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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:08 PM

Chaos reigns in Syria

Source: New Zealand Herald

Tensions continue to mount in Syria's northeastern region as opposition fighters repeatedly battled Kurdish militias this past week, adding fresh ethnic dimensions to a bloody civil war.

The violence, centred in the frontier town of Ras al-Ayn, pitted Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants against Kurdish militiamen and sent waves of refugees scurrying through razor wire barricades into neighbouring Turkey, raising fears that an internecine power struggle may engulf Syria's mixed Arab-Kurd northeast.

Syria's Kurds, around 10 per cent of the population and concentrated mostly in the northeast, have an uneasy relationship with the largely Sunni Arab opposition, who are seeking the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but have taken on an increasingly steely Islamicist hue.

The fighting began this week after Kurdish protesters demanded opposition forces - who overran Ras al-Ayn last week, prompting a sustained aerial bombardment by Assad's warplanes - leave the town, situated just south of the Turkish frontier. Fighting intensified following the assassination of a local Kurdish leader, Abed Khalil, by an FSA sniper.



Read more: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10849730



The Syrian opposition is breaking up as several groups fight it out for control over arms and territory. Open warfare has broken out between Islamic militants and Kurdish separatists along the border with Turkey, threatening to derail Turkish support for the opposition. The FSA is already fractured between western-backed groups and Sunni Jihadis supported by the Saudis, Qatar and other Gulf states.

Meanwhile, this and related stories report that heavily armed militant groups (some of them equipped with antiaircraft missiles looted from Libya) have started to turn their attention toward Israel, threatening further intervention and widening of regional hostilities. See, World Section:

* Syrian Islamists reject Western-backed opposition - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10848680
* Syrian civil war spillover draws Israeli fire - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10848286
* Rebels teetering on Syrian, Israeli border - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10847549

As has long been warned, regime change in MENA is mutating into a series of multi-layered conflicts that are escalating and running away from the control of those who started it.

You may now go back to shopping.

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Chaos reigns in Syria (Original post)
leveymg Nov 2012 OP
dkf Nov 2012 #1
heaven05 Nov 2012 #3
pampango Nov 2012 #2
leveymg Nov 2012 #4
John2 Nov 2012 #5
David__77 Nov 2012 #7
Arctic Dave Nov 2012 #6
David__77 Nov 2012 #8

Response to leveymg (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:26 PM

1. Oh but Al Qaeda is on the run and Bin Laden is dead?

 

That's the extent of the average American's interest in foreign policy.

Meanwhile McCain and his Syria fixation are seen as misguided.

This thing isn't going to be of interest til it explodes. Then the blip in our attention span will be "why are my gas prices higher"?

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:41 PM

3. exactly

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:37 PM

2. Assad knew that a militarized repression of demonstrators

would lead to a civil war which would be ugly and sectarian. He got his wish and he may still win. I don't think he ever intended to allow a transition from himself as dictator.

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Response to pampango (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:13 PM

4. So did everyone else. Takes two to tango, and to start a civil war.

Assad's overreaction was not only predictable, it was essential. It took several tries at "The Day of Rage", and several weeks before things got bloody in Syria. The "Arab Spring" would not have really take off until April 8 when, in Daraa, snipers killed police and a Sunni crowd exiting Friday Prayers burned the Ba'ath Party headquarters.

The fighting with military defectors was a battle that developed within the context of armed uprising in Daraa. The events of April 8 that led to the arrival two weeks later of large number of government troops are key to understanding how the violence was sparked and why the use of force by the regime escalated. There were three key actions that sparked the crackdown: snipers, the burning of the Ba'ath Party Headquarters by a large, armed mob, and the killing of 19 policemen and security personnel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Syrian_civil_war_%28January%E2%80%93April_2011%29

8 April "Friday of Resistance"
External videos
Unknown Gunmen Filmed at Syria Demo
(YouTube: Associated Press.)
8 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
Protests in Duma near Damascus

On the third Friday called "Friday of Resistance", thousands of protesters took to streets in Daraa, Latakia, Tartus, Edlib, Baniyas, Qamishli, Homs and the Damascus suburb of Harasta, in the largest protest yet.

27 anti-government protesters were killed in Daraa and many other were wounded when security forces opened fire with rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse stone-throwing protesters. The clashes started when thousands of prayers staged rallies following the Friday prayers. In a telephone call one of the activists told the news agencies that demonstrators, starting from three mosques, have marched to the city's main court where they were confronted by security forces dressed in civilian clothing. A witness told Reuters he saw "snipers on roofs." It was also reported that another resident has seen "pools of blood and three bodies" in the Mahatta area of Daraa. The protesters have also smashed a stone statue of Basil al-Assad, the brother of the current President of the country, and set fire to a Ba'ath Party outpost. The state-run Syrian Television reported that 19 police officers and members of the security forces have been killed in Daraa.

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Response to pampango (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:53 PM

5. It did

 

not start with Assad, but this has been a powder keg for decades. Assad and his father were once allies of the United States. Once again, we have a minority ruling a majority with control of the military that was supplied by foreign powers in their interests. Now the tables have turned, when the dictator is no longer needed. And people like John McCain is the problem. It will be a continuing cycle, because no group, wants to be oppressed. I do remember, the opposition out of power, coming to the U.S. Congress, looking to gain support. And our interests always goes back to security for Israel. We took that responsibility over from Great Britain. And no matter who takes control, Israel's security will always be fragile.

The U.S. needs to settle it, with other major Parties. That includes major Powers in the Middle East. They need better relations with the Iranians and maybe the Egyptians. They will never solve the problem of the Middle East unless they do so. The problem between Israel and Iran needs to be settled. The Palestinian problem needs to be settled. They will just make the problem worse by supplanting one group for another. When you got groups like Hamas,Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood around, the culture does not foster Democracy. It is not even the case in Saudia Arabia, Kuwait or Jordan either. The U.S. is trying to plant the seed of Democracy but the people have to want it. It will probably take a century or centuries. All you are going to do, is give opportunity for another Dictator.

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Response to pampango (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:07 PM

7. Well, now we can never know.

We can never know if this could have been a transition like in East Germany - peaceful. If the opposition in East Germany had resorted to violence, that country could perhaps still exist.

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:45 PM

6. I suggested this would happen at the start when Turkey

 

began to help the FSA.

Might explain the bases being "over run".

Assad armed the Kurds and will let them fight the FSA and whatever they have left over they can use against Turkey.

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:08 PM

8. The insurgency in Syria is a threat to Israel's security.

Were I making policy in Tel Aviv, I know which side I would be rooting for.

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