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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Obama: Did the CIA betray Assad's opposition in Syria?

“America, is trying to prolong the Syrian revolution.” -- Firas Tlass (a high level Assad defector)
I am a relatively insignificant person, so the fact that I think Obama has liked Assad, as expressed it in my last diary, is hardly worth all the angst and vitriol it generated. However, the fact that a growing number of Syrians, and a growing mindset on the Arab Street, is of the opinion that the United States has really been supporting the murderous Assad dictatorship and not the people in this struggle, is something that should be of great concern to all Americans and can't be changed by a thousand donuts from Kossacks because it is based on what the US has done rather than what its leaders have said. From the Daily Beast today we have this story:

Did the CIA Betray Syria’s Rebels?
Americans didn’t keep promises to opposition leaders. Now they’ve turned against the U.S.
Feb 12, 2013 12:00 AM EST
By Mike Giglio.
In mid-August, a well-connected Syrian activist drove to the border city of Gaziantep in southern Turkey to meet two officers from the CIA. The officers had set up shop in a conference room at a luxury hotel, where representatives from a handful of opposition groups lounged in the lobby, waiting for their turn at an audience.

The activist, who had been a journalist before the conflict, came with three colleagues from Aleppo, the Syrian commercial capital that had recently turned into the main theater of the war. Inside the room, two casually dressed Americans were rolling up maps from the previous meeting. The Americans introduced themselves as CIA officers and said they were there to help with the overthrow of Syria’s authoritarian president, Bashar al-Assad.

The activist declined to be named for this article, because he didn’t want to be connected publicly to U.S. intelligence. He is respected in Aleppo, and I first met him, in another southern Turkey hotel, at a State Department–funded training seminar for activists, where he was a keynote speaker. According to the activist, the officers questioned the group about creeping Islamism in the rebel ranks. Were Aleppo rebels supportive of democracy? Hostile to the West? What about al Qaeda? Then the officers asked how they could help. The activists wanted armed support for the rebels in Aleppo—in particular, surface-to-air missiles—but the officers explained that America worried such weapons could fall into the hands of extremists. “Let’s leave military matters aside,” one of the officers said. The group made a list of things like satellite phones and medical supplies, and the officers promised to be back in touch soon. “We are here to help you bring down Assad,” one of the officers repeated.

However, in the months since, that activist, as well as many senior figures in the rebellion, have begun to suspect that the United States has no intention of living up to its promises. In a turn of events resonant of Iraq, many who had once been eager to work with the Americans feel betrayed, and some see meetings like those in Gaziantep as little more than a hostile intelligence-gathering exercise.
...
In a phone interview in January, Tlass told me he had been present at the meetings with the Aleppo activists and the Liwa al-Fatah rebels, and he confirmed their accounts. He said that he had arranged a number of similar meetings with the CIA, and that promises like the ones the officers made in Gaziantep were commonplace—including the indirect promise of arms. “They promised to provide telecommunications devices, and afterward, if the rebels proved effective and honest, then they would [help] provide military support,” he said. Tlass told me that the Americans had kept none of those promises, that not even the communications equipment or hospital supplies had materialized. He then accused America of pushing a dark agenda in Syria—working to keep the war going instead of helping with the overthrow of Assad. “America,” Tlass said, “is trying to prolong the Syrian revolution.” [bold added] More...
If this story of betrayal is true, it has a cost in blood. It has had a very high cost in blood in Syria in the past year!

Click here for a list of my other diaries on Syria

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar Assad Exposed!!! in Syria

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Even before the Wright brothers invented powered flight, aerial assault had proven to be one of the most efficient, if indiscriminate, ways to kill human beings. Sadly, for those of us still living down below, "Death from Above" brought in a banner crop in 2012.

Almost certainly the award for the most kills from the air in 2012 goes to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. More than 50,000 people were killed in Syria last year, many of them by Assad's use of air power.

Even while he loses territory to those fighting for a free Syria because he lacks the manpower to put enough boots on the ground to hold it, he has still been able to make life unlivable in these liberated zones through aerial bombardment.

As a result, the entire region is now being destabilized by what is quickly approaching a million Syrians that have fled their country for the safety of a neighbor's and some of the oldest inhabited cities on Earth are being destroyed.

Bashar al-Assad claims that he is justified in taking civilian lives and causing this destruction because his real targets are "terrorists." Practice has shown that he regards anyone who poses a threat to the Syrian state as a terrorist.

This is capability and rational will only grow in importance to those in power as the world is increasingly divided between rich and poor. This may be the real reason no power in the world has seen fit to put brakes on Assad's wanton slaughter of those who oppose him short of his use of "a whole bunch of chemical weapons."

Almost certainly, the award for first runner-up in the "Death from Above" category for 2012 should go to US President Barack Obama, who, thanks to having more advanced technology than Assad, doesn't even have to put pilots in harm's way to kill children on the ground.

Like Assad, Obama regrets these child deaths as necessary collateral damage in the war against terrorism and like Assad, Obama makes his decisions as to who will be visited by "Death from Above" without anything recognized as "due process" in the civilized world. Both presidents claim the right to use this "license to kill" against their own citizens. Obama claims "world rights" for his "license to kill."

Is it any wonder then that President Obama has been hesitate to do anything that would put real restrictions on John Kerry's "dear friend" Bashar Assad's "license?"

For almost two years now Presdent Obama has played "good cop" to Russian President Putin's "bad cop" but they have shared the common goal of keeping Assad in power. Now that it is becoming clear that is "MISSION Impossible", it is good that the major media starts asking questions like the one below.



Yesterday the Washington Post asked this very good question:
Why did Mr. Obama overrule his advisers on Syria?
WE NOW know that President Obama’s national security team overwhelmingly supported providing arms to the rebels in Syria. On Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate committee that he and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, backed a plan that would have vetted, trained and armed selected opposition groups, which have been pleading for such U.S. support for more than a year. According to the New York Times, the strategy was developed by former CIA director David H. Petraeus and supported by former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As we have frequently argued, the rationale for such action is compelling. Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 60,000 people, grows steadily worse and more dangerous for the United States and its allies. An opposition that once was a peaceful pro-democracy movement has been all but overtaken by jihadist organizations, including an al-Qaeda affiliate, that receive ample funding and weapons supplies from abroad. More...

The short answer to the Washington Post question is that Barack Obama has wanted to see Bashar al-Assad stay in power, although now even Obama is starting to see that just ain't possible. I gave a more detailed answer in:

Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad

and also spoken to this question in:

Chemical weapons use reported in Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria

I have detailed earlier how Obama vetoed any MANPADS or heavy weapons supply to Assad's opposition ["No MANPADS for you"] and now we see that Obama vetoed any chance that the US or NATO would shoulder any responsibility to protect. So in addition to the children killed from the air on Obama's orders directly in 2012, he also shares some blame for those killed by Bashar al-Assad.

Click here for a list of my other diaries on Syria

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Syria: Who is the new FSA arms supplier?

from Syrian Revolution Digest, 6 Feb 2013:
How You Failed Syria!

How you failed Syria, let me count the ways: you abandoned her when her movement for democratic change was nonviolent. You let Assad violate her and kill her children. You turned your back on her children when they rushed to her rescue, and pretended you were unaware. You uttered words of sympathy and encouragement, and sent few blankets and tents to people who were at the mercy of mortars and MiGs, not only the elements. You tied her fortunes to complicated geopolitical agendas that are beyond her control or interest. You let her legitimate aspirations and her all too human and humanitarian needs be the last entry on a long list of objectives. What do you expect of her now? Would tell her she is wrong to hate you? Would you blame her should she implode? Do you really think she would care anymore?

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According to observations being reported by EAWorldview and Brown Moses, there are strong indications that the secular Free Syrian Army has recently been getting a significant supply of new weapons of types not possessed by the Assad regime, and so not captured weapons.

These new weapons appear to be going mainly if not exclusively to the "moderates", al Nursa and the the jihadist don't seem to have any.

These new weapons, which include advanced anti-tank weapons, recoilless rifles and RPGs, but not anti-aircraft missiles or MANPADS, are starting to have an effect on the battlefield and have played a big part in recent FSA advances on the ground, most notably in Damascus.

And it is these rapid fire advances on the ground that are driving this whole process at the international level including the latest flurry of big power "discussions" [jockeying for position] around the Syrian crisis, Brahimi's new leaks and the exodus of Russians from Syria.

This intelligence is being brought to you by a worldwide network of activists like Brown Moses, C. J. Chivers and James Miller that make it their business to study the images coming out of Syria and IDing the weapons being used by both sides and helping us understand what that information tells us about the struggle.

These weapons appear to come from the region of the former Yugoslavia, which is a good place to get advanced weapons that aren't easily traced back to you. The real source is any body's guess, which is why I wrote this particular diary, to report this news and give a place for those with time to speculate on who this new source is.

My vote is for Obama. The timing is right, its after the election. There's been rumors that Obama has been reassessing his options; he knows his 'do little' strategy hasn't been cutting it, it's actually allowed the jihadist to seize the initiative and Mali has shown where that can lead. Suddenly the Tuareg MNLA doesn't look that bad to the French. Finally there is the notable lack of MANPADS in this new supply, a signature phobia that I believe Obama picked up in Tel Aviv.

I don't necessarily think the US is supplying or even funding these new weapons acquisitions as there have been others among the "Friend of Syria" that have been willing and able for some time, but I do think this observed change on the battlefield indicates that Obama has removed some of his prohibitions against these weapons.

But before the speculation in the comments, comes the report. From EAWorldView we have this report:
Syria Analysis: Someone is Arming the Insurgents...and It's Working

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 10:19 | James Miller


In mid-January, prominent blogger Eliot Higgins, several journalists, and I noticed an influx in new weaponry into Syria, specifically in Daraa Province in the south. Higgins collected the videos in a blog post and came to a remarkable conclusion --- the weapons, which included several kinds of RPGs, recoilless rockets, and grenade launchers, were all designed,manufactured, and/or heavily used in the former Yugoslavia, and none of them are part of the Syrian military arsenal.

Someone --- a current player? a new one? --- was giving a big boost in weapons to the insurgents.

Since then, the Free Syrian Army has succeeded with a series of surprise attacks, capturing several towns, border crossings, and roads. They then repelled tank convoys, airstrikes, infantry invasions, and even paratroopers.

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an M60 Recoilless Rifle in Busr al Harir on 17 January

In the last week, opposition fighters may have overrun nearly one-third of Daraa city. Regime convoys have rushed towards the city, apparently to turn back the surprise advance.

Once again, the insurgents have used weapons that were not made in Syria. In this video, a fighter holds a M79 Osa RPG:

In the following video, insurgents, firing from a bedroom, use a RBG-6 40mm grenade launcher to strike at an Assad military installation . The weapon was designed in South Africa, but this appears to be a weapon licenced by a company in Croatia:

The weapons are being brought in from outside Syria and put into the hands of Free Syrian Army units, rather than the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra or other factions distrusted by the international coalition supporting the opposition.

Eliot Higgins has now found evidence that the new weapons have made their way into Damascus, Hama Province, and Aleppo Province. This video shows an M79 rocket launcher in the Sheikh Saeed district, recently taken by insurgents, in the south of Aleppo city.

Higgins explains the significance of the military figure in the clip:

The man shown in the video is Colonel Abdul-Jabbar Mohammed Aqidi, reportedly the former commander of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo Province. He is now part of the recently- formed Supreme Military Council, acting as one of six representatives for the Northern Front.

Maybe more tellingly, he is one of two members of the armament committee for the Northern Front, with this video being one of a series from his recent visit to opposition forces in Aleppo.

On Monday, the insurgents launched an offensive against a military barracks in the north of Aleppo city. Though we did not see any weapons that were definitively obtained from outside Syria, the fighters brought a significant amount of firepower down on the barracks, with reports that they have captured the building.

The new offensives, and other insurgents attacks around the city, suggest that this is part of a new, coordinated strategy to hit Assad strongholds and weaken his hold on Syria's largest city.

Then there are the attacks on Damascus International Airport and the military bases that surround it. While other assaults have been beaten back, those of the past week have been relatively successful. Video shows an RPG-22 at the scene, in the hands of the Free Syrian Army:

While foreign weapons have been seen in Syria, we have not encountered them on this scale. All this suggests a new, organised, and well-funded effort is under way to ensure that "moderate" fighters are capturing territory and weakening the Assad regime.

It is too early to tell whether there are enough weapons to make a long-term impact. None of them be used as an effective counter to Assad's primary threat, his fighter jets. However, if this is an experiment to see a surge in armament makes a difference, the answer is clear.


Click here for a list of my other diaries on Syria

BREAKING In Syria a new batte for Damascus is joined: Comeuppance II

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A new battle for Damascus has been initiated by the Free Syrian Army. Perhaps the final battle! From samer (@samersniper) we have this report

The latest developments of the Grand Epic battle (Comeuppance 2) to liberate the capital Damascus.
Wednesday 6th of February 2013 | 25th of Rabi Awwal 1434 AH

Several FSA battalions and brigades in Eastern Ghotta destroy both Hirmilleh and Kabbas checkpoints on the Southern ring road, at the eastern entrance of the capital Damascus












As usual Reuters is on the ball, as I get ready to publish, they beat me to it with:
Syrian rebels fight close to heart of Damascus

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Mariam Karouny
AMMAN | Wed Feb 6, 2013 6:08pm EST
Syrian rebels battled President Bashar al-Assad's forces on the edge of central Damascus on Wednesday, opposition activists said, seeking to break through to the heart of the capital.

Their offensive aims to break a stalemate in the city of 2 million people, where artillery and air strikes have prevented rebels entrenched to the east from advancing despite their capture of army fortifications, the activists said.

"We have moved the battle to Jobar," said Captain Islam Alloush of the rebel Islam Brigade. The district links rebel strongholds in the suburbs with the central Abbasid Square.

"The heaviest fighting is taking place in Jobar because it is the key to the heart of Damascus," he said. More...


The samer report continues:
FSA battalions have lauched the the Grand Epic battle (comeuppance 2) to liberate the capital Damascus.
Clashes erupted in several parts of the capital especially the eastern part, in Jobar and Qaboun neighborhoods, leading to a high state of alert in Abbasids and Zablatani, where regime forces spreaded heavily in the two neighborhoods and sirens were launched in Abbasids and Khatib areas.

The regime forces blocked all the roads to Abbasid square and the eastern neighborhoods of the capital, and they evacuated the personnel working in the power company near Abbasid parking garage.

The clashes also were renewed in the southern neighborhoods of the capital like, Yarmouk amp, Qadam, and Assali.

Very violent bombardment targeted the neighborhoods of the capital such as Jobar, Qaboun, and yarmouk camp, as well as the Ring Road (Mutahalleq Janoubi).

A ground to ground missile hit Badayer Jadyah area in Jobar neighborhood, causing a tremendous explosion shook most of the capital neighborhoods.

11 people got martyred in Orouba neighborhood in Yarmouk Camp (most of them from Rayyan family) after a shell fell on their house.

The first achievements of the battle::
- FSA fighters destroyed Haramleh army barrier in Jobar neighborhood, which was full of regime forces and thugs.
- FSA fighters attacked tthe regime snipers stationed on "Town Center" Mall on Damascus-Daraa highway.
- FSA carried out a martyrdom operation on the thirtieth street in the Yarmouk Camp that killed a number of regime soldiers.
- The (Athan) calling for prayer was raised for the first time from Harmala ibn al-Walid Mosque in the neighborhood of Jobar after its liberation from the regime forces that occupied it for nearly a year and a half.

The documented martyrs in Damascus until now are::
10 martyrs including 2 were extra-judicially executed.

* The Footage and photos::
Daff Al Shouk||
-- Sounds of clashes and explosions from Tadamun neighborhood.
http://youtu.be/EEG98ACyKHk

Jobar ||
-- The Grand Epic Battle
http://bambuser.com/v/3352065

-- FSA destroyed Haramleh army barrier and seized weapons and ammunitions
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmbw46xpC6c
-- Freedom fighters in front of Haramleh Ibn AlWaleed mosque
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REWdw1AmX04
-- The mosques calling Allah Akbar as the clashes continues
http://youtu.be/mnLa28usZEw
https://youtu.be/1jxTxgKZQQ8
-- The beginning of the attack on Haramleh Barrier
http://youtu.be/nLgtZB9rXm8
-- FSA getting ready to attack several barriers on Mutahalleq Janoubi (Ring Road)
http://youtu.be/vp5d2E7QW1Y
-- Several FSA battalions and brigades in Eastern Ghotta destroy both Hirmilleh and Kabbas checkpoints on the Southern ring road, at the eastern entrance of the capital Damascus
http://youtu.be/owR3eALmsPc
http://youtu.be/NFMQwY6ehZ4
http://youtu.be/iyt_ds9ZB94
http://youtu.be/VSzbJdD7LdY
-- FSA raise their flag as a sign of liberating the checkpoint
http://youtu.be/B-xCs64Gc_Q
-- Shelling on Haramleh mosque after liberation
http://youtu.be/yuoOyLB_C-U
-- Clashes and targeting the camera man
http://youtu.be/GPxIMwNH6IY
-- A man bidding farewell to his martyr brother
http://youtu.be/K7uipM5cT6s
-- FSA targets a building where shabiha were hiding near Zamalka Bridge checkpoint
http://youtu.be/ixzIYG74BUo
-- Bombardment and clashes
http://youtu.be/T12rp8IHK6E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQdhLLnUyBw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAWbXVhdG1c
-- A tank withdraw after FSA hit the area.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEM7EZSKZJA
-- A shell fell on Haramleh mosque
http://youtu.be/_89BcGCGX4Q
-- Huge fire erupted due to shelling near Abbasid square
http://youtu.be/c0H7ha6Gs5o
-- Buildings were set alight due to shelling
http://youtu.be/3xboozjTdFw
http://youtu.be/OlTZdld1q2Q
http://youtu.be/lUoVbUIypXk
-- PHOTOS
-- FSA raise their flag as a sign of liberating Haramleh mosque.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=433466363389026
========
-- A map that demonstrates the checkpoints which have been targeted today by Ansar al-Islam Group fighters in collaboration with other FSA battalions.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=362052050568365
======
-- Billowing smoke from haramleh mosque after FSA attacked regime forces.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=461712807217839
-------------------------------------------------------
Qaboun ||
-- Shelling on the areas near the Southern Ring Road
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THlzazNR2PU
-- Mortar shelling on the neioghborhood
http://youtu.be/NbtSfzd3HLo
-- Billowing smokes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t_MP6ge1fs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4ttAS3e9b4&feature=share&list=UUGSO6azaDKh1q1VaqGV5BuQ
-------------------------------------------------------
Barza ||
Many shells targeted the neighborhood, and smoke billowed.
-- Injuries due to shelling
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYONc77ft9g
-------------------------------------------------------
Adawi ||
Shell landed beside the Nahr Toure near the College of Agriculture in the region.
-------------------------------------------------------
Rukn Al Din ||
-- A shell fell in the new avenue
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irKw_w5fv60
-- A state of alert in Shamdeen army barrier
http://youtu.be/u2RK8b6SVjQ
-------------------------------------------------------
The southern neighborhoods of the capital
-------------------------------------------------------
Yarmouk Camp ||
Fierce clashes took place in 30th street and heavy shelling with mortars and tanks targeted the area.
-- Two martyrs fell in this area after a mortar shell fell on them
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otzCEHYF9lA
-------------------------------------------------------
Qadam ||
Fierce clashes took place in Bour Saeed area near the police station, amid heavy shelling on Qadam, Assali, and Madiniyeh.

The regime forces and the "People's Committees" looted and burnt the houses of civilians
-- Clashes and billowing smokes
http://youtu.be/Xfc4MHrSjbc
-- A tank near Bour Saeed roundabout
http://youtu.be/wILWq6rRNY0
- FSA fighters attacked tthe regime snipers stationed on "Town Center" Mall on Damascus-Daraa highway.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oDQWfgBiPW0
-------------------------------------------------------
Assali ||
-- A cluster bomb was dropped between Assali and Sbeineh
http://youtu.be/ShhcTkq0jNY
-------------------------------------------------------
Zahera ||
-- A car bomb exploded near a school in the neighborhood.
No casualties were reported.
http://youtu.be/3vp9GD1FeAo
-------------------------------------------------------
Hajar Aswad ||
3 martyrs and dozens of injuries fell in the heavy shelling anf in the clashes in the neighborhood.
-- Injuries
http://youtu.be/s51gXLSfReg
http://youtu.be/Aq8W7kaBFwk
-- Billowing smokes
http://youtu.be/NLg9AP_gGYs
-- Aftermath of shelling
http://youtu.be/YJ-4rWslTuk
http://youtu.be/GsemZuHuXMY
-- Huge fire erupted due to shelling
http://youtu.be/viVS5_GDE_I
-------------------------------------------------------
Tadamun ||
-- Clashes
http://youtu.be/EEG98ACyKHk
------------------------------------------------------
The latest developments of the Grand Epic battle (comeuppance 2) to liberate the capital Damascus.
Wednesday 6th of February 2013 | 25th of Rabi Awwal 1434 AH

While I've got you in the mood for lists, here is a very good list of Syrian sources composed by Brown Moses last December:
Syrian Channel Listings

Saturday, 15 December 2012
The following is a list of Syrian Bambuser profiles, Youtube channels, and Facebook pages sorted by order of district and town/city whenever possible. To my knowledge the channels I've listed are used by activists to upload videos, and are not channels that repost videos from other channels.

Collected Live Streams from across Syria can now be found here.

These list are by no means complete, and I'm always looking for suggestions for additional channels and any corrections. More...

Click here for a list of my other diaries on Syria

Saturday, February 2, 2013

{ Syria } - the anti-interventionist masterpiece #Syria

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When NATO intervened in the Libyan conflict by enforcing a no-fly zone and providing air support for the revolutionary armies, there was a large segment of the left and the anti-war movement that cried bloody murder.

They said it was deji vu all over again. They predicted that the air strikes were just a prelude to NATO boots on the ground and they hit the streets to demand "NATO out of Libya", "US hands off Libya" and so on. They were "The Anti-Interventionists" and Libya today is an example of what happened when they failed, when their demands were ignored, and the world intervened to stop a dictator from using military power to slaughter his own people in spite of them.

That is why they don't hesitate to trash Libya today at every opportunity.



Syria today, on the other hand, is and example of how things worked out when the anti-interventionists have largely gotten what they have demanded.

I have seen more than one anti-war protest in Los Angeles last year where the banner was raised high "Hands off Syria!." That hasn't just been a popular demand on the Left, it has been the policy of the president and the major world powers, except of course those powers that support Assad, but then the anti-interventionist didn't mean for "Hands off Syria" to apply to them.

Nor did "Hands off Syria" mean they were protesting Obama's use of his "veto" to interdict the flow of heavy weapons and life-saving MANPADS to Assad's opposition, because they also opposed arming the opposition.

So unless you subscribe to one of those weird conspiracy theories that sees the whole Arab Spring as a western orchestrated destabilization campaign and the Syrian revolution as a CIA operation being run by invisible agents, it must he conceded that the anti-interventionists have pretty much had it their way to this point.



They demanded that the Syrian people and their well armed and backed dictator be allowed to work things out on their own with no "no fly zone" and no military support or even weapons for the people fighting the dictator. There has been some financial support and even some weapons that have violated the anti-interventionist prohibition, but certainly, nothing like we saw in Libya, where their demands were largely ignored.

This doesn't mean that the anti-interventionist have more 'clout' now than they had before, it just means that, in the case of Syria, they have been loudly demanding what the imperialists were planning to do anyway.

Supporting popular rebellions is not something they normally do. Libya was an exceptional case for very exceptional reasons that I have already covered in great detail elsewhere. With Syria, they are again running true-to-form, pretending to support democratic change while doing everything they can to undermine it, and now they have the anti-interventionists tailing behind them.

History is proving the anti-interventionists correct in at least one respect.

The anti-interventionists said that if the opposition to the Assad regime was actually that strong, they would be able to win without any NATO or UN intervention. That is being proved true.

But the anti-interventionists never counted the cost. Their demand was for themselves, it was never about what was best for Syria or its people.

This tragic mess that is Syria today, along with its incredible loss of human lives and human history in the past year, and all the regional problems stemming from this international "let it be" policy, is the anti-interventionists' masterpiece.



Click here for a list of my other diaries on Syria

Friday, February 1, 2013

Marxist DHKP claims they did bombing at US embassy in Ankara Turkey

Featuring New Wikileaks Stratfor GI File releases on Turkish group behind the attack!

Syrian Intelligence Agencies Implicated!

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According to Reuters, a self-proclaimed Turkish Marxist group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party, or DHKP-C, which most suspected of perpetrating this attack is now said to be taking credit for it. The U.S. government and others have already labeled it a terrorist organization. Ecevit Sanli has been identified as the bomber. CNN reported:
Ecevit Sanli, as he was identified by Istanbul police, died after detonating his bomb near the embassy's Gate No. 2 around 1:15 p.m. (6:15 a.m. ET) Friday.

So, too, did the Turkish guard -- described by U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone as a "hero," and identified by Turkey's semi-official Anadolu News Agency as Mustafa Akarsu.

The AL MONITOR is calling him "a pro-Assad communist":
The authorities later disclosed Ecevit ?anl?’s history of violence. He was first arrested in 1997, for taking part in the terrorist cell that attacked the Military Club in Istanbul with a light anti-armor weapon. He remained in prison until 2001, when he was released due to his Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which was caused by the malnutrition he suffered during the hunger strikes that left-wing groups in Turkish prisons had initiated the year before. ?anl?'s father, who was traumatized after Friday's attack, said to the press that his son had not talked to him for 15 years.

And one day after the embassy attack, the DHKP-C claimed the attack with a message on the Internet. The bombing, the message explained, was carried out “for the independence of our homeland, which has become America’s new colony.”
....
But why did this recent attack on the American Embassy occur and why now? This is still a matter of speculation, because the bomber apparently did not leave any statement or any other clue behind. Yet experts in Turkey offer a few compelling points.

First, while the DHKP-C has always been militantly anti-American, due to the war in Syria this has recently become a more prominent theme for the organization, as was also evident in the Internet message it released after Friday's bombing. Like much of the Turkish left, the DHKP-C sees the Syrian opposition as a pawn of the United States and its “comprador” Arab allies against the left wing and patriotic regime of Bashar al-Assad. The same political line also condemns the Turkish government for joining this “Islamist/capitalist” conspiracy against Syria. The recent installment of patriot missiles near Turkey’s Syrian border by the NATO only further enraged Turkey’s leftists, which certainly include the DHKP-C.

Second, there is a fact about the DHKP-C, and Turkish Marxists groups in general, which is perhaps politically incorrect to say, but a fact nonetheless. The majority of their members come from Turkey’s Alevi minority, which is an unorthodox and largely secular branch of Islam. It is also known that not all but most Alevis in Turkey tend to be sympathetic to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, which itself relies on the support of the Alewi minority there. (Turkey’s Alevis and Syria’s Alewites are not identical, but similar.)

Moreover, the DHKP-C has a history of cooperation with the Syrian Mukhabarat, as some captured members of the group had confessed in the past that they were trained in Syria during the '90s, when Damascus was again at odds with Ankara.

A Turkish terrorism expert, Ali Nihat Özcan, points out these nuances in an analysis he wrote on the Ankara bombing. “The historical background, sectarian character and ideological motivation of [the DHKP-C],” he argues, “points to a strong connection to Syrian Intelligence.” More...

This is a fast breaking story so I am publishing what I find when I find it in the hopes that these snippets will contribute to a better understanding of what has happened and why.

First I checked with Wikipedia to get a general read on this group and found an very good article that had already been updated to include yesterday's events.
The organisation was originally formed in 1978 by Dursun Karata? as Revolutionary Left (Turkish: Devrimci Sol or Dev Sol), a splinter faction of Devrimci Yol ("Revolutionary Way", also known as Devrimci Yol), which splintered from the People's Liberation Party-Front of Turkey (THKP-C), which in its turn was a splinter of Revolutionary Youth Federation (commonly known in Turkish as Dev Genç).

A 1994 factional infighting within Dev Sol resulted in two factions: the main group led by Dursun Karatas[citation needed] was renamed DHKP/C, while Bedri Ya?an created a new THKP-C (not to be confused with the original one).

In all cases of "Parti-Cephe" (Part-/Front) names, "Party" refers to the group’s political activities, while "Front" is a reference to a group’s military operations. Theoretically they are separate entities.

The group espouses a Marxist-Leninist ideology and holds an anti-U.S., anti-NATO positions. It considers that the Turkish government is under the control of Western imperialism and seeks to destroy this control by violent and democratic means.

It finances its activities chiefly through donations raised in Turkey and Europe.[1]
According to Wikipedia they have a history of using suicide bombers, something virtually unheard of for a Marxist group:
DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its operations in 2001, with attacks against Turkish police in January and September of that year.

Security operations in Turkey and elsewhere have weakened the group, however. DHKP-C did not conduct any major attacks in 2003, although a DHKP/C female suicide bomber Sengul Akkurt's explosive belt detonated by accident on 20 May 2003 in Ankara, in a restroom, while she was preparing for an action.

On 24 July 2004, another mistaken detonation, on a bus in Istanbul, occurred, killing Semiran Polat of DHKP-C and three more people and injuring 15 others.

On 1 July 2005, Eyüp Beyaz of DHKP-C was killed in Ankara in an attempted suicide bombing attack on the ministry of justice.

In late February 2006, female member Fehriye Erdal was convicted in Belgium, while under house arrest.[citation needed] However, shortly before her conviction she escaped and still has not been found.

On 29 April 2009, Didem Akman of DHKP-C was wounded in her attempt to assassinate Hikmet Sami Türk at Bilkent University right before a lecture in Constitution Law. Akman and her accomplice S. Onur Y?lmaz were caught.[2]

In December 2011, high-school teacher Meral Dönmez and university student Gül?ah I??kl? held up pieces of cardboard out of the window of a lawyer's office with the text, "We do not want a rocket shield, but a democratic high school". For this, they were convicted in October 2012 to 6 years and 8 months imprisonment for "committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization [DHKP-C] without being a member."[3]

On February 1st, 2013, a suicide bomber suspected to be a DHKP/C militant blew himself up at the US embassy in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard and wounding several other people.[4] Istanbul police identified the bomber as Ecevit ?anl?, a member of DHKP/C.[5]

Then I tried to check the groups website, http://dhkc.org, and that's when things got interesting. The website turned out to be a parked domain, owned but not representing any group or person.

So then I checked the WayBack Machine @ archive.org and found that dhkc.org was apparently the groups website between 2002-2008, but then the WayBack Machine has no more snapshots of it until 2011, when it shows up again as a parked domain.

DHKC.org screenshots of site in 2008, fron archive.org





The domain registration currently reads as follows:

Domain ID:D163088560-LROR
Domain Name:DHKC.ORG
Created On:19-Aug-2011 14:30:13 UTC
Last Updated On:31-Aug-2012 19:52:36 UTC
Expiration Date:19-Aug-2013 14:30:13 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Go China Domains, LLC (R1559-LROR)
Status:OK
Registrant ID:CR90605238
Registrant Name:Stephen Wilson
Registrant Organization:Keyword Acquisitions, Inc.
Registrant Street1:36 Old Haswell Park Road
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Middleton
Registrant State/Province:Massachusetts
Registrant Postal Code:01949
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.6178352712
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:

The Stratford Global Intelligence files had this assessment of DHKP's role in a 2009 attack in Ankara what is being released today in a journalistic partnership between Wikileaks and myself. It does support what the Wayback Machine records indicate about a period on inactivity for the group:
2009-04-29 23:12:20 BUDGET: Attack on Ankara likely carried out by DHKP/C
analysts@stratfor.com

An Attack today on a former Justice Minister in Ankara April 29 appears
to be the work of the DHKC/P - a Marxist group that has been quiet for
the past three years. The attack matches the group's past tactics and
targeting and, while today's failed attempt does not necessarily mark a
come-back for the group, the group's past targeting is cause for concern
for western businesses in Turkey.
500 words
now
--
Ben West
Terrorism and Security Analyst
STRATFOR
Austin,TX
Cell: 512-750-9890

Stratfor analysis Anya Alfano also put together this extensive report on DHKP that is being released today by Wikileaks in a journalistic partnership with myself:

DHKP-C Info
Date 2009-04-29 20:44:34
From Anya.Alfano@stratfor.com
To ct@stratfor.com
mesa@stratfor.com

This is the info we compiled last year about these guys. Not referenced in the info below--three of our clients were told by both USG and Turkish government that information about their facilities and operations was found during the raid to arrest the Erodogan assassination plotters, including rough sketches of the floor plans of some facilities. It was believed that the information was obtained by individuals who had infiltrated their companies and gained employment inside. Several other pieces of info below--

1. Info sent to clients---

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party- Front is a leftist Marxist radical organization that was founded more than two decades ago. There is no evidence that the group has carried out or attempted to carry out any attacks since mid-2006, when members of the group engaged in an armed firefight with police in Istanbul. The group's tactics have typically included small-scale bombings and small-arms attacks that would be easily replicated by militants with little sophistication--there is no reason to believe the group would stray away from these tactics. There is also no reason to believe that they have developped additional capabilities to carry out larger-scale attacks. While many members of the group have been arrested over the past decade, it appears that there is still a core group of the organization that does have experience planning attacks and could potentially train others to engage in such behavior, thus there may be a level of credibility to the reports.

However, it is also important to note that in addition to the alleged threats to attack Coca-Cola and other western business targets, the group was also reportedly attempting to assassinate Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Numerous similar plots to assassinate Erdogan have emerged in the media over the past several motnhs, but have later been dismissed as attempts by rightist and secular opposition groups and movements to discredit and threaten the ruling government of Erdogan's Justice and Development (AK) party. While it is not clear that this reported plot to attack Coca-Cola is a similar attempt to smear the government, the use of the leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front as the culprit behind the alleged plot would fit earlier trends seen in the alleged plots to assassinate Erdogan. Additionally, the inclusion of western businesses in the alleged plots would further the notion that Erdogan is not able to protect himself, the people of Turkey or the investors who have come into the country.

2. Info from one of Fred's CT contacts--

I read the report. Companies were notified or should have been last Friday.

It appears pre-operational surveillance was conducted and as noted below attempted penetration through employment.

(U) "On 05 March 2008, Turkish authorities arrested three (3) individuals associated with the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), a Marxist, anti-western splinter group of the Turkish terrorist group Dcv Sol. During the course of the investigation, authorities learned the group may have been targeting a number of U.S. companies, including your own- It is requested your organization conduct a security assessment, with specific emphasis on background investigations, of employees who have sought employment with your organization in Turkey within the past year."

(Ti) ETIU Ii provides the following unclassified paragraph as background on the identified terrorist group: "the DMKP/C is a Marxist, anti-western splinter group of the Turkish terrorist group Dev Sol. DHKP/C is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Department of State DHKP/C ideology is similar to that of other radical Turkish leftists. The group sees the Turkish government as a fascist regime, controlled by the imperialist forces of the West. The group seeks to destroy these U.S./Western influences through violence and Marxist revolution. The group primarily operates in Turkey and raises funds in Europe "

3. Open source article--- Turkey: DHKP-C Terrorists Caught Planning To Assassinate Erdogan

GMP20080310016007 Istanbul Vatan (Internet Version-WWW) in Turkish 10 Mar 08

Three members of the DHKP-C [Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front] alleged to have been planning to assassinate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan using a "radio controlled toy car" when he got to his home in Uskudar, have been apprehended. The suspects, it is alleged, had planned to rake the convoy with Kalashnikov rifles in the confusion following the detonation of the bomb close to Erdogan's vehicle.

Restaurant Meeting

During a search of their safe houses police seized 35 kg of ammonium nitrate used in bomb making, one Kalashnikov rifle and radio controlled toy cars that had been converted into explosive devices.

Teams from the Istanbul Police Intelligence and Counterterrorism units found clues to a plan to assassinate Erdogan following a raid last month. On studying some of the documents they seized in that raid the police learned of the assassination plan and put surveillance on the organization's members. A raid was carried out four days ago when the hit team met up in Beylikduzu. Organization members Ozgur Baris Ozcelik, Deniz Sah and Zeynel Kalanc met up in a restaurant and were apprehended by police from the Intelligence and Counterterrorism branches. Furthermore, police searched the safe house being used by the suspects in Kucukcekmece and they discovered the details of the plan to assassinate Prime Minister Erdogan.

A search of the house revealed schematics for the hit, an action plan, a Kalashnikov rifle, a Baretta pistol, 35 kg of ammonium nitrate used in making bombs and some radio controlled toy cars that had been converted into explosive devices.

Explosive Toys

Deepening their investigation the police stated that the hit team had been working to carry out an act of terrorism as soon as possible after the capture last month of Asuman Akca, who is the DHKP-C's commander for Istanbul. The suspects had planned to carry out the assassination when Erdogan was arriving at his home in Uskudar and that they were going to rake Erdogan's convoy with guns in the confusion after they had detonated the radio controlled toy cars.

Police stated that Ozcelik and Sah were already on record with the police and that they had claimed to be construction workers while the third suspect Zeynel Kalanc had aided and abetted them.

Following questioning by Istanbul CTU the suspects were arraigned before the courts in Besiktas were they were formally arrested by the duty court and sent to remand prison.

[Description of Source: Istanbul Vatan (Internet Version-WWW) in Turkish -- Center-right, mass appeal daily; URL: http://www.vatanim.com.tr]

4. More open source---

Report: Turkish police foil alleged plot to bomb U.S. companies (AP Alerts 03/09 12:17:52)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - A Turkish news agency says police have foiled an alleged plot to bomb U.S. companies in the country.

Police arrested three suspects belonging to a leftist militant group during a raid in Istanbul, the Dogan agency reported.

Authorities seized a remote-controlled toy car allegedly being prepared to be used in a bombing.

Police also seized a list of U.S. companies that the DHKP-C group was targeting, including Coca Cola, Pepsi and Citibank, Dogan reported.

The DHKP-C is listed as a terror group by the U.S. and EU, and has been active since the 1970s.

More as I get it on this fast breaking story, check back!!!

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More from Wikileaks on the DHKP in Turkey

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Below the fold are a number of Stratfor Global Intelligence file emails that I have found in my research in the the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front [DHKP-C] that is being widely blamed for the suicide bomber attack against the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

These documents, which have been obtained by Wikileaks are being released as part of an investigative partnership between WikiLeaks and myself..

Document 5281679 is the most thorough report on the DHKP I've found in the Stratfor files :
Turkey - Update on the DHKP-C


Date 2009-04-30 16:42:15
From Anya.Alfano@stratfor.com
To Tony.Vermillion@emerson.com

Hi Tony,

I'm not sure if Emerson operates in Turkey, but in case you do, I wanted to make sure you saw this piece regarding the DHKP-C in Turkey. About this time last year, Stratfor received information that this group was planning suicide attacks against Western businesses in Turkey and had possibly infiltrated their business operations to further their goals. We don't have any indications that similar attacks were planned in the latest round of violence, though it's certainly worth noting that the group is continuing to plan suicide attacks. Please let me know if you need any additional information. Best regards, Anya

Turkey: A Failed Suicide Bombing in Ankara

April 30, 2009 | 1105 GMT Summary

An attempted suicide bombing April 29 against a former Turkish justice minister in Ankara was probably staged by a Marxist-Leninist group that has been quiet since 2006. But it appears there is still a core element of the organization that does have experience planning attacks and could train others to carry them out. The group's tradecraft, however, has proved less than effective.

Analysis

Former Turkish Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk was the target of an attempted suicide bombing April 29 at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Turk is a member of the law faculty at the university and has taught classes there since he left office in 2002. He was entering a classroom to present a lecture when a woman posing as a student, later identified as Didem Akman, approached him wanting to ask him a question. According to Turk, he dismissed her question and heard a small explosion as he entered the classroom.

It appears that the detonator in the improvised explosive device functioned but failed to initiate the device's main charge. (Police report that Akman had one kilogram of explosives strapped to her body.) She also had a handgun that she drew, but she was overpowered by bodyguards and neutralized as a threat. Akman sustained non-life-threatening injuries, but no one else was hurt during the attack.

Another suspect, Onur Yilmaz, was arrested at a bus terminal near the university after he was seen in security footage accompanying Akman. Turkish media reported that a third suspect was being questioned in connection with the assassination attempt. According to Reuters, one of the suspects has served time in prison for being connected to the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C), a Marxist-Leninist group formed in Turkey in 1978.

DHKP/C's primary target set has been Western and state interests in Turkey, including businesses. The group is known to go after retired security and military personnel and to operate across Europe, including in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria. The group started using suicide bombings as a tactic in 2001 but has been largely quiet since 2006; a government crackdown on the group over the past 10 years has neutralized its most experienced members, including bombmakers. Replacing these technicians is difficult, as bombmaking requires a level of training and technical knowledge that cannot simply be picked up on the Internet.

The tactics used in the April 29 attack match previous DHKP/C tactics, including the use of female suicide bombers. Similar operations were carried out by the group in:

* May 2003, when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in an Ankara cafe, killing only herself. * June 2004, when a female operative died en route to carrying out a suicide attack in Istanbul, killing only herself. * July 2005, when a man attempting to detonate a suicide vest in front of Turkey's Justice Ministry in Ankara was shot and killed, preventing the attack.

While its track record in suicide bombings is quite poor, the DHKP/C is suspected to be behind an Istanbul University bus bombing that killed four people and injured 21 in June 2004.

The group's tactics have typically included small-scale bombings and small-arms attacks that could easily be conducted by militants with little training or tactical expertise, and there is no reason to believe the group would stray from these methods of operation. There is also no evidence that the group has developed additional capabilities to carry out larger-scale attacks. While many DHKP/C members have been arrested over the past decade, and while there have been no attacks attributed to the group since mid-2006, it appears that there is still a core element of the organization that does have some rudimentary experience planning attacks and could train others to carry them out. Judging by the attack on April 29, the group does not appear to have an accomplished bombmaker.

While one attack does not necessarily mean the group has returned from its hiatus, Western businesses should be aware of its presence, given its strongly anti-Western (particularly anti-U.S.) slant. Soft targets such as ex-government officials teaching at a university are a hallmark of the group's tradecraft. On the other hand, another hallmark of the group appears to be faulty explosive devices, which limits its effectiveness.

According to another Stratfor report produced by Senior Researcher Matthew Powers, exert from 162759, Germany is perceived to be easy on the DHKP, causing issues for Turkey:
A record number of Germans spend their vacations in Turkey, with around 5 million visitors expected this year. Turkey welcomes them with an open visa policy, whereas Turks are often confronted with difficulties in getting visas from German consulates. Stories of businessmen who send products to fairs in Munich, Hanover or Frankfurt but cannot travel because their applications are rejected or not processed in time still make the headlines in Turkish dailies. This unfortunately adds to distaste and a mistrust of Germans by the Turkish public. Coupled with this, German authorities' reluctance in effectively dealing with militants belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) in Germany further damage these ties and fuel all sorts of conspiracy theories here in Turkey.

There was a suicide bombing in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Halloween 2010 targeting the police but the Stratfor guys thought it looked more like the PKK rather than the DHKP. Stratfor internal email 1327595:

Date 2010-10-31 13:44:25
From noreply@stratfor.com
To allstratfor@stratfor.com
Suicide Bombing in Istanbul
A suicide bomber detonated explosives near a police bus in Istanbul's Taksim Square at 10:35 a.m. local time Oct. 31, injuring at least 22 people, including 12 civilians and 10 police. Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said a second device was found next to the dead attacker's body. Witnesses said that the attacker tried to approach the police bus in Taksim Square under the guise of asking for directions, but the explosive device he was carrying detonated a couple of meters before he reached the bus. Other witnesses said that the suicide attacker was shot dead by the police after he detonated a smaller explosive device of some kind.

Taksim Square is a crowded area in central Istanbul frequented by both locals and tourists. As such, police are constantly deployed there to prevent security threats. The hour of the attack, however, suggests that police and not civilians were the primary target of the attacker (though civilian casualties were not intentionally avoided), since Taksim Square would have been much more crowded with civilians in the afternoon and the evening. Police, and specifically police buses, have been the frequent target of attacks in Turkey by the Kurdish militant group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in recent months. Even though no militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet and the police chief said the investigation was ongoing, given the target and timing of the attack right before a unilateral PKK cease-fire was set to end, it is likely the work of the PKK, though other militant groups such as Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C) that use suicide bombers cannot be ruled out.

As STRATFOR has noted, imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan has warned that the unilateral cease-fire declared by the PKK in August and extended for another month in September could end at the end of October over the militant group's dissatisfaction with steps taken by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to meet its demands for an indefinite cease-fire. This stance was repeated by several politicians of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party (BDP). Moreover, the attack is similar to a previous attack by the PKK against a bus carrying police in June 2010, again shortly after the PKK declared that the cease-fire was over. By attacking the police on the last day of October, when the cease-fire was set to end, the PKK could be sending a blunt message to the Turkish government that the cease-fire is now over and police are among its targets in major cities in addition to military outposts in southeastern Turkey.

Another Stratfor email, of which I am only reproducing a few paragraphs here, give us a some info on the relationship between the PKK and the DHKP. This link will take you to the whole document as soon as they go live on the Wikileaks site. From Stratfor email 1492487:
PKK-affiliated news agencies confirm that many of the terrorist attacks in the last two years were led by provincial group leaders without the approval of the central PKK leadership. Intelligence services pinpoint the Dersim Group as the most radical and violent group within the PKK. This group is led by Kalkan, Bozan Tekin and Mahir Atakan. There is also the presence of foreign recruits in this group as well as former members of militant organizations such as the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party (DHKPC) and the Liberation Army of Workers and Peasants in Turkey (TIKKO)."

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