Well, “Thats It!”

I met a Muslim man who was said to be the font of all religious knowledge for a group of Palestinians in Melbourne. I asked him if the time of Ramadan was placed like the time of Easter was over seasonal times of celebration and the moon phases. His answer?

“It is what it is and THATS IT!”

Luckily others I met were less rigid. He was known to us after that simply as Mr Thatsit.

I am thinking his type of person has started to take over the world…..but I wont let myself go that far. It does look like the last nail in the coffin that was Yarmouk, Damascus has been nailed this week.

At the end of this post I have included a video posted yesterday which shows IS moving through the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee area yelling “Takfir.” There is no doubt that the beautiful piano man in the video below has gone and any smiles disappeared under Al Nusra and now their ‘friends’ the IS or as they are all known to the locals Da’ash. First the piano man……………

Read the electronic intifada article here

But that’s all gone now as on April Fools Day, 6 days ago, Al Yarmouk, once the largest area housing Palestinian Refugees in Syria,  was overrun by IS. Not that the Nusrats were any better, in fact it is believed it was them that ushered IS in through the corridor streets to Yarmouk. The name Al Yarmouk in Arabic means literally, “The Camp”. Just 8ks from the centre of the once beautiful city of Damascus. Yarmouk was, until late 2011, a thriving metropolitan suburb.

Then in 2011, things started to crack. We were told the war in Syria was a result of the so-called Arab Spring, people inside Syria wanting ‘Regime Change.’ The so-called Free Syrian Army (Moderates?!) were intent of removing a ‘corrupt regime’ and ‘instituting democratic reform’. It was clear then that these FSA Leaders were people who had not lived in the country for years. They were political exiles who did not have the support of the majority of the Syrian people. But the neo-lib and hasbura press continued to ploy us with platitudes and rhetoric to keep us dumbed down.

My first site on MSM of the now bitter and criminally insane war was in 2011. It was of unidentified uniformed snipers labelled ‘Assad regime forces,’ shooting western guns (?) at demonstrators in Deraa from behind a low brick wall…..remind anyone of past covert regime change ‘interventions’? When things got hotter we were ‘informed’ by MSM that the fight was a ‘Civil War,’ ‘fuelled by sectarian interests’. This in a country where Christians still made wine, Muslims were quietly accepting of their various typology and even included around 20,000 Israeli Jews who entered when the Golan Heights were taken by Israel.

Palestinians generally wanted to stay non-aligned, many making this declaration on-line. But Palestinians and their cause is always a international hot potato. They were about to be forced to chose. We saw the Palestinians drawn into a War that they on the whole did not see as theirs. They generally supported the government of Bashar Al Assad who had clearly supported them in the past and this was not their War, but it was closing in on them.

Palestinian refugees in Syria over 18years old do compulsory military service in the PLA (Palestinian Army in Syria) for 18 months, trained by the PLA with  Syrian army weapons and facilities. The PLA was also based in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon with mandates to cooperate with their hosts. Now, the Syrian PLA base is the only one in the entire Arab world. Between January and July 2012, seven organised assassinations were carried out on senior military PLA  members. My brother in law was shot under such circumstances and no doubt other similar lesser ranked soldiers died in in the same way. On 2nd August 2012, a visiting reporter to Yarmouk, Sharmine Narwani (nsnbc), talked to residents following the first major mortar attack on the suburb which killed 20 people.

Foreign media headlines suggested the Syrian government was shelling Yarmouk, but Palestinians inside expressed doubt. Some said these were rebel mortars from adjacent neighborhoods, but it was clear nobody could provide definitive answers for what may simply have been a series of stray shells…. Yarmouk, once home to around a million Syrians and 160,000 Palestinian refugees, was an oasis of calm that summer day of my visit. By contrast, driving through rebel-occupied Tadamoun, Yalda and Hajar al-Aswad on my way in and out of the camp, one could only gape at the burned buildings and vehicles, shuttered shops, rubble in the streets and makeshift checkpoints dotting these new conflict zones.

Attacks inside Yarmouk began with snipers and mortars from neighbouring suburbs, people began to disappear for ransom or just disappear for ever. People knew there was a strong push from Saudi Arabia to ‘change the state of play in Syria and that their money fed the so called ‘insurgents’ who were no more than mercenaries. PFLP leader Ahmad Jabril was clearly behind Al Assad, and left Yarmouk for his own protection, internal cracks began to show. People who remained inside the camp were divided. Thousands of Islamist fighters invaded and occupied Yarmouk on December 17, 2012 In Dec 2012 it was reported that…

All of the camp is under the control of the (rebel) Free Syrian Army,” said a Palestinian activist in Yarmouk. He said clashes had stopped and the remaining PFLP-GC fighters retreated to join Assad’s forces massed on the northern edge of the camp. The stories these fighters tell me is nothing I have read in English, or in any mainstream publication outside Syria. Theirs is a story that is black-and-white. Thousands of Islamist fighters invaded and occupied Yarmouk on December 17, 2012, and Palestinians and Syrians alike fled the camp, literally beginning the next day. see here

At this time most people left Yarmouk, for other Damascan suburbs or moved outside the country predominantly to Lebanon, and onto Europe if they could. In 2013 their fears were even more realised when it became clearer that return to their homes was, if ever possible, a very long way off. Jabat Al Nusra became entrenched in Yarmouk, after yo-yoing in and out due to local fighter efforts and government force attacks.

The militants, they say, systematically destroyed the camp, killed people, looted homes, hospitals – anything they could get their hands on. They insist that the rebels could not have captured Yarmouk without the help of Hamas, and are convinced that Hamas supporters are still inside the camp, now members of Al-Nusra Front, AknafBeit al-Maqdes, Ohdat al-Omariyya, Ahrar al-Yarmouk, Zahrat al Mada’en and other rebel groups that they say occupy the camp. They claim Hamas employed and provided financial assistance to displaced Syrians who escaped conflict elsewhere and settled in Yarmouk. “They hired them for this conflict,” says one. The finger-pointing at Hamas persists throughout all my conversations with refugees in the three separate camps I visit in Syria. While all Hamas officials exited the country early on in the conflict, the fact remains that many Palestinians affiliated with Hamas did not. On the outside, we understand Hamas is not there, but within the camps, Palestinians identify the individuals they accuse of sedition as “Hamas people.” This blurred line has provided Hamas’ political leadership with ‘plausible deniability’ against accusations that it has aided Islamist rebels in the camps. The fuzzy lines first became clear to me in the autumn of 2011 when a Hamas official confided that they had to “remove some people” from these areas who were displaying increasing sympathy with the Syrian opposition.

See complete article here The same journalist that reported the situation (above) returned in March 2014.

A year-and-a-half later, in March 2014, I visited Yarmouk again. The camp is unrecognizable now, and the pictures we see don’t do justice to the damage. At the entrance of the camp, I was greeted by armed Palestinians who are part of a 14-group ‘volunteer force’ formed for the purpose of protecting Yarmouk and ejecting the rebel fighters deep inside the camp. The group falls under the umbrella of the Popular Palestinian Committees for the Liberation of Yarmouk. When I ask them where they’re from, in rapid-fire, one after the other, they tell me,“Safad, Lubya, Haifa, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Acca,” though, of course, they’re too young to ever have been to any of these places. That’s where their parents or grandparents hail from. That’s where they intend to return one day. There’s a lone Syrian among them. He was raised in Yarmouk and is a Palestinian as far as he’s concerned. The stories these fighters tell me is nothing I have read in English, or in any mainstream publication outside Syria. Theirs is a story that is black-and-white.

On 24th Dec 2014, Palestinian Fatah leader Mohammad Ahmad Tarawiya was shot and killed in Yarmouk

The assassination of Tarawiya happened at sustained attempts, since 2012, to target Palestinian refugee camps and to weaken Palestinian factions in Syria which are among the strongest of the progressive and pan-Arabist Palestinian resistance fronts. The assassination also happens against the backdrop of disputes within Palestine’s Fatah movement itself. Within Yarmouk itself, there have been armed rivalries between Hamas and foreign-backed insurgents on one side, and Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), the PFLP-GC and other progressive as well as rejectionist factions on the other since 2012. While it is still uncertain who the masked gunmen that shot Tarawiya were, or on whose behalf they acted, it is certain that Tarawiya had both foreign and Palestinian foes.”

See source here This is what is there now, please check it, watching these guys manoeuvre through empty suburban streets is eerie…………………………………

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=870_1428256142

Ahmad Jebril said in 2012 if Yarmouk falls Damascus falls, I hope he was wrong. Enough people have suffered and 3500 children remain in Yarmouk. No playschool, dancing or piano classes for them.

Dear Syria: From One Refugee to Another – Ramzy Baroud repost from Dissident Voice

Ramzy Baroud often touches a nerve for me, his writing is thoughtful and always shows connectedness to his subject.

I have wanted to post on recent issues relating to the Australian Counter Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 and its capacity for thoughtless personal impact through poor policy interpretation of an overly zealous law initiated under the cloud of ‘Terror Threats’ to Australia trumpeted by our government. The implementation of Policy in Australia means the fact that you are Palestinian, will never be forgotten (even if you become a citizen of this country and carry her passport) by security forces of Customs and Border etc and the various Police entities involved in working under this Act.

Double whammy if you are a Palestinian from Syria.

Triple whammy if your birthplace as a part of the diaspora post 1948 was Libya.

Quadruple whammy if you were once an asylum seeker to these shores.

Quintuple if you had to return to Syria for any valid reason over the past few years.

I am still debating whether it is timely to post my piece or if I should do further research and wait for the right moment to be more in tune with the universe and less fucking angry. (Takfiri outsiders in Al Yarmouk killed by multiple poorly aimed gunshots at least 3 men in recent street ‘court assassinations’ for swearing as I just did- Fuck them and their proxy war trainers, suppliers, financiers and supporters)

I want to THANK you Ramzy for this piece, for the 7 reminders and warnings and particularly for the reminder that some people really do understand why you think of your mother when you hear the word ‘refugee’ and why you say, “Dear Syria”……………….

Dear Syria: From One Refugee to Another

Whenever the word ‘refugee’ is uttered, I think of my mother. When Zionist militias began their systematic onslaught and ‘cleansing’ of the Palestinian Arab population of historic Palestine in 1948, she, along with her family, ran away from the once peaceful village of Beit Daras.

Back then, Zarefah was six. Her father died in a refugee camp in a tent provided by the Quakers soon after he had been separated from his land. She collected scrap metal to survive.

My grandmother Mariam, would venture out to the ‘death zone’ that bordered the separated and newly established state of Israel from Gaza’s refugee camps to collect figs and oranges. She faced death every day. Her children were all refugees, living in shatat – the Diaspora.

My mother lived to be 42. Her life was tremendously difficult. She married a refugee, my dad, and together they brought seven refugees into this world – my brothers, my sister and myself. One died as a toddler, for there was no medicine in the refugee camp’s clinic.

No matter where we are, in time and place, we carry our refugee ID cards, our undefinable nationalities, our precious status, our parents’ burden, our ancestors’ pain.

In fact, we have a name for it. It is called waja’ – ‘aching’ – a character that unifies millions of Palestinian refugees all across the globe. With our refugee population now dominated by second, third or even fourth generation refugees, it seems that our waja’ is what we hold in common most. Our geographies may differ, our languages, our political allegiances, our cultures, but ultimately, we meet around the painful experiences that we have internalized throughout generations.

My mother used to say – ihna yalfalastinieen damitna qaribeh – tears for us Palestinians are always close by. But our readiness to shed tears is not a sign of weakness, far from it. It is because throughout the years we managed to internalize our own exile, and its many ramifications, along with the exiles of everyone else’s. The emotional burden is just too great.

We mask the unbearable aching somehow, but it is always close to the surface. If we hear a single melody by Marcel Khalifeh or Sheikh Imam, or a few verses by Mahmoud Darwish, the wound is as fresh as ever.

Most of us no longer live in tents, but we are reminded of our refugee status every single day, by the Israeli occupation, by the Gaza siege and the internally-displaced Palestinians in Israel, by the Iraq war and the displacement of the already displaced Palestinians there, by the despicable living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East.

But for us, Syria has been our greatest waja’ in years. Aside from the fact that most of Syria’s half a million Palestinian refugees are on the run again, living the pain of displacement and loss for the second, third, or even fourth time. Nine million Syrian refugees are now duplicating the Palestinian tragedy, charting the early course of the Palestinian Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948.

Watching the destitution of the Syrian refugees is like rewinding the past, in all of its awful details. And watching Arab states clamor to aid the refugees with ample words and little action feels as if we are living Arab betrayal all over again.

I watched my grandparents die, followed by my parents and many of my peers. All of them died refugees, carrying the same status and the same lost hope of return. The most they ever received from the ‘international community’ was a few sacks of rice and cheap cooking oil. And, of course, numerous tents.

With time our refugee status morphed from being a ‘problem’ to an integral part of our identities. Being a ‘refugee’ at this stage means insisting on the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees as enshrined in international law. That status is no longer just a mere reference to physical displacement but also to a political, even a national identity.

Political division may, at times, dominate Palestinian society, but we will always be united by the fact that we are refugees with a common cause: going home. While for the Palestinians of Yarmouk near Damascus, being a refugee is a matter of life and death – often by starvation – for the larger Palestinian collective, the meaning of the word has become more involved: it has been etched onto our skin forever.

But what can one say by way of advice to the relatively new refugees of Syria, considering that we are yet to liberate ourselves from a status that we never sought?

There can be only reminders and a few warnings:

First, may your displacement end soon. May you never live the waja’ of displacement to the extent that you embrace it as a part of your identity, and pass it on from one generation to another. May it be a kind of fleeting pain or passing nightmare, but never a pervasive every day reality.

Second, you must be prepared for the worst. My grandparents left their new blankets in their village before they fled to the refugee camps because they feared they would have been ruined by the dust of the journey. Alas, the camps became home, and the blankets were confiscated as the rest of Palestine was. Please remain hopeful, but realistic.

Third, don’t believe the ‘international community’ when they make promises. They never deliver, and when they do, it is always for ulterior motives that might bring you more harm than good. In fact, the term itself is illusory, mostly used in reference to western countries which have wronged you as they have us.

Fourth, don’t trust Arab regimes. They lie. They feel not your pain. They hear not your pleas, nor do they care. They have invested so much in destroying your countries, and so little in redeeming their sins. They speak of aid that rarely arrives and political initiatives that constitute mostly press releases. But they will take every opportunity to remind you of their virtues. In fact, your victimhood becomes a platform for their greatness. They thrive at your expense, thus will invest to further your misery.

Fifth, preserve your dignity. I know, it is never easy to maintain your pride when you sleep in a barren street covered in cardboard boxes. A mother would do whatever she can to help her children pass into safety. No matter, you must never allow the wolves awaiting you at every border to exploit your desperation. You must never allow the Emir, or his children or some rich businessman or sympathetic celebrity to use you as a photo-op. Do not ever kneel. Don’t ever kiss a hand. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction to exploit your pain.

Sixth, remain united. There is strength in unity when one is a refugee. Don’t allow political squabbles to distract you from the greater battle at hand: surviving until the day you return home, and you will.

Seventh, love Syria. Yours is an unparalleled civilization. Your history is rife with triumphs that were ultimately of your own making. Even if you must leave to distant lands, keep Syria in your hearts. This too shall pass, and Syria shall redeem its glory, once the brutes vanquish. Only the spirit of the people shall survive. It is not wishful thinking. It is history.

Dear Syrian refugee, it has been 66 years and counting since my people’s dispossession began. We are yet to return, but that is a battle for my children, and their children to fight. I hope yours ends soon. Until then, please remember the tent is just a tent, and the gusts of cold wind are but of a passing storm.

And until you return home to Syria, don’t let the refugee become who you are, as you are so much more.

Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. His latest volume is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London). He can be reached at ramzybaroud@hotmail.com. Read other articles by Ramzy.

Snapshot of a Young Palestinian Syrian Refugee Mother’s Life

Since January 2011 the Syrian Arab Republic, a sovereign state with 18 million people, has been under attack. Hundreds of thousands have died; three million have fled the country; half the nation’s population has been displaced..”.  James Ryan (ICC Submission Report Oct 2014 here)

It is January 22nd 2015, four years after Bashar Al Assad was berated by the West for suggesting his country was under ‘terrorist attack’ from foreign fighters intent on bringing Syria to her knees.

This is what I know of one families story. I will call the young mother ‘She’.

She’s family are Palestinians who have been in Damascus since her mother and father fled as children with their parents families when the Israelis took their country by force in 1948 Nakba. The original family home of her father 1948 is believed to now be an Israeli Military Museum or Police Station.

The families home was the Palestinian village of Lubya. The village and its surrounds are now known as South African Park. The whole village, (with history dating well before Saladin who camped nearby during the war against the Crusaders in 1187), was erased by Zionist terrorists in 1948. The park was created as part of the JNF Zionist masterplan to erase Palestine’s Arab history and was created using South African Jewish donations to the JNF (Jewish National Fund). http://www.jalili48.com/pub/xENShowGallery.aspx?sub=What_Remained_of_the_destroyed&sub2=Lubyeh&Cid=259

Many years have passed since that time, 66 to be precise……………. She has never seen Lubya, nor is She allowed to ever return there, to live or to visit.

In January 2014, 5 months pregnant with her 3rd child, She left Damascus with her husband, 5 year old son, 7 month old daughter, brother’s Syrian wife and their 7 month old daughter. The six travelled together from Damascus to Beirut by taxi, lucky to secure someone brave or hungry enough to drive them. I say ‘hungry’ because we all know there are some who will brave these things for a price. Corruption extras always come into consideration when you are desperate particularly in times of war, the rich get out before it gets too bad and Palestinians know all about paying extras because of statelessness and lack of nationhood.  

The family had lived in Al Yarmouk Palestinian area (Al Yarmouk simply translates as ‘The Camp’). She had witnessed more than She will ever tell us.

In March 2012 her younger 24 yo brother died in a military hospital in Damascus, nine days after being shot in the neck. Details of his shooting remain unclear except to say it was a direct result of political ‘tensions’ fomenting  in Syria. He was in the final month of his compulsory military duty as a Palestinian in Syria. Before returning to complete his national service he was awarded a university degree in Journalism and it looked like he had everything in life to look forward to. His funeral was one of the last shaheed street funerals in Yarmouk as they had become too dangerous due to ‘opposition’ sniper attacks. It was a loud Palestinian affair and the street was filled with his friends, stunned and enraged by his death. He was loved in his community and they sent him off in style.

She had a home near her parents house in the centre of Yarmouk. At the time, and for some time afterwards  the family home was considered to be in the safer area of the camp.

Hani Abas Quarter Damascus The image is by a Palestinian from Al Yarmouk Syria, clever and poignant and I had to save it. I sincerely apologise for not having the information to credit the artist who also does not know how much this moved me.

Hani Abas Quarter Damascus
The image is by a Palestinian from Al Yarmouk Syria, clever and poignant and I had to save it. I sincerely apologise for not having the information to credit the artist who also does not know how much this moved me.

Basically the whole street is (or should I say was as so many are now dead or scattered refugees) related to She’s family and they stuck together. Incursions from outside were happening on a regular basis around the edges of the suburb with people coming through Jordan and Dara’a. Suicide car bombings  by ‘opposition’ fighters occurred at the road entrances to Yarmouk and local groups of young men  ‘manned’ the entries and exits in and out of Yarmouk to prevent further incursions from ‘outsiders’ who could not be trusted. Sniper attacks inside the camp area became more common, people disappeared, abductions for ransoms were commonplace, people died or were thrown when dead into the street. One of her cousins was shot dead through the eye, his brothers disappeared. Mortar attacks from surrounding suburbs to the south of Yarmouk and the city of Damascus began, again by an ‘opposition’ seeking to ‘involve the Palestinians’ further in the Syrian turmoil most had tried to avoid. The geographical placement of Yarmouk as closer to Damascus centre made it a worthy target for those seeking to remove Al Assad.

One morning She took her son and baby daughter to her parents home. When She returned to her home, it had been completely flattened by a mortar. Her husband’s father was a ‘person of interest’ to the ‘opposition’ and therefore his son, her husband, was one of their targets. Abductions were ongoing and ransoms and extortion more commonplace. Perhaps they knew where her husband lived and the mortar attack was targeted perhaps it was just another to destabilise a community. On another occasion he was driving a truck for work and stopped by a ‘random road block’, the men of no noticeable affiliation demanded he leave the truck, he managed to bribe them and was allowed to continue. The situation in Yarmouk became more and more dangerous. Her husband’s job was becoming untenable as it was too risky.

The family agreed She and her husband could build another apartment on the top of their home and they began to build. Permits were a thing of the past, the war meant you did what you needed to do, bureaucracy was busy. They rented another apartment while they built but it seemed like no time passed before this too was targeted and hit by a mortar in the downstairs area. She was home at the time, survived the bombing and scrambled with her child, a four year old boy downstairs over the shambles of concrete and dead people to the street below and on to her parents home.

Al Nusra had infiltrated the camp and fighters were targeting more people. These people were initially known to be Chechens, Libyans and others with a long history of fighting across Chechnya, Afghanistan, Libya Iraq and now Syria. The source of their funds was known in the camp to be foreign money channelled through Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. This was not a Civil Syrian War.

What started as outsiders with agendas that targeted Palestinians to further their own cause was clearly a well considered military strategy reliant on foreign interests and logistical support and internal collaboration within Syria and indeed Yarmouk. It only takes a few people to ‘align’ with these outsiders to set the ball rolling.  Early mortar activities demolished bakeries the main food source, the mosque was targeted. Friday prayer was the time the men met outside the Mosque to discuss strategies and resistance to the outsiders. Nusra now held stronger power, and attacked the Mosque, Western reports said it was Assads forces but the people in the Camp knew different. The attackers were careful not to damage the building their attack was designed to scare people away and to target their opposition.

photo of street in Al Yarmouk taken 2014 apologies site and photographer unknown but street identified by reliable source.

photo of street in Al Yarmouk taken 2014 apologies site and photographer unknown but street identified by reliable source.

She moved outside the camp to a safer area of Damascus and rented a home near her Syrian sister-in-law, who’s husband (her brother) had been working in the UAE.

Her mother moved in November 2012 to safety to stay with another daughter, in Sharja, UAE. The family was particularly relieved to have their mother safe for the brief time her papers would allow, as she had maintained a vigil at her martyred son’s grave in Yarmouk. The graveyard had been selectively desecrated and had become a sniper and mortar target where mourners were being picked off one by one. An old woman visiting her dead son’s grave was a target. This old woman did not want to leave.

In May, 2013, She and her Syrian sister in law had their babies in the main hospital in Damascus on the same day, two girls.

Her father left to be with his wife in the Emirates in August 2013 with the clear intention of them returning to their Damascus home when the fighting ceased and Yarmouk was safe once more. He did not want to leave either.

With all  her immediate family in Damascus now gone, She, pregnant again with a third child left for Beirut. Their intention to go by land to Beirut then use their air travel tickets from Beirut to Bangkok via Dubai. In May that year the same border was closed to Palestinians.

Lebanon then introduced further entry restrictions on Palestinians fleeing Syria. Dalia Aranki, an aid worker with the Norwegian Refugee Council, said: “For them, the border has effectively been closed since May 2014.” see here

Few taxi drivers were prepared to undertake the route from Damascus to the Lebanese Border but they found one who would drive for a price. At the Lebanese border corruption was in full sway, people who were used to their money buying the assistance of those in positions of influence were not surprised or offended by this and they paid the extra $500 US requested for them to get through. Beirut airport had the same ‘system’ Palestinians are used to having to pay more than others and despite their tickets being legal and in their hands they were asked to pay more money, another $2500 in order to board the plane to Dubai.

In Dubai, her brother boarded the same flight to Bangkok. They were now seven, two young families. When they arrived in Bangkok there were few problems, passports and visa’s were all legitimate and despite being thoroughly grilled about their intentions were allowed to enter. That was 12 months ago exactly.

Within the first week of arriving in Bangkok in Jan 2014 both families approached the UNHCR. They were clearly refugees, (already as Palestinians they are registered with UNRWA but the lack of coordination and transparency between the two UN agencies meant they were unable to process anything at the time.) additionally, the Syrian sister-in-law and the Syrian Palestinians obviously left because of the dangers of the war and had papers verifying their status.

What I am now going to tell you makes no sense to me whatsoever- the UNHCR gave both families an appointment to register as refugees for July 2015, in 18 months time! Perhaps they were waiting for them to move with smugglers and die at sea, or be locked up in Thai or Cambodian Immigration gaols, or just starve!  

In January 2015 there are believed to be 900 Palestinian Asylum Seekers currently in Thailand. 645400 people are on UNHCR books, 506200 being declared ‘stateless’. see source here UNHCR  None are understood to have returned or left Thailand since arrival (as of July 2014). On the last trip to the Cambodian border to renew a perfectly valid Thai Visa, the families were told if they entered Cambodia they could not get back into Thailand due to their travel documents being Syrian Palestinian. They chose to remain, overstay their visa and live illegally in Thailand with no other reasonable option at their disposal.

LUCKY, they are not sitting freezing in a refugee camp on the Turkish border,

There has been a lot happen in the past year…… her son cannot start school, her third child was born without papers (millions of children across the globe are considered by authorities not to exist as they have no documentation, particularly stateless peoples), her brother has been hospitalised for stomach surgery. Her father is struggling with a recent heart attack in UAE and without finances will not get appropriate treatment. Financial support from a family member who provides this for 10 family members who are unsupported refugees has managed to keep them safe thus far but is becoming an impossible burden. These people are not terrorists, they just want ‘normal lives’, they are not ‘economic refugees’, they are ready to work, ready to contribute, ready to sleep safely.

The narrative presented in my country (Australia) on these issues is void of any reality on the ground. Even worse, nobody gives a shit or it’s all too hard. Charlie Hebdo, Freedom of Speech, Some lunatic fringe caftan in a café and now we’re a terror target?  Muslims don’t share our values. They don’t respect women. they blah blah dumb blah.

What is it with humans?

All this aside, today’s plan is insane.

She has decided to try to travel with her three children to Lebanon then into Idlib in Syria, from where she will travel north to Allepo and then onto the Turkish Border where she expects to be able to get into Turkey. Madness! She expects to then bring her husband.

I am desperately trying to understand why this insane move seems even possible to them.

  • ‘friends’ overseas in Lebanon and in Turkey have said it is possible?

  • She believes she is safer with her children with her?

  • She believes her children will be safe and will have a chance at a future in Europe?

  • She is so severely traumatised she can’t think straight?

  • She has no patience to wait for the UNHCR possibly a further 3 years after their registration interview in July, if that date is not moved back even further?

Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and some wonderful new news will greet me. Aghhhhhhhhh Other links: http://electronicintifada.net/content/lebanon-hostile-refuge-palestinians-fleeing-war-syria/14171 http://www.brighteningglance.org/uploads/3/1/2/4/3124704/address_redacted_icc_criminal_complaint_criminal_carnage_in_syria_and_the_criminal_cabal_for_perpetual_war.pdf

In latest peace plans for Syria, Assad can stay -Al Monitor

Vitaly Naumkin recently wrote this interesting post for Al Monitor-

Posted December 1, 2014 (Translator Franco Galdini)

I was unable to do a direct share so have copied it below. The article shows some real opportunity through some sensible negotiations to get past the US Mantra “Assad must go!”

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

The UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura appears  to have made some progress, considering a ‘freeze’ where everyone gets to keep their weapons and currently held territory, the Saudi’s are said to have rethought the ‘Assad gone’ precondition,  the Russian Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov has a proposal for talks in Russia.  The plans actually looks like they’re going somewhere……has anyone checked with IS?

Just two questions:

…..Is this what a freeze looks like?

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

…..when do the 3 million refugees get to go back home to safety?

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Article from Al Monitor below in full. (Or visit the site direct: here )

IN LATEST PEACE PLANS FOR SYRIA, ASSAD CAN STAY

A significant number of global and regional players have been forced to reconsider their strategies in Syria with the bloody civil war having morphed into a clash in which the main belligerents are now the most radical jihadists, represented by the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, and government forces.

Writing Nov. 14 in Foreign Policy, James Traub quotes David Harland, executive director of the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), which operates inside Syria, and his collaborator, Nir Rosen, as saying that “rebel commanders have come to accept that Assad’s departure cannot be a precondition for talks.” Rosen also suggested that the “rebels’ foreign backers, including the Saudis, have begun to reach the same conclusion.” On the basis of his discussion with his interlocutors, Traub contends that President Bashar al-Assad will “not be going any time soon, if at all.”

The heart of the matter is that retaining Assad and his regime is seen as a way to save the Syrian state itself, which could otherwise turn into a new Somalia. Harland succinctly summed up this argument: “Better to have a regime and a state than not have a state.”

The strategic shifts that have taken place in the Syrian theater of military operations, along with the apparent failure of various plans to settle the conflict, have given rise in recent months to some new initiatives by international players that have made a stir in the media. These include the Russian plan for an intra-Syrian meeting in Moscow; the plan by Staffan de Mistura, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy to Syria, for “freezing” hostilities starting in one area; and the plan of local cease-fires developed by the HD Centre under Harland’s leadership. Are the three plans in opposition to each other or can they be complementary? Which one has the best chance of being implemented? Will they lead to the resumption of the peace process that ended with Geneva II?

Moscow’s policy on the Syrian conflict initially stemmed from the need to reconcile the fighting parties. While putting forward its own ideas, Russia only rejected other peacemaking proposals if they began with the mantra “Assad must go.” Although the details of Moscow’s new initiative have yet to be made public, its main elements can be inferred from statements by officials and diplomatic contacts.

At an Aug. 20 news conference, Abbas Habib, coordinator for the Council of Syrian Tribes, had talked about a proposal by Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister and the president’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, “to convene a preliminary conference, a consultative meeting in Russia, after which the intra-Syrian conference would move to Damascus, where the tribal sheikhs would also participate.” The sheikhs agreed to this. At the time, Habib stated that the “preliminary meeting could take place in Moscow, and then in Syria in an enlarged format.”

The idea was later further developed. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s official website noted Nov. 20 that Bogdanov had received Qadri Jamil, leader of the Syrian opposition’s Popular Front for Change and Liberation. “An exchange of views [took place] concerning the Russian idea to conduct a consultative meeting of representatives of the Syrian opposition in Moscow, to promote the launch of an inclusive intra-Syrian negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of June 30, 2012.”

Shortly before that, on Nov. 7, it became known that the former leader of the Syrian political opposition, Moaz al-Khatib, was scheduled to arrive in Moscow. According to Bogdanov, in Khatib’s talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, “the possibility of resuming intra-Syrian negotiations” was broached. “There was a very constructive discussion about the need to move from the Syrian conflict to a political process,” Bogdanov continued, adding “in this regard, they talked about the necessity to reopen intra-Syrian dialogue with the assistance of external players — such as Russia and the US, as well as the main regional countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt.”

It was significant that Khatib supported highlighting two tasks, namely, the fight against IS and reconciliation of the conflicting parties (that is, the government and the opposition). It is important that the Russian Foreign Ministry does not consider the plan for a “Moscow I” meeting to be an alternative to the Geneva process, but a bridge in preparation for Geneva III. This is why the negotiations for Moscow I are expected to be conducted on the basis of the Geneva Protocol.

Russian analysts have concluded that those representatives of the Syrian opposition who have agreed to meet will come to Moscow and compare positions, and then a meeting between them and a delegation from Damascus will take place. It was thus predictable that in talks with Lavrov in Sochi Nov. 26, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem would announce Damascus’ agreement to the Russian plan.

It is noteworthy that Lavrov and Moallem were unanimous in the view that there is no military solution to the Syria conflict. Yet, Lavrov also stated, “There won’t be another Geneva II.” He elaborated further, stating, “If you think that a conference will be announced similar to the one that was held in … January this year with the participation of 50-odd states, thousands of journalists, bright lights, there won’t be such a conference.”

Even as it promotes its plan for Moscow I, Russia continues to support de Mistura’s proposal to freeze the conflict, which is also backed by Syria, according to Moallem’s declarations. Assad had earlier declared that the de Mistura plan was “worth exploring.”

De Mistura has outlined three main points: “One is the need to focus on the real threat of terrorism as defined by the resolutions of the Security Council. Second is to reduce violence … Three, through the reduction of violence, try to reach as many people as possible in Syria and outside Syria who have been suffering due to this ongoing conflict; and through that, hopefully facilitate it and use that as a building block in the direction of a political solution.”

The city of Aleppo was designated as the first site where the freeze would be enforced, because it is, in de Mistura’s words, “a symbol of culture, of multi-culture and of religious and historical heritage in Syria.” It seems, however, that of no less importance in the selection of Aleppo is that there are no radical jihadist groups there. In accordance with the plan of the UN special envoy, all units based in the city — the government’s and the opposition’s — not only would retain control over the territory they hold, but they would also get to keep their weapons.

This is one of the main differences between the de Mistura plan and the local cease-fires implemented in the past, such as, for instance, the one in Homs in February that some opposition forces interpreted as a surrender of their positions to the regime. Herein lie some of the contradictions between the freeze plan and the Harland cease-fire plan. It is certainly no accident that de Mistura has stressed that the “concept of a ‘freeze’ [is] different from previous cease-fires,” as it provides “a new way for approaching the de-escalation of violence.”

As for the Harland plan, David Ignatius commented Nov. 4 in The Washington Post on the leak of a document setting forth a proposal to enter into a series of local cease-fires. Here, too, it was assumed that they would later lead to a process of political reconciliation. Some experts believe that there was no leak and that the authors probably gave the document to the media to draw attention to it. The plot thickens, as after that Harland gave Traub, writing for Foreign Policy, a detailed account of the project. As the document itself remains undisclosed, Traub does not cite it, but explains the main points. According to him, the plan is supported by the Syrian authorities and could, in the long term, lead to “an end to the war, a comprehensive reform of the constitution, and internationally-supervised elections.”

Hegel argued that “history is cunning, [and] that human actions do not have the consequences that those who perform them intend.”​ It is to be hoped that the German philosopher’s sarcastic observation will not apply to the fate of the plans designed to save the troubled Syrian state.

 

Syria: Aleppo IDP’s including Children Killed as U.S. bombs Syria.

So much for the US “air campaign” looks a lot like the Israeli one on Gaza where civilian deaths don’t matter if they’re Arab.

They apparently underestimated the terrorist threat in Syria and overestimated the capacity of their US trained Iraqi’s. Perhaps if they had not supported the Nusrats and their funders and perhaps if they had not trained the IS they wouldn’t be in this invidious position……of course who will say ‘WAR CRIMES BY US”

Will our Australian ‘top guns’ join them in bombing Syria or will the US send their UAE buddies to do the dirty work like they are in Libya?

Global Research Article link below.

Syria: Children Killed as U.S. Targets Mysterious Al-Qaeda Splinter Group Worse than ISIS.