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Is this good news from Russia todaY?  General Habib defected last March, but this report is dated today:

The sources have reported that Russia will launch an initiative which will  include an agreement to start a transitional phase in Syria, headed by Gen. Habib ,  aimed at a peaceful solution to the crisis  within  framework of the Geneva Conference 2 and averting the intervention by the US military.
Another good sign are the defections among the ranks of the Assad regime are increasing.  This is a good sign of a breakdown within the regime.

Check out this award winning, interactive, Al Jazeera record of Syrian defections

Visualisation tracking officials who quit Assad's regime won the 2013 Online Media Awards for best technical innovation.

NUMBER OF HIGH LEVEL DEFECTIONS

Senior Military & Security Officials: 82
Cabinet: 3
Parliament: 4
Diplomats: 14
Total: 103

As the uprising progressed, military generals and soldiers began to defect from the Syrian army to form the rebel Free Syrian Army. A large number of soldiers fled to neighbouring Turkey while others remained in Syria to battle government forces.
There are two former Assad Generals of interest who have defected and joined the Assad opposition forces, according to reports:

Adnan Silu, Major General and former head of Syria's chemical weapons program - July 2012 defected to the opposition.

Brig. Gen Mohammed Nour Ezzedeen Khallouf - chief of supplies and logistics of Syrian Armed Forces, March 2013  

If anyone knows where the chemical weapons are/were stored, it would be these two Generals.  Hopefully, they can be helpful to those hoping to topple Assad both within and without Syria and to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

That's all for today.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is the kind of outcome to hope for (10+ / 0-)

    Which is why I am glad there is been the delay of consulting Congress.

  •  it was in Russia's hands (5+ / 0-)

    all along. I sincerely hope they move forward toward Geneva 2 and replace Assad...similar to but not exactly what they did in Yemen.

    “Fiction is a lie through which we tell the truth.” — Albert Camus

    by valadon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:40:05 AM PDT

    •  If the proof is there Putin can't afford to be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error, Wee Mama, newliberl

      associated with Assad.

    •  So the Geneva 2 talks are about replacing Assad? (0+ / 0-)

      The moment that you put non-negotiable demands on the table shows you are not acting in good faith. What is going on in Syria is a civil war and this demand attempts to use the Peace Conference as a weapon against the other side.

      Aims

      Brahimi stated that Kofi Annan's peace plan was appropriate for a Syrian peace process. He said that the main problem was getting the different groups in Syria and their different international supporters to accept the "very principle of a political solution". He said that this has been the UN approach to the Syrian civil war since the war began. Brahimi said that his "main message to the Syrian parties ... [is] that there is no military solution to this devastating conflict. Only a political solution will put an end to it. And the basis for such a solution does exist. It is the Communiqué issued on 30 June 2012, after the meeting, in Geneva, of the socalled 'Action Group' of countries convened at the initiative of Kofi Annan."[2]

      Attitudes by Syrian groups and by the US and Russia towards the role or absence of president Bashar al-Assad in a transition period differ and would be expected by The Economist to constitute a major issue of the conference.[6] Ahmed Jarba, president of the Syrian National Coalition, stated in late July 2013 that "Bashar al-Assad's resignation was non-negotiable".[7]

      What is required is to stop the fighting and let the people choose democratically.

      But we are far beyond that due to the tremendous amount of meddling and supply of hundreds of tons of weapons into the country by the Saudis and Qataris, overtly and covertly supported by the US, UK and France.

      The plan has always been: Either Assad goes or we destabilize the country and stir up so much shit it will be sent back to the dark ages.

      Fait accompli.....

  •  So is this an 11thD chess move? (7+ / 0-)

    Make big noise at Syria but wait a week and let Putin school Assad on, "You really don't want to go there"?
    If that's what this is, a major bluff on the edge of a cliff, AND IT WORKS, then Hats' Off to whoever came up with it.
    If it fails and we end up either going to war or backing down ugly, then it's over for the architect (who I believe is Kerry).

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:41:10 AM PDT

  •  Appears the object is to replace Assad...not to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, Wee Mama

    bomb Syria further back into the Stone Age.

  •  Let's call Putin's Bluff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boriskamite, War on Error

    have Samantha Power sponsor a UNSC resolution condemning the escalation of violence and demanding a cease fire and a freeze in place of all parties, followed by resumption of negotiations in Geneva, with a Chapter 7 enforcement  provision if either party fails to comply.

    This won't please Netanyahu, because is reduces the chance to strike Iran, and might even empower Iran a bit, they could ask for relief from sanctions in return for abandoning Assad, as it seems they want to do.

    •  Samantha Power will have too many preconditions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whizdom, War on Error

      for the peace plan to be successful as history has already shown. The US has always predicated any peace talks with the removal of Assad.

      What the US wants is Assad gone but his military left intact to be controlled by a sycophant in order to ensure control of Syrian military defense systems and CW storage facilities. (This probably even more important now that the Salafist jihadis have gained so much power. Boots on the ground are the only solution to that threat and the US wants them to be Syrian boots, not American.)

      The US probably had contacts with people like Habib to take over after Assad stepped down. But that did not work out as planned.

      Almost everyone in the West and Arab League thought Assad would only last a few months or year at most. How many times did we hear the crap from Clinton? Putin had said Assad would not leave under those circumstance and that negotiation for a political solution was the only way to stop the civil war from escalating. He was correct. Don't forget that Putin had direct contact with Assad at the time and knew exactly how he was going to respond.

      Chapter 7 enforcement  provision if either party fails to comply.
      Who will speak for all the disparate groups within the opposition? Many of them will never agree to any kind of cease fire or freeze and would take advantage of any unilateral cease fire.

      There is no viable political or military leader of the opposition forces operating within Syria at this time. Good luck in trying to make them into a cohesive force for stability within the country. The moment Assad is gone they will be at each other's throats - literally.

  •  So what you're saying is (4+ / 0-)

    that some of the creepiest thugs in the Assad regime are defecting.

    Somehow I'm not getting the warm fuzzies from this.  It might avert a major international war, but it won't ensure anything better for the Syrians than what they've got now -- even if it somehow ended the civil war, which is pretty unlikely.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:48:31 AM PDT

  •  "Russia will launch an initiative" (0+ / 0-)

    what the hell does that mean, anyway?

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:57:16 AM PDT

  •  So the head of Assad's CW program (5+ / 0-)

    defects to the rebels, and we're still 100% certain that it was the regime that used them in Damascus?

    Maybe they did, I wouldn't put it past them, but the idea that the opposition didn't -- couldn't -- have the expertise makes a record breaking belly flop when you consider this information.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:03:14 AM PDT

    •  And the head of logistics & supplies (3+ / 0-)

      What a combination if true.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:09:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which could make those (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      who say the government did it and the rebels did it both correct.  Compromised elements of the government doing it at the behest of the rebels.

      All aboard for fun times.

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:54:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whenever Bandar Bush has his fingers in the pie (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SouthernLiberalinMD, boriskamite

        you can expect things to get VERY interesting - to say the least.

        •  I really don't like that guy. Did I mention that? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q

          Wasn't he one of the ones that got a nice flight out on 9/12?

          The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:36:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. He orchestrated the whole thing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            boriskamite, SouthernLiberalinMD
            Bin Ladens allowed out of U.S. after 9-11
            Former White House official confirms operation said to be rumor
            Published: 09/04/2003
            ...
            Dale Watson, the FBI’s former head of counterterrorism, offered contradictory statements to Vanity Fair. He said that while the bureau identified the Saudis who were on the plane, “they were not subject to serious interviews or interrogations.” According to Clarke, top White House officials personally approved the repatriation plan, which is thought to have been organized by Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Vanity Fair reports Prince Bandar met with President George W. Bush on Sept. 13, 2001, but it is not known whether the plan was discussed.
            ...
            Reuters reported Bandar had lunch last Wednesday with former President Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine, where the family has long had a vacation home. The next day, he met with Vice President Dick Cheney in Wyoming.

            The news agency noted the meetings coincide with efforts by Saudi Arabia to halt a slide in relations amid reported links between some Saudis and attacks on the United States.

  •  Maybe it's not just CT (3+ / 0-)

    The rumored Saudi application of carrots and sticks offered/threatened to Russia.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:49:44 PM PDT

  •  God, I hope so. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac

    Weird to see this come from Putin. Does he want to defuse the dangerous situation between U.S. and Russia over Syria?

    Thing is, if Syrian conflict comes from climate change, it's not going to go away.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:35:30 PM PDT

    •  Most conflicts rarely have one cause. They usually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error

      are a result of the convergence of a number of factors.

      The drought in Syria created conditions where 800,000 rural Syrians flooded into the cities looking for work. This coupled with Assad's following IMF recommendations which removed subsidies and increased unemployment, especially for the younger people, caused the people to hit the streets.

      I believe the West and GCC took advantage of the turmoil to assist in the removal of Assad. He underestimated the forces, both domestic and foreign, that were arrayed against him - just as these same countries underestimated his staying power.

      So here we stand with a situation that appears to be unfix-able except with application of more violence. I don't think this is going to end well.

  •  Great post. Thanks for the news. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:14:12 AM PDT

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