A Cautionary Tale

Syria conflict: Thousands hanged at Saydnaya prison, Amnesty says (from BBC News 7 February 2017)

A new report by the human rights group alleges that mass hangings took place every week at Saydnaya prison between September 2011 and December 2015. As many as 13,000 people, most of them civilian opposition supporters, have been executed in secret at a prison in Syria, Amnesty International says. Amnesty says the alleged executions were authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government. The government has previously denied killing or mistreating detainees. Amnesty interviewed 84 people, including former guards, detainees and officials at Saydnaya prison for its report. It alleges that every week, and often twice a week, groups of between 20 and 50 people were executed in total secrecy at the facility, just north of Damascus. Before their execution, detainees were brought before a “military field court” in the capital’s Qaboun district for “trials” lasting between one and three minutes, the report says. A former military court judge quoted by Amnesty said detainees would be asked if they had committed crimes alleged to have taken place. “Whether the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’, he will be convicted… This court has no relation with the rule of law,” he said.

According to the report, detainees were told on the day of the hangings that they would be transferred to a civilian prison. Then they were taken to a basement cell and beaten over the course of two or three hours. Then in the middle of the night they were blindfolded and moved to another part of the prison, where they were taken into a room in the basement and told they had been sentenced to death just minutes before nooses were placed around their necks, the report adds.

On the basis of evidence of the testimony of its witnesses, Amnesty estimates that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were executed at Saydnaya over a five year period.

Witness accounts. A former judge who saw the hangings:

“They kept them [hanging] there for 10 to 15 minutes. Some didn’t die because they are light. For the young ones, their weight wouldn’t kill them. The officers’ assistants would pull them down and break their necks.”

Former detainee ‘Sameer’ describes alleged abuse:

“The beating was so intense. It was as if you had a nail, and you were trying again and again to beat it into a rock. It was impossible, but they just kept going. I was wishing they would just cut off my legs instead of beating them any more.”

Source: Amnesty International. Amnesty says these practices amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Last August, Amnesty reported that an estimated 17,723 people had died in custody as a result of torture and the deprivation of food, water and medical care between March 2011 – when the uprising against President Assad began – and December 2015. That figure did not include those allegedly hanged at Saydnaya.

(That brings the total deaths to 24,000-30,000 when all the deaths are added up)

For the full article go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38885901


This is the cautionary tale. When you read this article, you will understand why this country, the USA, and its constitution provide a check and balance system which is supposed to uphold the rule of law. This is what is totally lacking in President Assad’s assault on humanity. It represents a clear and present danger to the United States under President Trump.

I think this article makes clear what happens to a nation that has as head of state, be that a Prime Minister, President or other, who is willing and able to act without restraint and where the government has managed to stack the cards against the citizens. We in America are facing some very difficult times now and in the future.

Over time our two party system has become increasingly polarized. Although members of the Congress and the Senate are elected AS INDIVIDUALS  to represent their local constituencies it is clear that they no longer function as individuals. When you realize that only two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted against Trump’s totally unqualified appointee DeVos as Secretary of Education, it is an outstanding example of how members of the Congress vote with their party and not with their conscience, their intelligence or their integrity. There is no way in this world that thinking individuals could vote for a Secretary of Education who has had no experience in the educational system, who has clearly favored private schools over public education. She has shown no respect for the constitutional rule freeing schools from religion. As the vote on her appointment came to 50/50, of course Mr. Pence cast the single majority vote, obviously in support of the appointment made by his boss, President Trump.

This is a minor example of what happens when the check and balance system no longer functions. When every Presidential whim, dictate or desire will be upheld by at least 50% of the Congress and a majority of 1, you begin to see how Syria ultimately became a total dictatorship— a government of 1, responsible to none.

While the example found in our thoughtless and egotistical leader may seem like a far cry from the deplorable state of Assad’s Syria, it is important to see how a lawless leadership can lead to the dismantling of a freedom that so many generations have fought and died to give us.

This is a time for the citizens of the United States to be vigilant in safeguarding their freedoms.

Remember, the German’s voted for Hitler, the Italians for Mussolini.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Considering the fact that Donald Trump thinks that he is Gods gift to women, I a woman, find him to be the most unattractive, unreliable and dishonest human being that I have ever run across. He is unattractive looking, he is overweight, he has bleached woven hair which he combs to look like the fin of a blowfish. He has squinty eyes with bags underneath them, which he touches up with makeup. He has a constantly sniffing nose, making one wonder whether he is on drugs or not. He has an ugly turned down sulky mouth which sometimes becomes a hole, giving the impression of a small fish. To top it all off, he is a nasty ill mannered narcissistic bully. He is a cheat, a liar, a smart alec, and to boot he is only semi-literate and speaks the English language poorly. Come to think if it, maybe English is not after all his first language.

All of the above would normally describe someone who surely should not be eligible to even be considered for the office of the Presidency of the United States. However amazing as it has been, not only that he received the support of the weak livered fascistic, divided Republican Party, but he has also won the support of many millions of people in the United States. The needs, the fears, the anger and despair of these people must be addressed. These people are part of a large number of American citizens who’s lives have been totally upended largely by the technological revolution through which we are at present living. Most of these people have worked hard all of their lives and have paid their bills on time and have been comfortably settled into the lower end of the middle class. Now suddenly they have found themselves without jobs and with the pattern of their lives being shifted by job loss, into insecurity without the potential of being retrained for other work. The outlook is grim and those people are angry, insecure and they want change. Especially within the United States government.

Since their problems have not been addressed by the Government, they obviously want to change the institution which they blame for their plight. Of course they want change, and of course they want jobs. Some jobs could be provided by the government, if the government were truly run by the people and for the people. Roosevelt did it in the 1930s, Obama tried to do it by seeking the financing to invest in infrastructure. But alas the broken GOP couldn’t allow funding. Instead they shut down the government with no thought what so ever as to what this could mean to the nation as a whole or to this population of vulnerable people. Donald Trump has appealed to these people and played upon their fear and anger. He has told them that he and he alone can fix all of their problems, and they believe him. He has reached out to exacerbate their fears, their angler and their sense of abandonment. He has been the most divisive and the most dangerous politician in this country since the Civil War. He has damaged the United States in the eyes of the entire world. And he has made us more vulnerable as a nation. The recent China-Philippine pact is an example of the kind of alignments that may result from his rhetoric.

The banks, the press, and some elements of the public are supporting him. They believe his lies, his boasting and his vicious divisiveness. He is putting this country in clear and imminent danger. The press must consider how much coverage he should have compared to Hillary. This Nation, these United States need to be brought together again in order to be strong again in the eyes of the world. We must not allow this depraved man to rip us asunder.

Rise and Shine

The generation that follows Bernie Sanders is not without merit. What they are expressing basically is uncertainty and insecurity regarding their future. They look at trade agreements and don’t really understand them. Therefore they blame the economic problems and loss of jobs on these agreements. Of course they have caused some loss of jobs in America, but many more have been lost due to the technological revolution that we are living through. Our society as a whole, and our educational systems have not caught up with the new demands. These agreements have allowed America to export technology, and to import goods into the U.S at much lower cost than we could produce them ourselves and thereby enabling this country and the Bernie Sanders crusaders to live at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible. This does not mean that there are no problems facing this country. As Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have pointed out, this country faces huge problems of economic disparity and social injustice, to say nothing of rampant racial discrimination.

We have allowed our Democracy to be taken over by the oligarchs, the people with huge individual fortunes. They have bought the electoral system of this country and a Supreme Court that allows them through Citizens United to support the gun lobby and to continue to deny this country even a modicum of security from guns held in the hands of the mentally ill or the criminally insane.

Basically, the future of this country is in the hands of the voters. If the Bernie Sanders followers do not go out to vote, there is no possible way that they can change this country, to move it forward, or to get the Government that they want. If they believe in free speech, and if they believe in Democracy then Bernie’s followers have also to understand that not everyone in the United States is ready to support a Socialist state. In order to have free schooling, free university, free medical care, plus Medicaid and Social Security, one way or another everyone would have to pay probably 73% in Taxes overall. You want all of this, but you don’t want government in your lives.

The Clintons are subjected to a constant barrage of criticism. No one seems to remember that this country had no debt when Clinton left office. Yes, he has raised money from around the world, but why should he not? The Clinton Foundation helped to produce a medication that was affordable and that he delivered to millions and millions of children and adults around the world. Where people were and are mired in poverty he has helped to reduce the spread AIDS from devastating and killing.  We should also understand and remember that it was Hillary who tried to get the first national health plan for this country. This was the only country in the developed world that did not have a national health plan. It was a failed plan. The present Obama plan also has problems. It needs to be fixed. And over time it probably will be. And there is no question that limitations need to be placed on the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to bring down the health care costs. However, had it not been for Hillary, this country would probably not have had a conversation about national health care.

If you want to change things, go out and vote. When you vote for the people whom you want to represent you in Congress, the Senate, in your local offices, you become the establishment. Its not all about the Presidency. By defaulting and not voting the “Bernie or bust” crowed will elect Trump. Trump does not care about your jobs, nor does he care about your future, nor does he care about your freedom, nor does he care about what is good for the country. He only cares about what is good for his pocket and golf courses. He is a demagogue, a narcissist and a dictator. He provides lip service to jobs, but so far has only given jobs to special visa immigrant workers whom he brings into this country to work at lower wages than locally unemployed people.

If we do not take command ourselves of our government, and if we do not understand how important our vote is to the future of this country, Bernie’s crusade will not be any different from the children’s crusade of the 13th century. When European children went to convert the Muslims to Christianity and 98% of the children died and nothing ever changed.
We the voters of this country are the establishment. The choice will be between Hillary and Trump. Bernie is not an option. If you do not vote for Hillary, you will be voting for Trump. If you do not vote, you will be voting for Trump. Your obligation is to vote, and if it is Hillary, keep the pressure her and on the Congress and Senate of your choice. We can make the changes. We the voters are the establishment.


This country, the United States of America has gone completely off the charts.
Trump has taken over the sanity of a large portion of the population.. The major news casters of CNN, ABC, CBS and FOX have given Trump 400 million dollars  worth of free publicity per month, but No one seems to care.

He is a consummate liar. He has a history with the mob. He has dealt with the Mafia over and  over again out of choice..  Apparently he has done business constantly with the Gambino family boss John Gotti, but when a reporter asked Trump about his highest stake gambler in the casino, Trump said “I wouldn’t know him if he stood in front of me”.

He knowingly ordered limousines made by another  known crook who was convicted for the theft of auto parts. No one seems to care.

Early on in his career Trump’s lawyer  was Roy Cohn. Roy Cohn was totally supportive of Senator McCarthy, the most right wing fascist America has ever produced.Careers and lives were destroyed by these people and their outrageous lies. No one seems to care.

The fact that he advocates for a police force that sounds like the Gestapo, or that he has bankrupted one company after another,or  that he lies like a rug,that he flip flops on every issue because of his abysmal ignorance. No one seems to care.

His foreign policy consist of building a wall across the Mexican border with the United State.Where really will that wall go? No one seems to care. Actually he should start in Maine, come all the way down the coast past New York City and run down and around Florida, the Gulf, and California all the way up the pacific coast to Canada. Maybe then he can keep out this strange influx of illegal immigrants whom he views as rapists. His ideas are mainly stupid but no one seems to care.

He brings  immigrants  into the country to staff his hotels because he wont pay the higher  wages to people who are  legal American workers. No one seems to care. If you want to talk about outsourcing jobs, I hear that he has his clothes made in China because its cheaper. His third IMMIGRANT wife also has her clothes made there I am told. I don’t know if this is true. But it probably is.

This man, Donald Trump,who is hoping to become  the President of the United States of America  does not even speak English properly.   No one seems to  care…

Despite the fact that he has never served a day in any of the armed service, even in the reserve, he thinks that he knows how a to run the Pentagon, the  Airforce, the Army,Navy and the Marines.. He also seems to think that he has the right to criticize Senator McCain for having been shot down,captured, tortured and imprisoned, because he considers him to be a loser. No one seems to care

He has  never held ANY public office or government position and his ideas and knowledge of  foreign policy were gleaned from his experience in running  a Miss Universe Beauty contest in Moscow. No one seems to care.

The fact that he has been married three times. What does that say about family values? No one worries about his family values or his attitude towards women. He would punish women and deny them  the right to make their own choices regarding their bodies. No one seems to care about that either.

He is a narcissist, an egotist who has to put his name on any surface he can put it on. He even franchises his name so that he can get it in more places. His name is on every building for ten blocks on the Hudson River. I am told that he didn’t even build those buildings.They are only franchises. Now he is putting his name on the old Pose Office in Washington D.C., a beautiful old building which he will convert to a Trump hotel. The sign says, “Trump, Coming to Washington”. . His name is franchised all over the country, and he collects major money for that. The banks have loaned him millions as they can’t let him fail because he owes them so much. None seems to care.

IF HE WERE NOT TRYING TO BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES it might not matter that outside of the Real Estate business he doesn’t know much about anything.  That he is basically an ignorant man.He has little or no understanding of the underlying issues in America. He does not like the American labor force. He will not help people who need help because they are losers. He will make a great country great again by destroying this country and all the values that it has had. He will divide the Nation and encourage anger and  violence.He has already demonstrated this at his rallies. No one seems to care.

Were he to become the President, he would make this country the laughing stock of the entire world. Our allies are quaking in their boots. They are already beginning to have doubts about our ability to support  our partnerships. No one seems to care.

Tell me ONE good thing about Donald Trump, just ONE, because I can’t think of any.Tell me one reason that this  man should represent the United States to the World. He’s against the poor. He’s against the immigrants. He’s a racist. He’s a misogynist. The fact that he is ignorant, cynical and a consummate and perpetual liar , totally without principle. No one seems to care.

He has no platform and no policies because he is basically ignorant  and unqualified to be The President of The United States of America. He only knows how to slander Hillary because she’s a woman. The irrelevant fact that he is fat, ugly and looks like a blow fish who poorly attempt to hide the bags under his eyes by wearing pink makeup, no one seems to care because he is a man.

Hillary may not be perfect. No one who has been in the political arena for any length of time is likely to be pure as the driven snow. But Hillary has served this country long and well.  If you want to make changes in the Government,vote for a Senate and a Congress who will support  making those changes.Call the Newscasters .Get Trump off the airways or at least give equal time to Hillary. Make your voice heard. If you care. Take action. Dump Trump.


The Trump Card

By what god given right does Donald Trump have to be Judge and Jury of anybody who has ever served in the United States Armed Forces? As far as I know, Trump has never served for one single day in any capacity for the benefit of the United States. And Probably avoided service in the armed forces as well.

Senator John McCain served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam war, was shot down, was severely wounded and carried off to the most incredible, horrible prison torture cell in Vietnam. I have been there, I have seen what it was like . I know how the Vietnamese treated their prisoners during the Vietnam war.

One has the right to agree or disagree with Senator McCain’s political views, but no one has the right to condemn his service to the Unite States of America, neither as a Senator or as a member of the armed forces. Unlike Trump who has done nothing else for this country except to bully people, for six years McCain chose to stay in prison. He could have gotten out sooner, but chose to stay with other imprisoned members of the armed forces. How dare Trump call McCain a looser?

Now he has the nerve to appoint himself as Judge and Jury of another American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who served in Afghanistan. I personally don’t believe that any soldier in his right mind would leave the safety of his post and go AWOL in a place like Afghanistan. I don’t know what state of mind he was in at the time of his defection. I realize that it cost the lives of other American Soldiers who had to go out and search for him. It certainly endangered them.

How dare Donald Trump who has never served a day in the military publicly condemn a soldier. At least let the man have the right to go through the proper channels to be tried and judged. How dare Trump decide who is a traitor, and who should be shot and killed.

Trump is a proven cheat and liar. As far I know, he is not known for his service, but rather, presently for his dis-service to this country. He has demeaned the electoral system, and by so doing he has demeaned the Presidency.

I have heard that trump is wearing a bulletproof vest. I guess he thinks that there are people out there who think that it is he who should be shot.

Promises, Promises

As a young actress in the late 1930s, when I was a kid around town looking for acting jobs, everyone was looking to get America straightened out. Jobs were hard to find, if not impossible and there were breadlines on Broadway. We were young and we thought we could get this country straightened out. Many young people in those days signed the Communist Manifesto. Most of them weren’t communists but they fell for the idea of making everything work, of promises made but never to be kept.

Roosevelt ameliorated the situation by creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that employed millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out projects like the construction of public buildings and roads, the Public Works Administration (PWA) that addressed the infrastructure problems, the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Resettlement Administration (RA) that helped relocate struggling urban and rural families to planned communities which later became the Department of Agriculture and numerous other paths to employment. These were some of the needed and necessary corrections to the capitalistic system. We need to do that again!

But jumping on the Bernie Sanders bandwagon of promises does not tell you how to get from here to there. Voting for Bernie Sanders is not the answer. He does not tell you that you will have to pay for those dreams— not just the rich and wealthy but also the poor and hungry. He does not tell you that you have to vote for a unified Democratic Congress and Senate if you really want to see changes made. Without doing this, without your vote for the right members of Congress, Bernie Sanders will get nothing at all done. You may follow him down the path of broken dreams or you can get out there and vote for a reformed Congress and Senate.

So get the support of a Democratic Congress and choose a candidate who knows how to get it done. Someone with the knowledge, the background and the connections to make real change instead of just empty dreams. Get out there men, women, girls, boys! Make it your business to know which members of the Congress and the Senate you need to vote for. Make your dreams come true instead of falling for empty promises.

Trump this! Heil Hitler!

America wake up before it is too late! I have watched the rise of Donald Trump with fear and trembling. Right from the get go I thought this man was a “clear and present danger” to the US. He is a demagogue. He is a rabble rouser, a crowd pleaser, a tough guy, a false God, and yet a pied piper.

He collects the poor, the less educated, the unemployed or underemployed, the disillusioned, and he promises them the sun, the moon and the stars. Of course these people go along. But so did the German people go along with Hitler. This is what I find so frightening. I remember Germany before WWII. I remember Hitler at Nuremberg, whipping the public into a frenzy with the belief that he would make Germany great again and give it back to the Germans. Trump promises to give America back to the Americans and make it great again. He also promises to put up a wall. Remember the wall in Eastern Europe? Doesn’t that sound familiar? Has he completely forgotten history? Or is he banking that you won’t remember or care?

The man is a quintessential bully. He doesn’t have a practical platform to stand on. Look at the man’s record. When he is criticized, he counters with “That’s a lie” even though it is there on record. He says he started with nothing, but if you take time to look you see he received his money from his family. His grandfather was a pimp, his father had ties to the Ku Klux Klan, and Trump ran a University that was a sham. He stole people’s money, he is a thief and a liar and yet he lives off of franchising his own name, claiming one of quality and success. Look harder and you see he is nothing more that a consummate liar, a clown and a crook. He is a Hitler in the making. Remember, Hitler was elected by the German People. Is America going to go the same way?

Was I Wrong?

Was I wrong? Is it too late for Syria? Excerpt from an article by Christoph Reuter from Spiegel Online International.

Abandoning Syria: Few Options Left for Stopping the War

By Christoph Reuter in Beirut

FILE - In this June 5, 2014, file photo, a man rides a bicycle  through a devastated part of Homs, Syria. From the three-year-old boy who washed ashore on a Turkish beach to the 71 migrants who suffocated in a truck in Austria to the daily scenes of chaos unfolding in European cities as governments try to halt a human tide heading north. There is no let up to the horrors that Syria’s civil war keeps producing. Syria’s brutal conflict, now in its fifth year, has touched off the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. About 250,000 people have been killed and more than one million wounded since March 2011, according to U.N. officials. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)
FILE – In this June 5, 2014, file photo, a man rides a bicycle through a devastated part of Homs, Syria. From the three-year-old boy who washed ashore on a Turkish beach to the 71 migrants who suffocated in a truck in Austria to the daily scenes of chaos unfolding in European cities as governments try to halt a human tide heading north. There is no let up to the horrors that Syria’s civil war keeps producing. Syria’s brutal conflict, now in its fifth year, has touched off the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. About 250,000 people have been killed and more than one million wounded since March 2011, according to U.N. officials. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)

Can the Horrors Be Stopped?

A country is hemorrhaging people. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are on the road, traveling to Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, or they have already arrived, and millions will follow suit. The exodus is putting a long-ignored question back onto the political agenda in the West: What can be done to stop the horrors in Syria?

Four years after the beginning of the uprising, a quarter of a million are dead and the political proposals by the United Nations, the German foreign minister, the United States government and others sound very much like proposals in 2011: Negotiate, apply pressure and seek a political solution. The situation is complicated by announcements from France and Great Britain of their intention to participate in air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. But what they overlook is that the overwhelming majority of Syrians are not fleeing from IS, but from Assad’s barrel bombs, the Syrian Air Force and the generally hopeless situation.

IS primarily controls sparsely populated desert areas in eastern Syria. According to reports by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Assad’s soldiers killed about 11,500 people between January and August, while IS killed 1,800. Among civilians, at least 10 times as many people die as a result of the regime’s attacks than at the hands of IS.

IS has made adjustments to cope with the air strikes. Its troops now tend to operate in towns, in which they prevent the residents from fleeing by erecting checkpoints and imposing draconian punishments. This prevents Western forces from effectively attacking IS.

The Assad Question

The refugees are responsible for growing political pressure to find ways out of the war, but their plight does nothing to change the status quo, which has led to the failure of every negotiated solution to date. Russia and Iran want to keep Assad in power, and the West is unwilling to overthrow him and oppose the Russian veto in the UN Security Council or jeopardize Iran’s compliance with the nuclear treaty. Two UN special envoys have already failed to resolve this conflict situation, and a third one is heading in the same direction. Staffan de Mistura has announced new negotiations for October and wants to introduce decentralized task forces, but he has not even mentioned the central issue: Should the goal be to remove Assad or to allow him to remain in power?

The world had already made more headway in earlier negotiations. When influential Syrians from both camps met for secret negotiations at Château de Bossey on Lake Geneva in October 2013, everyone, after initial difficulties, was surprisingly in agreement. Even an advisor to Assad was acquiescent and was not opposed to a peaceful solution. “We will fight down to the last building in Damascus. But what happens after that? The country is ruined. No side can win or stop fighting.”

The meetings were hosted by Switzerland’s Center for Humanitarian Dialogue. As one participant recalls, both sides were exhausted and prepared to make extensive compromises. In the end, the negotiations failed because of one person: Assad. Everything was negotiable, but he had to go, the representatives of the opposition demanded. The participants agreed that a solution was in the hands of the Americans and the Russians.

If there is any solution for Syria anymore, it would have to be similar to the tentative plans suggested in 2013, which called for exiling Assad, his clan, key generals and their families. Those also included extensive amnesties for combatants on both sides, power to be handed over to local authorities — and a common fight against IS. But this type of solution would have required military pressure on Assad, which Washington was never willing to agree to. Even a proposal to install no-fly zones in several Syrian border regions, so that people there could survive without air strikes, was repeatedly rejected.

But then, in August of this year, there was a brief moment when Western diplomats hoped that Iran’s leadership could be willing to agree to Assad’s removal in return for concessions. The Iranians had already secured extensive control over what happened in Damascus by having generals and intelligence chiefs who opposed them removed.

One notable deposition involved the longtime head of Syria’s Republican Guard, Dhu al-Himma Shalish, a close relative of Assad. “With that, the Iranians have direct physical access to Bashar,” said one Western diplomat with good contacts in Damascus. The Iranians also could have deposed Assad, but they didn’t want to.

Meanwhile, the Russians have arrived. In recent days, several Russian navy transport ships have landed in Latakia harbor, fully loaded with armored vehicles and other military equipment. Some 300 soldiers with Russia’s 810th naval infantry brigade are reportedly also on board. Three giant Antonov 124 cargo aircraft and a passenger jet landed at the nearby airport. Mobile housing for 1,000 men and a command post to monitor air traffic have reportedly been installed. Russia is upping the ante on its already massive military aid for Assad.

It is doing so under the pretext of a joint fight with the West against the “terrorists.” But Russia has a very different notion of what constitutes a terrorist than the US or Europe. Putin subscribes to Assad’s definition, which ranges from rebel groups supported by the US to IS militants. Based on the involvement of Russian troops in fighting in the east of the Latakia province, it’s clear who Moscow sees as the prime target: Syrian rebels. The Islamic State isn’t to be found anyhere near that particular theater of battle.

Different Countries, Different Goals

It is unclear what President Vladimir Putin’s strategic goals are in Syria. Is he merely trying to secure Assad’s home region in the mountains between Latakia and Tartus, and preserve Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean? Or does Russia intend to re-establish its vassal Assad’s control over the entire country?

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards already failed in a similar attempt. In 2012, they began sending their own troops and combatants with the Lebanese Hezbollah group to Syria, as well as arranging for the deployment of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans. Despite these efforts, the Syrian regime is running out of troops. The fronts are softening in the north and south, and IS has been able to capture natural gas fields and the ancient city of Palmyra in the east. Analysts estimate that this year the Assad regime has lost about a fifth of the territory it controlled in 2014.

There has been little international support for the Syrian rebels — a product of the fact that individual countries are pursuing different goals. The US only wants to fight IS and has implemented a $500-million program to train Syrian fighters. Most of the 54 men in the first of these US-trained units were abducted by radicals with the al-Nusra Front, because the group believed it was the target of the campaign. Saudi Arabia and Qatar tend to fund Islamist groups, which the United States mistrusts. And Turkey is seeking allies for its war against Kurdish separatists with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

A negotiated solution still seems a long way off, at least as long as Assad remains in power. Negotiations can only succeed if both parties stand to benefit. But from the very beginning, Assad and his top leaders chose a path that permits only victory or defeat. And Russia supports them on this path.

Putin is now counting on those in the West who believe that the priority is to fight IS, and that this requires supporting Assad. But his ongoing rule is the original reason for the conflict. Besides, Assad is unable to fulfill these expectations because he controls less and less territory. He has no lack of weapons, aircraft or funds, but he does lack soldiers.

The only way Syria can survive as a nation is if the two large camps, consisting of the moderate rebels and the Syrian army, band together against IS to preserve the country. This could easily work without Assad, but not with him.

Failure to Act

Since the days of his father, dynasty founder Hafez Assad, fear was always a major component in Syria’s principle of rule. It not only includes subjects’ fear of those in power, but also their own followers’ fear of everyone else. The Alawite religious community, to which the Assads belong, makes up one-tenth of the Syrian population. The most effective way to preserve the Alawites’ unconditional loyalty was not preferential treatment but fear of the Sunni majority. And this fear was systematically stoked with such campaigns as the bloody suppression of a rebellion by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama in 1982. Even after Hafez’s death, any attempt at conciliation was blocked. Fear of revenge by their enemies has turned the Alawites into perfect hostages of Assad. The president, in turn, fears that negotiations will lead to his demise, and that loyalties could be destroyed and pave the way for new protests, because tens of thousands of Alawites have also died defending the family dictatorship without the promised victory ever materializing.

Two years ago, it still would have been possible for the West to intervene on behalf of the moderate rebels. But skeptics feared that intervention in Syria would lead to more violence and deaths, the triumph of jihadist radicals and the collapse of public order. All of these things have occurred — not because, but despite the fact that the West did not intervene.

If US President Barack Obama had ordered air strikes on the military’s nerve centers following Assad’s poison gas attacks on the Damascus suburbs, the regime probably would have collapsed. At the time, intelligence services were already observing efforts by officers and soldiers to defect. But Obama apparently was unwilling to risk an overthrow of Assad and the resulting power vacuum.

But what could have been worse than what happened after that? In September 2013, IS had not yet begun its victory march, around 130,000 people who are now dead were still alive, and it would have been much easier to preserve the entire country than it is today.

There are many indications today that a partition of Syria is the most likely future scenario. Iran and Hezbollah have withdrawn their forces from large parts of the north and south since the beginning of the year. They want to focus on defending the core region controlled by Assad, which they can hold — the densely populated strip from Damascus to Latakia.

A partition of Syria would probably be the biggest favor the world could do for IS. A Russian-Iranian protectorate in the west would stand in the way of any unification of the entire country, and it would mean abandoning the rest of the country — to the delight of IS “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who knows that the Syrian rebels alone cannot defeat Islamic State.

No Way Back

The gradual dissolution of Syria makes it extremely difficult to find a solution for the entire country. Two other parties to the conflict have already taken control of large portions of the country. In the north, troops with the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK, control the three traditionally Kurdish areas along the Turkish border. And even though the Kurdish party leadership in Syria consistently denies wanting to establish its own state, this is precisely what Western intelligence officials believe it intends to do. This is why the Turkish government is doing everything in its power to prevent the YPG from capturing more territory. Hezbollah, in turn, has captured a broad strip of land along the Lebanese border in a move that could disrupt the country’s delicate confessional balance.

It may simply be too late for Syria.
The hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees apparently agree. It is often overlooked that their exodus to Europe has only just begun. Many Syrians were already leaving the country before, but now everyone wants to leave — not just opponents of the regime, but also those who had kept a low profile, Assad’s followers and supporters. Syrians in all political camps have lost faith in their country’s future.

The wars for control over the decaying country make a peaceful solution virtually impossible. These wars know no borders, as evidenced by IS’ campaign of conquest in Iraq and Ankara’s fight against the PKK. The longer all of this lasts, the more difficult it will be to stop Syria’s demise. And the longer the hundreds of thousands who have left remain in exile, the more unlikely they are to return. A bombed city can be rebuilt, but a destroyed country, abandoned by those who want to live a life of dignity, work and raise children, is a different story.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan.

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This mass immigration of entire populations from the Middle East is a phenomena that the world has never seen before. Even after the Babylonia Exile of 539 BC, when the entire population had to flee, even then in terms of the numbers of people, it was nothing like this nor was it voluntary. They were forced into exile. In the 1930s, when Jews fled Germany it was because they were specifically targeted for death if they remained. I believe that all nations of the world should offer aid to individuals who are personally targeted for annihilation and therefore have been forced to flee.

However, this situation of entire populations leaving their countries and fleeing across continents, expecting permanent care, shelter and jobs in a recipient nation is an entirely different concept. This is the first time in history that entire nations have fled to other countries in search of a better life somewhere else. If they succeed, what will stop millions of others from following? Are these people here to stay or are they just seeking temporary shelter? And why is it that Saudi Arabia hasn’t stepped in. They are fellow Islamists and have air-conditioned tents all set up. If there is a temporary solution, there it is. But that is not what these refugees are looking for. They are looking to take what others have, fleeing their war torn country where they cannot stay and fight without international support.

What kind of a message does this send to the millions of people who are waiting for legal entry into the US and other countries? And what kind of signal are we sending to all those living on subsistence diets or who can’t earn enough to survive here in the United States? I think we should close our borders, keep these people on their own turf and help them there as we should have been doing for the past 60 years or more.

As their exile is voluntary, the problems posed by such masses of people present an entirely new set of issues. The cost to the recipient countries will be enormous in terms of language, religion, culture and economy. The obvious solution is not by opening the gates for entire nations to move from one end of the planet to the other. The obvious solution is, and has always been, to help these people on their native soil. Every revolution, the American, the Russian, the French, have been won by those who stayed on the ground, who faced death and fought for their freedom and for the safety of their own land.

This is something very different. The Syrians have doubled their population twice in 60 years and suffered historical droughts. Out of pure prejudice, they did not seek help from the Israelis who have developed the best irrigation systems in the world. Syria has rivers such as the Euphrates as well as access to the Mediterranean. Why didn’t the Western World help them then? America bears much responsibility, as well as does the rest of the Western World. And what solution is provided by their running away? These problems will not be solved here, there or anywhere else other than on the home turf of the Middle East and all of Africa. These are problems of overpopulation, drought, power-mad leadership and the failure of the Western World to take up the cudgel and fight a war against poverty and hunger.

This mass immigration is playing right into the hands of ISIS and Assad. The fewer discontent people Assad has to deal with, the better from his point of view. And the fewer people ISIS has to deal with, the greater amount of territory they can take. ISIS and Assad, though enemies of each other, each represent a threat to every country in the world. ISIS is supporting their tyrannical rule by illegally selling historical artwork and oil, as well as through ransoms from kidnappings, and seem to have no end to their military supplies. Meanwhile, the Western World seems all too happy to buy their oil and illegal artwork. And who knows if amongst these millions of immigrants, ISIS and Al Qaeda haven’t scattered their sacrificial lambs to raise havoc in each and every country across the Western World by placing moles.

I believe this mass immigration to be a clear and present danger to every recipient country. I believe all borders should be closed and a united world effort to solve these problems on their home turf, whatever is required. We, the Western World, will be destroyed by this if we do not accept this clarion call to action.

Depraved DeBlasio

I have lived most of my life as a resident of New York City. My mother grew up here, and her mother lived here.  My two sons have grown up in New York City, and my grandchildren have grown up here as well. In my entire life here, it never occurred to me nor to anyone else whom I have known, that  dishonesty and criminal behavior could ever put people on an even playing field when applying for a job.  Mayor De Blasio has now set this City on the road to ruination. This man is without conscience. He must be forced to resign, or else he should be impeached. He was swept into office because no one came out to vote. He won by default. This is the most dramatic demonstration of the failure of the American people to take responsibility for their lives and to take the responsibility that is inherent in the idea of a democracy. It is the failure of this public to accept the obligation as citizens to go to the polls to vote for the best person who is entered in the political battle at that time.

Mr. DeBlasio recently signed a bill (Int. No. 318) into legislation making it illegal to run a credit check on someone who is applying for a job. He then fortified that legislation with additional regulations that makes the use of a criminal background check illegal for job applicants in most occupations and professions.  So any criminal can from now on come to work in your building, for your family and maybe even for your school. This is the most unconscionable law ever passed by any ambitious lunatic in government in the nearly 250 year history of this country.  A heroin addict or dealer who has served time in prison can now attend to your child, can work in any capacity in your building, your school, your hospitals, as your housekeeper, your babysitter and your child’s school bus driver. There is no end to where this can lead.

The DeBlasios are depraved. According to the newspaper accounts, this Mayor’s wife was being paid $175,000  when he took office. Supposedly, she was the advisor and assistant to the Mayor. The hue and cry against this abuse caused her to resign. She then hired her friend who was living with a criminal or ex con. I sense that this may be the root of this ill-conceived law. This is their revenge against the City and its inhabitants for having taken public action against Charlene De Blasio and her friends. I absolutely cannot see any other rational reason for such a destructive law. This is an invitation for all honest, hardworking people to leave this city and flee to the countryside or any other place where honesty and integrity are still a factor in our lives. The effect of this on Business is mind boggling. Any corporation with any fiduciary responsibility to the public will be decimated by this law. This leaves corporations and individuals vulnerable to law suits by any perspective employee who has a criminal record . This will certainly be an additional reason for corporations and other businesses to leave the city.  De Blasio is a depraved maniac.  People! Please, men, women, girls, and boys–get out there; hit the streets. Protest in masses. That’s the only way to stop this insanity.