Posted by Joshua on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
US closer to declaring Assad’s rule in Syria illegitimate
By Bradley Klapper,Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The U.S. is edging closer to calling for an end to the long rule of the Assad family in Syria. Obama administration officials say the first step would be to declare for the first time that President Bashar Assad has forfeited his legitimacy to rule. That would be a shift from U.S. statements demanding that Assad stop a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters. Those stopped short of saying he had to go.
Assad retains considerable international support, and it is not clear how much backing the U.S. would have in suggesting regime change. It is also unclear how far the U.S. would be willing to back up its words with action.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss highly sensitive internal planning
Copyright © 2011 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
Erdoghan warned that Syria was about to enter the “Halabja and Hama” phase.
Addendum: Mitch writes:
I spent 3 hours reading Western Journalists on what is going on in Syria, and this is what I found:
“But she added that claims by the Syrian authorities that armed groups are responsible for some of the deaths were not unfounded. She said cars full of unidentified men routinely open fire on civilians and security forces alike.” (Blanford)
“He said Assad still had a chance to make amends” (Bradley Klapper)
“Damascus, the capital, seemingly tranquil, and Aleppo, a key conservative bastion, has been relatively quiet.”(Anthony Shadid)
“In the village of Hala outside Deraa, Muslim inhabitants told their Christian neighbours to join the demonstrations against the regime – or leave.” (Robert Fisk)
It is quite clear, by my selective quoting, that my original position is correct. The Syrian regime is completely correct in all its actions.
Can I be a major journalist yet?
Isn’t that what Shadid did? Makhluf was talking about the armed insurgents the West ignores. Shadid was talking about his beloved peaceful protestors. So he took Makhluf’s words against the real Islamic threat and made it sound like they were against everyone.
And Prof. Landis bought this theory.
Or am I to believe the Hizb Ul-Tahrir supporters in northern Jordan want a pro-democracy Syria. Or the Hizb Ul-Tahrir supporters in northern Lebanon (than Blanford or Shadid fail to mention who they are) are pro-democracy.
i would like to clarify something about Homs as its in the news all the times now days as a second Deraa , i dont know what was happining in Daraa but it was obvouse that Daraa was an angry city in general
Homs is much bigger than Daraa as you know and its much much diverced for some one reading the news (even state TV) woud think that the city is boilgn just like Daraa ,that is not true
The demonstrations took place in the conservative parts of the city, the places that you would not walk with your sister or any other female that is not wearing hijab without feeling that you are making something wrong, those places are meanly a tribal areas who settled in this part of the city with the exeption to BAB el sbaa (near where i live)
The vast majority of Homs is against ‘the revolution’ but the problem is that areas like al-jhaldia and bayada alone are 100 000 people and they are all from two or three tribes, meaning that in on funeral you will find 5000 people minimum
We are so glad that the army is in the city (i cant call my family however i feel better because i know the army and the security force are in the area)
Homs the main city is very calm (with the exeption of bab el sbaa) but if you ask any one they will tell you that the people in bab el sbaa who caused troubles came from outside and no one knows them). Thank you all
Either Bashar or chaos. The same talk came from Ghadafi when he stated that the stability of Israel and the region passes through him. He also added that he is a bulwark against illegal immigration to Europe as well.
I posted before that the regime needs to be uprooted from its deepest root unless it seriously and rapidly institutes real and meaningful reforms.
Those on this blog that troll for the regime’s point are all doom and gloom.
I see that the Checks and the Slovaks parted ways in 93 and nothing happened and that Yougoslavia broke up and even though it was very bloody due to the folly and criminality of Milosevic life seems to go on and many of these countries will continue to learn to live in peace over time. I also see that South Sudan achieved independence and Bangladesh separated from Pakistan and none is the worse for it in the long run.
I do wish that the various sects and ethnic groups opt for independence and freedom; after all the situation in which the Alawites find themselves is a major dilemma for them and the rest. They are now put in the stark choice of either supporting the Mafia in control or risk losing everything in a civil war. In reality they should separate and declare their independence after all France tried that route before and sowed the seed of discord a long time age with the various sects and minorities.
Staying together in a shot gun forced marriage will destroy the children surely and the grand children as well as we have seen in Lebanon and Iraq. Break it up peacefully before it breaks up violently.
What are we trying to preserve in this current Syria? Corruption, nepotism, brutality, oppression, sectarian hatred, failed state institutions, cultural death, dismal education, barbaric health care system?
Abu Ghassan writes:
Any further moves by the US on Syria will probably increase the chances of an actual civil war instead of helping the opposition. The regime forces will not simply resign and ask for mercy as soon as the US declares Bashar as being illegitimate. Libya is ruined in part because of careless western policies added to the brutality of the regime and the abundance of oil in Libya. Syria does not have oil but it is a significant prize politically as long as Israel and Iran remain at odds and as long as there is no peace in the middle east.
I am confident that our president,Obama,is fully able to make life harder for the regime and ordinary citizens alike,however,the best course now is staying out of this internal strife while refusing to reward the regime.
Security Council urged to speak out on Syria
10 May 2011, The Star
New York: Western nations have launched a new bid to get the UN Security Council to condemn Syria for its deadly crackdown on opposition demonstrators, diplomats say.
Syria’s refusal to let a UN humanitarian assessment team into the protest city of Dara’a was raised by Britain at a Security Council meeting yesterday.
Britain is leading lobbying for a Security Council resolution warning Syria over its crackdown, diplomats say.
In parallel, Western nations are stepping up a campaign to stop Syria getting a seat on the UN Human Rights Council at a vote next week.
But efforts to pressure Syria are being held back by opposition from Russia, China and other countries on the 15-nation Security Council, who say the French-British-US coalition staging air attacks in Libya has gone beyond its UN mandate.
Syria again angered its critics by refusing to let a UN humanitarian team into Dara’a on Sunday. Hundreds are feared to have died in the city, which has become a symbol of the protests against President Bashar al-Assad.
The UN announced on Thursday that Syria had agreed to let a UN team into Dara’a, after UN Sscretary general Ban Ki-moon appealed directly to Assad.
According to human rights groups, more than 600 people have been killed and 8 000 have been jailed or disappeared across Syria in eight weeks of protests. – Sapa-AFP
The Syrian tv just aired interviews with people in the souks around daraa. They said the army was giving them bread and foodstuff and that water was never cut off but electricity was cut for 3 days. They said that telecommunications is still disrupted in many areas. In general people were not angry or bitter. Some women were happy saying that the demonstrations started rightly for peaceful demands in the begining but then some armed groups took control of the city and people were afraid to go out at night. All seemed believable. The question remains: why not the media in and the UN commission go in earlier today?
Young protest leader sees civil war emerging in Syria
Blanford – Christian Science Monitor
A Syrian schoolteacher who has become a protest leader in the town of Tel Kalakh, near the Lebanon border, tells the Monitor in a rare interview that he expects civil war in Syria.
Among those crossing the river on Monday was a young schoolteacher who in recent weeks has emerged as the leader of the protest movement in the mainly Sunni-populated town, which lies just two miles north of the border.
He and other residents struck mixed tones of fear and defiance as the Syrian authorities continued a punishing nationwide campaign of arrests and shootings against key centers of unrest to suppress a two-month uprising that threatens to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria 101: 4 attributes of Assad’s authoritarian regime
Calling himself Nisr min Tel Kalakh (the Eagle of Tel Kalakh), the young opposition leader, who could not be named for security reasons, says that he hopes the uprising remains peaceful. But he predicts that the intensifying crackdown by the Syrian security forces will plunge the country into an armed civil war.
“We are all expecting for Syria exactly what happened in Libya – a revolution against the regime, an armed struggle against the regime. It will happen soon,” he says, in perhaps the first interview of an underground opposition leader based inside Syria with a Western reporter. Until then, he adds, the protesters are willing to die for their cause.
“We will defend ourselves by baring our chests to their bullets and fighting with our bare hands. Our cause is righteous. Even if we lose 2 or 3 million people, we are willing to put up with that high price to get what we want,” he says.
Dozens of residents of Tel Kalakh have used the narrow causeway in the past two weeks to enter Lebanon, where they have sought shelter with relatives and friends. Some spend just the day in Lebanon before making the short journey back to their homes in the evening. One resident telephoned “Nisr,” the young leader, inside Tel Kalakh and he agreed to meet for an interview. Thirty minutes later, he appeared on the opposite bank of the Kabir River.
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After discreetly slipping some money into the hands of two unarmed but uniformed Syrian border soldiers on watch at the crossing, he scrambled down the steep bank and stepped gingerly across the causeway spanning the river to the Lebanese side.
A man standing on the Lebanese bank of the river hailed the two Syrian soldiers and jeered, “Why don’t you come over here and we’ll take your picture.”
One of the Syrian soldiers yelled curses before the pair disappeared from view.
Minutes later, sitting in a dusty armchair in a nearby garage and surrounded by local well-wishers, “Nisr” said he was the first to rally people in Tel Kalakh for antiregime protests and since then had become the leader of the opposition in the town.
Junblatt still betting on Bashar and Syria ….
ونوه جنبلاط أن الرئيس الأسد يملك الجرأة والقدرة على ترجمة ما وعد به من إصلاح، لكن ليس في ظلّ الدوامة الأمنية. الاستقرار أولاً ثم الإصلاح، وأنا أعوّل على هذا المسار.
لا يشبّه جنبلاط ما جرى في مصر بما يدور في سوريا، لكنه يلاحظ أن الشريحة الواسعة من السوريين تريد الإصلاح والتعدّدية الحزبية: حتى الاتحاد السوفياتي بعد 77 عاماً انهار كل شيء فيه. لذلك، أرى من الضروري تجديد حزب البعث أيضاً وضخّ الدم الجديد فيه. صحيح أن هناك جماعات متهوّرة في سوريا، لكن الصحيح أيضاً أن هناك كفايات عالية فيها. اعترف الغرب بالحاجة إلى سوريا، ولم ينظر إلى أحداثها على نحو أحداث مصر واليمن وليبيا وتونس، ولم يسعَ إلى تقويض نظامها لأنه لا يزال في حاجة إلى ضرورته ووجوده، وهو يعرف أن سوريا مفتاح الحرب والسلم والاستقرار في كل الشرق، وأي تعاط غربي سلبي معها لا يفيد. أكثر من أي وقت مضى، أدعو الغرب إلى التعاطي بإيجابية مع الرئيس الأسد
CouncilEuroUnion: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on restrictive measures against Syria
“The EU has decided to impose restrictive measures against Syria and persons responsible
for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria.
These measures include an embargo on arms and equipment that may be used for internal
repression, as well as an asset freeze and a travel ban targeting a list of thirteen individuals.
JORDAN TO BE PART OF GCC, AL JAZEERA SAYS
Shadid just spoke about his trip to Syria on “Here and Now” on NPR this afternoon. He says that the goal of his trip was to interview Makhlouf and that he had spent a lot of time trying to make it happen; when he was there, he was told Shaaban could talk to him too.
A stalemate on the battlefields of Libya and a political deadlock on the U.N. Security Council have left Western powers with a stark choice — covertly aid the rebels or leave them in the lurch.
Analysts and U.N. diplomats warn that if the United States, Britain, France or their allies were to exploit loopholes in, or secretly circumvent, a sanctions regime they themselves engineered in February and March, it could prompt Russia or China to adopt a similar stance on the sanctions against Iran.
Russia and China, both veto-wielding permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council, have become increasingly critical of the NATO-led operation to protect civilians in OPEC-member Libya, which they have suggested appears to be killing more civilians than it is intended to protect.
The Security Council’s Libya sanctions committee could move to exempt the rebels from measures intended to punish Gaddafi’s government, but one envoy said the “political atmospherics have changed.” Russia and China, which reluctantly abstained on a vote to approve military action, have run out of patience and are unlikely to support any adjustments of the sanctions.
“The problem for the West is that several key players on the council now feel that the authority they granted was abused and they’re not inclined to help the West extricate itself,” said David Bosco of American University in Washington.
U.N. diplomats told Reuters that Russia and China, which complain that NATO is going beyond its U.N. mandate to protect civilians and really wants “regime change” and Gaddafi’s ouster, have made clear that they would block any attempt to aid the rebels by exempting them from the U.N. sanctions.
Asked what options the Western powers and their allies have to help the rebels, a council diplomat said on condition of anonymity: “Covert aid. That’s really our only option now. Or hope that a political solution to the impasse emerges that will lead to Gaddafi’s departure. That would change everything.”