November 26, 2013

Updates On Syria [11.26]: Regional Marijuana Trade Is Booming, Discontent In Southeastern Turkey Is Growing, Kurdish And Arab Militias Unite Against Al-Qaeda

1. An excerpt from, "Lebanon cannabis trade thrives in shadow of Syrian war" by Rana Moussaoui, AFP, November 25:
According to Abu Ali, a local resident, traffickers from Syria buy 30 to 100 kilogrammes to take on to neighbouring countries.

"From Turkey, they sell to European traffickers, and from Iraq and Jordan, they sell it to the Gulf countries," he says.

"Even though it's risky, 40 grammes that would sell for $20 in Lebanon will be sold for $100 in Syria and for $500 when it arrives in Turkey.

"There are also fighters in Syria that buy in small quantities for their own consumption," he adds.

"Because of the war, the number of Syrians working here has doubled," the 32-year-old says, his voice nearly drowned out by the sound of the sifting machine he operates for around 12 hours a day.

"It's very profitable," says Samer, another Syrian from Afrin, who says he makes $33 a day, instead of the $13 he was earning in a Beirut vegetable market.

Local residents fiercely defend their illicit activity.

"It supports entire families," says Afif, a father of three, who says his two hectares bring in tens of thousands of dollars a year.

The most skilled traffickers can reportedly haul in $1.5 million a year.

"Here there's not a plant that survives except hashish. It's a gift from God. Can we oppose God?" Afif asks with a laugh.
Somebody commented on the article in the link above, "I find it ironic that the military is forced to operate as a military instead of a drug enforcement agency." It's funny that the pious "army of Islam" who are battling Assad are some of the biggest buyers. No wonder they're losing the fight, they're high most of the time. They're not a conquering army, but terrorizers and destroyers. Assad's army is more professional so they deserve greater respect.   

2. An excerpt from, "Turkey rethinks state-run Kurdish paramilitary force" by Susanne G├╝sten, Al Monitor, November 26:
Against this backdrop and as hopes rise in the country for a lasting settlement to the Kurdish conflict, the village guards have begun to worry about their own future.

“We have never stood against the [peace] process,” said Seyithan Karadag, president of the newly formed Federation of Village Guards of the Southeast, at the body’s founding convention in Diyarbakir this summer. “But we have been unjustly treated for years and we want it fixed now.”

Among the main demands of the village-guard associations are recognition as civil servants, social-security benefits and pensions.

“Every civil servant has health insurance and social security, but we have no rights,” said Ahmet. “We have fought and died for this country, and what are we given? A pauper’s pass, nothing more,” he added in a reference to the "Green Card," a health-care scheme for the poor that was extended to the village guards a few years ago.

Alternative employment is also high on the list of the guards’ demands.

Faced with the challenge, the government has been hedging its bets. Interior Minister Muammer Guler said earlier this year that the village guards would be dissolved “in time, as the need for them ends in the course of the solution process,” but would provide no time frame. “This large community that has worked self-sacrificingly to combat terror should not worry about its future,” Guler said, but again did not offer specifics.
3. An excerpt from, "In Syria, Kurds are fighting their own war against Islamists, and winning" by Marine Olivesi, PRI, November 26:
Hassan Mounir al-Shehab, a teacher, remembers the date. It was September 14, just a few days before school was scheduled to start. He says about 300 jihadists spread out around the village at dawn. Hardly any of them spoke Arabic.

“Such people from Malaysia, from Pakistan and Afghanistan have nothing to do with our country. They have nothing to do here except damaging and destroying,” he says.

Al-Shehab and his family fled. They returned recently to a ransacked house. Jihadists had torn the pictures of his grandfather, and taken the eyes out. “The jihadists say it’s a sin to hang portraits on walls,” al-Shehab says. “But they don’t consider what they're doing as sins.”

The YPG drove al-Qaeda out of Alouk a few days later. The village elder says he’s grateful for the help of the Kurdish militia.

“Kurds and Arabs, we are all together in the same trenches. Before this problem, we were already in good terms, but this strengthened our relations even more. The YPG fought to protect us and didn’t want anything in return,” the man said. “I trust them more than my own son.”

After the clashes, some Arab villagers even joined the Kurdish militia. Half a dozen men now man the checkpoint outside of Alouk, most of them Arabs, with Kurdish weapons.
This is the only good news out of Syria. Locals of different ethnicities and religions are getting together to protect their neighbourhoods, sanctuaries, and homes against the Jihadist terrorists who are invading Syria from all around the world. The countries that are aiding these terrorist invaders, such as Turkey, America, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, and England, will pay a price, one way or another, however small. The law of karma is in effect.

The governments that are supporting al-Qaeda with money, military training, and weapons must know by now that their crimes and offenses are being documented by many people.