Monday, July 11, 2011

The Monolog!

As the Assad regime puts on another meaningless façade, the Street continues to march to the beats of a different drummer. The people will not be fooled again.

Sunday July 10, 2011

Opposition groups boycott the National Dialog held by Assad regime, as protesters denounce it and its participants throughout the country …

Syrian musician Ibrahim Qashoush sang of freedom - until he paid the price. But as The Sunday Telegraph saw during secret travels across the country, Syrians are determined to keep up pressure to oust President Assad.
Though there's plenty of criticism of the government, a national dialogue sponsored by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to ease tensions with anti-government protesters is marred by the absence of key opposition figures, who view the meetings as a sham.
Paris. The French foreign ministry on Sunday summoned Syria's ambassador to France over damage done to the French embassy and a consulate in Syria, AFP reported. Syrian demonstrators caused the damage Saturday after France's ambassador to Syria visited the northern village of Hama.
Protesters backed by the Syrian government rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Damascus for 31 hours this weekend, throwing projectiles at the compound and at one point pelting two Embassy employees with food, the State Department said Sunday. The U.S. has since complained to the Syrian government.
Ideally, we should want to see the Turks establish a buffer zone or safe haven on the Syrian side of the border (Ankara sometimes did this in Iraq to counter nefarious Kurdish activity). Such a Turkish intervention, which would likely be backed by the French, would be convulsive inside Syria and would signal to the military that Ankara had irreversibly chosen sides. It would also signal to the Sunni elite of Aleppo, just 26 miles from the Turkish border, that their essential Turkish trading partner had drawn a line in the sand.
But the succession of speeches also appeared to show a hardened divide between Syrians who—for the first time—acknowledge that the 41-year rule of the Assad family under an essentially one-party system has become untenable, and those opposition figures who now view any reforms short of Mr. Assad stepping down as inadequate.
In a country where the walls are said to have ears, Syrians have long erred on the side of paranoia. And from the beginning, the Syrian revolution has been marked by doublespeak.
Anas Maarawi is the latest Syrian blogger to have been imprisoned. He was detained on Friday July 1, 2011, in his neighborhood of Kafarsouseh in Damascus, and nothing has been heard of him since.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration sent two distinct messages by dispatching the U.S. ambassador to Syria to meet anti-regime protesters in a besieged city. To Syrian President Bashar Assad: Reform now. To critics in the United States of its engagement policy: Stop complaining.
…Some Syrian production companies also called for rescinding the Syrian Order of Merit that President Bashar al-Assad granted Muna Wasif, the famous Syrian actress and mother of prominent opposition figure Ammar Abdulhamid in 2009, because she had signed the petition.
This is a bit dated by now, but I just found it, and it does give an idea of how I try to cover the Revolution from my own Situation Room.

“Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right” – Rudyard Kipling
White House demonstration to support Syrian people rights to freedom (July 23)

Update: the name of the protester shot in the head in Damascus’ Midan Neighborhood on Friday is Ahmad Dakdak, not Dakkak. He is reportedly still alive but in critical condition. He has undergone two critical surgeries so far and is scheduled for a third.

This is the scenario with which we are presented: the regime will dialog with itself, be very critical and end up by pledging and implementing the kind of reforms that will allow it to reinvent itself while keeping the Assad and all their main henchmen in place and above the law and any sort of accountability. Pardon us for not wanting to wait to be disappointed. We prefer to express our displeasure now. We have seen this play before: we didn’t it like then, we like it even less now.

Syrian Ambassador Mustapha Called Into the State Department | US Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC | Question Taken at the July 8, 2011 Daily Press Briefing, July 8, 2011

Question: When was the last meeting between State Department officials and Syrian Ambassador Mustapha?

Answer: Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell called Syrian Ambassador Imad Mustapha into the State Department on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 to express a number of our concerns with the reported actions of certain Syrian embassy staff in the United States. We received reports that Syrian mission personnel under Ambassador Mustapha’s authority have been conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States. The United States Government takes very seriously reports of any foreign government actions attempting to intimidate individuals in the United States who are exercising their lawful right to freedom of speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution. We are also investigating reports that the Syrian government has sought retribution against Syrian family members for the actions of their relatives in the United States exercising their lawful rights in this country and will respond accordingly.


Damascus / Khalid Ben Al-Walid Street: hundreds gather for a rare night-time protest right in central Damascus. Protesters chant “the people want to topple the regime” “Get out Bashar, there is no dialog.” These protests are bound to increase in frequency from now on.
Damascus / Qaboun / July 8: security forces firing at protesters
Damascus / July 8: it’s not clear in which neighborhood this video was taken, but it shows dozens of especially-clad security officers chanting “Maher, we shed our blood for you.” This is the first time that such cries have been chanted publicly by security officers. Analysts will draw their own conclusions.
Damascus / Dmeir / July 9: funeral for an activist, gunfire heard but judging by the reaction of mourners, it is most likely meant to “celebrate” his martyrdom. 

Homs / Bab Al-Sibaa / July 10: gunfire heard throughout the neighborhood as security officers storm in and conduct a massive campaign of intimidation and arrests
Just before the crackdown, thousands took part in the funeral of a fallen comrade.
Homs / Khaldiyyeh / July 8: automatic gunfire heard in the day as part of the crackdown

Hama / Taybat Al-Imam / July 10: the camerawoman can be heard sobbing and murmuring as she watches the security officers below with their van stuffed with protesters.
Hama City / July 10: the streets are filled at night with local patrols protecting the neighborhoods from incursions by Shabbiha.

Another officer announces his defection: Lieutenant Qais Dhiyab Al-Qataa’neh joins the mysterious Free Officers Corps

Homs / July 10: a video of the exploding bullet taken out of the chest of a local martyr

A remix of the Ibrahim Qashoush’s song against Assad

The usual chants are heard throughout, from “the people want to topple the regime” to “Get out Bashar, there is no dialog”


Midan District
Al-Shweikeh Mosque


Hama City
Hamwi youths come out in support of Homs whose neighborhoods were the object of extensive crackdown on thus July 10. 
Hama / Hilfaya / July 10: vigil in support of Homs
Kafar Takhareem


Bab Dreib
Talbisseh: despite the siege, residents come out in support of their provincial capital


Deir Ezzor City /  Midlej Square
Albou Kamal


Basra Al—Hareer
Deraa City