Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peaceful against all odds!

As the Assads increase their reliance on local militia and gangs, the potential for a nationwide meltdown increases. Only the protesters’ continued commitment to nonviolence keeps the country together at this stage. 

A message to the international community: In his address to the Libyan people following the onset of Libyan Revolution, Saif Gaddafi explained in full nauseating details how the situation will be made to degenerate into a civil war between a Benghazi-led alliance and Tripoli-led one. In his first address to the Syrian people following the onset of the Syrian Revolution, Bashar Al-Assad, laid out the plan for Syria:  security-led crackdown everywhere and against all protests under the pretext of weeding out infiltrators and resisting foreign conspiracies and designs, coupled with reforms that will unfold according to his vision, his timetable, and more importantly, under his leadership.

Considering, on the one hand, that protesters are already questioning the very legitimacy of Bashar’s leadership, that violence is not succeeding in stifling their commitment to the cause and that Bashar has proven time and again that he is incapable of carrying out true reforms, the questions facing the international community are all about choosing sides and ensuring that the situation in Syria does not follow the Libyan Scenario. Rather than waiting until Bashar’s thugs on the streets bring his “prophecy” to fulfillment, world leaders need to take action now to explain to the Assads that there will be consequences to their thuggery. Assets freeze, targeted sanctions, actions by UN Commission on Human Rights and UN Security Council, all these are now steps that need to be considered. Let’s see for once if we can prevent conflict, rather than manage it.

The village of Al-Baydah near the coastal city of Banyas today was the scene of a horror show mastered by the Shabbiha, the pro-Assad gangs who seem to be taking the lead in the nation-wide crackdown alongside regular security forces, loyal army troops, and selected unites of the Republic Guard. Few hundreds of them poured into the village’s main square, conduced house raids, arresting hundreds of inhabitants and dragging them to the public square where they were beaten with batons. The children were forced to watch then stage a pro-Assad rally.

We can now confirm as well, that several army officers have indeed been executed because they refused orders to open fire on unarmed protesters. The inhabitants of the city of Madaya, which remains under military siege after yesterday’s protests, assert that their son Murad Hajjo was killed by security officers for his refusal to open fire on protesters. This is what the inhabitants of the historic city of Tadmor (Palmyra) also think was the fate of their son, Muhammad Awad Al-Kanbar, whose funeral was held earlier on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, and despite the current state of siege imposed on each town in Deraa and on communities and suburbs throughout the country, several rallies were held today in support of the people of Banyas, including in Deraa City, Hrak, Kobani, Kisweh, Barzeh and Al-Tal.

Finally, around 75 students who took part in yesterday’s protests at Damascus University or refused to take part in the pro-Assad rally that hastily thrown afterwards have been summarily expelled from university or referred to a disciplinary committee for expulsion.  

Tadmo (Palmyra): funeral of army officer Muhammad Awad Al-Kanbar, killed by Shabbiha gangs for refusing to shoot at protesters. Chants: “The Syrian People Are One” “We sacrifice our blood and soul for you Deraa” “Allah, Syria, Freedom and Nothing More” “From Damascus to Horan, the Syrian People cannot be Humiliated”

In the hope of settling the debate about infiltrators and official lies regarding violent allegedly perpetrated by protesters, we’ve selected the videos below, which not only expose regime lies, but also led credence to reports of dissention within ranks, as these videos cannot have been taken or leaked except by members of the security forces.

Homs: Security officers & Shabbiha gangs spread their brand of security in the streets of Homs
Dedraa: Security officers & Shabbiha gangs take over Al-Omary Mosque in Deraa City, “liberating” it, as it were, from the protesters, albeit momentarily. Authorities had repeatedly asserted that caches of weapons and ammunitions were hidden in the Mosque, but other than the weapons carried by security thugs, no weapons can be seen.  Also, at one point, one of the thugs raises his arms and says: “We ambushed them, we killed them.”
Lattakia: once again Shabbiha and security officers intermixing.

Miscellaneous Videos

Damascus: Abbasid Stadium transformed into a security hub (skip to middle where busses are standing to next to the stadium and voices of security officers repeating slogans can be heard)
Kobani: protests in support of people in Banyas. Banner: “Arabs and Kurds Are Brothers” “Democratic Syria” Kobani have long been a strong base for Ojalan supporters, the fact that they are throwing their lot behind a democratic Syria, rather than separatist solution is quite revealing and could be meant as a message to Turkey across the border as well.   
Kisweh: protests in support of Banyas
Barzeh: mid-night vigil
Al-Tal: vigil in support of Banyas, Deraa and national unity.
Homs, Bab Al-Siba’: Funeral of Tamer Rashid
Homs, Al-Wa’er: Funeral of Khalid Al-Ouayd
Deraa: protester reciting prayers over body of a dying colleague