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Syrian war in video
August 1, 2012 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Watching Syria's War [Caution: war]. The New York Times is posting video coming out of the Syrian Civil War with context and background: Street Fighting in Allepo (related), Crusader Castle Becomes Rebel Redoubt (AFP report), Tank Stalking, Harrowing ride through the streets of Homs. The online video has "allowed the war to be documented like no other", according to the Times, presumably because of the ubiquity of video cameras among the fighters and access to the Internet.
posted by stbalbach (45 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
In the first link, the blue "expand" buttons show other videos.
posted by stbalbach at 1:38 PM on August 1, 2012


It's been that way for a couple of wars now: the 2008 Russian-Georgian war could be followed almost live on Youtube as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Crusader Castle Becomes Rebel Redoubt

Like a great many fortresses of the crusader era the Crac des Chevaliers is perched right up on top of a pinnacle, the better to view the land about and make attackers charge uphill. The crusaders didn't have to worry about attack aircraft. I hope this works out for the rebels better than I fear it will.
posted by jfuller at 1:45 PM on August 1, 2012


I am not getting the thing that is going to keep Assad from going even more apeshit and using, say, nerve gas on the population. I mean, this is a dude that is going to say, war planes on my people are fine, but chemical weapons, no no no?
posted by angrycat at 1:48 PM on August 1, 2012


This is a great post.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:53 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Economist on Syria's chemical weapons. They've claimed that they'll only use them against "external aggression."
posted by cr_joe at 1:55 PM on August 1, 2012


baynetnas has a lot of video uploaded.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:07 PM on August 1, 2012


Syria's video activists give revolution the upper hand in media war.
Also Syria's DIY Revolt
posted by adamvasco at 2:07 PM on August 1, 2012


Syria's DIY revolt is being helped a lot by Saudi money and arms, as well as Chechen fighters giving advice.

No value judgements*, but it isn't just like the guy next door is making it all up.

* I have no particular love for either side, and it's not like the West didn't prop up similarly dubious people in Libya.
posted by jaduncan at 2:12 PM on August 1, 2012


Syria's DIY revolt is being helped a lot by Saudi money and arms, as well as Chechen fighters giving advice.

Of all the lessons I might have hoped Iran and Saudi Arabia would learn from the Cold War, Proxy Wars Rock! was really not one.
posted by Copronymus at 2:29 PM on August 1, 2012


The crusaders didn't have to worry about attack aircraft. I hope this works out for the rebels better than I fear it will.

I hope it works out better for the castle than I fear it will.
posted by BWA at 2:40 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of all the lessons I might have hoped Iran and Saudi Arabia would learn from the Cold War, Proxy Wars Rock! was really not one.

If Syria flips, Iran is constrained a lot in their actions as they lose a) their major state ally, b) rock-solid reliability access to the Med and c) the supply lines to Hezbollah, their other major regional chip. It's utterly unsurprising that they are playing for keeps.
posted by jaduncan at 2:40 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am not getting the thing that is going to keep Assad from going even more apeshit and using, say, nerve gas on the population.

He's not a total monster?

He recognizes that his government still has legitimacy with a sizable chunk of the population, and unleashing chemical weapons that way might weaken that support?

He recognizes that his government still has some legitimacy internationally (China, Russia), and that unleashing chem weapons would eliminate that?

It's like asking why the United States didn't drop nukes on Hanoi and Baghdad even while both were shocknawed by B-52s.
posted by notyou at 2:42 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've often thought that the future of war-theater reporting is going to be people with cellphones selling their footage to Western news agencies too poor/disinterested/worried about their personnel to send in their own reporters. Especially as the quality of the video you can get from handheld devices goes up over time.


I am not getting the thing that is going to keep Assad from going even more apeshit and using, say, nerve gas on the population.

Everything that notyou said, but also because he still has a fair chance to win at this point using conventional weaponry. A lot of people are treating this fight as if it is all over but the formalities, but this isn't Libya. This war could go on a very long time, and the US/EU is not going to intervene in the way that they did against Quaddafi given how China, Russia and Iran are acting.

Unless, of course, Assad does something ridiculously over-the-top which makes supporting him untenable. Like using chemical weapons.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:53 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


US/EU is not going to intervene in the way that they did against Quaddafi given how China, Russia and Iran are acting.

Turkey, and the Saudis could get a bit more open about their preferences, as it's not a situation where there's one central government and one set of rebel beliefs (Saudi Islamists vs. the more secular Muslims/Alawites/Christians in general/secularists, for example) and all the regional powers have their proxies and allies.

But, frankly, mainly Turkey as their regional interests re the Kurds are very threatened indeed; the've only just managed to get Iraqi Kurdistan at least grudgingly on side against the PKK and it's not like they haven't had problems with the PKK openly operating out of the Beqaa Valley and staging operations against Turkey before.
posted by jaduncan at 3:07 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]




In fact, given that

a) they don't like Assad;
b) they don't like Iran;
c) they are not particuarly keen on the Saudis, and;
d) they didn't have their own proxy force, but appear to allow the FSA to operate fairly freely out of Turkish refugee camps

it would rather appear that the Turks have decided they have a reasonable chance of winning Syria as a close ally if the FSA leadership can win. That would enable them to not be so close to Israel, something that has both domestic and international political advantages. It would also mean that the FSA would be able to deal with the Kurds as a proxy force.

Turkey really needs for this to go right for purely military/geopolitical reasons, even setting aside the fact that they almost certainly aren't really that keen on paying the food and security bill to host millions of refugees of various political stripes for the foreseeable future.
posted by jaduncan at 3:13 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I hope it works out better for the castle than I fear it will.
> posted by BWA at 5:40 PM on August 1 [+] [!]

Oh aye, that too. Though I admit if it was me I'd probably crawl under the nearest handy thing even if it were a World Heritage Site.
posted by jfuller at 3:26 PM on August 1, 2012


The rebel militia, on tv, now doing street executions of army guys caught...the place a real horror show and no wonder the US afraid to be involved with so many loonies on either side.
posted by Postroad at 3:42 PM on August 1, 2012


the place a real horror show and no wonder the US afraid to be involved with so many loonies on either side.

I'm pretty sure arming rebels counts as being involved...but they are our goddamn loonies amirite?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:08 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Economist on Syria's chemical weapons. They've claimed that they'll only use them against "external aggression."

If things get bad enough for Assad, he'll probably claim that the rebels are really external aggressors, and use chemical weapons.
posted by happyroach at 6:10 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]






The Big Picture: Battle for Aleppo intensifies Syrian conflict
posted by homunculus at 6:51 PM on August 1, 2012


Why Syria's Rebels Can't Have It All: Don't listen to pundits who want to drag America into another Middle East quagmire.

C'mon, it's be over by Christmas. I'm sure of it.
posted by Justinian at 11:05 PM on August 1, 2012


If things get bad enough for Assad, he'll probably claim that the rebels are really external aggressors, and use chemical weapons.

It's not up to him. It's up to the mid-ranking officers who actually have physical control of the chemical weapons and they won't use them if "things get bad enough" because at that time they'll be thinking more about their future and potential appearances in Den Haag than about the survival of the Assad regime.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:07 PM on August 1, 2012


I've been roaming around el Salvador for the past few weeks. If you talk to people, you get to hear all kinds of stories about what happens when the us and Russia fight a proxy war in your country. If you go a bit south east of la libertad, there is a beach called San Diego. In the 70s, it was a fairly happening beach town, kind of like the jersey shore, I guess. When you walk down the mud streets, there is one beach house after another, water slides, big pools, and so on. Then the war happened. Now they're all empty and in ruins. With razor wire on top of the walls, or even just shards of broken glass in concrete to stop people from breaking in. The only economic activity is a few shacks with tiendas in them, a couple of restaurants and a few hostels. The beach down there is gorgeous, the people are great, but it basically looks post-apocalyptic there. And the war ended 20 years ago.

I've had a couple of people tell me about how their family members were tortured and murdered, sometimes by both sides in the civil war. Travelling the country now, it's almost impossible to believe they were massacring each other so soon in the past, or that they would intentionally do that to each other, or to their own country. And if it weren't for the 'great' powers, playing their geopolitical games, they probably wouldn't have.

It's so, so easy for us over here to talk about supporting freedom and capitalism, but the money and arms we are sending over to these places don't just do that, if they do it at all. They're supporting economic devastation and murder first and foremost, and it doesn't just magically bounce back after the war ends.
posted by empath at 6:17 AM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]








BBC: Turkey training rebels, says FSA fighter.
US coordinating with secret command centre operated by Turkey and allies but arrangement falls short of arming Syrian opposition.
State Department and Pentagon Plan for Post-Assad Syria.
We Are the New Government'; Rebels Plant Seeds for Syria's Future
posted by adamvasco at 1:05 AM on August 5, 2012








Al Jazeera: Fight for Syrian city of Aleppo continues 'Army shells rebel-held districts of commercial capital as violence nationwide kills 37 people, activists say.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2012












Foreign Affairs: Ramadan in Aleppo
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:04 AM on August 14, 2012


Iran accused of setting up pro-Assad militias:
US defence secretary says Iran's Revolutionary Guards giving pro-government fighters in Syria training and weapons.

Most of Syria out of Assad's control, says ex-PM

From Syria’s Ashes: A new Alawite state could redraw the map of the Middle East.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:28 AM on August 15, 2012




If Alawites are turning against Assad then his fate is sealed.
The Long View: There seems to be a Baathist pattern of destroying Sunni villages on the edge of the Alawite heartland. I always find Robert Fisk's view on what is happenening in the Middle East to be worth a read.
posted by adamvasco at 3:34 AM on August 15, 2012




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