Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 21, 2015
By Sabrina Travernise

...The mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., (click here) this month has reignited that debate in America, and Missouri’s experience offers one perspective. It is difficult to isolate the impact of gun laws in a single state, given the pervasiveness of interstate trafficking and illegal markets, but a variety of measures, including a marked increase in police seizures of guns bought in-state, suggest the changes in Missouri’s laws have had some effect.

Research by Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, found that in the first six years after the state repealed the requirement for comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, the gun homicide rate was 16 percent higher than it was the six years before. During the same period, the national rate declined by 11 percent. After Professor Webster controlled for poverty and other factors that could influence the homicide rate, and took into account homicide rates in other states, the result was slightly higher, rising by 18 percent in Missouri.

Federal death data released this month for 2014 showed a continuation of the trend, he said. Before the repeal, from 1999 to 2006, Missouri’s gun homicide rate was 13.8 percent higher than the national rate. From 2008 to 2014, it was 47 percent higher. (The new data also showed that the national death rate from guns was equal to that from motor vehicle crashes for the first time since the government began systematically tracking it.)...

This is exactly the issue in Syria.

Who is going to stabilize the country and who is going to lead the government? Is destroying Daesh going to be enough to bring about a ceasefire and peace? How does anyone know if Daesh will simply dissolve and meld into other groups in Syria?

Syria is ground zero for sectarianism. There are significant numbers of Shia who have been protected by the Assad government and there are significant numbers (probably a majority) of Sunni groups that have been named as terrorists to The West and the international community in general.

There are Shia groups considered terrorists, but, they do have loyalties to Syria's President Assad. The Assad forces and Shia groups called terrorists, such as Hezbollah, act to protect the Shia populations in Syria.

Now, realize this. Those Shia groups have a right to exist. However, there are larger numbers of Sunnis in Syria. The so called Shia terrorist groups do carry out actions against the Sunnis to protect their populations. That has gone on for a very long time, decades, in Syria. Lebanon leaves it alone because it would spark attacks in Beirut and who knows where else. That used to be the status quo.

Now who is involved in ending the civil war? Who is involved in ending Daesh? What kind of government is expected in a power sharing arrangement and who is going to be the leaders?

This is not going to end and The West, the international community now involved because of Daesh, including Russia and China have to answer profoundly impossible questions. How long does the global community stay involved in Syria? Does the global alliance end Daesh and end the involvement in Syria and what does the picture look like then?

Syria is an impossible problem and only the Assad family has known how to maintain it's stability. The Arab nations have to come together with allies from The West and the Communists from the East and decide what happens now.

The war into Iraq has been a complete disaster. I am quite sure as long as the global coalition stays together with a plan forward it can result in stability. But, there has to be open and clear understandings about involvement and resolve. The false prophets have to end their influence and the senior members of the faiths have to speak and be heard by all. There can be no more false prophets and I believe even Nasrallah would agree with that.

December 26, 2015

Fierce clashes in northern Syria (click here) between regime loyalists and rebels including Al-Qaeda fighters have left more than 70 dead, a monitoring group said Saturday.
Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front launched the assault on Friday with a suicide attack against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Fighting raged around the village of Bashkoy, which lies at a crossroads north of Aleppo city, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
"Violent clashes followed the suicide attack, between the Syrian army and pro-regime militia on one side, and Islamist fighters on the other," Abdel Rahman said
At least 33 pro-regime fighters and 38 opposition fighters were killed, he added.