Assad's desperate new strategy--mass execution of civilians after suffering any setback


by FG

Yesterday I mentioned this apparent trend, which also includes far more potent and vindictive air attacks on civilian areas as another way of responding to opposition successes.   Today, Enduiing America has posted their own analysis of the change in strategy and why it has occurred.   



 The clashes of recent days have been far more widespread, but smaller in scale. The Free Syrian Army is conducting more guerrilla-style warfare, individual attacks designed to remove the regime's initiative, cramp its supply lines, soften its hardened locations, and damped its morale. The response to those attacks has been disproportionate, indiscriminate, and ruthless, with the civilians paying the highest toll.

One thing is self-evident: Khamenei's "identical twin" and surviving members of his inner circle have burned all bridges.  It's virtually inconceivable that anyone--including Putin--would dare give any of these thugs a safe exil  afterwards.   

Modernizing and updating the dictionary when a new word becomes necessary: "TO PUTINIZE."

This isn't the first time I've used that word and I'll continue to use it until it catches on.  

The Baathist Party is based on the Germany's National Socialist or Nazi model which also used some of these tactics but not to the same extent.   For a Nazi example look up Heydrich /Lidice online.   The Nazis also used such reprisal against civilians tactics--though not on the same scale--in Italy, France, Holland, etc.--and on a major scale in ethnically cleansing the area now known as Belarus where in over 600 towns civilians were herded into the largest building in town, doors were sealed and it was set afire.

What's different here is the employment of such tactics on such a scale to suppress rebellion.  The man who invented such tactics and applied them successfully in Chechnya was Russia's current ruler, Vladimir Putin, who is widely believed to have suggested their use to Assad several months ago.


If such methods worked in suppressing rebellion in Chechnya, why should they not work in Syria or Iran.  The problem is that in Chechnya Russian troops were asked to do so againt an alien "they."  In Syria, troops are being asked to kill people like themselves and that makes an incredible difference in their effectiveness.  This is another reason why an FSA victory in Syria is so important to Iranians.    If Assad were to succeed (I see that as an impossibility) no moral scuples would prevent the murderous Supreme Leader from copying success.  A "super failure," followed by a horrible fate for Assad and his inner circle is the only thing that might restrain Khamenei from doing the same since it would lead to certain defeat.

Nevetheless--and regardless of Assad's fate--you have to consider that Khamenei has repeated shown himself to be a slow learner, capable of short-run strategiic thinkiing only, and a man whose first and only tendency is to reach for cudgel.   Like Assad, the most to which he can assent under popular pressure is minor concessions and--as in Syria--those will never do now.

ITEM: Eleven more people executed today in front of their families according to The Guardian.  

Comment: The regime's clear message is, we will continue to do this so long as you support or shelter the FSA or tolerate anyone in your community who does so.

 ITEM: Al Mayadeen journalist have been caught tweeting messages to the Syrian air force regarding rebel positions.   The news service is trying to defend itself by claiming to have been hacked, which would be difficult to do.  And why would the regime need to do so in order to send such a message?   Note that AL Mayadeen has close political ties to Syria, Hezbollah and IRAN.


ITEM (from Enduring America):  The AFP reports that the Syrian Army has recaptured 3 predominantly Christian neighborhoods in Aleppo, all three of which fell to the Free Syrian Army over the weekend.

ITEM: The FSA is accused of having executed 16 captured security officers (not civilians) in Douma, south of Damascus.  These are precisely the kind of people who have been involved in carrying out mass executions for the regime.

Syrians insurgents have captured a series of security bases and police stations in Albukamal, in Deir Ez Zor province, and have at least partial access to many of the border crossings with Iraq. As we've been discussing, the Free Syrian Army has won a series of victories in the region, and recently repelled a regime counterattack on FSA positions Deir Ez Zor. The FSA may be close to taking Albukamal, which may be a precursor to an more gains in the east.


more from FG


by Rea on

His resignation now means absolutely nothing. Too little, too late.

Am afraid Syria, as we knew it, is a past tense.


 Syrian Official:

by vildemose on


About Syrian civilians

by Rea on

.... and choice they're faced with.  

Given the complexities of Syira, somewhat simplistic view I dare say. Things are not black (1&2) or white (3) in Syria.

If you go for rebellion but you end up with al-Qaida instead, is that black or white?


A strategy that has failed historically stems from weakness

by FG on

Enduring America writes: The escalation of violence is alarming, to say the least. It is also perhaps desperate - for all the regime's force, protests still continue in Damascus and its suburbs, and the Free Syrian Army is still carrying out hit-and-run style attacks, or ambushes of regime convoys on the roads there.


Nothing else has worked.  Regime forces are stretched thin.  Assad and his inner circle can no longer find a safe refuge or avoid harsh punishment.  So why not?  The hope is to discourage popular support for the FSA by ruthlessly punishing civilian populations anywhere place the FSA appears.  Just kiill 'em all.


Facing supply line problems, the Nazis also used mass retaliation against civilians.  The hate they built up was immense even in places where Nazi forces were originally welcomed as liberators (the Ukraine). Recall the boomerang effect in Berlin and East Prussia as the war ended and the harsh consequences in Germany afterard (consequences that would have been even worse if not for Stalin's threat in the East). 


1. Continued torture, death and destruction.

2. Accept the hated regime responsible for the above.

3. Join the rebellion.

I suspect Syrians will make the same choice (#3) as victims of Nazi tactics.  In that case all they need is weapons.  Maybe it is time to supply them.  


Friday: Putinization of Syria continues & other items

by FG on

(All items below come from a Guardian roundup unless noted otherwise): DRAMA IN AL-ARRAK The Russia leader is now enjoying his second opportunity to Putinize muslims.   Excerpt: The Syrian army is combing the town, any house they get into either they burn it or level it, especially houses deserted by its people who left the town. Most of the people who are still in al-Herak are hiding in shelters at the southern part of the town.

Today we found the bodies of eight people who were in their houses when the Syrian army raided them. They were slaughtered by knives, two of them had even been burnt. There is the body of Yaqoub Al-Mifa'alani and his son Yousif and the two brothers Nasser Al-Qidah and Hafidh Qidah.

The bodies are being buried at whichever place they are killed in or in the garden of their houses, no one dares to go to the cemetery. Moving within al-Herrak town is like committing suicide. We have more than 50 wounded today, all of them are at home without any treatment at all. Unqualified people are offering first aid, most of the doctors here have either been killed or left the town. The whole town is under a big siege - no one can go out or get in. The luckiest man is he who can get out of the town now.



EXCERPT:  Some of the people here tried to flee the district today but they were stopped by the people of Sahnaya and [pro-government] People's Committees. The People's Committees told the women to get out of the cars, pierced the tyres and took the men. We are worried that they might use them as human shields to storm Darayya or if they are confronted by the FSA men.

My cousin Jamal, who left Darayya just two hours ago with his two sons and wife, was taken by People's Committees and his wife and children are still in the car in Sahnaya district...

All the alleys that lead out of Darayya are filled with snipers. You can't pull your head out of your home, bullets are falling at random. There is a government hospital in Darayya but no one dares to go there – there's a sniper on the top of the hospital. 



France has said it is prepared to to take part in enforcing a partial no-fly zone over Syria. French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian cautioned that closing the Arab nation's entire airspace would be tantamount to "going to war" and require a willing international coalition that does not yet exist but he urged the international community to consider backing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria.


Muhammed Sahimi has a thorough report on that via Tehran Bureau:



Today's NY Times is reporting that Khamenei has accelerated his efforts to produce nukes.  Krauthammer discusses where that may lead in a Washington Post article.



Sky News's special correspondent Alex Crawford, in Syria, reports that fighter jets are attacking targets north of Aleppo, where there do not appear to be any military targets....One bomb landed near a school; it landed right on top of a house that was unoccupied at the time, the other landed near a communications target.

She said that earlier in the day fighter jets appeared to be targeting two hospitals in Aleppo...there were many more civilian casualties, including one dead child I saw. The back of his head had been completely blown away when one of the shells landed in his garden.



 Albu Kamal, a border town also in Deir Ezzor province, fierce fighting has been reported in recent days.

Now the FSA claims to have captured military baracks there. The LCC says:

The Free Syrian Army announced that it has taken control of over the Hajana [camel corps] military barracks and has captured the military equipment and weapons stored there.



W. Post explains motivation behind mass execution of civilians

by FG on

Liz Sly of the Post writes:

 Activists say the Damascus killings reflect a new government strategy to deter support for the opposition Free Syrian Army by punishing and intimidating civilians living in areas under rebel control. Videos posted online and accounts from residents point to summary executions occurring on a scale unprecedented since the start of the 17-month-old uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad...

... Some of the deaths in the Damascus area have also been caused by shelling and helicopter bombardments, as the government pounds areas known to support the rebels. But most of the dead are civilians who have disappeared in the wake of offensives or have been seized at checkpoints and whose bodies have been discovered in groups of as few as a handful or as many as a several dozen, activists say....

 Most of the victims depicted are men, some of them elderly and many bearing torture marks, and all appear to have died either from bullet wounds to the head or by having their throats cut.

For the full story see:



The figures given for civilian deaths in the story are way understated.   Enduring America says at least 800 were killed in the last three days--an overwhelming majority of them were civilians. 


Let's not be mistaken

by Rea on

There is a civil war in Syria, nothing to do with people trying to topple a dictator.

Civil wars are dirty, full stop.



by yolanda on

Thank you, FG, for the Mousavi update!


BREAKING NEWS: Mousavi hospitalized for tests

by FG on

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian exile website is reporting the country's mainopposition leader has been hospitalized for heart tests.

Former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has been under house arrest since widespread crackdowns in early 2011 after protests over the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

Thursday's report by Neday-e Sabz-e Azadi website says the former Green Movement leader underwent three hours of medical tests and is hospitalized for additional monitoring. The report cannot be independently verified in Iran.

Mousavi and fellow opposition figure Mahdi Karroubi have been effectively silenced by the clampdown on political dissent by Iranian authorities.


Has the regime ever considered the consequences should Mousavi die in its custody--especially in the current dismal climate?   The upcoming non-aligned conference would be the worst timing.

Imagine his martyrdom status.  Now contrast it with Khamenei's pariah status with most Iranians. 


Where is Austin Tice?

by FG on

In the last week Assad's outlaw regime shot down a female Japanese reporter in cold blood.  Yestersday regime thugs broke into the home of a reporter for its own state TV, and shot him in the face because he had been sympathetic to the opposition and critical of regime crimes in blogs using an alter ego.

Now there is this: 

The family of Austin Tice, an American freelance journalist who has been reporting from Syria for The Washington Post and other news organizations, said Thursday that it has not heard from him for more than a week and is concerned for his welfare.:

The Post is now reporting that story 



To Azarbanoo and others who like these roundups

by FG on

With its ability to limit any regime's monopoly of information (easily preserved in days past) and expoe its crimes publically, the internet has done a great service to those who live under such tyrannies.

Its second positive effect is to unite people across borders in opposing all tyrannies and seeking similar rights. 

A third effect is in the way it allows protestors to organize and strategize anonymously outside the direct reach of security forces.

Another effect (in Sunni countries at least) is in the way it encourages sympathizers in other countries to come to the assistance of the oppressed elsewhere, whether via donations or more direct action.  

The effect seems more limited when it comes to Shia it seems to me for many reasons.  Whereas a majority of Shia in Iran is disgusted with the regime, others in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, etc., look to the IRI for protection because they feel threatened at home.   

If all Middle Eastern regimes, Sunni Kurd or Shia, were democracies based on secular humanism, we'd see none of this strife for the same reasons it has been rare in Europe since the defeat of ultranationalist fascism in 1945.

Unfortunately for Sunnis, they may still have to undergo the Islamist stage (hopefully in a milder form) before catching up with more advanced Iranian thought.



Other items of interest

by FG on

'Salafist' militants attack Tunisia's Sidi Bouzid: police




Beyond oil battle, sanctions hit Iran's merchants



Saudi columnist sparks furore with prostitution comments




Assad’s War on Syria’s Children



Fascinating new details: How Bid Laden spent his last nine years



The disturbing spread of honor killings (NOTE: THis one is especially good)




Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed's home in Warrington, Cheshire in the United Kingdom must be no different, only they used their grocery bags to stuff their 17-year-old daughter Shafilea's mouth, blocking her airways and pinning her down till her "legs stopped kicking". But that wasn't punishment enough. Ahmed punched his teenager's lifeless body in the chest after the killing, enraged by her "desire to lead a westernized lifestyle" - wearing jeans, socializing with white girls and refusing to marry a much older man. 

Shafilea is gone. So is my stockpile of plastic bags - to the very last one. But to recently convicted Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed and thousands, if not millions, likeminded others, something else has been saved, guarded, maintained.

That something also led Javed Iqbal Shaikh, a respected lawyer, to pull out a gun and shoot point-blank his 22 year-old sister, Raheela Sehto, in front of dozens of witnesses in a "packed courtroom" in Hyderabad, Pakistan earlier this month. As the bullet penetrated the "left side of her head" she fell to the ground looking her husband, Zulfiqar Sehto, in the eye. Raheela's marriage to Sehto was the reason for which her brother felt compelled to brutally murder her, and Sehto the man Shaikh regretshe couldn't kill along with his sister.   

Two women and innumerable others, time and time again, are erased from history in the hands of those who think themselves guardians of this centuries-old tradition.


Everyone calm down: Israel is not going to bomb Iran. Well, at least not in 2012.


A World Without Water

What happens when America's fields go dry?




Rustam Gelayev,

by Rea on

... son of the late Chechen separatist movement' leader, may have been killed in Syria while fighting on the FSA side. 

Difference btwn hezbollahis and pazdarans fighting for Assad and Chechnyan fanatics fighting against ? Hardly any. 


FG, Thanks for

by Azarbanoo on

Your updates.

Marg Bar IRR/IRI, Akhoonds & their Thugs.


Regime spends a ton for summit. PROTESTS PLANNED

by FG on

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will convene in Tehran this Sunday through next Friday, August 31



Kaleme, the website that is close to Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, has reported on the vast sums that the government has been spending in preparation for the summit. Among various expenditures, the website noted the 120 billion tomans (approximately $100 million at the official rate of exchange) that have been spent on building renovations; the purchase of 200 Mercedes-Benzes, each priced at 350 million tomans (for a total of around $58 million), along with hundreds of other vehicles; and the rental of two entire highrises, as well as dozens of additional luxury apartments. According to Kaleme, a company owned by a Mr. "Gh.," said to be associated with Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's chief of staff and close confidant, has been contracted by the Iranian government to transport summit guests during their stays in Tehran -- up to 10,000 visitors, including the delegations and journalists, are expected to attend.

The six-day period during which the summit will be held has been declared a holiday in Tehran, at an estimated loss to the nation of $5 billion. It was also announced that during the Persian month of Shahrivar (August 22 to September 21), the government will make available to each adult Tehrani an additional eight gallons of subsidized-price gasoline, thus further encouraging residents of the capital to view the summit as an opportunity to take a brief vacation; the announcement apparently came as a surprise to officials at the Ministry of Oil, who professed to know nothing about it.


Social networks have called on the residents of Tehran to remain in the city and for people elsewhere around the country to head to the capital and crowd the streets, so the foreign reporters who will be allowed en masse into Iran for the first time in three years can see their gatherings. Due to the summit, it is unlikely that the Revolutionary Guards will use force to disperse the people. Others have urged the people to go to their roofs during the summit and shout "Allah-o Akbar" or other slogans; see also here and here. There have also been calls to write slogans on walls around Tehran that can be seen by the foreign visitors. A group calling itself the Green Students of the Universities in Tehran has called for peaceful demonstrations in Tehran for four consecutive days during the summit and announced marching routes. Meanwhile, others havecalled on the people to create noise throughout the city to give the NAM leaders the impression that they have entered a war zone. Another group has protested the fact that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi plans to take part in the summit, while Iranians wholeheartedly supported the democratic revolution in his own country.

All such efforts must be intensified in the coming days. This is a golden opportunity to protest the terrible conditions in the country and have members of the international community at the highest level hear those protests. Having paid an extravagant price to hold the summit in Tehran -- aside from extensive concessions that many believe the Islamic Republic made behind the scenes to encourage other NAM members to participate -- the nation can turn this into an occasion in which thousands of foreigners, from journalists to politicians, can see and hear with their own eyes and ears the cries of a great nation under siege from all sides.






UN says Iran is providing weapons, arms and intel to Assad

by FG on

(Reuters) - Iran appears to be supplying Syria with weapons, the United Nations said on Wednesday, as the 17-month conflict that began as a popular uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad slides deeper into civil war.

For more see:  //


All males found in any house are executed

by FG on

 An account from a resident of al-Herak in Daraa Province, Muhammed Abu Houran, to Mona Mahmood of The Guardian this afternoon:

Yesterday morning the Syrian army began its campaign against al-Herak in Deraa. They launched a vicious raid against the people who were still in their houses, though most of the people had left the town earlier.


The Syrian army executed any men they found in these houses soon after arresting them. Most of the men who were executed were found in deserted houses. From yesterday until now, fires are still burning --- there is not enough water to put them out.

After three days of fierce battles here, the FSA had to leave its positions as it had run out of ammunition. As soon as the FSA pulled out, field executions were carried out and houses were burned and destroyed. The FSA was able to keep only the southern part of Deraa under its control after long battles that lasted from dawn to the evening – almost 16 hours.

After that, the FSA got more ammunition from neighbouring towns and was able to attack some of the armoured vehicles of the Syrian army. Battles continued till 12 midday today in which the FSA was able to recover some other parts of the town that had been taken by the Syrian army....

We have had 107 martyrs in the last three days, Most of them are civilians. Forty-five of the bodies were executed. There were 13 bodies which were charred completely and today we found another nine charred bodies. We could not identify them at all. They were in the districts which were under the control of the Syrian army yesterday. Most of the executed bodies were slain by knives, and luckiest ones executed by gunshot....