tag ‘Syrien’
Lethargie May 27, 2015 | 10:41 pm

American lethargy is especially evident in Syria. The potential consequences of getting Syria wrong are serious. What happens could undermine efforts to contain ISIL in Iraq, and could create a situation in which Washington finds itself a prisoner of the Middle East, despite Mr Obama’s aim to ensure the contrary.

It is remarkable that even as the regime of Bashar Al Assad has started to collapse, the Obama administration still has not formulated a clear Syria policy. Instead, it has slogans and a vague plan to train Syrian “moderates” to fight ISIL, a foolish scheme that is bound to fail, particularly as the dynamics of the Syrian conflict shift to removing Mr Al Assad.

Nor has the United States shown much conviction in advancing this strategy. The force it is organising has taken for ever to be armed and trained. The Americans want combatants who will fight ISIL, believing, naively, that if the Assad regime begins disintegrating, these men will continue to serve American interests and not seek to be in on the kill of the regime.

Far more disturbing is that the Obama administration appears to have taken no well-defined positions on what should happen once Mr Al Assad goes. His exit may not be imminent, but as the regime loses ground in the north, south and east, due to the Syrian army’s inability to mobilise enough troops, Mr Al Assad’s days appear to be numbered.


Palmyra May 20, 2015 | 10:15 pm

Nach dem Vormarsch in Palmyra kontrolliere der IS nun etwa 40 Prozent der Fläche Syriens, sagte der Leiter der Menschenrechtsbeobachter, Rami Abel Rahman, der Deutschen Presse-Agentur. Die Extremisten hätten zudem fast alle Ölfelder des Landes eingenommen. Der IS finanziert sich zu einem großen Teil aus dem Ölschmuggel.


Largest UN request for help ever May 11, 2015 | 09:48 pm

In 2015, the UN has requested a staggering US$8.4 billion to help 18 million people within Syria and the immediate region. This is a huge sum and the largest humanitarian appeal in UN history. Five years in to the brutal civil war, the humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis has predominantly focused on providing immediate relief in the form of food, health and sanitation. However, the complex and extended nature of the Syrian conflict now means that humanitarian actors are grappling with the medium to long-term issues the conflict has caused for Syria and its neighbours. These challenges include civil society development and increasing the rule of law within liberated Syrian communities, providing children with access to education as a normalising measure and an increased focus on livelihoods and creating economic opportunities in refugee populations.


Syria still using Chemical Weapons May 7, 2015 | 10:33 pm

Two years after President Bashar al-Assad agreed to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, there is mounting evidence that his government is flouting international law to drop jerry-built chlorine bombs on insurgent-held areas. Lately, the pace of the bombardments in contested areas like Idlib Province has picked up, rescue workers say, as government forces have faced new threats from insurgents. The Assad government has so far evaded more formal scrutiny because of political, legal and technical obstacles to assigning blame for the attacks — a situation that feels surreal to many Syrians under the bombs, who say it is patently clear the government drops them.

“People are so used to it, they know from the sound,” said Hatem Abu Marwan, 29, a rescue worker with the White Helmets civil defense organization, a note of exasperation creeping into his voice when asked to explain. “We know the sound of a helicopter that goes to a low height and drops a barrel. Nobody has aircraft except the regime.”

Prodded by the United States, the United Nations Security Council is discussing a draft resolution that would create a panel, reporting to the secretary general, to determine which of the warring parties is responsible for using chlorine as a weapon, according to Council diplomats.

“The Security Council must address the need to determine who is responsible for using chlorine as weapons in Syria,” said an American official, who declined to offer specifics and requested anonymity to discuss continuing negotiations. “Doing so is critical to getting justice for the Syrian people and accountability for those who have repeatedly used chemical weapons in Syria.”


Von Ypern nach Damaskus: Der Giftgas-Horror April 26, 2015 | 07:42 pm

Aus Bild.de:

Zum Jahrestag des ersten Giftgaseinsatzes protestierten Syrer und irakische Kurden diese Woche gemeinsam in Ypern während der Gedenkfeierlichkeiten. In einem offenen Brief ihrer Kampagne „Breathless“ fordern sie den Westen auf, „den weiteren Einsatz chemischer Kampfstoffe in Syrien und anderswo wirkungsvoll zu verhindern“ .

„Das Leid und der ganz besondere Terror chemischer Kampfstoffe sind heute so aktuell wie damals“, schreiben die Aktivisten und fordern ein Ende der Giftgasangriffe. „Es dauert nur eine Sekunde, die Bombe zu werfen, aber es braucht Generationen, um über ihre Folgen hinweg zu kommen.“

#Breathless: Chemical Warfare from Ypres to al-Ghouta April 23, 2015 | 09:13 am

On this day, 100 years ago, the fields of Ypres, Belgium, witnessed the first use of chemical weapons in modern times. A mutation in the nature of war into terrible new lows of barbarity and gruesomeness. Today, as the world commemorates the victims of chemical weapons, Syrians ring a reminder that these silent mass murders are hardly behind us. Indeed, only last month, Syrian towns in the Idlib governorate were subjected to this horror.

Survivors from al-Ghouta’s chemical attacks, along with their comrades in Halabja, Iraq, spoke in one voice about their suffocating experiences. The #Breathless campaign was launched with an open letter signed by those who had witnessed first-hand the horrors of chemical weapons at the hands of the Syrian and Iraqi regimes:

We, survivors of chemical attacks from different countries, ethnicity and belief, know with whom the responsibility lies for the chemical attacks we have witnessed. It primarily lies with the ruthless regimes that drop these bombs on us; the same regimes that taught us for decades that we were enemies. Now we — Arabs and Kurds, people from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Kurdistan — sign this letter together knowing that our only enemies are those who do not hesitate to gas us.

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Offener Brief von Giftgas-Überlebenden : „So aktuell wie damals“ April 22, 2015 | 10:00 am

Am Mittwoch werden Menschen aus Syrien, dem Irak und dem Iran an mehreren europäischen Botschaften einen Protestbrief zur Mithilfe europäischer Staaten an der Produktion von Giftgas in ihren Ländern übergeben. Gleichzeitig wird es Kundgebungen in Ghuta bei Damaskus, in Halabja im irakischen Kurdistan und in Ypern geben. Zum ersten Mal wird eine solche Botschaft, koordiniert von AktivistInnen aus diesen drei Ländern, überbracht. Eine Initiative der Gruppe „Breathless“.

Wir sind Überlebende, aber bitte nennt uns nicht „Opfer“. Das würde nur verschleiern, was wir wirklich sind: Zeugen. Wir sind die lebenden Zeugen der albtraumhaften Brutalität chemischer Kampfstoffe. Und als Zeugen werden wir euch immer und immer wieder an das erinnern, was im Iran und im Irak geschah und was heute erneut in Syrien geschieht. Wir wissen, dass es nicht europäische Regierungen waren, die uns mit Gas angriffen. Aber wir sind uns der Tatsache bewusst, dass ohne die umfangreiche Hilfe europäischer Unternehmen weder das irakische noch das syrische Regime in der Lage gewesen wären, chemische Kampfstoffe herzustellen.

Deutsche Unternehmen waren am Aufbau des sogenannten State Enterprise for Pesticide Production im Irak beteiligt, lieferten Material, Rohstoffe, technische Infrastruktur und Wissen; französische und österreichische Unternehmen waren in kleinerem Umfang ebenfalls an dem Geschäft beteiligt, während italienische und spanische Firmen die Gefechtsköpfe und Granathülsen lieferten, die für C-Waffen erforderlich sind. Erst unlängst wurde bekannt, dass Unternehmen aus Großbritannien und – erneut – Deutschland Material und Grundstoffe zur C-Waffenproduktion an Syrien geliefert haben. Europa hat Beihilfe geleistet zu den Verbrechen, die an uns begangen wurden.

Den ganzen Beitrag lesen


100 years and ongoing April 22, 2015 | 12:18 am


Ypres, Halabja, Ghouta… The campaign Breathless has formed to denounce the ongoing use of chemical weapons manufactured with help of European and especially German companies and many blind eyes of the governments. They protest against the fact that Syria will not even be mentioned in the official commemoration events.

Listen to this impressing radio feature which has many shattering accounts from survivors.

False tears April 19, 2015 | 11:08 am

Members of the UN Security Council cried after watching a video that shows doctors unsuccessfully trying to revive child victims of an apparent government chlorine gas attack in Syria last month.

One hopes they were tears of shame.

Samantha Power, America’s ambassador to the UN, pledged those responsible will be held to account.

Nobody believes her. Nobody should, anyway.

It was not even two years ago that evidence of poison gas attacks by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces inconveniently became too persuasive for America to ignore.

In August 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama had declared that the use or transfer of a “whole bunch” of chemical weapons would be a “red line” for the United States. This didn’t stop Assad from gassing Syrians to death on several occasions after that statement was made, but he did so in sufficiently small numbers that Obama must have felt safe hiding behind his “whole bunch” threshold and did nothing.

Then, in August 2013, regime forces slaughtered some 1,400 Syrians in a sarin gas attack, including more than 400 children, according to White House figures. That, finally but temporarily, pushed Obama toward action.

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Obama is always wrong on the Middle East April 17, 2015 | 11:26 pm

Obama has an incorrect view of the region, and this is something that has become increasingly clear since he took office. He is always wrong on our region, and has made the biggest mistakes here, and these mistakes have had major consequences.

Obama rushed to withdraw from Iraq, and now here we see him returning once again. He played down the Syrian revolution and Assad’s crimes. He talked about “red lines” but Assad has crossed each and every one of these, while Obama has done nothing. He played down the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) only to subsequently be forced to acknowledge the reality of the situation, although he still had enough time to blame his country’s intelligence services for failing to realize this earlier.

It is also interesting to note a recent Washington Post report that revealed the extent of ISIS’s connection with the former ruling Ba’athist regime in Iraq, and that many members of the group are ex-members of Saddam Hussein’s military. This is the same military that was controversially disbanded following the Iraq invasion. Washington has made many mistakes in Iraq, and Obama must bear some share of the responsibility for this.

Obama also gambled, for years, on political Islam being a successful model in the region. This failed, of course, and the Islamists failure has had a long-lasting effect on the entire region following the so-called Arab Spring.

Obama’s mistakes go beyond this, and we now see him making yet another one today. This misjudgment that will have serious, adverse consequences for the Middle East.

So, Obama thinks that the threat to the region is not Iran, but rather an absence of internal reform. This is simply wrong, and demonstrates worrying double standards.

In 2009, when Obama was already in office, the “Green Movement” broke out in Iran. The Iranian authorities violently suppressed the protests, including through the force of arms. Many protesters were killed, and many more arrested. All the while, Obama looked on and did nothing. Indeed, some leading members of this revolt remain behind bars until today. Since then, Iran has not carried out any significant internal reform. During the same period, Gulf states—and particularly Saudi Arabia—have moved forward with the internal reform process.

More than this, we can clearly see Iran’s threatening action in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. This is not to mention the terrorist sleeper cells with ties to Iran that have been uncovered in the Gulf.

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America’s Assad phantasy March 25, 2015 | 12:08 am

Indeed similar to Iraq, where Washington has essentially partnered with Iran to stop Islamic State — even at the cost of bolstering Iran’s status in the country — some Obama administration officials are apparently toying with the idea of calling on Iran for help in Syria, as well. This means, in essence, partnering with Hezbollah to ensure the survival of the Assad regime, for it to serve as a buffer against the spread of Islamic State.

The fighting in Syria will continue well into the future, because none of the warring parties have the ability to deliver a decisive blow. Meanwhile, those in Washington who believe that helping Assad and linking up with Iran — even if only tactically — will garner the U.S. gratitude and new friends in the region, need to take into account that a victory for Assad, Iran and Hezbollah will only buttress the anti-American and anti-Israeli axis in the region and encourage its members to return to their pre-Syrian revolution path of incitement and resistance against the U.S. and Israel. After all, Assad is the root of the problem in Syria, not part of the solution.


Excuse for Inaction March 22, 2015 | 12:41 pm

Scott Lucas in EA:

CIA Director John Brennan told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Friday, March 13 that the near-term collapse of Syria’s Assad regime raises “a legitimate concern” about the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) and other jihadist extremists capitalizing on it. (…)

The Brennan thesis is the latest version of an excuse for inaction. It would hold water were Assad and ISIS fighting one another instead of acting in tandem to erase Syrian nationalists fighting them both. It would be analytically sound if the regime—the family and its tight circle of enablers and enforcers—represented the totality of governance (actual and potential) in western Syria. It would be morally defensible in the absence of nonstop regime war crimes and crimes against humanity committed with the support of Iran and Russia.

The Assad regime has criminalized the entirety of Syria, including those parts of the country secured for it by foreign fighters imported by Iran. Were it to go down hard and fast it would not be opening an express lane for ISIS to enter Damascus. Yes: there could be confusion and even panic in some quarters. But to claim that those Syrians whose lives and fortunes have been bound, in the absence of a credible alternative, to the political survival of a single family would simply disappear upon the departure of the regime is to misunderstand Syria and Syrians. Unlike in Iraq, there is little popular support for ISIS in Syria. Syrians will fight and eventually eliminate the bogus caliphate. They will be much better able to do so when the Assad family and its ruling clique have abandoned politics and left Syria. If the Obama administration has no appetite for doing the kinds of things that would hasten that day, fine. It should, at the very least, refrain from volunteering the kinds of statements that sustain a regime whose survival tactics have literally put ISIS on the Syrian map.

Avaaz : Safe zone for Syrians, now! March 19, 2015 | 12:39 pm

The Syrian air force just dropped chlorine gas bombs on children. Their little bodies gasped for air on hospital stretchers as medics held back tears, and watched as they suffocated to death.

But today there is a chance to stop these barrel bomb murders with a targeted No Fly Zone.

The US, Turkey, UK, France and others are right now seriously considering a safe zone in Northern Syria. Advisers close to President Obama support it, but he is worried he won’t have public support. That’s where we come in.

Let’s tell him we don’t want a world that just watches as a dictator drops chemical weapons on families in the night. We want action.

One humanitarian worker said ‘I wish the world could see what I have seen with my eyes. It breaks your heart forever.’ Let’s show that the world cares — sign to support a life-saving No Fly Zone.

Presseerklärung zum Halabja Tag March 16, 2015 | 05:08 pm





















Die ganze Presserklärung lesen

Protest in Aleppo March 14, 2015 | 06:45 pm

In Aleppo, der zweitgrößten Stadt Syriens, wird des Ausbruches der Aufstände gegen das Assad Regime vor vier Jahren gedacht. Ein Bild, das über die Lage in Syrien mehr sagt als tausend Worte:

Die neuen Imperien March 9, 2015 | 11:59 am

Über neue Reiche in Asien schreibt Thomas v. der Osten-Sacken:

Auch in Raqqa, der Hauptstadt des IS-Terrorkalifats, ebenso wie in Teheran, arbeitet man mit Hochdruck an der Wiederherstellung untergegangener Imperien, sei es das arabische Kalifat oder das persische Weltreich. Untereinander mögen sich die neuen Reichsgründer im Krieg befinden, weltanschaulich herrscht unter ihnen Einigkeit, dass die alte globale Ordnung, die der Westen, allen voran die USA und Israel, der Welt angeblich zu ihrem Unheil diktiert habe, nun an ihr Ende gekommen und dem Untergang geweiht sei.

Grübeln Experten in westlichen Hauptstädten noch, ob es dem Iran, der Türkei oder auch Russland nicht vor allem um »legitime Sicherheitsinteressen« gehe und wie im Nahen Osten, der droht, zu einer einzigen failed region zu werden, entlang ethnischer oder konfessioneller Grenzen neue Staaten geschaffen werden könnten, denkt und plant man in Westasien längst wieder in imperialen Großräumen.

Mit unterschiedlichem Erfolg: Während Erdo­?ans neoosmanisches Projekt bislang wenig außenpolitische Erfolge vorzuweisen hat und vor allem massive Repression im Inneren legitimiert, expandiert der Iran mit atemberaubender Geschwindigkeit in der Region.

Unterstützung einer selbstverwalteten Schule für syrische Flüchtlingskinder March 6, 2015 | 10:36 pm


Mit finanzieller Unterstützung einer internationalen Hilfsorganisation hat die kurdische Regionalregierung vergangenes Jahr eine Schule für syrische Flüchtlingskinder in Bainjan, einer Kleinstadt in der Nähe von Suleymaniah, errichtet.

Die Lehrer stammen aus Syrien, sind selbst Flüchtlinge und arbeiten ehrenamtlich. 120 Kinder werden unterrichtet, viele von ihne sind allerdings so arm, dass sie weder genügend Winterkleider besitzen noch sich die nötigen Schulsachen besorgen können.

Aber anders als so viele andere Kinder von den Millionen Flüchtlingen, die vor dem blutigen Bürgerkrieg in Syrien geflohen sind, können sie immerhin in die Schule gehen. Und die ist vom irakisch-kurdischen Erziehungsministerium anerkannt. Nur leben viele Familien in so großer Armut, dass sie ihre Kinder nicht einfach in die Schule schicken können.

Hier springt WADI ein. Für dieses Jahr soll der Transport von Kindern und Lehrern finanziert werden, Schul- und Unterrichtsmaterialen gekauft, Kinder, deren Eltern nicht genügend Geld für Kleidung besitzen, gezielt unterstützt werden. Auch sonst wollen wir, wo und wie immer möglich, dieses, in der Region wohl einmalige, Projekt unterstützen.

Denn es sind syrische Flüchtlinge, die anderen syrischen Flüchtlingen helfen. Auch bei Wadi: So ist es unsere Buchhalterin, Kumry Alferha, die selbst aus Quamishli in Syrisch-Kurdistan stammt, die sich um dieses Projekt neben ihrer regulären Arbeit kümmert.

Erst kürzlich verteilten Mitarbeiterinnen von Wadi Spielsachen an die Kinder, die Freude war, wie man sieht, groß.

Dies ist einer unserer Projekte zur Unterstützung von syrischen Flüchtlingen in Irakisch-Kurdistan. Bitte helfen auch Sie mit Ihrer Spende.

No Friends but Iranians February 5, 2015 | 10:52 pm


He who does not speak of the Iranian Regime
shall remain silent on matters of the Islamic State.

„Under the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, more people are executed than under his predecessor Ahmadinejad. Everyone is looking at ISIS and their barbaric deeds. The only difference to the Iranian regime: ISIS is proud of its murders, Iran is executing them surreptitiously behind prison walls and cowardly denies them. The world has to understand that a dialogue with this regime of murderers in impossible.
Only pressure helps.“

(Fariborz Jabbari, uncle of Reyhaneh Jabbari
who was executed by the Iranian regime in October 2014)

Theses on the Syrian Desaster
August - December 2014
I      The Role of the IRI in Iraq & Syria
II     Assad and the Islamic State
III    Iran's "boots on the ground"

No Friends but Iranians,
Qassem Suleimani (3rd from left),
commander of the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),
posing with a group of Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan

Falsch January 30, 2015 | 09:40 pm

Egal, ob es um eine Ende der Terrorfinanzierung, die Stabilisierung des Irak oder einen dauerhaften Frieden zwischen Israel und den Palästinenser geht – der Iran wird immer sein Bestes geben, um bei allen Projekten des Westens in Nahost im Weg zu stehen.

Nahost-Experte Ottolenghi: Die USA liegen falsch, wenn sie denken, dass Assad ISIS vorzuziehen ist. ISIS und Assad – und Assads größter Sponsor, der Iran – sind zwei Seiten der gleichen Medaille. Solange der Westen nicht begreift, dass die iranische Politik in der Region nicht konstruktiv ist, wird Teheran weiter von dem Chaos profitieren.


‘Kobane is free” January 27, 2015 | 12:13 pm

Good News:

Kurdish forces inside Kobane said today that the city is now under full control and Islamic State (ISIS) militants have been driven out of all neighborhoods.

Muslih Zebari, a Peshmerga commander in Kobane told Rudaw that ISIS militants remain only in a small village attached to the city “And the Peshmerga and YPG fighters are already on their way there,”

“Retaking that village is easy and today all of Kobane will be free,” he said.

A strong ISIS force invaded Kobane in mid-September last year but a coalition of YPG fighters, Peshmerga and US airstrikes halted the radical group’s advance until it was liberated today.