December 1, 2013

Updates On Syria [12.1]: Assad Says Syria Is Now In An Open War With Saudi Arabia, Honest Fighters Abandon Corrupt FSA, PKK And KDP Discuss Syria, Mother Agnes Mariam Faces Persecution And Death For Advocating Peace

1. An excerpt from, "Assad: Our Battle With Saudi Is Open-Ended" Al Akhbar, November 30: 
Assad explained that Saudi Arabia “is leading the most extensive operation of direct sabotage against all the Arab world,” adding, “Saudi Arabia led the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the battle against all nations and parties that stand in the face of Israel. The [Saudis] gave cover to the Camp David agreement, supported the war on Lebanon in 1982, and today, they are engaged in an open-ended war against Syria. We are now openly saying that we are at war with them. True, we accommodated them previously, but they want everything to be according to their vision and interests.”
Saudi Arabia has a false sense of security. They're acting as if they're based in Europe or South America rather than the Middle East. They can't promote extremism, fund fanatical loose cannons, and export terrorism forever. The bill will come due at some point. And all the money in the world is not enough to cash the checks that are coming to Riyadh. Assad is just reminding the Saudis that they, too, are human, and can bleed.  

2. An excerpt from, "Disillusionment Grows Among Syrian Opposition as Fighting Drags On" by Anne Barnard, Mohammad Ghannam and Hwaida Saad, The New York Times, November 28:
In the Syrian city of Homs, a rebel fighter, Abu Firas, 30, recently put down the gun his wife had sold her jewelry to buy, disgusted with his commanders, who, he said, focus on enriching themselves. Now he finds himself trapped under government shelling, broke and hopeless. 

“The ones who fight now are from the side of the regime or the side of the thieves,” he said in a recent interview via Skype. “I was stupid and naïve,” he added. “We were all stupid.” 

Even as President Bashar al-Assad of Syria racks up modest battlefield victories, this may well be his greatest success to date: wearing down the resolve of some who were committed to his downfall. People have turned their backs on the opposition for many different reasons after two and a half years of fighting, some disillusioned with the growing power of Islamists among rebels, some complaining of corruption, others just exhausted with a conflict that shows no signs of abating. 
Abu Firas, in Homs, said that at first he felt proud to carry his gun, even forgoing food or cigarettes during a government blockade. But things “went ugly,” he said, when some commanders made profitable deals with government soldiers, endangering fellow rebels. 

“Selfishness and greed just came to the surface,” he said, adding that he tried to smooth out the problems, “but it didn’t work because you can’t think right when you are hungry.” 

“I think these corrupted commanders do not want this war to end,” he said. “Did I say war, not revolution? Yes, unfortunately I did.”
These are heroic and honest fighters. They have good hearts. But naivety has a price. If you are going to fight and sacrifice your life, at least have a plan that goes one step beyond selling your jewelry to buy a gun.

The problem is that there is no visionary political leadership in the Syrian opposition to Assad. But the fault for the failure of the revolution lies not with the fighters based in Syria. It falls upon the shoulders of the moronic leadership that is guiding the FSA from outside of Syria, as well as the many countries that are supporting the Jihadist terrorists, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, England, Germany, the United States, Qatar, and others. These nations didn't have a political plan properly laid out. They just yelled out "Assad must go" and "Assad is massacring his people" without evidence, and believed words alone would do the trick. Actions speak louder than words, and Assad has spoken very loudly thus far. 

3. An excerpt from,"PKK and KDP Hold Meetings at High Level" by Hemin Salih, BasNews, November 30:
Following recent tensions between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is often seen as an offshoot of the PKK, high level talks are taking place between the KDP and the PKK.

The meeting was held to discuss a mutual stance regarding the outcome of the Syrian Kurdish regions, the on-going peace process between the PKK and the Turkish government and the possibility of the Kurdish National Conference taking place soon.

The PYD representative in the Kurdistan Region, Ja’far Hanan, said that the problems between the KDP and the PYD are not great enough to hinder cooperation between the two parties.
Kurdish parties/militias are sitting down to discuss how best to defend their mutual interests instead of fighting each other pointlessly? How mature. My oh my, how times change!

4. An excerpt from, "Mother Agnes Mariam: In Her Own Words" by Sharmine Narwani, nsnbc, November 29:
American national security journalist Jeremy Scahill and leftist British columnist Owen Jones announced recently that they would not share a platform with a Palestinian-Lebanese nun at the Stop The War Coalition’s November 30 UK conference.
Neither Scahill nor Jones provided any reason for their harsh “indictment” of Mother Agnes Mariam, who has worked tirelessly for the past few years on reconciliation in war-torn Syria, where she has lived for two decades.

Have you ever heard of Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones before this?

No, not at all. Who are they? Didn’t even notice who the people were. I heard about this from my organizer – that some people opposed even my presence. I understand everybody – I have been in dialogue with precisely the kind of people who opposed my presence. But it is the first time I hear their names, so no, I don’t know them. I’m not a person in the “scene.” (laughs)
 I have been accused of denying CW attacks, of protecting the Syrian regime and of accusing the rebels of launching those attacks. I have never said this. In the foreward of a study I did on this, I affirm: I am not an expert. I am not talking on a military basis, or a forensic or medical basis. I just questioned some videos. It started because I was asked by the parents – survivors of a terrible massacre in the Latakia mountains – to help find some children abducted with women after the massacre. Some had recognized their children in the pictures of the chemical attacks. They delegated me to look into this for them. I was tracking those children in the videos – without this task I would not have had any incentive to look at the videos. My work at the monastery was in iconography and restoration (preservation) – I am very used to using my eyes to look for tiny details. I noticed discrepancies in the videos. I came to look at them for one thing (the abducted children) and in the process I discovered these videos were fake. When I went to Geneva to the commissioners in the Human Rights Council, I told them about my findings in relation to the missing children and the videos, and they said they would be interested to have something written. I do not incriminate anybody in this study. I do not pretend to decide if there was a CW attack or not. There were discrepancies and I am simply asking questions. The study was done in a hurry – we even said it was a beta version. Now I am finalizing the study that will introduce even more evidence. Those videos – numbers 1, 6, 11, 13 among the 13 videos claimed by the US intelligence community as authenticated and verified to be presented to Congress as genuine evidence of CW attacks – are fake, staged and pre-fabricated. Nobody thus far is answering my charges – they are incriminating me without answering. My goal in this is to find the children; that’s my only goal. If they were used for staging, are they alive? Where are they now? If they are alive they must be returned to their families. If they are dead, we want to see their bodies to bury them so their parents can mourn them and we want to know how they were put to death and where. I am asking to see the graves where 1,466 alleged corpses are buried in Ghouta and to take from the pit samples to conduct an honest inquiry. Because I doubt that there is such a pit.
Mother Agnes Mariam is a heroine in this crisis. She has stepped up to the plate for the cause of truth, understanding, and peace without regard for her own life. She is a true beacon of hope and leadership from the Eastern Church. She serves God, not any political ideology or regime. Western journalists who disgrace her only disgrace themselves.