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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:28 PM

 

More Lebanese Sunnis are crossing into Syria to aid rebellion, officials say

Source: The Washington Post

BEIRUT —Sunni militants have been flocking from Lebanon to Syria in greater numbers in recent months to join forces with Islamic extremists battling the Syrian government, according to senior Lebanese security officials.

The escalating role that the Lebanese fighters are playing in the conflict is a direct result of expanding ties between Sunni religious extremists on both sides of the border and has raised concerns in Lebanon about a renewal of sectarian tensions.

At the forefront of the growing Sunni alliance is the al Nusra Front ,a militant group thought to have links to al-Qaeda that the U.S. government has labeled a foreign terrorist organization, according to senior Lebanese security officials.

The al Nusra militants have established links with extremist cells mostly based out of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, which has long been a hotbed of Sunni militancy.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/closer-ties-emerge-between-sunni-militants-from-lebanon-and-syria-officials-say/2013/01/26/451f0bec-66f9-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html

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Reply More Lebanese Sunnis are crossing into Syria to aid rebellion, officials say (Original post)
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 OP
onwardsand upwards Jan 2013 #1
pampango Jan 2013 #2
onwardsand upwards Jan 2013 #3
leveymg Jan 2013 #4
onwardsand upwards Jan 2013 #11
leveymg Jan 2013 #14
onwardsand upwards Jan 2013 #16
leveymg Jan 2013 #17
onwardsand upwards Jan 2013 #19
leveymg Jan 2013 #20
onwardsand upwards Jan 2013 #21
The Stranger Jan 2013 #22
leveymg Jan 2013 #23
pampango Jan 2013 #5
Jazzgirl Jan 2013 #6
octothorpe Jan 2013 #7
ButterflyBlood Jan 2013 #8
octothorpe Jan 2013 #9
onwardsand upwards Jan 2013 #12
Comrade Grumpy Jan 2013 #13
pampango Jan 2013 #18
bemildred Jan 2013 #10
happyslug Jan 2013 #15

Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:49 PM

1. Wow -- the language here REEKS of govt propaganda

"Sunni militants", "Islamic extremists", "Sunni religious extremists", "a militant group thought to have links to al-Qaeda", "al Nusra militants", "extremist cells", "a hotbed of Sunni militancy" ...

It's like a smorgasbord for propaganda enthusiasts!

Thanks for posting this. I didn't realize that the Washington Post was THIS bad!

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Response to onwardsand upwards (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:50 AM

2. Assad is well into Stage 5 of his plan for repressing dissent in Syria.

The "Assad" strategy for dealing with massive protests is something all dictators should learn

1: When massive peaceful protests occur, repress them as them as violently as you can get away with - snipers, tanks, artillery, arrests, torture, etc.

2. Sometimes repression works to quell the protests. (It's why dictators frequently stay in power so long or inherit their positions from their fathers like in Syria and North Korea.) If repression works, reward your military and security services and go back to being a dictator.

3. If #1 doesn't work right away and massive peaceful protests continue, keep up the repression. (You have to come up with a strategy to keep the international community at bay. If you already have a powerful international patron, you may be OK. If not, you had better find one. Witness - Mummar.) Start talking about the presence of "criminal gangs" or "terrorists" among the protestors. There may not be any yet, but it's good to get the talking point out there for future use.

4. If, after many months, your military and security forces continue to prove to be ineffective in suppressing dissent, don't worry. Do not stop the armed repression. (As a dictator, the military and security forces are all you have going for you. Peaceful negotiations are a trap. Your assets - the army and internal security forces - cannot help you there.) Eventually frustration will build up among factions of the protesters and some will become willing to resort to violence given the apparent futility of peaceful protest. (You will also lose some of your common soldiers to defection. Many of them will not understand that they signed up to protect you not the country.) Or outside groups will begin to take advantage of these frustrations.

5. At this point you can unleash your military and security forces to the full extent and hope you don't lose the civil war you have created. Keep in mind that civil wars are very messy affairs. Be sure to keep your international patron(s) happy.

I wonder if Assad ever really expected the opposition to his rule to ever reach stage 5. I think this is a strategy that is workable in many repressive countries when populations get fed up with life under a dictator.

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Response to pampango (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:00 AM

3. Each successive Arab Spring revolution is weirder and more violent

Tunisia's was, relatively speaking, the clearest, the most straightforward, and the most legitimate.

Egypt's was strange, with the military climbing on the bandwagon to depose one of their own.

Libya's was really violent, and had the very visible hand of Western powers meddling and controlling it.

Syria's is brutal and muddy, and it's very difficult for an outsider to understand what is going on. (At least, I find it that way.) Assad is clearly a vicious and violent SOB, like his dad, and he's been something of a pariah for the West (this is independent, of course, of his being a vicious and violent SOB). Syria didn't quite make the "axis of evil", but it always seemed not far from the list. However, Syria has also been an active participant in the US's "extraordinary rendition" program -- helpfully torturing people on behalf of the US.

This Washington Post piece, which seems to support Assad by labelling his enemies "extremists", "miltants", and linking them to al-Qaeda, muddies the waters even further. The standard of journalism in this piece is horrendous.

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Response to onwardsand upwards (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:18 AM

4. How would you describe the al Nusra Front? A humanitarian NGO?

Sorry if the terms used to describe them offend you, but that is what they are. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front

And, it isn't just one little isolated cell of Jihadis. More than 100 Syrian opposition groups, including armed battalions and civilian committees, have signed a petition expressing solidarity with Jabhat-al-Nusra.

Just curious, do you agree with the slogan, "There is no terrorism in Syria except that of Assad"?

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Response to leveymg (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:05 PM

11. Revolutionaries

They are fighting the Assad regime, and this takes guts, determination, and heroism.

It's true that the US administration has designated them as a "foreign terrorist organization", for political reasons, but that does not mean that they are terrorists.

Real journalism goes beyond the parroting of phrases from official sources.

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Response to onwardsand upwards (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:11 AM

14. Is a Jihadi from Benghazi paid by Saudis to kill in Syria really a "revolutionary"? Or a mercenary?

Or a Holy Warrior? What about the Saudis, the second largest foreign contingent in Syria? How do you categorize those foreign fighters?

Was Osama bin Laden a "revolutionary" in your book?

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Response to leveymg (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:49 AM

16. Can a "Jihadi" be a "mercenary"?

It seems to me that, if you think you're fighting a holy war, then you're not a mercenary.

Osama bin Laden was a revolutionary, by definition -- he was fighting for a revolution. You may not agree with the virtue of the revolution that he had in mind, or his methods, but that doesn't change his status as a revolutionary.

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Response to onwardsand upwards (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:18 AM

17. There are thousands of holy guns for hire out there - professional fighters (mercenaries)

men (and they're all men) who during the last twenty years have signed on for pay (often very good pay) for every holy war sponsored by the sheikhs and emirs - some of these Sunni mercenaries and terrorists have fought in Beirut, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. Tomorrow, onward to Tehran.

Yes, they're mercenaries, holy warriors, and terrorists. Not mutually exclusive terms, at all.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 04:34 PM

19. It depends on your definition of "mercenary"

If you simply mean someone who is paid to fight for a foreign country, then you're right.

If you mean someone fighting only for money then you are wrong.

That is, if you believe that the war you are fighting is "holy", then you are not fighting only for money.

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Response to onwardsand upwards (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:01 PM

20. Okay. They're mercs who are also religious fanatics and only kill whoever G-d tells them to.

I guess that also makes them nuts.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 04:36 AM

21. Mixed nuts

I definitely agree that mercenaries and religious fanatics are both nuts!

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Response to leveymg (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:23 PM

22. Nice try.

But I don't think people are going to be baited here into that.

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #22)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:20 PM

23. Who's baiting whom, here?

My point is that a terrorist is a terrorist whether he's killing because G-d told him to do so or for the Yankee Dollar. It was a terrible, epoch mistake for Clinton's State Dept. and Petraeus' CIA to give Jihadis de facto safe haven in Eastern Libya and in Syria just because they're useful in knocking over regimes on our hit list. That approach to cooperating with Holy Warriors, training them, and employing them as mercenaries is a large part of how 9/11 happened.

Some people in Washington have learned nothing from the experience.

WTF are you getting at?

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Response to onwardsand upwards (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:44 AM

5. That is sad and true. There are lots of reasons for this, to be sure. One is that in Libya and Syria

the dictators were willing and able to use the power of their military and security forces on the opposition. In Tunisia and Egypt that did not happen to any significant (or, at least, any effective) degree. It seems doubtful to me that Ben Ali and Mubarak had no desire to use the force of their military and security services (they were not 'gentle' dictators by any stretch of the imagination), but for some reason the full power of the state was never brought to bear on the protesters.

Perhaps the dictators in Libya and Syria (and their supporters in the military and elsewhere) looked at what happened to Ben Ali, Mubarak (one in exile with all his money and one under arrest) and their domestic supporters and decided that the 'gentle' approach was a recipe for personal disaster. If the country has to endure a civil war to protect the ruling class, so be it.

Unfortunately for the people in Libya and Syria the 'civil war' approach to getting rid of a dictator is much, much more destructive of the fabric of the country. They are likely, especially in the case of Syrians, to go from the frying pan to the fire even in they eventually 'win' their civil war. (Which, I suppose, validates the view of some that Syrians should have been content to live in the 'frying pan' but it seems that people - including me - don't like that kind of life even if you tell them there is the danger of 'fire' if they rebel against it.)

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:42 AM

6. This reminds me of the Iraq war

where they were accusing Iranian militants of crossing the border.....well...you've heard the story before.

On edit: the whole thing reeks of propaganda. Assad is an ass but I sure hope we don't go meddling in this.

I swear all the American "news" sources get their information from one place. All their articles read the same way. Badly.

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Response to Jazzgirl (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:09 PM

7. Sounds like the article is stating that the side the West is backing is full of extremist.

I don't think that's untrue based on what I've read. Didn't one of the rebel groups come out against the extremist groups, saying they are trying to hijack their movement? The world is a complicated place and lines are not always clear.

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Response to octothorpe (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:11 PM

8. There are lots of people who hate Assad

Which isn't surprising considering how much of a nasty murderous asshole he is. Some are Islamic extremists, some aren't. The only thing tying the rebels together is they oppose Assad. The attempts to smear all rebels as Islamic extremists with this sort of thing is rather absurd. It's like saying all opponents of Nazi Germany were Stalinists.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:24 PM

9. I totally agree

Last edited Tue Apr 30, 2013, 09:05 PM - Edit history (2)

The attempts at linking the two are most likely proponents of the Assad government

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Response to octothorpe (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:09 PM

12. Agreed!

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:22 PM

13. Who is saying all rebels are Islamic extremists?

Nobody that I know of.

There is no denying, however, that Islamic extremist groups are heavily involved in the fighting. There have been numerous media reports of foreign jihadis in Syria, including this one from the Post. Hell, even the US government recognizes their presence.

What their presence means in the event of the fall of the regime remains to be seen.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:30 AM

18. The Syrian government refers to all rebels as 'terrorists'. They may differentiate

between "Islamic extremist" terrorists and other classes of terrorists (perhaps soldiers who have defected or civilians who have taken up arms).

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:28 PM

10. Payback. nt

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:01 AM

15. Watch who is allied with whom WITHIN Syria

The country’s 19 million people are divided into Sunni Arabs (65 percent), Alawis (12 percent), Christians (10 percent), Kurds (9 percent), Druze (3 percent), Bedouin, Ismailis, Turcomans, Circassians, and Assyrians.


http://www.fragilestates.org/2012/02/20/syrias-ethnic-and-religious-divides/


http://war-in-middle-east.blogspot.com/2012/06/where-do-alawites-live-in-syria-and.html

For example, The President of Syria and his father (the former President) are Alawites, who live along the Mederterrian coast north of Lebanon. The Father of the present Syrian President intervene into Lebanon, during the Lebanon Civil war to help out the Traditonal Awawite trading partners, the Christians of Lebanon, agaisnt the Shiites who were then winning the Civil War. Alawites are a branch of Islam, throigh the Sunni do NOT consider the Alawite Moslem (The Sunni have the same view of Shittes).

Alawite appears to have been a variation of Shiite Islam, but with extensive Christian holiday, but in more recent years (as the family ruling Syria was themselves Alawite) have become more and more Sunni in appearances. This is important for Shiite Islam (from which Alawite Islam is derived from) has a long history of being suppressed and thus adopting outward appearance of being Sunni while secretly staying Shitte. Both the Sunni and Shiite know of this "Tradition" so the Sunni may NOT have accepted these changes as being real (and the Sunni's may be right). It appears Iran did not view these outward changes of being more Sunni as making the Alawites less Shiite then they had been for Centuries.

http://war-in-middle-east.blogspot.com/2012/06/where-do-alawites-live-in-syria-and.html

Map of Religions of Syria, note that the Christians are next to the Alawites and other Shiites of Syria and thus tend to be the natural allies of the Alawites and Shiites agains the Sunnis, this is reenforced by the following:

the cry of "The Christians to Beirut, the Alawites to the grave" has been heard at many anti-government protests, which further reinforces the fears of Alawites and other minorities in Syria.


http://war-in-middle-east.blogspot.com/2012/03/syria-shia-alawites-versus-sunnis.html


http://war-in-middle-east.blogspot.com/2012/03/syria-shia-alawites-versus-sunnis.html

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