Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Tear!

Many tears were shed throughout Syria in 2011, and 2012 will not be any different, except that some of them might end up being tears of joy as our battle against tyranny succeeds in making one major stride forward by toppling the Assad regime.

Saturday 31, 2011

Today’s death toll:  16. The Breakdown: 5 in Homs City, the rest mostly in Hama City.

Links

Agreement, What Agreement?

Announcement that a unity agreement was reached and signed in Cairo between the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB, previously National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change or NCC) led to mutual recriminations and accusations on websites, social networking sites, and Arabic satellite channels. SNC President Burhane Ghalioun said that what was leaked to the press was only a draft that needed to be discussed internally within the SNC before a decision is reached. Haitham Manna, the NCB Paris-based spokesman, insisted that the agreement was signed by Ghalioun in the presence of other SNC members, including Haitham Al-Maleh and Catherine Al-Talli.

Ghalioun’s line marks a departure from how certain elements within the SNC had hailed the agreement in the beginning. The immediate mass backlash against the agreement within ranks of the SNC, with the MB declaring that it had reservations and Kurdish parties, the revolutionary committees on the ground, and numerous independent figures denouncing the agreement all together, seems to have encouraged Mr. Ghalioun to look for a way out. There are three main problems in the agreement as far as its critics are concerned: rejection of foreign military intervention, refusing to call for supporting the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the fact that it served tom legitimize the presence of the NCB, a body that popularly denounced by the protesters for its advocacy of dialogue with the regime, and the willingness of its leaders to accept a formula that keeps Assad in power.

In a statement, Ghalioun explained that talks with NCB had been taking place for over a month with participation of other SNC members, including Ahmad Ramadan, Najib Ghadbian, Wael Mirza, Anas Abdeh and Basma Kodmani. The talks, he explained, took place as part of the Arab League outreach to the Syrian opposition and in preparation for an opposition conference to be arranged by the League. Ghalioun explained that the Article I of the agreement rejects foreign military intervention by land, as it undermines the unity and independence of Syria, but, he said that he is all for a foreign intervention that seeks to create a buffer zone and to impose a no-fly zone and a maritime blockade, as these are commensurate with the demands of the protesters.

Ghalioun also argued that because the NCB “does not have a wide popular support base,” signing the agreement for them was an act of defection from within the ranks of the regime and constitute a major blow to it, a development that is bound to increase the regime’s isolation, or so he said.

Ghalioun concluded by asserting his and the SNC’s continued commitment to bringing down the regime with all its pillars of support and their wholehearted support the FSA.

Excuses aside, the controversy constituted a new blow to the credibility of Burhan Ghalioun and the SNC at a time when both seemed to be finally getting their act together, and does not bode well for their immediate future. Mass emails with copies of the Agreement signed by Ghalioun were widely circulated, and Ghalioun’s denials and retractions only served to make him look weaker and untrustworthy.

On the popular level, the inhabitants of Homs City in particular have been the most critical.

In Khaldiyeh, the know soccer player, activist and hero Abdlbassit Sarout arrived in the neighborhood carried on the shoulders of protesters and as soon as he reaches the stage, he picks up the microphone and shouts “Burhane Ghalioun” and the people pick up the chant “can’t you hear? The people want a no-fly zone” http://youtu.be/gZZDEJxydw8.

In Bab Houd, protesters, and in accordance with soccer traditions, carried yellow card with Ghalioun’s name on it and chanted: “Burhan Ghalioun wake up, the NCB does not represent us.” A Sign harkens back on earlier statement by Ghalioun discouraging defections, saying the army should defect as a whole, and ask: “Do we need to preserve army unity when 15 security apparatuses are killing us?”  Another sign, reminds Ghalioun that SNC leaders should not make such major decisions without popular approval http://youtu.be/1W6YaYI4C7o One more misstep and Ghalioun will be effectively thrown out of the “game.”  Whether the SNC can survive such a move is anyone’s guess.

For his part, Mr. Manna and the NCB, continue to bet on Arab intervention. Mr. Manna explains that his experience in exile taught him much about the unpredictability and back deals involved in foreign military intervention. But his bet on the Arab League seems rather infantile. His camp always warns that foreign intervention often leads to destruction, mayhem and civil wars, but fails to explain why they think Arab intervention will succeed in avoiding such pitfalls. From the point of view of religious minority groups in the country, an Arab intervention will be viewed as a Sunni threat, from the Kurdish point of view it will come as another assertion of Arab nationalism that could seriously undermine their aspirations for all the verbal assurances given. The only powers out there that seem to be genuinely concerned about national and religious minorities rights happen to be western. As such, foreign involvement, the nationalist resistance rhetoric of the Assads notwithstanding, might actually constitute an actual guarantee of their rights. While the Iraqi example may not be too inspiring in this regard, it’s the global awareness of the mistakes that were made in Iraq that give some room for optimism. The lessons are too fresh to have forgotten, and Iraq too close to be ignored. The Balkan example also shows that when done right foreign intervention can be quite effective. Inter-Arab interventionist experience, on the other hand, is pretty limited and has proven as equally ineffective and devastating when it was done wrong, as has always been the case. Bear in mind Arab intervention in Lebanon, and the current efforts in Yemen and Syria itself.

More importantly, NCB members fail to explain how dialog with the Assads can be successful in facilitating democratic transition, in face of all evidence as to their brutality and corruption. The have also failed to provide any support to the revolution on the ground despite the fact that most of their members happen to live in Syria. They have also failed to gain the people’s trust, and were often denounced by the name, Mr. Mann in particular, by protesters. They have also failed to propose any strategies to ensure the success of the revolution and tougher Arab and more effective stance on the Syrian crisis. They even fail to consider Turkey as a potential ally, at a time when even Syria’s Kurdish groups, seem willing to accept potential Turkish intervention, if it took place far from their strongholds. These failures have consistently undermined the credibility and legitimacy of the NCB and will continue to do so.

One of the main missteps by Ghalioun and the SNC was the expenditure of so much time on trying to reach an agreement with a stillborn group like the NCB, while neglecting for so long undertaking serious outreach efforts to more established and credible opposition groups and figures, not to mention undertaking the necessary steps to transforming itself into a more professional and credible groups as far as the protesters and the international community is concerned. All this is now backfiring. SNC leaders have managed to mislead the protesters and the international community by giving too much credence to the NCB, rather than taking a strong stand against it, the mission of the SNC has, from moment one, been one of disruption, and the protester have denounced them repeatedly and unequivocally. By continuing to frame the question of opposition in unity in terms of needing to reach agreement with NCB rather than other opposition groups and coalitions that have clearly adopted the message of the protesters, the world was made to hail a foolish agreement that defunct on signing as it was a landmark achievement. Now, the opposition as a whole will look even more shaky, amateurish and unprofessional.

Revolution & Ideology

There is no room for ideology in this revolution. In fact, it has always been a revolution against ideology. Even Islamists will not be able to prevail if they want to advocate ideological stances. This is a revolution was motivated and informed by a desire to find for solutions to long-standing and festering problems, about living conditions and developmental problems. Its tactics has been inspired by the same ethos: people will adopt the tactics that prove more effective: that’s why, and after a period of experimentation and of pushing nonviolence first, they finally settled on a mixture of violence and nonviolence. The defectors and their local supporters will be charged of protecting the protesters and their communities, but the protests themselves will always remain peaceful and nonsectarian. The occasional operations conducted by FSA against loyalist convoys were seen as preemptive tactics, as theses convoys were taking active part in suppression of protest communities. The outreach to the international community and demand for the establishment of a buffer zone, no-fly zone, and providing support to the FSA were seen as necessary instruments for making the conflict more equal. All these calculations were done on the basis of practicalities and realities, not ideological considerations. That’s why, and despite the best effort of the regime’s to facilitate such developments, Jihadism has so far failed to find a welcoming ground in Syria.


HOMS CITY:

In Deir Baalbah, 5 minutes after the departure of the AL monitors, loyalist security forces opened fire on protesters http://youtu.be/UEb6q5TVf-s , http://youtu.be/b3HP_Fb3keE A chaotic scene unfolds http://youtu.be/oBsSd1Ha6dk 5 people were killed including 4 members of the same family http://youtu.be/whd4wt-UPxk 15 were wounded http://youtu.be/mrhMBdi924k , http://youtu.be/A80M8Lpvdkg One of the wounded explains what happened to the camera: “we were holding a funeral for our martyrs at the time when the delegation arrived. Within 5 minutes after the delegation left, they started shooting at us” http://youtu.be/AiKe1AcbD70

A local activist phones one of the monitors to inform him about the development, he was asked to document the incident and send the pictures to the delegation http://youtu.be/6TmOmIMz9lk The monitors send a car to pick up the martyrs http://youtu.be/LmLvxtRyJEk , http://youtu.be/00_4Zwjho-c , http://youtu.be/bOo5iHO0yFE A funeral for all 5 dead is quickly arranged http://youtu.be/gOJ5McNQ7B8

Earlier in the day thousands of locals flocked to receive the monitors http://youtu.be/FjZYA08n0zc , http://youtu.be/H61U8v0CUvc These are the snipers behind the crime http://youtu.be/3XW5_zygFRs At night, the people take back to the streets http://youtu.be/DzGv13gJM6M

Baba Amr snipers occupy the rooftops all around the neighborhood http://youtu.be/3Cp89l8hxrA Meanwhile, local activist Khalid Abou Salah explains how certain checkpoint make it difficult for people to move between their places of work, their home and the local markets http://youtu.be/R7Je80TjH3Y Loyalist troops and in the presence of AL monitors threaten to fire at protesters and the monitors if they tried to cross the checkpoint. Khalid tells the cameraman and the monitors to document everything.  http://youtu.be/eNsPD0Hzr3U

Other locals explain how loyalist army troops prevent treatment of the wounded and often execute them http://youtu.be/roqgSfoyf9c , http://youtu.be/TZn3a4wTM_w Local woman complains about shortage of bread and of hunger. “She says, they say we are terrorist, not, they are the terrorists” http://youtu.be/F2ol_gRsSAo Locals were happy with the visit and received AL monitors in a cordial ,manner http://youtu.be/xu49N54C1nQ They take advantage of the presence of the monitors in their midst and smuggling some much needed supplies of bread http://youtu.be/I_in-Sli0sQ

A man explains how his house was burnt http://youtu.be/M3SHUNBRRls A detainee that was just released http://youtu.be/-yFFGaKFJoA AL monitors check the damage done to the local coop http://youtu.be/V9AYMGG_9M4 AL  monitors talk to the loyalist troops manning the checkpoints http://youtu.be/ekYM1l7qWNE Locals explain to the camera how Sultaniyeh Street was blockaded by loyalists, how wounded were killed or left to die, how houses were burnt, and how burnt out vehicles still blocking access to certain alleys because the locals were not allowed to clear them http://youtu.be/4iAdF2iaYqM

Locals later stage a protest rally http://youtu.be/5WafyVbcgqc In which they salute “eye of the truth” the late Bassil Al-Sayyid http://youtu.be/kqhjGHX2IH0 Some stage a rally near the checkpoints where Al Monitors were still talking to loyalist troops http://youtu.be/CY-uX8crsq4 some protesters try to confront the loyalists at the checkpoint, but the officer in charge tells them that he is new and that he’s been there only for the last 2 days. Protesters persist and say that there were killings in the last two days. At this point, the officer notices the camera and demands it be turned off http://youtu.be/XmhGxuKETLE

A monitor makes a phone call to demand that snipers are pulled out from Baba Amr http://youtu.be/zWlx54qM9B8

Baba Amr: Goalie, singer and activist Abdelbassit Sarout calls on expatriates to support the High Commission for Syria Relief http://youtu.be/Sh_9uLBTSQo

Wadi Al-Arab a funeral http://youtu.be/rnOO9Q5jSbY Protesters in Khaldiyeh come under fire leaving several protesters http://youtu.be/uCoVUsdLcJM

Shammas: Santa Clause pays a visit to the neighborhood http://youtu.be/f8gGZiaM2GQ , http://youtu.be/PzDYP1ahVYk



HOMS PROVINCE:

Rallies Zaafaraneh Another defection announced on December 30 http://youtu.be/9pB1a-_ypms Qseir http://youtu.be/PRLwbK8Quk4 Dar Al-Kabirah http://youtu.be/yvY0KSK4MTg Tadmor (Palmyra) http://youtu.be/QH-9PBNRgEw Houleh http://youtu.be/vVxMBwADSpI Kafar Aya http://youtu.be/M47IAh-vPgc

HAMA CITY: a double funeral for 2 of yesterday’s martyrs http://youtu.be/nyr1AFL0O7U In Aleppo Road, the delegation passes between the protesters and loyalist security forces http://youtu.be/3MsCauFVA8w

Loyalists drive into Sabouniyeh to break up the local rally http://youtu.be/7Y6Hn53-j6s The shooting begins http://youtu.be/HL0bZlg0ygM


HAMA PROVINCE: Rallies Karnaz http://youtu.be/ID3uOpB1GSU Taybat Al-Imam http://youtu.be/1z-jXVdN6Do , http://youtu.be/5aMarwhHl9I Breidij http://youtu.be/PuoYiXEOahs Kafrenboudeh http://youtu.be/KiQELEIbfX8 Small gathering of local Hilfaya activist to celebrate the New Year http://youtu.be/EhiLQ03SuTo

IDLIB: Idlib City held a funeral for the three activists killed during the AL monitors visit to the city on Friday http://youtu.be/8PPMFd8z2bU  , http://youtu.be/5TPx0I5wQU4 and held a major rally at night http://youtu.be/8FrJrT5Eizo

Martyrs from yesterday’s crackdown http://youtu.be/hbyIJCsM4M8 A funeral in Sahyan http://youtu.be/1rhdX8mvgYM

The inhabitants of Binnish and surrounding villages flock to Idlib City http://youtu.be/QZ_NMieCGKk

A child is wounded is Kafrenbel http://youtu.be/rV1Cj4Pygpo


DAMASCUS CITY: Al-Hajar Al-Aswad funeral http://youtu.be/nA0zpQS1dRU for this child martyr http://youtu.be/J8iMJ1dJ7m8

The people in Kafar Sousseh hold another funeral for a soldier who were killed for refusing to fire at them http://youtu.be/ySlSVmqU4Lo , http://youtu.be/RcCelgv-yNg , http://youtu.be/QwdvNJAqC5Q Protesters come under fire (2:30 min) http://youtu.be/pOxJepEmtXY

In Moadamiyeh, locals hold a major rally to protest the kidnapping of local women by loyalists http://youtu.be/T9MCZvoqrq4 The rally began small in another part of the suburb http://youtu.be/8PS6wdE-kGw


In EASTERN GHOUTAH’s suburb of Douma, thousands of locals hold another funeral with the presence of AL monitors http://youtu.be/Ic6FC3BPum8 , http://youtu.be/LpO3KCWB_HE , http://youtu.be/rugNcr89b4Y Local women take part and chant demanding release of all detainees http://youtu.be/2Y798UiGqQU , http://youtu.be/0QkcbL0ruNo In nearby Mesraba, locals hold a rally in support of Douma http://youtu.be/IlQcuGLoJK8 The martyrs http://youtu.be/QxqrHa99Grc , http://youtu.be/whG3AXdaMNM

Back in Douma, and just before the funeral, AL monitors attended the prayers at the local mosque and listened to the Imam asking the people to prepare lists of the names of the detainees, listing their full personal information and explaining the circumstances of their detention http://youtu.be/9MYSdAT9Z2o Outside the Mosque, protesters renewed their revolutionary pledge in front of a huge poster of Assad http://youtu.be/4rbieRC7Kls

In another nearby community, Arbeen, a major rally takes place at night http://youtu.be/NDTYO3OyA50 Another takes place in Hamouriyeh http://youtu.be/BxtmmPEN16w Another in Khiyarah http://youtu.be/ol0V5HNki5E Another in Zamalka http://youtu.be/B_X8afYLGB4 , http://youtu.be/9KQ-WTKsJhM , http://youtu.be/NCbGFzo6CC4 Another in Saqba http://youtu.be/HVT5stAPwD0 Harasta http://youtu.be/ZHDfFqkUxjg Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/a2oEmLtdwoI Ain Terma http://youtu.be/huoaZhjAggY

In the suburbs of SOUTH DAMASCUS, rallies took place at night in several communities including Qatana  http://youtu.be/0-wirakJaV4 , http://youtu.be/j2L875cYjmc


In the QALAMOUN region to the north, nighttime rallies took place in Yabroud http://youtu.be/BpofYHKmqDo , http://youtu.be/ptB6l-HF2fg Earlier in the day, the inhabitants of Qarrah held a rally http://youtu.be/nXR6ji53m6E , http://youtu.be/a640I6HdPbU

DERAA CITY: Protesters postpone burying their martyr until the AL delegation arrives http://youtu.be/HdL8NExLXvo the delegation is delayed, and the locals finally hold their funeral http://youtu.be/pEDS1GOMArs , http://youtu.be/kIydtlMCW4s Protesters later come under fire from snipers http://youtu.be/gcYij45UA_A , http://youtu.be/ZFqgahxgGN4

Nighttime rally in Al-Sabeel Neighborhood http://youtu.be/9oWUdU4coXY Another in Sadd neighborhood http://youtu.be/x6MbREJyLNk Mahata http://youtu.be/Hol57rRxhXU

But locals sleep to the sound of gunfire and Allahu Akbar fighting for their attention http://youtu.be/PYmlJnwA8qs , http://youtu.be/TGfxIEdVaHM

Loyalists assault local women on Friday http://youtu.be/_bCpq2ZdmMg

On Friday, AL monitors tried to appease the local population and instruct them on how best they can present their demands http://youtu.be/HgnH8xLjon4

DERAA/HAURAN: A funeral in Shajarah http://youtu.be/WYVZswiauzY