According to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), forces of the Free Syrian Army massacred the village on May 27: “The armed rebels affiliated to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) raided the Christian-populated al-Duvair village in Reef (outskirts of) Homs near the border with Lebanon today and massacred all its civilian residents, including women and children. The Syrian army, however, intervened and killed tens of terrorists during heavy clashes which are still going on in al-Duvair village.”
Although the United States had opposed the involvement of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in the rebel coalition, it did not express such reservations in December when Obama lavished his praise on the coalition. As the New York Times reported at that time:
But Mr. Obama praised the opposition, known formally as the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, for what he said was its inclusiveness, its openness to various ethnic and religious groups, and its ties to local councils involved in the fighting against Mr. Assad’s security forces.
“At this point we have a well-organized-enough coalition — opposition coalition that is representative — that we can recognize them as the legitimate representative of Syrian people,” he said.…
The United States has played an active role behind the scenes in shaping the opposition, insisting that it be broadened and made more inclusive. But until Mr. Obama’s announcement, the United States had held off on formally recognizing the opposition, asserting that it wanted to use the lure of recognition to encourage the rebel leaders to flesh out their political structure and fill important posts.
Now Obama’s inclusive opposition has allegedly slaughtered the entire population of al-Duvair, which is the type of crime that the U.S. president has previously purported was sufficient reason for the people of Syria to rise up and overthrow their government. And the massacre is hardly an isolated incident; for example, only several weeks ago, rebels attacked the St. Elijah Orthodoxy monastery. As Voice of Russia reported on May 12: “The militants ransacked the cloister, destroyed the sanctuary, blew up the belfry and tore down the statue of St. Prophet Elijah who is equally revered in Syria by both Christians and Muslims, Syria’s SANA news agency reports, quoting the head of the monastery, hegumen Gadir Ibrahim. The hegumen believes the attack to be the work of foreign mercenaries.”
Fighters from as many as 29 countries have filtered into Syria to join a civil war that has split along sectarian lines, increasingly pitting the ruling Alawite community against the majority Sunni Muslims, UN human rights investigators said today.
The deepened sectarian divisions in Syria may diminish prospects for post-conflict reconciliation even if President Bashar al-Assad is toppled. And the influx of foreign fighters raises the risk of the war spilling into neighbouring countries.
“As battles between government forces and anti-government armed groups approach the end of their second year, the conflict has become overtly sectarian in nature,” the investigators led by Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro said in an updated report.…
Most of the foreign fighters slipping into Syria to join rebel groups, or fight alongside them, are Sunnis from other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, the UN investigators found. “They come from all over, Europe and America, and especially the neighbouring countries,” said Ms [Karen] Abuzayd.
Even as the American government has expanded its involvement in the war in Syria, the radicalization of the rebel forces has continued. While Syrian rebels perpetrate their own atrocities, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was still insisting “We can identify who these people are. We can help the right people.” As Reuters reported on May 29:
But McCain said such radical fighters make up only a small part of the rebels forces.
For example, he said, Syria’s Islamist al-Nusra Front, identified as an alias of al Qaeda in Iraq, accounts for only about 7,000 of the 100,000 fighters battling the government of Assad.
“Every single day, more and more extremists flow in…. “They’re flowing in all the time, these extremists. But they still do not make up a sizeable portion,” the Arizona senator said.
When 7,000 members of an al-Qaeda front are acknowledged to be part of a US-backed coalition, one wonders how McCain and his allies are now defining “small.” And as McCain’s and Obama’s purported “right people” are busy massacring Christians — and others — in an “overtly sectarian” war conducted by foreign mercenaries and religious fanatics, the latest phase in the “perpetual war for perpetual peace” has moved on to the phase where its proponents will soon, once again, be “shocked” by the actions of their allies.
We know this won’t end well, not for Syria, not for the U.S. nor any other nation. One perspective from last week that is proving quite accurate, via The Terrible Future Of The Syrian War.
Using Vietnam and other proxy wars as a reference, here is how I believe the war in Syria is likely to progress over the coming months:
1.Heavy weapons will be supplied to the insurgency, including anti-aircraft weapons, leading to increased casualties, especially civilian casualties.
2.Assad will respond with expanded and deadly airstrikes and ground troops will advance with the aid of Hezbollah.
3.Iran will begin openly supplying arms, and step up covert supplies of advisors and ground troops.
4.Russia will increase arms shipments even further, including anti-ship, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles in order to dissuade U.S. and Israeli interests from sending their own forces into the area.
5.Syrian insurgents will begin losing ground quickly. The UN will offer to “mediate” a ceasefire, but this will only be designed to allow the insurgents time to regroup, and for the U.S., EU and Israel to position themselves for attack.
6.The UN ceasefire talks will be a wash, if they even take place. Israel will begin regular airstrikes in the name of stopping Iran and Hezbollah from interfering in the war, or to stop them from obtaining “chemical weapons.” The strikes will be aimed at Syrian military facilities and Syrian infrastructure. There will be many civilian casualties.
7.Syria will respond with ground to air and ground to ground missiles. Israeli cities will see far more precise targeting than the scud missiles used by Iraq during Gulf I and Gulf II. Civilian deaths will be much higher than expected, despite common claims that Israeli missile defenses are the most advanced in the world (Israel has never faced the threat of advanced Russian missile systems).
8.A no-fly zone will be announced over Syria, enforced by U.S. and Israeli planes, along with anti-aircraft batteries.
9.A violent attack will take place in Israel, likely against a civilian population center (I would not be surprised if chemical weapons are involved). The attack will be blamed on the Assad government, or affiliated allies. It might be a real attack or it might be a false flag. In either case, the result will be the commitment of Israeli ground troops.
10.I think it highly probable that Israel will be the first Western country to invade Syria. However, their involvement will immediately draw a declaration of war from Iran, and, increased ship movements from Russia, which maintains a strategic naval base off the coast of Tartus.
11.Israel will be swallowed up in a strategic quandary, and will demand U.S. military action. The U.S. will supply that action. Combat will spread into cross-border battles in countries not directly engaged in the fight (as it did in Cambodia during Vietnam).
12.China will respond with economic retaliation, dumping the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. Russia will respond by reducing petro-product exports to Europe and staging a massive naval presence in the region. From this point, all bets are off…