Friday, January 6, 2012

Wrong Man Leading!

A series of mistakes make it imperative for the SNC to elect new leader(s), or risk becoming completely irrelevant.

Thursday 5, 2012

Today’s death toll: 31. The breakdown: 13 in Deir Ezzor, 6 in Homs City including a woman, 6 in Deraa, 4 in Rural Damascus (3 in Hamouriyeh), 1 in Lattakia and 1 Idlib. Additionally, 5 would-be defectors were killed by Loyalists in the village of Sur in Deraa/Hauran Province.


In Brief

Reuters report that Syria releases 552 people detained during civil unrest. But the real story is that the regime had arrested more than ten times this number since the AL delegation began its work. It's a case of the right hand doing things meant to distract attention from what the left hand is doing.

Keep Eyes on Prize or Go Bust!

In his interview with BBC, President of the Syrian National Council Burhan Ghalioun explains that “SNC's strategy for overthrowing the regime rests on the street protest. But for the past 11 months, there has been a bloody stalemate.” He also says that “the safe area he wants would tip the balance, allowing mass defections of Syrian soldiers and their families.” This is indeed the view of many opposition figures and protesters.

But, the BBC correspondent asks: “What if the international community does not come through? Ghalioun answers: "Then we would seek an international conference on Syria to stop the atrocities and the killings… "We cannot just sit by and watch our people being slaughtered. Our conscience will not allow it."

On the surface, this might sounds like an OK answer, but, to me, it’s very troubling. The main goal of the revolution is regime change. If stopping the atrocities and the killings becomes the goal, then, the best result that could be achieved down the road is some kind of power-sharing arrangement, and the Assads will have won. As a cofounder of the NCB (the National Coordination Body), a body that is dedicated to achieving exactly that power-sharing arrangement rather than straight-out regime change, it seems that Ghalioun’s move to head the SNC has not really changed his basic outlook on things. Of course, Ghalioun did not join the SNC on his own, rather, he brought with him a lot of people who seem to share his outlook on things. As such, the problems with the SNC are pretty much similar to those within the ranks of the NCB: many of its members seem to represent their own individual and ideological visions and interests rather than the demands of the protesters. And the protesters can see it.

This video from the town of Rastan in Homs Province underscores the growing divide between SNC and NCB leaders and the protesters, while featuring a confession by the AL monitor that the monitors cannot provide any protection to the civilians, because they are not a military force. The activist tells the Monitor: the SNC does not represent us, the NCB does not represent us. We want international protection. We demand our freedom. We want to topple the regime. We don’t want to dialog. If the Arab League cannot protect us, then we demand the internationalization of the Syrian File by referring it to the UNSC. The video was just uploaded but was made during the AL monitors visit to Rastan on December 3

This sentiment is not only restricted to Homs and environs and has long been echoed in other protests communities as well, such as Douma in Rural Damascus (Dec 4) Banner “Down with Ghalioun, the Conspirator” And Deraa City: Speaker in a nighttime rally in Deraa City (Dec 4) reminds that the NCB will not be accepted until it subscribes to the demands of the Revolution, and that any person in the SNC who deviates from this demand will be rejected

The idea for an international conference on Syria might provide a way for legitimating international intervention while sidestepping Russian and Chinese vetoes at the UNSC, and will indeed be an ingenious solution for legitimating said intervention. But, in the absence of an international will to intervene, it could only legitimate a power-sharing arrangement. That seems to be the option that Ghalioun believes in in his heart, a faith that continues to influence his utterances and leadership style. With the wrong people at the helm, good ideas will go to waste. If we are to be saddled with the SNC for the foreseeable future, there is increasingly little justification to be saddled with Ghalioun as well. Ghalioun must go! The SNC needs wise consensus builders at this stage, not confused narcissists.

HIGHLIGHTS: Kerosene shortages plague all protest communities Wadi Arab (Homs City) Amoudeh (Hassakeh Province)

Students rallies like this one in Ghabaghib (Deraa/Hauran) and these ones in the Damascene suburbs of Moadamiyah and Daraya and this one in Hama City happen even day and in every protest community across the country, especially as students go back home at the end of the day.

The General Strike continues t be observed throughout the protest communities. In Deraa City, police car roam the neighborhood calling on shopkeepers to open their ship

At night, all through Syrian, protesters carried a Noise Campaign. The purpose of the campaign was simply to annoy the loyalist troops in the neighborhood. This is a sample of what the campaign entailed: Mreijeh (Homs City) Sahari (Deraa City) Douma (Damascus) Moadamiyeh (Damascus) Idlib City (Idlib)

Major General Mustafa Ahmad Al-Sheikh announces his defection on Al-Jazeerah, making him the highest ranking officer to defect. Maj. Gen Al-Sheikh accused of threatening the civil peace and social fabric of the country, and calls on his colleagues to join him More defections took place in the town of Rastan in Homs Province. The officer making the announcement says “I came into this world in spite of me, and will leave it in spite of me. But I will live free”

HOMS CITY: Bab Al-Sibaa A loyalist checkpoint in action

Impact of recent shelling in Bab Al-Sibaa Martyr in Khudr Neighborhood Martyr from Baba Amr Another And another His impromptu funeral

A young activist from Deir Baalbah who volunteers as a medic shows off his medical kit, complains of lack of medications and supplies, and says that he and others took a crash course in administrating First Aid. They have no other training

Elsewhere in the city, a local activist shows as an example of the walls people are constructing around their neighborhoods to protect themselves and their children from snipers

In Shammas a local activist leads the protest in Arabic and French for the benefit of an international audience

HOMS PROVINCE: Protesters come under fire in Rastan even as AL monitors were paying visit to the city (Dec 3) Earlier in the day, mothers of local martyrs met with AL monitors to explain the circumstances surrounding the dead of their children

A martyr in the morning and a rally at night in Houleh

HAMA CITY: Army troops all over the Jisr Al-Mizraab Neighborhood

DAMASCUS CITY: A small funeral in Hajar Al-Aswad Protesters come under fire in Daraya

A rally in Mojtahid neighborhood in Central Damascus ,

DAMASCUS – NORTH: Rallies Qarrah Ma’arrat Yabroud Yabroud

Protesters in Arbeen came under fire as well , even as AL monitors were paying a visit to the suburb , Naturally, the monitors escape Soon after, the anti-riot vehicle operated by loyalist storm its way out as well But not before playing some cat-and-mouse with the protesters

DAMASCUS – WEST: Rallies Zabadani A martyr

DEIR EZZOR: A funeral for a local activist in Deir Ezzor City soon draws thousands of participants , Near dusk, protesters come under fire but remain defiant chanting “long live the Free Syrian Army” , At night, people take back to the street (Hassan Taha Street)

Loyalist action in Ghraybeh leaves two martyrs including , These are the loyalist tanks that pounded the city Activists show some of the shell fragments they found The place where the martyrs fell still shows signs of blood and human remains the community is a poor one lying on the outskirt of the desert, the motorbikes of the locals, their chief mode of transport, were burnt At night, units affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, conduct their own operations against loyalists destroying one of their tanks

IDLIB: Unknown martyr found in Binnish

Rallies Tal Dibs (Dec 4) “Nabil Al-Arabi, can’t you hear? The people want a no-fly zone” Kafroumah Sarmeen Ariha Jisr Ashoughour (Bsheiriyeh) Nighttime Binnish Idlib City Gilli

DERAA CITY: Monitors stream out of the city Rallies Mahata

DERAA/HAURAN: Locals in Mseifrah speak with visiting AL monitors , Some show them examples of the shell cases used against them Afterwards people hold a rally while the monitors blended in , Pro-Regime Addounia TV was on location as monitors spoke to loyalists troops

In Da’el, monitors stand between loyalist troops and protesters

ALEPPO CITY: Marjeh ,  protesters trample on Assad’s posters ALEPPO PRVINCE: Tal Rif’aat