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  • Originally posted by Bigfella View Post
    OK, quick update. Syrian state TV has been Bombed & the Prime Minister has done a runner to Lebanon. That rushing & gurgling souund you hear is water. The iceberg has already hit, the only question is how big the hole is & how long it will take to sink the ship. The rats have been skipping town for a while, now senior crew members are bolting. First it was soldiers, then officers, then generals, now cabinet ministers.
    Don't break out the champagne yet. He is Sunni, not Alawite, and was appointed as part of a reform initiative which has largely failed. Still, it's present a serious perception problem for Assad.

    Meanwhile elsewhere in the country BBC reports: (Note bit about Iran "pilgrims"...)

    Hours earlier, state TV said a bomb had gone off at the Syrian state TV and radio building in Damascus, wounding three people.

    Footage shows inside the blast-hit state TV building, as Jim Muir reports

    A BBC Arabic reporter in the capital said the explosion in Umawiyeen Square had "ripped the floor" but transmission was unaffected.

    Pro-government forces have regained control of areas of Damascus seized by rebels in recent weeks but the rebels are continuing to hold out in the second city, Aleppo.

    Opposition activists reported an intense bombardment of parts of Aleppo on Monday as 20,000 troops surround the northern city.

    A spokeswoman for the exiled opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) told French radio station Europe1 that Aleppo was undoubtedly facing "carnage".

    Meanwhile, Iran has strongly denied that 48 Iranians seized by Syrian rebels at the weekend include members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

    Rebels posted an online video of the Iranians on Sunday, saying they had been seized from a bus in Damascus the day before.

    The rebels alleged they were on a reconnaissance mission in the capital.

    Tehran, a key ally of President Assad, says they were visiting a renowned Shia pilgrimage site and has appealed to Turkey and Qatar to help secure their release. A rebel commander said their documents were still being checked.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Doktor View Post
      :scratching head: Wasn't that aid supposed if the member state is under attack? Turkey would become under attack?
      Why so? Iran has threatened to attack Turkey if Turkey intervenes in Syria.
      To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

      Comment


      • BBC News - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait urge Lebanon exodus

        Four Arab states have urged their citizens to leave Lebanon amid signs that the conflict in Syria is spilling over into its western neighbour.

        Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait urged immediate action after a string of kidnappings of Sunni Muslims by a powerful Shia clan.


        Meanwhile, a summit of Islamic countries meeting in Mecca has suspended Syria's membership.

        The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation's secretary-general, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, said the body had no room for a regime that kills its own people.

        Correspondents say the move further isolates President Bashar al-Assad after the Arab League suspended Syria last November.
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        Lebanese citizens were further caught up in the Syrian crisis on Wednesday when warplanes struck the town of Azaz north of Aleppo, reportedly killing 30 people.

        Among those reported wounded in the attack close to Syria's border with Turkey were seven Lebanese hostages held by the rebels since May. Four more hostages were said to be missing after the building they were in was hit.

        After unconfirmed TV reports that the four had died, rioters were said to have burned tyres on the main road to Beirut airport and an Air France flight switched routes to Jordan "for security reasons".
        To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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        • Obama warns Syria re: chemical weapons

          Did Obama and Israel just declare that they are willing to go to war if Syria uses or even moves their chemical weapons?

          Obama warns Syria not to cross 'red line' - CNN.com

          (CNN) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should heed U.S. warnings to neither use nor move chemical or biological weapons, lest he risk crossing a "red line" and provoke a U.S. military response, President Barack Obama said Monday.

          "We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people," Obama told reporters at the White House. "We have been very clear to the Assad regime -- but also to other players on the ground -- that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.

          "That would change my calculus; that would change my equation."

          Obama added that U.S. officials are monitoring the situation "very carefully" and have put together a number of contingency plans.

          "We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that's a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons."

          ....

          The Syrian regime "probably has the largest and most advanced chemical warfare program in the Arab world," Michael Eisenstadt, senior fellow and director of the military and security studies program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told CNN last month.

          It includes "thousands of tube and rocket artillery rounds filled with mustard-type blister agents, thousands of bombs filled with the nerve agents sarin and possibly VX , and binary-type and cluster CW warheads filled with nerve agents for all its major missile systems.

          "Its CW infrastructure is believed to include several production facilities and numerous storage sites, mostly dispersed throughout the western half of the country," Eisenstadt said.

          Syria is thought to have a biological warfare research and development program, but is not known to have offensive biological warfare agents, Eisenstadt said.

          The nation is not a party to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. That's the body of the Chemical Weapons Convention dedicated to eliminating the weapons.

          Israeli President Shimon Peres has said his country too is preparing contingency plans to attack Syria's chemical weapons arsenal if Israel is directly threatened. In September 2007, Israeli jets bombed a building in Syria that the U.N. nuclear agency eventually concluded was "very likely a nuclear reactor."

          .....

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          • I hope diplomacy breaks out and not the 3rd world war , was 1 of Nostradamus's quatrains say the 3rd and biggest WW would be in the M/E started by a madman .?

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            • Originally posted by citanon View Post
              Did Obama and Israel just declare that they are willing to go to war if Syria uses or even moves their chemical weapons?

              Obama warns Syria not to cross 'red line' - CNN.com
              It does read that way. When I read that it felt like a manufactured Administration release to set the stage in the event action is determined to be warranted.

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              • According to Russian sources, FSA has military camps in neighboring Turkish areas. This is Turkey and Russia issue now.

                Comment


                • Anyone notice something that hasn't happened? - Aleppo hasn't been re-taken by government forces. After a month they still haven't re-taken the whole thing. Think about that for a sec. The rebels have concentrated in one spot - pretty much the best scenario Assad is going to get at this point if he wants to cripple that uprising. If the Syrian military was in any shape at all they should be able to surround & strangle an irregular force with barely anything larger than hand held weapons. Even if they eventually manage a 'win' at this point I suspect it will be at such a high cost that it looks like a loss - Aleppo will be in ruins & the Syrian economy in shreds. I also suspect that the strains this is putting on the military will further weaken its effectiveness.

                  Aleppo burns as shells fall again on shattered city

                  By Sara Hussein (AFP) 15 hours ago

                  ALEPPO, Syria Piles of burning rubbish lined the streets of an Aleppo district as a taxi sped through carrying the wounded after yet another day of shelling and fighting in Syria's battered second city.

                  Once a bustling city best known for its production and regional export of textiles and foods -- and a powerhouse of traditional Arabic music -- much of Aleppo was consumed on Tuesday by fighting between rebels and the army, as well as relentless shelling on various rebel-held districts.

                  "It's so painful to watch this, not only is our city being destroyed, but so too are our memories," a resident of Aleppo who identified himself as Abu Hisham told AFP via Skype.

                  "In almost every family from Aleppo, you'll find someone has been killed or injured. The whole of my family has been displaced."

                  Aleppo has a population of 2.7 million, of whom more than 200,000 were displaced in the first days of the fighting that broke out in the northern hub a month ago.

                  The Old City is listed by UNESCO as having "outstanding universal value." But now, everywhere in Aleppo, rubbish piles up in huge heaps, and people often set fire to them, blackening the air, an AFP journalist said.

                  A month on from the outbreak of what the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has termed would be "the mother of all battles," heavy shelling and new fighting broke out across several districts of Aleppo on Tuesday.

                  At least 10 civilians, including two children and three women, were reported killed in Aleppo on Tuesday, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

                  A top rebel Free Syrian Army commander, Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, said the rebels now hold sway in more than 30 districts of Aleppo.

                  "We now control more than 60 percent of the city of Aleppo, and each day we take control of new districts," Okaidi said. "The people are with us... How else do you think we could have lasted a month?"

                  But a security source in Damascus has dismissed the claims. "This is completely false," the source told AFP. "The terrorists are not advancing, it is the army that is making slow progress."

                  The source said the army was bombarding rebel weapons stocks in the Aleppo region to prevent them from reaching those fighting in the city.

                  "Reinforcements from both sides are heading to Aleppo. It is a war that will last a long time," he said.

                  In the eastern rebel-held areas of Sakhur and Shaar, the FSA has set up command posts.

                  In Shaar, a taxi sped through the district's main roundabout, carrying wounded people, while rebels tried to shoot at a helicopter flying overhead in the eastern district of Qadi Askar, where at least 10 people were killed by army shelling on Thursday while waiting in line for bread at a bakery.

                  Fighting also raged in the district of Jdaide, home to some of Aleppo's most beautiful traditional houses and where rebels destroyed two army tanks on Tuesday, as well as Salaheddin, which both the FSA and the army covet for its symbolic importance.

                  Fresh clashes also broke out in the central district of Suleyman al-Halabi, where Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto was shot dead on Monday, activists told AFP via Skype.

                  "We don't know how long the battles will continue," said Abu Hisham.

                  "They have planes, while the rebels are destroying the army's tanks. We understand, but those tanks, they don't belong to Assad: they belong to the Syrian people."
                  AFP: Aleppo burns as shells fall again on shattered city
                  sigpic

                  Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

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                  • BF, you can put it that way, but you can look at it from another angle: opposition didn't got to new free territories. Meaning all their efforts are on Aleppo, too. After some time one of the sides will get short of fighters.
                    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

                    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

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                    • Hearts and minds boys, hearts and minds

                      (CBS News) LONDON - Eighteen months after anti-Assad street protests spiraled into all-out civil war, sources inside Aleppo tell CBS News that many of the business leaders, scholars and other prominent figures in Syria's largest city, who have backed President Bashar Assad and his family for decades, no longer see a future under his rule.


                      CBS News has learned that at least 48 of Aleppo's elite, calling themselves the "Front of Aleppo Islamic Scholars" (FAIS) - which has a Facebook page established just last year - have hand-picked a provisional city council to take over Aleppo when Assad loses his grip on the country - and they are gambling on one of the many rebel groups fighting in the city to become its eventual protectors.


                      Syria's civil war claims 10 more lives in Lebanon
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                      A document obtained by CBS News details the various duties of the provisional administration's 18 members. This city government-in-waiting includes doctors, engineers, tradesmen and university professors, each tasked according to their knowledge and experience.


                      "The main objective for forming such a government is to fill in the administrative vacuum in the city and unite the efforts of revolutionary forces," says the document, indicating that while Assad ostensibly may still be in charge of Syria, his government is no longer able to run Aleppo to the satisfaction of its civic leaders.


                      The document, provided to CBS News by a trusted opposition source, lays out the new 18-member council, listing some of its members by name, others only by initials. Many of them will have been ardent supporters of the Assad regime, and with the fight for the city so far from over, some may still be backing his rule, in their official capacities, at least.



                      The defenders of Aleppo


                      Crucially, the document from FAIS states that one of the rebel factions fighting in the city, the al-Tawheed Brigades, has been entrusted with Aleppo's security. According to the document, the brigades' task now is to unite the other factions across the city to beat Assad's forces out of Aleppo, and then keep the city secure once they're gone.


                      "The management of the military operations goes to the leader of al-Tawheed Brigades, as the most prominent fighting group," reads the document, which has not been disseminated publicly. "As soon as all the other fighting factions are united, the management of the military operations would then be transferred to the higher military command."


                      FAIS has placed a great deal of faith in the hands of the Tawheed Brigades, perhaps because the scholars see no better option, but tapping the faction to act as the defenders of Aleppo is a decision which comes with baggage, and possible ramifications down the road.


                      The Brigades is comprised of smaller rebel fighting groups, including a significant number of former pro-Assad militias (shabiha) which have switched sides having seen their payment from the regime dry up. The Tawheed is one of about five large rebel factions fighting in Aleppo.


                      It is undoubtedly the group with the biggest public profile, having produced virtually all of the online videos to emerge from the city, which often depict fighters marching defiantly through the streets after apparent victories or crouching behind walls to take aim at unseen regime forces.


                      The Tawheed is also the best-connected of Aleppo's rebel armies. They come from the rural districts to the north of the city - the districts through which the vast majority of the weapons, ammunition and money from abroad reach Aleppo via Turkey. The group has alleged connections to Turkish intelligence.


                      They are also strong in number - claiming to be the largest of the factions fighting in Aleppo. With the only available evidence - the many videos the Tawheed Brigades produce - seeming to back this claim, and with their control over the supply route from Turkey, they may have been the logical choice for FAIS.



                      An opposition united, for now


                      A commander from another of Aleppo's rebel groups, however, based in the east of the city, tells CBS News that the Tawheed Brigades' claims are exaggerated. He says the brigades make up just 15 to 20 percent of the rebels in the city, and that men from its ranks are to blame for the looting and crime which has left many local residents distrustful, even disdainful, of the rebels on the whole.


                      Asked about those allegations, Abu Majid, a Tawheed Brigades commander in Aleppo, tells CBS News "there have been acts of looting and pillage in Aleppo, but those were individual incidents and not a general trend, and they are not limited only to Tawheed Brigades."


                      "Tawheed Brigades enrolled many fighters when it moved into the city from the northern provinces; We had to do that in order to be able to cover the large areas of the city. But in doing so, we couldn't carry out the necessary checks on the background of each group of fighters."


                      Majid said the issue was being addressed with the formation of a security committee, "tasked with policing the various fighting groups on the ground and making sure that criminal activities are stopped."


                      The commander from the other rebel group also says the Brigades - which, according to its own leaders and according to the document composed by FAIS, should be acting as distributors of ammunition and weapons to the other groups as the clashes with their common enemy flare up around the city - is cooperating only on its own terms.


                      He tells CBS News that a fight to maintain a foothold in the Salaheddine district earlier this month was lost to Assad's forces because the Tawheed Brigades would not heed requests from the local rebel group for more ammunition. He says the local group even offered to hand over their positions in Salaheddine to the Brigade to continue the fight, but they declined.


                      His account is lent credence by rebel fighters who told a CBS News crew as they left the Salaheddine battle that they had to abandon the fight when ammunition ran out.


                      The loss was called a tactical retreat by rebel leaders, but it served the Assad regime a fresh propaganda victory to show they were reclaiming territory in the vital city.


                      The Tawheed brigade is composed largely of farmers and other men from the rural northern districts of Aleppo. Other factions are made up of more religiously motivated subgroups. Each has its own identity and motivations. Right now, they appear to be working more or less in unison against Assad's forces, but it's clear the various groups will not always see eye-to-eye.


                      Backing from FAIS will channel more funding - local funding from Aleppo's business elite who are keen to ensure their interests are protected in the post-Assad era - directly to the Tawheed Brigades. But other groups in the city are still fighting independently, still managing to rearm, and they won't necessarily be eager to embrace the Tawheed as their new commanders when the common enemy is defeated.


                      The battle for control of Aleppo may rage on, even after Assad falls.
                      In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

                      Leibniz

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                      • During the Arab Spring revolution, the Kingdom (with the assent and cooperation of the Gulf States) sent military forces across the causeway into Bahrain. Martial law was imposed and hundreds were arrested. Under no circumstance would KSA allow a Sunni ruled emirate to tumble into the arms of Shia Iran.

                        I tend to think that if you peel away all of the extraneous layers, the core of the Syrian rebellion is being funded (and probably armed) by the US/Saudi/GCC axis. The underlying strategic aim here is to remove Syria from the troika (Iran/Iraq/Syria).
                        sigpic

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                        • Something does not feel right. An entire year of car bombs, assassinations, ambushes, and then of all a sudden, two full scale battles of annihilation: Damascus and Aleppo. Planning and execution not seen before. KSA and GCC don't have such expertise.

                          And the rebels have been extremely tenacious. In fact, they know which parts of the cities to hold. Militarily speaking, this war has demonstrated expertise in the last 3 months not seen before, not even in Libya.

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                          • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                            Something does not feel right. An entire year of car bombs, assassinations, ambushes, and then of all a sudden, two full scale battles of annihilation: Damascus and Aleppo. Planning and execution not seen before. KSA and GCC don't have such expertise.

                            And the rebels have been extremely tenacious. In fact, they know which parts of the cities to hold. Militarily speaking, this war has demonstrated expertise in the last 3 months not seen before, not even in Libya.
                            The higher-up Generals are political/tribal appointments. The defectors are the real Officers.
                            In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

                            Leibniz

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                            • Originally posted by Minskaya View Post
                              ...The underlying strategic aim here is to remove Syria from the troika (Iran/Iraq/Syria).
                              Iran regards Syria, Lebanon, Iran as the "axis of resistance". Take away Syria and you also cut away their ability to support Hezbollah. This then leads to collapse of their entire strategy for regional ascension. IMO the regime is now very nervous.

                              http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/wo...r-work.html?hp

                              Maybe this would have happened anyways, but now there's certainly more urgency for Iran.

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                              • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                                Something does not feel right. An entire year of car bombs, assassinations, ambushes, and then of all a sudden, two full scale battles of annihilation: Damascus and Aleppo. Planning and execution not seen before. KSA and GCC don't have such expertise. And the rebels have been extremely tenacious. In fact, they know which parts of the cities to hold. Militarily speaking, this war has demonstrated expertise in the last 3 months not seen before, not even in Libya.
                                In all probability, Turkey is the assisting conduit acting on behalf of the US/Saudi axis.

                                Originally posted by citanon View Post
                                Iran regards Syria, Lebanon, Iran as the "axis of resistance". Take away Syria and you also cut away their ability to support Hezbollah. This then leads to collapse of their entire strategy for regional ascension. IMO the regime is now very nervous. Maybe this would have happened anyways, but now there's certainly more urgency for Iran.
                                With sanctions exerting an ever increasing bite, Iran is no longer in a position to financially prop up the Assad regime. That said, I have little doubt that IRG units (Iranian/Lebanese) are busy in Syria.
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