This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Syria’s opposition pulls out of talks after Scud missiles hit Aleppo
- Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra gains in popularity and influence
- A new influx of heavy weapons reaches the rebels in southern Syria
- An Egyptian army comeback threatens a clash with Muslim Brotherhood
Syria’s opposition pulls out of talks after Scud missiles hit Aleppo
People run after hearing a missile strike in Aleppo on Friday (Reuters)
At least 12 people, including children, were killed and dozenswounded on Friday when three surface-to-surface missiles,assumed to be Russian-made SCUD missiles, struck the northernSyria city of Aleppo. This came just four days after33 people including 15 children were killed in nearby Jabal Bedro.
Syria’s opposition leaders had been scheduled to meet with Westernleaders in Rome, Moscow and Washington in the next few weeks, butafter the latest missile strikes in Aleppo, the Syrian NationalCoalition (SNC) pulled out of the talks. According to the SNC:
“[The withdrawal is] a message of protest to allgovernments of the world, Arab and non-Arab, that can see how theSyrian people are being killed, while they merely look on.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed by Scud missilestrikes. Aleppo, the city and the civilisation, is being destroyedsystematically. …
The Russian leadership especially bears moral and politicalresponsibility for supplying the regime with weapons.
In protest of this shameful international stand, the coalition hasdecided to suspend its participation in the Rome conference forthe Friends of Syria and decline the invitations to visit Russiaand the United States. …
We cannot visit any country until there is a clear decision onthis savage, aggressive regime”
Britain and the U.S. issued statements asking the oppositioin toreconsider their decision, saying, “now is not the time to give up ontalks.”
These U.N. sponsored “talks” have been a farce since the day thatU.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan announced his six-point peaceplan for Syria. (See “22-Mar-12 World View — U.N. Security Council adopts farcical ‘peace plan’ for Syria”) When Kofi Annan gave up and Lakhdar Brahimi took overas U.N. and Arab League envoy, the farce has only continued. Thefor Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad to continue mass slaughter ofthousands of innocent women and children as they slept in their beds;it provided cover for Iran and Russia to continue supplying billionsof dollars of weapons to the al-Assad regime for use in slaughter ofinnocent women and children; and it provided cover for the U.S. andBritain and France and Turkey to do nothing, since doing somethingmight harm the “peace process.” AFP and Al-Jazeera
Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra gains in popularity and influence
The reason given by the West for not supply arms to the rebelopposition in Syria is the fear that the arms would fall intothe arms of al-Qaeda linked jihadists in Syria, just as storesof weapons fell into the arms of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb(AQIM) when the war in Libya ended. One of the reasons givenby Russia for its unwavering support of the Bashar al-Assadregime is the fear that if he steps down, then the country willbe taken over by jihadists.
It increasingly appears to be the case that these reasons havebackfired. The Syrian rebels had been hoping for Western aid formonths after the conflict began, but by now have become disgusted withthe West for allowing tens of thousands of innocent Syrians to bemercilessly slaughtered with no Western intervention. This hasprovided an opening for the jihadist militia Jabhat al-Nusra (NusraFront) to become more popular in Syria. In the last year,al-Nusra has grown from a shadowy terrorist group to a highlydisciplined fighting force gathering adherents among theSyrian population. According to one al-Nusra activist,
“After two years of killings and butchering and theentire world standing by and watching us, now we depend on Godonly.”
Al-Nusra activists have become increasingly popular by providingsocial services and they’re even distributing flour to bakeries.They’re also becoming more radicalized, and more closely linked withal-Qaeda. BBC (1/17)and CNN
A new influx of heavy weapons reaches the rebels in southern Syria
For the first time, heavy weaponry, including anti-tank weapons andrecoilless rifles, are reaching the secular opposition rebels insouthern Syria, traveling across the Jordan border into Syria’s Daraaprovince. The identity of the source of the weapons has not beendisclosed, but it’s believed that the source is either Saudi Arabia orQatar.
The goal of these renewed deliveries, Arab and rebel officials said,is to reverse the unintended effect of an effort last summer to supplysmall arms and ammunition to rebel forces in the north, which washalted after it became clear that radical Islamists were emerging asthe chief beneficiaries. According to one Arab official,
“The idea was to get heavier stuff, intensify supplyand make sure it goes to the good guys. If you want to weakenal-Nusra, you do it not by withholding [weapons] but by boostingthe other groups.”
An Egyptian army comeback threatens a clash with Muslim Brotherhood
The army never liked the Muslim Brotherhood under presidents fromGamal Abdel Nasser to Hosni Mubarak, but the army has ostentatiouslystayed out of the political battle between the Brotherhood and thesecular and liberal opposition, saying that they’d intervene only ifnecessary to prevent chaos. Events of the past few months haveexposed a growing fault line between the élite in Cairo versus thepeople in rural areas, especially in Port Said and other villagesalong the Suez Canal. This is in additional to the more obvious faultline between the Brotherhood versus the secularists and liberals. Aschaos continues to grow in Egypt, along with the collapse of theeconomy, the army is standing in the way of president Mohamed Morsi’splans for a complete takeover of the country by the Brotherhood. Thisis leading to widespread rumors to the effect that the Brotherhood isforming a clandestine militia while setting up listening posts tomonitor the army, to be ready to confront the army should it becomenecessary. Jerusalem Post