Good Money After Bad?

Think back a year or more ago…..Syria had just used CWs on its population and the Neo-cons went bat crap crazy……..they demanded that the US do something……none were really too clear on what….but something must be done!

We have sent some humanitarian aid and various amounts of small arms….but neocons demanded more that we were killing the resistance to Assad by not sending bigger and better weapons and of course….we needed to do what we do best….airstrikes.

Well the Pentagon is set to pour more money into the Syrian civil war….they are seeking something like an extra $500 million for training of the Syrian rebels…….first we should ask….which rebels?  There are moderates and there are the fringe lunatics like ISIS……and how would we guarantee that the “proper” rebels would get the training?

The next question should be…..would this money be a waste?  Why ask that?

For one, it seems that Assad could be winning this war…….

 

Territorial Control: Syrian government troops have managed to hold on to most major urban centers, but large parts of the countryside are either in rebel hands, or a heavily contested no-man zone. The pro-Assad forces have a strong grip on the capital Damascus in the south, central Syria with the Homs province, and the Mediterranean coast in the west. The government controls key strategic routes connecting the capital with the coastline and with the Jordanian border in the south, ensuring the survival of the regime.
Military Power: Syria’s regular armed forces have been stretched thin by the widespread rebellion, suffering heavy casualties from daily ambushes and bomb attacks. However, the elite units numbering about 50 000 men are well-equipped, manned by Alawite loyalists from Assad’s home region, and backed by air support and heavy artillery. Plus, the regime has organized tens of thousands of supporters into paramilitary units that could continue the fight even if Assad himself were to lose control of the capital.

Even Syria’s dire enemy Israel does not see the rebels as winning the war……..this from a piece in the Times of Israel…….

“Assad has secured 70-80 percent of essential Syria,” the official said, sketching a line from Aleppo in the north down through Hama, Homs, Damascus and the southern areas near Jordan and the city of Dara’a – a Syrian city where the war began and, currently, a channel through which Sunni extremists enter Syria from Jordan.

The official’s depiction of the situation in Syria contradicts an assessment given by a top defense official, who in May told several journalists that Assad’s forces have lost the entire Golan Heights, aside from Quneitra and one enclave, and that, “In Aleppo, in Damascus, in the north near the Turkish border, in the Golan Heights – in all of these places he is losing.”

If Assad is truly winning the civil war….what will extra training for the rebels actually accomplish?

And we can ask…..If we had listened to John McCain would the outcome be different?  Would airstrikes in the early part of the war have made a difference?

I am sure that the GOP will make hay out of any defeat of the rebels as ….”Obama’s fault”……..The argument could be made that we could have made a difference……it could be made….but not be me.

 

 

 

There Is Always Syria

Inkwell Institute

Middle East Desk

Syria?  Oh yeah that scandal from 2 years ago.  Sadly it has slipped from the headlines basically because there is more political gain out of Benghazi.  There is no more GOP sprinting to the cameras to get in a dig at the president’s manhood….all we have now is just an endless conflict that few care about….at least for now.

Since I do love international relations I spend a lot of time reading and analyzing situations that most avoid……I do it so my readers don’t have to and they can still remain informed……You Are welcome!

Now back to Syria…….there have been a few stories that have good news attached to it….like that about 90% of the chemical weapons are being destroyed as I type.  On the other hand….the government has won some decisive victories all over the country…..leading the US to decide to give missiles to the rebels to try and equalize the sides of the conflict.

Personally, I think it is a horrible idea……when all this is history, how many of those weapons could be used against the US and her interests?  You know kind of like what happened in Afghanistan once we pulled out after the soviets went home.

And then there is the rebels that are affiliated with AQ…………..what about those guys?

Really crappy news has been reported….well not so much here in the good old US of A………….

Rebel-on-rebel fighting in Syria’s oil-rich Deir Ezzor Province continues to escalate, and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) seems to be getting the better of its rivals overwhelmingly, and making more territorial gains.

Fighting in the province kicked off early this month, with an attack on rival rebel faction Jabhat al-Nusra in Bukamal. That city was particularly important for AQI, because it includes an Iraq border crossing.

AQI’s expanding Deir Ezzor corridor gives them a virtually contiguous territory from Abu Ghraib, just 20 miles from the Baghdad, to the northern Syria province of Aleppo.

AQI seems to be fighting less and less with the Syrian military itself and focusing on the other rebels, who are both closer targets and usually holding more strategic prizes. As the war drags on, it seems AQI is carving out a de facto country of its own in the area.

Well the good news that is in the Eastern part of the country……a minor setback, right?

What’s happening elsewhere?  how about in the South?

Officials with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), one of the US-subsidized moderate rebel factions, warns that al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra is gaining major ground in the area around the southern city of Deraa.

The Nusra Front has been directly challenging the FSA in Deraa, along the Jordanian border, capturing an FSA commander who has since confessed to deliberately throwing a battle over a nearby town to the Assad government to prevent Nusra keeping it.

The FSA, of course, sees an easy solution in having the US give them even more money and better weapons to fight Nusra, though since they continue to lose ground to pretty much every other rebel faction the gravy train may be drying up.

The dominant rebel faction early in the civil war, the FSA has since been supplanted by myriad Islamist factions, and Western nations looking to get in on the war have been courting groups like the Islamic Front as more likely proxies in recent days, reflecting their view that Islamist groups that are at the very least not formally al-Qaeda backed are the closest they can get to “usable” allies.

OOPS!  Things are disintegration quicker than we are told…….what to do?  What to do?

Now that is a difficult one to answer…..but I can tell you this……ignoring the problem will NOT make it go away…..we destroyed the AQ sanctuary in Afghanistan……a bad loss for the extremist…..but it looks like they are finding a new one……and as usual we will react after the fact…….we are opening a large can of worms.

Since American politics has become pathetic and silly I will focus on news….not the moronic theatrics of the pundits.

 

Always State The Obvious

I will return to my first love, my passion for international relations, there is not going to be nay thing worth reporting in politics for the Congress will play the Benghazi game until their summer break so they can go back home and spend time on their knees in front of wealthy donors………..

You know it always amuses me when our beloved country states the obvious.  From the beginning of the Syrian conflict people have been telling the government that we should be more discerning when we give our aid, especially when it involves the use of weapons.  But as always the mental midgets like Sen. McCain seems to think that the answer to all conflicts is for American to throw arms at it and it will always be much better.

I have not been alone in my stated opposition to such irresponsible use of our resources.  Now it seems that our dynamite intel gathering organization, the CIA, has issued a statement…….

Here is a tweet from Foreign Policy’s Twitter feed:

If you have to worry that your proxy militias will turn your own weapons against you, maybe it’s not such a good idea to give them weapons in the first place. Just a thought.

That is something akin to Homer Simpson’s reaction when he finally realizes the errors of his ways…..Doh!

But wait!

Now there is more to the story………this from the UK’s Independent written by Patrick Cockburn…………

It is only a matter of time before jihadis in al-Qa’ida-type groups that have taken over much of eastern Syria and western Iraq have a violent impact on the world outside these two countries. The road is open wide to new attacks along the lines of 9/11 and 7/7, and it may be too late to close it.

Those who doubt that these are the jihadis’ long-term intentions should have a look at a chilling but fascinating video posted recently by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), formerly al-Qa’ida in Iraq. It shows a group of foreign fighters burning their passports to emphasise their permanent commitment to jihad. Many of the passports thrown into the flames have grass-green covers and are Saudi; others are dark blue and must be Jordanian. Some of the fighters show their faces while others are masked. As each one destroys his passport, sometimes tearing it in half before throwing it into the fire, he makes a declaration of faith and a promise to fight against the ruler of the country from which he comes.

Threats, such as those made by the group burning their passports, are creating something near panic among Iraq’s neighbours, who were slow to take on board last year that Syrian armed opposition had come to be dominated by al-Qa’ida or its clones. A report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), “The Rising Cost of Turkey’s Syrian Quagmire”, published last week, cites a Turkish official saying: “The armed al-Qa’ida element will be a problem for the Turks. As a secular country, we do not fit with their ideology. What happens if they can’t get what they want in Syria? They will blame Turkey and attack it.” Bear in mind that the thousands of foreign jihadis who have poured into Syria and Iraq mostly got there by crossing the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border. The head of an influential Turkish think tank is quoted by ICG as saying that “When Turkey starts arresting them [jihadis], which it will do, we know what will happen. There will be bombs all over Turkey.”

There is a storm brewing and it shall not bode well for the us and the western allies……and sorry but it seems the US is aiding them in their desire to attack the West……How?  By recognizing some as “foreign missions”……HUH?

The Obama Administration has announced today that it will recognize the DC office of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as an official diplomatic mission, dubbing them the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

Top SNC figure Ahmad Jarba touted the move as a major blow to the Assad government’s legitimacy, though since the SNC is itself a relatively trivial rebel faction, a secular bloc in Turkey with no real support among the assorted Islamist fighters dominating the rebellion, the move doesn’t seem nearly so significant.

The State Department followed up the move with a promise for another $27 million in aid for the SNC. Such subsidies are effectively the group’s only source of revenue, as it continues to lobby for more subsidies on the notion that it will eventually be installed by the US or other powers as the new government of Syria.

The State Department’s statement on the matter also angrily condemned the upcoming Syrian election as unacceptable. The remaining territory of the Syrian government will be voting in early June, though President Assad is expected to win by a huge margin.

There are so many twists and turns in this situation that it gets confusing even for someone with international experience…….and then this came to my sight……….

American-made anti-tank missiles are surfacing in Syria as part of a “pilot program” to boost rebel groups but make sure the powerful weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.

The anti-tank missiles, called TOWs, are sophisticated weapons designed to kill enemy tanks and blow up reinforced bunkers.

The new program is meant to aid the rebels fighting the Syrian government’s armored forces but make sure the weapons don’t reach radical Islamist groups also fighting the regime of Bashar Assad, said a former senior government official who has been informally briefed on the program. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss intelligence matters.

Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, would not comment on specific weapons or types of support, but told USA TODAY there has been “a limited expansion” of support to rebel groups.

This is just a great illustration of the complete idiocy of our foreign policy leaders…..they are worried that some of the weapons could come back to bite us in the ass and we send them more that can be used……..where is the logic in all of this?

What Are Turkey’s Intentions?

Inkwell Institute

Middle East Desk

Turkey has been on the cutting edge of the US foreign policy in the Middle East for decades…..it was also the front line against the old now defunct USSR….

Turkey has shot down Syrian planes and ventured a short distance into Syrian territory….my guess as a feeler to judge reactions…….I would think that all they have done was at the behest of the US…….since they have been our surrogate in the past one could imagine they are still doing our bidding…….

Now think back to last year…..remember the CW attacks that had the whole world up in arms….all screaming for the US to do something massive?  I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person…..and I have found a good one to write about…….. the sarin gas attack on a Damascus suburb on August 21, 2013 was actually carried out by Syrian “rebel” forces acting at the behest of Turkey, for the purpose of providing a pretext for a US attack on Syria.

From the book written by Seymour Hersch………

For several weeks, the Ghouta attack became the pretext for a warmongering campaign by the White House and the US and European media. Obama threatened immediate air strikes, claiming that the Syrian government had crossed a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons, which he had laid down in 2012.

The US president then abruptly reversed himself and announced he would seek congressional approval first, only to call off any overt military action in favor of a deal brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Assad agreed to the supervised dismantling of his chemical weapons stockpiles.

By Hersh’s account, “Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff… As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.”

Calmer heads prevailed……but is there still a plan to enter Syria with ground forces?

Then there was….an oh sh*t! moment from Turkish PM…………

Turkey’s government may be considering a military incursion into Syria to protect a historical site important to Turks .

The Turkish government is debating whether or not to use military force in Syria to protect the tomb of an early Turkish ruler, after Islamic extremist groups fighting the Assad government took control of a nearby town.

Watch the borders of Turkey……if a ground attack is coming it will come through southern Turkey……….

An oddly forgotten group in Syria: Ordinary citizens – Your Middle East

We hear all about the rebels in Syria……and all about the atrocities of the Assad government troops…….and of course all the poor refugees that are fleeing the fighting……and then there are these people……

 

An oddly forgotten group in Syria: Ordinary citizens – Your Middle East.

Some Successes In Syria

It is time for the world to move on……..the missing plane went down in the Indian Ocean with all hands on board……they are presumed dead…..now stop letting the vultures that pretend to be experts hawk their perspective trades….their ‘analysis’ is nothing but a promo of their services……..time to let the families deal with their losses……media…MOVE ON!

The shameful attempts of the media to protect Boeing makes me feel dirty………..Let me slip into something more comfortable…..international situations…………

Crimea…..Ukraine…….Russia…….and all those interesting places in the world…….but while you were on Google maps checking out the Indian Ocean……more has been going on Syria.

Yes, their CWs are being destroyed as we speak…….refugees are still suffering……and the civil war rages on.  The US and its allies have been pumping assets into the region with the hope of ousting Assad….so how are we doing so far?

As the title implies….there have been successes in Syria….unfortunately they are not related to the US in any way…………SAY WHAT?

Syrian forces, backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, are in full control of Yabroud after clearing out rebels holed up in the strategic Syrian town for months, Syrian state media and opposition activists have reported.

Capturing Yabroud, the last major rebel bastion near the Lebanese border north of Damascus, will help President Bashar al-Assad secure the land route linking his Mediterranean coastal stronghold with the capital Damascus, and choke off a cross-border rebel supply line from Lebanon.

“The Syrian army is now in full control of the town of Yabroud in Damascus [province] and are now combing through the city and dismantling the roadside bombs planted by terrorists,”

Not too bad right?  The Syrian army is just cleaning out around the capital, right?

Syrian soldiers have raised the national flag on the battlements of a 900-year-old Crusader castle after a three-month siege that ended on Thursday when rebel fighters fled.

The recapture of Crac des Chevaliers, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a real and symbolic victory over divided rebel factions.

The army has also wrested back control of most of al-Hosn, the town below the hilltop castle, which was surrounded by Syrian troops for weeks until many rebels moved out on Thursday morning and the army moved in, according to residents.

“The Syrian Arab Army raised the national flag on al-Hosn Castle in Homs province after eliminating the terrorists holed up in it,” Syrian state television said.

The Syrian army is having more and more successes…..how can that be?  The US and the West are pumping aid into the region…..what is becoming of all this aid and why is it not helping?

My answer is an easy one….too many factions feeding on the aid cake……..there is not a central command to coordinate campaigns against Assad’s forces….too many groups with a personal agenda….Syria is beginning to look a lot like the Balkans in WW2……….as long as the opposition is fighting each other then Assad forces will have more and more successes and the US aid will be squandered away…..and in the end….Assad will survive.

Is Syria Still There?

You bet your butt it is still there and as horrific as usual…the latest reports are not optimistic…..

As the Syrian civil war enters its fourth year, millions of children are at risk amid harrowing conditions caused by the collapse of the country’s health care system, a report from the Save the Children charity warns.

  • More than 10,000 children have died in the violence, but “it is not just the bullets and the shells that are killing and maiming children,” the report warns. Save the Children’s research revealed almost medieval health conditions in cities such as Aleppo, where there were 2,500 doctors before the war but fewer than 40 now, reports the New York Times. The group found that thousands of children are dying from diseases that could either have been treated or easily prevented under normal conditions.
  • Some 200,000 Syrians are believed to have died from chronic illnesses since the start of the conflict because of a lack of treatment, compared to an estimated 140,000 killed by violence, Reuters finds. Vaccination coverage has fallen sharply and diseases such as measles and meningitis are spreading along with polio, which has now infected an estimated 80,000 Syrian children.
  • The nightmarish consequences of the health system’s collapse include newborns dying in incubators amid power cuts, children having limbs amputated due to a lack of equipment for proper treatment, and patients being knocked out with metal bars because of a shortage of anesthetic, the report found.
  • Amnesty International, meanwhile, accuses the Syrian regime of using “starvation of civilians as a weapon of war,” the BBC reports. Around 20,000 refugees are trapped in a besieged camp in Damascus and at least 60% are suffering from malnutrition, the group warns.
  • In some rare good news to emerge from Syria, a group of Greek Orthodox nuns kidnapped by rebels in December have been released, according to another BBC report. The 13 nuns, who worked in a convent orphanage, say they were mostly well treated by their captors.

So yes Syria is still raging out of control it is that it is not important enough for the media to care……………

I heard the press secretary say that situations in Syria were showing some signs of growing success…..I’m kinda guessing that this was not what he was speaking of…..

Syria will miss a major deadline next week in the program to destroy its chemical weapons production facilities, sources at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Thursday.

Syria declared 12 production facilities to the OPCW and has until March 15 to destroy them under a deal agreed with the United States and Russia. Damascus has already missed several deadlines laid out in the agreement.

“That will definitely be missed,” said an official involved in discussions with Syria, referring to the March 15 deadline.

These are the weapons that the whole world was soooooo concerned with 6 months ago….now….not so much.

But that is the way of things….the media tells us all what is important and when……DEMAND better!

It’s A FAKE!

I realize that there are many that absolutely hate Muslims……for whatever reason, my guess is 9/11 but I could be mistaken……the other day while I was surfing some sites I ran across the story of the Syria girl that was stoned to death for using Facebook…….it was a horrible story so I Googled the subject and here is what I found…..iCNNThe Daily Mail, Breitbart, Tundra Tabloids, Examiner, India Today, Global Times, Israel Hayom, Daily Bashkar, FrontPageRag and numerous other news sites and blogs reported the story.

Syria-Girl-Stoning-for-facebook-account

I received the following from a friend that I contacted to see how accurate the story had been…..

It is ironic because the still that was used to claim that Syrian rebels were stoning a woman for having a Facebook account was originally about a supposed “true-story” recounting of the stoning of “Soraya M.” in an Iranian village in the 80s.

Iran’s government castigated the movie as false and Orientalist but apparently years later their news agency has no quibbles in pushing their own Orientalist style fear-mongering that eventually played into essentialized characterizations of Islam and Muslims.

The story appears to have originally been reported in English by Iran’s Fars News Agency, which doesn’t always have the best track record for reliability. For example, it reported last month on the alien/extraterrestrial intelligence agenda driving U.S. policy, which bizarrely linked President Barack Obama, Adolf Hitler and space aliens.

Fars attributed its report on the alleged Syrian stoning incident to the Arabic-language Al-Rai Al-Youm.

The story is a HOAX and too many people will believe a lie without verifying the information….and that is the tragedy…people too willing to believe a lie to feed their hate…..truly sad.

Syrian UpDate

Yes, Irene there is still dying and carnage going on in Syria….I know a little hard to imagine when you are worried about the ads on the Super Bowl….but death continues whether Beebs get arrested or not……for that reason I will bring my readers up-to-date……..I read hours and hours of Middle East newspapers so you do not have to…..YOU ARE WELCOME.

First is something that sounds like a veiled copy of an Israeli policy……

Syrian military forces have been systematically using bulldozers and controlled explosions to level entire neighborhoods in Damascus and Hama, in what appears to be an attempt to punish citizens for their rebel sympathies, Human Rights Watch alleges in a new report based on satellite images and witness testimony. The imagery reveals seven areas affected between July 2012 and July 2013 that total roughly 200 soccer fields’ worth of razed neighborhoods. None of this destruction came during combat, though it sometimes came soon after it. Residents said they got little to no warning, giving them no time to collect their belongings before evacuating, according to al-Jazeera. The Syrian government says the demolitions were an urban planning move centered around demolishing buildings that were constructed illegally, the Guardian reports. But Human Rights Watch says there haven’t been any similar demolitions in areas that support the government, even though many of those homes also lack permits. “Wiping entire neighborhoods off the map is not a legitimate tactic of war,” the group’s emergency researcher said. The group has called upon the UN to hand the findings to the International Criminal Court.

Assad is using a tried and true tactic……

And then there is our policy on Syria….so far it looks like a major disaster….at least from my set………apparently I am not the only one that sees it as a failed policy……

White House spokesman Jay Carney says that the administration “absolutely” stands behind its current Syrian policy, despite talk of growing internal dissent and the plain fact that it’s been a complete disaster.

According to hawkish Senators John McCain (R – AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R – SC), Secretary of State John Kerry conceded at a closed-door session that the current Syria policy is “failing,” and called for further military intervention, including “forming a coalition against al-Qaeda.”

White House and State Department officials have downplayed the differences on policy, saying Kerry’s comments had been misconstrued and that the US remains committed to their present course.

Who said what is really only part of the story though, as US policy has been to openly back increasingly irrelevant rebel factions, keeping the civil war stalemated in the hope that they can eventually impose a negotiated settlement favorable to the West. That’s still clearly the plan, but not only does it show no signs of working, it is exacerbating a civil war in which al-Qaeda is gaining ground at an alarming pace.

But then one may ask….just what is the proper policy for Syria?  And if you have a good answer then you have answered the $64 million question….step forward and claim your prize…..