MENA Mashup: Martyrs, Hawks, Patriots, and the Turkish Tempest
You know it’s bad when both the Left, and, the Right, agree to despair… Obama Appoints “Humanitarian Interventionists” to Key Positions, The Return of the Liberal Hawks, and, Genocide Twins Come On Board…!
Now, as the ever intrepid, Pepe Escobar, penned recently…
Western politicos love to shed swamps of crocodile tears about “the Syrian people” and congratulate themselves within the “Friends of Syria” framework for defending them from “tyranny”.
Well, the “Syrian people” have spoken. Roughly 70% support the government of Bashar al-Assad. Another 20% are neutral. And only 10% are aligned with the Western-supported “rebels”, including those of the kidnapping, lung-eating, beheading jihadi kind.
The data was provided mostly by independent relief organizations working in Syria. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) received a detailed report in late May – but, predictably, was not too keen on releasing it…
…So who cares what the “Syrian people” might think? The Western “Friends of Syria” could not have found a more willing golden patsy to promote their usual, self-fulfilling Divide and Rule gambit – the Sunni-Shi’ite divide. It’s always handy to have dysfunctional GCC petro-monarchies posing as “liberators” so the West once again may conduct a proxy war “leading from behind”…
As it stands, the Geneva II negotiations promoted by Washington and Moscow seem to be as good as six feet under (although they are getting together today to define the framework).
The European Union has lifted its arms embargo on Syria – a move that was essentially a Franco-British delirium that went over the heads of reluctant EU members. It had to be Britain and France, of course, the two former imperial powers that almost a century ago carved up a line in the sand dividing the Levant and now want a redesign.
This would mean, in practice, that the EU has declared war on Damascus. Well, sort of. Under the EU agreement, no weaponizing will go on before autumn. And the belligerent Franco-British duo has to make sure any weapons are used only to protect civilians. Who will supervise this – a bunch of Brussels bureaucrats in army fatigues? Well, they can always revert to default – ask for American help. Every grain of sand in the Levant knows the CIA is “assisting” Qatar and Saudi Arabia to weaponize the “rebels”…
I did find it ironic that a WINEP-funded study couldn’t find an Iranian, but, did in fact find a dead American amongst the dead in Syria… Convoy of Martyrs in the Levant (PDF! 36p.) A Joint Study Charting the Evolving Role of Sunni Foreign Fighters in the Armed Uprising Against the Assad Regime in Syria
…The majority of foreign fighters killed in Syria between July 2012 and May of this year were found to be fighting on behalf of a terrorist group that’s a front for Al Qaeda in Iraq, according to a new independent report by a security consulting firm that specializes in counterterrorism.
The report found at least 280 foreign fighters died in that time period.
Drawing on social media data, traditional media and internet platforms, the report called “Convoy of Martyrs in the Levant” by Flashpoint Global Partners concludes that the Syrian conflict is now drawing jihadiist fighters from the U.S., Chechnya, Kosovo, Egypt, Gaza, Jordan, Tunisia, Libya and Saudi Arabia.
“..The lion’s share of foreign fighters who are dying in Syria are fighting with the most hardline organization involved in the uprising: Jabhat al-Nusra,” the report said.;“The leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, has recently publicly sworn allegiance to Al Qaeda leader Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri and the group has been blacklisted as a branch of Al Qaeda in Iraq by the United States government.”
From FP’s Marc Lynch…
In a sermon on Friday, Islamist superstar theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi called on all Muslims to launch “a jihad in Syria against Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah, which are killing Sunnis and Christians and Kurds.”
Qaradawi declared that participation in a Syrian jihad was an individual obligation on every Muslim. He denounced Hezbollah, referring to it as “the party of Satan” and saying that it “want[s] continued massacres to kill Sunnis.” And he pushed deeper into sectarian hatred, labeling the Alawite sect, to which Assad belongs, as “worse infidels than Jews or Christians.”
What makes Qaradawi’s sectarian diatribe so disturbing is not that it represents some radical, new expression of extremism. It is that in today’s Arab world, there is nothing particularly distinctive about his comments at all. For many months, Arab and Muslim figures of all stripes have been loudly calling for support to the predominantly Sunni Syrian rebels, as have many Arab governments (and the United States and its allies, of course). The Muslim Brotherhood’s branches have strongly supported the Syrian opposition — acquiring too much power along the way, in the minds of some. Egyptian Salafis have described providing arms and funds to the Syrian rebels as “a form of worship” and killing Assad as a religious obligation. As the killing and destruction has escalated, such support for Syria’s rebels has rapidly morphed into extreme anti-Shiite and anti-Alawi rhetoric…
Interestingly… The No-Plan Zone…
Modest measures to aid the Syrian rebels won’t topple Assad. And despite protestations, even Washington’s hawks don’t want to go further.
Last week, the Daily Beast published an “exclusive” news story supported by comments from two anonymous administration officials: “Obama Asks Pentagon for Syria No-Fly Zone Plan.” The newsworthiness and hype surrounding such reporting was puzzling given that the military’s operational plans for a no-fly zone (NFZ) in Syria were completed many months ago and have been refined as new information has become available. Of course, versions of these plans have also been briefed in detail to the White House on multiple occasions. Soon after the Daily Beast story ran, Pentagon spokesperson Dave Lapan felt compelled to declare: “There is no new planning effort underway.” This failed effort to plant a story about White House interest in NFZ options for Syria is perhaps the most perfunctory effort ever to coerce a foreign leader — in this case, Bashar al-Assad, before the forthcoming diplomatic discussions in Geneva.
The Obama administration’s leaks should not be surprising — they are representative of the theatrical and half-hearted nature of America’s debate over military intervention in Syria. On March 27, 2011, just one week after a U.S.-led coalition began selectively enforcing an NFZ over Libya, then-Senator Joseph Lieberman endorsed a similar measure for Syria, in case Assad “turns his weapons on his people and begins to slaughter them, as Qaddafi did.” Over the subsequent 27 months, every plausible military tactic and mission has been exhaustively analyzed and deliberated by policymakers, active-duty and retired military officials, pundits (including myself), journalists, and others…
Meanwhile… About that ‘no new Military planning’… the US to send Patriot missiles, F-16s to Jordan for drill, the U.S. quietly allows military aid to Egypt despite rights concerns, and, to be sure… Quite the Military Confab, eh…?
Check sez, Putin… Russia announces permanent Mediterranean naval presence
In what is Russia’s first permanent naval deployment in the Mediterranean since Soviet times, it has stationed 16 warships and three ship-based helicopters in the region, the chief of staff said.
Putin said the deployment was not “sabre-rattling” and not meant as a threat to any nation. Russia cooperates with NATO navies against piracy and its ships call at Western ports.
But its support for President Bashar al-Assad as he fights rebels have put Moscow at odds with the West.
“This is a strategically important region and we have tasks to carry out there to provide for the national security of the Russian Federation,” Putin said.
Large-scale naval exercises Russia held in March and ship movements near Syria have been seen in the West as muscle-flexing by Moscow, which has sold weapons to Assad’s government and shielded it from any action by the U.N. Security Council. Russia also has a naval maintenance and supply facility in Syria…
Now, about that Turkish Tempest…
Too bad. Just when any Turkish government’s nemesis, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was quietly disappearing from the battleground, after three decades and 40,000 coffins, a new security threat to Turkey is emerging: Turks – just the other, unwanted half.
…Only hours after that line appeared on this page, the police in ?zmir cracked down on more than 30 people, aged between 19 to 25, and arrested them on charges of “provoking civil unrest by means of social media messages.” Hats off to the ?zmir police: They have failed to identify civilian-dressed thugs beating protesters with sticks prodded with big nails, despite crystal clear video footage, but they miraculously captured “social media provocateurs” in hours.
It is perfectly normal that Turkey has ended up with zero friends a few years after it ventured to have zero problems with its neighbors. A government at war with half of its own people was unable to achieve peace on its borders with foreign countries. The parallelism on the etiology of failure is just too visible: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and his ideologues have failed to make peace with the “drunken” Turks because of their (dogmatic) Islamism, and they have failed to win their hearts because of their neo-Ottoman arrogance. By a simple twist of fate, they have failed to make peace with Turkey’s neighbors because of their (sectarian) Islamism, and they have failed to win their hearts because of their neo-Ottoman arrogance.
Before flying to the Maghreb – and at the peak of protests – Mr. Erdo?an insisted: a) Only those who consume alcohol once or twice a year are not alcoholics; otherwise all drinkers are; b) Since it is “the state’s subway,” it is most normal if the state imposes its moral values on subway passengers; and c) Every religious commandment by definition is good for the people…
*ouch* Sharia Lawfare breaks out in another Secular State…!
Now, the WaPoo, blasted this very terse, simple statement upon Erdogan’s arrival home… Turkish PM Erdogan says protests bordering on illegality, must end immediately…!