December 31, 2013

Updates On Syria [12.31]: Syrian Interim Government Seeks To Establish A Presence In Syria, Info About Chemical Weapons Transport Sites Has Been Leaked To Al-Qaeda, Geneva II Conference Is Three Weeks Away

1. An excerpt from, "Syrian interim government hopes to open offices in Syria" by Mohammad al-Makki Ahmad, Al Monitor, December 30:
The deputy prime minister of the Syrian interim government, Iyad Qudsi, said that the priority of the government lies in “establishing offices [in Syria] and communicating with our people so as to embrace them.” He refused to consider the interim government as “a government in exile or a temporary government.” He also talked about “a detailed work program that will be presented before all supporters and the world’s nations, confirming that this government is a popular government that will do its utmost to provide safety and security and will not deviate from the objectives of the Syrian revolution.”
There is no such thing as a singular "Syrian revolution" with clearly outlined objectives that can be reached. That is the overarching myth about this conflict and it has no basis in reality on the ground in Syria. There is more than one current and one impulse that generates fighting in Syria. There's the Jihadist-Saudi current, the Kurds in the north, the Shiites from Iraq and Lebanon who are coming to the defense of their religious sites, the Israeli cloud that looms over all, and of course the Assad regime.

The man who heads the Syrian interim government is living in la-la land. If Assad's army can't provide security for Syrians, then his exile government that has no loyal forces and no popular support inside Syria damn sure can't either. In his delusional mind, the radical religious fanatics who make up the new Islamic Front that Saudi Arabia is funding don't exist, or maybe he believes they can be persuaded to put down their weapons in a post-Assad era, which is an even bigger delusion.

Look at Libya. The destruction caused by the Jihadists there has not ceased for one day since 2011. Getting rid of Gaddafi and Assad are just the beginning for these lunatics. If they were truly powerful they could accomplish their goals more peacefully, but since they are disliked and dreaded by the majority of people, they have no option but to resort to terror to try to gain the heights of power and preserve what little crumbs and spoils they have.

Security in Syria can't be accomplished as long as Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic are at odds with each other. But at least the Shiite fighters have military discipline and follow a chain of command. Radical Jihadists, once set loose, can't be persuaded to change their minds about anything. The ones who are not under the direct control of Saudi Arabia are like a pack of wild animals who follow no lead, and only respond to the whistles of terror. Assad's army has shown that it can hold back this tide of religious fanaticism that is confronting Syria and the Levant.

If Assad were to fall, or be removed from office by the Syrian public in the election next year, the Syrian army would be even more committed to remove these Jihadist terrorists from their territory in his absence.

2. An excerpt from, "OPCW-UN Underline Progress With Syria’s Chemical Weapons As Intelligence Leaks To Al Qaeda" by nsnbc, December 29:
The Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations (UN), which is tasked with the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, expressed that significant progress has been made in its work. Meanwhile, there remain security concerns about the safe transportation of the chemical weapons to the Syrian port of Lattakia. A recent, large scale attack by Saudi Arabia sponsored Liwa-al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusrah mercenaries suggests that certain countries which are supporting the terrorist organizations, are leaking high-level intelligence about planned transports to the terrorists.

Security concerns with regards to the safe transportation of the materials to Lattakia however, remain. Some 40.000 Saudi Arabia-backed mercenaries are massed in the Qalamoun region, not far from Damascus, at the Syrian – Lebanese border, threatening the safe transportation along the roads from Damascus to Homs and further North to Lattakia.

Adding to these security concerns is that a number of recent attacks on secret chemical weapons sites indicates that high-level intelligence is being passed on to the Liwa-al-Islam, led by Zahran Alloush, who has been working for Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service since the 1980s.

Liwa-al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusrah launched a large scale attack against a secret chemical weapons site North of Damascus on 21 December, as OPCW, UN and Syrian experts were preparing chemical weapons materials for transportation. The attack prompted the Syrian government to stress, that high-level intelligence about the transport of chemical weapons materials is being passed on to the Saudi Arabia backed mercenaries by, what it described as some of those nations who are supporting the terrorists.
3. An excerpt from, "Understanding the Geneva II Conference" by Tyler Cullis, Lobe Log, December 30:
Since the civil war intensified in the summer of 2012, tens of thousands of Syrians have died and millions more have been uprooted from their homes. This is the status quo, which will remain intact so long as the parties refuse a political compromise.

For the United States, there will be big questions in need of answers including how long it can endure a conflict that is proving fertile ground for al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Already, as Ryan Crocker’s recent remarks highlight, some U.S. policymakers are seriously considering a future with Assad and thus are urging the White House to open up a line of communication. U.S. policy might thus be forced to undergo a turnabout in the months ahead if no settlement is found.

The worst outcome of failure, however, is that the civil war will render permanent the disintegration of Syria, as the Assad regime, its opposition and the Kurds fight to a stalemate and exercise political autonomy within their respective territorial spheres of control. If this is the case, the United States, its European partners and the Middle East region might have a bigger problem on its hands than it ever have imagined.