Sunday, November 27, 2011

Syrian Army Defectors Go on Offense, Militarizing Syria's Uprising as Russian warships to enter Syria waters in bid to stem foreign intervention

Syria: Arab League sets deadline to end 'repression': The Arab League has given Syria three days to "stop the bloody repression" of protesters and allow in teams of observers.

Syrian army defectors 'attack air force base' in Damascus: Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from neighboring Lebanon, said: "This is probably not the first attack on security headquarters. But what is significant about this attack is that it is in Damascus, the capital. This shows how much trouble there is for the regime." Together with military intelligence, air force intelligence is in charge of preventing dissent within the army.

The two divisions have been instrumental in a crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which the United Nations says has killed at least 3,500 people since March. Syria's military is controlled by Assad's brother, Maher, and members of their minority Alawite sect. But the army is comprised mostly of Sunni Muslims, who also form the majority of Syria's population and have been defecting from the army in growing numbers.

Thousands of Syrian army deserters who joined the country's opposition movement have been staging more frequent and deadly attacks on forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in recent days. Those offensive operations by the lightly-armed and loosely-organized Free Syrian Army have increasingly militarized what has been a largely peaceful eight-month uprising against the government.

In recent weeks, the rebels engaged in battles with pro-Assad troops in the northwestern province of Idlib, central province of Homs and southern province of Daraa. On Wednesday, the Free Syrian Army escalated the fighting by attacking military facilities on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus for the first time.

Turkey PM lashes out at muted criticism of Syria: "The silence and unresponsiveness of those who have an appetite for Libya to the massacres in Syria is creating irreparable wounds in the conscience of humanity," he said. 
   In September, the European Union banned crude oil imports from Syria, a tough measure against Damascus as the 27-nation bloc buys 95 percent of its oil exports, providing a third of the regime's hard currency earnings.
   Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has become increasingly outspoken in its criticism of Assad's regime since the Syrian uprising began.
   Ankara has already announced a halt to joint oil exploration with Syria and has threatened to cut electricity exports there.
Report: Russia warships to enter Syria waters in bid to stem foreign intervention: Russian warships are due to arrive at Syrian territorial waters, a Syrian news agency said on Thursday, indicating that the move represented a clear message to the West that Moscow would resist any foreign intervention in the country's civil unrest. Also on Friday, a Syrian official said Damascus has agreed "in principle" to allow an Arab League observer mission into the country.

asharq alawasat: Gulf nations reject Syrian request for Arab summit: Syria requested the summit after the Arab League voted to give Damascus until Wednesday to implement a plan for ending the violence or face suspension. The call for a summit needs backing from 15 of the League's 22 members.The Gulf countries led the drive to punish Syria over its crackdown on protesters.

Of course the request is denied as will be any request to end the Governments repression. Civil war will be the only result. Saudi Arabia and Iran are both in Syria aiding their respective sides. As we have been saying since Bush illegally attacked Iraq to get back into the middle east, a total middle east breakdown was the only possible outcome. We can only hope to keep it contained to the middle east and not erupting into WW3.

James Joiner
Gardner, Ma

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