Monday, January 9, 2012

Oh what a difference the Arab League cannot make!

The mission that was designed to fail is failing, the world that opted to watch is watching. Meanwhile, the killers kill, and the protesters protest – all the world’s a stage, and each is playing his part to perfection.

Sunday 8, 2012

Today’s death toll: 32, mostly in Homs City and the town of Douma in Rural Damascus. Clashes were also reported between loyalists and new wave of defectors in the towns of Zabadani and Madaya in Rural Damascus along the border with Lebanon. An Ambush by FSA units left several loyalists dead in the village of Ma’ar Dibseh in Idlib Province. More defections were also reported in Homs City. and in Hama City where announced his defection along with 50 soldiers from his unit.

Saturday’s death toll: 29 + 11 loyalist troops killed in clashes with new defectors in the town of Bosra Al-Harir in Deraa/Hauran Province.

My entire family is featured in this Washington Post article. The real people who deserve to be featured, that is, the protest leaders in Syria, were temporarily unavailable. Today, we speak for them, tomorrow, they'll speak for themselves. Or, to put it differently, they are already speaking for themselves, but their language is that of Revolution, and people like us are occasionally needed as translators. Hope we're doing a good job.

“Only in Syria does the rate of fallen martyrs exceed that of regular rainfall” Kafrenbel – Idlib – Jan 8, 2012

The Christian Question

Gregorius Lahham, Patriarch of the Roman Catholic Church in Syria, refused in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat to tie the fate of Christian communities in Syria with that of any ruling regime, saying that Christians are free to choose their political position in the current situation whether with or against the regime.

These statements by Father Lahham, following similar utterances by the patriarchs of other churches in Syria, are neutral only on the surface of things. At the time when the regime managed to prevail on the highest Islamic religious authority in the land, namely the Grand Mufti, among many other Islamic scholars and figures to come out against the revolution, the “neutrality” exhibited by the likes of Father Lahham exemplified the refusal to condemn any Christians taking part in the revolution, not to mention the revolution itself, is pretty courageous, not to mention wise, stand. Moreover, and despite Father Lahham’s denial that the regime has tried to pressure him into condemning the Revolution, it’s doubtless that he, among other Christian religious leaders, are under a lot of pressure to do so. Neutrality in the face of these pressures is indeed bravery, more importantly, it’s a form of participation in the revolution, and constitutes the biggest guarantee that Christian communities have regarding their post-Assad future.

The inability to move beyond these neutral stances into a clear endorsement of the revolution, on the other hand, reflects the concerns of Father Lahham, and others, not only for their personal safety, but for the wellbeing of all Christian communities in Syria, because the real physical threat against the survival of the Christian communities in Syria is not posed by the Revolutionaries, but by the Assads and their loyalist militias. Under the Assads, the Christians are not protected, they are hostages. 

The Truth about AL and UNSC

Meanwhile, the Arab League has stopped short of turning to UN on Syria, but in a press conference, Qatari PM said that the UNSC doesn’t need any referrals from the Arab League, and can interfere whenever it wants. That is, if it wants. Herein the rub. The world wants nothing to do with the situation in Syria, at least at this stage. Still, for all their calls for international military intervention, the revolutionaries are aware of this, they know they are on their own, and they are planning their moves accordingly. They will keep clamoring for international intervention, but they are not waiting for it.

Video Highlights

The Midan Explosion captured on video But on January 8, locals rallies at night in the exact spot – an interesting way of preserving the crime scene. But then, why bother, if the verdict is already in ,

New videos of the massacres that took place in Homs City on April 19, 2011 in Clock-Tower Square, redubbed by revolutionaries since as Freedom Square. Despite the overwhelming gunfire, protesters remained defiant even then with some shouting out when they could “fuck you and your President” ,
Message to Gen. Al-Dabi, head of the Arab League Mission to Syria from the local commander of a unit affiliated with the Free Syrian Army. The commander, Col. Afif Mahmoud Suleiman, complains that AL monitors were unable to meet with them during their tour of Hama City. He demands a meeting, and that AL monitors visit the suburbs that were bombed by loyalists and the sites of suspect mass graves  

The recent and highest ranking defector so far, Maj. Gen. Mustafa Al-Sheikh, addresses the revolutionaries announcing his defection and says that the army has become an occupation force. Al-Jazeerah had aired parts of the announcement before: this is the full version

In Qoussour Neighborhood in Homs City, sign says “National Coordination Body, where are your supports in the Street?” Meanwhile, a sign in Khaldiyeh states “the people want internationalization, they want military intervention”

In the suburb of Zamalka in Rural Damascus, protesters carry a banner “National Council, no more mistakes, so beware!” In Shoueikeh Neighborhood in Damascus City, protesters chant “O Ghalioun (head of SNC), O Manna (NCB Spokesman), the Syrian blood is not for sale”

So, how bad are things for Assad in Damascus? This video was made by an activist during a pro-Assad rally in the Seven Fountains Square in Central Damascus on Jan 4 for the benefit of AL monitors. This crowd according to Syrian TV number s million strong! The speaker is shouting in the background: “he who loves Assad let him come closer.” Obviously, the takers are few Tic Toc.


Baba Amr One of the local sniper takes out a child by shooting him through the right eye (Jan 7)

Impact of overnight pounding of Jib Al-Jandali , Impact of overnight pounding on Asheerah Neighborhood ,

A Martyr A mother’s grief. She says “he didn’t have breakfast before he left” The wounded include a baby

Jouret Al-Shayah A sniper claims his daily kill

Smuggled out video shows the “living” conditions inside one of the cells in Central Prison of Homs not inspected by the AL monitors ,

Al-Rifai Street (Karm Al-Zeitun Neighborhood) comes under fire , , Rescuing the wounded A baby among the victims Another martyr A nighttime funeral

Martyrs from Deir Baalbah , A funeral , Another one at night The neighborhood comes under fire at night

Khaldiyeh a funeral for yesterday’s martyrs , A new martyr (gruesome)

A rally in Malaab is dispersed by loyalists (near end of clip)

Hamidiyeh the new loyalist checkpoints


A Martyr from Talbisseh Signs of torture on his body His Funeral

Qseir A mother says goodbye to her son


Choppers overfly the city


Locals in Karnaz stage their own mock visit by AL monitors in which they mock the monitors Khattab the havoc wrought by loyalists


In Kafar Sousseh, locals rally at night in support of their detainees chanting “the people want to execute the president”

A martyr from Doumar Al-Balad


The town of Dmeir comes under fire at night The last minute in the life of Bandar Moadamani

Rallies Ma’arrat Yabroud (Jan 7)  


Student rally in Saqba as choppers overfly the restive suburb  Another in Zamalka

Nighttime Rallies Saqba Fireworks & A big a screen “We say Freedom, All the world Says Freedom” Kafar Batna Arbeen , Zamalka Banner says “we want international protection to protect the monitors” Douma “Long live the FSA” ,


Loyalist checkpoints around the town of Qatana


Zabadani A shop shows bullet holes in its walls as result of loyalist firing A defector’s dead body is left in the street Rescuing the body is a risky undertaking Martyrs , Impact of nighttime gunfire ,

An injured man from nearby Madaya

Rally in on road between Qudsaya and Hameh (Jan 7) , Rally in Wadi Barada


Haass A funeral for one of the policemen killed in the Midan District bombing. The locals categorically blame the regime for the bombing made “by the terrorist Syrian regime,” as the sign carried by the child says , Later, loyalists storm in and open fire

Kafroumah In the northern parts of town, loyalist troops In the town center, a mass rally where protesters chant “we will hunt you down Bashar” The view from within the crowd One of the banners says in reference to the alleged terrorist attacks: “The 1st Attack to cover up Kafar Ouaid Massacre. The 2nd Attack to cover up Deir Ezzor massacre. What massacre will the 3rd Attack cover up, you traitor?” 

A funeral in Idlib City A mother’s grief

The inhabitants of Ihsem meet with AL monitors chanting “the people want to execute you Bashar” But in the town of Joseph, tanks and loyalists occupy the local scene Elsewhere in Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, mothers and other locals explain what happened to their sons to AL monitors , Others tell he monitors where the tanks are hidden In Al-Rami, a tanks gets derailed as it tries to hide from the monitors



Locals welcome the arrival of AL monitors into their midst in Taybah , , Meanwhile, the locals in Namar stage their own mock-visit

A funeral for a local in Mhajeh


Deir Ezzor City (Takaya Street) Sign “We demand an urgent military intervention” (Hassan Taha)



Rallies Seif Al-Dawleh (night) Bellirmoon



Jableh (Lattakia) Student rallies like this one compensate for the inability of the adults to stage their own large rallies in this mixed and highly explosive town. It is the Sunnis who are a minority here, the Alawites are heavily armed and emotionally charged In nearby town of Tartous (Tartous Province), another mixed community, a smaller student rally is quickly broken up