Obama signed finding to help Syria Uprising

The Syrian opposition continued to hang on in the northern commercial center of Aleppo on Thursday, and even launched a daring new raid. Rebels used a tank they captured to attack the Menagh air force base near Aleppo. They are attempting to forestall its use by the regime to launch helicopter gunship and jet attacks on rebel positions in the city. The rebels say that some troops from the armored division have defected and brought their tanks with them.

The BBC speaks of a ‘stalemate’ in Aleppo, , with the regime so far unable to oust the rebels from key neighborhoods. I was told by a young activist from Aleppo, in telephone contact with family & friends, that the rebels were taking new neighborhoods and police stations. That these actions were being taken mid-week was confirmed from Aleppo by Kim Sengupta. The fighters appear to hope to take and keep Aleppo, which can be resupplied easily with arms via the Turkish border.

Massacres are occuring on both sides. Earlier this week, rebels in Aleppo executed some leaders of a local Alawite ghost brigade death squad. HRW warned them that this kind of thing could get them charged with war crimes.

On Thursday, the regime was accused of carrying out executions of rebels as it went door to door in Damascus, where it killed dozens.

CNN and CBS reported that President Obama had some time ago signed a presidential finding allowing the CIA and other US personnel to give advice and organizational help to the rebels. The US appears mot to be supplying arms, though Qatar and Saudia are. The latter seem to have upped their game recently, with rebels getting good resupply.

A Jordanian op-ed writer warns that the regime response has militarized the revolution in ways bad for democracy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Responses | Print |

14 Responses

  1. An NPR reporter on the ground in Syria, I think it was Deborah Amos, report eyewitness accounts of undercover US personnel inside Syria. I’m not sure what credence to assign to these third hand reports. Then again I can’t realistically believe Administration denials of involvement.

  2. US Treasury Grants Arms License to SSG

    Syrian Support Group Granted License to Supply Military Goods

    The Syrian Support Group was established earlier this year to lobby for U.S. backing for the Free Syrian Army. It includes Syrian expatriates and works with retired Syrian military officers, Louay Sakka, a Syrian-Canadian co-founder of the group, said in a June interview. Brian Sayers, its director of government relations, is a former Political Officer Operations and Missions at NATO HQ.

    U.S. Nonprofit Wins License to Supply Free Syrian Army “Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the License, the Syrian Support Group, Inc. (the “Licensee”) may export, sell, or supply to the Free Syrian Army (“FSA”) financial, communications, logistical, and other services otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13582 in order to support the FSA…”

    According to Treasury License No. SY-2012-294747-1, dated 23 July 2012, the Syrian Support Group, Inc. (SSG) will be providing “otherwise prohibited” services to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) under the supervision of the Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions Policy at the U.S. Department of State. The license was announced on the SSG website syriansupportgroup.org after a copy was leaked to the public.

    Syrians in Ontario give rebels reinforcements from afar

  3. Re US “covert” involvement in places like Syria: Do hornets and blowflies ever congregate around corpses at the scene of a slaughter? Do maggots eat the flesh of the dead, breeding new generations of blowflies and hornets?

    They’re just doing what they do, after all… Our buzzing insects are no friends of anything that looks like what most folks think of when they hear the word “democracy.”

    • “Re US “covert” involvement in places like Syria: Do hornets and blowflies ever congregate around corpses at the scene of a slaughter? Do maggots eat the flesh of the dead, breeding new generations of blowflies and hornets?”

      If the above-cited quote reflects your opinion of alleged US efforts to assist the rebels to oppose Assad’s murderous regime, Mr. McPhee, then one must conclude that your disgusting, twisted viewpoint makes hornets, blowflies, and maggots look good in comparison.

      • It sure seems, looking at history (which you seem wont, selectively, to do), that the “covert involvement” of various “US forces” in matters of all sorts, across most of the planet, has pretty much failed to produce much more than the seeds and eggs of new miseries.

        You seem a pretty hefty partisan for “US interests.” Given what “US interest” have done to the species and the planet, it sure seems to me that there’s a lot of ugly similarity to carrion eaters amongst the activities of the CIA and the School of the Americas and our current “we can kill anyone we feel like killing, and rendition for torture is just peachy” crowd. Which comes with a long, scaly tail of things like the Shah and the Phoenix Program and “destabilizing” various places to make sure that no “commies” or, God Forbid, “socialists,” would ever lead nations where United Fruit or various oil and tin and copper, et disgusting, twisted cetera, “interests” had “interests.”

        The folks who do “covert” stuff (and even overt stuff, as Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler pointed out, pointedly) in the name of “America” have a very bad record of doing much for humanity, except for the tiny part with wealth and power. And that apparently continues to be the case.

        The tools our “rough men” choose to use, tactically and strategically, are training up armies and “police forces” to do what they do in support of this or that “friendly kleptocrat.” And of course plain old invasions, and supplying weapons, for profit, to add instability to the mix. There are other tools and behaviors, that might obviate the other stuff over time, that rust in the locker.

        Maybe this time in Syria the results of all the fiddling, and of course “our” rough men are not alone, will be judged less morbid. But if our own warlords and kleptocrats keep sowing dragon’s teeth all over the place, along with cluster bomblets and mines and every other war-toy invention, then there’s yet another set of reasons humanity is on the way out.

        Though a few, of course, will really get rich and high on the glissade…

  4. “Earlier this week, rebels in Aleppo executed some leaders of a local Alawite ghost brigade death squad.”

    The men killed were not members of an Alawite death squad. They have been identified as from the Berri family, a leading Sunni family in Aleppo, and one of those executed was Hassan Berri, a Syrian MP, and therefore a regime supporter.

    Did you notice that they were stripped to their underwear and had wounds running with blood? They had evidently been tortured.

    • Yes, that was a sickening video. But the Berri family, in addition to being Assad loyalists, were mafia-types, and everyone hated them. The rebels are only human, as one activist explained.

  5. Aaron David Miller is against the U.S. arming the Syrians.
    link to newsday.com

    I notice he was similarly reticent on Libya:
    link to huffingtonpost.com

    The “pottery barn” argument is too facile, one could provide aid on limited basis. I don’t understand the logic of cheering for the downfall of Assad while strongly condemning military aid.

  6. Dear Professor Cole

    Not only Miller but Pepe Escobar.

    link to atimes.com

    You do have to question the sanity of equipping the Al Qaeda groups in a city near the Turkish border with Surface to Air Missiles.

    It is not far from there to the BTC pipeline at Ceyhan and the tourist beaches at Iskenderun.

    • Wow, that guy’s repulsive. What’s up with the scare quotes around rebels? The rebels aren’t rebels? Is rebel just too positive a word, in some alternative universe?

      I also loved his description of “born to kill army defectors.” Yes, clearly, it’s the soldiers who defect from a fascist dictator’s army as it is ruthlessly suppressing a popular uprising whose moral and psychiatric foundations must be impugned. Still waiting for Pepe’s feelings about the troops who have remained loyal.

      Anyway, it would, indeed, be insane to equip al Qaeda groups with SAMs. It’s a good thing that the CIA is working to prevent that from happening: link to google.com

      • Hi Joe

        Rebels would be Syrian citiyens who have taken up arms against the government.

        There are extensive reports of Libyan, Egyptians, Jordanians, Yemenis, Iraqis and Saudis entering the fray.

        By definition these are not “rebels”

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