Cartoon of the day

Posted: 11 June 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Special mention

  1. Siusaidh Caimbeul says:

    You are indeed an unrelenting member of the Cruise Missile Left. Perhaps if you read something real about Syria you would not reproduce so many cartoons suited to the worst FOX war-mongers.

    • David F. Ruccio says:

      I will continue to call attention to the blood on Bashar al-Asad’s hands. At the same time, I am well are of the dangers ahead. This piece by Peter Harling and Sarah Birke is good source:

      But assuming the power structure does give way before that corner is turned, there are at least three threats that could quickly derail a political transition.

      The first is the reality of Bashar’s power base, which has narrowed spectacularly but remains an incontrovertible fact on the ground. Just as the regime dismisses the protest movement with the spurious argument that a majority has not taken to the streets (as if any country around the world had ever witnessed half its people on the march), the regime’s opponents berate its supporters as a minority of delusional, criminal, treacherous citizens. The fact is that, just as the regime cannot survive this crisis by ignoring the millions mobilized against it, so a transition cannot succeed while overlooking the millions — security officers, proxies and regular people — who have thrown in their lot with Bashar. Short of protection for the people most exposed to retribution, notably among the ‘Alawis, a genuine reconciliation mechanism, an effective transitional justice process and a thorough but smooth overhaul of the security services, it could all go very wrong.

      Secondly, judging by the SNC’s performance, there is cause for concern if it were to play a key role in such a transition. Its leading members, hindered by personal rivalries, unable to formulate clear political positions for fear of implosion and seemingly consumed with having a spot in the limelight, may fall back on sectarian apportionment as the only consensual criterion for power sharing. Syrians on the street have made clear that they see the SNC’s legitimacy as based on their ability to lobby for diplomatic pressure and see their mandate as stretching no further, but the outside world’s quest for a ready-made “alternative,” and the prevailing assumption that pluralist societies in the Middle East are condemned to such evolution, could prove to be Syria’s undoing. A political process including the SNC, but built primarily around locally led organizations, along with technocrats and businessmen, would have more legitimacy and a greater chance of success.

      Finally, as increasingly desperate protesters call for help, there is a danger that the outside world will make matters worse as it plays at being savior. Calls for aid are somewhat worse than a pact with the devil: They entail pacts with many devils that do not agree on much. The Gulf monarchies, Iraq, Turkey, Russia, the US, Iran and others all see geostrategic stakes in the fate of the Asad regime. The greater their involvement, the less Syrians will remain in control of their destiny. Crying out for foreign intervention of any kind, to bring this emergency to an end at any cost, is more than understandable coming from ordinary citizens subjected to extreme forms of regime violence. Exiled opposition figures who pose as national leaders have no excuse for behaving likewise, when what is needed is a cool-headed, careful calibration of what type of outside “help” would do the minimum of harm.

  2. Siusaidh Caimbeul says:

    The conservative British paper ‘The Mail Sunday’ says we are in a ‘new Cold War’.

    The article concludes “… Mrs Clinton and Hague seem to be winning the argument here. A YouGov opinion poll shows substantial public support for a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria such as we arranged in Libya. But that enthusiasm might fade if we knew more about the likely beneficiaries of our support — those most likely to take power in a post-Assad Syria.

    Thomson says of the rebels who, as he saw it, tried to lead his team into deadly peril: ‘In a war where they slit the throats of toddlers, what’s the big deal in sending a van full of journalists into a killing zone? It was nothing personal.’

    Like most of you, I imagine, I rejoiced at the downfall of Gaddafi and the blooming of the Arab Spring, and couldn’t understand why we were standing by while Assad brutalised his people.

    But in the cold light of dawn, reality is messier, and now there is a suspicion that our sympathies for the downtrodden were hi-jacked by new oppressors, whom our own U.S.-UK ruling regime hopes will be more useful in their great game.”

  3. Siusaidh Caimbeul says:

    The German center-right daily ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ reports, in German, about the Houla massacre. The author is Rainer Hermann who studied and speaks Arabic, Turkish and Farsi. He also has a Ph.D. in economics, his dissertation having been on modern Syrian social history. He currently lives in Abu Dhabi and has been reporting from the Middle East for over 22 years.

    What follows is a translation of the most relevant parts of Hermann’s article:

    “Syrian opposition members who are from that region were during the last days able to reconstruct the most likely sequence of events based on accounts from authentic witnesses. Their result contradicts the pretenses from the rebels who had accused regime allied Shabiha they alleged were acting under the protection of the Syrian army. As opposition members who reject the use of lethal force were recently killed or at least threatened, the opposition members [talking to me] asked that their names be withheld.

    The massacre of Houla happened after Friday prayers. The fighting started when Sunni rebels attacked three Syrian army checkpoints around Houla. These checkpoints were set up to protect the Alawi villages around the predominantly Sunni Houla from assaults.

    One attacked checkpoint called up units from the Syrian army, which has barracks some 1500 meters away, for help and was immediately reinforced. Dozens of soldiers and rebels were killed during the fighting around Houla which is said to have lasted about 90 minutes. During these fights the three villages were closed off from the outside world.

    According to the witness accounts the massacre happened during this timeframe. Killed were nearly exclusively families from the Alawi and Shia minorities in Houla which has a more than 90% Sunni population. Several dozen members of one extended family, which had in recent years converted from Sunni to Shia believe, were slaughtered. Also killed were members of the Alawi family Shomaliya and the family of a Sunni member of parliament who was [by the rebels] considered a government collaborator. Members of the Syrian government confirmed this version but pointed out that the government committed to not publicly speak of Sunnis and Alawis. President al-Assad is Alawi while the opposition is overwhelmingly from the Sunni population majority.”

    Anyone able to read German is invited to check the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ as to the accuracy of the above translation:

  4. Siusaidh Caimbeul says:

    Syrian Rebels set a trap to get British Journalists killed

    The British Channel 4 team led by Alex Thomson – one of the few Western journalists attempting to cover both sides of the conflict – was deliberately rebels into a trap designed to have them killed by government troops.

    “Set up to be shot in Syria’s no man’s land?” featured on Thomson’s personal Channel 4 blog describes a tale of violence on both sides – a balanced approach very atypical of Western and particularly British media coverage. While BBC was busy posting fake pictures for their one-sided Houla Massacre coverage, Thomson was busy trying to interview belligerents on both sides of the Syrian conflict.

    Thomson’s narrative describes very divided een “rebel” forces. On one hand, organized fighters committed to fighting the Syrian Army. On the other, a more insidious “third party” involved – a third party implicated by Thomson as having intentionally led him and his team into a deadly trap.

    This is a narrative that corroborates statements made by the Syrian government itself, as well as independent geopolitical analysts from around the world – that there exists a substantiation third party, consisting of foreign mercenaries and sectarian extremists carrying out the bulk of the violence and atrocities.

    This is how Thomson describes his ordeal:

    “We decide to ask for an escort out the safe way we came in. Both sides, both checkpoints will remember our vehicle. Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow. We move out behind. We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s-land. At that point there was the crack of a bullet and one of the slower three-point turns I’ve experienced. We screamed off into the nearest side-street for cover. Another dead-end.

    There was no option but to drive back out onto the sniping ground and floor it back to the road we’d been led in on. Predictably the black car was there which had led us to the trap. They roared off as soon as we re-appeared. I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian Army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus.”

    Alex Thomson concluded his account by saying, “in a war where they slit the throats of toddlers back to the spine, what’s the big deal in sending a van full of journalists into the killing zone? It was nothing personal.”

    What if Thomson and his team had been killed? Headlines would have shouted “BRITISH JOURNALISTS SLAUGHTERED BY ASSAD!” and we would have had another ‘turning point’ in the pre-determined run up to bombing Syria.


    RT interviewed Thompson:

  5. Siusaidh Caimbeul says:

    Danger of chemical and bio-weapons

    “… While it is uncertain whether the Syrian regime would consider using WMD against its domestic opponents, Syrian insurgents, unlike many of their Libyan counterparts, are increasingly sectarian and radicalized; indeed, many observers fear the uprising is being “hijacked” by jihadists.

    Terrorist groups active in the Syrian uprising have already demonstrated little compunction about the acquisition and use of WMD. In short, should Syria devolve into full-blown civil-war, the security of its WMD should be of profound concern, as sectarian insurgents and Islamist terrorist groups may stand poised to seize chemical and perhaps even biological weapons. …”

    From a March 2012 report from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

  6. Siusaidh Caimbeul says:

    The Opposition is very disunited, with Islamists (including jihadis from Libya) being aided by the Wahhabi rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar – with of course US encouragement. A major component of the Opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood.


    The population of Syria is some 22.5 million – about 74% Sunni, 12% Alawi Shi’ia, 10% Christian (Arab, Assyrian, Armenian) and 3% members of the branch of Ismaili Shi’ia known as Druze. The non-Arab Kurds (some 9% of the population) are largely Sunni.

    The modern history of Syria began in 1946, when it ceased to be a mandate territory ruled by France. By then the Muslim Brotherhood (originally formed in 1928 in Egypt, with funding from the British Suez Canal Company) was already influential.

    In 1949 Syria suffered what was the first military coup in the Arab world – an event not without CIA involvement. During the 1950s, thanks to Gen. Nasser clamping-down on the Brothers in Egypt, Syria received an influx of them. When Syria moved into the ‘Arab socialist’ (more accurately termed ‘state capitalist’) camp, the Brothers again found themselves at a disadvantage such that in 1964 they led riots and in 1967 declared a ‘jihad’ against the secular state. In 1973 they became even more hostile as Hafez al-Assad promulgated a constitution declaring Syria ‘democratic, popular, socialist’. Violent Islamist demonstrations ensued.

    In 1979, Brotherhood terrorists attacked a military school in Aleppo, killing 83 cadets. In 1980 the Islamic Front of Syria was established uniting two factions of Muslim Brothers with the Islamic Liberation Party and other right-wing fundamentalist groups. In late 1981 a massive car-bomb killed some 200 citizens of Damascus.

    It is currently usual for Bashar al-Assad to be castigated for his father having in 1982 brutally suppressed an uprising in Hama – a city of some 200,000 long a stronghold of Sunni fundamentalism. What most accounts take care not to mention is that a rumour that Hafez al-Assad had been overthrown emboldened Muslim Brothers to slaughter as many soldiers and officials as they could get their hands on. In retaliation, the Assad government killed about 5,000 people – a number inflated by enemies of secular Syria to 20,000 or even 50,000.

    As detailed in Chapter 8 of Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the US helped unleash fundamentalist Islam (2005), throughout its battle with Syrian secularism the Muslims Brothers have received aid not only from the Jordanian monarchy, but also from Israel, the latter both directly and via such groups as the Lebanese (mainly Maronite Christian) fascist Phalange. With, of course, US approval.

  7. Siusaidh Caimbeul says:

    The Brookings Institution is so arrogant of power,it doesn’t even bother to hide its intent.

    Brookings (15 March 2012) Middle East Memo #21 – cynically titled ‘Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change’ – says right out that the UN’s “Kofi Annan peace plan” was intended to fail. Rather than leave the Assad government in power, The Deciders would rather arm both Syrians and outsider Muslim Brothers and other ‘militants’ to “bleed” Syria – thus “keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention”. This shows ‘R2P’ to be a cynical farce.

    To read the entire 16-page report, google ‘Brookings Syria’.

    Which is not to say ‘bleeding’ Syria by covert means will not ‘progress’ to bombing. It just depends on what The Deciders feel accords best with their long-term intent to attack Iran.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s