Monday, August 22, 2011

Assad Delusional!

As Assad persists in maintaining his delusional stances and keeps betting on his ability to prevail through violent tactics and idiotic political maneuvers, protesters persist in rejecting him and his promises.  

Saturday August 21, 2011

In an interview with Syrian TV, Al-Assad dismisses calls for his resignation, promises parliamentary elections by February, and says the security situation in Syria is under control.

A UN delegation begins inspecting the situation on the ground in several Damascene suburbs, as cleanup operations to remove all signs of crackdown get under way in Al-Ramel Refugee Camp in Lattakia.

2 inhabitants of Al-Ramel Camp in Lattakia were shot by snipers as they tried to cross the Syrian-Turkish Border. Meanwhile, Assad security officers carried out a large-scale detention campaign in several regions, including Kafar Takhareem in Idlib where over 200m people were arrested, as well as a number of Damascene suburbs.

Referring only obliquely to the protests, he suggested that the solution was “political.” But despite insistent calls for him to refrain from using violence against demonstrators, he suggested that the security forces would continue the crackdown. “The solution is political, but there are security situations that require the interference of security institutions,” he said.
"There is a whitewash -- evidence of crimes against humanity, being scrubbed off the streets before the U.N. mission arrives," said the diplomat, who is not in Syria but has reliable on-the-ground information.
Syrian authorities are directing a massive cleanup at the Ramel camp ahead of a visit by U.N. inspectors, sources say. The camp was hit by gunfire and rockets during a crackdown on protesters.

As they did in Deraa City, Assad militias are said to be bussing people to the Al-Ramel Refugee Camp in Lattakia to greet UN delegates on their arrival. The strategy did not work in Deraa City, the report the delegation prepared at the time was still damning, but Assad officials believe that watering down any report even by a small fraction is still t better than the whole truth.

The meeting of opposition members in in Istanbul has come to an end and, contrary to the media blitz that preceded it, it did not call for the establishment of a national council. The message from inside Syria was clear: protest leaders will not back such body. Some diehards might still announce something though in the next few days, and another meeting along the same lines is expected to take place in Cairo soon, but, if, whatever comes of this meeting has even a whiff of a transitional government in it, it will not be backed by protest leaders acting inside the country.

The recently formed Syrian Revolution General Commission, made up of protest leaders working inside Syria, has issued a statement clarifying this trend. While the SRGC is not as encompassing as it might seem, its statement, nonetheless, encapsulates the thinking of most protest leaders. While praising all efforts at consolidating the ranks of the Syrian opposition, the statement urged avoiding any attempt at organizing a “representative project” on behalf of the Syrian people at this stage. In other words, transitional councils will not be popularly appreciated. The logic behind this is very simple really: the people who are risking all to ensure regimefall in Syria by leading a popular grassroots movement that owes very little to the traditional opposition, don’t want to see their revolution hijacked by this opposition, not even for a supposed “transitional” period.

That’s why, the debates that paved the way to the Change in Syria Conference in Antalya on May 31-June 2, agreed on the formation of a Consultative Council meant to advise and act in an ambassadorial capacity on behalf of the revolution not act as its leaders. This is the best that can be achieved at this stage. People should stop pushing for more otherwise we are going to end up with more divisions, not greater unity. A transitional government will only get established on Syrian soil with the full participation of protest leaders. For now, Syrian dissidents abroad can field a set of spokespeople and advisors, both politicians and technocrats, and that’s more than enough to begin the process of engagement.

Another interesting development regarding Antalya is the recent connection its leaders made with the Free Officers Movement and the endorsement they received from it:

"We, the Free Officers Movement, find the final statement of the Syrian Conference for Change (Antalya) a positive beginning to unite the Syrian opposition abroad and to support the Syrian revolution inside Syria, and we hope that these steps will be the main points to establish a real change conference to reach to a democratic and civil Syria, a country for all its people.”

This does not mean that Antalya advocates the militarization of the protest movement. But the protesters have been from day one encouraging defections in army ranks, and calling on defectors to protect the unarmed protesters against Assad thugs, this is what the Free Officers Movement is currently doing, and its stands to reason for any group out there trying to effectively support the revolution to make contacts with it. This is what Antalya did.

So, there it is, and without having to usurp popular will through the imposition of a transitional council, the Antalya Group has been expanding its on-the-ground network and making contacts with the different groups emerging there in order to play a more effective supporting role to the protest movement and its leaders.

As for Bashar Al-Assad’s latest speech, well, what can I say, there is no use beating on a dead horse, even if it still kicking spasmodically.

Featured Videos

These amazing scenes date back to August 19 and they took place in the Hauran community of Al-Hraak when army troops moved to disperse protesters and initiated the showdown between stone-wielding children and tanks. Talk about your Tiananmen Moment! In places like Hauran and Homs, they are a dime a dozen, ,

Damascus: in the suburb of Moadamiyeh women and children received the UN delegation with chants of “the people want to topple the regime” The people of Douma organized an even larger reception and were clear in demanding “the execution of the president” In Madaya people do the same But people waited and waited and no one showed up Instead, Assad officials took delegates to the nearby town of Bloudan that has remained mostly quiet during the revolution. Naturally, the inhabitants of Madaya organized a large protest at night demanding Bashar’s ouster If there were any good news today for the people of Madaya, it was the release of a local young man, said to be mentally handicapped, this was his condition  The inhabitants of the nearby Zabadani had arranged an even larger reception for the no-show delegation, with chants of “the people want to topple the regime” echoed by hundreds, , So, naturally, people organized a major demonstration at night

Lattakia: this is a tour of Al-Ramel Neighborhood showing signs of the destruction that has taken place and that the UN delegation might miss, as the Camp undergoes a major cleanup effort , At the end of this short video, there is a graffiti written by Assad militias that says: “the people need reeducation.” I think this sums up nicely Assad’s overall reform philosophy.

Homs: protesters react to news of Gaddafi regime fall: “Gaddafi flew away; Bashar, your turn is next” But most protesters in the country focused their attention on denouncing Bashar’s speech, as the inhabitants of Al-Rastan and Bab Al-Sibaa, the sites of so many crackdowns, did, very expressively , and also in Idlib City Rejecting Bashar’s speech was indeed the main focus of all today’s demonstrations, including this one in the beleaguered city of Hama , despite heavy security presence in the streets

The Kurds in particular had an additional reason to be dismissive of Bashar’s interview, on account of his assertion that Syria’s Kurdish population is part of the fabric of the Syrian Arab culture! If after all these years, Bashar is still having difficulty distinguishing Arabs from Kurds, the Kurds have no reason to give the time of day. Al-Qamishly Amoudeh ,

Somewhere in Syria: Assad army officers abuse a colleague whom they accused of planning to defect and of being a Salafist. They made him say repeatedly “there is no God but Bashar Al-Assad” and “there is no God but Maher Al-Assad.” They obviously can’t make up their minds as to who their deity de jour happens to be.

Hauran/Deraa: I have posted this video before, and am reposting it again as it proves involvement of Hezbollah militiamen in the current crackdown. The accent of the soldiers and the yellow bands around their arms is the proof Today, in the Haurani town of Taybah, protesters burnt the Russian and Iranian flags as they chanted against Assad and his latest pronouncements


Thousands of Homs City inhabitants took to the streets for their nightly protests, dedicating them today to the trashing of Bashar’s latest pronouncement. In Khaldiyeh: “Bashar Al-Assad is not worth an old shoe” , In Al-Insha’aat people hoisted their shoes in protest, just as their ancestors did when Tamerlane troops were about to invade the city in  the late 14th Century. It’s said that Tamerlane decided not to invade the City after seeing this. Unfortunately, Assad does not seem as rational as Tamerlane Al-Waer , Al-Qoussour  

Earlier in the day, protesters made a comeback to the Liberty Square, formerly known as the clock-tower square, which they have not visited for weeks where they removed the pro-Assad graffiti left by Assad militias In Al-Ghoutah, only a few meters separated demonstrators from sniper positions

Major demonstrations took place as well in the wider province, in Talbisseh , Palmyra/Tadmor On Saturday, people held mass funerals for their Friday martyrs


Earlier in the day, the inhabitants of Al-Hraak held a funeral for Muhammad Al-Hariri killed yesterday by security forces , But tanks were omnipresent in the city This was the scene on August 19 when army troops moved to disperse protesters and initiated the showdown between tanks and troops, and stone throwing protesters , A similar showdown took place in Ankhel around the same time where today a mass detention campaign took place. Today, though, army troops were left to shoot at empty streets as tanks roamed the city of Al-Haraak

Tanks also continue to be positioned in communities such as Al-Harrah , At dawn, security forces raided the city of Sheikh Miskeen and carried out a number of arrests


Inhabitants of Idlib City reacted to Bashar Al-Assad’s speech by organizing a huge demonstration In fact the demonstration began before the speech, people listened to it as they demonstrated, knowing that it had nothing substantive as far as they were concerned In Binnish, people organize their own protest in answer to Bashar, whom they described as First Gangster Another large protest takes place in Jabal Al-Zawiyeh Taftanaz , Jarjanaz Ma’arrat Al-Nouman Kafroumah Sarmeen

Elsewhere, gunfire rings in Kafar Nabbol as security forces raid the city and tanks roamed the streets of Khan Shaikhoon


Thousands demonstrated in Douma telling Bashar that will chase him out with their shoes Demos also took place in Al-Kisweh Nahr Eisheh Hamouriyeh Al-Hajar Al-Aswad


Amoudeh: protesters in this largely Kurdish town insist on the release of two their recently detained comrades they finally mange to get one of them out the inhabitants organize a demonstration later in the evening Al-Malkieh



Thousands took to the streets in communities around Hama, as in Hilfaya , Al-Latamneh Meanwhile, new clips emerged of the mayhem that took place in Hama City during the army incursion on August 3