Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Assad Signs & Kills!

Assad signed a protocol for allowing Arab observers to enter the country even as his killing machine continued its operations. The move was not a concession, but another stalling tactic. Assad was just granted several weeks of respite in which he can do pretty much what he wants, knowing that nothing will take place in the meantime on the regional or international scene to hurt him. Thanks Arab League!

Monday 19, 2011

Today’s death toll: 114. The Breakdown: 80 defectors, 72 in the town of Kinsafrah in Idlib Province, and 8 in Hassakeh Province. 34 were killed in ongoing crackdown against protesters in Deir Ezzor, Idlib, Deraa/Hauran and Damascus City. All defectors were killed as they tried to desert their units and join the protesters. 

Meanwhile, protest communities continue observing the general strike for a 10th consecutive day.

Links

Peter Harling (International Crisis Group), Le Figaro | 13 Dec 2011

The original conclusion in French:Une résolution onusienne excluant toute option militaire, appelant toutes les parties à cessez le feu et stipulant le déploiement d'observateurs arabes, occidentaux, russes et chinois, pourrait être le meilleur moyen d'obtenir un consensus international auquel le régime serait sensible, et d'assurer une protection des civils sur le terrain.”

Translation: “A UN resolution rejecting any military option, calling on all parties to observe a ceasefire and requiring the deployment of Arab, Western, Russian and Chinese observes could be the best way to achieve an international consensus that the regime cannot ignore, thus ensuring the protection of civilians on the ground.”

My Comment: But will the outcome be regime change? Can the U.S. and E.U get the Chinese and Russians to endorse such an outcome? If not, then the protesters will not be part of the consensus. We don’t want to hold peace talks with the Assads, we want them out. We need to treat the real causes of suffering in Syria, not continue to get mired in managing their effects.

POMED Report: Breaking the Stalemate in Syria (PDF)

On SNC: “With its leadership comprised heavily of Islamists and exile figures, the SNC has been criticized as disconnected from activists on the ground and unrepresentative of Syria’s diverse sectarian makeup.”

On U.S. policy: “Had the United States supported the Syrian protests from the outset, when Assad was taken off-guard and unsure of how to respond, policies of isolation, sanction, and public support would have been more effective.”

Observe the handiwork of Assad’s snipers in all its glory/gory in Homs City http://youtu.be/YmoAsIwGQaQ

The Protocol

Let’s make things clear. The signing of the protocol to allow “international” monitors into the country is a major boost to Assad and a major setback for the revolution. It’s not a concession, but a reward. The signing will give Assad few more weeks during which he can continue to kill with impunity. The fact that the signing of the protocol coincided with the bloodiest day in weeks simply underscores the point.

The mission of the monitors is scheduled to last for a whole month, and already Assad’s Foreign Minister has warned the lucky group that they will be targeted by armed gangs. More importantly, should the Assads succeed in seeding the group with monitors from Algeria, Sudan, Iraq and Lebanon, as some expect them to, then we can all expect a highly conflicted report to emerge in a month time that will reflect the ideological divides within the Arab League. The AL can then be relied upon, as always, to find new ways to stall, dither and waste time. Meanwhile, the killing will continue, and the situation on the ground will worsen. 

This is not a protocol over sending monitors, but a new lease on life. Assad’s FM said that Assad’s decision to sign the protocol came in response to Russian advice. He was probably referring to the Russian Mafia.

The Conference  

The Syrian National Council concluded its meeting in Tunis by holding a press conference and reading a statement that consigned it to further irrelevance. The statement hit all the right notes, from vowing commitment to minority rights and support to the Free Syrian Army to calling for the protection of civilians through the establishment of buffer zones and safe zones.

But the problem with the Council remains the same: its leaders, their squabbles, their ideological predilections, their arrogance, especially when dealing with minorities, not mention other opposition groups, their lack of transparency and their complete disregard to popular sentiments.

SNC leaders had a mission at this stage of healing rifts within the Syrian opposition whose internecine disputes had long spilled over into the ranks of the protesters and is seriously undermining the work of local coordination committees and councils. But SNC leaders have not just fail to rise up to expectations, they have even failed to acknowledge the mission. It’s as though they are fighting for a different cause. Perhaps they are.

The international community is free to legitimize and recognize who and what it wants, but so are the protesters. Meanwhile, the rift separating the revolutionaries from their self-appointed spokesmen and leaders, and that separating them from the rest of the world continue to grow.

The War

The FSA: Spokesman for the Free Syrian Army inside Syria issues statement saying that Col. Riyad Al-Ass’aad has been promoted to Major General and that he remains the head of the FSA http://youtu.be/5I4O7aGHGzY The move came in response to the defection of a number of colonels over the last few weeks.

By promoting Col. Al-Ass’aad, and skipping the rank of Brigadier General, Al-Ass’aad was made the highest ranking officer and allowed to retain control of the FSA. The move seems to reflect an internal agreement rather than squabble between the various colonels and officers. Meanwhile, operations by units affiliated with the FSA continue to take place: this clip purports to show the storming of a local security headquarters in Homs City by FSA members http://youtu.be/-LUuPHufM44

Damascus: A protest in Midan District over the killing of a female student yesterday and the wounding of a little girl was attended by thousands http://youtu.be/iR0S53i9uoE , http://youtu.be/j-Y8xjax8bA , http://youtu.be/gZ8EANnSRWQ Loyalists opened fire at protesters killing three http://youtu.be/kRRz10mInEo The regime also organized a loyalist demonstration in the nearby Seven Fountains Square.

The protesters tried to regroup and stand up to the protesters, but loyalists kept firing into the crowd http://youtu.be/TtTe92Du1Dc , http://youtu.be/0ok7HAV-xJI , http://youtu.be/KnEbVDBrPnI Many were wounded http://youtu.be/Dt5DEduV5cA , http://youtu.be/yULhUXhqK2A People in passing cars were also shot at http://youtu.be/p3pX8urD1lQ Earlier, over 10,000 protesters took part in the funeral, chanting for freedom, for the dignity and for the FSA http://youtu.be/QqMG33kqxV4 Protesters also called for the execution of Assad http://youtu.be/y8M90D-bzx8 The event was streamed live via ustream. Perople streamed out of the local mosques following Noon Prayers and marched down the narrow alleyways to get to the funeral http://youtu.be/MC9yYNYLm8k , http://youtu.be/NSol_1FQM28

One of today’s martyrs http://youtu.be/xX3PTMhJpKg Another being carried away by colleagues http://youtu.be/dojTI3UaNo8 One protester shows off his shrapnel wounds http://youtu.be/PiNo3CRhnYI

Note: earlier reports indicated that 2 girls were killed, one of them being a 9-year old. We now know that the little girl survived.

In Suburban and Rural Damascus, security patrols stand outside schools (high school, junior high and even primary schools) to prevent students from demonstrating after school, or on their way there in the morning http://youtu.be/nK5yuSq2zpY Patrols are omnipresent in many protest communities as well, as is the case in Harasta http://youtu.be/mHGsAJ_6KLU

Aleppo: A major demonstration took place in Salaheddine Neighborhood in central Aleppo City http://youtu.be/peQbYfFwAdM , http://youtu.be/Zpw_mBhIl60 Protester called for the execution of Assad. Earlier in the day, students in the University of Aleppo organize their own demonstration in a sign of continued defiance http://youtu.be/EUqybWktXmw There were many arrests http://youtu.be/hRxhefSJEJk Still, other protesters hoisted the independence flag on top of the Aleppo Citadel, smack in the City’s center http://youtu.be/-eqwD8IzxSs

Deir Ezzor: loyalists invaded the town of Qraya and the city of Deir Ezzor itself, clashing with local defectors affiliated with the FSA and their supporters: Qraya (also pronounced Qouriyah) http://youtu.be/UUKmPOS2Fo4 Even as they bury their dead, people get fire on http://youtu.be/9FZSAQIbzp0

Hama: loyalists keep digging trenches around the different neighborhoods in Hama City to further isolate them from each other http://youtu.be/RxwYmClSdpE Patrols and checkpoints are all over the place http://youtu.be/g3YGQUVGqL8 , http://youtu.be/TtvPXG3GV6M Loyalists stationed in the town of Kafrenboudeh http://youtu.be/ALEHH42JfiQ

Idlib: a funeral in Idlib City http://youtu.be/9IPdypyesUo More and more people in Jabal Al-Zawiyeh region are fleeing to live in the wilderness as loyalist troops carry out sweep operations of their towns and villages http://youtu.be/fbPstVN3GXw

The shelling of Saraqib http://youtu.be/gLBBGtFVxHI Tanks advance into town http://youtu.be/EsJ5je9WlXE Many were seriously wounded http://youtu.be/YjZ6FtECdSI , http://youtu.be/xdqbPWzRLFU

Homs City: A victim of a sniper attack in Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Street http://youtu.be/YmoAsIwGQaQ A martyr from Bayadah http://youtu.be/h-ZxCtqL-U0 A martyr from Jib Al-Jandali http://youtu.be/DF2JHhXWSbc In Bab Al-Sibaa, loyalists destroy the local electric generator to stop the nighttime protest http://youtu.be/k4VscweztX8

The neighborhood of Karm Al-Zeitun comes under fire http://youtu.be/E9jvNe18S6g Khaldiyeh comes under fire at night http://youtu.be/C98r8XSA5Ko Wa’er comes under fire at night http://youtu.be/DMlnBy8LXaQ

Homs Province: Qseir: homes that were destroyed in the shelling http://youtu.be/AQn7f24SGPE Qseir offers a new martyr http://youtu.be/KEa6ZcZMKYY and holds a new funeral http://youtu.be/SS6w1X8nJmc

The inhabitants of Tadmor/Palmyra bury their dead http://youtu.be/W4MFHaTSBmU , http://youtu.be/NQ6v2Ezh2Jg , http://youtu.be/E3Ms0K0-IL8

Ghanto holds a funeral http://youtu.be/RS0ZuYyMj5A Houleh is shelled http://youtu.be/kTm1xyvtW2Y

Wounded in Talbisseh http://youtu.be/Qa70hk4az1E a martyr from Talbisseh http://youtu.be/Q7d9_yzF05s Earlier in the day, locals stages a protest http://youtu.be/7QM0Zgrq9_4

Deraa/Hauran: Ataman offers a martyr http://youtu.be/jf-MbgIIo3I Loyalists carry out a sweep operations in the town of Basr Al-Harir http://youtu.be/7CsNmsKbG0k the tanks http://youtu.be/7hFTBCeunkQ But in a different part of town, people still took to the street to celebrate their martyrs http://youtu.be/M8Jh1KZH95A

Tanks carry out a quick foray into the town of Hraak http://youtu.be/0SYmSSzhezQ Convoys of loyalist militias take part in the operation http://youtu.be/4uj95V3knCg Similar operations take place in Khirbet Ghazaleh http://youtu.be/vEzRonLjI3k Armored vehicles enter the town of Zeizoon http://youtu.be/a8u6BSdUOzM

Protesters in Ghabaghib come under fire, two children were hit http://youtu.be/GzKeliVZFEM Treating the wounded http://youtu.be/qBb29q1BKeM

Demonstrations




DAMASCUS CITY: Hajar Al-Aswad http://youtu.be/fAfJeZ2angg Qadam http://youtu.be/zsF7C7XS7V4