Card from Syria reads: “Sorry If Our Screams Disturb Your Hearing, We Will Try and Die With No Sound”
Breaking news: Syrian forces fired mortars on a Turkish town along their shared border that killed 5. Turkey responded by firing at “Syrian targets”. So reports CNN’s Ivan Watson.
If Turkey gets actively involved, is this then the beginning of the end of Assad, if it hasn’t already been set in motion?
A pretty good article with some interesting history tidbits by Fouad Ajami (although I’ll admit I’m not the best judge of this material, but I’ll pass it along anyway). Also, I just heard him in the background on CNN speaking to this topic, and he said something interesting: he wondered aloud rhetorically—why all the manifested anger over such an insignificant, awfully-made film in the Arab world when Bashar al-Assad is slaughtering hundreds of muslims every day in Syria? Where’s the manifest outrage over that? Obviously, he believes the recent outrage is not merely a byproduct of framing by the Western media; rather, it’s real and significant. That to me implies that he doesn’t believe it’s a simple case of media bias that has the media covering the recent protests directed towards the US rather than cover the outrage in the Arab world directed toward Assad’s regime (because it simply doesn’t much exist). However, I’m sure the disdain for Assad is still there; I just don’t know relatively how much remains and what the potency of it is.
In any case, he has some ideas about the recent anger that he speaks about in the article.
A Syrian rebel covers a fellow fighter carrying the body of his brother, killed during a battle in the Saif al-Dawla district of Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, amid heavy street fighting between opposition and government forces on August 29, 2012. Zac Baillie / AFP - Getty Images
I called an old friend the other day, dialing the number somewhat sheepishly. He’s a senior adviser to the Iraq government and I knew what to expect when he answered.
First, he reprimanded me for not calling enough and hardly visiting. I’ve been away too long. You can’t do that, not to your friends. What’s so difficult about calling? he asked.
I apologized, asked about his children, his health, if he’s having success in quitting smoking, and offered the only excuse I could think of: “I’ve been busy with the Arab Spring.”
“The Arab Spring?” he said. “What’s that? There’s no Arab Spring anymore. That’s over. It is now a big struggle for power.”
He may have been acting like an insistent grandmother, but he was right. The Arab Spring is over. The days of the protesters with laptops and BlackBerrys in Tahrir Square are long gone.
Instead, a much bigger struggle is underway, one that goes back centuries that is both a regional battle for dominance and an epic tug of war between Sunnis and Shiites for control of the Middle East and the Prophet Muhammad’s legacy.
|—||Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the aftermath of a Turkish recon plane being shot down by Syria|
Syrian rebels absolutely obliterate a government tank with a lucky RPG hit, as they are allegedly gaining ground, strength.
Dear US gov,
If you’re in the bombing mood, how about instead of bombing Iran and more than likely destroying innocent lives and starting a regional inferno, bomb Syria, i.e. Assad’s military assets in particular and save innocent lives? The world and the Syrian people loathe him (well, except China and esp. Russia, and Russia “elected” Putin again and have their own problems…). The Libyan precedent—while not exactly the same—worked out pretty well. I might actually be agreeing with John McCain generally in that regard, but I’m sure McCain is all for attacking Iran as well, so whatever. (I would actually like to see another global framework to act on Syria like the one instituted in Libya, but it doesn’t appear likely, and Syrian civilians are being massacred every day.)
This drumbeat Israel is laying down is nauseating. The US needs to get Israel out of its ear—ally or no—and, quite frankly, stop being such a control freak in the world.
BORDERLAND This satellite image shows a pipeline fire in Homs, Syria. The pipeline, which runs through the rebel-held neighbourhood of Baba Amr, had been shelled by regime troops for the previous 12 days, according to two activist groups, the Local Coordination Committees and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The state news agency, SANA, blamed “armed terrorists” for the pipeline attack. (Photo: Digital Globe / AP via the Telegraph)
Witnesses said [Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik] were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade as they emerged from the [shelled] ruins of the press centre, which was next door to a hospital. Frederic Mitterrand, the French culture minister, said they had been “pursued as they tried to flee the bombardment”.
Before the building was attacked, Syrian army officers were allegedly intercepted by intelligence staff in neighbouring Lebanon discussing how they would claim journalists had been killed in crossfire with “terrorist groups”.
The deaths of the two journalists prompted an international outcry. William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, said governments around the world had to “redouble our efforts to stop the Assad regime’s despicable campaign of terror”, while Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said: “Enough is enough. This regime must go.”
Hours before she died, Colvin had given interviews to several broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and CNN in which she described the bloodshed as “absolutely sickening”.
She also accused Mr Assad’s forces of “murder” and said it was “a complete and utter lie that they are only targeting terrorists…the Syrian army is simply shelling a city of cold, starving civilians”.
Danny Abdul Dayem’s Interview with Nick Paton Walsh on CNN.
If you had to describe a scene from Homs to somebody who’s never been there that explains what you have been going through, what would you say?
“What they have to see is the children getting killed, not just the children..you see when someone dies and the relatives got used to it… one of my friends when his father got killed that was two weeks ago I, I hugged him and you know what, he cried a little bit he kept going for an hour an hour and a half… he was asking for a pen so I caught him and said “Why do you want a pen?” He said “well I want to write on my Dad’s body on the sheet his name so I don’t lose him between the bodies.” People are getting used to that kind of bodies in the street.
What thought or what memory keeps you up at night?
“I’ve seen lots, you will not imagine, if I were to go on with what I’ve seen it’ll take hours. What about the little kid we picked up, he’s got no jaw left and he’s still alive? What about the kid who’s lost his two legs? And he’s still alive. What about the kid who’s lost his arms and my friend who’s got paralysed now or my friend who’s lost his arm, his left arm, my friend who’s lost an eyeball, my friend who got hit by a sniper went in his mouth, went out here, lost all his teeth. These are all people scarred for life. You see I’d rather get killed than get scarred like that, that’s what people are scared about now, we aren’t scared about dying, we’ll die for our country we don’t.. it doesn’t matter. But that’s different than losing a piece of your body.”
According to Amnesty International, the Syrian military bombed the old city center from the air to facilitate the entry of infantry and tanks through the narrow streets; buildings were demolished by tanks during the first four days of fighting. Large parts of the old city were destroyed. There are also unsubstantiated reports of use of hydrogen cyanide by the government forces. After encountering fierce resistance, Rifaat’s forces ringed the city with artillery and shelled it for three weeks.
After the initial attacks, military and internal security personnel were dispatched to comb through the rubble for surviving members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their sympathizers. Torture and mass executions of suspected rebel sympathizers ensued, killing many thousands over several weeks. Rifaat, suspecting that rebels were still hiding in tunnels under the old city, had diesel fuel pumped into them and set ablaze and stationed T-72 tanks at the tunnel entrances to shell people trying to escape from the tunnels.
Sounds awful, right? That was Hama, Syria in 1982, where it has been estimated that up to 40,000 people died in the siege that lasted 3 weeks to “quell a revolt by the Sunni Muslim community against the regime of [Hafez] al-Assad.” Most of the fatalities were reported to be civilians. Thirty years later, his son, Bashar al-Assad, is laying siege to the nearby city of Homs as we speak. Another massacre in the making? The world acted on behalf of Libya when Gaddafi and his regime were about to level the Libyan town of Benghazi in 2011, but this time, the world seems more apt to allow history to repeat itself unfortunately (especially Russia and their lucrative arms deals with the Assad regime)…
President Obama’s statement on Syria this morning (via thepoliticalnotebook)
Unfortunately yet predictably, Russia and China voted against a UN Resolution today calling on Assad to step down.