As the international community condemns, and Arab League proposes a plan premised on the Assad’s willingness to take part in an act of auto-suicide, and Syria’s myriad opposition groups remains committed to wrangling over names of nominees to a transitional council, Assad’s troops and militias are preparing for a major military showdown in Homs City and surrounding suburbs. This time, there will be tons of blood.
Assad said to be planning major military operation in Homs City and surrounding suburbs
After weeks of mass daily protests and continuing defiance by inhabitants of the inner city of Homs, and a number of suburbs in the larger province, and considering the growing number of defectors seeking shelter in these communities and their growing organizational capacity, Assad and his top army generals and security chiefs are said to be finalizing plans for a major military operation in the restive city and the larger province. Taking into consideration the resiliency of the protest movement in Homs, and that the region has more or less been going through what can only be described as low intensity conflict over the last 8-12 weeks, any military action will involve assault, perhaps even aerial, on densely populated residential communities – a development that will leave thousands of deaths and is bound to trigger a flood of refugees. This is the International Community’s Benghazi Moment in Syria. A bloodbath is about to take place on a mass scale and, this time, it will not happen in slow motion. So, what’s the free world to do?
No, I am not calling for direct military intervention, not yet, and, hopefully, not ever. But I am calling for finally waving that stick in the face of the Assads and being serious about it. For as long as the Assads keep hearing that military intervention scenarios are not being seriously considered, why would they refrain from massacres, seeing that humanity and common decency is not part of their basic motivation in life?
As, the specter of more massacres continue to loom, even advocates of nonviolence like me are bound to realize its limitations in this situation, and more of us would be bound morally to consider alternatives to rid ourselves and our country of fascist rule. Nonviolence works only when dealing with people and powers that have the potential of getting shamed, embarrassed, pressured and made to feel to feel guilty about their actions, people and groups that can be made to appreciate at some point the foolishness and high cost, moral and material, of violent crackdown. I never had pinned any hopes on the Assads in this regard, but I had thought that by now some high level defections will have taken place to give us that little edge needed to keep pushing our philosophy of nonviolence and civil disobedience.
Alas, sectarianism and the paranoia and fear that shape the mindset and worldview of its adherents make them more susceptible to going down the road of nihilistic schemes and fascism-inspired solutions, than the rational road envisioned by advocates of nonviolence. Impunity, narcissism and a particularistic historical narrative and the sense of entitlement it engenders among its peddlers have proven tough nuts to crack in the absence of regular access to mass media to those people who might have had some idea as to how they can be cracked. The intimate and intricate relations that have been woven over the years between members of security apparatuses and the commercial and intellectual elite in the country have so far made this elite impervious to the kind of moral and rational analysis needed to wean it away from the Assads. Finally, the reluctance of the international community to take the lead early on in warning the Assads about the potential consequences of their actions, combined with the negative role played by countries such, Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa at the UN, have also hampered our efforts in this regard.
I still believe though that if the Assads can be prevented from perpetrating large-scale massacres, a combination of nonviolent tactics, targeted sanctions, the strain caused by a steady trickle of defections from the armed forces and the ranks of the Baath Party coupled with growing pressure by organized defectors would prove sufficient down the road to topple the Assads and effect a real revolutionary change on the ground. But when large-scale massacres are involved, that scenario becomes moot, and international military intervention, with all the risks involved, becomes necessary. We cannot watch our people getting killed without acting, and while clinging to a philosophy that, no matter how dear, will have obviously reached its limitations in our cultural context at this stage.
Targeting protest leaders
This clip shows the body of Ghiyath Matar, an activist from the Damascene suburb of Daraya arrested on September 6, and returned dead on September 10 http://youtu.be/43DNtud8qe4 The fate of Ghiyath friends arrested at the same time, including Yahya Sharbaji, remains unknown. But the current policy adopted by Assad loyalist security officers seems to be premised on liquidating and not just detaining key protest leaders.
More Defections & More Abuse
Lt. Col. Abdurrazzaq Rashid Al-Rahmoun from the Syrian Air Force announces his defection and his joining the ranks of the Free Syrian Army http://youtu.be/iBsBDtGxkRI
The fate of Hussain Harmoush, leader of the Free Officers Movement, remains unknown, with some reports claiming he is detained by Turkish intelligence, and others that he was captured or injured and is hiding by Syrian security during a recent operation in Syria. The fate of Adnan Bakour, the Hama Attorney General who defected last week is also unknown.
Meanwhile, this 14-minutes clip shows army troops torturing a protester who was caught with his mobile having videos that prove that participated in demonstrations in M’arrat Al-Nouman City in Idlib Province. The young man was asked why he protested, he said that he was a laborer and could barely find enough to eat. But what really irked the soldiers was that he participated in demonstrations in which people shouted “Curse your soul Hafiz [Al-Assad].” This is what the torture was all about http://youtu.be/aHT7fBlCCTE
In Homs City, this young man was arrested on September 3 for 2 hours only then released. This is how he looked when he returned home http://youtu.be/OMzGeS-g3Dw
This clip from Homs City shows a different kind of abuse, namely substance abuse. Bashar Al-Assad himself and countless reports on state run TV and Dounia TV have been claiming that protesters take hallucinogens and other drugs before taking part in demonstrations, but this clip shows an army regular who is obviously snorting a white substance that does not appear to induce sneezing. Hmmm. http://youtu.be/FiZEGFXdTFQ
This leaked video, shows soldiers in a cheerful mood in Homs City, 60 Street http://youtu.be/B--DEJA8nqY