SYRIA – AT 8:14 A.M. ET: One still must be astounded at the lack of interest in the Syrian crisis being shown by Washington, and by much of the mainstream media. The future of Syria is profoundly linked to the future of the Mideast. As Iran's most important Arab ally, the outcome of the struggle for Syria is directly connected to Iran's future influence in the region.
(Reuters) - Rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Aleppo promised a counter-attack on Friday after losing ground earlier and residents fled in cars crammed with belongings during a lull in fighting.
The rebels were pushed back from the Salaheddin district on Thursday by troops seeking to reestablish control over Syria's largest city and its economic hub - a crucial arena in a struggle which the United Nations said would have no winner.
"I have about 60 men positioned strategically at the frontline and we are preparing a new attack today," said Abu Jamil, a rebel commander, saying sniper fire in Salaheddine had prevented his men from retrieving a comrade's body for two days.
Reuters journalists saw residents streaming out of Aleppo, seizing on a calm spell to pack vehicles with mattresses, fridges and toys. At least two air force planes flew overhead...
...Assad is fighting to crush a rebellion that aims to end his family's four decades in charge of Syria. A member of the country's Alawite minority, Assad is engaged in an all-consuming fight with mostly Sunni Muslim foes who Damascus says are backed by Sunni-led states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.
Though sympathetic to the rebels, neither these countries nor Western powers have intervened militarily. Russia and China have blocked any U.N. Security Council action against Syria.
COMMENT: As reported yesterday, we have already lost the respect of the rebels because of our indifference, which will have a serious effect on our relations with Syria if the government should fall.
At the same time, please note the silence of many "human rights activists" in the West over the thousands of deaths. Compare please to their frenzy over a minor prison scandal involving American troops in Iraq, where no one was hurt or killed.
It is clear that the Obama administration doesn't want to do anything that will rock the boat before the election. So Syria burns and, as we also reported this week, the Iranian nuclear program forges ahead, apparently making more progress than previously thought.
Sleep well tonight.
August 10, 2012