[Marxism] Report on Syria Opposition

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Sep 16 09:04:31 MDT 2013

On 9/16/13 10:28 AM, Jack A. Smith wrote:
>> From The Daily Telegraph (UK) Sept. 15
> By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent, and Ruth Sherlock in Beirut
> Opposition forces battling Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria now
> number around 100,000 fighters, but after more than two years of
> fighting they are fragmented into as many as 1,000 bands.
> The new study by IHS Jane's, a defence consultancy, estimates there
> are around 10,000 jihadists - who would include foreign fighters -
> fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda..
> Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the
> outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war
> rather than a wider international struggle.

The IHS Jane report is not available on their website so you have to 
rely on the Telegraph's presentation. For example, the article states 
that only 10 percent of the fighters are jihadists (no surprise) but adds:

"Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the 
outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war 
rather than a wider international struggle."

What exactly does this mean? That they yell out "Alluahkbar" after 
firing a machine gun at an armored helicopter? That they favor Sharia 
law? Who knows?

For the longest time, the Telegraph has been promoting the idea that 
Syria is facing a jihadist threat. In a March 23, 2013 article they 
blame the rebels for using chemical weapons but shamelessly preface the 
article by Alex Thomson with this:

"A Syrian Army source gives the first account of what is believed to 
have been a chemical attack - and it could mean that one of the West's 
biggest fears is about to come true."

Well now, the Syrian army... Of course...

Thomson reported that the rebels used chlorine gas against Baathist 
troops last March. Brown Moses had this to say on that:


After the chemical attack in Khan al-Assal Alex Thomson of Channel 4 
News reported various claims made by the Syrian government about the 
attack.  This includes the claim that “a relatively small amount of 
chlorine gas, namely CL17 which was dissolved into saline solution in a 
home-made rocket.”  Considering the number of casualties do you believe 
it is a realistic scenario that chlorine delivered in such a fashion 
could cause that number of causalities?

‘Chlorine gas’ is dispersed by the wind; it is unsuited to missile 
warheads, as described in the article because of its likely destruction 
by any explosion but also the lack of knowledge of wind direction in the 
target area.  The wrong wind conditions would result in the attackers 
bearing the brunt of their own attack.  The survivors of a chlorine gas 
attack would still display chlorine gas attack symptoms, such as chronic 
breathing problems.  I’ve only heard about dead victims from this 
attack; it is unlikely that chlorine gas delivered in this manner would 
kill everyone in its vicinity and not leave any injured.  Chlorine was 
used in a few attacks in Iraq but it was reported that most of the 
casualties and deaths were caused by the effect of the blast rather than 
the effects of the chlorine.  I’ve not heard of long-term injuries 
caused by the chlorine attacks in Iraq and this may indicate the 
difficulty in dispersing a chemical weapon in an open environment with 

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