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One of my most informative moments of this 15-month conflict came during the winter in a conversation with some ordinary working-class Christians in a central Syrian town.
They explained how they had become terrified of some of their fellow countrymen in a neighbouring district that had been taken over by one of the Sunni militias now fighting government forces.
But the Christians and Allawis fear that if the uprising results in a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood takeover they will be persecuted. It is true that the Sunni death squads are already operating.
The Shia man, a shopkeeper, took a harder line. He said he cautioned his optimistic friends who think this will be over by the autumn, saying: "It will take a year to clean them out properly." By them, he meant the Free Syrian Army.
According to the Syrian government, 5,700–6,400 people, including 2,000–2,500 members of the security forces, more than 800 insurgents and more than 3,000 civilians, have been killed in fighting with what they characterize as "armed terrorist groups".
The reality is that intervention in Syria by the US and its allies has already begun. The western powers have backed the fractious opposition Syrian National Council since the early days of last year's uprising. So have the Gulf autocracies led by Saudi Arabia, who have stepped up the flow of weapons and cash to favoured Syrian rebel groups in recent months, while Turkey has provided a cross-border base. That is co-ordinated with the US, which supplies the same groups with "non-lethal assistance" and "communications equipment".
In other words, the US and its allies are sponsoring regime change through civil war. And while paying lip service to the Annan plan for demilitarisation and negotiation, they are making sure it won't succeed.
The results can be seen on the ground. Overall, lethal violence is estimated by human rights groups to have dropped by 36% since the plan was supposed to come into effect, but government casualties have increased sharply over the same period (953 reported killed since mid-March). Rebel fighters claimed to have killed 80 government troops last weekend alone.
Last year's Nato intervention in Libya increased the death toll by a factor of 10 to 15 and left a country of lawless warlords, torture and ethnic cleansing. Intervention in Syria, whether by fully arming the opposition or using air power to create "humanitarian corridors", would have a far more devastating impact.
The idea of Syria as a regional oil transit hub is nothing new, thanks to its situation between Europe and major producing areas in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. There is already one major transnational gas pipeline passing through Syria, the Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP) from Egypt to the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
In 2009, recognizing that the heady days of Syrian oil production in the 1980s were long gone and that the sector’s future lay in transit, Assad announced a ‘four seas strategy’ aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for oil transportation between the Persian Gulf and the Black, Caspian and Mediterranean seas. He began taking steps to realize the country’s transit-center potential and bring the four seas strategy closer to reality.
Originally posted by DudeCuda
Nice culmination of sources there, S+F
All I hear in the media up here is NATO claiming the Syrian Government is responsible and Syria denying that it's them. Any Canadian official I've heard has been adamant that Syria is corrupt and lying. I knew since the first time I heard this story that it was fishy, and instantly thought back to "Rebel Insurgents" of Libya. It's quite terrifying that they can do this, but even more terrifying that they can get away with it. Makes me concerned of who's next in line
Originally posted by Rubinstein
There must be a lot of people who work in the MSM who wish they were allowed to report the truth