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See also today: BREAKING: 300 killed in air strike on breadline in #Syria

10:42 PM PT:

From Israel News

7 killed in Syria from 'sarin-like gas'



Published:     12.24.12, 08:32

Opposition activists tell Al-Jazeera poisonous gas sprayed by Assad's forces in Homs neighborhood; German weekly says elite Israeli, American, French unites operating deep in Syria to take control of chemical arms arsenals

Seven people were killed in Homs' rebel-held neighborhood of al-Bayyada when they inhaled a poisonous gas sprayed by Syrian Army forces, opposition activists told Al-Jazeera early Monday.

According to the activists, scores of others suffered from side effects, including nausea, relaxed muscles, blurred vision, and breathing difficulties.  More...

9:35 PM PT: We have this update from Al Jazeera Syria Live Blog:

Poisonous gas sprayed in Homs leaves seven people dead and scores affected, activists say



December 24, 2012 - 04:07

Seven people have died in Homs after they inhaled a poisonous gas sprayed by government forces in a rebel-held neighbourhood, activists said.

Activists also told Al Jazeera that scores of others were affected in al-Bayyada neighbourhood. Side effects reported include nausea, relaxed muscles, blurred vision, and breathing difficulties.

Residents said they did not know the nature of the gas sprayed.

"The situation is very difficult. We do not have enough facemasks. We don't know what this gas is but medics are saying it's something similar to Sarin gas," Raji Rahmet Rabbou, an activist in Homs, told Al Jazeera.

1:55 PM PT:

1:12 PM PT:


11:47 AM PT:

MORE BREAKING: Al Jazeera Live Blog reporting poison gas use against rebels in Homs

This just in:
Poisonous gas sprayed in a rebel-held neighbourhood in Homs, medics there say

December 23, 2012 - 22:27
This video shows medics in a besieged area in Homs city trying to help a person struggling to breath. They say he inhaled poisonous gas sprayed by regime forces in the rebel-held al-Bayada neighbourhood.

Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the accounts given by him.

I have also seen these twitter reports of a gas attack in Homs:

Follow clayclai on Twitter

The Iranian mouthpiece Press TV has just published this story claiming that the Syrian opposition has used chemical weapons against the Syrian government and that at least seven Syrian soldiers have been killed.

Let me be clear at the outset that I do not believe this report! I know that Press TV is an unreliable source, in fact I exposed their perchance for spreading misinformation long ago in my diary here.

I do not believe that militants have used chemical weapons in Syria. However, I consider the publication of this report by Press TV to be BREAKING NEWS of the highest order. Just as the reports of an attack by North Vietnamese PT boats against US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, an "attack" that we now know never happened, was certainly "Breaking News" of the highest order.

The mere claim by Iranian or Syrian government sources that the opposition has already used chemical weapons indicates that some very big moves are afoot: If the Syrian government is claiming that "militants" have killed seven of their soldiers through the first use of chemical weapons,
How will they now respond?

Here is the Press TV piece:

Syria militants use chemical weapons against Syrian forces

Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:4PM GMT
Militants fighting against the Syrian government have used chemical weapons against the army in Daraya near the capital, Damascus, military sources say.

According to a commander of the Syrian Presidential Guard, at least seven Syrian soldiers were killed on Saturday after they were attacked by a chemical weapon which produced a toxic yellow gas.

The soldiers were reportedly killed within an hour after inhaling the gas.

Foreign-backed militants have repeatedly threatened to use chemical weapons against the army and pro-government civilians in recent days.
They have also threatened to contaminate Syria's drinking water supply in a bid to kill all Alawite Shias and the supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

The threat was made in a video posted on YouTube in which militants tested water contaminated with a lethal mixture on lab rabbits. The rabbits stopped breathing and their chests swelled shortly after drinking the poisoned water.

The militants had earlier released a footage in which lab rabbits were killed by inhaling poisonous gas.

The militants' use of chemical weapons come as the US and its allies have alleged that the Syrian government possesses the deadly weapons and is prepared to use them against militants.
 More...

The Iranian FAR News Agency is carrying reports similar to the Press TV report:
Syria: Terrorists Use Chemical Weapons against Army

15:37 | 2012-12-23
TEHRAN (FNA)- Armed rebels used chemical weapons in their attacks against the Syrian army in Reef (outskirts of) Damascus on Sunday.
The terrorists used chemical weapons against the Syrian army forces in Darya district of Reef Damascus today.

"The terrorists have already thrown three cube-shaped plastic bags towards the (Syrian) army's forces that killed seven forces due to the gases emerging from the bags," a commander of the Syrian Presidential Guard told the Iran-based Arab-language Al-Alam news channel on Sunday.

The commander noted that a yellow button is installed on the bags and by pushing that a yellow gas came out and those who inhaled it died after nearly one hour.

Since several weeks ago, different media had reported about the presence of chemical weapons in Syria and the possibility of its use by armed rebels.

Earlier this month, a senior member of the Iranian parliament had warned that based on developments during the last 21 months of crisis in Syria, the terrorist groups are much more eager to use chemical weapons than the Syrian army.

The remarks were made by Head of the Parliament's Education and Research Commission Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi in an interview with the Parliament's news agency.

"The situation on the ground and what has happened over the past 21 months indicate that the possibility of using chemical and unconventional weapons by the rebels in Syria is much higher than the Syrian government," Zahedi said.  More...

These reports comes after yesterday's reports from Russia that Syria's chemical weapons were being safeguarded.

Below the fold is what I planned to do with my diary today before the above story came across my desk. I wish to introduce you to another voice on the Syrian Revolution, The Revolution Observer.

The Revolution Observer, 17 Dec 2012, by Abu Anas:

Secrets of the US-Syrian Relations

After the defeat of the Ottoman Caliphate in World War I, and through the Sykes-Picot agreement between France and Britain in 1916, the French occupied what we know today as  Syria. For one to understand the extent of US influence in Syria and to map the relationship between the Assad regime and the US, one must consider the history of modern Syria. The following are 10 key points, in chronological order, starting from the time of Western colonization of Syria to the present day, highlighting US involvement in the country.

1.) US and CIA orchestrated military coups in Syria since 1949: The US, through its embassy in Damascus and the CIA, led the first ever military coup in Syria in 1949, as detailed in the book “The Game of Nations” by Miles Copeland. This marked the beginning of the international struggle over the Middle East between the United States, the new entrant to the world arena, and the Europeans (French and British) who held the influence in the region but came out of World War II devastated. The US embassy and the CIA continued to support several subsequent military coups in Syria throughout the 50s and 60s against their European rivals, this was an era of instability that lasted over two decades.

2.) Hafez's pullout out of the 1967 war to secure Israel: Ex-President, Amin al-Hafiz, said in an interview on Al-Jazeera on July 2nd, 2001 that Hafez al-Assad, the then Defense Minister, sent a strict order of withdrawal to the Syrian army from the Golan Heights at the beginning of the war. This was before any sign of defeat or real confrontation against the Israeli military which has resulted in the occupation of such a strategic location.[1] It was through this move, Assad gained the trust of the US in defending Israel's northern border, which he continued to do for the next three decades.

3.) US supporting Syria through UN Resolution 242 in 1967: UN Resolution 242 which was passed after the 1967 War, commonly known as the six-day war, with Israel and its occupation of the Golan Heights, grants Syria, to this day, the right to regain back its territory.[2] The US supported this agreement and Syria's right to its territory. This is in stark contrast to the Israeli position, apart from occasional lip service, of rejecting any notion of surrendering this geographically strategic territory.

4.) Strengthened US-Syrian relations after the 1973 war: After the 1973 surprise war with Israel, the US should have slammed Syria with sanctions. On the contrary, in 1974, President Nixon personally paid a visit to Damascus to strengthen relations with the Assad regime.

5.) US acceptance of Syrian occupation of Lebanon since 1976: Syrian troops invaded Lebanon at the beginning of the civil war. The silence on part of the US against such an occupation was a "green light" to Hafez al-Assad to initiate and continue this invasion until 2005, when a French-mandated resolution pushed the Syrians out with American reluctance. One political analyst described this US role by saying: "[The US] seemed tacitly to acquiesce to continued Syrian ascendancy in Lebanon."[3]

6.) Cooperation of Syria and US through the Tai'f Agreement in 1989: The Ta'if agreement was signed in Saudi Arabia between the different Lebanese factions to put an end to the civil war in 89’. The US was the power broker besides France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria that helped form the agreement, "prompting international support for Syrian―guardianship over Lebanon."[4]

7.) Syria joining the US in its campaign to invade Iraq in 1991: Syria supported the US in its war campaign against Iraq (Operation Desert Storm) and sent 14,500 soldiers and personnel to aid the US in its invasion of Iraq.[5]

8.) US mediating negotiation between Syria and Israel during 1990's: Hafez al-Assad accepted the US to be a mediator between Syria and Israel. Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Hikmat al-Shihabi, led the delegation to the US that discussed peace negotiations on the matter. In an interview with Russia Today TV, Syrian ex-Minister of Defense and a pillar of the Assad regime, Mustafa Tlass, stated unequivocally that al-Shihabi was a CIA-agent for the US.[6]

9.) Intelligence cooperation between CIA and Syria to torture detainees since 2001: The close cooperation between the CIA and the Syrian regime was so warm, that even during times when Syria was called a rogue state, the Syrian regime offered its services to do the dirty work of the CIA. The regime used its world renowned intelligence agencies to extract information from detainees and prisoners of war through torture for the CIA. The famous case of Canadian citizen Maher Arar is one example that made International news.[7]

10.) US support of regime during the Syrian Revolution of 2011: As has been discussed in detail through our first part of this series on the agency of the Assad regime, the US has stood silent and watched the daily slaughter of Syrian civilians for 2 years, in addition to denying the rebels the weapons needed to protect themselves and to oust Assad.

As can clearly be seen, the US tried early on in Syria’s modern history to set its agents in power through military coups. Although the US continued its public rhetoric against Syria, it achieved complete hegemony when its agent, Hafez al-Assad, gained power in 1970. Since al-Assad, Syria has been a covert proxy state for the US serving its interests in the region and protecting Israel’s northern borders, while outwardly claiming to be the resistance leader within the Arab region.

The Revolution Observer, 8 Aug 2012, by Abu Anas:
The US Strategy In Syria

 The United States has a great stake in Syria due to its geopolitical and strategic interest. It is very critical for any politician or activist to understand the interests and strategies employed by the world powers in a specific political scene. In the previous post, we have shed some light on the geopolitical interests of the US in Syria and now we will concentrate on the strategies employed by the US to preserve its influence in Syria due to this popular uprising that has shook its agent regime.

Looking backwards to the beginning of the uprising, the US has changed its posture toward the revolution three times, utilizing different strategies due to changes on the Syrian political scene.

The first strategy, which was utilized from the beginning of the revolution for little less than one year, can be termed as the "hands-off approach." The US policy makers, like many skeptics who knew the viciousness of the Syrian regime, had no doubt that the regime will be able to crush the masses and return them to their homes. The Syrian regime was very stern since the beginning, stating that it is very different from all of the other revolutions and Syria is not vulnerable to popular uprisings. The US was convinced by the regime rhetoric and therefore provided it with the necessary political cover through the Arab Summit and later on the UN resolutions, which gave it lots of time to crack down upon the people. The regime was advised by the US to utilize what was termed as "smart killing", which is the killing of less than 50 people a day, so as to not enrage the world public opinion against the criminal silence of the Western, so called Democratic and Free, world.

The resilience and determination of the Muslims of Syria has flabbergasted the whole world and sent shock waves through the policy making centers of the Western administrations. That is when the US administration came running with a different strategy to save its agent regime in Damascus, its second strategy, which we can call the "Yemeni approach." The US started through the Arab League and later on through the special envoy from the UN, Kofi Annan, to promote the "political transition" in similar steps as Ali Abdallah Saleh has taken in Yemen to transfer his powers to a so-called "opposition" transitional government. The deal was, in summary, the stepping down of Bashar al-Assad, securing his exit from the country and the appointment of his vice president, Farouq al-Shar'a, as his successor to lead a transitional government formed by giving some seats in it to an approved set of Syrian opposition figures, mainly from the Turkish-based Syrian National Council (SNC).

Due to the horrendous bloodshed and savagery of the regime's militias on one hand and the awareness of the Syrian people on the other, such a middle ground compromise that was set to preserve the whole regime, except for a face change, was trampled by the rebels. After 6-months of trying this Yemeni approach, the US had to change gears for a third time. The third strategy which happens to be the current one employed by the US against the revolution can be summarized in the proverb, "if you can't beat them, join them." This "infiltration approach" is based on two pillars, the first is to get some of the loyal elements from the regime to defect and join the opposition to steer it away from their goals. The second pillar is to try to buy out some loyalties from the current opposition through money, weapons supply, intimidation, psychological warfare, etc. The goal is to maintain as much of the old regime as possible while at the same time give the illusion of change to the masses to calm the streets and maintain control of the country.

We have seen lots of defections from the top echelon of the regime that would be playing such a role, most notably the close friend of Bashar al-Assad, Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, and the Syrian ambassador in Iraq, Nawaf al-Fares. There has been many news leaks about CIA operatives on the Turkish borders with Syria and even inside Homs and Idlib trying to filter out the FSA factions so support can be given to the appropriate ones. It is in the Syrian vital interest not to allow some of the doubtful characters from the top of the regime, who are defecting now, from leading the revolution or have any role in influencing the future of Syria.

The Revolution Observer, 20 Aug 2012, by Abu Anas:
The Agency of the Assad Regime

The goal of mainstream media outlets is the shaping of people's viewpoints based on the agendas of governments and multinational corporations. Therefore, the Muslim political observer, without an official media outlet to reflect his strategic and vital interests, is left to be bombarded by anti-Islamic propaganda that purposefully misinforms and distorts reality. This has led to the misconception that the relationship between the United States and Syria is filled with animosity. This article will be the first of a two part series discussing this topic.

For anyone to be able to explain the relationship between different countries one must understand the interests of these countries and their political actions must be analyzed so one can define what type of relationship they have. The media has suggested that the Syrian regime is part of the Iranian "axis of evil" which jeopardizes the US interests in the region. Iran has a strategic depth extending through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even Bahrain, Yemen and Gaza. The Syrian regime, of all of these players, stands out as the strongest ally to Iran and is a pillar in its ability to project power into the Arab world. Based on this assumption, analysts have said that it is the strategic interest of the US to bring down the regime to undermine the Iranian influence in the region. They add that eliminating Syria from the Iranian sphere of influence will deal a great blow to Iran's expansionist strategy.

The political observer realizes that such an assumption is false through the examination of the political actions by the US towards the Syrian regime since the beginning of the revolution. One would be assured that if the above understanding of the US-Syrian relations were true then the US would have nurtured relationships with the Syrian opposition inside Syria from day one and even before the revolution. The first fact is that the US has left the regime to crack down upon the peaceful protests for months despite raw footage showing inhumane and totally savage behavior of the Assad militias (“shabiha”) towards innocent civilians. Aside from empty rhetoric and lip service from the US administration, nothing concrete was applied to support the rebels. Even the US ambassador to Syria stayed in Damascus under the guise of trying to collect information on the ground. The political cover that the US has provided to the regime, through the Arab League and the UN, cannot go unnoticed to even the amateur political observer and certainly not to the Syrian rebels.

The second fact, which is of greater importance, is the US not providing any military support to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and until just recently giving a green light to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to fund the smuggling of meager weapons to the rebels. The US administration refused to  support the FSA with weapons under the excuse of not wanting to further militarize the conflict and just recently under the guise of Islamist composition of the FSA. It is of paramount importance to know that what is needed to bring down the regime in a relatively short period of time is to provide portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. The FSA has specifically requested RPG-29 and SAM-7 supplies, something which is very easy for the US to provide. The US has given more sophisticated weaponry to the Afghan freedom fighters during the invasion in the 1970s which brought the Soviet Union to its knees. That kind of support can be used as the benchmark for when the US wants to bring down a regime. It is very clear that the US has behaved in a totally different fashion with the Syrian rebels.

A couple of issues that can be brought up by skeptics are the mistrust of some FSA factions and not having a unified and clear command for the FSA overall. First, if the Syrian regime was that much of a threat to the US, then supporting its enemies to cause its demise would be a priority. Second, the US could have from early on signaled that it will militarily support the opposition and it would have been very easy to connect with one of the defectors that would fulfill the US interests. When the US publicly supports that FSA personnel and its faction with the needed weapons, all future defectors will naturally fall in line under its leadership. This fact was confirmed by a Syrian financier to the rebels who was quoted as saying: "The number of fighters each commander can summon wax and wane with his ability to arm and pay them and their families, so there is no particular leader with enough clout to bring the brigades together."[1] So both questions can be easily resolved when you supply such a contact with the needed weapons and the rest is a trickle down effect.

It can be seen clearly from the above analysis of the US relationship with the Syrian regime that the US prefers this regime to continue and that there is no hostilities, at least not to the level the mainstream media would like to propose is the case. The Syrian regime has secured the US interests in the region, specifically toward Israel, and the US is very happy to continue such a relationship, if possible, for the future. The Syrian people in general, and the rebels in specific, have to realize that the real support to the regime is coming from Washington first and foremost and not only from Moscow and Tehran!

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Russia takes control of Syrian chemical weapons
Syria: Assad Regime enters the Deathwatch Phase
SecState[?] John Kerry and his 'dear friend' Bashar Assad
A Libyan rebel speaks out on Jihadists in Syria
Does what Obama said at Newtown apply to Syria?
BREAKING: Heavy fighting in Damascus as coup attempt reported in progress
Assad's jets bomb Palestinian refugee camp
Jabhat al-Nusra is a Threat to the Syrian Revolution
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syrian opposition says "Thanks but No Thanks!" to foreign intervention
BREAKING: Assad firing Scud missiles at Syria
Is Assad using white phosphorus in Syria?
BREAKING: Obama recognizes opposition in Syria
Speaking for the murderous regime in Syria
State of the war in Syria: Most of Damascus now in FSA hands!
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
UPDATED: Syria goes dark as "cleansing" begins in Damascus
BREAKING: Assad's Troops Wipe Out a Playground Full of Children in #Syria
BREAKING: Russia denies Syrian army on brink of collapse
BREAKING in Syria: Explosion rocks Damascus as people use "Truce Day" to protest regime
We condemn Israel. So why the silence on Syria?
Norodom Sihanouk at his finest & more on Syria
Meet a Syrian who doesn't think both sides are equally bad and is betting her life on it!
Two statements about Syria
Syria Today: New videos from the revolutionary war
Syrian Defector: Assad behind "terrorist" bombs
How Assad fights "terrorism" in Syria
REVISITED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
Turkey attacks Syria
Truth Out: How Assad helped France kill Qaddafi
Panetta: Unilateral U.S. Military Intervention in Syria Would Be a Serious Mistake
BREAKING: 305 Syrians slaughtered in bloodiest day yet
Syria: Secret source of rebel arms revealed
BREAKING: Amnesty on Syria - Assad Regime guilty on indiscriminate slaughter
Syrian Revolution Digest shows "disgusting" photos!
Syria: The Killing Field the World is Learning to Live With
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
LIVE VIDEO: “World Silence is Killing Syria” Rally in #DC
Free #Syria responds to Robert Fisk
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

 

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree we shouldn't trust that Iranian news (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indubitably, UnaSpenser, judyms9, mithra

    source but you're right this has "set up" written all over it. Of course Assad would use this as an excuse to escalate the conflict and I wouldn't put it beyond him to take the "eye for an eye" route (even if it was a lie) and retaliate with chemical weapons.

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:22:03 AM PST

  •  You don't believe the report. (14+ / 0-)

    Yet your title repeats the report.

    Look, I know you want eyes on your diary, but this smacks of yellow journalism's tactics.

    •  43% of his diaries are "BREAKING" - (6+ / 0-)

      does he 'cry wolf!', much?  ;-)

      •  I'm about to publish another BREAKING NEWS (5+ / 0-)

        diary, that I'm sure you will consider unwarranted and another "cry wolf"

        After all, what's another 300 dead Syrians, killed while lining up for bread?

        Who cares? It didn't happen in Newtown so shut up!

        Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

        by Clay Claiborne on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:48:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Welcome to the cruel world, my friend. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          I first worked in India in 1979 ("you can't swing a dead cat here without killing 100 people," as my Indian host put it), and worked in my first war-zone later that year (Thai-Cambodian border, about 1,000 people/day were dying, initially; 1-3 million Cambodians died overall.) My first work in Africa was c.1985, in Mali and Guinea; the average life-span in Guinea was 38 years at the time.

          Living abroad makes you appreciate America, with all our faults, doesn't it? For how many years have you lived in Syria?

          I remember as an undergraduate, having taken one course in 'development' by a liberal prof, I considered myself nearly an expert critic of US policy. Some of my Muslim/international classmates bought into the propaganda coming out of Khomeini's faction in the Iranian revolution. Naive.

          I've only visited Syria twice, in 2009-2010, for conferences. I have perhaps a dozen Syrian colleagues/friends -- a mix of Sunni and Alawi -- all of whom blame the US for supporting the recent rise of (Sunni) Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, as part of our fixation to punish (Shia) Iran. (And in Egypt, where my Egyptian friends are aghast that the "US has empowered Mursi" -- they are convinced the US wants the Muslim Brotherhood to win, in order to destabilize and divide the region and set it back, to appease Israel.)

          If/when the MB gains power in Syria via violence (vs. some kind of negotiated settlement and transition), there will be many more than 300 people killed initially (mainly Alawi or Assyrian Christians), and for the next 30+ years (which is as far out as one can see) conditions will deteriorate from the Bashar Assad regime's days. Bashar made a fatal error in 2011 when he heeded right-wing Baath and Alawi factions rather than negotiating a peaceful transition from power. It's too bad, as Syria had made progress from his father's regime, and was poised to make even more. Not now.

          Governments tend to crush violent uprisings (and secessions) against them, anywhere -- including including in the US. In the four years of the US Civil War -- still our bloodiest and deadliest -- 625,000 people died (in a population of 31 million).

          Often there is no good choice in political battles overseas, no viable 'liberal' faction (even in the broadest sense, let alone the American progressive sense) that has any hope of winning and maintaining power. In backing the MB, Obama has made the wrong choice.

          I read some of your early diaries supporting the Muslim Brotherhood opposition groups in Syria, buying into their propaganda, ignoring the difficult policy choices, and chastising Obama for not giving them weapons (even as he was signalling to Qatar and Saudi behind-the-scenes that it was OK to fund them). I'm not impressed. They're full of vitriol, lack analytical depth, and you attack others who disagree with you. I forget if I commented on those diaries or just read your comments to others, but I am not impressed with your one-sided analysis of Syria, and I stopped reading your diaries.

          Bashar Al-Assad could have done the right thing and negotiated a peaceful transition out-of-power in 2011, but he sold his soul to the Baath Party and Alewite tribe. Still, the US should not be arming fundamentalist Islamic factions who will "blowback" and bite us.

    •  The fact that (3+ / 0-)

      it is being reported by the Iranian government makes a huge difference.  "Iran claims...." should be leading the title.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:39:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How would you have titled it? (0+ / 0-)

      Never mind, you never would have written it in the first place.

      My title is accurate, the use of chemical weapons is being reported. but I believe those reports are false.

      But I don't believe, what I believe should be in the title. I stick to the facts there. and the BREAKING NEWS fact is that Press TV reported it.

      I'm the only one consistently reporting on the human tragedy in Syria at the Daily Kos. What does that smack of.  

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:44:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What do you have against reality? n/t (8+ / 0-)

    Hope and Forward, my Ass! I Think President Obama is Dyslexic. He Keeps Going Forward into Republicanism and Hopes Nobody Notices.

    by Wendys Wink on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:38:25 AM PST

  •  Interesting how you publish information (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, mickT, stevej, corvo

    regarding past coup attempts in Syria by the US and it's CIA but never acknowledge US/NATO/CIA involvement in this current regime change/country balkanization attempt.  Also interesting how you publish some of Seymour Hersh's writings but never respond to attempts to get you to comment on The Redirection.  

    http://www.newyorker.com/...

    This has been predicted by some, that the terrorist proxy fighters will be supplied with chemical weapons, probably from lIbya, use them and blame it on the Assad regime thereby giving the US/NATO war machine the "red line" they need to launch a Libya style assault.
    So ya, something may  be afoot, but not necesarily what the diarist is indicating.
    Who is Abu Anas by the way and why the heavy reliance on his/her opinion?

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:42:32 AM PST

    •  I think we've seen enough false flags by now (3+ / 0-)

      to know that they will continue to be used to paint the Assad "regime" in an evil light; which beyond terror, is their purpose if that wasn't bloody obvious enough by now.

      There still has been no accounting of the close-range massacres of Alawites and government supporters. Even the UN has endorsed these false flags. Usually it's called genocide.

      None of the same general concern displayed for the wholesale destruction of civilian infrastructure and mass thefts by roving gangs as has been vaguely repeated ad nauseum in the western press for "the Syrian people". Many areas are simply left desitute and fearful, if they're "left" at all.

      And the US is still only admitting to minimal tactical assistance, when it's clear that they're involved with finance(arms) as well, through our "allies"(aka despots, to their subjects). Not that it matters I guess. Only westerners are buying the storyline anyway. They really don't care if the rest of the world doesn't believe them anymore. It's all for the greater good, just another "regime" to be checked off on the (insert Serious thinktank here) list.

      •  Remember this one last February from Al Arabiya (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        protectspice
        http://english.alarabiya.net/...
        Syrian regime used poisonous gas under Iranian, Russian supervision: dissident officer
        Tuesday, 14 February 2012
        By Al Arabiya

        A Syrian dissident military officer, Capt. Abdul Salam Ahmed Abdul Razek, said the Syrian regime is using internationally prohibited poisonous gas against protestors under the supervision of both Iran and Russia.

        “The Syrian army used nerve gas to facilitate the invasion of Homs and was planning to do the same in Jebel al-Zawia and al-Zabadani,” Abdul Razek told Al Arabiya.
        ...
        The use of those gases and other brutal measures taken against civilians, Abdul Razek said, demonstrate that the Syrian army has one purpose in mind: killing the Syrian people.

        “For example, what happened in Rif Dimashq was genocide.”
        ...

  •  The soldiers probably dropped one of their own (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra

    Chemical Weapon by accident when handling it.

  •  The CIA is all over the ME so anything is likely. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, corvo, adrianrf

    The Russians have their spooks in there as well.  Who knows what other intelligence (sic) operations are afoot?  Best to reserve judgment on everything.  And best to assume any future rationale for sending our troops in, over, or behind has been manipulated if not manufactured.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:19:22 AM PST

  •  Yeah, those Russians are sure doing a great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fire bad tree pretty

    job of controlling the situation, aren't they?

  •  Clay, it might behoove you to find out a (5+ / 0-)

    little more about "Abu Anas" before citing him as a credible authority.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:35:35 AM PST

    •  A credible authority (3+ / 0-)

      in Claiborn's book is one that agrees with him. No other criteria come into play.

    •  Claiborne subscribes to the very same Abu Anas (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, corvo, Clay Claiborne

      theory that Obama secretly supports the Syrian regime.

      http://www.revolutionobserver.com/...
      Syrian Political Landscape Exposed
      ...
      During the Syrian revolution, the US has taken a hands-off approach to the situation, leaving literally tens of thousands of innocent civilians get slaughtered and raped by this draconian regime. One would think that due to world opinion and human rights, the US might sell out its stake in such a regime and try to help bring it down, as has been suggested by the media and other political analysts. The fact of the matter is that the US did not do that for the mere reason that doing so necessitates the finding of an alternative leadership which would secure the US interests in Syria. There is no political nor logical use of the US helping in bringing a proxy regime down without having a plan to secure the interests which were served by that proxy.
      ...
      What the Western powers are interested in is to retain their hegemony over Syria through this new coalition, which they have shaped to be acceptable to the rebels and the public inside Syria.
  •  Tipping, I don't see anything particularly HR'able (3+ / 0-)

    in this diary.

  •  I don't know what is true and what is not (and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dance you monster, mithra, sofia

    Clay, I'm well aware of your agenda wrt to these Syria posts and usually don't agree with your biases)

    but the second you posted the report (I also saw the saem report on ynet) I thought:

    This is a false story leaked by the Assad regime to the Iranians that will be used as justification for an actual such attack by the regime.

    If your post on AJEnglish is accurate, that may be the case.

    However all is speculative and all sides have agendas so we'll have to wait for confirmation.

    •  Cui bono - to whose benefit? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      protectspice

      The regime has absolutely nothing to gain by the use of poison gas and everything to lose. The US, NATO and Israel have all said this would automatically trigger a massive military response against Assad's regime. These countries could fire hundreds of cruise missiles into Syria at a moments notice.

      From the (unreliable) twitters and facebook reports and the small scale of reports and victims, the "poison gas" could just be CS of which there is ample supplies at every police station in every town.

      http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/...
      Tear-Gas Related Deaths in Bahrain
      March 2011–March 2012
      As compiled by PHR from interviews with local physicians and analysis of news reports.

      This table lists names of 34 individuals reported to have died from tear gas and related complications.

  •  Clay (0+ / 0-)

    Please just provide just one link to a past diary that has a list of all of your previous diaries on Syria or something.  I mean it takes a week just to scroll by the links of your repetitive listing of them to get to comments.  

    Your glitch can be your superpower (Sarah Silverman, Brand X)

    by sofia on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:57:46 PM PST

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