… from TASS, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: Corporate media has kept a tight lid on publicizing how many countries have been feeding jihadi terrorists into Syria. And by that I don’t hold them responsible for being able to block people going there, but most have no penalties for which to arrest them even when they return home.
I was shocked once with a reporter posed to the Tunisian president that maybe as a deterrent he might consider revoking the citizenship of his countrymen known to be fighting in Syrian, and he responded indignantly that no Tunisian would ever have his citizenship revoked. It appeared that terrorist had immunity there.
Assad below is using a number now of 80 countries whose fighters have come to terrorize the Syrian people, Muslim and Christian alike. When I made my first trip there for the 2014 elections as one of the 35 brought in as monitors the US group was hosted by the Speaker of the Parliament on the Monday before the Wednesday vote day.
We had come from spending an hour and a half with the election commissioners, who briefed us for half an hour and then sat through almost an hour of questioning, an interrogation really. The translating slowed the process down. But he shocked us then when he told us they were holding PoWs from 65 countries.
So here we are two and a half years later and we are up to 80 countries, and EuroPol had an article out today that they estimate 10,000 trained ISIL jihadis are roaming around Europe, building networks, some laying low, waiting to be ordered into action. That is quite a payroll for someone.
So finally we here what we have been expecting from the Syrian side on the ceasefire talks, the normal request that arms and jihadis cannot flow in an out of Syria on rest and relaxation visits back home to return when the shooting starts back up. This very reasonable request will probably be ignored of course… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … February 21, 2016 –
[ Update: Since this was written we have 97 “opposition” groups sign onto the ceasefire, but no one has felt giving us a list is necessary or setting up a website dedicated as to who is in or out. Al-Nusra waited until the last day to stay they were not coming it, which was kind of stupid, or funny…as it has been well publicized that they were not invited.
Turkey says there are in, but then reserves the right to attack anyone at any time if they feel they have a reason to do so. It sounds a bit like Erdo channeling Bibi on that. But the winners are going to be all the people who receive the humanitarian aid and the clean up of the recaptured areas with much less fear of attack.
The name of the game now is momentum, to have those opposition people fighting want to fight at the negotiating table than in the field. That will release coalition air power to hammer the crap out of ISIL and the Syrian Army to redeploy to concentrating on them on the ground in their remaining strongholds.
Turkey has already counter-attacked by retaking a few on the Latakia border villages, challenging ceasefire right away. How these first few days violations are handled could determine if this thing is going to sink or swim… Jim W. Dean ]
Settlement of the Syrian conflict depends not only on the declaration of ceasefire, Syria’s President Bashar Assad said in an interview the daily El Pais published on Saturday.
“Definitely, we announced that we’re ready (for ceasefire), but it’s not only about announcing,” Assad said, adding that there were a number of factors that influenced the process of the search for a settlement in his country. “It’s also about other complimentary and more important factors, preventing the terrorists from using the ceasefire or the cessation of hostility to improve their position.
It’s about preventing other countries, especially Turkey, from sending more recruits, more terrorists, more armaments, or any kind of logistical support to those terrorists… If we don’t provide all these requirements for the ceasefire, it will be against the stability; it’s going to make more chaos in Syria.”
Assad recalled that there were “more than 80 countries supported those terrorists in different ways.”
He appreciated assistance from Russia and Iran in the struggle with terrorists.
“Syria is a small country. We could fight, but in the end, there’s unlimited support and recruitment for those terrorists. You definitely need international support,” Assad said.
Asked how he saw his own future in ten years’ time, Assad said:
“The most important thing is how I see my country, because I’m part of my country. So, in 10 years, if I can save Syria as president – but that doesn’t mean I’m still going to be president in 10 years. I’m just talking about my vision of the 10 years. If Syria is safe and sound, and I’m the one who saved his country – that’s my job now, that’s my duty. So that’s how I see myself regarding the position, I’m talking about myself as a Syrian citizen. If … I cannot help my country, I have to leave right away.”
A working group for the cessation of hostilities in Syria is to gather in Geneva next week. The decision to create the group was made at a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich on February 11-12. In the meantime Russian and USA experts have been holding preparatory meetings without inviting the other ISSG members to join in for the time being.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry had a telephone conversation on Saturday to note progress in the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Syria and confirmed that the implementation of the Munich accords for a settlement in Syria required coordination by the two countries’ military.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary Lavrov and Kerry discussed “current practical cooperation between Russia and the United States in the capacity of co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group in implementing its decisions of February 12, adopted in Munich regarding the measures to ease the humanitarian situation and agree the modalities of terminating hostilities in that country, except for the struggle against terrorist groups.”
“It was confirmed that the fine-tuning of mechanisms for coping with these tasks required coordination between military,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014