Friday, April 13, 2012

Ceasefire Shmeasefire!

Apparently ceasefires don’t apply to snipers but present them with an opportunity to take center stage once again. Assad snipers have not disappointed and continue to earn their pay.


Ethnic Cleansing

While world leaders focus their attention on such macro-issues as Annan’s Plan, on the micro-level, the madness continues to unfold. In the mountains along the coast, where Sunni, Alawite, Christian, Kurdish and Turkmen communities intermingle, pro-Assad militias have conducted a major raid against Sunni communities (namely the villages of Al-Kabaneh and ‘Akko) near the town of Slenfeh in Al-Akrad Mountain. The ensuing clashes left at least 2 dead and drove hundreds away from their homes, as pro-Assad militias ransacked their homes. Another troubling report from the Coast comes from the city of Jableh where local activists say that walls have recently been constructed to separate Sunni and Alawite neighborhoods. The Sunnis represent a little less than 30% of the local population and seldom venture out of their neighborhoods at this stage, as they are often subject to harassment and arrests. Pro-Assad militias, made up mostly of Alawite inhabitants, periodically ransack and loot their shops.

The issue of ethnic cleansing in the coastal regions and surrounding mountains is something that requires careful monitoring, because, regardless of what people say about the viability or non-viability of an Alawite state, most pro-Assad militias seem to have adopted a philosophy that calls for cleansing their traditional strongholds of Sunnis, irrespective of whether the end product is the creation of an Alawite state or not. It’s a philosophy inspired in part by pure sectarian vindictiveness (preventative vindictiveness to be specific), and in another by a just-in-case mentality. In either case, it’s a dire foreteller of things to come.  

Some in the opposition say that neither diplomacy nor military force alone will bring down the Assad government.  Ammar Abdulhamid says they must be used together. "When there is an actual threat of force or force being used, I think then we might see the possibility of the Assads listening because they can see a threat," Abdulhamid added.  "They can see the seriousness of the international community.  They don't just hear words." (Video)

Ammar Abdulhamid, an influential Syrian human rights activist, told Fox News that given Assad’s habit of breaking promises 'there was no reason for anyone to be surprised by the turn of events.' Abdulhamid, who fled Syria in 2005 and has since lived in the U.S. said members of the main opposition groups, representing all political and religious backgrounds, helped draw up the new six-point plan.

The plan sets out measures to arm local rebel groups, establish safe havens for civilians and providing international aerial support for resistance fighters. It also calls for increased diplomatic pressure on Assad regime and encourage defections by top government officials. The final point of the plan calls for identifying countries that could provide future peacekeepers who could be instantly dispatched to liberated territories and support opposition groups with transition planning.

Video Highlights

Some of today’s martyrs: Bayadah/Homs City http://youtu.be/vrthzENT1-g The dead included two babies who local activists say were targeted by snipers http://youtu.be/X-abF4yj7zo The mother was also killed http://youtu.be/1wqy7C0zxRo Khaldiyeh/Homs City http://youtu.be/fIjyUIQeReg Qoussour/Homs City http://youtu.be/pJE9R33Lv7E Khan Shaikhoon/Idlib http://youtu.be/plH_UrLV89s Qusayr/Homs another child killed http://youtu.be/elydxGlQpWM Another injured http://youtu.be/y_3mJiPCrhA

In Homs City, there were no real halt in the pounding, only a decrease in intensity http://youtu.be/clekba3lXBI , http://youtu.be/M3PhQ5hLISg

Protesters in Aleppo University came under fire http://youtu.be/ROcIR4Xzsu4 So did protesters in Arbeen/Damascus http://youtu.be/2edXW4MxG00

Refugees in the camp recently visited by Senators McCain and Lieberman rallies against the leaders of the SNC shortly after the Senators departure, calling them “liars” and “thieves,” and shouting “Down with the National Council” http://youtu.be/6kxfIhpFuN0 None of the major figures in the SNC has so far paid a single visit to any of the refugee camps in Turkey or elsewhere. In fact, refugees say only a handful of SNC members have ever paid them a visit, and say that they have not received any significant aid from the SNC or affiliated organizations.