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24 April 2013

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b

This recent WaPo story on refugees in Lebanon finds most of them to be pro-Assad. This even as they are Sunni and had their houses bombed by the Syrian army!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/assad-still-has-backers-among-syrian-refugees/2013/04/24/5037458c-ab5d-11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.html

Al Arabist

Yes, and Kurds and FSA are fighting in Aleppo, according to social media - I suppose the source for this article: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130426/syria-rebels-and-kurds-clash-aleppo

I really hope Cameron and Obama won't be the next Sykes-Picot, doodling a map of new ethnic states that won't work any better than the first time around.

Clifford Kiracofe

The two year old regime change war against Syria has been a disaster as Col. Lang and SST readers have noted all along.

Even the New York Times now is forced to admit the radical Islamists are entrenched and dominant in the terrorist ranks. This is not a bad bit of reporting:

"In Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, rebels aligned with Al Qaeda control the power plant, run the bakeries and head a court that applies Islamic law. Elsewhere, they have seized government oil fields, put employees back to work and now profit from the crude they produce.
Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.

Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of. ...


“My sense is that there are no seculars,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, of the Institute for the Study of War, who has made numerous trips to Syria in recent months to interview rebel commanders.

....“We all want an Islamic state and we want Shariah to be applied,” said Maawiya Hassan Agha, a rebel activist reached by Skype in the northern village of Sarmeen.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/world/middleeast/islamist-rebels-gains-in-syria-create-dilemma-for-us.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Clifford Kiracofe

Euro politicians appear as stupid as American when it comes to Syria policy.

There seems to be the same disconnect between the delusional politicians and saner elements of the military and IC:

"....What has German analysts most worried are the experience that these fighters are gaining in Syria, as well the contacts they are making there. As has been the case with Afghanistan and Pakistan, they fear that these guest warriors -- particularly given the usefulness of their passports for all terrorist plans -- will return to their home or adopted countries in Europe with concrete terror missions. "There is a host of disillusioned people," warned Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, a few weeks ago. "We have to particularly keep an eye on these people since they could possibly be returning with weapons know-how."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/german-officials-fear-return-of-islamist-fighters-in-syria-a-896745.html

"Weapons know-how" the only thing? How about Islamist terrorist ideology as we just saw in Boston?

Returned veterans just as the Afghansi back two decades ago, this time from Syria. Looking at a map, Syria appears closer to the Euros than Kabul...and those useful EU passports...the joys of multiculturalism...

bth

So why is Israel pressing the 'red line' mantra so hard now? Why not 3 months ago? What is triggering the issue today in Israel vs. say 6 mos from now? Has the threat suddenly heightened? I don't see it. Is it fashioinable to embarrass Obama/Hagel; to point out that we won't declare war on Syria without more substantial provocation? Perhaps but to what end for Israel and why now?

Adam L Silverman

Sir,

Wasn't meant to be internally contradictory. The Thirty Years war, or rather the crisis of legitimacy in each successive attempt to resolve the dispute by claimants to power, ultimately ended with the establishment of the modern state system, which established the basis, though it didn't happen right away, to separate religion from the state - either formally, as in the US (though we're a partial separation system) or functionally as in Western Europe where many states still have formal official religions, but they have no actual state authority. This, of course, you know. In the case of Syria I was trying to make it explicit that given the fact that as you've correctly remarked here - the Syrian Sunni majority is religiously conservative, and from my understanding is also devout, that even though they're not reactionary or hyper devout like the Salafist foreign fighters/jihadis who, according to news reports, are being funded by the Saudis and the Qataris and others, then should the domestic Sunni opposition ultimately prevail, we would still likely see a more Islamically oriented government. This should either clear things up or make them more confusing...

Adam L Silverman

B,

I've either led you to misread what I'm writing or you've read something into it I didn't intend. I did not say that there aren't Sunnis that have been coopted by the Asads - either per or fils - or who decided they had better prospects with them, but it is very clear from every political biogrpahy of Hafez al Asad, and specifically identified in Seale's seminal biography, that a key driver for Asad's seizing power was the protection of the Alawites; that through control and domination of Syria he could protect his people. While the son may not have the same motivation, and the Asad governments have broadened their base, so to speak over the years, should they loose power this won't become a tribal dispute, but given the multi-ethnic (both in terms of ethno-national and ethno-religious) nature of Syrian society the reprisals are likely to break along those lines. Alawites are specifically identified and identifiable with the Assad government, as well as several other Syrian minorities. As is the case when ever social and societal upheaval and breakdown occur, these identifications and identifiers will become very, very important. Both in terms of who to seek shelter with and who to blame and target.

Adam L Silverman

R Whitman,

I don't know. I've seen reporting that indicates both pro and against. I'm pretty sure the UNHCR isn't trying to account for this, just make sure these folks are taken care of, and in the case of any US assistance, the Department of State has VERY strict rules in place about what you can and cannot ask refugees about. So any American aid or relief efforts wouldn't be trying to ascertain that either.

Adam L Silverman

BTH,

I don't know. Israel does things, obviously, for their own reasons. To quote Bruce Banner from last summer's Avenger's movie trying to explain Loki's motivations in regards to Israel's PM: "that guy's brain is a bag of cats, you can smell crazy on him". Other than the fact that he hates and fears, and in a way that I have trouble fathoming, and he feels that the only way to deal with it is through seeking, obtaining, and maintaining power, I really do not have much understanding for the guy who is setting Israel's red lines. But its important to remember that the guy setting those red lines tried to pressure his security cabinet back in 2010 to attack Iran - they vetoed him, and would stop at nothing to be PM, so much so that he ran a campaign that cast his opponent Yitzhak Rabin as both Arafat and a Nazi and when someone finally bit on that message and took it to its logical conclusion, Rabin was assassinated and the beneficiary was Netanyahu. Link to the 2010 reporting here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/11/05/netanyahu-more-resolved-than-thought-to-strike-iran-but-israel-might-not-be/

DH

"“We all want an Islamic state and we want Shariah to be applied,” said Maawiya Hassan Agha, a rebel activist reached by Skype in the northern village of Sarmeen."

By Skype. That slays me.

How was the Easter fishing?

William R. Cumming

Is it accurate that German Knights led the Crusades? And in fact is Germany the key player on anti-Muslim sentiment in the EU today and perhaps the ultimate control mechanism through anti-immigration policy or other applications of force?

What is the de facto policy alignment on MENA from the EU and who leads it?

If NATO ended would this impact EU MENA policies?

And I would argue that FRANCE is largely a coopted nation by Germany economically and perhaps politically and wondering if this trend will continue?

Am I correct that FRANCE has the largest Islamic population of the EU except for KOSOVO and ALBANIA which are not EU?

William R. Cumming

Is it tact that the Germans are the largest foreign contracting delegation in IRAN and if so what is the significance of this fact?

Charles I

So many opportunities, so many Zionist imperatives, nuclear monopoly, so little time.

Clifford Kiracofe

Outer Banks surface water temps too cold for the bluefish I was after. Guys were catching sharks and other but weather was beautiful.

Headed down again in a couple of days. Thirty some inch blues being caught now in the surf. Water temps up now and stormy weather pattern seems to have subsided. Large blues good for smoking (alder) small ones good for eating fresh. Shall see, got the tackle ready over the weekend.

Sharia law...well, this is a grim joke as there never has been a codification of Islamic law as far as I know. There are four main schools of Sunni law and one of Shia. The jihadis have set up "sharia courts" in the areas they have seized in Syria. Perhaps the Obama White house could send some Harvard Law grads to advise them as part of our bringing democrazy and freedumb to Syria. Perhaps the president himself could advise them on establishing a law journal given his prestigious tenure as head of the Harvard Law Review.

William R. Cumming

Reference the Domino issue!

Should the US have allowed formal partition of Iraq?

Should Syria be partitioned?

If the answer to both questions above is NO then why not?

DH

I recall somewhere within the first three years, or so, of the Iraq war, compliance squads circulating who were doing such things as cutting of fingers of smokers and enforcing hijab by extreme measures. Under Hussein, women were not expected to wear hijab.

Happy fishing!

Clifford Kiracofe

We can also remember that the Saudi religious police trained same for Taliban in Afghanistan back in the day, 1990s.

I was in Iraq from one end to the other just prior to the first war. The Ba'ath Party was secular and thus women were not required to wear special clothing items. So in the urban areas you did not see much. In the rural areas, you would notice people dressed more traditionally. Kurds were allowed to dress in traditional clothing although when I had lunch with the local governor his officials wore Western style business suits.

The posters of Saddam in Baghdad portrayed him clothed in Western style while posters of him in rural areas portrayed him in more traditional garb.

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