Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Shame Factory

The Death Toll From Syria’s War Is Actually 470,000, New Research Claims. “The Syrian Center for Policy Research says that 11.5% of Syria's population has been killed or injured.” The injured number around 1.9 million.

What does it all mean? In geopolitical terms, this is the price that the Obama administration was willing to pay in order to get the Iran deal: Obama's Secret Iran StrategyContrary to what observers have long assumed, Obama does connect his Iran policy and his Syria policy: just as he showed deference to Iran on the nuclear front, he has deferred to the Iranian interest in Syria.” In humanitarian terms, it means this world is governed by narcissistic amoral assholes of all kinds who are as comfortable as ever with the use of people as pawns, for all the deaths and mayhem that this entails: Trapped between airstrikes and locked gate, Syrian refugees are pawns in a wider war

Syrian Opposition Groups Sense U.S. Support Fading.American-backed insurgents have long been used to the American stance in recent years, that the United States did not want them to actually win the war — lest a sudden toppling of Mr. Assad lead to Islamist rule — but wanted to prevent them from losing for long enough to pressure the government to negotiate for a political solution. Now they fear that the United States and its allies may actually let them lose.” Well, the support was never real to begin with. Obama achieved his goal, the Iran Deal, and now prefers to let others do the cleanup.

The Guardian view on the battle for Aleppo: a rebuke to America and the world. “After intensive bombing, and while the world looks on, Syria’s largest city is on the verge of becoming a humanitarian catastrophe on a par with the siege of Sarajevo 20 years ago.” That’s so 20 never agains ago.

Saudi’s decision to send troops in Syria ‘final’ and ‘irreversible.’ That’s how Syria’s suffering: final and irreversible. And it was all quite preventable – something that no realist would ever dare acknowledge.

Exclusive: U.S. Allies Now Fighting CIA-Backed Rebels. “Not long ago, U.S. jets and Shia militias worked together to battle ISIS. Today, those militias are trying to take down American proxies in Syria.” The Obama administration was so worried about the law of unintended consequences in Syria it managed to create a deep quagmire that sucked in both Iraq and Syria. Just like its predecessor, every mistake the administration committed ended up facilitating and consolidating Iran’s regional rise. No wonder the Saudis are pissed, and increasingly suspicious. 

A Piece of Propaganda: Why Assad's Army Has Not Defected. This is a work of propaganda, that’s for sure, but just in case people are willing to forgo the background of the author, Kamal Alam is a Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and a Syrian Military Analyst advising several Damascus-based family offices, not to mention certain otherwise easy to notice facts, let me make the following reminder: as all western intelligence agencies can assert, nothing remains of Assad’s armies that is worth the name army: by now we are dealing with militias, the majority of whom are composed of Alawite and Shia recruits and mercenaries paid for by Iran. There are Sunni fighters for sure,, but most of them are hapless recruits thrown into the fire in the face of Al-Nusra and IS, with little support, and little faith in the fight, except the need to survive. Neither Al-Nusra nor IS has shown any sympathy for the plight of Sunni recruits, and they know it. So, they fight because they have no choice: defectors are killed and captured soldiers are killed. As for the times before the war, well, as all Syrian with a brain and the willingness to face the truth know: the levers of power in the military and security agencies have always been held by Alawite, and best equipped fighting units were also made of Alawite recruits, Christians, Druzes, Shia, Ismailis and Circassians and members of certain small Sunni clans were given preferential treatments as well. It’s the Assad regime that instituted such sectarian game in Syria, and anyone claiming that they have somehow respected the country’s diversity, rather than exploit it for its own needs, is made either by a total moron, or by propagandist.