Unprecedented fight in Damascus: 2 highways cut, snipers killed, APC destroyed


by FG

All of the following developments are being reported in Enduring America's daily roundup.  When EA is skeptical about reports, it tells you so and explains why it is skeptical.  In this case, it finds most accounts credible.   For details, go the following link where you'll also find links to EA's sources:


--The the highway linking the capital with Damascus International Airport to the city's south, an unprecedented development (airports are critical to regime reinforcements).   Go down to 1259 GMT to see a video which demonstrates the crippling effect on a major highway.  Imagine trying to bring reinforcements through that mess.

...EA has also received information that a highway between Darayya (map) and the capital has also been closed, and battles are escalating there as well.

... Mustafa Osso, an activist based in Syria said:  It seems there is a new strategy to bring the fighting into the centre of the capital. The capital used to be safe. This will trouble the regime."  (I'd say it will certainly demoralize the regime, re-invigorate the opposite and spur perceptions among insiders that it's near time to abandon ship).  As EA reports, "There are two primary elements to the opposition in Damascus - peaceful protesters, and Free Syrian Army insurgents. While the FSA is engaged in gun battles, the protesters are using this opportunity to demonstrate and to show other signs of defiance."  

(Assad is getting whipsawed.  These attacks will force him to send troops to the Damascus area leaving the countryside under oppodion control.  Meanwhile, for all the size of his military, consider that most of it is confined to barracks as unreliable.   Can't Iranians learn from Syrian tactics?)

... another Syrian activist, Susan Ahmad, told Al-Jazeera English the fighting was initiated by government forces because the Free Syrian Army had secured a foothold at striking distance from major state installations.

... Snipers are ascending to high places and government building, they target anything that moves. There are reports of 3 martyrs. The shelling and clashes in Nahr Esha and Midan continue (reported by the LCC.

... A military armored vehicle of Assad forces has been destroyed in the Midan area of central Damascus, death of several snipers stationed on the rooftop of buildings targeting passersby. Several members of Assad forces have been killed.  (EA notes that this breaking new is unconfirmed, but the CFDPC has proven highly reliable in the past).

--One after another, EA describes different neighborhoods of Damascus being shelled.   (Surely this has an eroding effect on support for the regime in each such neighnorhood--).

-- As EA notes, Damascus may capture the headlines today, for obvious reasons, but this fight rages in nearly every corner of the country today.

--At 12:40 check out this video of a car, riddled with bullet holes, burning in the Midan district of Damascus. According to the CFDPC, the car was fileld with Assad thugs, and it was destroyed by FSA fighters. 

-- Morocco has asked the Syrian ambassador to leave the country immediately, and Damascus has retaliated by declaring the Moroccan ambassador persona non grata.

--The New York Times, which used a weekend report to turn last weekend's mass killing in Tremseh into a "battle" between the regime and insurgents, takes a much different line today.  (See 1139 GMT for a summary and link).

-- DEFECTION: Claimed footage of Major-General Adnan Sillu, the former head of Syria's chemical weapons programme, announcing his defection:

Doesn't it sound as if Assad's regime is falling at a rate much faster than expected.  To Iranians: When a regime is this unpopular, when it must cover too much ground, when it can't trust many troops and must confine them to barracks, when the opposition combines military resistance (using hit and run tactics) with large scale peaceful protests, how long can any tyrannical regime last?

Finally, Scott Lucas has joined James Miller's earlier Assessment.  See:  

Syria Audio Feature: "Gradually The Regime is Losing Control" --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24




more from FG

Major General defects in Syria, joins FSA

by FG on

Major-General Adnan Sillu, the former head of Syria's chemical weapons programme, has reportedly defected. Sillu is said to have taken up a post as head of the joint military leadership of the FSA--The Guardian 


US navy pulverizes a suspicious boat today. One dead.

by FG on

Fars briefly had the item at the top of its homepage, but the entry has now disappeared.

A US military supply ship fired today at a small boat in the Persian Gulf after it came too close, apparently killing one person on board, American officials said.

The USNS Rappahannock, a fuel resupply ship, fired on what the officials called a "small, white pleasure craft" 10 miles from the Dubai port of Jebel Ali.

The Navy said in a statement, "In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors on the USNS Rappahannock...used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force. The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel's operators to turn away from their deliberate approach. When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun."

Source: Enduring America

COMMENT: The boat headed for US naval ships at full warning and refused to stop.  That's a fool's trick after the USS Cole attack and Iran boasts of potentially similar attacks.  

Was this an innocent civilian or Al Quds in civies, planning to boast to his pals when he got home?  If the latter, I suppose he can't boast now.  

Cry Baby of the Day

 Mohammad Reza Yazdi, a member of the Revolutionary Guards in Parliament, has complained about the "illegal freeze" of foreign Guards accounts, denying they belong to commanders.


Iranians must have mixed feelings re: events in Syria

by FG on


Joy at seeing an Iranian ally go down and Hezbollah with it.

Hope because they will grasp that what Syrians can do Iranians can do as well.

Envy at seeing the Syrians grasp what still eludes Iranians. 

Conditions in Iran now are infinitely worse than what Syrians faced in March 2011.  Thus the potential for an explosive uprising is greater once Iranians realize they have no tolerable alternative.    Assad's downfall could trigger an avalanche in Iran.  The longer it takes, the bigger the uprising.   Given time, Khamenei will increase the number of alienated.  He can't help himself. 

Assuming both revolutions succeed who will face bigger problems afterwards? 

1. The Islamist Problem with be greater in Syria.

Islamists--even moderate ones--will have little appeal in Iran after 33 years of first-hand experience.  A healthy mistrust of the clergy will prevail for generations as dads tell stories of "what it was like."

2. The potential for minority problems is far worse in Syria.  

Its obvious why the Allawites will be in trouble.   It's one thing if the Christians failed to turn on Assad from fear of Islamist rule.   The real grievance of Syrians is that many blame the Christians (who are mainly orthodox) for Russia's arming of Syria and its failure to join the rest of the world in UN resolutions.  To Russia to do so now, when the Assad regime looks increasingly like a dead duck won't satisfy for all the damage, torture and bloodshed that could have been avoided otherwise. 

In Iran minorities were persecuted by the regime and are far more likely to join the revolution than rally to the mullahs.  The one danger is succession movements partly caused by Khamenei's persecution.  

Avoiding the problem: A new and democratic government must convince minorities that they have much to gain if they stay.  A plurality election system, instead of the usual proportional representsation system, discouages sectarian policies by making them unviable.  Why not celebrate a Kurdish Day, An Azeri Day, a Bahai Day and even (gasp) a Sunni Day?  If the majority can celebrate ethnic martyrs it would also help.

3. Iran has more oil but let's not forget the usual oil curse.

Any new government must be designed in such a way as to prevent any strong faction getting control of government and monopolizing oil weath for insiders and supporting security forces.  The best way to do so is by having as open a society as possible with strong checks and balances and major restrictions on censorship. 


IRAN: When Bad News from Assembly of Experts Is Good News

by FG on

Check out EA's concise summary of a Rooz article concerning an unprecedented miderm summit of Iran's Assembly of Experts yesterday. Go to 12:42 GMT at this link before reading my analysis.


In theory the Assembly supervises the Supreme Leader's behavior and can hold him to account.  Loaded with hard-line crackpots (Ahmad Khatami and the Yadzi twins, Mohammed and Mesbah) it praised Khamenei's hard line and seemed to adocate more of the same.

ANALYSIS: When Can Bad News Be Good News?

: Think medium and long term, not short term.  

The sole legal institution that can put the brakes on Khamenei won't do so.  For anyone who wants the IRI gone such obstinate stupidity is a Good Thing.

These are the same people who lobbied for mass intimidation and a vicious crackdown in 2009.  They stick to their guns even as the world crumbles around them. No doubt the same position applies to aggressively subversive policies that have made the IRI so popular regionally and worldwide, (even as they plead for allies).  

These guys never heard of he word "contradiction."  They are Living Guarantees that we can count on this regime to discredit itself internally and externally until the Last of Days.   I'd suggest a sign: "Hole Diggers at Work."   iran's ruiling mullahs won't find a ladder big enough to crawl out when bodily needs strike.


I was begining to fear the regime would eat humble pie on the nuclear issue which would likely end sanctions.  I also feared the regime would moderate its brutality until the 2013 polls close so as to sucker in one-time reformers just one more time.  

It looks like I don't have to worry.   The more such hard line policies continue, the worse the eventual consequences.

These characters give new meaning to the old cliche about grabbing a tiger by the tail--as they find themselves with no way to let go.  Staying in character, their solution is to  beat the tiger in the assumption that will assure his good behavior down the road.