Day War or the 2nd Intafada. Throughout the past posts, I have been speaking of the precipitating factors leading to that specific conflict.

      You specifically mention the Russians when speaking of ‘all the players being in place’; however, I have yet to see a report from 2011 that said the Russians were attacking the demonstrators.

      Likewise, to accept your definition, that is, that Syria has been in a state of civil war since 1979, we would have to also argue that because of sectarian and religious divisions , India has been in a state of civil war for decades, that Iraq was in a state of civil war for all the years Hussein was in power, that Bahrain is currently in a state of civil war, that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both in a state of civil war; heck, that Sweden is currently in a state of civil war because of the ongoing violence between atheists and agnostics.

      While you might believe that, I doubt there are many out there that would accept you definition.

      That sectarian tensions and violence are widespread throughout the ME is not in question. However, I doubt there are many who would consider the ongoing tension and battles between Turkey and the PKK stationed in Iraq, for instance, in the same way they would view the ongoing civil war in Syria.


    23. .

      I'm growing tired of hearing what happened back in the 1930's, rat.

      You like WIKI

      Here is the WIKI entry for the Syrian Civil War.


    24. The Russian do not have to attack demonstrators, to be involved.

      No more than the US had to supply the troops that fired US manufactured tear gas at the demonstrators in Cairo, to be involved, there.

      The US was definitely involved in Egypt, the Russians in Syria.
      Supplying the weapons used, is being involved.
      The Saudi and Qatarians, too, qualify for being involved in Syria prior to March 2011.

      You want an arbitrary start date to the sectarian strife, when there is none.

    25. The 1930's was when the seeds of today's strife were planted, Q.
      They did not pop from the ground, fully grown, in March of 2011

      Whether that bores you, or not, inconsequential.

    26. You are the one that says what the US does today, referencing 'The War on Terror', will reverberate through out the impact area, for decades to come.

      We agree on that, it will.

      I do not understand why you do not agree that what happened in 1930 reverberates in the impact area, today.

      How is what we do today differ from what was done, by the Europeons, in the 1930's?
      Their actions still reverberate, today.

    27. .

      You want an arbitrary start date to the sectarian strife, when there is none.

      More nonsense from rat world. I do not want an arbitrary date for the 'sectarian violence'. I want a start date for the Syrian Civil War.

      If you say it doesn't exist, take it up with WIKI.


    28. How could any place that has been held by varied foreign rulers for decades, even hundreds of years, not be riven with international tensions and loyalties?

      Surrounded by adversaries and false flagged 'friends', Syria is another of the modern dysfunctional states designed and stood up by the Europeons, to be unstable and dysfunctional.

      How could anything in such a place be said to be totally 'internal'?

    29. All in the name, aye?

      Wiki knows word games


    30. But then, Q, if it is a fact that the Syrian Civil War started in March of 2011, it was internationalized from the very start.

      Which was ash's point, was it not?

      The Russians, Saudi, and Qatarians were all there prior to March 2011.
      The Iranians were there, prior to March 2011.

      The Muslim Brotherhood, with its foreign connections, there in Syria, for decades prior to March 2011.

      ash is right, if you are correct and the Civil War started in March 2011, it started internationalized.

    31. Where does Syria end and Hezbollah's Lebanon begin?

    32. If it started in 1976 or 1930, well, then today's fighting is part of a series of internal conflicts, that have gathered international supporters on both sides of the internal fight, since the beginning of the conflict, back in the day.

    33. .

      How could any place that has been held by varied foreign rulers for decades, even hundreds of years, not be riven with international tensions and loyalties?

      Nothing I have said denies your point.

      My initial post, which began this discussion a couple days ago, was speaking specifically of the Syrian Civil War, a war which WIKI states began on 15 March 2011, with popular demonstrations that grew nationwide by April 2011.

      Was Bashar Assad continuing many of the policies and abuses that were started under his father. Yes, but these were policies and abuses that affected the local population. The policies that spurred the people to action were not arms deals with Russia, they were policies that affected the local population. The other factors I mentioned also were local. They were factors that affected the people's demands for political reform, protest against ongoing economic reforms, and those affecting their standard of living. Local issues all. The Syrian Civil War started out as protests against a government and its abuses that directly affected the local Syrian population.

      It stayed local through 2011 when it began morphing into a regional conflict with new players as sectarian and nationalistic factors starting coming more to the fore. Eventually, it drew in more international players.

      International 'supporters' did not start the current conflict. It started locally by local populations. That regional and international players took a growing role over time does not change that fact.


    34. riiiight, and they hate US for our freedoms and Benghazi was sparked by a baaaad video.

    35. I do not think so, Q.

      There were demonstrations against the government, agreed.
      But demonstrations do not a civil war make.

      Were the initial demonstrations legitimate, did they have cause, surely they did. Assad is an authoritative minority ruler of a nation that has been radicalizing along sectarian lines for decades.

      But civil war requires combat. Armed rebellion against the government.

      That was not localized, but foreign, from the beginning.
      Fighters native to Libya, with combat experience fighting US in Iraq were financed by Qatar and started the armed rebellion.

      The protests were local, the civil war, that required external support from the very beginning.

  27. Warren Buffet just bought hisself another 1,000 Megawatts of Renewable Energy (Nv Energy.)

    1. Nv Energy owns quite a bit of geothermal, I believe.

  28. Shuanghui's bid for Smithfield, the world's largest hog farmer and pork processor, signals that not just any dish will do. As China grows more wealthy, relatively expensive protein is becoming a bigger portion of the domestic diet. China's meat consumption would still need to rise about 8% from last year's level just to catch up to South Korea's, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

    "It is part of the broad Chinese strategy to invest the country's current-account surplus into strategically important commodities. And going forward, more transnational acquisitions are possible in meat and dairy," said Paul Deane, the senior agricultural economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZBY, ANZ.AU, ANZ.NZ).


    Beef may be a prime target for Chinese buyers, said Rabobank analyst Chenjun Pan. Chinese beef consumption has been rising steadily, with domestic prices more than doubling since 2007, she said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that China's beef imports would rise to a record 175,000 metric tons this year. Industry data show that China imported about 61,000 tons last year.

  29. For the United States and its allies, the first challenge is creating a united delegation from an opposition that has always been anything but united.

    ¶ The Syrian Coalition has been plagued by internal turmoil since its inception in late 2011.

    ¶ The group has failed to deliver on most of its promises, ranging from distributing humanitarian aid to areas outside government control, to creating a unified military command, to becoming a serious government-in-exile.

    ¶ Instead the uneasy, distrustful members — dominated by long-exiled members of the Muslim Brotherhood, academics living abroad for decades and political activists fleeing Syria — have spent most of their time in luxury hotels arguing over which faction should claim what responsibility.

    ¶ The coalition’s problems have not been lost on Mr. Assad, who spoke contemptuously of his political adversaries in the Al-Manar television interview, describing them as exiles and paid stooges of hostile foreign governments — another indication that prospects for the Geneva conference are dim.

    ¶ “We will attend this conference as the official delegation and legitimate representatives of the Syrian people,” he said. “But, whom do they represent? When this conference is over, we return to Syria, we return home to our people. But when the conference is over, whom do they return to — five-star hotels?”

    For the United States and its allies, the first challenge is creating a united delegation from an opposition that has always been anything but united.

    ¶ The Syrian Coalition has been plagued by internal turmoil since its inception in late 2011.

    ¶ The group has failed to deliver on most of its promises, ranging from distributing humanitarian aid to areas outside government control, to creating a unified military command, to becoming a serious government-in-exile.

    ¶ Instead the uneasy, distrustful members — dominated by long-exiled members of the Muslim Brotherhood, academics living abroad for decades and political activists fleeing Syria — have spent most of their time in luxury hotels arguing over which faction should claim what responsibility.

    ¶ The coalition’s problems have not been lost on Mr. Assad, who spoke contemptuously of his political adversaries in the Al-Manar television interview, describing them as exiles and paid stooges of hostile foreign governments — another indication that prospects for the Geneva conference are dim.

    ¶ “We will attend this conference as the official delegation and legitimate representatives of the Syrian people,” he said. “But, whom do they represent? When this conference is over, we return to Syria, we return home to our people. But when the conference is over, whom do they return to — five-star hotels?”

  30. 30 December, 2011

    Shock ! Qatar mobilizes merc army in Turkey to overthrow Assad regime in Syria

    Qatar Creates 20000 strong Anti-Syria Mercenary Force based in Turkey, Israeli Media Reports.

  31. The Kurdistan National Assembly ...

    In December, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds said American and NATO forces had been training Syrian rebels in southeastern Turkish city of Hakkari since May of last year, Press TV reported.

    Edmonds further stated US was actively smuggling arms into Syria from Incirlik military base in Turkey, as well as financing Syrian rebels.

    “I think it’s clear that NATO is behind this and the US is part of NATO”, says Nate Hiller of Charlotte, N.C.

    The charges first appears after the website Wikileaks recently published a document that revealed that there are “covert operations” underway by U.S. and NATO forces inside Syria, against the government.

    In a private message now released, an analyst working for the Texan company, Stratfor, says that in December of last year, he attended a meeting at the Pentagon where he heard that U.S. /NATO soldiers were “inside Syria” providing training to armed rebels.

    On the 3rd Thursday, President Assad said that “foreign troops were trying to weaken the Syrian government.” Since mid-March 2011, Syria has faced violence that has resulted in hundreds dead, including many soldiers and security agents. Syria has blamed "mercenaries, armed saboteurs and terrorists" for the assaults resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people. These attacks are being “orchestrated from abroad”, according to Russian officials who appear to be feeding intelligence information to Syrian officials outlining US covert actions to destabilize the country and achieve its stated goal of “regime change”.

  32. 23DEC2011

    The cards stacked against the deserter force were further augmented this week: Two Russian spy satellites monitoring military movements in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Israel and Syria began feeding Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s strategists precise intelligence on FSA units in Turkey and rebel concentrations within Syrian cities, our military sources report.
    This new resource enabled the special Syrian armored forces stationed along the Syria-Turkey border to waylay the deserters moving back and forth, capturing some and liquidating many.

    From the very beginning, Turkey offered safe haven to the terrorists.
    Internationalized, from day one.

    1. the fact that this renegade army of Syrian army deserters, mercenaries and volunteers, has begun organizing into military frameworks of companies, battalions and brigades, indicates it numbers thousands.
      Still, our military sources do not credit reports of thousands of deserters per week. Western intelligence officials believe that no more than 4,000 soldiers have so far gone AWOL.
      They receive military training from Western, Turkish and Arab army instructors, as well as civilian security consultants and ex-special forces trainers from the US, Britain, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar.
      Every camp has a Turkish commander whose staff report to the US joint headquarters directing the Syrian Revolt from the Turkish town of Gaziantep, as we reported last week.

  33. 25 Nov 2011

    At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested "assistance" from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.

    "There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria," said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see."

    The Telegraph has also learned that preliminary discussions about arms supplies took place when members of the Syrian National Council [SNC] – the country's main opposition movement – visited Libya earlier this month.

    "The Libyans are offering money, training and weapons to the Syrian National Council," added Wisam Taris, a human rights campaigner with links to the SNC.

    The disclosure came as rebels raided an air force base outside the city of Homs and killed six pilots, according to a statement by the country's military.

  34. .

    There were demonstrations against the government, agreed.
    But demonstrations do not a civil war make.

    The rat denies the evolution of the war.

    The Muslim Brotherhood did not have a significant initial role in the 2011 uprising in Syria which began in March 2011,[10][11] and protest crowds sometimes explicitly rejected any identification with political Islamists and with the Muslim Brotherhood specifically (such as the large protest in Jasem, Daraa, on April 28, 2011).[12] The Syrian uprising's core population of protesters came from a younger generation which had come of age in a Syria without significant Muslim Brotherhood presence.[13]

    From another WIKI article on the MB.

    Rat says there was no civil war merely demonstration. WIKI disputes that and considers the precipitating events starting in early 2011 as part of the whole.

    The rat says it could not be defined as a civil war., Merriam Webster, and the Free Dictionary all agree that it could be defined as a civil war, "a war between political factions or regions within the same country."

    Rat says that there can be no civil war without combat. However, he ignores the fact that the UN says that there were thousands of deaths in 2011. He also ignores the fact that deserters from the Syrian army formed the FSA in August, 2011 and were engaged in actual, dare I say it, 'combat', first slowly attacking depots and convoys but in the period September through the end of the year attacking and taking sections of towns like Rastan, Idlib, and Jabal al-Zawiya. To argue that Syrian army deserters weren't locals is silly.

    As for outside players, they talked a lot, formed a lot of groups, but did little until 2012. It was 2012 when the battle started to accelerate as various nations looking to advance their own agendas based on sectarian and regional goals became more involved. However, to say there was no combat by the locals in 2011 is put to the lie by the facts.

    Let's see,

    The rat says there was no civil war in 2011. Wiki and others disagree.

    The rat says there wasn't any combat to justify calling it a civil war in 2011. The facts say otherwise.

    The rat says "Internationalized, from day one" yet as proof offers 'duscussions', 'plans', 'requests' and 'offers' from various groups dated at the end of 2011. That is, of course when he bothers to show a date or indicate the source.


    The rat. Wiki.

    The rat.

    The rat. The UN.

    The rat. The FSA.

    The rat. The facts.

    It's a toughy.


    I think I'll go to bed.


    1. I think I'll go fix some coffee.

      Yeah, Q, you can be a sheeple, if you want, believe the propaganda, if you wish.
      Or you can look at the ground, see the dirt.


  35. 18% of California's electricity came from non-large hydro Renewables, yesterday.