Syria: al-Assad's businessmen have defected
Successive news reports have been leaked about the meeting that was held in the Damascus presidential palace and chaired by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in the presence of his brother-in-law and Syrian Deputy Defense Minister, Assef Shawkat, and a carefully selected group of the most prominent businessmen in Syria. This was an extremely tense and stormy meeting which represented a humiliation of the Syrian businessmen who were subject to explicit violent threats that required no interpretation, namely that either these businessmen and merchants clearly and explicitly support the regime and comprehensively refuse to support or finance the revolution or face the consequences!
Dire threats of the complete destruction of Damascus were issued. The threats included the historical and commercial district of al-Hamaidiya and the well-known Gates of Damascus, which would all be destroyed and levelled to the ground in the same manner as the Baba Amr district of Homs, and in the same manner that the famous district of Kelaniya was destroyed and witnessed horrible and bloody massacres in the 1980s.
The al-Assad regime had established strong, sensitive, precise, strategic and long-lasting relations with Syria’s businessmen and industrial sector whereby the regime was keen to offer them “benefits” in order to secure their support for the future.
Funny how the Baathists from Iraq and Syria hate each other so much while being so similar.
Interactive map of protest locations from today:http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...0fbfe20d&msa=0
Two good articles on Syria:
Syria: Activists Arrested, Held Despite Pledge to Annan
Many Detained Incommunicado
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/13/s...e-pledge-annan(New York) – Syrian security forces are arbitrarily arresting and holding peaceful activists incommunicado, despite the government’s commitment under Kofi Annan’s six point plan to release everyone who has been arbitrarily detained. People being arrested include peaceful protesters and activists involved in organizing, filming, and reporting on protests and humanitarian assistance providers and doctors, Human Rights Watch said after interviewing dozens of activists, witnesses, and family members.
Human Rights Watch called on the government to order security forces to stop detaining peaceful activists and aid providers. The United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Annan plan, should insist on repeat visits of all detention facilities and should make the release of peaceful activists a priority.
“Syria is breaking its promises to Annan left and right, scooping up more people to throw in its jails, and refusing to free the people it promised to release,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Unless Syria’s leaders keep their promises, and quickly, the Security Council needs to show them that there will be consequences.”
Time for a rethink of U.S. policy towards Syria
http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/pos..._towards_syriaIt's easy to hate Bashar al-Assad, the crypto-modernizer-turned bloody tyrant. What is there to commend about a regime that kills thousands of its own? How could it not be fair to demonize a president who, in his first interview after coming to power after his father's death in 2000, questioned the very notion of a civil society in Syria? Yet however good righteous indignation may feel, it makes for bad policy.
When U.S. President Barack Obama called for Egypt's octogenarian president Hosni Mubarak to step aside last year, he could be confident that by doing so he was breathing new life into the "deep state" -- ruled by the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). U.S. policy was not abetting revolution in Egypt so much as short-circuiting it, even if we tried to convince ourselves otherwise. And our policy was consistent with the often inchoate sensibilities of Egypt's majority. Remember the popular refrain: "The Army and the People are One!" In that case, U.S. policy was both right and smart.
Syria presents another challenge entirely, one that is far more complex and dangerous for U.S. policymakers. As with Iraq, the Syrian state -- the security forces and governing institutions -- may well not survive a collapse of the regime. Assad's father may have killed two and perhaps four times as many fellow Syrians as has the son, but it was only the latter whose rule Washington deemed illegitimate. Despite the blood on his hands, Hafez al-Assad was courted by a generation of U.S. officials seeking an Israeli-Syrian peace treaty. This effort too was both right and smart.
Bashar Assad, unlike Egypt's generals, has precious little capital to draw upon in the Obama White House. Ambassador Robert Ford, our man in Damascus, ceased acting as an envoy to the government. His brave support for the popular revolt against the regime warmed our hearts. Showing solidarity with the struggle against the regime, re-branded as a democratic uprising, was inspiring. It was the right thing to do, but doing the right thing is not the same as doing the smart thing.
The writer compares Obama's policy of Egypt with that of Syria which is a huge mistake for one simple reason; the United States has NO leverage with Syria, we barely have relations, which is completely different from how the United States pulled strings in Egypt. Of course I've been saying this for some time and I probably sound like a broken record by now
Show me a reliable source on Syrian gov. forces deaths. I'd love to see one. I haven't seen many frequent reports on Syrian gov. dead like the opposition publishes, that's all I'm saying. I don't go around automatically dismissing everything because it came from the Syrian gov., like you seem to do with the opposition. The numbers come from local obituaries, activists, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the UN mission, actual video (like of the dead guy I posted earlier). I'd say they're just a tad bit more reliable than SANA. One thing SANA gets right is the opposition in that country are like gangs. They shouldn't be called a "Free Army" at all, because their level of networking is about as unified as different Crip and Blood sets across the United States. They're all in it to win it, but their motives vary by neighborhood.
You did say that the numbers themacedonian posted were unreliable. It begs the question, how are your numbers anymore reliable that his? The fact is that the numbers you posted aren't any more reliable than his own.Show me a reliable source on Syrian gov. forces deaths. I'd love to see one. I haven't seen many frequent reports on Syrian gov. dead like the opposition publishes, that's all I'm saying. I don't go around automatically dismissing everything because it came from the Syrian gov., like you seem to do with the opposition.
I've said before that there's hardly any a neutral party out there. Hence, reports aught to be put it in context or proper disclosure made when necessary (especially regarding the source of the information)
SANA reports are just as biased as the reports from "activists" , AJZ. Hrw, amnesty international as they all use "activists" as their sources or the leads for their story. Hence, as far as reliability goes, they are not cloaked in glory.The numbers come from local obituaries, activists, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the UN mission, actual video (like of the dead guy I posted earlier). I'd say they're just a tad bit more reliable than SANA. One thing SANA gets right is the opposition in that country are like gangs. They shouldn't be called a "Free Army" at all, because their level of networking is about as unified as different Crip and Blood sets across the United States. They're all in it to win it, but their motives vary by neighborhood.
Note Human Rights Watch complained about NATO caused casualties in Libya. For some reason it is ignored but their reports on Syria are a valuable source.
http://news.yahoo.com/dozens-killed-...024223775.htmlA convoy of UN truce observers came under attack in a Syrian town on Tuesday during a funeral procession in which a monitoring group said regime forces "massacred" 20 people.UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said a bomb exploded in front of a convoy of monitors and that three UN vehicles were damaged but that no casualties were reported.
The incidents took place as Syria's anti-regime revolt entered its 15th month of relentless violence that has killed more than 12,000 people and growing fears that a UN-backed peace plan will fail.
Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, said in a statement that the UN supervisory mission had sent a patrol to help the stranded monitors.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said the "regime committed a massacre" during the visit by UN monitors to Khan Sheikhun, in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Another 21 people were killed in violence elsewhere in the country, the Britain-based Observatory said.