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Three Huge Defections in One Day Should Unnerve Assad


They come after a few months in which defections were limited to lower level troops only.   When crews begin jumping ship at this rate, it's a sure sign of impending disaster.


Defector #1: General Mohamed Nur Izz al-Din khallouf Chief of logistics in the Syrian army--a potential rich source of information since he'd know details manpower shortages, what is stored in Assad's warehouses, etc.  


Defector #2: Bothayna Shaaban, Assad’s political and information advisor fled to Dubai via Beirut. Her defection was not yet confirmed however, she was seen in Beirut International Airport boarding a plane heading to Dubai.


Defector #3: The defection of  Brigadier General Muhammad Khallouf n his son in Daryaa was actually filmed by Alex, one of the subposters at Enduring America.


Return to this post for more interesting developments to come.



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The top rebel commander in Damascus says the rebels should go after Latakkia before launching any full scale effort in Damascus and has given his reasons. I wrote a post about that in yesterday's Syria Live at Enduring America but did so late. If you missed it you may want to look it up since it cites his reasons. One of those is that overtly pro-regime Alawites in Latakkia may be looking for a deal to save the city and Alawites themselves against otherwise certain disaster.

If upheld by both sides (excluding jihadis) such a deal would be great for Sunnis and minorities alike, especially for those on the coast. In all probability, it would produce a quick end to this war . The only people who benefit by prolonging it are self-evident: the jihadis on the rebel side and Assad and Thugs on the regime side. Each day it continues, the former gain strength hile the latter stay alive and free for a few months longer.

Russia too would be far better off replacing the tar baby loser (Assad) they are stuck with a present and with whom any such deal is inconceivable. For Russia, Assad and moderate rebels this would be a "best you can get" scenario. Moderate rebels knows that they too will be a jihadi target once Assad is gone. THe jihadis have said as much, repeatedly.

Mahlouf, Assad and Maher dream of a "last bastion" in Latakia but locals must know it won't fly. Not being economic or or militarily viable, the conflict would only delay--not prevent-an evitable rebel victory, leave the Alawites cloutless afterwards and Latakia looking like Stalingrad or Berlin at the end of World War II. No deal can prevent all damage or death (Assad could well bomb his own city) but limit both. Even the rebels know it would be convenient if some parts of Syria should emerge relatively intact (except for hard line Islamists who couldn't give a damn about Syria or Syrians--Sunni or Shia alike.

Alawites along the coast have avoided much of the damage so far. If it is to remain that way, they must deal before Assad manages to get out of Latakia and implement his schemes. Even Damascus would benefit since the regime would have a tough time fighting on there under this scenario. How many Alawite troops die for Assad once a viable exit to this disaster exists?

The interests of moderate rebels and Alawites would seemingly converge when it comes to a such a deal. On the other hand, hard line jihadis will retain their vested interest in preventing democracy by and encouraging sectarianism, deal or no deal. The key point is that if coastal Alawites turn on Assad now, the jihadis will would have a much harder time making their case that all Alawites are villains. Assad used atrocities to foment sectarianism. Deal or no deal, jihadis will do so also, ;probably by targeting Alawites for suicide bombings in an attempt to provoke similar attacks on Sunnis. At least a deal would provoke an alliance between moderate FSA elements and Alawites based on a shared self-interest in encouraging stability and reconciliation.

Militarily, any Alawite-rebel cooperation would have a second beneficial effect--reducing the length of time Assad remains in power and thereby reducing the amount of damage and death everywhere in Syria. Readers can imagine how much suffering the Germans and their western opponents could have avoided if the anti-Hitler coup had succeeded in July of 1944. Same here. Now, as then, this regime will fight to the end otherwise and destroy Syria when it goes down. (Again, I suggest the German film "Downfall" as mandatory viewing).

Will writing this essay help Assad sabotage any such deal? I considered that but it seems the rebel commander in Damascus has already left that cat out of the bag. Even so, preventing such a deal will be more difficult from Damascus. How can Assad determine who to purge in Latakkia? Given his already limited base, any purge directed at Alawites on the coast would worsen his military predicament. For Assad, it's a Lose-Lose choice.

(The news of the above three defections may provide an extra motivator for Alawites in Syria to do likewise as well as hamper Assad's ability to deal with such a possibility.)


Barry Williams

A good plan, something needs to be done to speed up the departure of this despot assad out of power.



The following war footage from the Homs area is dramatic and impressive:


ALEPPO: Fierce clashes between the Free Syrian Army and Assad forces in the vicinity of Annairab military airport and Aleppo airport coupled with regime mortar and artillery shelling on the area around them.

DAMASCUS: The Free Syrian Army is now in control of the east and west entry points into the city and there's been heavy fighting around the airport - it's now effectively closed to anything but military flights.

Deir al-Zor: Rebels set off a huge car bomb near regime-held building. Combat continues.



Video: rebels show off 36 artillery warehouses captured in Aleppo.



Another dramatic video recalls French resistance activity in WW II but in this case captured live. : In a nighttime attack, rebels ambush a car containing a Syrian officer and three aides. No regime survivors.

rebels from Liwa al-Islam, storm a loyalist militia in the town of Adra, Damascus Suburbs, manned by members of Al-Jaish Al-Sha’bi, an entity designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. Treasury Department. If the defenders were shabiha, I wouldn't expect many survivors. Would you?



Shouldn't any reasonable man be sick and tired by now of all this Assad-centered Syrian conflict-view ? It is simply ridiculous to see all these talking heads offer the latest wisecrack obituary about "Regime dictatorship" in Syria - when the dynamics of this 2-year conflict are anything but regime-based.

If anything, it is quite clear that Assad is kept in power by about one half of Syria (and many Allawites in Turkey) that wants him there, and that needs him there in order to secure the cultured and diverse, intellectual lifestyle that was made possible under the 50-year rule of the Assad family.

If anything became a casualty of this war and its dismally stupid coverage int eh West (another example of the intellectual degradation that is required to be a journalist nowadays, just ask Robert Fisk) - it is the vaunted chimera of "Democracy (first)". Democracy as England, France and USA pander it by expensive propaganda operations to various primitives around the world who are thought to know nothing better - has been destroyed as a viable ideological alternative in the Middle East. If it were a question for democratic choice and a fight for such rights (the right to have your honor and your intelligence insulted every day of your political life as a citizen) the war in Syria would have been over long ago.

What is in fact fueling this war is, on the one side, the impossibility of democratic existence in the Middle East (where no one is seen as a self-contained individual with sovereign abilities of individual choice based on individual reasoning skills) which is being ignored and forced on an unwilling country by money and by Media and by arms (by tyrannical Gulf Arabs and their Western puppets), and on the other, by the ghettoization of religious-national communities who harbor incompatible ideas derived from their separate histories. It is obvious that in Syria there is a group of communities on the one hand who are allied (Greek Christians, Allawites, Shi'ites, Druzes and Maronites) and on the other, the Sunni Moslem peasant bedouine of the desert accustomed to hardships and completely nihilistic in outlook who is allied with various pan-Islamic, international dogs of war (from the warlike regions of Africa and Asia).

Israel will have to intervene and break the back of the Sunni rebellion in Syria - should it ever become successful in its true goals of imposing an orgiastic slaughter of the minorities of Syria to be followed by a Sharia state breathing hard down the Golan. Hamas, which thanklessly abandoned Assad, is awaiting the day it can officially join in with the Syrian rebels. Loyalty is a non-existent virtue among Arabs.

All the jejune and gangster-like machinations about supporting terrorists (collectively endeared as 'rebels' without an exception in the unfree Western Press) of the Parisian press and its British counterparts who still maintain the British Empire in the Media circuits, is going to force Israel to act militarily in Syria - especially if the war spreads to Lebanon (because the ensuing melee will require urgent action to prevent uncontrolled spillover south).