Vast swathes of northern Syria, especially in the province of Idlib, have slipped out of the hands of President Bashar Assad, if not quite out of his reach. The area is now a de facto liberated zone, though the daily attacks by Damascus’s air force and the shelling from the handful of checkpoints and bases regime forces have fallen back to are a reminder that the rebel hold on theterritory remains fluid and fragile.
What is remarkable is that this substantial strip of ‘free” Syria has been patched together in the last 18 months by military defectors, students, tradesmen, farmers and pharmacists who have not only withstood the Syrian army’s withering fire, but in some instances repelled them using a hodgepodge of limited, light weaponry. The feat is even more amazing when one considers the disarray among the outside powers supplying arms to the loosely allied band of rebels.
Syria’s Secular and Islamist Rebels: Who Are the Saudis and the Qataris Arming? | World | TIME.com.
More than three years ago, President Barack Obama famously told a Cairo audience that “we meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world”.
His speech, titled A New Beginning, sought to transcend the acrimony of the Bush era.
This week, as violent protests rage across the Middle East and beyond, the president might ask himself: What went wrong?
BBC News – Film protests: What explains the anger?.
The tragic assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the latest in a series of attacks by the country’s increasingly active Salafis. In late August, armed Salafi groups demolished Sufi shrines, mosques, and mausoleums in Tripoli, Misrata, and Zliten. Earlier this year, Salafis desecrated British World War II graves, attacked the Tunisian consulate over an art exhibit in Tunis they deemed offensive, bombed the offices of the International Red Cross, and detonated an improvised explosive device at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. But such attacks are hardly proof of Salafism’s growing influence over the country. Rather, they are symptoms of an intense re-composition and fractionalization of the movement, between quietist, “politico,” and militant strands. More importantly, they reveal the Salafis’ anguished search for relevance in a country that is already socially conservative, but that has soundly rejected dogmatic political actors in favor of technocratic ones.
The Wrath of Libya’s Salafis – Sada.
President Bashar al-Assad promised Wednesday to ”cleanse” Syria of the rebels that have challenged his rule, but he’s unlikely to achieve that goal. Indeed, in a rare interview with Syrian TV, Assad conceded that his promised victory would not come soon. Still, there may be more than empty braggadocio to Assad’s claim that, from his regime’s point of view, “the situation is better now.” That’s because although his forces are unlikely to ever restore Assad’s authoritarian control over all of Syria or to pummel the rebellion into submission, at the same time there’s little sign right now of the Syrian rebels or their regional and international backers being able to muster the knockout punch that topples the regime. The rebellion has made intractable gains, but the regime sustains a capacity to fight that negates the narrative of an isolate despot facing the wrath of his people.
Hamas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hamas never has faced such large challenges and opportunities as presented by the Arab uprisings. It abandoned its headquarters in Damascus, at much cost to ties with its largest state supporter, Iran, while improving those with such U.S. allies as Egypt, Qatar and Turkey. Asked to pick sides in an escalating regional contest, it has sought to choose neither. Internal tensions are at new heights, centring on how to respond to regional changes in the short run. Leaders in the West Bank and exile tend to believe that with the rise to power of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in particular and the West’s rapprochement with Islamists in general, it is time for bolder steps toward Palestinian unity, thereby facilitating Hamas’s regional and wider international integration. The Gaza leadership by contrast is wary of large strategic steps amid a still uncertain regional future. These new dynamics – Islamists’ regional ascent; shifting U.S. and EU postures toward them; vacillation within their Palestinian offshoot – offer both Hamas and the West opportunities. But seizing them will take far greater pragmatism and realism than either has yet shown.
Complete Article :Light at the End of their Tunnels? Hamas & the Arab Uprisings – International Crisis Group.
Mapa de Siria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Abal Al-Zawiya, Siria – En la base del Free Syrian Army (FSA) aquí, un grupo de hombres llevó a un prisionero nervioso desde su celda a un coche que esperaba fuera. Unas horas más tarde, los rebeldes regresaron solos, con un camion completo de armas.
A medida que se ha cargado el deposito con balas y granadas propulsadas por cohete, Hamza Fatahallah, un desertor del ejército que se unió al ejército sirio libre hace nueve meses, describe la operación que había tenido lugar.
“Hemos capturado a muchos prisioneros del ejército”, dijo. “Los enviamos de vuelta a casa por una pequeña cantidad de dinero con la condición de no volver al régimen. Usamos el dinero para comprar armas. “
Para la liberación de este preso, Ahmed Haseeba, el grupo recibió $ 500. Con este dinero, Fatahallah dijo que eran capaces de comprar la munición de su principal proveedor: el Ejército Nacional de Siria, también conocido como el enemigo.
Articulo Completo en : http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120606/syrian-rebels-weapons-arms-revolution
JABAL AL-ZAWIYA, Syria — At the Free Syrian Army base here, a group of men led a nervous prisoner from his cell to a car waiting outside. A few hours later, the rebels returned alone, with a trunkload of weapons.
As they loaded the store room with new bullets and rocket-propelled grenades, Hamza Fatahallah, an army defector who joined the Free Syrian Army nine months ago, described the transaction that had taken place.
“We have caught many army prisoners,” he said. “We send them back home for a small amount of money on the condition they do not return to the regime. We use the money to buy weapons.”
For the release of this prisoner, Ahmed Haseeba, the group received $500. With this money, Fatahallah said they were able to buy ammunition from their main supplier: Syria’s national army, also known as the enemy.
Complete article at : http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120606/syrian-rebels-weapons-arms-revolution