A very good, balanced doco on Syria and the rise of ISIS since 2011, first shown about 18 months ago.
Graphic photos of corpses, extreme injuries and the torture of kids so be warned. Made by National Geographic and more about personal experiences across the classes/families/westerners-syrians rather than just expert analysis - the analysis is very expert.
A very senior US advisor makes the point that all the 2011 demonstrations were against their universally corrupt regimes who broke the law and humiliated their own people and none were Islamist and that the early demonstrations in Syria were not about regime change but about justice following which Assad responded with extreme brutality and criminality which may have led to a shift towards extremism amongst Syrians.
In 2013 when Assad had killed 1200-1400 civilians in one year with gas and following the US threat to respond the UK Parliament voted against a response, refused to support the US in this matter and Obama changed his mind and did nothing. The rest is history.
It explains the complicated linkages between the US expulsion from power of Sunni Baathists in Iraq and the migration of some of them to ISIS.
There is a surprising amount of video from within ISIS.
The negative psychological/character effects on children are beyond imagining and likely will badly affect Syria for generations.
At no stage in the early years were there any significant Islamist influences amongst those opposing Assad although this changed after Assad released from prison extreme Islamists possibly to justify his media hype that he was not fighting his people who wanted reform but was fighting lunatics the West hated. His deception seemed to work in the west.
In Syria prior to the 2011 crackdown there had been little/no terrorism in Syria except Assad’s terrorizing of his own people.
ISIS ruthlessly exploited the antiquities of the area on a massive and brutal scale selling on the one hand on ebay and amazon and on the other items in excess of $US50,000. Huge bulldozers were used in a frenzied way on historic sites/buildings. Their oil exports must have involved contact with corporate or state actors and may have involved Turkey who saw ISIS as enemies of their enemy the Kurds.
The ruthless, impressive and deadly female Kurdish soldiers were striking as was their insistence on equal rights and integration into missed small military formations. Comments from them included that ISIS killed and raped women and girls and treated females like dirt and that they were proud to kill them for this.
Putin said he went into Syria to fight Isis. He lied as he always does and 80% of his bombing targets have been the moderate opposition to Assad according to senior US military strategists. Putin’s objective was in fact to save a fellow monster and Sisi feels not unlike this.
The use by ISIS of brutal and sensational YouTube videos appealed to the worst sensationalism and voyeurism in the educated west and diverted our attention from Assad’s greater excesses.
A weakness in the doco is ignoring the Turkish and Iranian (the brutal Revolutionary Guard) interventions and the 10's of thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah types that have arrived at the blood party to support their mate Assad. Syria is like a vacuum that has sucked in every animal in the world - more the reason to kill tens of thousands of them concentrated in one place.
What gets missed, but not in this doco, is that all the repulsive nasties in Islam in the last 20 years have all come from the Sunni not the Shia side - yet al Azhar is mute or is it brain dead.
Assad and similar others will never support reform because it leads in a direction where they will be held to account, where their crimes and thefts will be exposed and where they will loose power/be tried/be killed.
Three points about Egypt. One Sisi supports the monster Assad and may provide him with soldiers, guns and money as well as votes to protect him in the UN. Two Egypt is following the same violent crackdown which may make terrorism/extremism worse in Egypt. Three dictatorships never agree to reform.
Here it is. National Geographic are very generous
Reviews are all very positive.
https://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/h ... 202404275/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/movi ... -isis.html
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultu ... bout-syria
Given the abominations committed on Syrians it gives an emotional and moral context to the seemingly impulsive generosity of Angela Merkel – a generosity not followed by many/any others with the exception of the huge efforts of Jordan to give protection to millions.
That we have let these Syrian animals, Assad and ISIS, continue for 7 years and allowed Russia to assist reflects poorly on our moral fiber and preparedness to protect the weak with our great wealth, technology and armies.
At the end of the day and after 7 years Assad and his corrupt henchmen get to keep the place with most of its cities destroyed, 500,000 dead three times that number injured, infrastructure wiped out, its economy dead, half the country displaced, 1 million in Europe and 2 million in Jordan and most of the country hating him and awaiting their next chance. Quite a victory - just the type of victory that kept the Russian Commos in power for 70 years. You might win but the aftermath won't be secure.
The destruction of ISIS in Iraq was done by the worse than hopeless Iraqi army and US, Australian, Moroccan, Turkish, Jordan (and their female pilots loathed by Egyptian supreme pilots) UK and other forces but with no help practical or monetary from the rich Gulfies, Saudi and one of the largest airforces in the world – 5 times larger than Australia – Immortal Egypt than can’t get its planes off the ground. No wonder no one relies on them nor trusts them. Maybe that’s not a bad thing because the local airforces in the middle east are laughable – a Rolls in the garage but the owner can’t drive. The region can’t even organize a co-ordinated response to a major threat they just squabble like aged, hysterical spinster aunts.
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