Posted by Joshua on Monday, August 22nd, 2011
The fall of Qaddafi yesterday at the very time that President Assad was addressing his country about the uprising at home created much comment. Here are a few comments collected from the comment section and emails.
Looking over our shoulder
Aug 22, 2011, By Sami Moubayed
The dramatic developments in Libya have raised eyebrows throughout the Arab world and within the international community. In the early hours of August 21, Libyan rebels finally entered the capital, Tripoli, with the aim of arresting – or killing – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Common sense dictates that Gaddafi’s days are numbered; he will be gone, one way or another, within days.
Gaddafi has lasted five months of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) strikes. Had he not shot at his own people when young Libyans rebelled on February 17, then perhaps his fortunes would have played out better. He might have been allowed a dignified exit, for example, and offered an exile in Italy. He is now either going to be dragged in chains to the International Criminal Court or might commit suicide before angry Libyans get hold of him, and tear him apart.
In typical fashion, Gaddafi spoke to what remains of his supporters on Sunday, accusing his enemies of being “traitors” who want to “give” Libya to the French. He shouted, “March forward! March forward! March forward! They have lost. Now is [their ending].” His bravado echoed those of Saddam Hussein on the eve of Iraq’s 1991 war with the United States, when he said, “We and the Americans are at the tip of the pyramid – and we will see who falls off first!” History remembers only too well who fell first, with the dictator meeting his end in a hangman’s noose.
Many would have expected Gaddafi’s collapse to spark happiness in the angry Syrian street, where rebels have been trying to topple the Damascus regime since mid-March. On the contrary, many Syrians were clearly worried as news of the march into Tripoli reached Damascus.
True, they hate Gaddafi and long to see his end – but as of Sunday morning it was no longer Gaddafi that mattered to Libya-observers inside Syria. Rather, it was Syria itself. Having succeeded in Libya, NATO might now rethink its options on Syria, where pressure has been growing from the international community for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Internationalizing the Syrian crisis militarily has to date not been on many minds in Syria – until now. Few on the Syrian street and within the opposition have contemplated any kind of foreign intervention, claiming that political escalation and sanctions headed by the Barack Obama White House is one thing, an armed attack by NATO quite another.
For weeks, people have been saying: “No matter what happens, NATO will never strike Syria.” That made sense as long as the mess in Libya dragged on – Western taxpayers were fed up with fighting a war that did not concern them and that was failing to achieve its end objective: getting rid of Colonel Gaddafi……
….Its territory has not been under attack since 1945, when the French army bombarded its capital during the colonial era. Simply put, its people are not used to war, unlike the Libyans – and more importantly – they don’t want it to happen.
The Syrians feel that they can solve their problems on their own, whether by democratizing the regime, keeping it as it is, or bringing it down completely.
Off the Wall writes:
Just heard the following on Aljazeera
عاد الوطن المخطوف الى اهله٠ عاد الوطن المقهور المظلوم بعد اربعة عقود الى اهله٠
I can’t stop crying.
Syr. Expat writes:
The official Syrian media is mum about Libya. Can anyone guess why?
A Syrian writes
The president had a wonderful balanced speech!!! I loved it. He was calm and confident. But sadly sounding hurt and wounded! What a decent man!! And what a vicious crime being committed against the Syria and Syrian people!!!! Advocating civil war between Syrians, implementing measures that leads to starving Syrians and trying to replace this young educated reformer with extremists and morons, in order to serve Israel and the needs of the US. I am praying for Bashar and for the Syrian people, to be strong in facing this crime and conspiracy!!! Peace for Syria!!!!
By March 13 1973, the late Hafez Assad was able to put the finishing touches on one of the most intricate houses of cards ever assembled. That was the day of course when the current Syrian constitution was adopted. This essentially helped codify his master plan and legally shield his house of cards from any attempts to bring it down. Those who have read all the 156 articles that make the construction cannot help but be impressed by the air-tight quality of its construction. Article 8 of course is the linchpin that ties the entire system together. The constitution even foresaw the need for what is currently is referred to as the “shabihha”. It refers to them more officially as popular organizations or
“lijan Shaabiye”. Set below is the relevant article:
Article 49 [Organizational Functions]
The popular organizations by law effectively participate in the various sectors and councils to realize the following:
(1) Building the socialist Arab society and defending the system.
Defending the system is, therefore, the “constitutional” right and duty of these organizations.
When Bashar came to power, he may have had all the right intentions. By his own admission, he was not particularly into politics growing up. Presumably, he was not appreciative of how tightly and intricately his father constructed his house of cards. His first instinct was to allow some free speech. The Atassi forum quickly followed. Too quickly and successfully for the “system” it turns out. Those in the security services, in particular, had to sit the young President down and show him the full master plan that his father used to construct this system that he was now in charge of.
It did not take long for Bashar to realize that this was a house of cards. Many of us built those during our childhoods. No matter how impressive the structure is, pulling out one card inevitably results in a speedy crash.
One does not need an advanced engineering degree to realize that a house of cards can come down with the slightest of tinkering (reforms).
Prior to the fourth appearance today, many were hopeful that some reforms were soon on the way. Some even speculated that article 8 was going to be deleted, modified, frozen, suspended, something. 10 minutes into the interview all such hope were dashed, yet again.
Deleting article 8 from the constitution is akin to telling the Baath party that your 48-year monopoly on power is history. That all its 2-3 million members are just like the rest of their country fellowmen. No privileges. No access to power. No monetary or social benefits. Most importantly, that its head will not have the luxury of an uncontested referendum that quickly lands him at the highest office in the land unopposed. Indeed, we were told today that changing article 8 was thought to make no sense (gheir mantiki) as it is “jawhar al nizam al siyassi”. To be sure, during the interview we were told that the reason for keeping it was because it is interlinked with other articles and that unless the whole constitution is rewritten it would be hard to cancel it alone.
Today’s interview helped clarify beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Syrian system will not be tinkered with. It is built on resisting America and the west. It is built on giving the appearance of strength regardless of the external and internal realities. It is built on giving the security services a carte-blanch to promote – well security. It is also built on steadfastness and sacrifice (accept poverty) to achieve the nation’s lofty and noble goal.
Why did I think that this interview was rather scripted?
1- My wife thought that the answers were given too fast after the question was asked. Surely a short pause to think and calibrate the answers during such a crucial period would have made more sense unless the questions were prepared in advance.
2- Surely, the Saudi decision last week required an explicit question. It seems that the two sad interviewers were not allowed to go there.
A Young Syrian Writes:
I attended the national dialogue and I’m working very hard with everybody including many dissidents to finish the unrest in a peaceful way. But the solution is not a national one, it is now in the hands of the int. community.
The protesters can’t topple Assad without direct foreign assistance from the West, as in Libya. But also the situation in Syria is much more complex than in Libya. Syria is part of a regional order and any military intervention will lead to large scale destruction in many countries. I agree with one of the Syrian dissidents who told me “only a strong and firm Russian objection can make things better” because foreign interference would be much worse than the current regime. Believe me Joshua no one in Syria want the current security regime, but many of them believe in Assad because he was a good president and he did a lot of improvements for Syria. The majority of Syrians are silent now because they are afraid of Nato intervention and another Iraq.
The next stop on the Arab freedom train is Damascus
A critical mass of deposed Arab leaders is starting to form, but phase two of the Libyan revolution will prove to be harder than just ousting Gadhafi.
By Zvi Bar’el in haaretz
“The world would be a better place without Gadhafi, and our region is beginning to rid itself of those leaders who brought their citizens nothing but destruction,” Tariq Alhomayed, the editor of the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, wrote on Monday.
Alhomayed, whose boss is one of the princes of the Saudi royal family, surely does not mean to get rid of the Saudi king, whose regime symbolizes the exemplary model of autocratic rule in the Middle East.
But today, when Gadhafi is slowly losing its grip on the Libyan capital, and the Arab revolution movement has checked off a third victory after Tunisia and Egypt, a “critical mass” of ousted leaders is accumulating, which may pave the steep slope for more leaders. King Abdullah, whose streets are absent of riots and protests, could also afford to have a look at Alhomayed’s op-ed.
The following two leaders are already waiting in line: Syria’s Bashar Assad and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh. Like their ousted predecessors, each of them is still certain that his own fate and luck are more successful than that of his colleagues.
Arrogant Assad has shrugged off with contempt demands made by the United States and European states that he relinquish power. He does not see any problems with continuing the crackdown on protesters, such as Saddam Hussein in his time, or like Iran under sanctions, and he continues to call the protesters “armed gangs.”
Yemen’s Saleh is convinced that his deviousness and his street smarts, which have held him in power for 21 years, will continue to serve him well in the future.
However, the toppling of rulers, which turned into the ultimate symbol of the revolutions, is not a sure recipe for a lifetime of happiness. Whoever is impressed by the coordinated operation of Western states and local resistance movements, cannot ignore the Western abandonment which characterized the revolutions that the West initiated in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American foot-dragging on all that relates to aiding Egypt, and the panic that struck the West in light of the protests that arose in Bahrain. There are “convenient” revolutions for the West and there are “dangerous” ones.
Libya is a “convenient” revolution. After the West received a green light from the Arab League, and after it turned out there is an impressive military force in Libya that can carry out a violent offensive against the regime, and especially after the apathetic response toward the Tunisia revolution, the right circumstances have led to a Western intervention.
Here ends the role of outside intervention, and Libya, who got to topple its dictator after his 42-year rule, must now decide what to do with this tremendous victory. There are many options.
Chapter Two of the revolution is likely to be even more critical than Gadhafi’s ouster. Its impact will not only affect Libya, but will also determine the Western and Arab countries’ stances towards similar interventions in Syria or Yemen.
Syria opposition may announce council names this week: – Dunya Times
Senior Syrian opposition figures expect to finish talks this week on nominating a broad-based council to support the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, organisers said on Tuesday.
They say one main purpose of forming such a council would be to allay concerns of a power vacuum if Assad should be toppled by the ongoing unrest in the country.
“The discussions are focusing on moving away from quotas toward a more merit-based council,” Professor Wael Merza, a political scientist based in the Gulf, told Reuters after a second day of talks ended early in the Turkish capital
“We expect to reach consensus on the list of names by the end of this week,” he said.
Another delegate, who declined to be named, said participants are dealing with the delicate issue of the safety of would-be council members from inside Syria….
Western governments, which have stepped up sanctions on Assad in reaction to his crackdown on protesters, privately have expressed frustration with opposition’s lack of unity. At a meeting with anti-Assad Syrian activists in Washington this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged them to work toward a “unified vision” for Syria.
The Syrian opposition strongly criticized the idea of establishing an interim council, which was taking place in Istanbul. Activists said that the rush to form these councils was precipitated by participants who were eager to share the cake and to get positions only…..
بهية مارديني GMT 22:00:00 2011 السبت 20 أغسطس
انتقد معارضون سوريون بشدة فكرة تأسيس مجالس انتقالة في سوريا من قبل بعض المعارضين لنظام الرئيس بشار الأسد، وقال ناشطون إن الهرولة نحو هذه المجالس هو لاقتسام الكعكة فقط وأن المشاركين فيها يريدون الحصول على المناصب فقط.
لندن ـ سوريون نت:
دعت الهيئة العليا للثورة السورية على صفحتها على الفيس بوكتماع و التوحد ، و أن يكونوا على مستوى التضحيات التي قدّمها ويقدّمها أبناء شعبناالسوري، والتي استطاعت وحدها أن تصنع الإنجاز الذي نعيشه
وسوريون نت تنشر البيان الكامل لأهميته:” .. تشهد الساحة السياسية السورية في الداخل والخارج انعقاد
عدد من المؤتمرات، ودعوات لمؤتمرات أخرى … وإنّ الهيئة العامةللثورة السورية تؤيّد أيّ مسعى حقيقي لتوحيد جهود المعارضة السورية في الداخل والخارج بما يدعم الثورة السورية، إلا أننا نؤكد – للمصلحة الوطنية والثورة السورية- على رغبتنا تأجيل أي مشروع\ تمثيلي للشعب السوري؛ وذلك من أجل العمل على التوافقية الكاملة لكافة أطياف و مكونات الشعب السوري في الداخل والخارج؛ مما يمكّن الثورة السورية من تحقيق أهدافها وتطلعات شعبنا بإسقاط النظام وبناء الدولة المدنية الديمقراطية لكل السوريين. ونودّ أن نستفيد من هذه الفرصة لدعوة كل السياسيين السوريين المعا!
ضين في الداخل والخارج إلى أن يكونوا على قدر المسؤولية بالاجتماع و التوحد ، و أن يكونوا على مستوى التضحيات التي قدّمها ويقدّمها أبناء شعبناالسوري، والتي استطاعت وحدها أن تصنع الإنجاز الذي نعيشه اليوم. الخلود لشهدائنا والنصر لشعبنا العظيم
U.S., Britain, France Said to Seek UN Sanctions Against Assad
2011-08-22, By Bill Varner
Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) — The U.S., Britain and France are preparing to ask the United Nations Security Council this week to freeze the foreign financial assets of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, a Western diplomat said. The measure would also bar foreign travel by the Syrian leader and call for an arms embargo on Syria, the diplomat said. The three nations are planning to introduce the draft resolution that targets Assad and about five other government and military leaders, according to the diplomat, who spoke on condition of not being identified because the text hasn’t been made public.
Brian Whitaker notes that the draft interim constitution released by Libya’s Transitional National Council (TNC) includes no reference to Libya as an “Arab state”. Article 1 of the document reads as follows:
Libya is an independent democratic state wherein the people are the source of authorities. The city of Tripoli shall be the capital of the State. Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia). Arabic is its official language while preserving the linguistic and cultural rights of all components of the Libyan society. The State shall guarantee for non-Moslems the freedom of practising [sic] religious rights and shall guarantee respect for their systems of personal status.
The omission of any form of ethnic or racial identity is notable; Arab, Berber or African identities receive no specific mention. It has been reported that Berber strugglers in the west of the country had drawn up a list of demands on this issue, in hopes of gaining protections for Berber culture and communities (which simply did not exist under the Qadhafi regime).
Euphoria erupted in Tripoli as rebel forces rolled into the Libyan capital, likely bringing an end to the brutal 42-year reign of Muammar Gaddafi. Libya now joins Egypt and Tunisia on the list of Arab states where opposition movements toppled long …
Iran has appointed a new ambassador to Syria to replace Ahmad Mousavi, who decided to quit his post amid growing popular protests against President Bashar Al Assad and his rule. Iranian Foreign …
A few days ago the US and the EU finally did what they had been expected to do for some time: In a coordinated action they called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
According to Washington and Brussels the Syrian leader has lost all legitimacy after his government’s recent brutal attacks against his own people.
Before the US and EU issued their call, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had made clear that the American and European demands would only be effective if they were joined by countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, regional powers that, according to Clinton, have more influence on Syria. White House officials told the press that President Obama had held back from issuing his ultimatum to give Turkey’s diplomatic attempts of the last two weeks more time to work. Unfortunately, Ankara’s pressure on Assad was not effective, so now we are moving to the next phase. The question is whether Turkey will join the US and Europe in their call for Assad to go.
I think Turkey should and probably will do so, preferably together with Saudi Arabia. This last connection is a significant indicator of the fact that the Syrian crisis is having a profound impact on the region’s political balance. Saudi King Abdullah has decided to come out against the Syrian regime because, with good reason, he has made the analysis that getting rid of Assad would seriously weaken Iran, which currently uses its closeness with Damascus to play a role in Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the Palestinian territories (Hamas). For years now, Riyadh has considered Tehran its arch enemy and main rival for control of the Gulf. The Saudi interest in undermining Iran’s influence in the region is clear, but what about Turkey and Iran?
We know how closely Ankara aligned itself with Tehran on the issue of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, voting against sanctions on Iran in the UN Security Council. Turkey’s support for the Syrian opposition has caused some cracks in its relations with Iran, but still the Turkish government claims that because of its past alignment it has the potential to influence Iran’s policy. The problem for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is that a growing number of international observers wonder whether this will really prove true when push comes to shove. Assad did not listen to Turkey’s repeated requests to implement reforms, despite similar claims from Ankara to strong ties with Syria. Why would Iranian President Ahmadinejad pay any attention to Turkey’s concerns about Syria when Iran’s future role in the region is at stake?
In my opinion there are three good reasons why Turkey should join the growing crowd of those who are convinced that there is no future for Assad as president of Syria, thereby knowingly confronting Iran. One is, as Suat Kınıklıoğlu put it in his column in this paper this week, “If Turkey is going to become a leading player and an inspiration for the people of the Middle East, it needs to come out of the Syrian crisis on the right side.” It is now clear that this means joining the US and Europe, not Iran. A second good reason is the new round of Turkish attacks on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq. It is true that Iran has the potential to make life difficult on Turkey if it wants to, as Tehran skillfully demonstrated with the well-orchestrated rumors of the arrest of PKK leader Murat Karayılan. But in the end, in fighting the PKK, Turkey has more to gain from good intelligence cooperation, non-transparent though it might be, with the US, because both have a clear interest in diminishing the presence and influence of terrorists in Iraq.
Finally, my guess is that Turkey and the rest of the world will be confronted with a new wave of protests in Iran in the foreseeable future. In 2009, Turkey sided with the Iranian regime in its violent suppression of the demands for more democracy during and after the rigged presidential elections. After Turkey’s support for the Arab Spring, Ankara should realize that it cannot remain silent when the Persian Spring arrives. Better to be on the right side then as well. For all these reasons, I believe Turkey has a unique chance to use the Syrian revolt to recalibrate its regional alliances and put some more distance between Ankara and Tehran.
SYRIA: Troops caught on camera behaving very badly [Video] LA Times, August 20, 2011 | 8:01 AM
All is calm in Damascus Russia
In an interview to the Voice of Russia, a member of the Russian delegation, the President of the Society of Friendship and Business Cooperation with Arab Countries Vyacheslav Mutuzov shared his impressions.:
“Streets are calm in Damascus. Even if some people are not satisfied with the government, they do not set demonstrations, to say nothing of armed clashes. The real picture is very different from the one that some Western media are trying to present.”
Bashar must go: No No Legitimacy for the Illegitimate
One of the most popular expressions of the Lockian idea of “natural rights” can be seen in the preamble to the US declaration of independence written by Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The above simply means that it is not up to government to offer its populace personal rights since these are among the bundle of rights that cannot be alienated from the individual. No government can take away that which is embedded into citizens by virtue of birth and to act otherwise is a gross act of hubris and egregious exploitation. When the state adopts policies to take away from people part or all of their natural rights then the state is acting against the will of the governed whose welfare it is supposed to enhance. Such acts of diminution of the rights of citizens are best described as immoral, unethical, exploitative and constitute justifiable uprisings against the ruler whose acts have violated all accepted responsibilities of a governor.
Unfortunately, history is replete with states that have acted as authoritarian rulers, absolute monarchs, brutal dictators and autocrats. Yet the movement towards more democracy and responsible government got its biggest boost with the American and French revolutions of over 235 years ago. Many philosophers and political scientists have argued that the spread of democracy is probably the single best achievement of the 20th century. Alas this glorious trend appears not to have found even a toe hold in the Arab world until the onset of the Arab Spring that started in Tunis, spread to Egypt, Libya and Yemen then Bahrain and Syria not to mention the defensive moves in Morocco, Jordan and possibly Iraq and Palestine…..
China and Syria The Diplomat.com
In the first of a series of interviews, Dean Cheng discusses the likely motivations behind China’s actions over Syria.
This week, The Diplomat has been providing coverage of the Syrian crisis from an Asia-Pacific perspective. China has featured prominently, as any escalation against the Assad regime could threaten Chinese national interests. Given the country’s powerful voice within the United Nations, and its ability to undermine the effectiveness of US-led energy sanctions, The Diplomat’s Eddie Walsh will be conducting a series of interviews with thought leaders from US and regional think tanks looking at how recent events affect China’s position on Syria. The first interview is with Dean Cheng, Research Fellow at the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation……..
Nearly 10 per cent of Syria’s deposits went in the first four months of 2011, some ending up in Lebanese banks
Obama roars. World trembles. If only.
Obama says Assad must “step aside”. Do we really think Damascus trembles? Or is going to? Indeed, the titan of the White House only dared to go this far after condemnation of Bashar al-Assad by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the EU and Uncle Tom Cobley and all (except, of course, Israel – another story). The terrible triplets – Cameron, Sarkozy and Merkel – did their mimicking act a few minutes later.
But truly, are new sanctions against Assad “and his cronies” – I enjoyed the “cronies” bit, a good old 1665 word as I’m sure Madame Clinton realised, although she was principally referring to Bashar’s businessman cousin Rami Makhlouf – anything more than the usual Obama hogwash? If “strong economic sanctions” mean a mere freeze on petroleum products of Syrian origin, the fact remains that Syria can scarcely produce enough oil for itself, let alone for export. A Swedish government agency recently concluded that Syria was largely unaffected by the world economic crisis – because it didn’t really have an economy.
Of course, in the fantasy of Damascus – where Bashar appears to live in the same “sea of quietness” in which the Egyptian writer Mohamed Heikel believes all dictators breathe – the world goes on as usual. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – another earth-trembler if ever there was one – no sooner demands an “immediate” end to “all military operations and mass arrests”, than dear old Bashar tells him that “military and police action” has stopped…..
Finally, political pundits will debate how the struggle for political power will play out in the post Assad Syria between the Baathists, the Islamic fundamentalists, the secularists, etc. etc. All such prognostications are to a large extent beside the point. The emerging free Syria will be a populist country that will chart its own course based on the consensus of its own citizens. And the most important attribute of the future Syria is that it will be a country based on freedom, justice, inclusiveness and respect for human rights. And it will be led by young nationalists who will bring much needed fresh political thinking. Future Syrian leaders will come from the young generation who fought tyranny and paid the price of freedom with their blood. They will be the vanguard of a new Syrian awakening.
Hayat, الأحد, 21 أغسطس 2011
ياسين الحاج صالح
مع دخول الأزمة الوطنية السورية شهرها السادس، تقف جميع الأطراف المحلية والدولية المعنية بها أمام معضلات عسيرة. الانتفاضة تواجه معضلة. إذا ثابرت على الاعتماد على التظاهرات السلمية أداة احتجاج أساسية لها في مواجهة نظام لا يمتنع عن القتل، تحفظ تفوقها الأخلاقي والوطني، لكنها تدفع ثمناً إنسانياً باهظاً. وهي في الوقت نفسه لا تستطيع مواجهة العنف بالعنف لأسباب مبدئية وعملية معاً، ولا التعويل على التدخل الخارجي لأن من شأنه أن يدرج الانتفاضة في «لعبة الأمم»، فتخسر روحها. فهل يسعها، من دون سند داخلي أو خارجي، تحقيق هدفها الأولي المتمثل في إسقاط ال�! �ظام؟
Escape From Syria
By Michael Weiss, Jul 26 2011, Atlantic
The story of a young opposition activist who says he had to flee for his life
Farid, a 25 year-old Damascene journalist, was sitting with Bashar smoking argileh, Syria’s version of the hookah, when his friend told him, “You should seriously consider leaving the country. It’s not safe for you anymore.”
One of Farid’s many contacts within Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Bashar was a “freelance” IT consultant who helped the regime track down cyber-dissidents. Farid, who asked that his real name not be used for fear of retribution, had heard this warning from him before, usually before Bashar ended up crying in his beer about his complicity with a criminal dictatorship. Farid’s stock response was usually to cajole Bashar to quit the losing side and join the revolution. “You’ll get your own weed farm and a brewery in the middle of Damascus. I won’t let them crucify you for catching demonstrations when Assad falls,” he’d promised. But this time was different; there was a more menacing tone to Bashar’s instruction…..
“Now I feel useless,” Farid says. “Like I can’t do anything. But that won’t stop me from trying. It’s personal, my war against the regime is personal. Each Syrian’s war against the regime is personal. The regime deprived us of many things, whether it’s economic, social, cultural, political, religious, or whatever. We want justice. And personally, I want revenge, as that’s what justice would be for me.”
“Get out now.”
“If you are ever to see your girlfriend again, leave the country. Do you still have people who owe you money?” he asked.
“No,” said Farid. “I’ve got some money laying around.”
Statement by Ms. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council 17th Special Session on“Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic” in Geneva
22 August 2011
…… OHCHR fact-finding mission found a pattern of widespread or systematic human rights violations by Syrian security and military forces, including murder, enforced disappearances, torture, deprivation of liberty, and persecution. Although the report covered the period of 15 March to 15 July 2011, there are indications that the pattern of violations continues to this day. It is our assessment that the scale and nature of these acts may amount to crimes against humanity.
It is regrettable that the Government of Syria did not give access to the Mission, despite my repeated requests. Nonetheless, the Mission gathered credible, corroborated, and consistent accounts of violations from victims and witnesses, including military defectors, and Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.
The Mission concluded that while demonstrations have been largely peaceful, the military and security forces have resorted to an apparent “shoot-to-kill” policy. Snipers on rooftops have targeted protestors, bystanders who were trying to help the wounded, and ambulances. The Mission also documented incidents of summary execution outside the context of the demonstrations, and during house-to-house searches and in hospitals. Victims and witnesses reported widespread attempts to cover up killings by the security forces, including through the use of mass graves…..
Amal Hananu – Final Journal Entry – Jadiliyya
Aide Signals That Coburn Will Again Oppose Robert Ford’s Confirmation As U.S. Ambassador To Syria
Ben Armbruster on Aug 11, 2011
Last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), “acting on his party’s behalf,” blocked Robert Ford’s confirmation as the next U.S. ambassador to Syria. While President Obama ended up using his power to recess appoint Ford to the position, in a May 14, 2010 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, twelve Senate Republicans complained that sending an envoy rewarded Syria for its support for terrorism.
The Senate still must confirm Ford if he is to remain at his post. His visit last month to the Syrian city of Hama — which has recently been under assault by the Syrian military — drew wide praise. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who opposed Ford’s confirmation last year, now says he supports it and he is urging his colleagues to follow suit. And as The Cable reported yesterday, “Congress is warming to the idea of confirming” Ford. Or is it?
Change In Libya A Lesson For Everyone-Turkish Foreign Minister, 2011-08-22
ANKARA (AFP)–Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Monday hailed the developments in Libya as a “significant achievement,” and said the change in the north African country was a lesson for everyone. His comments came after Libyan rebels entered the heart of Tripoli in a final drive to oust the country’s leader Moammar Gadhafi. ” The change taking place in Libya in compliance with people’s demands, following the one in Egypt and Tunisia, should teach a lesson to everyone,” Davutoglu told a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during a visit, according to the Anatolia news agency. “Leaders of other countries must also be aware of the fact that they will be in power as long as they satisfy the demands of the people,” he said. His remarks were interpreted as an implicit warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.