Friday, June 29, 2012

The Relics!

When regime propagandists begin describing the majority population in their country as Relics, especially after their president declared war against said majority, chances for the success of a new plan that lacks enforcement mechanisms drop to null, while those for ethnic cleansing on an even larger scale than witnessed so far increase to 100%. But if world leaders expect the relics to go gently into that good night, they are as delusional as Assad and his militias.  

Thursday June 28, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 139. The Breakdown: 59 in Damascus Suburbs (mostly in Douma), 26 in Homs, 17 in Daraa, 15 in Deir Ezzor, 9 in Hama, 9 in Idlib, and 2 in Aleppo.

Lebanese police is reportedly increasing its crackdown against Syrian anti-regime activists living in Lebanon, with new arrests reported. Previously Lebanese authorities surrendered Syrian activists to the Assad regime despite their refugee status. International community should act now to pressure Lebanese authorities into complying with all norms and regulations pertaining to treatment of refugees.


Op-Eds & Special Reports

The Massacre of Douma (Damascus Suburbs)

Victims: 38 dead, and 150 wounded. Most died in the continuous shelling of the town, but 14 people were executed when pro-Assad militias stormed their neighborhoods, they belonged to one family: Al-Tomei. The dead included 7 children and a 90-year old grandmother The victims , The fridge The pounding sets buildings on fire The invading tanks pound their way into the neighborhood , Helicopter gunships took part in the pounding Tank in action Nearby Kafarbatna is also pounded In Arbeen, helicopter gunships take part in the pounding

Unfortunately, what could have been a good point to make on the need for providing structural and constitutional protections to the country’s minorities in the future reads like an exercise in pro-regime propaganda. The authors, self-proclaimed intelligence analysts focusing on Syrian-Lebanese issues, adopted regime line on the expulsion of Christians from Old Homs and the nearby town of Qusayr.

Rather than attributing the exodus of 80,000 Christians to the same reasons that paved the way for the simultaneous exodus from adjacent neighborhoods of over 500,000 Sunni inhabitants, that is:  indiscriminate and well-documented shelling of neighborhoods by pro-regime troops, our “intelligence” analysts claim that Sunni fighters took the time to risk their lives to go on a suicidal house-to-house mission to order Christian families out. The presence of Christians in the middle of areas targeted by pro-regime militias was a major complicating factor for the regime, their departure facilitate the intensification of the bombing campaign. Yet, our intelligence analysts want us to believe that local Sunni fighters made this major miscalculation not once but twice: in Old Homs and Al-Qusayr.

A better take on the threat to Christians in Qusayr can be found here.

To date, experts simply refuse to see the real patterns emerging on the ground, patterns which denote active planning for the creation of a future enclave in the coastal and central parts of Syria where the overwhelming majority population is made up of Alawites and Christians. The only beneficiaries of massive population shifts in the country are Assad and his loyalist militias. In fact, most Christians who left Old Homs went to live in Alawite-majority neighborhoods in Homs City and most those who left the town of Qusayr went to live in towns and villages close to majority Alawite towns and villages, although some escaped to Lebanon, and from there to western countries.

Syria’s Turkish Relics

But the most telling development of late is the declaration of war enunciated by Bashar Al-Assad against his enemies, i.e., the majority of the Syrian people, even as world leaders keep speaking of political solutions and peaceful transfer of power. Assad is not interested in taking part in power-sharing arrangements even if they keep him in power for a while or afford him a face-saving exit to U.K. Whether as President of the country, or a warlord with his own major turf, Assad wants to stay in Syria, and no amount of coaxing, plans or talks can change his mind. His bombs speak louder than all words, and his propagandist are already trying to draw a scenario that can justify further ethnic cleansing in the country, on a more mass scale.

The recent dismissal by pro-Assad ideologue on Addounia TV, the network owned by Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf, of the Sunni inhabitants of Homs as “Turkish Relics” from Ottoman times comes as the latest attempt at justifying the ethnic cleansing that took place there. The Assad regime has moved from blatant denial into defiant admission and justification of the crimes its militias are perpetrating all over the country. This is both a sign of weakness and strength. Assad and his advisers know that they are losing the country, they also know, however that their plans for the creation of a loyalist enclave on most ethnic lines are progressing nicely. Putin is buying them the time they need for that.

Power Sharing

In this light, plans for unity government proposed by Kofi Annan seem completely unrealistic, especially considering the absence of any enforcement mechanisms. What would make an Assad who just declared war against 80% of his people and whose militias are busy ethnically cleansing huge swathes of lands from native Sunnis, now deemed as Turkish Relics, stop and decide to allow for such unity government to take place and to pave the way for his replacement, absent any serious threats to is very existence?   

The War in Videos

In Khan Al-Sibil, Idlib province, where fighters managed to take control of an anti-aircraft battery, they now target the helicopter gunships targeting their community

Basra Al-Harir, Daraa, comes under fire at night Al-Hraak gets pounded at night Daraa City (Sadd) comes under fire at night , ,

Zamalka, Damascus Suburbs, comes under fire at night ,

The sounds of war in Deir Ezzor City , local fighters destroyed three attacking tanks, and mass defections continue to take place on a regular basis. Pro-Assad militias in these parts often draw on members from Sunni Arab tribes in Hassakah and Raqqah which is why defections are quite common. The aftermath of pounding Helicopter gunships take part in the pounding The tanks taking part in laying siege to the city

In Homs Province, the pounding of Talbisseh continues , and the pounding of Houla and the pounding of Rastan The pounding of Old Homs continues (Jouret Al-Shayah) , ,

The pounding of Jabal Shahshabo, Hama Province, continues

Lattakia, Jabal Al-Akrad, the pounding continues

Still, whenever people have the chance to demonstrate peacefully, they do in droves:

In Damascus: Daraya Dafalshawk Barzeh Qaboun Halbouni

In Hama: Bab Qibli

In Homs City, Wa’er

In Idlib: Marrat Al-Nouman (funeral) Kafar Ouaid