Rocky Choices in Syria, no Hobson’s Choice in the Gulf GCC………

      


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Hobson’s Choice:
1 an apparently free choice when there is no real alternative
2 the necessity of accepting one of two or more equally objectionable alternatives

“Besides, the rebels are losing support, in part because the regime has had some success in stirring sectarian fears. Many Syrians originally sympathetic to the rebels have been horrified by events such as the reported execution on June 9th of a 14-year-old boy by jihadists in Aleppo, allegedly for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Downtrodden Sunnis who six months ago were the mainstay of the opposition may be thinking again. “I hate the regime,” says a woman from a poor Damascus suburb. “But if forced to choose, perhaps I would rather live under them than the rebels. I am tired of the violence.” Qatari and Saudi support for the opposition has also scared a lot of Syrians. “This is now a war in Syria, but not a Syrian war,” says a dissident artist in the capital. “I have no illusions that the Gulf backers are interested in us having democracy.”…..……….”

Also sprach The Economist. The excellent magazine’s record is not perfect. It has a past record of some quality mis-prognostications about the Middle East (Iranian Revolution, Iran-Iraq War, Battle for Basrah, Syria, Lebanon, etc, etc………). Probably not this time: it covers an aspect of the Syrian civil war that is ignored by most Western media, nay an aspect that many in the West and many Arabs would consider heresy. The choices facing the Syrians are tough.

Syrians are caught between several clichés: a rock and a hard place, the frying pan and the fire, you name it. Like most Arab peoples, they have a plethora of bad choices among clichés, to pick from. The last word up there, by a skeptical Syrian citizen, got it right: “I have no illusions that the Gulf backers are interested in us having democracy.
In Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the financiers of Syrian ‘liberation’, states that are seemingly gung-ho on Syrian “freedom”, the people have no such choices, not even between bad alternatives. Their own peoples don’t even have a lousy Hobson’s Choic
e.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




How Clinton and Willful Europeans Got Obama into the Syrian War: the Lame Fool “Wuss” that Roared…….

      


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“What happens when you don’t intervene in Syria? Bill Clinton said that Obama risks looking like a ‘wuss,’ a ‘fool,’ and ‘lame’ by sitting on the sidelines………. “

Wednesday night Bill Clinton was reported in an interview to have opined that if Mr. Obama did not intervene in Syria, he would look like a “Wuss”, a “Fool”, and “Lame”. No doubt Bubba was taunting Obama, possibly having heard from Hillary and his own leftovers in the National Security team (female and possibly male). Possibly having heard from his pals and big contributors among Persian Gulf potentates.
Now what guy, including a US president, would not be stirred by these words (Wuss, Fool, and Lame)? So, next day Obama said that, yes, these funny French (and British) Sarin samples he had doubted for months are real. The Syrian regime has used Sarin: used a WMD several times and ended up killing more than 100 people. Not sure why he did not use bullets which are less controversial and cheaper than using Sarin several times to kill a mere 100+.
The mainstream US media were ready: they have been ready for months for two wars, Syria and Iran. Nay, the media have been ready for three wars, I forgot Lebanon. Just as they were ready for the liberation of Iraq (2003) and Panama (1989), and the Dominican Republic (1965), and Vietnam, all the way back to Spanish Cuba after the USS Maine was blown up.
As for the European part, I just add the following links to earlier posts:


WMD: How Qusayr and Syrian Activists and Willful European Leaders Revived the Doubtful Sarin Issue

A Grain of Salt: Cameron, Hollande, and the Free Syrian Salafi Army Have Sarin Evidence

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com



Did McCain Try to Hijack US Policy on Syria and the Middle East?……….

      


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Thursday we heard from the networks that the Obama administration has bought the French and British ‘discovery’ and now believes the Syrian forces had used Sarin, a form of WMD. No sooner was this news on the networks than they shifted to the Senate floor; that McCain and Graham were going to deliver the speeches that Obama or Jay Carney should have delivered. No doubt the networks were alerted by McCain and Graham, hoping to force Obama’s hand and to spin the news the way they prefer. Effectively they tried to hijack the administration’s foreign policy on Syria and the wider Middle East. Before the administration announced the news, the two senators declared it and detailed what policy the US government is going to follow and should follow.
The news was that the administration now believes that the Syrians used Sarin on “several occasions” and that between “100 to 150” people died. Nobody seems to have thought about this last fact: used “several time” and killed just over “100”. Now what kind of weapons of MASS destruction is used to kill only a handful of people each time? All that was lost in the noise all over the media and the social media. The social media are smarter, because average people can now opine and average people are smarter (on average) than the news-hungry media types. Most of the doubt over this new shift was expressed in the social media.


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


An Iranian Mystery: Edging toward Victory on the Long Road to Anticipated Collapse?………

      


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“While the Iranian economy struggles to adjust to periodic US sanctions “upgrades,” a significantly devalued currency and restrictions in global financial transactions have suddenly challenged even Iran’s famed adaptability to these kinds of externally-imposed pressures. But something is awry. There is no implosion in Iran. How is that possible with off-the-chart hikes in the price of basic goods, unaffordable housing in congested urban areas, increased youth unemployment? Instead, Iranians who love nothing better than to complain about government and economy, have grumpily rallied against these foreign efforts to pit population against state. According to results of a Gallup poll in February, 85 percent of Iranians claim sanctions have hurt their livelihood……….. But the fact is that sanctions simply don’t work: Iran is not going to stop its nuclear enrichment. Iranians aren’t going to eject their government.……….”

The source article of this above quote (from S. Narwani) is more to the point: the sanctions are NOT working as presumably intended. Iranians, or most of them, having allowed Western plotting and money to overthrow an earlier independent elected government (Mossadeq: Operation Ajax in 1953), are unlikely to cooperate again, even under duress.
An intriguing question, or is it a case study, about Iran. It implicitly poses important questions that may explain this continuous monthly ratcheting-up of the Western blockade. So how is it that besieged Iran, with so-called alleged claimed screamed daily bull-horned on-the-verge-of-collapse under the tightest blockade in modern history, how is it that it can defy the Israeli-manipulated Western blockade? Not only that: how is it that it can defeat the combined worldwide efforts of the United States, the European Union, the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the sectarian tribal despots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the UAE? How can a country, a society, allegedly on the verge of collapse and capitulation and crying uncle to the U.S. Congress and AIPAC and an expectantly triumphant Western mainstream media, how can it defy these odds?
How is it that a society under the tightest economic and technological blockade can bring down sophisticated foreign drones, send out its own domestic drones, advance in space and nuclear research and bio-sciences, counter-hack computer systems, run elections (albeit not ideal completely free elections) and wage proxy wars even as it prepares for a massive foreign attack against it that is threatened almost daily by Mr. Netanyahu, the US Congress, Britain’s Cameron, even France’s Hollande, not to mention the funny shaikhs of Bahrain?
Is there something we can’t see? Is there a degree of internal decay and deterioration that we can’t see that points to the imminent Iranian collapse that Mr. Obama’s advisers have been promising him in private?
Ich Weiss nicht, aber I think not. Are they, under political pressure, foolishly underestimating the foe? It won’t be the first time.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Political Rumors of Qatar: Hamad Bin Jassim de Tocqueville………

      


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Arab and foreign media are circulating stories, possibly rumors, about an imminent “transfer” of power in Qatar. They say the Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani will ‘abdicate’ in favor of his son Tamim Al Thani. In the Gulf no one abdicates in favor of anyone unless forced to do so (and I mean really FORCED, dead or alive). The current Emir of Qatar came to power after overthrowing his traveling father who was sampling the Chianti and possibly other stuff in Italy. The last case of “abdication” in the Gulf was in 1966: ruler of Abu Dhabi Shaikh Shakhbut Al-Nahayan was overthrown by his brother Shaikh Zayed Al-Nahayan. Before that Saudi King Saud Bin Abdulaziz was overthrown by his brother Crown Prince Faisal Bin Abdulaziz in 1964. They also called that an “abdication”. King Faisal was shot dead by one of his own nephews in 1975.
The rumors also speculate that prime minister/foreign minister Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani will be replaced. There may be several explanations for this, including:

  • This could be a Saudi rumor to bring the Al-Thani down to size (they did plot to overthrow him in 1998).
  • It could be a trial balloon by one of the principals in Qatar.
  • It could even be a story planted by the Al Khalifa of Bahrain who always felt in recent years that the Qatari royals treat them like the shit they are.
  • Or it could be part of a dastardly plot by Hezbollah sow confusion in Qatar and win the civil war in Syria.

My Qatari claims that the prime minister is all set for retirement. She says his original plan was to travel in ‘liberated’ Syria, observing and writing on its Salafi democracy. Now, for some reason she claims she can’t understand, he has decided to change plans. He will retire in New York. That explains, she added, his purchase of a huge condo overlooking Central Park. She says he plan to start from NYC and roam America, writing his observations and impressions of its development and its democratic institutions (including the lobbyists). To do that comfortably he will purchase a huge Winnebago and drive around with a coterie of 100 men, women, and children. Since he like to be discreet and inconspicuous, he will go under the name of Hamad Clérel Bin Jassim de Tocqueville.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Will it be North to Aleppo? a Socialist-Tribal Campaign for Syria………..

      


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“As fighters with Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement wage the battles that are helping Syria’s regime survive, their chief sponsor, Iran, is emerging as the biggest victor in the wider regional struggle for influence that the Syrian conflict has become. With top national security aides set to meet at the White House on Wednesday to reassess options in light of recent setbacks for the rebels seeking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, the long-term outcome of the war remains far from assured, analysts and military experts say. But after the Assad regime’s capture of the small but strategic town of Qusair last week — a battle in which the Iranian-backed Shiite militia played a pivotal role — Iran’s supporters and foes alike are mulling a new reality: that the regional balance of power appears to be tilting in favor of Tehran……………..”

This man from the so-called Gulf Research Council is putting the usual mandatory GCC spin on events with all the talk of the threat of some imaginary hegemony. So I shall not argue that point: after all it comes from the UAE.
It is too early to wisely predict the final outcome of Syria. But it is true that the tide is now with the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah side. If they consolidate their hold over the rest of Aleppo, the back of the military opposition will have been broken effectively. (Retaking the rest of Homs can be a mop-up, a footnote for future action). That does not mean Bashar Al Assad can relax and resume his pre-2011 autocratic role in Damascus. No, the Syrian genie is out of the bottle, as it is in most Arab states, but it will not be a Salafi genie based on foreign tribal Wahhabi fighters fed by royal petro-money.
Wars, even civil wars, can turn around several time. Only months ago, and for more than a year, it was predicted that Al Assad will be out in a few weeks. So, it may not be wise to predict that he is home free in Damascus to stay. Who knows, the joint French-Saudi campaign to save Aleppo (and hence Syria) for Wahhabi-style democracy may prevail. Shall we call it the Franco-Saudi Socialist Polygamous Tribal Democratic Alliance?

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com



Jihadists Flooding Syria: Go to Al Sham, Young Salafi…………

      


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“Foreign Islamist extremists are streaming into Syria, apparently in response to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah’s more visible backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a development that analysts say is likely to lead to a major power struggle between foreign jihadists and Syrian rebels should the Assad regime collapse. Researchers who monitor the conflict said this week that they’ve detected the influx of foreigners in firsthand observations on the battlefield, spotting them in rebel videos posted on the Internet, observing a recent spike in reported deaths of foreign fighters and studying their postings on social media sites. And while many foreign fighters have been absorbed into established Syrian rebel groups, there are signs now that an increasing number are remaining in free-standing units that operate independently and are willing to clash with other rebels and Syrian communities to implement their own rigid vision of Islamist governance……….. Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War who just returned from a two-week research trip to study rebels inside Syria, said that “without a doubt” she saw far more foreign fighters than on her previous trip two months ago, including foreigner-only fighting groups……………….”

It is a distortion to claim that foreign extremists are streaming into Syria as a response to Hezbollah’s new role. Actually foreign Jihadists have been streaming into Syria long before Hezbollah sent a single fighter into the country. Just before the legitimate Syrian uprising was twisted into a military confrontation by foreign Wahhabi extremists and by foreign money from the Persian Gulf Salafis and potentates. The Syrian regime’s inflexible violent initial response to the protests made matters worse. When I first saw who was the most eager to support the Syrian “opposition”, I suspected that it was a lost cause. I would read calls on social media by Salafi extremists from the Gulf to “go to Syria”, to donate for “Syria”.  The sectarian nature of the opposition militias (Free Syrian Salafi Army FSA, al-Nusra, and all the other Als) was clear from the spring of 2011, easily pointed out by the kidnappings, gruesome AlQaeda- style executions, hostage-taking, defacing religious shrines, and evictions of people of other faiths (Alawis, Shi’as, Christians, etc).
Iraq has hundreds (possibly more) of these Wahhabi terrorists in prison, many of them Saudis and other Gulfies, but some from other Arab states. The Saudis have a whole committee following up the cases and the fate of their citizens on trial in Iraq, where they went to blow up civilians. The Syrians possibly have even more of these in prison, although many of them were likely executed for entering the country with the intent to commit terrorism during war. Sort of like the punishment that the British and Germans meted to each others’ spies and terrorists during the Second World War.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Will French Africa-Bashers and Saudi Democrats Invade Syria? How Will they Fare? ……..

      


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“France and Saudi Arabia agreed during a meeting in Paris that the Hezbollah-backed Syrian troops, which defeated the rebels in the strategic town of Qusayr, should not be allowed to repeat the same scenario in province of Aleppo, Al Arabiya correspondent reported Tuesday. The two countries expressed their stance after Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and the kingdom’s intelligence head, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, met with French officials. While both countries established the need for international measures to help stave off a repeat of the Qusayr battle, France said an international consensus is required before any military operation can take place……………..” Alarabiya (Saudi semi-official network)

France and Saudi Arabia promise there will be no more repeats of Qusayr (or perhaps Qusair as the British seem to prefer it). That means France and Saudi Arabia will guarantee no more military victories for the Syrian regime.
This means one thing: if the US and Europe refuse to join John McCain in invading Syria, then there is an alternative. The French and Saudis will storm Syria, led by Bernard-Henri Levy and the Mufti Shaikh Al. The Saudis, a couple of years after their defeat at the hands of the ragtag Houthi tribal fighters in Yemen, will transfer their occupation forces holding up the regime from Bahrain to Syria. I can’t wait to get a bucket of popcorn, sit back, and watch the show. Forget the Super Bowl: it is Hezbollah and the Syrian regime against the Saudi vice squad and the French Africa-bashers. Maybe the Saudi and Qatari and French forces can be parachuted down behind enemy lines, to join the Free Syrian Salafi Army militias. Before the storming of the beaches.
 
More seriously: there is a strong push in Western capitals for some kind of NATO intervention. The Arab potentates and, er, petroleum intellectuals (of the tribal monarchy type and the Islamist type and the Salafist type) have been pushing for NATO to help liberate Syria, just as it liberated Libya (2011) and Iraq (2003). In the US this push is from the jingoist right (Republicans) and the jingoist left (Democratic warriors are back, twenty years after the fall of Communism). Mr. Obama is in the middle of this: whatever happens, he’ll get the blame when things go wrong, as they surely will.
The problem in Syria is that the rebels do not control any major urban centers that they can call their own. They control parts of Homs and Aleppo, so both sides are close enough for decisive battles to start (of course, these battles may not be so decisive).

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com