Wednesday, October 03, 2012

3-Oct-12: The Syrian carnage goes on and on, with wide agreement over who is pulling the strings

Political observers have little doubt who stands behind the
reviled al-Assad regime in the ongoing Syrian bloodbath
An update from the Lebanon Daily Star on the endless killing just north of our border with Syria.
  • Three car bombs tore into the heart of Aleppo (we know it better as Haleb here in Israel). It's Syria's second city, and 50 people are said to have been killed there today as the al-Assad regime launched an offensive against rebels near Damascus. "Aleppo, with a population of 1.7 million people, has been one of the focal points of the conflict since mid-July, when the army promised the "mother of all battles" to clear the city of rebels."
  • Since Thursday, the fighting has become more intense, spreading at the weekend into the centuries-old, UNESCO-listed souk in the histoc heart of the city and sparking a fire that damaged hundreds of shops.
  • Rebel fighters killed at least 15 soldiers in attacks on military posts in Syria's northwest
  • The bloodshed spilled across the Syrian border when several shells fired from Syria crashed and exploded in the town of Akcakale, inside Turkey. At least five civilians are killed (evidently a mother and three children plus a relative), and nine wounded. According to the New York Times, Turkey's government announced in the past hour (it's now after 11 on Wednesday night here in Israel) that "Turkey had fired artillery at targets in Syria, in retaliation for [the] Syrian mortar fire that fell in a Turkish border town and killed five Turkish civilians. It was the first instance of significant fighting across the Turkish-Syrian border since the Syrian uprising began last year, and raised the prospect of greater involvement by the NATO alliance, to which Turkey belongs."
  • Syria's civil war began in March 2011 when it looked more like a series of peaceful protests for reform. So far, more than 31,000 people have been killed.
The US and other Western countries have said they blame the Iranians for stoking the flames and equipping and training the Syrian al-Assad regime's forces. This past Friday in New York City, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said:
“Let’s be very frank here. The [Bashar al-Assad] regime’s most important lifeline is Iran... There is no longer any doubt that Tehran will do whatever it takes to protect its proxy and crony in Damascus” [more
Today, speaking to Iran's government-controlled news channel IranTV, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi rejects those claims with a sadly typical piece of jihadist logic.
"Damascus does not need other countries’ weapons to fight domestic conflicts. Syria is country that had prepared itself for fighting the Zionists and has gathered enough weapons for this task,” Vahidi said during a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Sadoun al-Dulaimi in Baghdad on Wednesday." 
Oddly, though his statement may sound right to many people, the reality is Israel's border with Syria has been entirely - and uniquely - devoid of hostile military action for several decades. Israeli governments have never harbored any illusions about the nature of the father-and-son al-Assad regime in Damascus in all those years. But you can't argue with the results: it was and still is this country's quietest frontier. And it's highly unlikely that the nature and quantity of Syria's military preparedness is all that helpful to the task of massacring its own citizens and destroying vast tracts of Syria's ancient cities and villages.

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