Saturday, March 31, 2012

Some Like It Hot!

There is no hurry. Assad is taking his sweet time pounding residential neighborhoods and killing children. The opposition is taking its sweet time arguing over division of spoils that don’t yet exist while taking dictates from all and sundry, other than the Syrian people. World leaders are taking their sweet time reaching a consensus on what not to do, if a consensus can ever be reached on anything in the international scene. Meanwhile Syria is fast descending into hell, her dream of freedom fast turning into a nightmare of endless global and geopolitical calculations. In situations like these, time has always been on the side of anarchy. But then perhaps this is what everybody wants.

Friday March 30, 2012 – This Friday and the ensuing week is dedicated to showing that “Muslims and Arabs have failed us.” But, in a sign of growing discord between Arabs and Kurds, Kurdish communities dedicated this week to standing by “Kurdish National Rights”

Death Toll: 55 in Homs, Deraa, Idlib and Deir Ezzor. Clashes in Qouriyeh, Deir Ezzor City, Damascus and Deraa Province left three high ranking loyalist officers dead. Targeting high level loyalist officers have become an established pattern for the local resistance over the last few weeks.

News
Op-Eds & Special Reports
Undergunned and Overwhelmed - Syria's rebels have to bear hours of negotiations for every box of bullets that they haul across the border for their war against Bashar al-Assad. And their frustration is starting to show.

Video Highlights

In Homs City, the pounding of neighborhoods continues: Khaldiyeh http://youtu.be/cLQizR7frzo , http://youtu.be/NEHk9qR1_hs , http://youtu.be/9Z_uG7Zwkps , http://youtu.be/bIsWOQP7Cpc A tank taking part in the pounding of a residential neighborhood http://youtu.be/NBr72TWErZw the pounding is taking place at a leisurely pace now. After all, there is no resistance, and the point is to simply eradicate, intimidate, retaliate and ethnically cleanse the neighborhoods http://youtu.be/TwaRo55HFuE  More pounding http://youtu.be/TwaRo55HFuE Bayadah http://youtu.be/nADoCK1YSAU Hamidiyeh http://youtu.be/7PFp0IAhHXA The Old Bazar catches fire http://youtu.be/VsELDunNDGo And the dead continue t pile up http://youtu.be/K_jboUFdAlo

In the nearby town of Rastan, Homs Province, the local water tanks are being systematically destroyed by Assad loyalists to punish the locals and weaken the local resistance http://youtu.be/hpSmcuYUYRY The same scenario was repeated in the nearby town of Houleh http://youtu.be/UCDel10zEiQ

The formation of new fighting unit in Eastern Damascus (Ghoutah) to work under the umbrella of the FSA http://youtu.be/wZn_mXlEbFg The unit seems connected to Hizb ul-Tahrir.

In Damascus City, clashes took place at night in Jobar between Assad loyalists and members of the local resistance http://youtu.be/C75cRB7P1bg Not too far away in the Suburb of Arbeen, in Eastern Ghoutah, more clashes http://youtu.be/ruUMLHpkLHo Earlier in the day, crackdown against protesters in Jobar left 1 dead http://youtu.be/9kze9dkVqbM

In Idlib Province, the town of Khan Shaikhoon was pounded http://youtu.be/RZAz4pnUKvA

In Qamishlo, the Kurdish town in Hassakeh Province, members of the Movement of Kurdistan in Syria, staged a rally in Antariyah neighborhood to protest against both regime oppression and opposition exclusion http://youtu.be/LR-iHZZOwBI , http://youtu.be/AGopbUZscFM In Qamishlo and other Kurdish towns and cities throughout Syria, this Friday and the ensuing week was dedicated to celebrating “Kurdish National Rights,” in response to recent current fallout between Arab and Kurd opposition members in Istanbul http://youtu.be/SXtiX_RhB5U  

Other Kurdish communities followed suit: Dirbassiyeh (Hassakeh) http://youtu.be/Za7Pwglcweo Amoudeh (Hassakeh) http://youtu.be/J5UIdTj-ovM Kobani (Aleppo) http://youtu.be/ORmd52UHZsw Kurdish turnout was the lowest since the beginning of the Revolution.


In Qouriyeh, Deir Ezzor Province, pro-Assad death squads commit new massacre http://youtu.be/S6lD2r1LnR0

Homs

Homs City

Qoussour: Bodies strewn in the streets http://youtu.be/Os9GCXq1pVU

Sifsafeh: a tour of the desolation that is Homs City http://youtu.be/CCcU48WzZUA

Bayadah: martyr http://youtu.be/bAU1ikv8vPc

Bab Houd: locals hold prayers on in Al-Zawiyeh Mosque despite ongoing shelling outside http://youtu.be/9WHAlYnPApI

Daytime Rallies

Homs Province

Daytime Rallies


Damascus

Damascus City

Kafar Sousseh: protesters come under fire http://youtu.be/y0W5Y__fTqQ

Jobar: sporadic gunfire rang throughout the neighborhood in the morning http://youtu.be/PAUmckdA8bA

Daytime Rallies

Damascus East (Eastern & Western Ghoutah)

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Damascus South (Southern Ghoutah)

Daytime Rallies

West (Zabadani and Wadi Barada)

Daytime Rallies

North (The Qalamoun Region )

Daytime Rallies


Hama

Hama City

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies
Janoub Al-Malaab http://youtu.be/iMuQghOXeAM

Hama Province

Daytime Rallies


Idlib


Deir Sunbul: tank taking pot shots at the village http://youtu.be/y71pZF_NasQ

Daytime Rallies


Deraa/Hauran

Deraa City

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Deraa/Hauran Province

Na’eemah: town comes under fire http://youtu.be/mCjQKZMC3_I Treating the wounded http://youtu.be/dYXExuweXZE The dead (woman) http://youtu.be/BSluHbfDRK4(man) http://youtu.be/f6CWtd-G3Zw  Saida comes under fire as well http://youtu.be/JJrUFPUCT7E

Daytime Rallies


Aleppo

Aleppo City

Funeral for local activist http://youtu.be/9iJ8oTnSTAg

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Aleppo Province

Daytime Rallies


Deir Ezzor


Daytime Rallies


Hassakeh


Daytime Rallies


Lattakia


Daytime Rallies



Friday, March 30, 2012

Politics!

The political solution championed by the “reasonable” “rational” “cool-headed” leaders of the world continues to produce more deaths and to pave the way towards the very mayhem all say they want to avoid. Why do western leaders always end up transforming their worst nightmares, and ours, into reality? Why do they insist on never learning from history, no matter how recent (Balkans)?  

Wednesday March 29, 2012

Death Toll: 60. Clashes were reported between loyalist troops and rebels in the towns of Douma, Arbeen, Harasta and Zabadani suburbs in Damascus Province. Meanwhile the pounding of old Homs City continues, locals found 15 bodies belonging to 2 families killed by pro-Assad death squads. The pounding of the city of Saraqib, Idlib province, has entered its fourth day and has reportedly left 60 dead so far.

News
Op-Eds & Special Reports
Obama’s About-Face on Syria In August, the president called for Bashar al-Assad to step down. But the U.S. hasn’t sent arms to the opposition. To understand why, look to Russia.

In an interview with Syrian activist Ammar Abdulhamid, he suggests that Al Hurra adopts a liberal identity, acting as a platform for liberals:

"There are good programs with positive viewer reception like ‘An Eye on Democracy,’ however, these remain an exception. Al Hurra producers wanted to act as a competitor news network to Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and other news programs currently operating in official Arab media outlets. However, [Al Hurra was] unable to rely on a clear strategy or vision for the channel, coupled with multiple changes in their administrative structure. In addition, an unprecedented environment of competition was born due an increase in the number of Arabic language news channels with a variety of strategies and frameworks. The Arab citizen is inundated with many options, so unless the channel attracts the right audience and presents a clear perspective—the liberal one in particular—the channel will remain without an identity in an area that has no tolerance for ambiguity."

Video Highlights

In Homs City, the pounding of the old neighborhoods continues: Hamidiyeh http://youtu.be/l4vG7tDJY18 Khaldiyeh http://youtu.be/RBIK8IvgyBY The moment when a missile hits the neighborhood http://youtu.be/0suvfCTzcrk Bab Tadmor http://youtu.be/aV7ESprNygI

In the town of Qusayr, Homs Province, major sections of the city have been transformed into rubble due to continuous bombardment http://youtu.be/wSFkqPyhcnE , http://youtu.be/KcwS_K28F4U , http://youtu.be/R47dgCKl4jI The pounding continues http://youtu.be/Jwfy-oq2I5c and people are dying http://youtu.be/A_dDGAzhnSs

In Douma City (March 29), Damascus Province, members of the local resistance take part in an exchange ceremony supervised by the Red Crescent in which they handed over a Major General they had captured in exchange for the bodies of 14 martyrs http://youtu.be/dK16hNqyZe8 In the morning, locals organize a mass funeral for 8 http://youtu.be/jqw14htT8e0 Douma City remains a hotbed of the protest movement in Damascus. Most protesters are secular, but over the last few months, Hizb ul-Tahrir has been creating inroads, as evident by the black and white flags with Islamic testament of faith written on them (Mar 26) http://youtu.be/Zd0XLNhP5Rs  

In the town of Hraak, Deraa Province, this little girls was hit by shrapnel, she lives but she’s in pain http://youtu.be/ZblysISCE7s

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Twists!

The increasing violence and continued international dithering continue to test us. New thinking and new methods needed. All fears and apprehensions must be faced, then put to rest.   

Wednesday 28, 2012

Death Toll: 30, as the pounding of Old Homs neighborhoods and Madeeq Citadel in Hama Province continue. Clashes between Assad loyalists and local resistance took place in Rastan (Homs Province) and Da’el and Basr Al-Harir (Deraa Province). Several new high level defections were reported, including Major General Adnan Muhammad Al-Ahmad, head of the Advance Reconnaissance Unit in the Northern Sector. 

Links

Briefly Noted

On the sidelines of the launching ceremonies of the Freedom Collection, I got to talk with President George Bush, and he let me tape this brief message to the people of Syria using my iPhone: http://youtu.be/L2ki-MD5w5U  

Links from the Freedom Collection
Why I became a Dissident (General) http://bcove.me/1mo5jh48
Why I became a dissident (Personal) http://bcove.me/p99ixgsk Other clips with me can be found at http://www.freedomcollection.org/interviews/ammar_abdulhamid/

On a different note, rebel movements from various parts of the country got together recently and formed in cooperation with local activists and nascent political leadership a new alliance called the Popular Resistance Block. The Block seeks to bring greater measure of unity and cohesiveness to the internal resistance and will conduct its operations in coordination with the Free Syrian Army and the Military Council in Antakya, but will toe its own political line. The Block brings together main groups from Damascus, Idlib, Deraa, Homs and Hama. Talks are ongoing to bring in more groups under its fold. The local leaders named a foreign office to act in an ambassadorial capacity on its behalf on the international scene. The names include: Kamal Labwani, Mahmoud Bakkour, Rasha Khalid, Jamal Al-Ward, Khawla Yusuf and Ammar Abdulhamid, among others. In other words, my wife and will be taken part in representing this movement http://youtu.be/cME_lWwNtCY

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Simple Truths!

Whatever the geopolitical calculations of Arab, regional and international leaders may be, ours is still a revolution for freedom, dignity, justice and equality. Is there any power in heaven or earth whose basic interests are commensurate with these aspirations of ours? If so, act now! Or forever be damned.

Tuesday March 27, 2012

Death Toll: 80, including 29 in Saraqib (Idlib Province), 12 in Homs City, 8 in Hama City and 6 in Rural Damascus.

News
Op-Eds & Special Reports
Eating Cinnabon in Damascus Why are foreign brands like KFC, the Four Seasons, and Cinnabon still trying to make a buck in Syria?

He kills as callously and thoughtlessly as his father had done before him, but unlike his father who managed to inspire some fear in the process, Bashar inspires only contempt and ridicule. That is why he will fall.

Video Highlights

Assad accepts Annan’s proposal then he goes on a tour of the graveyard he created in Bab Amr, Homs City, and sends his choppers to rain down rockets on the city of Eizaz, Aleppo Province http://youtu.be/E1G2u4ICyEU

Just before Assad’s visit, parts of Homs City itself had been subjected to shelling by heavy artillery: Hamidiyeh http://youtu.be/OibM1G_SlIQ , http://youtu.be/a4bj5mecdaU Bab Houd http://youtu.be/x_DP5xhnoMI , http://youtu.be/Ey67uO8us3Q

The nearby town of Houleh was also shelled; the local water storage facility was particularly targeted http://youtu.be/wnccE-y0xrI

In the Damascene suburb of Harasta, to the East of Damascus City, pro-Assad militias opened fire on locals http://youtu.be/0qOBwZPXAAI The suburb and its surrounding came under intense fire at night as well http://youtu.be/0crrmi4lTxM , http://youtu.be/WGoABtaUNJA To the West of the city, near the border with Lebanon, the town of Madaya came under intense shelling http://youtu.be/GtDaXSKnI5o , http://youtu.be/lW74ECFpodE , http://youtu.be/DK_yGpsJQ_8