Syria Denounces U.N. Envoy as 'Flagrantly Biased'
[NY Times] Syria's government appeared to distance itself from further engagement with the special peace envoy of the United Nations
...aka the Oyster Bay Chowder and Marching Society...
and Arab League
...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing...
on Thursday, declaring him "flagrantly biased" even as his efforts aimed at a political transition to end the nearly two-year-old Syrian conflict were accelerating.
The efforts by the special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, include a planned meeting in Geneva on Friday with top diplomats from the two superpowers on opposite sides of the Syria conflict: the United States, which supports the insurgency, and Russia, which supports the Syrian government but has increasingly displayed ambiguity about support for Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Before going into the family business Pencilneck was an eye doctor. If he'd stuck with it he'd have had a good practice by now...
A statement from the Foreign Ministry in Damascus
...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy...
denouncing Mr. Brahimi appeared to be a response to remarks he had made to Western news agencies the day before in which he suggested that President Assad must relinquish power and could not be part of any replacement government in Syria.
The verbal back-and-forth came as new flare-ups of insurgency violence hit Idlib Province in northwest Syria, where rebel fighters were reported to have raided an important air base housing helicopters and warplanes that Mr. Assad's military has been using to attack rebel-held territory and resupply soldiers.
One antigovernment activist said the military was blowing up those aircraft pre-emptively to prevent Islamic fascisti from gaining access to them. Despite the increased range of weaponry used by the rebels, who include a number of air force pilot defectors, they have no aircraft.
New signs of civilian desperation were emerging on Thursday as well in the Syrian refugee camps of neighboring countries, particularly Jordan, where the United Nations children's agency issued an unusually blunt appeal for help at a mud-soaked encampment housing more than 54,000 Syrians, most of them women and kiddies.
The Syrian criticism of Mr. Brahimi, a veteran Algerian statesman who spent days talking with Mr. Assad and other Syrian officials in Damascus last month, raised the possibility that he, like his predecessor, Kofi Annan
...Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh and so far the worst Secretary-General of the UN. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for something or other that probably sounded good at the time. In December 2004, reports surfaced that Kofi's son Kojo received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Program. Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations, which stirred up the expected cesspool but couldn't seem to come up with enough evidence to indict Kofi himself, or even Kojo...
, could be sidelined into irrelevance by the antagonists in the conflict, who have shown little or no interest in dialogue as the violence has worsened. At least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Mr. Assad began in March 2011, the United Nations said last week.
Mr. Brahimi told the BBC on Wednesday that Syrians want the Assad family to go after four decades in power. He told Rooters that he saw no place for Mr. Assad in any political transition.
Syria's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that such remarks were a surprise and showed that Mr. Brahimi "is flagrantly biased for those who are conspiring against Syria and its people." The ministry statement suggested that Syria's government had lost whatever faith it might have reserved for Mr. Brahimi. Still, it did not specifically declare unwillingness to work with him.
At the same time, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran, which is Mr. Assad's only friend in the region, expressed admiration for Mr. Assad and insisted that he must be part of any political solution to the conflict. Mr. Salehi made Iran's position clear during a visit to Egypt, which wants to see Mr. Assad deposed.
The Syrian jihad boy assault on the Idlib air base, the Taftanaz military airport, lasted for hours and included fighters from the jihadist groups Jabhet al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, according to accounts from antigovernment activists, rebel commanders and videos posted on the Internet. Rebel forces have ringed the air base for months but had never seized control.
The videos showed what appeared to be rebels in a commandeered armored vehicle driving near a fence on the base and firing at buildings, as well as fires raging near helicopters parked on the tarmac.
Abu Moyaed, the leader of a rebel battalion participating in the attacks, said in an interview from Turkey that the fighters had entered the airport, destroyed armored vehicles and aircraft, seized ammunition and withdrawn.
"It's very hard to stay there," he said, asserting that the government had used surface-to-surface rockets to attack their positions.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad group based in Britannia with a network of contacts inside Syria, said base defenders had also attacked the Islamic fascisti with
Arclight airstrikes. The observatory said more than 15 helicopters appeared to have been damaged and at least 24 soldiers and pro-Assad militia fighters had been captured by the attackers. Other rebel accounts claimed that 26 pilots had been captured.
Tarek Abdel-Haq, an activist in Idlib reached on Skype, said earlier that government forces had shelled the airport "to destroy the warplanes on the runway to make sure the rebels and people can't use them."
The fighting raged against the backdrop of brutal cold, snow and rain that have buffeted Syria and its neighbors for days. Winter flooding appeared to be worsening at the Zaatari camp run by the United Nations refugee agency and other groups in northern Jordan, where hundreds of tents were felled by storms earlier in the week. In a candid description of the conditions, Unicef, the United Nations children's agency, said it was working to help drain the flooding in the camp and replace waterlogged mattresses and clothes.
"The next 72 hours will be a critical test of our ability to meed the basic needs of children and their families at Zaatari," said Dominique Hyde, the Unicef representative in Jordan. She also appealed for more money, saying, "The resources in 2012 have been exhausted, and no fresh funds have come for this year."
There were conflicting reports about the possibility that Israel, the only country bordering Syria that has not accepted refugees in the conflict, might allow some to relocate in the Paleostinian territories of West Bank or Gazoo. Saeb Erekat
...negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel. He has been chief Paleostinian negotiator since 1995. He is currently negotiating with Israel to establish a de jure Paleostinian state...
, the chief Paleostinian negotiator, said the Paleostinian president, the ineffectual Mahmoud Abbas
... a graduate of the prestigious unaccredited Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow with a doctorate in Holocaust Denial...
, had sought help from the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon
... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan...
, the United Nations secretary general, in making such a request. Israeli officials had no comment.
Martin Nesirky, a United Nations front man, told news hounds that Mr. Ban "has expressed deep concern over Paleostinians in Syria" and had "called generally for assistance from countries in the region," but that he had no further comment.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-11