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“America, is trying to prolong the Syrian revolution.”
                           -- Firas Tlass (a high level Assad defector)
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I am a relatively insignificant person, so the fact that I think Obama has liked Assad, as expressed it in my last diary, is hardly worth all the angst and vitriol it generated.

However, the fact that a growing number of Syrians, and a growing mindset on the Arab Street, is of the opinion that the United States has really been supporting the murderous Assad dictatorship and not the people in this struggle, is something that should be of great concern to all Americans and can't be changed by a thousand donuts from Kossacks because it is based on what the US has done rather than what its leaders have said.

From the Daily Beast today we have this story:

Did the CIA Betray Syria’s Rebels?

Americans didn’t keep promises to opposition leaders. Now they’ve turned against the U.S.
Feb 12, 2013 12:00 AM EST
By Mike Giglio.
In mid-August, a well-connected Syrian activist drove to the border city of Gaziantep in southern Turkey to meet two officers from the CIA. The officers had set up shop in a conference room at a luxury hotel, where representatives from a handful of opposition groups lounged in the lobby, waiting for their turn at an audience.

The activist, who had been a journalist before the conflict, came with three colleagues from Aleppo, the Syrian commercial capital that had recently turned into the main theater of the war. Inside the room, two casually dressed Americans were rolling up maps from the previous meeting. The Americans introduced themselves as CIA officers and said they were there to help with the overthrow of Syria’s authoritarian president, Bashar al-Assad.

The activist declined to be named for this article, because he didn’t want to be connected publicly to U.S. intelligence. He is respected in Aleppo, and I first met him, in another southern Turkey hotel, at a State Department–funded training seminar for activists, where he was a keynote speaker. According to the activist, the officers questioned the group about creeping Islamism in the rebel ranks. Were Aleppo rebels supportive of democracy? Hostile to the West? What about al Qaeda? Then the officers asked how they could help. The activists wanted armed support for the rebels in Aleppo—in particular, surface-to-air missiles—but the officers explained that America worried such weapons could fall into the hands of extremists. “Let’s leave military matters aside,” one of the officers said. The group made a list of things like satellite phones and medical supplies, and the officers promised to be back in touch soon. “We are here to help you bring down Assad,” one of the officers repeated.

However, in the months since, that activist, as well as many senior figures in the rebellion, have begun to suspect that the United States has no intention of living up to its promises. In a turn of events resonant of Iraq, many who had once been eager to work with the Americans feel betrayed, and some see meetings like those in Gaziantep as little more than a hostile intelligence-gathering exercise.
In a phone interview in January, Tlass told me he had been present at the meetings with the Aleppo activists and the Liwa al-Fatah rebels, and he confirmed their accounts. He said that he had arranged a number of similar meetings with the CIA, and that promises like the ones the officers made in Gaziantep were commonplace—including the indirect promise of arms. “They promised to provide telecommunications devices, and afterward, if the rebels proved effective and honest, then they would [help] provide military support,” he said. Tlass told me that the Americans had kept none of those promises, that not even the communications equipment or hospital supplies had materialized. He then accused America of pushing a dark agenda in Syria—working to keep the war going instead of helping with the overthrow of Assad. “America,” Tlass said, “is trying to prolong the Syrian revolution.” [bold added] More..

If this story of betrayal is true, it has a cost in blood. It has had a very high cost in blood in Syria in the past year!

An aside on "Conspiracy Theories" for Kossacks:

My last diary was given dozens of hide ratings [HR], because the raters claimed my view that Obama had wanted to keep Assad in power, or to put it another way “is trying to prolong the Syrian revolution”  or "pushing a dark agenda in Syria" was a "Conspiracy Theory" [CT]. That is nonsense.

What the story reported in the Daily Beast shows again for the hundredth time is that those that claim the Syrian revolution is really a US orchestrated and funded effort at regime change are the real conspiracy theorists in this discussion. This is a CT with almost no foundation in fact, It is a CT heavily promoted by the Assad regime. And yet it is a CT that I hardly ever see called out as such in the Daily Kos where it is frequently promoted by a handful of Kossacks.

Click here for a list of my other Daily Kos dairies on Syria
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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm sure this: (10+ / 0-)

    had nothing to do with all those donuts.

  •  You missed this bit (5+ / 0-)

    from the linked article...

    Like many shipments, ZaZa added, the upcoming one had instructions for how it should be distributed inside Syria. He wouldn’t say where he got his orders, but he believed they had the mark of Turkish intelligence, and by extension the CIA. He scoffed. “Neither Turkey nor America can control where the weapons go,” ZaZa said. “The rebels distribute them however they like.”

    Ron Reagan: "Sarah Palin's constituency are people who wear red rubber noses and bells on their shoes."

    by AnnetteK on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:54:20 AM PST

    •  I didn't want to include the whole article for (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      copyright reasons, but I did link to it.

      If enough Kossacks quote different paragraphs in comments as you did above. Does that mean we can reprint the whole article without violating copyright or the Daily Kos "fair use" guidelines?

      Interesting question.

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:45:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Re. your "aside"... (8+ / 0-)

    It seems that you're suggesting that your CT (and despite your protestation, the evidence for the fact-free wackiness of your pet "theory" is ample) is preferable to their CT. That's an odd sort of formulation, imo...

    On a different note, you ask "did the CIA betray Assad's opposition in Syria?" Have you asked yourself the question "did the opposition not meet the benchmark-requirements for the US to provide additional material?" Did the 2000+ pieces of communication equipment provided through offices of our State Department actually get to, and remain, in the hands of groups with whom we're comfortable dealing? Seems like that might be a good question before rambling on about "betrayal."

    Linking proudly, as you do in the first 'graph, to a diary deemed by this community to be a worthless piece of CT rubbish looks quite a bit like trollery...

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

    by angry marmot on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:17:54 PM PST

    •  The Libyan rebels too were said to be (2+ / 0-)

      fragmented, al-qaeda-linked.

      •  Uh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Some were.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:46:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Liwa-al-Fateh, the group the CIA was dealing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        with in the given link has had some bad press in Syria in the past. They appear to have given the FSA a bad name and were instrumental in the Salafist jihadis gaining popular support in Aleppo. Of course, Claiborne will probably blame their behavior on the lack of military support from the US.

        Aleppo’s Deadly Stalemate: A Visit to Syria’s Divided Metropolis
        Ahrar al-Sham and Liwa Suqoor al-Sha’ba partly blame Liwa al-Fateh for the rebels’ misfortune. They look derisively at the group, not because of its weak Islamist credentials, but because it has allegedly been looting homes and harassing citizens. It mans a checkpoint that stops cars coming from the adjacent Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood. “Look at those shabiha,” says a member of Suqoor al-Sha’ba, using the term for the marauding paramilitary gangs of thugs associated with the regime. Abu Tayeb, a member of Liwa al-Fateh at the checkpoint concedes without prompting that “our reputation isn’t good.” Still, he says, “this is war, and things happen in war. I’m still proud to be a part of this group.

        Other rebels say it’s that kind of attitude that has stalled their push into the city, just as much as the lack of heavy weapons and regular resupply of ammunition. Any insurgency needs the support of the local population, and looting homes and harassing citizens obviously doesn’t help. “The problem is how can you hold a man with a gun accountable?” says Khaled, a second-year history student at Aleppo university who now totes a Kalashnikov. “You must raise your gun against him. It isn’t the time for this now, we don’t want to open another front among ourselves. We can’t afford to do this now.”

        Read more:

    •  The statement that: (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Americans didn’t keep promises to opposition leaders
      was stated as fact by Newsweek, not me.

      Raise your questions with them.

      As to your question:

      "did the opposition not meet the benchmark-requirements for the US to provide additional material?"
      Did you not read the article? Even the parts I quoted?
      Tlass told me that the Americans had kept none of those promises, that not even the communications equipment or hospital supplies had materialized.
      If you want to dispute those facts, again, take it up with the source.

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

      by Clay Claiborne on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:00:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But of course... (4+ / 0-)

        there are numerous published sources since June 2012 indicating that 2,000+ pieces of communication were transferred to the opposition. Sounds like Tlass might be deflecting blame and eliding the opposition's inability to 1) be accountable for equipment that has been transferred and 2) coalesce into a legitimate and effective political and military leadership. The conditions for additional support have been pretty clear...

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

        by angry marmot on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:49:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Firas Tlass' brother General Manaf Tlass (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, angry marmot

          prefers a peaceful transition, not violence:

          Tlass: Peaceful transition, not violence saves Syria

          Defected Syrian General Manaf Tlass spoke out against the armed insurrection in his country while advocating a peaceful transition of power.

          “Chaos reigns in Syria, and this chaos cannot bring down the regime… [but] if it did, there would be disastrous consequences,” Tlass said in an interview published on the Russia Today website on Tuesday.

          “Another scenario would be that the regime clings on to power, faced by an armed opposition in a battle that would exhaust the Syrian people and the Syrian infrastructure. As a consequence, Syria will crumble and turn into a failed state.”

          The former Syrian general added that the other option would be a peaceful transition of power, which would be “the option that I favor.”

          Here's the website of Firas Tlass which shows the red/white/black flag of the Syrian regime.

          Joshua Landis from Syria Comment does not think highly of Firas

          Firas Tlass Offers to Finance Syrian Opposition with Worthless Assets

          Firas Tlass’ company is worthless. The brother of General Manaf Tlass is offering to finance a new Syrian opposition with worthless assets.
          If Firas Tlass were serious about putting up money, he would offer a dollar amount out of his personal assets. Instead he is offering a shell corporation that has been impounded..

          There were also several XXX videos on the web showing Firas cavorting with two prostitutes.

          It doesn't appear that Firas was a dependable partner for the WH to deal with.

      •  Unconfirmed Assertions (6+ / 0-)

        I could find no indication that Newsweek had concluded that Americans had not kept their promises.  Oh, the statement reported that activists claimed the US hadn't kept promises, but that was all Newsweek stated as fact.

        If we're going to go diving into the realm of intelligence analysis, we should keep in mind the generally accepted princial that the information in question be sourced from at least two distinctly separate sources.  Here, we have one squishy source, which should generate a very low confidence level in any sort of analysis.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:46:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Have you considered the CIA's vetting process (6+ / 0-)

    showed arms could not be controlled once they entered the country? The answer may lie in the closing paragraph of the article you linked to. This would be sufficient to tell the WH that arming the rebels would be a very risky venture and subject to blowback. Just one civilian airliner shot down by a MANPAD supplied by the US would have VERY severe repercussions in the entire MENA region.

    Did the CIA Betray Syria’s Rebels?

    In June anonymous U.S. officials leaked word to The New York Times that CIA officers were in southern Turkey vetting rebel groups to determine who might receive support from American allies. But Tlass’s suspicion echoed those of many senior rebels and opposition members I spoke with, who had become convinced that rather than help them receive support, America was mainly in the business of keeping it from coming their way.
    The movement of arms in southern Turkey operates in a fog. Opposition supporters collect money and arms from sympathetic individuals and governments, then send them across the porous border. When rebels do receive weapons, they often assume that the shipments have the stamp of U.S. approval, since they seem to arrive with the permission of America’s Turkish allies. (When I asked an official with the Turkish Foreign Ministry about the shipments this past summer, he replied, “Just because the weapons are coming from Turkey doesn’t mean that Turkey is the one providing the weapons.”) But even the rebels who receive these weapons remain suspicious of American intentions.
    Like many shipments, ZaZa added, the upcoming one had instructions for how it should be distributed inside Syria. He wouldn’t say where he got his orders, but he believed they had the mark of Turkish intelligence, and by extension the CIA. He scoffed. “Neither Turkey nor America can control where the weapons go,” ZaZa said. “The rebels distribute them however they like.”

    This shows the US was correct in not opening the doors to a massive influx of weapons.

    The supply of MANPADS to the rebels was never on the table.

    The US has spent hundreds of millions around the world in an attempt to rigidly control MANPADS. You are asking for the US to trash these accords.

    One final point. The US, UK and EU cannot legally arm the rebels because of the unilateral sanctions they have imposed on Syria. Any supply of arms would have to be done clandestinely (link from Brown Moses blog) or through Qatar or Saudi Arabia. Russia and Iran would be very quick to point out the hypocrisy. Note that these countries have not agreed to UN sanctions on Syria so are not bound by them.

    In addition, there is the problem of al-Nusra:


    "The opposition is increasingly being represented by Al Qaeda extremist elements.” She also said that the opposition was getting messages from the ungoverned areas in Pakistan where some of the Qaeda leadership was believed to be hiding — a development she called “deeply distressing.”

    One further point. The CIA is NOT in the business of determining foreign policy. This is the business of the State Department and the Commander in Chief. If some CIA did make "promises" that were not fully authorized then they should be treated as rogue agents.
  •  Ceasefire in Homs - displaced residents return (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnetteK, corvo, Fire bad tree pretty
    Homs' displaced residents begin to return after year of sustained bombing
    Sunday 10 February 2013

    Syrian city is guarded about relative calm as governor calls for unity against al-Qaida and intense fighting continues elsewhere

    A year after this city captured the world's attention as the victim of the worst shelling that Syria's civil war had yet seen, Homs has become a – relatively – safe haven. Hundreds of families who fled to other Syrian cities in fear last February have loaded their belongings and returned. Civilians from Aleppo and Deir el-Zour – where fighting is still intense – are moving to Homs because they have heard it is more livable.

    "It's the only case I know of in Syria where people are returning after a long period of displacement. Homs may be quieter than Damascus", Khaled Erksoussi, the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent's emergency response team told me in the capital before I set off on the 100-mile drive north. He was right. The boom of heavy shelling, promptly followed by the screeching of birds in panic, repeatedly fills the Damascene sky. It was in full and murderous throat again when I returned. Yet for 24 hours in Homs I heard only a few explosions, apparently directed towards targets beyond the ring road. In the city centre the street markets are thronged with shoppers. Groups of students wander in and out of the university, or stand around chatting. Checkpoints at several cross-roads create minor traffic jams but the soldiers seem relaxed and perfunctory as they check ID cards and car-boots, no doubt happy to be assigned to minor tasks rather than be sent to risky, remote areas. Homs even boasts a number of armed women in uniform who have volunteered for a newly created home guard.
    While the rest of his testimony could only be taken on trust, his point that Homs was enjoying a virtual ceasefire was confirmed by many other people I spoke to in the city. Whether this city, which was once a byword for wanton destruction, could one day be a model for the rest of Syria remains to be seen.

  •  HOS troll. Rated accordingly. (4+ / 0-)

    May others do the same.

    •  I don't think Mr. Claiborne is HOS yet. (0+ / 0-)

      Many of his diaries are helpful and informative, and his heart is in the right place.

      But these unsubstantiated attacks on President Obama are getting to be very tedious.

    •  I have to agree... (15+ / 0-)

      and here are a few of the reasons why:

      1) diarist continues to push his overdetermined CT narrative re. US policy on Syria. When challenged on the facts, such challenges are either a) ignored, b) avoided by deflecting responsibility for content or c) taken as a platform to slander all those questioning the diarist's narrative as supporters / enablers of al-Assad

      2) diarist continues to link to "evidence" within diaries to previous diaries that have accumulated large numbers of HRs on the Tip Jar. In other words, the "proof" cited for this diarist's bizarre CT assertions is material already resoundingly deemed by this community to be utter nonsense

      3) diarist has more-or-less admitted that posting these bizarre "theories" on dKos has nothing to do with dKos per se, but is simply a means to provide a link for twitterati (poor, deluded fools they may be)

      4) diarist has a history of violating community conventions re copyright

      5) diarist has a history of offending this community by posting graphic "war-porn" imagery sans trigger-warnings (the episode with the photos of the headless girl [posted, challenged, withdrawn, posted in several subsequent diaries] and the episode with the "rape" story come immediately to mind, though there are others as well)

      In short, the diarist has no real intent to engage this community or adhere to our formal rules or norms. HoS troll, indeed.

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

      by angry marmot on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 05:12:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Screech Is Deafening (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fire bad tree pretty, corvo

    The screech from explaining the conspiracies has reached a point where nobody can hear anything being said.  Dialing it back from "11" might be the best strategy going forward.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:35:23 PM PST

  •  Oh no you didn't: (6+ / 0-)
    a growing mindset on the Arab Street
    Oh yes you did. This shows me just how little you understand Arab concerns and sensitivities.
  •  Many in Syria want fewer arms - not more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rusty Pipes
    Syria: War Moves Closer to Khan al-Sheeh Palestinian Camp
    February 10, 2013

    Battles in Syria are spreading from Damascus’ Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp to the outskirts of Khan al-Sheeh, the country’s second largest camp. This refuge for more than 40,000 Palestinian and Syrian refugees now reeks of death as it is the target of kidnappings and assassinations.

    Damascus – Several months ago, the Syrian war reached the doorstep of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. In the camp, most negotiations and reconciliation efforts have failed, including those initiated by Palestinian resistance factions.

    Many families displaced from Yarmouk have relocated to Khan al-Sheeh, the second largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, located about 40 kilometers southwest of Damascus. Recently, skirmishes between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamic militant groups have taken place in the environs of Khan al-Sheeh. War has once again caught up to unarmed civilians.
    The residents of the camp are not standing by idly. Massive demonstrations were held that called for an end to the presence of arms in the camp. Palestinian resistance factions issued a joint statement that stressed “the need to spare the camp any negative repercussions that may lead to casualties.”

    Some aspects of the statement provoked a backlash among camp residents when, for example, the factions called for “helping people remain in the camp.” The majority of the factions’ leaders do not even reside in Khan al-Sheeh.

    Abu Adham, 62 years old, said, “Are these leaders aware of the sheer magnitude of fear and terror in which we live inside our homes? We are tired of their speeches and statements that only seek to score political points.” Abu Adham’s home, located in a part of Khan al-Sheeh used as a FSA base, came under attack from rockets.

    “There are more than 300 fighters from the FSA stationed here at present, along with fighters from al-Nusra,” he said. “No one listens to our demands. All we want is to keep the camp neutral in the ongoing conflict.”

    The FSA did not pay much attention to the demonstrations that came out to demand that the rebel group not enter Khan al-Sheeh. Meanwhile, the regular Syrian army will not hesitate to bomb areas of the camp that have been turned into FSA barracks.

  •  NATO: Intervention would make things worse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rusty Pipes, InAntalya

    It's not as if this scenario wasn't known from the very start of hostilities.

    NATO head: No Syrian intervention coming

    BRUSSELS, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- NATO's secretary general said the military alliance will not become involved in Syria's civil war unless member-state Turkey is attacked.

    Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Belgium told EUobserver it wasn't the purpose of the trans-Atlantic defense alliance to solve every military crisis in the world.
    Rasmussen said international military intervention in Syria's 2-year-old conflict would have complicated matters, not made them better.

    "It is my firm belief that any foreign military intervention would have unpredictable repercussions because Syrian society is very complicated, politically, ethnically, religiously and the regional context is very, very complex," Rasmussen said.

    Read more:

    The countries wanting regime change thought Assad would step down within a few months if they funded and militarized the opposition to exacerbate the situation sufficiently. He didn't step down and I don't think they expected that. They were naive and miscalculated.

    The rebels who picked up arms against the regime thought poppa Obama and momma Clinton would come to their aid as was done in Libya.

    Unfortunately this did/could not happen.

    There was no way the Russians and Chinese would allow another UN R2P resolution after the way it was abused in Libya.

    There was no plan 'B'.

    When/if Assad falls, NATO may (would have to?) come in to help FSA fight against the Salafist jihadis to secure the country's weapons armories (missiles, WMD's, arms, munitions). They are not going to go willingly. This going to be an absolute mess and could cause the deaths of untold thousands more civilians.

    Again, we were forewarned about opening this Pandora's Box.

    •  You're great at warning of the dire consequences (0+ / 0-)

      of overthrowing Asad, Claudius, but not so good at suggesting what should be done. Should the FSA throw down their guns and turn themselves over to the tender mercies of the regime Shabiha? Should the civil opposition go home quietly and reconcile themselves to a further decade of Asad clique brutalities?
      As we've repeatedly told you, the "Pandora's Box"has been filled by the failure of the international community to provide the sort of assistance to the Syrian struggle that could have counter-balanced the huge regime advantage in firepower.
      The Syrian conflict is not going to go away any time soon. And that Pandora's box is just going to get more explosive. Classical self-fulfilling prophecy.

  •  BOJO'd! (5+ / 0-)


    Have you written your Chained CPI/Social Security Betrayal/Obama is a Caver diary today? 100's already have. What are you waiting for?!

    by kefauver on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:10:22 PM PST

  •  It looks like the diarist has finally been banned. (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

    by MrAnon on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 02:31:02 PM PST

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