Tuesday, October 2, 2012

All About Our Basic Rights!

Fighting against tyrants is a basic human right. Demanding succor and support from members of the United Nations is also a basic right given to us by its founding charter. As Syrians, we are today fighting for our basic rights both at home and abroad. Our lobbying abroad is an extension of our revolutionary action at home. Indifference is another manifestation of tyranny, and we will not endure it anymore.

Monday October 1, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 183. The Breakdown: including more than 30 people martyred due to aerial shelling. 55 in Damascus and Suburbs (including 13 in Douma and 10 in Harasta), 48 in Aleppo (including 11 in Masaken Hanano and 12 in Karm Al-Jabal), 42 in Idlib (30 in a massacre in Salqeen), 20 in Daraa, 10 in Deir Ezzor, 4 in Homs, 2 in Hama and 2 in Lattakia (LCC).

News

Special Reports
Hillary Clinton painted a chilling picture for the 20 or so foreign ministers from the Friends of Syria group meeting Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
… long-term considerations over how to best ensure a successful political transition in Syria and on how to deflate internal violence, are being trumped by the immediate desire to see Iranian influence in the region curbed. As long as this is the case, and both Saudi Arabia and Iran perceive the Syrian conflict as an opportunity to get even with each other, one can expect these countries to continue fueling the fire rather than working towards its extinction.
As war rages in Syria, the stream of refugees into other countries shows no sign of stopping. More than 100,000 people fled Syria in August alone — about 40 percent of all who had left since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began last March. And the United Nations refugee agency said Thursday that the number of people escaping Syria could reach 700,000 by the end of the year.
Mahmoud Hassino is a 37-year-old gay Syrian journalist, currently living in Turkey, who manages to frequently return to his homeland to record the uprising against President Bashar Hafez al-Assad.
While international attention has focused on the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Syria, turmoil surrounding those displaced within the country is becoming a far larger problem.
As Syrian war planes bomb towns and villages held by anti-government rebels, a group of Syrian-American doctors is quietly providing medical aid inside Syria.
The Assad regime in Syria brought about Muammar Gaddafi's death by providing France with the key intelligence which led to the operation that killed him, sources in Libya have claimed.

Op-Eds
Thus, there was never much U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration could do to change Bashar’s response to the revolt. The United States tried to squeeze blood from a stone: It pushed for dramatic political reform from a system that simply is not built for it. Assad’s removal perhaps will just be a matter of time — although it may take longer than many want. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be a pretty sight.

Ammar Abdulhamid & Khawla Yusuf: The Shredded Tapestry: The State of Syria Today

My Op-Ed in Foreign Policy is out: Rebels With a Cause, But Not Much Consensus

Without creating military parity on the ground, including neutralizing Assad's air power, a political solution will be impossible. And without a political process that involves both rebels and militias, any effort will fail. Military means alone will not be sufficient to help any side prevail.

Some are wondering how I can describe the situation in Syria in such stark terms and still argue for intervention. It’s simple really, and has nothing to do with my current institutional affiliation: this situation which has already devolved from a showdown between unarmed protesters and heavily armed security forces into the sectarian conflict we see today, could still devolve into a regional war, we could face a regional meltdown before yearend, and this is a prospect any sane person can afford to be blasé about. Early intervention could have preempted this possibility, but many chose not to see, for tactical reason, for ideological reason, for economic reasons, whatever the excuse, the result is the same: a peaceful push for democratic change was allowed to devolve into a confessional war.

Some say: “well it’s a civil war then and has nothing to do with us.” I say: “yes it’s a civil war and it has everything to do with you.”

You cannot build institutions like the UN and NATO, write charters like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, coin doctrines like the Responsibility to Protect which is so obviously, even blatantly, applicable in this case, and launch programs dedicated to genocide prevention, then turn your back on such situations. This is not your grandfather’s world. Indifference when it comes to others suffering is not a luxury anyone can afford anymore.

We are not begging for intervention we are demanding our right. Yes, it’s our right, legal and moral, by virtue of being citizens of a country that is a member of the United Nations, and by virtue of our common humanity, to demand intervention, diplomatic and military.  Stop denying us our rights, and stop denying your moral and legal obligations towards us.

Underreported

* The war in Deir Ezzor Province, despite the fact that most foreign fighters, including most those associated with Al-Qaeda, are stationed there, facing off against pro-Assad militias supported with IRGC troops and Shia fighters from Iraq.

* The growing tensions in Hassakeh Province between rival Kurdish groups on the one hand, and Kurds and Arab tribes on the other. Acts of violence, including murders and assassinations have taken place, and Sunday’s car bombing in the city of Qamishly targeting a security headquarters is bound to further heat up the situation. In the meantime, the inhabitants of the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani in the northwest, have undertaken the first practical steps to implement the intra-Kurdish power-sharing agreement, showing a greater spirit of pragmatism than what’s available elsewhere.

* The growing tensions between Assad supporters and critics in the Alawite communities along the coast. The situation came to a head on Sunday with clashes in Qardaha, Assad’s native town. The clashes pitted the Assad clan against rivals from the clans of Al-Khayir, Othman, Jadid and Abboud. The clashes reportedly left several dead, including Muhammad Assad, the head of the local pro-Assad militias. No less significant is the ongoing refusal by inhabitants of nearby villages to heed calls for mobilization, thus refusing to allow their sons to join the ranks of the army. Several recruiters have already been beaten up and driven out of town. Estimates by local activists put the total number of Alawites who have been killed since the beginning of the Revolution at over 10,000 – a high number considering the demographic size of the Alawite community. Iranian and Iraqi advisers and clergymen as well as clergymen from the Alawite community in Hatay Province in Turkey are reportedly trying to mediate in the growing crisis.

So far, no opposition group or notable figure has issued any statement on any of these developments, especially the situation in the Alawite community. But the recent developments beg for some sort of outreach by the opposition and the international community, before Iranian efforts at mediation have a chance of calming the situation.

As I have just argued in my op-ed in Foreign Policy:

Some pro-Assad militias, especially those based in coastal areas and those that have not directly taken part in atrocities, could also still be reconciled to the post-Assad political order -- but not without extraordinary international mediation.

Video Highlights

Leaked video shows pro-Assad militiamen urging his fellow Alawites to join their “jihad” against the rebels http://youtu.be/UP3Bocmk0hA

Shops in Old Aleppo Bazar catch fire on account of continuing pounding by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/mxq11dV3uTc

An explosion rocks the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishlo, Hassakeh Province http://youtu.be/jY96jHdwXeY

In Damascus, the pounding of restive suburbs continues, using heavy artillery, helicopter gunships and MIGs: Douma http://youtu.be/ObSQCCmcMOQ , http://youtu.be/ZKIYecOWe2A Martyrs http://youtu.be/351hU7TCPu0  Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/6TzNdk6X7DA Saqba martyrs http://youtu.be/b-5ZsjcFJKw Harasta Martyrs, victims of summary executions  http://youtu.be/OAPNvNIhHBI , http://youtu.be/yOkxerejeiw , http://youtu.be/_xArH-WpIyE

The pounding of restive neighborhoods in Aleppo City continues along with street battles: Sulaiman Al-Halabi http://youtu.be/DP2yfEblcfU , http://youtu.be/raAwCsnVBgs Tanks fire into the neighborhood http://youtu.be/UVAjl1VbaCE Al-Sha’ar Neighborhood http://youtu.be/7W5LhfMabzg