Posted by Joshua on Thursday, April 26th, 2012
From Foreign Policy – Violence continues in Hama
An explosion in the Masha at-Tayyar district in the city of Hama killed up to 70 people. The Syrian government and opposition activists have offered conflicting accounts of the blast. According to Syrian state media, 16 people were killed in an accidental explosion in a house that was used as a bomb factory by “armed terrorist groups.” However, activists have reported several houses have been destroyed by what they claim could have been a Scud missile attack, killing up to 13 children and 16 women. The BBC’s Jim Muir reported that the magnitude of devastation could not likely have been achieved by conventional shelling. The opposition Syrian National Council called for an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting “so that it can issue a resolution to protect civilians in Syria.” France has recommended stronger action by the United Nations, calling for a Chapter 7 mandate that would allow for the use of force if President Bashar al-Assad’s forces do not pull back according to Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
Members of the UN monitoring team in Syria, with opposition activists in Homs. Photograph: Handout/Reuters
The previous blog entry seems to be inciting against the Annan plan and hoping it would fail so that a subsequent phase of possible military intervention may take place. Moreover, the report on the electoral list is misleading and disingenuous. It links to an article listing the candidates of the Baath Party only, implying that those are the only candidates running in Lattakia, which is not true. Members of other parties as well as independents are running both in Lattakia and across the rest of the country. The Popular Front for Change and Liberation, for example, which includes the opposition SSNP and Qadri Jamil’s The Will of the People Party, has 45 candidates across Syria. Other new parties have also listed their candidates and the ballot boxes will determine who wins the majority of the seats in the People’s Assembly.
[Landis adds: thanks for this correction, Nour]
The next 6 months are unlikely to include a major shift on Syria unless the opposition scores a significant military defeat against the regime. This period will be used by both parties to strengthen their position on the ground. The lack of any serious political proposal that adresses the grievances and concerns of the sizable pro regime Syrian forces mean that the only option on the table is to fight and preserve as much as possible of the gains made in the last 2 months. If Syrians themselves are not willing to compromise nobody will do that job on their bahalf.
I have been in the ME for some time now. The regime is losing grip on significant part of the countryside including around Damascus. Only 15% of new conscripts showed up to be recruited this year. The number of defectors has reached 100 000.
Cham Press announces that the dollar is trading below 70 pounds in a so called sign of improvement therefore countering the official rate of 60.
Very little support is available to the FSA from the outside and this will await the US elections before any real policy to emerge
Rice: The “friends of Syria” have been ironically promoted to the “Friends of Democratic Syria” when the most influent members, Qatar and KSA are non democratic countries preaching democracy to others…
Amir in Tel Aviv said:
Rami Khouri: “…For many tens of thousands who were prepared to demonstrate peacefully – albeit at the cost of their lives – this has become a disaster. Syrian friends of mine call it a “tragedy”. They blame the Gulf states for encouraging the armed uprising. “Our revolution was pure and clean and now it’s a war,” one of them said to me last week. I believe them”.
I utterly agree with Khouri and his friend. The irreversible mistake of resorting to arms will be fully revealed in the coming years, if not decades.
In comments above I read that the secular opposition will join the Assad government, and that the opposition arming was a mistake. Please make some sense guys for a change. The soldiers who defected did so rightfully, and their willingness to risk their lives to create a challenge for Assad’s remaining forces is laudable.
The Syria Revolution against Bashar’s, and his father’s before him,oppression began as completely peaceful. I has become militarized because of the regime and its allies (Hasan Nasrallah, Iran,…) began to use violence and murder innocent unarmed demonstrators. People have the right to defend their lives, property, dignity, and honor!.. The overwhelming majority of Syrians are opposed to the murderous Bashar and his shabiha. Free Syria, Free Palestine!
Dawood, What proof do you have that the “overwhelming majority of Syrians are opposed to Bashar?” If it was true how come nobody goes on strike when asked to? That’s the least the ‘overwhelming majority’ could do. … Most anti-Syrian government types keep repeating “It started peacefully’ trying to justify the issue that ‘it continued violently’ and that it is now made of death squads infiltrated by islamist extremists and criminals.
This is what will happen in Syria whether Bashar stays or not?
“The terror network has taken advantage of the country’s political turmoil of the past year to capture several southern areas, and the Americans are eager to coordinate efforts with the Yemenis to push them back.
An al-Qaida settled and safe in the remote interior of southern Yemen would allow its militants to plan and execute more attacks on Western interests, taking advantage of proximity to strategic shipping lanes in the Red and Arabian seas through which much of the West’s energy needs to pass.