Tag Archives: assad

CNN Exlusive: Inside Syrian town living under al Qaeda reign of fear

By Nick Paton Walsh, Raja Razek and Gul Tuysuz, CNN

Gaziantep, Turkey (CNN) — Raqqa was, a matter of months ago, one of Syria’s most liberal cities. Now locals call it Tora Bora. They say it’s as if the Taliban of Afghanistan have taken over.

After months of bombardment by the regime and a chaotic lack of control by weak and divided moderate rebels, al Qaeda have found a broken society, made it their home, and imposed on it hardline Islamist law.

Each morning, activists told us, they seem to awake to a more conservative city. The “Bayanaat” or rulings sometimes appear on town walls. Many limit women’s rights — to walk alone, to style or show their hair. Other edicts come by word of mouth — no smoking, no cameras. Behind them are often foreign jihadists from the al Qaeda linked militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

The fear that now grips the city can be felt in the shocking bruises on Adnan’s body. Adnan, whose name has been changed out of fears for his safety, was behind some graffiti in Raqqa that told ISIS to get out. They caught him filming too, and dragged him into the burned-out ruins of a church they had torched and labeled as a new ISIS base.

Read the rest here

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Judith Miller: Obama Warns Syria’s Assad Against Chemical Weapons

While the president’s stand against the use of chemical weapons is laudable, it begs the question: is the president willing to stand by while civilians are slaughtered by conventional weapons? — AA
by Judith Miller

December 4, 2012

Amid signs that the Syrian regime might be preparing to some of its vast chemical weapons stocks against insurgents who are growing stronger by the day, President Barack Obama warned Syria on Monday that the use of chemical weapons would be “totally unacceptable.”

Mr. Obama said that the use of such weapons by President Bashar al-Assad against his own people would have unspecified “consequences” for him and his beleaguered regime, stressing that they would be held “accountable” for such a “tragic mistake.”

“Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching,” President Obama said.

The president delivered his blunt warning — the starkest his administration has issued so far — in a speech at a conference at the National Defense University. He spoke at the close of a meeting of over 200 national security officials to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program aimed at reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

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Al Qaeda Still Dangerous 11 Years Later, No Thanks to Assad

From GerardDirect

al Qaeda-led Rebels Capture Assad Missiles

By Ilana Freedman – September 10, 2012


For many weeks, leaders in the West have been openly concerned about the possibility of Syria’s large stores of chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands. There is considerable disagreement, however, about what constitutes the “wrong hands”, since the West is openly embracing the “opposition forces” and the Syrian Free Army (SFA), which are increasingly dominated by al Qaeda and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

According to a Reuters report at the end of July, the SFA has received dozens of surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS), transported to them through Turkey, whose government supports the rebels. There is alarming photographic and video evidence that the rebels also captured a Syrian arms depot in Damascus, and acquired an unknown quantity of missiles, a development largely ignored by the Western media. ArabNews.com reported the seizure, and the event was caught on amateur video (watch the video at the bottom of our Home Page here), which shows the rebels celebrating around the captured missile containers, amid shouts of “Allah hu Akhbar!” (Allah is great!)

Since the rebel forces are now largely controlled by al Qaeda and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the looming question is how will the new supply of weapons affect the balance of power in the war in Syria, whose death toll now approaches an estimated 20,000.

No less important than the capture of the large store of Syrian missiles is the concern that the al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood alliance may also obtain possession of Assad’s large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapon. According to a Washington Post article, dated September 6, the “Syrian arsenal contains several hundred tons of chemical weapons and precursors, including sizable quantities of battlefield-ready sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent . . . . scattered among as many as 20 sites throughout the country”.

Is the US Supporting Terror?

How much support the US is providing to the “opposition forces” is not clear.
On August 1, Reuters reported, “President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing US support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government . . . .

“Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.”

The US Treasury has confirmed that it granted authorization to the Syrian Support Group, a Washington representative of the Free Syrian Army (one of the most active rebel factions), to conduct financial transactions on the rebel group’s behalf. The authorization was first reported on Friday by Al-Monitor, a Middle East news and commentary website.

In an article dated July 26, they reported that “OFAC letter allows for providing financial, communications and logistics support to the FSA”, which could include paying for FSA salaries and provisions, as well as “communications equipment, satellite imagery, paying for satellite imagery, logistical support for transport, which could mean everything from buying a 4×4 to supporting someone’s travel to Turkey.”

The State Department also confirmed that $25 million for “non-lethal” assistance has been set aside by the US government to support the Syrian opposition for communications equipment and other “non-lethal” support.

Not unlike our support of rebels in Libya, the US has taken the side of a force heavily infiltrated with Islamist, anti-American fighters. Washington is now overtly providing them with support in their fight against the Assad government, who will gladly take our money and other support until they succeed and do not need us anymore. Just as Libya and Egypt fell to the Islamist forces, so, with the assistance of the US, Syria is likely to fall. The end result will be that, just as happened in Libya and Egypt, with the end of Assad’s regime, Syria’s historical character as a secular nation will fall to an Islamist government that will impose Shariah law. The result of our handiwork will be that the so-called “democratic revolution” will succeed, and Syria will pass from one form of tyranny to another.

Iran, Syria’s most ardent ally, is already making contingency plans for the demise of the Assad government. Hezbollah’s leader in Lebanon, Hasan Nasrallah, has been informed by Teheran that should the Assad government fall, he is to go immediately to Teheran. Even Iran sees that its desperate efforts to prop-up the faltering Assad regime may not be enough to stop the forces of Sunni Islamist ambitions.

There is deadly irony in the fact that while the Taliban continues to kill our soldiers in Afghanistan, we are providing support their ideological brothers-in-arms in Syria. In the US conduct of its foreign policy, is it really acceptable to support one evil against another?

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