Yet More Blood and Tears for Syria

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General Fahad Jassim al-Freij is sworn in as Defence Minister by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) in Damascus in this handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency (SANA) 19 July 2012. (Photo: Reuters - SANA - Handout)

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Thursday, July 19, 2012

The blow was heavy. The bombing itself may not have been a surprise given the course the crisis in Syria has been taking. But its successful targeting of pillars of the Syrian regime makes it a major development – though the hierarchical structure of the state and army, and a supportive popular backlash, could help President Bashar al-Assad contain the damage.

Attention now focuses on the inevitable question: what will the next stage of the Syria crisis bring? There will be much talk of plots and scenarios, conspiracies and infiltrations, and long arms that can reach all the way to the top of the Syrian leadership.

The bombing was, ultimately, a well-executed security operation. Previous experience has shown that small groups are capable of staging such attacks, especially as security measures at the premises appear not to have been as one might have expected given current conditions in Syria.

But while the perpetrators may have been highly professional, their task may have been facilitated by the extensive intelligence activity that is being carried out in Syria – in which the whole world seems to be involved – in pursuit of the goal of toppling the regime by killing its leaders.

It has been clear for many months that this is the objective. That is due to the failure of efforts to achieve a breakthrough in the form of a high-level split in the Syrian leadership, or significant defections among the many Syrian diplomats and other officials based abroad. Defections from the army, meanwhile, were limited to individual cases at the officer level, and insufficient among the rank-and-file to make a qualitative difference. The armed opposition does not need fighting men from the army as such. It has thousands of young Syrians it can call on who have had military training. It needs entire army brigades and companies to defect, and bring their weapons and materiel with them, but this has not been happening.

Several months ago, the Syrian leadership received a warning that direct attacks were being planned, specifically attempts to assassinate Assad himself and top security chiefs. The success of yesterday’s attack is evidence of perseverance on the part of the perpetrators. It also provides further evidence that those making the decisions – in foreign capitals and intelligence agencies as well as in some sections of the Syrian opposition – are intent on taking the crisis through to a bloody conclusion.

The message from Wednesday’s bombing was too clear to have to spell out. Parts of the opposition, and their Arab and Western supporters, do not want a political settlement. They are telling the people of Syria that the regime-change they want is total. The war currently underway is therefore an existential war as far as they are concerned, so they are uninterested in any initiatives or attempts to establish dialogue. The same message has been sent out by the armed activities of the opposition, including during the presence of the Arab observers and then the UN monitors.

Given this qualitative escalation in the military confrontation; And given the fresh influx of “foreign fighters” into Syria (We have witnessed this in Lebanon. Over the past two weeks, hundreds of trained fighters, including Syrians and nationals of other Arab states, have transited Lebanon for Syria); Given, also, the applause and the welcomes that greeted yesterday’s crime, as shown on the TV screens of the countries sponsoring the Syrian opposition, and as expressed in public statements or leaked remarks;

Given all the above, one can only expect one response from the Syrian leadership, a response that will cost Syria yet more blood and tears.

One of the victims of yesterday’s crime was the object of much security, political and media interest over the past decade. The powerful functions Asef Shawkat exercised made him a controversial figure.

There have been incessant attempts to demonize Shawkat, which can invariably be traced to the US, Israel and their clients in the region. But there was also a side to him that was hidden, for reasons related both to his position, and the nature of the tasks he undertook, far from the prying eyes of friends and foes alike.

Asef Shawkat played a major role in resisting Israeli occupation in and around Palestine. Right to the end, he took practical charge of meeting the needs of the resistance forces in Palestine and Lebanon, and of their members and cadres in Syria. He oversaw everything from their accommodation and transportation, to their training camps and provisions, and arranging for cadres from inside Palestine to come to the country secretly for training.

For the resistance in Lebanon, Shawkat was a true partner, providing whatever assistance was needed without needing orders or approval from the leadership. He was a central player in the July 2006 war. He spent the entire time in the central operations room that was set up in line with a directive by Assad to supply the resistance with whatever weapons it wanted, notably missiles, from Syrian army stocks. Shawkat and other officers and men of the Syrian army – including Muhammad Suleiman who was assassinated by the Mossad on the Syrian coast in 2008 – spent weeks coordinating the supply operation which helped the resistance achieve the successes that led to the defeat of Israel.

Despite the accusations levelled against Asef Shawkat regarding security, political or other matters, for Imad Mughniyeh, the assassinated military leader of Hezbollah, he was just another comrade, a modest man who would bow when shaking hands with Hassan Nasrallah, and liked to hear the news from Palestine last thing at night.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


What a nice "softer" side of the butcher Shawkat. We expect more from TZ than this posthumous drivel about a man who died in a war that he and his ilk have pressed with unrelenting brutality. People make decisions and those decisions have consequences. In addition, Assad's beasts now attack the very Palestinians your "comrade" supposedly succored.

Mark Edward Croy "forgot" that F$A on GCC payroll is butchering Palestinians . It is the same force that did the bombing. So, I suppose for Mark Edward Croy bombing is OK, and butchering Palestinians is OK as well, esp. if it is done by F$A.

On the other hand, Zionist rulers of USA have a greater integrity - they murder their citizens and Palestinians without need of "another side", directly or by proxy.

The majority of Palestinians killed in the Syrian uprising have been by the criminal Assadi regime, which is supported by hypocrites like yourself who shed crocodile tears for the Palestinians.

Did Amal, Hezbollah and Iran and their allies apply the same standard when America was gearing up to attack to Afghanistan and Iraq? No, they did not and Hezbollah quickly fell into line after they told the Iraqi opposition to collaborate with Saddam which they angrily rejected. There was none of the takhween-fest that we see today in Al-Manar, NBN and Iranian media and Saddam's "mumana'a" didn't suffice for the Iraqi opposition. Yes, the West is targetting Bashar for his "mumana'a", but the anti-Assad Syrians aren't rebelling for the West, and when Saddam's "mumana'a", who no doubt was a brutal tyrant, was broached with the Iraqi opposition, they rejected this, so the Iran-Syria axis shouldn't expect reciprocation. Kama tudeen tudaan.

And don't forget "...rode to power on American tanks"

You basically lump everyone that you consider to be Shia together into one group, and make every Shia accountable for the acts of every other Shia.

The Iraqi opposition made stupid decisions, and if you had any idea of what goes on within Shia communities, you'd know that the groups of the Iraqi opposition that supported the invasion of Iraq were widely denounced and criticized by other (e.g., majority) Shia's.

The fact that some Shia's made foolish and deadly mistakes doesn't make it more acceptable or commendable for Sunnis, in turn, to make the same foolish and deadly mistakes. As we can plainly see, the humanitarian intentions of the Iraqi opposition didn't prevent the bloodbath that followed. Similarly, just because the Syrian opposition doesn't want to destroy Syria and/or resistance to Israel, doesn't mean it won't happen. This is the real world, not the world of our wishes.

Additionally, unless you'd like to hold Sunnis responsible for the 1 million Iranians and/or Kurds killed and gassed by Saddam, you might want to rethink your logic.

I'll simplify it for you and I didn't accuse all Shi'a, but specifically Iran, Amal and Hezbollah who have been engaging in non-stop takhween against all of the anti-Assadi Syrians from day one in their statements and media, when they didn't utter a single word against their allies who collaborated with the West and rode to power in American tanks in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Iran's case, directly collaborated with the Americans in Afghanistan, or their Iraqi allies who were cavorting with the Zionists Neocons and inciting them to attack Iraq, and taking billions from the West in weapons and money. Not a single official or cleric from them uttered a single word and there was no takhween carnival directed towards their Afghan and Iraqi allies that we see today from the hypocrites of the Iranian regime, Amal and Hezbollah, proving their brazen hypocrisy. Instead they hide behind the treacheries of the Sunni Arab regimes to justify their hypocrisy and the difference is tens of thouands of Sunnis, many of whom oppose the Iranian agenda, opposed and confronted the treachery of the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Saudi regimes for decades. Why the brazen hypocrisy when it comes to takhween? Hamas are "traitors" as many Lebanese Shi'ites have accused them because they refused to stand with Bashar, and Chalabi and Ja'fari are "mumanists" and lavishly welcomed in Beirut by Hezbollah!

"I'll simplify it for you and I didn't accuse all Shi'a, but specifically Iran, Amal and Hezbollah who have been engaging in non-stop takhween against all of the anti-Assadi Syrians from day one in their statements and media, when they didn't utter a single word against their allies who collaborated with the West and rode to power in American tanks in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Iran's case, directly collaborated with the Americans in Afghanistan, or their Iraqi allies who were cavorting with the Zionists Neocons and inciting them to attack Iraq, and taking billions from the West in weapons and money"

These are all lies. If you condemn the Hezbollah and the Houthis for backing repressive Syrian/Iranian regimes then we would support that. But your hypocrisy of condemning the Shias has exposed when you are accusing ALL the Qatifi and Bahraini protesters, including the anti-Damascus Shia cleric Sheikh Nemr for 'supporting the Syrian regime' when he was obviously at the first does not care whether its about Shia or Sunni. And of course unlike you, we don't simply blame ALL Sunnis in Syria simply because there are some Islamist hijackers are taking over the Syrian Revolution, and unlike your hypocrisy, we don't diminish our support for the popular uprising against the Syrian regime just because of the hijackers. So can you do that? I don't think so.

Oh and don't expect us to believe it in you if you can't believe it us. As it always, AL MAUT LI Al-SAUD!!!

Please show me where I lied and it is your beloved Iran-Syria axis who have mastered the art of lying and I didn't accuse all of the Qatifi and Bahrani protestors of supporting Bashar, but that the majority of the Bahrani and Qatifi leaders are supporting Bashar just like the overwhelming majority of Arab Shi'ite leaders and shuyookh. Secondly, I don't believe An-Nimr's bogus condemnation of Bashar for a second, not while the Qatifi and Bahrani opposition like Hasan as-Saffar were hosted by Hafez al-Assad for years with nary a single condemnation and it's obvious Nimr is a Shi'ite sectarian, considering his takfeer of Abu Bakr and Umar, and you also didn't question their "mumana'a" when they were the biggest supporters of the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq which brought their allies to power. Who is "we" and whom do you represent in supporting the Syrian uprising? And no I don't believe you or your ilk and the Saudi dungeons will be the biggest hujjah against the Shi'ite sectarian hypocrites and their hypocritical takhween. Show me one shabeeh from Amal, Hezbollah or the Iranian regime who condemned their allies who rode to power in Afghanistan and Iraq? That you will never find.

Abu Omar. You're an idiot. You do lump every one together. Just like how they lump you together. You blur it to be a Shia Sunni conflict. When it reality it is a conflict where gullible corrupt induvuduals or groups within these sects are willing to do the bidding of the west for power, at the expense of their fellow sectarians and other peoples. Just like in iraq, the prime minister is a corrupt puppet, and just like the man who "informed" the west of wmds in Iraq when it was a lie. This lie was known, but accepted because the west had its own interests involved in exploiting that lie and taking iraqnand it's resources.

The same happens now genius. This Arab spring, but most importantly this Syrian infiltration was built on lies that Assad is a dictator, and that people are unhappy, when in reality all Christians Jews, Shias, and majority of Sunnis in Syria are happy and support Assad. The people building this unrest are the same as the ones in iraq who invited the west, they want power and are gullible enough to invite the west in Syria on baseless lies. And the west is alright with that, even when they confirm they cannot CONFIRM ANY atrocities committed by Assad, and the only news hey have is from the opposition who benefits from these accusations. The west is ok with exploiting this petty power grab by wahabbis, just like they were with certain corrupt Shias in Iraq. They want to because, they want to stop Iranian and Russian Infouence in The middle east. especially Iran, who is the ONLY COUNTRY THAT EVER HAS SUPPLIED AND HELPED SUNNI PALESTANIANS, instead of just talking about solidarity like Qatar or Saudi. The fsa has KILLED palestanians. The fsa has killed children and killed people to try and make videos. It is shown in the videos that the fsa are laughing and fake crying out takes to try and make videos. Why do you support the same people who work with the west to try and destroy whatever hope for Muslim rebellion against western imperialism, and then just blame a single group so you don't take any responsibility for your consciousness, instead you support the same people who take orders from the west and who call in unto isreali tv stations and say you support isreal, just so they could take a country for themselves, while forsaking palestine. That is the definition of hypocrisy. If you cannot take logic and instead still use the same biases and hatred for other people which the west exploits for their own gain, then wallah I hope you can handle meeting judgement in the afterlife, and see what your explanation is then.

I rather be an idiot than a supporter of the Assadi regime and where were you when many Alawis were stooges for the French Mandate like Bashar's grandfather, who with other Alawi notables wrote a letter to Leon Blum, praising the "lovely Jews" and blamed the Palestinians for refusing to become refugees in their own land? Did Hafez and Bashar condemn this? Where were you when Hafez collaborated with the Americans in Gulf War I for which they were rewarded with the occupation of Lebanon? And your mention of Iraq should be directed towards Iran and Hezbollah who didn't utter a single word condemning their allies who collaborated with the Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. The majority of Syrian Sunnis oppose Bashar and they don't need charlatans like yourself to speak for them and just because the West wants to latch on to the Syrian uprising, doesn't mean that the anti-regime Syrians should drop their weapons so that the Assadi regime can make them dig their own graves, and as I mentioned above, both the Alawis and the allies of Iran-Hezbollah axis had no problem collaborating with the West when they needed to come to power and defending their interests, so go preach to them first. Despite your frivoulous denials, The Assadi regime most certainly has a long history of violence, especially in Lebanon, even against its current allies like Aoun and Hezbollah, so it isn't a stretch to believe the brutality of the Assadi regime. Iran isn't the only country to help the Palestinians, and Khaleejis, both governmental and private sources, have supported the Palestinians with billions of dollars over the years.

"The fsa has KILLED palestanians."

Did you graduate from the University of Shabeeh? You think by capitalising it, you will make your lies more effective? What the FSA did to the Palestinians, if true, is nothing compared to what the Assadi regime and its allies did to the Palestinians and the majority of Palestinians killed in the Syrian uprising have been at the hands of the Assadi regime and I didn't deny that crimes have been committed by the FSA or others, but it is your ilk who have been praising the angelic nature of the Assadi regime. Why did Iran and Hezbollah look the other way when their allies rode to power on American tanks and what happened to their takhween? The majority of Palestinians who oppose Bashar haven't forsaken Palestine, which isn't a plaything for Bashar, Hezbollah or the Iranian regime so they can solidify their hegemony.

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