Syria’s Security Measures are Failing

Photo taken by protester in Hama after Friday prayers, July 22.

Syria’s security measures are failing. Each week more Syrians join demonstrations and become participants in the general uprising. The Jazirah region become a new center of disturbance recently. Many inhabitants of Deir ez-Zor have joined protests and smaller towns, such as Bukamal, have also become centers of turmoil.

Hama and Homs remain the main centers of agitation. Video of the large Hama demonstration on Friday is provided by The LA Times blog. It went off peacefully.Anthony Shadid is reporting from Hama.

Homs was not peaceful. It is very hard to get an a accurate picture of events there. Activists paint a dire picture of a city under attack, where five civilians were shot on Friday and one or two during the week, as Nada Bakri describes in Syrian Forces Crack Down in Restive City With Raids and Gunfire. She writes that three buildings were destroyed by artillery or tank fire. Al-Jazeera also went with the artillery story,  but government officials deny that tank fire was used in Homs. Activists claim that tanks fired on this mosque and hit its minaret. See the video. Activists state in the video that it as an example of the “hatred for Islam,” of the soldiers who fire on mosques. Others argued the video was a hoax and fabricated because no damage was done to the minaret. Videos, such as these, make judging any given event very difficult.

Syrian state sources give a very different view of events. They describe an army that is being frequently sniped at and ambushed; rather than one that is victimizing Syrians. The task of urban policing is overwhelming soldiers who are sent out on patrol and told to keep roads open and make sure that barricades do not block streets. Sana interviews soldiers who claim that 32 law-enforcement members and 8 civilians have been wounded in Homs recently. Other soldiers were killed outside Homs near Rastan, when their bus was strafed by activists hiding in surrounding orchards along the main highway.

In Deraa, activists complain, “The many [government] check points prevent us from gathering in large numbers.”

No mater how one interprets the conflicting reports or how one counts the number of protestors in each city, it is hard to escape the conclusion that Syria is becoming more divided, more sectarian, that more towns and cities are becoming involved in demonstrations, and that the government is not getting control of the uprising. On the contrary, the government does not have a military answer to the problems and is hesitant to use lots of force. When it does use force, things become worse. When it does not, things become worse. In Hama, where the governor withdrew the military, demonstrations grew. The government has so far pursued political solutions – dialogue and compromise – without conviction and little real compromize. It is not willing to open up the political arena to real competition.

The opposition also seems to be divided and largely improvising as it feels its way forward to ever larger demonstrations. This is a success, but it does not point the way toward an end-game. Perhaps an end-game will materialize if numbers of protestors continue to grow. The danger of this lack of leadership and unity, is that as the opposition grows, it will be unable to restrict its members to non-violence. Elements of the opposition are getting arms and becoming militant. In Militias may form and take maters into their own hands, pushing aside the pacifists.

Fayiz Izz al-Deen, a government official, claims today on Aljazeera that Blackwater is behind armed groups in Homs. watch 2:21

Ziad Haydar in al-Safir -زياد حيدر – معظم قواعد حزب البعث مع «التعددية السياسية والديموقراطية وتعديل المادة الثامنة. writes that most Baath Party Leaders support pluralism, democracy, and doing away with article 8 of the constitution (the article which mandates the leadership of the Baath Party)

أكد نائب الرئيس السوري فاروق الشرع، في لقاء مع إعلاميين بينهم مراسل «السفير» في دمشق أمس، أن «الإصلاح يجري بمبادرة من الرئيس بشار الأسد، وأن الرئيس يقوده، وهو يحدد جدولا زمنيا له»، معتبرا في الوقت ذاته أن معظم قواعد حزب البعث مع «التعددية السياسية والديموقراطية وتعديل المادة الثامنة» من الدستو.

This al-Hayat correspondent states that most Arab papers are hostile to the Syrian government, particularly those based in London, including al-Hayat.  They are invested in providing negative views and news of the Syrian regime, he says.

Laying waste to humble Homs, The Economist

The embattled regime’s use of violent gangs is stoking sectarian fears

REVOLUTIONARY fervour in Syria has shifted back from Hama—last week’s hotspot—to neighbouring Homs. At least 33 residents have been killed by security forces and government thugs in the city in recent days. Several were shot at funerals. Others died in what are described as sectarian clashes. On July 16th the mutilated corpses of three regime supporters were found in the outskirts. In retaliation, gangs allied to the ruling Assad family from the minority Alawite sect smashed up shops in districts dominated by the Sunnis. Residents have also reported indiscriminate shooting from unmarked, speeding cars while security forces looked on.

Since the start of protests in mid-March, Syrian activists have repeatedly complained about thugs working alongside the security forces in a crackdown that has now killed more than 1,500 civilians. Amateur video footage from various cities shows plain-clothed thugs—known as “shabiha”—committing atrocities. Many are members of the Assad clan or smugglers and racketeers from the coastal region. The leaders are thought to be Munzer and Fawwaz Assad, first cousins of President Bashar Assad. Both men were targeted by European Union sanctions in May.

Gangs are a useful tool for the regime. They make up the numbers when exhausted security forces take a break after more than four months on duty. They also allow officials to deny responsibility for some of the worst killings. Perhaps most important, the gangs raise the spectre of sectarian war, as seen in Iraq or Lebanon. The government hopes this might frighten people off the streets. In Latakia, a coastal city in the Assad heartland, residents have seen shabiha groups attack Alawite and Christian districts posing as Sunnis. This has helped to rally some support for the regime. Meanwhile in Homs, anti-Alawite feeling has intensified.

Yet fears of a sectarian meltdown are overblown. Anti-regime protests do not spring from religious differences. Indeed, it has been striking how secular, or at least ecumenical, the uprising in Syria has so far been. Sunnis have called on Christians, Alawites and other minorities to join them on the streets. Protesters have shouted “Muslims, Christians and Alawites are one” and waved crosses. After the latest killings in Homs, several prominent Alawites circulated statements condemning the damage done to Sunni shops.

Comments from the last Post

Revlon writes in the comment section:

The ratio of commentators on SC is still in favor of the regime. Such also reflects the current balance of physical power on the ground.

However, over the last couple of months, several pro-regimers have either withdrawn or announced the intention to, from SC.

The reasons given have been:
Tired, disgusted, futile discussion,—–.

This is the 4th stage of Grief in Kübler-Ross model; The depression; ” I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”

It is hitting supporters at various speeds.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model.

SC commentators’ current standoff, in someways reflects the bigger picture on on the ground.
A large segment of the regime leadership and supporters have indeed lapsed into depression.

The good news is, they have finished 4 of 5 stages.
One more and they will be in the final stage: Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”

SC will be around to host the resolution phase! Revlon will be around to read AlFati7a, only this time to celebrate the renewal of our friendship in a framework of respect for human and civil rights.

Majedkhaldun writes:

No Syrian will accept European or American interventions. The US will not give permission to Turkey to invade Syria. More demonstrations, as the regime resort to violent crackdown,,economy will deteriorate,inflation will hit hard as the Lira will loose its value,people will start complain publicly,more demonstrations will ensue,this will not lead to Bashar resignation, the elite will feel the crisis, as it will hit there pockets, they will talk to Bashar, he will decline,finally the protesters will recognize that they have to bear arms, to defend themselves, this will lead to much more casualties, among Shabbiha and security forces,they will run away, Bashar will be left with only the army to depend on, he will need more than 4th brigade,and republican guards, then the troops will start defecting in large numbers, army officers will separate creating cantons,they all will have one goal , to change the regime, but they all will be independent,pressure will mount on Bashar to quit,internal division will end the regime.new dictator will appear,we will not get our democracy that we yearn for,a lot of blood will be spilled, a lot of properties will be destroyed.

Louai writes:

Let me tell you about Bab el-Sbaa [in Homs, the center of the demonstrations]

it’s a wonderful neighbourhood , there are Christians and Muslims there living together without any problem there are two churches in that small neighbourhood and Muslims are conservatives but they do respect our freedom and traditions for example, almost every muslime girl there is wearing Hijab but if some one harassed a Christian girl because of her liberal outfit a conservative Muslim will deal with hem in case none of her family is there , it’s a wonderful and safe place unlike its recent reputation , the problem about Babelsbaa is its connected to ALwarsha Babeldreeb and bab el Turkman, people in Bab elsbaa believe that the armed gangs don’t belong to their neighbourhood (almost every one knows every one there ) they come from babeldreeb or other places because they take advantage of the small alleys passages and old Arabic houses in there plus they managed to close the neighbourhood using barricades ,the people of Babelsbaa DO demonstrate but I refuse to think they are using any arms as I do know my people plus my family never recognized any of the armed men but recently it become terrorists safe heaven because of the blocked neighbourhood and the rumour that the army will not enter there but the situation is unbearable now Babelsbaa is Babeldreeb and Alwarsha and babelturkman ,things are mixed up the army had to put an end to this rebels who converted the neighbourhood to a hub and a Refuge to terrorists ,my own family is under siege ,I cant call them or communicate with them but I am happy because I read the army is there hopefully it will manage to bring back peace and safety.

The Realist Prism: Regime Change and Demobilization in Iraq and Beyond
By: Nikolas Gvosdev | Column

Most experts believe that one of the most catastrophic mistakes made during the U.S. occupation of Iraq was the decision to disband the Iraqi armed forces in May 2003. The question is not merely of interest to historians and those writing “after-action” reports on the Iraq invasion. After all, other Iraq-style regimes — most notably in Syria, Libya and North Korea — are likely to fall in the near future.

Comments (72)


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51. Aboud said:

If I had to stop functioning as a human being everytime the shabiha scum went on a rampage here in Homs, I’d have gotten nothing done these past four months. And naturally I stay up late. I am a man of the world, I can’t stick to Homsi time all the time 🙂

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July 23rd, 2011, 11:43 am

 

52. AIG said:

Suddenly, out of nowhere, come people like King Crane that want to convince us that the purpose of the Syrian people is to fight Israel and obtain justice for the Palestinians and therefore everything that Bashar does should be forgiven.

Well, that may have worked in the past but not anymore. The purpose of the regime and Bashar Assad is to SERVE the Syrian people and give them freedom, dignity and a growing economy. Since Bashar wants to serve himself and not the people, he will go. If the Syrian people, after getting the government they deserve decide to fight Israel, that is their right. If they decide no to, that is their right also. But no Syrian government has the right to use that as an excuse for how awful it is.

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July 23rd, 2011, 11:52 am

 

53. beaware said:

Syrian soap operas sidelined by protests and censorship

Phil Sands
Jul 23, 2011

http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/syrian-soap-operas-sidelined-by-protests-and-censorship
…Najdat Anzour, the drama producer – long considered critical of Syria’s autocratic regime – was among those outraged by what he derisively called the “milk statement”.

In response, he and 21 production companies issued a notice of their own, announcing they would never again work with anyone who had signed the petition, saying they had “offended both the Syrian nation and its government”.

“The milk statement lied about the situation in Deraa,” Mr Anzour, now viewed as firmly pro-regime, said in an interview. “There was never any shortage of food or milk. It was a political statement. The authorities were dealing with armed terrorist groups in Deraa.

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July 23rd, 2011, 11:56 am

 

54. Akbar Palace said:

“les autres” R Us

KINGCRANE said:

But we must be Syrians first and foremost. Syria first. Merde a tous les autres.

Which is true for every country on the planet. Nothing wrong about Syrians putting their country first.

However, this whole Syriophobe/Syriophile is moot. One can say Assad is putting Syria first, and others (like the demonstraters) can say he isn’t.

That is why BASIC human rights, like a multiparty elections, is imperative.

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July 23rd, 2011, 12:28 pm

 

55. Revlon said:

42. Dear No Syria and No Kandahar,
You said: “The video is fake”
I say: what else is new.

You said: “And even if it is true what is the big deal?
Bil Clinton was a good president and he was’t impeached with a proven lewinsky’s incident”

I say:
– So now president Clinton, who subjected the Iraqi children for years of brutal sanctions and bombed a fertilizer factory in Sudan to cover up for his court hearings, was a good president to you?

– Or do you mean he was good to American citizens?
I am not surprised that you used such a lame parallel tot!
Had Clinton been caught with such an act during a national crisis he would have found himself forced to resign in no time!

– Codes of conduct vary between societies.
What is acceptable in France may not be so in the US .
What is acceptable for Berlusconi might not be so for Toyota of Japan
In Arabic, we call such codes of social conduct: A3raf.

– Al3orf in our society dictates that representatives in the government uphold their highest social and moral values. An evening in a night club and watching a belly dancer is far from that.
– Al3orf dictates that if your neighbour is grieving, you do not indulge in partying.

Finally, I welcome you Mr. No Syria and No Kandahar to the Syrian free information age. A reform introduced and enforced by the revolution, notwithstanding Jr’s reticence to adopt it.

Abuses of power can no longer be committed in the safety of censorship and claims of protecting the sacred national sentiment.

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July 23rd, 2011, 12:31 pm

 

56. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Military cadets yesterday in Haleb
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtHEiI7a8jQ&feature=player_embedded

The truth about the “armed terrorist groups”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpMKnVvk6_A&feature=player_embedded#at=13
.

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July 23rd, 2011, 12:32 pm

 

57. Ss said:

Comment 12 by AboGhassan

“I still believe Bashar sould resign”

I believe that the president is listening to you, but he is debating, what would be the best way to make a smooth transition of power to you Mr. AboGhassan who bored us for months with your position. I belive and dream, and continue to believe in my belives and dreams.

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July 23rd, 2011, 1:09 pm

 

58. Tara said:

Abughassan

Tara is not bored by your comments.

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July 23rd, 2011, 1:16 pm

 

59. ziadsoury said:

My sources tell me WD, Norman and all bashroupies are getting ready:

Aboud, Hamster enjoy

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July 23rd, 2011, 1:38 pm

 

60. 5 dancing shlomos said:

diseased minds with lies for brain cells (many of their kind comment here):

Settlers start fires across the West Bank
Ma’an – 22/07/2011
BETHLEHEM, Palestine — Palestinian firefighters have been battling blazes across the West Bank as Israeli settlers (squats) set fire to land in multiple locations on Thursday night.

Reports earlier on Friday said that settlers (squats) had torched agricultural fields near the village of Burin in the West Bank city of Nablus. (their only creation/contribution to life is hate)

…and the thug govt of these thugs with the zionized usa’s assistance is trying to burn syria. (a cleansing of all things not jewish)

President Asad should resist the externally assisted violence and destabilization with calm and firmness and appropriate force.

once the rabble, the deluded, along with their external sponsors are defeated, the syrian govt and the people of syria can determine the country’s future.

first, the u.s. and israel and other parties need to be thoroughly smashed.

with minimum 85% popular support, the government will win.

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July 23rd, 2011, 1:39 pm

 

61. Syria no kandahar said:

Devlon
You started changing names soالبادي اظلم
I have been outraged by your hijab comment,that is an insult to 30-40% of Syrian women,you calling women with no hijab (topless)is an insult to every Christian Syrian woman,every Alawi woman,every durzy woman,90%of Kurdish women.it is an insult to سويداandكسبand صلنفهandقامشليandقصاعand…….
It is an insult to many free Sunni women who choose not to wear it.it is an insult to your little sister.you can do whatever you want inside your family,but you have nothing to do with others,that is why we hate MB.it is a war of ideas,it is a war between dark and light.whoever is calling this menhabak and mabenhabak war is stupid.you can cover your wife face,hands,legs,nose…you can even have her walk with oxygen tank and put the oxygen tube through the veil to her nose,I don’t care,but don’t act as إدارة الامر بالمعروف .how do I know that you are a good person,how do I know when do you put your zipper on and off and for what,and why should I care about that?so you don’t get your nose in other people dressings or manners.You have to specifically apologized from people who wereغرر بهنand joined your dark force like مي سكافand جورجيت علمand mrs Attassi
Because you called them topless,same thing with mr Killo because you called his mom,who died while he was in prison,and his sisters and all his family topless.
As far asرقصني ياجدعthat is your way to get away from seriou dicussion,you can just replay it and enjoy it.
As far as prs Clinton,he was a good American president.I am not like you who lives in the west and drink from their water and they give him their citizenship,and then he spits on them,but when he needs their help tp bomb his country he starts to kiss their ass for them to bomb his nation.Clinton,Obama,Sarkozi,Assad,Erdogan…..none of them is an angel,but they are not :Devilon.

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July 23rd, 2011, 2:01 pm

 

62. 5 dancing shlomos said:

i hate to interpose into someone else’s conversation (and to get way off syria) but i have to comment re pres clinton.

both domestic policy and foreign policy, he was shit. a criminal.

little difference from reagan, bush, clinton, bush, obama, and the next whoever.

only got worse for americans and other peoples. will continue downhill.

they are all evil. very evil. intentionallly evil. self serving evil.

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July 23rd, 2011, 2:08 pm

 

63. MGB said:

#47 Jad
Could you provide the link to the original video that contains the confessions, which presumably was made by those who later executed these guys and which should also give the outfit that made and uploaded that original video or at least their youtube channel.

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July 23rd, 2011, 2:14 pm

 

64. Joshua said:

Dear Dandashle

I am not sure why you are so disgruntled about my inclusion of the minaret video.

I explained everything you claim I did not. I linked to your video claiming it was a fabrication and explaining that no damage seemed to be done or falling stones were visible with the supposed impact. Best, Joshua

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July 23rd, 2011, 2:41 pm

 

65. Akbar Palace said:

Jihadists are hard to Satisfy

5 Dancing Ahmads states:

little difference from reagan, bush, clinton, bush, obama, and the next whoever

5 Dancing Ahmads,

Which country do you live in? Perhaps we can learn to do better from your esteemed president.

In contrast, we can say:

tiny difference between assad, assad, assad, assad, assad and the next assad

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July 23rd, 2011, 3:09 pm

 

66. Akbar Palace said:

Tanks a Million

Although I take Debka with a “large grain of salt”, the question still remains: isn’t there a better use of tanks than against one’s own people?

http://www.debka.com/article/21140/

No, that’s right folks, “reagan, bush, clinton, bush, obama, and the next whoever” never deployed tanks against american citizens.

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July 23rd, 2011, 3:30 pm

 

67. Norman said:

Ziadsouri,

Do you think that we will continue to see clips like these in with girls wearing short skirts and boys in your new Syria, i doubt it ,Syria today is more conservative that 30 years ago, The wahhabi Islam is influencing all the Mideast and probably the world with the help of the Saudi money. .

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July 23rd, 2011, 3:45 pm

 

68. louai said:

Dear Jad , its very painful to see them before they got killed ,another sad day I am having because of those three guys ,its more than sadness I think its depression ,maybe the depression Revlon quoted earlier in the stages of accepting change ,maybe its time to accept the reality that the civil war started already and the country we love soon will be no more , Syria is becoming Kandahar and much worse ! congratulation to all of us.

Another three men found dead after being tortured and their bodies mutilated in Al Bayyada ,Homs !

مثل بجثثهم .. العثور على جثث ثلاثة شبان في حي البياضة بحمص

الاخبار المحلية
شارك

أفاد مراسل سيريانيوز في محافظة حمص أنه “تم اكتشف صباح يوم الجمعة جثث ثلاثة شبان بالقرب من حاوية قمامة في حي البياضة قتلوا ومثل بجثثهم.

وأضاف المراسل “بالإضافة إلى ذلك تم العثور على شخص رابع يدعى علي الجردي مصاب بجروح بالسكاكين ولديه تهشم في العظام نقل إلى المستشفى الوطني وهو الآن في العناية المركزة”، موضحا أن “علي الجردي موظف في الشركة العامة للغزل والنسيج تم اختطافه يوم الخميس بعد خروجه من المعمل”.

http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=135305

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July 23rd, 2011, 5:57 pm

 

69. louai said:

MGB

i odont think the killers uploaded the video on youtube , i heard that people found a CD next to the bodies contain the killers torturing their victims ,maybe this part was taken from the same CD .

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July 23rd, 2011, 6:10 pm

 

70. Vex said:

There is absolutely nothing the regime or its apologists can do to stifle the natural coarse of social progress and evolution. The more the regime tries to suppress, the angrier people get and the more concessions the more people view them as fruits of their sacrifice and courage.
Protesters will try harder and grow. This is the only way to impose real reform on an unrepentant Mafia disguised as government.

People are hopeful Ramadan will provide a catalyst for change. I believe that will be the case. With the nature of the month and its rituals, this is going to be a decisive month and dangerous for the regime.

You know they’ll slip and when that happens, Bashar better have his one way ticket back to London on standby.

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July 23rd, 2011, 7:31 pm

 

71. Adam Neira said:

Prayers for Syria.

The current GDP of $105.238 billion, $5043 per capita must be raised. The GDP of the nation can grow by at least 5% per annum over the coming 38 years if the right moves are made. All the Syrian leaders must come together and seek to make the nation as peaceful and prosperous as possible. The children of Syria deserve a decent future. The adults in charge must recognize this.

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July 23rd, 2011, 10:23 pm

 
 

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