Bashar Is bombing us.

I am not good at that. I mean, I don’t know how to collate news round-ups despite of  all helpful modern blogging tools  that make such task easier. May be I don’t like to do so, or perhaps, it has become  harder as my main source of news ceased being news-papers and blogs and became fast tweets, rapid shots of RSS-feeds, and Facebook posts coming from all over Syria telling me and a cynical world where a mortar shell has just fallen and where the most recent massacre-by-barrel has taken place decimating a neighborhood block and absurdly ending many potentials of greatness, mediocrity, and just plain normal living.

It is also harder to be opinionated nowadays, especially regarding the rapidly unfolding events in Syria. Although they occure in rapid succession, these events nonetheless betray a slow steadily flowing lava-like wall of brutality, suffering, and unimaginable misery. Friends are wounded with no well-organized medical relief to take care of them, and when relief is available, it is mostly controlled by a single group with a viciously selfish and opportunistic political agenda whereby aid is dispensed only to those who belong in their allegiance to the group or to its battalions. In many cases, these battalions  consist of fighters and leaders who are neither indoctrinated, nor deeply religious, but are pragmatic in meeting the needs of the moment, be it a case of ammunition, a few gallons of fuel, or some food to sustain their fighters.

Aleppo-Destruction

Destruction in Aleppo due to Assad regime criminal bombardment of civilian areas

What permeate the atmosphere in Aleppo are the genetic prints of the culture of despotism, nurtured and fed through corruption and terror by two generations of Assads. Despotism is evident among some armed groups, more evidently in the north than elsewhere around the country. In Aleppo, stories of abuse, theft, corruption, lack of coordination, greed, vengeance, betrayal, and selfishness continue to surface every day. A majority of these stories can be attributed to the hordes of Shabeeha (regime thugs). Abandoned by Assad when they could not hold off FSA progress in some of the older neighborhoods, they decided to form their own armed groups or to join other groups under the banner of the free Syrian Army. But other stories can be attributed to young men, now carrying weapons, and are entrusted with maintaining peace and order in liberated areas. The young men   fail to remember that this revolution is all about ending abuse and behave the only way they have seen men with arms and authority behave, which is being abusive with a sense of entitlement. As expected, the regime, continues its deliberate and vengeful “burn the country” madness as its forces bomb infrastructure including power stations, bakeries, hospitals as well as civilian neighborhoods, being high on its check list of mayhem. Power outages, water cuts, and full deterioration of basic services have made life unbearable in a city used to abundance, and during forty years, was  devoid through premeditated malice by the Assads and their goons of civil society institutions with the capacity to maintain social cohesion in times of disasters. Aleppo is a city plagued, like all of Syria, with a state that is indistinguishable from the brutal regime,  described by Yassin Haj-Salih, as having used the state to cement its brutal sectarian rule, and gradually eradicated it and turned it into a mere extension of itself. Clearly, the regime  shed the state at the moment the it became a liability to the small gang of bloody Assads and their sectarian criminal circle.

Naval-Mine

Naval mines dropped as highly destructive cheap killing and destruction instruments In Damascus country side, where Assad has been bombarding civilians for the past few days in hope to slow down the revolutionary forces’ progress toward Damascus.

It is natural, therefore, that some residents of the liberated areas in Aleppo’s would complain about the presence FSA in their midst. Lack of basic services, severe bread crisis, weeks’ long black-outs,  and water outages, all under constant bombardment will eventually get to you. But is that a sign that FSA is losing public support? Or that the regime is gaining more supporters? Frankly, I believe that only a fool, who is completely detached from the facts on the ground would think that the regime can gain any public support at this stage. Same fool, of course, may even think that this criminal gang of thugs care about gaining public support.  The Assads and their henchmen have combined brutality, corruption, despotism, fatalism, and sectarianism to create a witch’s brew of absurdity of  an inhuman scale and qualities. Within such severely deformed prism, facts don’t matter, and it is irrelevant whether one believes his own lies or not for suspension of disbelief is no longer a requirement. What matters is only fear and spiteful vengeance. And both are hallmarks of the inhuman horde that had ruled my Syria for most of my lifetime.

In the midst of suffering and in contrast to the lack of coordination among FSA groups in the north emerge groups of highly disciplined fighters. The origins of these Jihadist groups is  unclear, but they are now coalescing under the banner of Jabhat Alnusra (Support Front). I have argued in the past that Alnusra is highly suspect of being a regime’s creation. But recenty, the front and its smaller sisters seem to have taken an increasingly more visible role as the most effective of the anti-regime armed groups. Moreover, there are visible campaigns to bestow a legendary stature on the front as its fighters seem to be present in almost all recent victories of the the FSA against the regime. With each victory, the group gains control over much of the spoils of captured weapons and ammunition. Other groups, not directly affiliated with the front, but wanting to get access to the same source of support the front has, are starting to copy-cat the front’s behavior, contrary to what a majority of Syrians expect and want from this revolution. This is exemplified by those fools who declared the establishment of the virtue brigades calling for  cleansing  Syria of Alawite as well as the small band battalion leaders war-lords wannabe who declared an Islamic Emirate in the north in a desperate effort to oppose the newly formed political coalition, which they feared will centralize funds and leave them out to dry if they don’t shape up.

Arguably, the presence and ascendancy of Jihadi groups has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they have made it easier to wipe out the regime’s brutal security apparatus in the upcoming post-assad era as they have managed to close many of its branches, scare its informants into hiding, and intimidate its collaborators, sometimes through outright execution style assassinations especially at the local level. At the same time, they have made defection of much-needed officer corps harder than it would have been without their rigid “I am a Jihadist” attitude and their arrogant calls to force a Taliban model state  of future Syria. In fact, and as expected, the have pushed their luck too far and have now scared the US and some other nations to the edge of declaring them terrorist organizations. Such declaration, even if right, further complicates the ongoing liberation of Syria. It hinders much-needed relief efforts and  jeopardizes the immediate post-assad political process.

I have not commented on the forming of the new Coalition. Many have argued that the coalition suffers the same ailments of its largest component (SNC), which is controlled by the  opportunistic and cynical Muslim Brothers. In my opinion, the coalition, for now at least, presents a reasonable platform. It seems to be successfully led by a charismatic and respected leader, who still needs to do much more to stem the monopoly the Muslim Brothers have over much of the aid resources available. This monopoly continues to place honest people, who are willing to work within SNC in bad situations. Today, the Kurdish National Council decided to join the coalition, which is bound to reduce the influence of the MBs. Hopefully, with more opposition groups joining as a result of the coalition becoming recognized as the legitimate interim representative of the Syrian people, there may be a chance for some marked improvements on the political front. Power plays are bound to affect it, like any ad hoc political coalition formed in response to external pressure while facing a brutal regime that has succeeded, through this brutality in making relief work the primary measure of performance for the opposition instead of their political or even military successes.

Likewise, militarily, also under external pressure, there seem to be a trend for coordination. A meeting was held recently in Antalya, Turkey between representatives of many of the armed revolutionary groups. Once more a new central command was announced, albeit in complete isolation from the political coalition, at least for the time being.

Criticism of the FSA is coming from several sides. I will of course dismiss that emanating from loyalists and regime propagandists. But I will not discount any criticism voiced from revolutionary quarters. Some of the criticism is fair and some is not, but in all, it is a very healthy sign that has thrown some of the personnel and leaders of FSA off balance and has caused them to try to ameliorate some of the problems, albeit through Sharia Courts, and vice and virtue brigade, which on many occasions have add fuel to the fire instead of calming things down. I would further argue that once the regime air force and artillery are silenced, hopefully soon, civil society will emerge and will thrive in short order. It is the regime’s murderous campaign of destruction  that continues to hinder the establishment of effective local councils. The evidence of the inherent and capacity to produce healthy community governance was well articulated earlier on NPR

Overall, the picture is grim. Syrians are now recalling what their great grandparents have once told their parents about the great years of famine and misery. That  was the time of Safar Barlek when the Ottomans forcibly drafted most  men of all ages for then war efforts and confiscated most agricultural products. This left the women, the children, and the elderly to fend for themselves during one of the harshest cold spells in the elders’ memory. The Syrian tragedy resembles no other, for never in recent and past history have rulers shown such contempt to their own people. The misery of Syrians have spread throughout the region. Children have died in the cold of most inhumane refugee camps in Jordan. I was recently told that the Jordanian authorities tax every single aid shipment intended for the camps or for wounded Syrians in Jordanian hospitals by confiscating a third of the shipment. This is notwithstanding that on several occasions, what was left after confiscation, never really made it to the camps or to those who need it. There is no worst story to tell of the horror than that of children’s horror. Even the lucky ones, who made it through the help of family members into the safety of homes in Egypt or in one of the gulf states continue to suffer.  A Facebook post illustrated this most vividly by telling the story of a little girl,  who was brought to safety in the United Arab Emirates by her uncle. The girl went for an outing with her family during the celebrations of the UAE national day.  When she heard the sound of celebratory fireworks, the little girl pressed her small hands over her ears and started shouting hysterically, Bashar is bombing us, Bahsar is bombing us.

It is for this child, it is for Hamza’s memory, for Qashoush, for nearly fifty thousand Syrians young and old, murdered in cold blood by Assad gangs, with fanfare from ugly and cruel herds of mindless loyalists accompanying the slaughter, it is for the victims, for Syria, and above all for humanity that Syrians can’t lose hope. We can’t afford to lose it, even knowing that this regime might and can easily resort to the weapons of mass murder in its arsenal. There is nothing that the regime has done to demonstrate that it amassed the arsenals of weapons  for anything but for its survival even if that meant the utter destruction of a beautiful country, and the death of all of its inhabitants. Anyone who thinks that there is a shred of humanity or of rationalism in the Assad gang is a fool who has blinded himself to forty years of history leading to two years of anti-historical nightmare. No one is responsible but the regime, and anyone claiming otherwise is complicit in the great Syrian Genocide. The list of regime crimes include, in addition to the evil murder of tens of thousands of Syrians, the torture of hundreds of thousands. But the most evil of this contemptible gang’s crimes is the attempted murder of the souls of Syrians and of their humanity.  To the scared child I say, sweet child, they have been bombarding us for forty-two years. Little by little, they destroyed our heritage of civility. But my sweet child, we will get that back. Granted, we may lose some of our innocence, but from you dear child, we will learn it again.

Revised- Saturday: December 15, 2012

Note: Dear 7ee6anis. I think by now, most of you already know of SYRIA DEEPLY. It is an outstanding new site on Syria that combines smart commentary, intelligent design, and for the tech-freak mundass some incredible tools such as defection tracker, regime relation mapping, and an updated map of incident on the ground. The site also feather Syrian Stories, with two so far written by the wonderful Amal Hanano.  You may want to read this article about Syria Deeply describing how the site Outsmarts The News, Redefines Conflict Coverage.

Posted on December 11, 2012, in Arab Spring, Bashar Al-Assad, Corruption, Crimes Against Humanity, Regime, Syria, Syrian Regime Crimes Against Humanity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. This is why we wait for your words. To learn about our present and past, to analyze the confusing political movements around us, and to be moved to tears by your unwavering compassion and hope. Thank you.

  2. How comforting to read you dear OTW even though I cannot hold back my tears. Comforting also because I feel safe in your positions, honest and balanced.
    At the same time I cannot but feel desperate when talking to friends back in Syria, scared, hungry, broke, awaiting death.
    We all do what we can,which is little compared to the needs. But an article like yours brings a much needed angle to the whole situation. Shukran.

  3. يا صديقنا العزيز، شكراً لك

    — for taking the time to respond to those “syntheses” with your own , so pertinent, synthesis.

  4. Dear Amal
    Thank you for once more being so kind and eloquent. It means a lot to me.

  5. Dear Annie
    So good to see yo hanging in here. Thanks for spreading the word.

  6. عزيزتي أم نواس
    الشكر لك . لم تكن كتابة هذه القطعة سهلة أبدا …ولكن كان لا بد من كتابتها ..

  7. Thanks for sharing your valuable insights, OTW. Like yourself, the majority of Syrians have an “unwavering compassion and hope” for a better Syria. They are determined to succeed.

    The way events are unfolding in Syria is not surprising. But what’s surprising is the mediocre role major played by allowing ASSad’s regime, time after time, to completely destroy Syria and her people. Pretending to be spectators when in fact they are essential players.

    Throughout Syria’s history, Syrians never acted according to the new labels that western pundits are imposing on us: minority, majority…and all the nonsense labels that are forced on us. All the revolutionary songs are a living testimony to the true colour of the people. The minarets, spires, domes, that stood side by side, were the envy of the world throughout the centuries, they will forever remain part of our bright history. The vengeful gods and their worshippers destroyed so many throughout the 80s and for the past 21 month.

    The political regional currents are not working in our favour. We all fear the worst case scenario, a divided Syria. This so called jabhat al-Nusra plays directly into this scenario.

    This new jihadist group is alien to both, the revolutionists and Syrians alike. They are everything we detest in the regime. It is incumbent on us to distance them from our midst. They are like assad’s regime, puppets on strings. They are mercenaries in disguise aimed to taint this noble revolution and destroy the social fabric of Syria before the country. We cannot afford having in our midst or even tolerating them. They are anti humanity, before being anti-majority or anti-minority.

  8. A good read on Jabhat al-Nusra..

    Every professional Syria watcher I know speculates in private that these former Iraq war insurgents still maintain ties with their old mukhabarat patrons, maybe those who might now be wavering in their loyalties to the regime but also those who believe that an active al-Qaeda presence in Syria helps legitimate the regime narrative. When Nusra car bombed the Syrian defense headquarters in central Damascus on September 26, it apparently drove the vehicle through the “front entrance” of the building, into which it then blasted a hole. Anyone who knows Syria knows that one can’t simply cruise up to the doorstep of the facility housing the military’s general staff without passing through security checkpoints. Recall, too, that Nusra’s first attack, that car bombing in al-Midan, was instantly thought to have been a regime false flag operation because the footage of the aftermath—actors playing at being wounded, then running off; severed heads positioned surreally on the pavement—showed that the authorities on the scene were less interested in forensic analysis than they were in post-production value.

    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/our_enemys_enemy

  9. هذا المقال ممتز، شكراً لك

  10. Qubaysiyat, is a conservative religious order run by women. Most Syrians are suspicious of this organization, and its founder. Its followers are brainwashed hostages. They gained influence during the 80s? Their secretiveness is tolerated by the regime. hmm…also, “there is social pressure, there is conformism, and submission to a strict code imposed by the “anseh” with little encouragement for discussion or dissent”. This is contrary to the teaching of Islam, but very much in line with Asses teachings.

    Syrian women are known to be strong and independent. Organized religion produces herd like mentality, no wonder it was encouraged under asses’ autocratic regime.

    Watch them sitting like sheep in a circle… at their helm a mass murderer giving them advice.on how to properly conduct themselves according to Islamic teachings.
    I cannot even say his name let alone see him in person..deplorable!

  11. Martyr Molham Biram: Lens of a Young Dimashqi Photographer

    The brave young martyr was a photographer and medic (Molham Bairam)
    He was born in 1992,he was about to enter the college of French literature, but God chose him to be a martyr.

    he died after being injured by a sniper while he was trying to aid a wounded.

    he was a paramedic,in addition to his mission in documenting events in Douma

    he documented a lot of mass and demonstrations in the city,and enrich our page with his fabulous pictures.

    we can only say may God bless your soul, and may you rest in peace Mloham.

    we promise you to continu what we started together..
    we promise you to fight with our cameras till we get our freedom .

    http://dimashqilens.com/

    الشـــهيد ملــهم بـــيرام
    مصور عدســة شــاب دمشـــــقي

    http://dimashqilens.com/?locale=ar

  12. the “protector of the resistance” bombs Yarmouk refugee camp
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/16/syrian-rocket-palestinian-refugee-camp

  13. The West can be blamed for employing Machiavellian tactics in pursuit of its goals, but what else did we expect? Israel aside, the US has no friends, only interests. Israel’s strength is the weakness of the Arabs. The key question is one of political conscience — the obsession with power that reduces governance to a struggle among individual interests, outsized egos and narrow, if not entirely empty ideologies. The Arab world needs visionaries, leaders dedicated to ideas and ideals, politicians motivated by values, attentive to unity and diversity. The Arab world has proven to the world at large that it could say “no”. the time has come for it to demonstrate that it knows how to say “for what?” and “how?” with dignity.

    http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/the-mideast-paradox-unfolds-1.1117318

  14. don’t you love them ?

  15. Just found this at the end of the video Annie linked above. Apologies to the friends whose Arabic knowledge is limited.

    You can be sure that every single person who defected has had his/her name completely obliterated from official registers so when the trials begin they will say ” this person is lying, never worked for the government, nothing but fabrications, etc.”. Remember that the public figures who defected (and could not be erased from official records) were immediately accused of all sorts of sins and crimes, the most common of which were accusations of theft (the ambassador to Iraq stole millions of dollars, Jihad Makdisi stole money while in London…).

    I think it is a mistake for these people to give interviews now or at any time until the fall of the regime. The same with all the -daily- interviews with rebel leaders by al-Jazeera Arabic (“what is your plan of attack?”…… I mean, common!)

  16. Oh, and thanks Annie for posting the great video above. These kids will go on to build the Syria I have been dreaming about and never thought would ever happen. It may take a while for them to do that, but by the time they are old enough to have children of their own I trust we will have that Syria as a definite reality.

  17. Seems like the ignorant around the world -the bad and ugly- wants Syrians to swallow their pill. It is called the “sectarian pill” . So badly. Thank you, but NO thank you.

    Even the UN is so sure! Suddenly the revolution, or the conflict as they like to call it, in Syria has turned into a “sectarian” “conflict”.

  18. Latest excellent Maysaloon :
    “Because of the failure of some movements and countries to unequivocally and consistently condemn the Assad regime’s brutality from the outset, the Syrian people were left to – rightly – seek assistance from anywhere they could receive it. They did not have time to listen to people such as Milne lecturing them about how necessary it was that they should die with their families in the thousands in order to reach some indigenous solution without involving the ‘White Devil’. Better, the likes of Milne were telling Syrians, to die for, and in doing so satisfy, the intellectual vanity of the Western Anti-imperialist vanguard.”

    http://www.maysaloon.org/2012/12/the-myth-of-dialogue-with-syrian-regime.html

  19. Syrians are hard working people, they cannot wait to return back to work. Kafranbel.

  20. Right now I am watching BBC Arabic and this was in the headlines: (13:15 GMT Sat.)

    “Sunni Brigades are unifying, they issued warnings to Christian villages in Hama that they would be shelled if they do not expel regime/government forces stationed there.”

    OH DEAR! and how are those poor sods going to expel/dislodge/kick out regime forces stationed amongst them? Regime forces don’t exactly just pack up and leave just because the villagers politely ask them to do so. Ya7raam.

    Isn’t that the same excuse regime forces were using to bomb and strafe towns and villages where opposition fighters were hiding/taking refuge: “if people don’t expel the armed terrorist groups then we will shell the area to dislodge them” was the refrain we heard over and over.

  21. عيد ميلاد مبروك و سنة جديدة سعيدة في سوريا الحرّة

  22. Bread queuing in Halfaya, Hama…

    A crowd in the hundreds was dispersed by a missile. At least 90 people were killed, hundreds injured. Who on earth can justify this murderous act, how much longer can the apologists turn a blind eye?
    Will this mass murder require an investigation?

    ASSad you are not the only mass murderer, you still have many supporters. Congrats!

  23. So You’re Worried About Us?
    Posted on December 23, 2012

    Look into Halfaya martyrs’ eyes and dare to tell me you’re worried about “Islamists” in Syria. Dare to tell me, you piece of shit, that you’re worried about “FSA human rights violations,” worried about “civil war,” about Qatar and KSA, and that’s why you won’t support people’s revolution.

    So you’re worried. I see. That explains a lot. Of course.

    Newsflash: the minute you have forsaken the people of Syria, the Syrian people have also forsaken you and what you worry about habibi: you and your civilization doesn’t exist in our time and space. It’s over, you and I aren’t fellow human being anymore.

    from : http://razanghazzawi.org/2012/12/23/so-youre-worried-about-us/

  24. An article on umm nuwâs post by Juan Cole

    Muslims of Liberated Saraqeb, Syria, put up Christmas Tree for Local Christians http://www.juancole.com/2012/12/liberated-christmas-christians.html

  25. The bread & blood picture from Halfaya was apparently staged, Amal Hanano responded, Sadly the human limbs were not.

  1. Pingback: Bashar Is bombing us. « band annie's Weblog

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