Monday, April 23, 2012

The UNmonitors!

As the UNmonitoring of Assad’s mass atrocities proceeds as UNplanned, and President Obama’s Atrocities Prevention Board convenes, the Assads continue to lovingly amass atrocities, as Russia’s arms-peddling Oligarchs sing and Iran’s rageaholics Mullas dance.


Assad’s Plan A

Nuancing my take on Assad’s Plan A (Plan B, namely, the creation of an Alawite state, remains as the fallback plan), it seems that Assad is trying to retake major urban centers by driving away the restive population through ethnic cleansing carried out by indiscriminate pounding of residential neighborhoods.  The rational seems to be that Guerilla warfare in the countryside will not acquire too much domestic or international notice, and that in due course of time, it could be snuffed out by attrition. Meanwhile, leaderless displaced population will be too busy fighting for the basics to cause too much problems.

What is aiding the Assad in implementing his plan is the lack of any international support to the local resistance networks.

In Homs City, most of the plan has already been accomplished as Al-Jazzerah reports highlights below. The plan has long been carried out in Jisr Ashoughour in Idlib Province as well.

Al-Jazeerah report on ethnic cleansing in Homs City: the pounding affected more than 54% of the city and drove away over 700,000 residents and allowed neighborhoods that remain loyal to the regime, inhabited mostly by Alawites, to become geographically connected http://youtu.be/26LkNICdtkg

Now, Assad’s attention seems to have shifted back to Hama City, one day following the visit of UN monitors.

Arba’een Neighborhood, Hama City: the pounding http://youtu.be/sIfzcytVlRU Some of the victims of the new massacre http://youtu.be/wBtBIBWD4Tg , http://youtu.be/7z-9YYe0huo , http://youtu.be/M5IR3-MHDfI , http://youtu.be/2CdGXWXTSxk , http://youtu.be/wD1M7KS8ezg Local activist describes how the neighborhood was pounded and how Arab League and now UN monitors proven to be ineffectual  http://youtu.be/lEggTW11I6w Thirteen bodies were buried http://youtu.be/5RSZgO7mOTs , http://youtu.be/T5XRofZTJJI In Al-Mrabit neighborhood, protesters play the usual deadly cat-an-mouse game with snipers http://youtu.be/L4yw5cx2l6I

In this light, the recent “liberation” of most of Rural Deir Ezzor, may not mean as much to the Assads as their inability to control the city of Deir Ezzor itself.

Deir Ezzor Province: Jafaar Brigade holds a victory parade on April 22 celebrating the liberation of a number of communities http://youtu.be/uq4Wy-GfYRI

Monitoring the UN Monitors

The UN monitors who visited the town of Zabadani, Damascus Province, do not seem to be “impressed” with the signs of damage wrought by pounding that they locals showed them. At least, this is what the activist who prepared this report says. In it, we hear the UN monitor says that the damage he inspected looks more like normal degradation than impact of pounding http://youtu.be/nCuZKDd5WvE  Pro-regime networks escorted the monitors on their visit, we can one of them in the report trying to hide the logo on his microphone. The visit, we are told, lasted for less than an hour.  The monitors refused to take the reports prepared by local activists on loyalist checkpoints and crimes, so they burnt tem in protest after their departure.

In Douma, Damascus Province, locals stage mass rally to celebrate the arrival of the UN monitors as they chant “the people want to topple the regime” and “Death over Humiliation” http://youtu.be/xR-szNIhmFE The monitors arrive http://youtu.be/JqwyTal5vRs “The people want to arm the FSA” http://youtu.be/7E0aWsHjQhU

Other video Highlights

In Damascus City, protesters in Naher Eisheh block the nearby highway with burning tires and come under fire http://youtu.be/te0xX5hxhAM This has become a usually nightly routine in many neighborhoods across the city.

In Homs City, locals are forced to use the old wire trick to help rescue the injured from sniper attacks http://youtu.be/YmthOEV70Cc

In the town of Jarjanaz, Idlib Province, a tank shell landed on a house killing 17 locals http://youtu.be/nYR2xsqC7rc , http://youtu.be/8EXMm-7QmQ0

The people at the Foreign Policy Initiative ask “Does the President Have the Will to End Assad’s Atrocities in Syria?” They then remind President Obama of his words in March 2011 explaining the decision to intervene in Libya:  

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and-–more profoundly-–our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.  Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries.  The United States of America is different.  And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

“What the President said in March 2011 of the Qaddafi regime’s imminent mass atrocities in Libya,” the concluded, “applies equally today to the Assad regime’s continuing mass atrocities in Syria.”

Indeed. And yet… the policies are not on par, despite the fact that our senses have been assaulted by a barrage of images of slaughter and mass graves. Whatever happened to the Responsibility to Protect? I wonder what the “first Atrocities Prevention Board, chaired by Ms. Samantha Power, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, National Security Council, and which had its first meeting earlier today, plan to do about the atrocities in Syria!

The Board, we are told is meant to “discuss ways to increase the U.S. efforts in protecting innocent men, women and children from genocide across the world – an effort President Obama called “a core national security interest and a moral responsibility of the United States.”

Well, let’s see.