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Syria: Opposition Develops Into Real Insurgency As Assad Uses More Force – OpEd

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The Candidates for Parliamentary Elections in Syria have been published – They reveal that Bashar al-Assad’s supposed reforms are the ruse that most thought they would be. The candidates from Latakia are sprinkled liberally with the names of well known crooks and Baathists of the region as well as their sons. There does not seem to be any potential reform going on in Latakia. The Baath may have been disestablished, but its members insist that they will win the upcoming elections to parliament.

Syrian military forces subjected the Arba’in district of Hama to intensive machine gun fire on Monday,

A car bomb in Damascus outside the Iranian cultural center killed and wounded several Syrians. Rebels launched three separate attacks on security forces around Damascus on Tuesday, killing two ranking officers activists and state media said. Satellite images show that the roads going into Idlib are all manned by tanks and road blocks

Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council Thursday that the situation in Syria is “bleak” and expressed alarm at reports that government troops are still carrying out military operations in towns where U.N. observers are not present.

“If confirmed, this is totally unacceptable and reprehensible,” he said.

Annan told the  U.N. Security Council that the situation in Syria remains “unacceptable” and is expressed particular alarm at reports that government troops entered the central city of Hama firing …

President Obama’s Speech on Syria at the Holocaust museum provoked an uproar from the neoconservatives who insist that the US should bomb Syria and do a Libya on it. Obama imposed some new sanctions on Syria but refused to give the green light to arming the opposition taking military action. Tamara Cofman Wittes, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs until January 2012, argued at Brookings that the Obama should not try to discourage the growing militarization of the Syrian opposition but rather to step in a try to direct it toward the opposition members most likely to further US interests in the region.

The model the US is now pursuing in Syria resembles the policy it pursued in Afghanistan of the 1980s: arm the insurgency to take down an enemy regime. Everyone in the Obama administration is acutely aware that the outcome of supporting the mujaheddin in Afghanistan was al-Qaida.  No one wants to replicate that so Clinton in insisting that all aid go to Burhan Ghalioun for whom the ideal revolution is the French revolution and not the Islamic revolution. Clinton even got the Saudis to publicly sign on to this strategy at Istanbul where the last “Friends of Syria” meeting was assembled.

But the reports on the opposition that are now beginning to come out, and which suggest that it is beginning to score some military successes, paint a picture of regular pious youth who are beginning to embrace the expertise of the Jihadists who fought in Iraq and elsewhere and to discover the motivational power of radical Islamism, something they are going to need to exploit if they hope to defeat the Syrian Army.

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Syria Comment - Joshua Landis

Joshua Landis maintains Syria Comment and teaches modern Middle Eastern history and politics and writes on Syria and its surrounding countries. He writes “Syria Comment,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 3,000 readers a day. It is widely read by officials in Washington, Europe and Syria. Dr. Landis regularly travels to Washington DC to consult with the State Department and other government agencies. He is a frequent analyst on TV and radio.

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