Whichever Way Syria Goes…

Turkey Is in Big Trouble!

© Photocredit.

By Metin Munir

There are many countries that want to see Assad walk away. But only one, Turkey, has allowed its soil to become the base of the Syrian opposition. Along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, we also provide those fighting Assad with money and weapons. Turkey is the sole NATO country that is trying to persuade its NATO allies to intervene militarily to topple Assad.

What enabled NATO to intervene in Libya was the knowledge that a regime change in that country would not have a major effect on international balance-of-power calculations. The situation in Syria is different. There, Iran and Russia — and even China — have vital interests linked to Assad and his Baath Party. If Assad is replaced by a pro-Western regime, the US and Israel will breathe easier, but it will be a major blow to Russian and Iranian interests in the region. Syria is key to Iran’s anti-Israel campaign in the Middle East. For Iran, Syria is indispensable in maintaining relations with Hezbollah and other allies in the region. Syria is Russia’s only foothold in the Mediterranean.

Russia and Iran will allow a regime change in Syria only if their interests are assured in the new regime. If not, Syria might collapse but the war will continue for years, with or without Assad. Don’t forget that the civil war in Lebanon lasted 16 years.

The West is not keen on intervening because it is aware of what this would entail. The US, short of sending troops to the region, does not even favor declaring a no-fly zone or setting up a buffer zone for refugees in the north of the country. Washington does not want to get entangled in an indirect war with Russia and Iran and destabilize the region even further.

As for the Turkish government, habituated to the senseless policies of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, it has no such concerns. Davutoglu’s Syria policy has a unique symmetry: Turkey will lose whether Assad goes or stays.

Because we are helping the opposition, Syria and Iran will do their utmost to harm Turkey, and they will employ the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, which Turkey deems a terrorist group, to do so. Turkey’s Kurdish issue will assume a new and dangerous dimension that will threaten the government. The Kurdish movement in Northern Iraq, moving toward independence, will sooner or later expand by assimilating the Syrian Kurds.

Full analysis.



Syrian Conflict Gives Kurds New Freedom

by Scott Bobb

August 20, 2012 – Hundreds gathered in the nearby village of Jolbul to bury a local son who died fighting in the 28 year-old struggle by separatist Kurds in Turkey against the Turkish government. Most Syrian Kurds support this struggle and privately many say they aspire to the same goal: a Kurdish homeland in their region.
Kurds make up 10 percent of Syria’s population but have never been officially recognized by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic. The PYD commander in this region, who goes by the name Hassan, says the Kurds now control about half of the Kurdish areas along Syria’s border with Turkey. But he notes the region also has non-Kurdish communities.
 “The demographics [population distribution] do not support independence here and we are not looking for independence,” Hassan explained. “All we want are our human rights and self-determination, not separation, just democratic autonomy.”

The Kurds are not taking sides in the 17-month conflict between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels of the Free Syrian Army. Commander Hassan says neither side is willing to acknowledge the Kurds’ identity or demands and so their struggle will continue.
 “Whatever happens, as long as the regime attacks the Kurdish people and maintains its policy regarding us, the Kurdish people will continue to sacrifice and…

Full report.


The mounting Syrian refugee crisis

20 August 2012 – Of the four neighbouring countries, only Turkey is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention; Lebanon and Jordan refer to the Syrians as “guests” not “refugees”.
The refugees are a particularly sensitive issue in Lebanon, which has several pro-Syrian factions in parliament. The government has been averse to setting up refugee camps for the Syrians out of fear such camps would become volatile, as has been the case with the country’s Palestinian refugee camps. Reports that rebels have used areas within Lebanon as staging grounds for attacks on Syrian forces further these anxieties.

Fears of spill-over violence can be found elsewhere, as well. According to the New York Times, the Jordanian authorities are more actively restraining anti-regime Syrian activists who have fled to Jordan, reflecting concerns about violence extending into the country.

In Iraqi Kurdistan, some Syrian refugees are receiving military training from the Kurdistan Regional Government, causing alarm. The government contends the trained refugees would only be sent back to Syria if the fall of regime causes a security vacuum. Other refugees may sympathize with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the militant separatist group, raising the possibility of inflaming tensions with Turkey.
Full analysis.



West Throttling Syria, Tightening Noose

by Ismail Salami

Monday, August 20, 2012 – The naked truth is that any time the US steps in to force changes in a country, it certainly seeks to serves its own long-term interests. Look at Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The interests are not necessarily financial. They might be of intelligence and military interests only to be used later for expanding their colonialist pursuits.

Despite an incredibly massive disinformation campaign waged by western media outlets to depict Bashar Assad as the ‘Bad Guy’ and the effluvium of money to the insurgents from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the USA and the UK to mention only a few, President Bashar Assad does not seem to be willing to step down from power and abandon it to the care of the Saudis or the Americans so they may install a West-friendly puppet regime to cater to a wide range of demands and tastes including those of the Zionists, the West and other Arab puppet regimes as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan.

There are reports that indicate the regime of Qatar has allocated USD 300 million as political incentives for Syrian officials to defect. Defection is indeed a very significant move and can gravely tarnish the image of any government and question the very legitimacy of it. So, the enemies of Syria are capitalizing on this effective ruse. Qatar’s envoy in Mauritania reportedly offered his Syrian counterpart an advance payment of one million US dollars and a monthly salary of $20,000 over 20 years in a bid to convince him to defect and publicly blast ‘the atrocities of Syrian government’. According to a report carried by Lebanese-based Al-Manar TV, Syrian envoy in Mauritania Hamad Seed Albni was also offered a permanent residence in Doha, but he declined the offer.

Full analysis.


War Is A Lie…

by David Swanson

What Are We Up Against?

We’re up against ignorance, including willful ignorance. We’re up against apathy, which can benefit from the fantasy that all will magically work out, that the universe has a moral arc. Things may work out or we may all die horribly. That’s why we do what we have to do. We’re up against partisanship and the widespread poisonous idea that rather than demanding representation from our government we should be cheering for one political party within our government and forgiving all its sins. But most of all we’re up against disempowerment and the ridiculous but nearly universal belief that we can’t change things.

What Way Forward?

I have a theory that we talk about peace and justice because we don’t want to talk about peace. We chant “No justice, no peace,” threatening to disturb the peace if we don’t get our justice. I want to disturb the war. I want to nonviolently afflict the comfortable to comfort the afflicted but I think we need to reverse the chant. I say “No peace, no justice.” You cannot begin to make justice in the middle of killing and dying. You can’t build a just nation with bombs. First the bombs have to stop. That’s the very first priority. Then the threat of bombs has to stop. That’s the second priority. Then justice and democracy can begin.

Why Not Give Up and Whine Miserably?

I do peace activism out of habit and paid employment. But I’m miserable when I’m not doing it, so there must be something motivating me. It certainly isn’t hope that we’re about to succeed. But neither have I ever spent a moment worrying that we won’t. If we have a moral obligation to do something, we have the same moral obligation not to waste time fretting over whether we’re about to succeed.

Why Work Against War

War engages me because of its unique relationship to morality. Killing is a long-standing taboo. Killing is often if not always the worst thing that can be done to someone. But killing on a larger scale, organizing numerous people to kill numerous other people is often treated very differently. When a government kills its own people, that’s generally considered an outrage. But when a government kills another nation’s people, that’s not always viewed as a moral problem. In fact a government killing its own people is often used as a justification for another nation to come in and kill more of the first nation’s people. Killing in war, and lesser crimes in war, are given a moral pass or even praised. A U.S. military sniper bragged on the debut episode this week of NBC’s war reality show “Stars Earn Stripes” that he had “160 kills.” Not that he killed 160 people. The people are erased in his language. “I have 160 kills.” And the show itself is a dramatization of U.S. news coverage of U.S. wars, in which the only participants are Americans. The 95% of victims in our one-sided slaughters are rarely mentioned in U.S. news coverage, and on this new war-o-tainment show the heroic warriors attack empty fields, blow up guard towers with no guards, kick in doors of uninhabited houses, and spend so much time talking about how “real” it all is that none of them seem to notice that there are no enemies or victims to be found.

Full report.


The Danger of Syria Intervention

by Christopher Dickey

There’s an urgent, somewhat desperate chorus of prominent voices—longtime advocates for reason and humanity in international affairs—who are calling on the United States and its Western allies to intervene in Syria directly and militarily. But despite their best intentions, their propositions sound a lot like the thankless adventures that Rudyard Kipling called “the savage wars of peace.”

Beyond that, Syria is not a one-road war. Aleppo is not Benghazi. The terrain is complex and the cities are densely populated. Add to that the complexity of the Syrian social and religious “mosaic,” as it’s often called. (Are we ready to back rebels dominated by Sunni Muslim zealots who might then turn on Syria’s Christians who, for years, have felt protected by the Assad regime?) And then there is the incoherence of the rebel leadership. Who are we talking about? Who are we talking with?

Those arguing for military intervention say the longer the United States holds back, the less influence Washington will have with the rebels. But even if American troops could safely land a whole new president and parliament in Damascus, that’s no guarantee the replacement regime will be grateful. Debts of thanks are almost never bankable and often make for resentments. Think of Washington’s problematic experience with the governments it installed in Kabul and Baghdad.

Former CIA analyst and National Security Council staffer Kenneth Pollack, who argued the case for invading Iraq in 2002, is a whole lot more cautious about interventions these days. Pollack, now at Brookings, writes in a recent essay that there are only a couple of ways a civil war like the one in Syria can end: “One side wins, typically in murderous fashion, or a third party intervenes with enough force to snuff out the fighting. Until Washington commits to either helping one side or leading an intervention in Syria, nothing else we do will make much difference.”

Full analysis.

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