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Old 11-16-2012   #81
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Default A place to bookmark

A "lurker" has recommended Malik Al-Abdeh, a London-based Syrian journalist's blogsite for insight on matters Syrian:http://syriaintransition.com/

His latest piece in outline:
Quote:
The course of Syria's revolution since its idealistic early days has been a painful learning experience for many young activists
Good insight here:
Quote:
A candid look at Syria today reveals a picture of tribal selfishness masquerading as populist nationalism; little wonder that scheming politicians, local toughs and extremists of every kind have prospered, and why violence, vulgarity and bravado have become the order of the day.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/malik-a...ivists-grow-up
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Old 11-16-2012   #82
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Default 3 monkeys

You folks are killing me these days

If we go just a smiggin deeper at the State address, you get this:

Quote:
... this additional assistance from the United States will provide food supplies, hot meals, and food vouchers for families who have fled the violence in Syria. This additional assistance will be provided through the World Food Program (WFP), which
The WFP is the logistical arm of the UN (for those that didn't know).
As for the Western assistance, we can't even get visas for humanitarian ops. AND, let's say we did get visas, who at the checkpoints would give a hoot

From this end of the boondocks all I can say is we are in a holding pattern with promises of cash, vaccinations (too many to count) and maybe a light armored vehicle

Regards, Stan
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Old 11-23-2012   #83
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Default MANPADS plus

An interesting analysis of recent YouTube footage of Syrian insurgents with looted MANPADS; alas the author's credentials are not revealed, but they appear to know enough. There are a number of videos embedded too:http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/20...lete-sa-7.html

There's also a comment on recycling cluster bomblets by the insurgents:http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/20...epurposed.html
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Old 11-29-2012   #84
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Default Syria off he Web

A flurry of Tweets this afternoon, citing PA:
Quote:
2 US-based Internet-monitoring companies say Syria has shut off Internet nationwide
Citing WaPO:
Quote:
100 percent of Syria's Internet has just shut down
Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ust-shut-down/

Plus:
Quote:
Apparently,#Syria just went off line …I hear mobiles are also down....All 84 of #Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.
Link:http://www.renesys.com/eventsbulleti...354184790.html

Why now? Is it the regime or the opposition?
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Old 11-29-2012   #85
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Quote:
The Syrian government has blamed "terrorists" for the disconnection.
"The terrorists targeted the internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off," Syria's minister of information told a pro-government television station.

According to activists, it has been known for similar communication cuts to occur in isolated areas before military operations.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20546302
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Old 11-30-2012   #86
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Quote:
Syria's information minister claims that the Damascus government had nothing to do with the communications shutdown. "It is not true that the state cut the internet. The terrorists targeted the internet lines, resulting in some regions being cut off," Reuters quotes him as saying.

That's rather unlikely, the web performance company CloudFlare notes in a blog post. "Syria has four physical cables that connect it to the rest of the internet. Three are undersea cables that land in the city of Tartous, Syria. The fourth is an over-land cable through Turkey. In order for a whole-country outage, all four of these cables would have had to been cut simultaneously."
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/.../syria-offline
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Old 12-04-2012   #87
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Quote:
Engineers working for the Assad regime in Syria have begun combining the two chemical precursors needed to weaponize sarin gas, an American official with knowledge of the situation tells Danger Room. International observers are now more worried than they’ve even been that the Damascus government could use its nerve agent stockpile to slaughter its own people.

The U.S. doesn’t know why the Syrian military made the move, which began in the middle of last week and is taking place in central Syria. Nor are they sure why the Assad government is transferring some weapons to different locations within the country, as the New York Times reported on Monday.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012...cal-weapons-3/
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-04-2012 at 09:16 AM. Reason: Fix quote
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Old 12-06-2012   #88
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Quote:
The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the "precursor" chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2...ads-order?lite
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Old 12-06-2012   #89
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Default More lethality - without CW?

Given the mixed, even contrary reporting on Syrian chemical weapons I am not sure what is going on.

Sometimes I suspect it is a "fig leaf" for enhancing Western diplomacy and reducing the leverage China, Iran and Russia have. You can almost hear the official statement "We had to act, Bashir was about to use CW"; maybe even a spectacular UN presentation?

Enduring America notes:
Quote:
on chemical weapons, Lavrov suggested that Assad would not use them, and this would be a "red line" for Russia as well:

“For us, any violations of international agreements in this area are unacceptable," Lavrov stressed.
Link:http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/...surge-but.html

Shashank Joshi questions whether CW is useful; it is July 2012 and may have been posted before:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2...ons-effective/

I have not been following Syria closely and had missed this:
Quote:
For starters, the fall of Deir Ez Zor will free up large waves of (largely Iraqi) insurgents to attack to the north....Furthermore, the sudden emergence of large numbers of Iraqi fighters, many of them radical, in the east is concerning
Yes Bashir's regime is getting more ruthless, notably in using air power in urban areas; such as a MIG-23:http://theaviationist.com/2012/12/05.../#.UMB5zuTtT0f

There are also reports of Grad rockets being used; when will we see Scud SSM being used?
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Old 12-06-2012   #90
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Quote:
The West is aware that its’ claims about the threat from the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons does not stand up to scrutiny, the Russian government has said.
Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/ne...#ixzz2EHQ1baVx

Quote:
The Russian Foreign Ministry has told its NATO partners that it hopes there will be no attempts at military intervention in Syria.

Lavrov advanced Russia’s firm position on Syria after a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels on Tuesday.

"We hope there will be no foreign interference," he said.
http://rt.com/politics/syria-russia-...to-lavrov-314/
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Old 12-06-2012   #91
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By Shashank Joshi
Quote:
A round-up of where we stand on Syrian chemical weapons, and who is claiming what:
Link:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2...cal-crescendo/

Not much variation in the reporting, clearly based on official briefings.

He also reports via Twitter that Czech CW defence troops are advising the Jordanians:http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/czech...syrian-threat/

IIRC the Czech military as part of NATO took responsibility for CW defence and their specialised vehicles dominated the market awhile ago.
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Old 12-06-2012   #92
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Default Site Security at Syrian Chemical Weapons Sites: An Educated Guess

A Turkish student @ Kings London comments, drawing upon the known Soviet experience with CW:http://turkeywonk.wordpress.com/2012...ducated-guess/
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Old 12-06-2012   #93
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Quote:
The German government said Thursday it had approved participation in a NATO mission to deploy Patriot missiles to help member state Turkey defend its border against Syria and will send up to 400 troops.
http://www.thelocal.de/national/2012...l#.UMDO13e-XJZ

I think I've seen this movie before...
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Old 12-07-2012   #94
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Default Worrying about the wrong user?

From FP one of the better comments on the situation; the title being 'Why Assad Won’t Use His Chemical Weapons; And why you should still be worried':http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...pons?page=full

Charles Blair ends with:
Quote:
Were chemical agents to fall into the hands of armed factions battling for control of the nation, the implications would be stark and ominous. So, the United States is right to worry about Syria's chemical weapons -- it may just be worried about them for the wrong reason.
He does say earlier:
Quote:
The good news is that few terrorist groups would actually be able to use any [chemical] materials they acquired.
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Old 12-07-2012   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
'Why Assad Won’t Use His Chemical Weapons"
File under "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." - General John Sedgwick, 09 May 1864
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Old 12-08-2012   #96
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INSIGHT: How Would Assad Use Chemical Weapons?

Quote:
The regime could use chemical weapons in a variety of ways, from a limited or demonstration attack to large-scale offensive or defensive use to fundamentally change the military situation. At present, reports that the regime is weaponizing relatively small quantities of agent suggest the former. Limited CW use could be controlled better in terms of effects and visibility. The regime might also find it easier to explain away small-scale strikes as the work of “terrorists” or as a justifiable response to the military situation and the threat to the country.
Read more at Middle East Voices: http://middleeastvoices.voanews.com/...#ixzz2EVZojZ2l
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Old 12-14-2012   #97
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Quote:
Western intelligence agencies observed Syrian units making advanced preparations for the potential use of chemical weapons, including loading trucks with ready-to-use bombs and shells, prompting President Obama last week to warn Syria against using the banned munitions, according to Western and Middle Eastern officials.

Soldiers at one Syrian base were monitored mixing precursors for chemical weapons and taking other steps to ready the lethal munitions for battlefield use, the officials said. It was the first hard evidence that Syria was moving toward possible activation of its vast arsenal of chemical weapons, which includes nerve gas and other poisons.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...532_story.html
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Old 12-14-2012   #98
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Default Scuds in play now

A week ago I posted:
Quote:
when will we see Scud SSM being used?
Yesterday in my catching up on the news I noted a report that Scuds had been launched from Damascus to hit targets to the north (sorry lost link, probably FP).

Given local sensitivities around Scuds I wonder if Syria reassures Israel in particular that a launch will occur and indicate the target area?
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Old 12-16-2012   #99
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Default Divide & Rule -v- Divide & Survive

A dissenting article in The Independent by Patrick Cockburn, that set off a flurry of critical Tweets about his accusation that the media were giving a slanted view of what was happening. The bigger story was how a YouTube video was strengthening the Bashir regime; the video is not linked, no doubt due to being horrific.

Link:http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...r-8420309.html
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Old 12-23-2012   #100
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Default Syrian air defences with Russian advisers?

Quote:
Russian military advisers are manning some of Syria's more sophisticated air defences – something that would complicate any future US-led intervention...The advisers have been deployed with new surface-to-air systems and upgrades of old systems, which Moscow has supplied to the Assad regime since the Syrian revolution broke out 21 months ago.

(Later) The upgrades were supplied by Moscow, which sees them as a bulwark against western-imposed regime change and protection of a longstanding investment in Syria. The country includes Russia's biggest electronic eavesdropping post outside its territory, in Latakia, and its toehold on the Mediterranean, a small naval base at Tartus.
Link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...nce?CMP=twt_fd

Some interesting points, I'm puzzled that no mention IIRC has been made of the ELINT post before. Given the reported lack of regime manpower aqnd apparent desperation one wonders if the air defence network is fully manned.
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