Why Hillary is completely wrong on Syria

According to this superb article by Patrick Cockburn, we are to expect new or increased american military intervention in the Middle East, particularly in Syria:

„…a report by the Centre for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington that recommends that the destruction of Isis should no longer be the overriding objective of the US in Syria, but that equal priority should be given to taking military action against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Army.“

This apparently requires „A new pro-US armed opposition would be built up to fight Assad, Isis, al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda clones“.

Now take a closer look:
The Syrian Army (and allies), Isis, Al-Nusra and her Al Qaeda sisters such as Ahrar al Sham and co. have a combined man power of around 200.000 men. The loyalist factions posses both airforce and air defense. All parties together in total field thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, artillery pieces and other short and mid range explosive weapons. Most important than all of this: All of the parties have 5 years of experience in irregular warfare, mastering the use of tunnels and tunnel bombs, DIY weapons, IEDs etc.
And now, a hitherto non-existent new army is going to rise in their midst and fight them all. No matter how much support the US airforce and even any special ground forces were to contribute this adventure is doomed to fail.
If you doubt this, I may refer to Afghanistan:
There the Americans/Nato had a major well-armed and -trained ally (15-20k men of the Northern Alliance), heavy ground presence (tens of thousands of Nato soldiers), an Afghan president representing the ethnic majority of the country (Pushtuns), no relevant sectarian element (broad majority of Afghans are Sunnis; Shia Hazaras very small group that was never in power), an enemy with little history of holding power (Taliban were in power just since 5 years when the Americans attacked in 2011).
15 years later the Afghan army built by Nato is hardly capable to defend against the Taliban without the help of the US airforce. The government has never regained full control of remote areas of the country and of the Pushtun heartland. The Taliban regularly stage attacks in the middle of Kabul inflicting casualties in Afghan and international troops.

Hillary and her „think tanks“ won´t care about all this. Instead she will elaborate that Syria is not Afghanistan, that the situation and the conditions are „totally different“…

 

 

How „moderate“ is the FSAs „Southern Front“

When confronted with the fact that there is no relevant moderate rebel faction going by the name of „Free Syrian Army“, still some people disagree pointing to the so called „Southern Front“ as a supposed success model of a secular/liberal force fighting against the Syrian government.

The more interesting then to zoom deeper into the Southern Front:

„The simultaneous claims of success indicate that the Southern Front’s fighters likely participated in the battle alongside the jihadists, even though the FSA’s southern alliance has repeatedly rejected cooperation with Al Nusrah.“

„Just days after Al Reis’ [Southern Front commander] public rejection of any cooperation with al Qaeda’s arm in Syria, Ahrar al Sham, Al Nusrah and their allies in the region announced the creation of a southern wing of Jaysh al Fateh (“Army of Conquest”).“

„Some FSA groups rejected cooperation with “Jaysh al Fateh in the South,” but others reportedly joined it. Adding to the battlefield confusion, the Southern Front apparently fought alongside Ahrar al Sham just days before publicly rejecting any collaboration with Al Nusrah (Ahrar’s closest ally in Syria)“

„According to a recent account, FSA groups operating under its umbrella are peeling off and joining Ahrar al Sham.“
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/10/al-nusrah-front-free-syrian-army-battle-assad-regime-for-un-hill-in-southern-syria.php

So much about the Southern Front being a reliable „moderate“ rebel faction and so much about it´s leaders credibility when they claim they will not cooperate with Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaedas Syrian branch.

Syria: Nusra Fronts recent massacres should open some eyes

Recently some western and Gulf Arab circles have been bringing up the idea to „reconsider“ the Nusra Fronts (Jabhat al Nusra) status as terrorist organization. They attempt to sugarcoat Nusra as „moderate Islamists“ who are supposedly the arch enemy of ISIS and therefore sort of „not that bad“.
The argument is totally flawed as the Syrian army is also fighting ISIS in places such as Qalamoun, eastern Homs (Palmyra), Deir al Zour and Hasakah to name some of the battlefronts, not to mention that ISIS is fighting pro Assad factions in the Yarmouk camp of Damascus, where – interestingly – it was al Nusra who let ISIS enter the camp.

To destroy any myths about Nusra being „moderate“ or otherwise „non-terrorist“ I refer to this comprehensive article, but it´s noteworthy to read some very recent news about al Nusra AFTER the Al Jazeera interview with the groups leader al Jolani. The aim of the interview was to advertise for Nusras „rebrandishing“ by allowing al Jolani to portray the group as one that not only has no plans to attack the west but also respects minorities, is non-sectarian, almost liberal one should think…

Here are some stories featuring the Nusra Fronts actions in the last weeks:

„“There was a garrison of 40 of our men in one battle in Idlib province, and 14 were killed in the fighting and the other 26 were captured,” General Ghassan says. “They executed them one by one, going from one man to the next to shoot him in the back of the head so that the others in the row would know what was about to happen to them.“
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/an-army-boot-is-placed-on-the-face-of-the-dead-men-general-ghassan-of-the-syrian-army-on-the-war-against-nusra-10289588.html

the Islamist gunmen picked off the Syrian checkpoints around Jisr al-Shugour, firing at ambulances taking the wounded to hospital, creating panic among civilians who poured into the centre of the town – much as the Muslims of Bosnia had fled for their lives under Serb attacks into the towns of the Drina Valley almost 25 years ago. 

„Some men who showed they were alive were immediately shot.“
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-syria-hospital-siege-thatturned-into-a-massacre-jisr-alshugour-breakout-was-less-of-a-victory-than-damascus-claims-10301084.html

„At least 20 Druze villagers have been shot dead by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in north-western Syria“
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33092902

With regards to the killing of the members of the Druze minority, especially this part of the BBC article should draw attention for many reasons:
„Wednesday’s shooting occurred after a Tunisian al-Nusra commander tried to confiscate a house belonging to a Druze man who he claimed was loyal to the Syrian government…the al-Nusra commander accused the Druze of being „kuffar“ (infidels) before ordering the mass shooting.“

This is exactly the point: Nusra harbors key non-Syrian radically sectarian elements, going from the Chechen commander Muslim Shishani to the Saudi Salafi „field ideologue“ Abdullah al Muhaysini.
There have been dozens of cases of similar mass executions of „non-aligned“ civilians, including many Sunnis, by simply declaring them „loyal to the Syrian government“, as if this in itself is a grave crime.
The international media has for years been very receptive and tolerant for Syrian rebel crimes as soon as the victims were defamed as „Shabiha“ or otherwise dehumanized. „Shabiha“, „Assad supporter“, „regime loyalist“, these and other negatively colored terms have been the standard vocabulary of Syrian rebels and their media mouthpieces when it came to justify terrorism and crimes against humanity.

Finally, the following article about Nusra and whether they really deserve reconsideration and „rehabilitation“ is highly recommendable:
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/06/rebranding-nusra-front-isil-syria-qaeda-150605062901260.html

Some excerpts:
„The Nusra Front, concluded HRW, was „responsible for systematic and widespread violations including targeting civilians, kidnappings, and executions„.

Like ISIL, the group has „committed systematic rights abuses, including the intentional targeting and abduction of civilians“ with „repeated claims of responsibility for lethal car bombing attacks that have targeted civilians in Syria„.

The Nusra Front, HRW added, has – again, like ISIL – „imposed strict and discriminatory rules on women and girls and they have both actively recruited child soldiers„.

So, a moderate or pragmatic group then? Not by any stretch of the imagination….

This notion that JN [the Nusra Front] isn’t as violent as [ISIL] is wrong; both groups follow the extremism of bin Ladinism, though the former uses a bullet while the latter prefers a blade – or worse“

Truths about the Yarmouk camp that western mainstream media and Arab channels suppress

The twisted and flawed „logic“ of many western and (Gulf) Arab media outlets regarding the Yarmouk camp of Palestinian refugees in Damascus goes as follows:
– The Palestinians in Yarmouk (but also in other camps) hate Assad and support the „revolution“
– Assad and the Syrian government (who for more than 40 years have been hosting the Palestinians) hate the Palestinians because they are (mostly) Sunnis
– The Syrian army is bombing the camp, keeping it under siege and starving the inhabitants
– The inhabitants love and support the Syrian rebels because the latter „defend“ the Palestinians and fight against the „regime“
– Only anti-Assad Palestinian factions in Yarmouk are fighting against ISIS

If someone is interested in a more authentic and less propagandist version of the camps recent story, I refer to following articles:

<<„There is intermittent fighting between Palestinian factions and IS and Al-Nusra Front which are trying to retake positions in the centre of Yarmuk,“ Khaled Abdel Majid, head of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front which is close to Syria’s regime, told AFP…He said Syrian regime aircraft have bombarded Al-Hajar al-Aswad, which is jihadist-held.>>
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/afp/2015/05/syria-conflict-yarmuk.html

pro-Assad Palestinian militias are fighting a grinding battle to the death against the Islamic State.“
<<“The cease-fire details were in place and ready to be implemented by the end of March 2015 when the terrorists of Daesh and Nusra launched their attack on the camp, scuttling all previous efforts,”>>
„The recent battle against the Islamic State, for instance, saw a number of defections from Hamas-controlled militant group Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis — previously allied with opposition factions in the camp — to the regime side, after the Islamic State beheaded 10 Aknaf men. But other fighters from the group defected to Nusra and the Islamic State. According to Palestinian sources, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who is based in Qatar, made several calls to PFLP-GC leader Jibril, as well as Hezbollah and Amal leaders in Lebanon, in order to secure the safety of Aknaf fighters. Now, approximately 160 Aknaf fighters are fighting alongside the regime
<<Unlike Hamas, we are loyal to Syria. Syria was loyal to Palestine.”>>
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/04/inside-the-ruins-of-yarmouk-refugee-camp-syria/

while the civilian population is suffering the lashes of hunger, thirst and dwindling medical supplies, militants inside the camp appear to be largely unaffected by the siege. On the contrary these groups seem to be well-armed, fully weaponized (at least to the extent that enables them to retain full military control over the majority of the camp despite the ongoing siege) and on multiple occasions have even instigated clashes and firefights with the Syrian army.

This begs the question: what prevents these militants from using their own supply routes and active ammunition channels to soften the impact of the regime-imposed siege on the civilian population inside the camp, keeping in mind that areas bordering Yarmouk from its southern entrance are controlled by the “rebels” themselves? ““
https://radioyaran.com/2015/04/11/why-is-the-yarmouk-camp-suffering-the-true-reasons-not-western-propaganda/

The pro-western liberal and secular democracy after Assad – Really?

Most of the relevant fighting on the rebel side of the Syrian war has been done by the Nusra Front, and the similarly Al Qaeda minded Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Islam, not to mention many other Al Qaeda or IS splinter groups including Chechen, North African or other Central Asian fighters.
The remnants of the so called „moderates“ have almost never hesitated to work closely with Al Nusra or even IS when it deemed necessary. Therefore all the occasional „bond breakings“ of the so called „Southern Front“ with Al Nusra cannot be taken seriously. One day they announce to have broken all ties with Nusra and opposing them, but when the Syrian army captures two villages they call for Nusra to help.

Now, nobody but extremely naive people believes that the radical and mostly sectarian islamists who bore the brunt of the fighting will lay down their weapons and quit the political field once Assad is defeated and gone/killed. These people have never fought for anything remotely resembling a „western“ civil state with democratic institutions and human rights implementation. Those who demonstrated against Assad will find out (just as Iranians post 1979 and Libyans after Ghaddafi) that what they have gotten is much worse than what they had.
And just like post-Soviet Afghanistan and post-Ghaddafi Libya the many militias will not let anyone disarm them.

The failure in Iraq was „explained“ with the Shia-Sunni conflict, but where are the Shia in Egypt? How many Shias live in Libya? Are the Afghan Shia a relevant force to claim that Taliban enjoy support to „counter balance“ them?
I know that Arab leaders and media are very creative in connecting Iran with any problem in their countries but is Iran „meddling“ in Egypt or Libya? Is Boko Haram in Nigeria or al Shabab in Somalia a „reaction“ to „Iranian expansionism“? Are takfiri groups in Kashmir or in Pakistan suffering from Iranian or „Shia oppression“?

Only complete idiots claim that with the departure of Assad and the victory of the „revolution“ peace and prosperity will return and prevail. Just see how Afghanistan fares, 14 years after „liberation“, after the mission being „accomplished“. And just judge for yourself whether Al Qaeda has been weakened after 14 years of the (seemingly endless) „war on terror“, after killing Bin Laden and after drone assassinations of dozens of Al Qaeda „top commanders“ in Africa, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Update: Israel admits helping Al Qaeda (Nusra Front) against Syria

Truth is out and IT´S OFFICIAL: The „Jerusalem Post“ openly and finally admits:
„Israel has opened its borders with Syria in order to provide medical treatment to Nusra Front and al-Qaida fighters wounded in the ongoing civil war, according to The Wall Street Journal.“
Thank you, so it´s no longer a „conspiracy theory of Assad supporters“:
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Israel-treating-al-Qaida-fighters-wounded-in-Syria-civil-war-393862

Update April 26th, 2015:
„Since the Nusra Front took over a key checkpoint in the Golan in the summer, it has not gone unnoticed by Arabs that Nusra has completely avoided attacking Israeli military targets in the region. The Qunaitra crossing stands between the Israeli-occupied and the Syrian-controlled sectors of the Golan – Nusra has held it since August.

UN peacekeepers have observed regular contacts between Nusra forces in the area and the Israeli troops stationed on the other side of the ceasefire line (Israel has illegally occupied part of the Golan since 1967). They also observed cargo of an unknown nature passing between the two sides from the Israelis.

More recently, when an army spokesperson talking to the Wall Street Journal confirmed Israel’s aid to al-Qaeda, it was shown that it also took the form of treating Nusra fighters in Israeli field hospitals near the ceasefire line and then sending them back to fight against the government of Syria. (Some defenders of Israel have claimed this is no different from how it supposedly treats any enemy fighter in its hospitals. But there is a crucial difference: fighters from Hamas or Hizballah captured by Israel would be sent straight to jail after hospital discharge.)“
http://richardedmondson.net/2015/04/16/the-unveiling-of-israels-hidden-alliance-with-al-qaeda-in-syria/

Update 2, April 27th, 2015:
„Israel has arrested a Syrian Druze man who documented contact between Israel and al-Nusra Front.“
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/04/curious-case-israel-al-nusra-facebook-spy-150420082913157.html

BBC tries to sugarcoat the Al Nusra Front, Syrias Al Qaeda branch

Seriously, what is this BBC article meant to achieve?
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31764114

One cannot help but to get the impression the author wants to downplay the Nusra Fronts evil and explain in what way this sectarian terrorist organization can be purified and euphemized. Reading carefully (and between the lines) it becomes obvious that the „logic“ applied is twisted, flawed and deeply disturbing.

Let´s go through some of the statements and „arguments“ of the author aiming to explain (or justify?) Qatars attempt to „rebrand“ Al Nusra:

„Firstly, there are no „good choices“ in Syria today. Qatar has surmised, it seems, that supporting or transforming the Nusra Front, is one of the „least worst“ options.“
Some questions/remarks:
1. Even if there were really no „good choices“ why does Qatar think it must intervene at any price at all? In how far are the alleged or real offenses of the Syrian government hurting or affecting Qatar that this remote and tiny country considers it righful to chose the „least worst“ option?
2. Why has Qatar invested billions of USD in almost all of the many so called „least worst“ options to achieve regime change on the grounds that „Assad is massacring his people“ but at the same time has not given tens (or hundreds) of thousands of Syrian fugitives asylum? Syria had not a twentieth of Qatars resources but hosted hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.
3. How did Qatar conclude that Al Qaeda in Syria (and nothing else is Al Nusra) is the „least worst“ option? How can a terror group that mass executes unarmed prisoners, behead opponents, is violently sectarian, and has killed thousands of people through suicide bombings be an option at all?

„Secondly, the Nusra Front has pledged to concentrate its efforts on removing the Bashar al-Assad government, as opposed to attacking the „far enemy“ (ie Western states).“
Really? Who was the witness of this „pledge“? Who signed for Al Nusra? And who is going to control that Al Nusra stays loyal to it? Had not Al Nusra earlier pledged obedience to IS leader al Baghdadi? And later to Al Qaedas Ayman al Zawahiri?
So, what is the pledge of a bunch of cutthroats worth?
So, as long as Al Nusra suicide bombs Syrian soldiers and „pro-regime“ civilians (which they simply denounce as „Shabiha“), throws Alawites and „pro-regime“ Sunnis into ovens and executes women for adultery BUT refrains from attacking western states, there is little to object, what?
Is this not a sick way of thinking and acting?

„This is why Qatar is hoping to bring the Nusra Front in from the cold. If the state can get the group to eschew its al-Qaeda affiliation and adhere to a broadly moderate Islamist platform, Qatar can officially commence, with Western blessing, the supply of one of the most effective fighting forces in Syria. “
This is all incredibly ridiculous and an insult to anyone (except Qataris and Salafis) intelligence:
We are supposed to absolve Al Nusra from all their beheadings and atrocities the moment they simply announce they do not belong to Al Qaeda anymore? Nusra (and similiar radical Islamists actions and mindset) is evil because of it´s nature, motivation and results, not because of that peoples official „membership“ to a vague umbrella group.

In the Qalamoun area on the Syrian-Lebanese border Al Nusra is continuing to work closely with IS, so their actions should be relevant and not their formal dissociation from Al Qaeda. Thousands of Syrian and non-Syrian extremists explicitly joined Al Nusra because of this groups uncompromising and highly sectarian Jihadism. These folks do not become moderates overnight only if their leadership grudingly accepts to abandon Al Qaeda in order to get more and better arms.

See also here:
https://radioyaran.com/2015/03/05/why-the-nusra-front-is-moderate-and-assad-is-the-magnet-of-terrorism/