Posts Tagged ‘Syria’
International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has said the Syrian government had agreed to a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. ”After the visit I made to Damascus, there is an agreement from the Syrian government for a ceasefire during the Eid,” Brahimi told a news conference at the Cairo-based Arab League on Wednesday.
He added that “most” rebel leaders contacted said they would observe a truce, but did not specify if this included commanders of the main rebel group, the Free Syrian Army.
ACCORDING TO EMMA: What does this really mean? Not much
Those who have been following the Syrian civil war from its beginning know that Assad has agreed to several truces through this conflict and has then gone ahead and continued his attacks. It would be entirely stupid for the Syrian freedom fighters to let down their guard. Assad is an evil snake.
Eid al-Adha (also called Feast of the Sacrifice, the Major Festival and the Greater Eid) is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of ʾAbraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead. It lasts five days and four nights.
Reuters report that turkey has confirmed it is deploying more fighter jets to an airbase close to the border with Syria after syrian transport helicopters were spotted flying near the border.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, addressed parliament on the issue on Tuesday, saying that his country does not want war, but that Turkey needs to be prepared for anything.
At least 25 additional F-16 fighter jets were deployed at Turkey’s Diyarbakir air base late on Monday.
How much longer will this continue before all out war breaks out in the region? I give it no more than 10 days. If the civil war in Syria continues to spill over into Turkey, before long, Turkey will strike back in defense and then it will all be over for Assad. We can hope that Iran or Russia do not come to Assad’s assistance. If they do, it’s all over for the Middle East as we know it–and that includes Israel.
Today, an Associated Press video journalist says Turkish artillery fired toward Syria minutes after a Syrian shell landed on Turkish territory.
The Syrian shell landed some 200 meters (200 yards) inside Turkey, near the border town of Akcakale. A short time later, at least six mortars could be heard fired from Turkey. It was the fifth day in a row that Turkey returned fire.
Abdulhakim Ayhan, the mayor of Akcakale, confirmed that Turkish artillery immediately returned fire.
The Turks have been returning fire since Wednesday when Syrian shelling killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.
I wonder what impact it will have on the election if all-out war breaks out in the Syrian region in the next week or so? I guess it would all depend on how President Obama handled the situation. Of course, we can expect Mitt to be the Monday morning quarterback. Honestly, with the world such a tinderbox, I cannot imagine Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan steering us safely through even a brush fire–much less a full scale conflict. Neither of them have any sense other cultures beyond the WASP community–which is amazing considering that Romney spent a year or two in France. Mormons do lead a sheltered life. As for Ryan, you can’t get more provincial than Janesville Wisconsin.
While we in the USA are glued to the Reality Show of the Season–USA Presidential Debates–the Syrian conflict continues to spread. Der Speigel reported yesterday the fears of a Middle East Wildfire are growing.
Please stop a minute and imagine Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan dealing with such a situation. I can’t. Romney, just in the short stint of this campaign so far has alienated our #1 ally, England. He has angered our largest creditor, China, by threatening to call them a currency manipulator.
Five Turkish Citizens have been killed on Turkish soil in the past week by Syrians. Events in recent days have illustrated just how quickly the violence in Syria could spiral into a regional war. After Syrian mortar bombs once again fell on Turkish soil, this time killing five civilians, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan felt compelled to act. The Turkish military’s retaliation on Wednesday and Thursday startled the international community. But the fact is: enough is enough! Dozens of Turkish civilians have been killed on Turkish soil by cross-border shelling and gunfire near the Turkish-Syrian border. Prime Minister Erdogan is under pressure from an increasingly angry population to respond to the violence seeping out of Syria.
The longer Syrian civil war continues, the more often incidents like that seen earlier this week will occur — particularly in Turkey and Lebanon. A large part of the border region around Syria has already become a war zone. Previously, the international community had worried that a military intervention could fuel a regional wildfire, but now it is being forced to look on as this increasingly appears to be the reality — without it ever even having gotten involved.
Fighting in Syria is getting closer and closer to Israel, and several incidents of gunfire from Syria have been reported in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Israeli army on Wednesday evacuated tourists from the region after discovering armed individuals near the border.
In the meantime, the Reality Show of the Season continues. We can only hope that it is not so distracting that the President doesn’t have time to pay attention to what is happening in Syria.
Until last month when a bomb at the national security headquarters in Damascus killed three of President Assad’s security chiefs, Damascus, by comparison of the countryside, has remained almost free of attacks.
Now, today, August 16, 2012, BBC reports another blast near the Damascus military compound and near a hotel used by the UN’s observer mission. The Syrian state TV reported that three people had been hurt in the blase and none of them were UN monitors. However fighting has broken out between the army and rebels in another part of the capital.
Independent UK reports that Syrian troops backed by tanks stormed a town near the border with Lebanon as security forces rounded up more than 500 people, including a leading opposition figure, across the country over the past two days, activists said.
Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said government forces entered the town of Zabadani, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Damascus, early Sunday after surrounding it a day earlier. Zabadani has witnessed a string of protests calling for the downfall of President Bashar Assad’s regime since the uprising began against the Assad family’s more than 40-year rule in mid-March. MORE
Haaretz reports that Syria forces open fire on protesters in Damascus, killing a child; opposition figure: ‘authorities reacting to to opposition’s refusal to take part in dialogue with regime’. More than 1,400 people have been killed by security forces in the unprecedented protests since mid-March, human rights groups say. MORE [NOTE: Syrian time is 8 hours ahead of CST and 7 hours ahead of EST.]
Video footage posted to YouTube showed demonstrators calling for the release of prisoners and scorning president Assad and his government. “Go out,” crowds of demonstrators chanted in Qamishli to a rhythm of honking car horns, according to a clip. In the Damascus suburb of Qabon, protesters marched down a street chanting “God is great!” and carrying a banner reading “Game over Bashar.”
Love and encouragement to the people of Syria who risk their lives every second to stand up for freedom and dignity. You will win. And take care, Robert Ford.
Syria’s flailing economy could prove the tipping point for the autocratic regime of Bashar al-Assad as he seeks to quell a pro-democracy revolt posing a major threat to his rule, analysts say.
“There are some wild cards left in Syria, and the economy is one of them,” said one Western diplomat, speaking from Damascus.
“As this revolt drags on and as the merchant classes of Aleppo and Damascus — which so far have not joined the protests — have to close factories and lay off workers, they could start looking for an alternative,” he told AFP, requesting that he not be identified. MORE
The only thing that will be the tipping point in BOTH Syria and Bahrain is if their leaders are assassinated. I’m not advocating this. This is merely an observation based on known facts. I’m saying that Assad and Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa King of Bahrain have nothing to lose by continuing their murderous assault on their people. If they give up, they will be tried for murder and then murdered themselves. They have no incentive for stopping their assault. None whatsoever so don’t expect it. Don’t be stupid. Psychopaths rarely turn into martyrs.
LIBYA: The Guardian UK reports today regarding “Operation Unified Protector”.[Interesting how our leaders name their wars to make them more palatable to the majority, isn't it? "Operation Iraqi Freedom" under George and now under Obama we are calling the war in Iraq "Operation New Dawn."] As of June 3, 2011, Washington had spent $715.9m on its military operation and associated humanitarian assistance (More than half, $398.3m has been spend on bombs and missiles along.) Doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that by September 30 the Libya bill will have risen to $1.1bn. We can know this for certain because President Obama himself told us. It was laid out in a document produced by the Obama administrationfor Congress last week.
TUNISIA: The rich aren’t like us. When we are accused of a crime, we are required to show up for the trial whereas the rich can be tried in absentia–Just in case the verdict is not in their favor, they can make a quick get-away.
BBC reports today that ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has denied all charges against him on the eve of the start of his trial in absentia. Mr Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January following a popular rising.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on various charges, including corruption and drug trafficking. But the Saudi authorities have yet to respond to an extradition request from Tunisia for Mr Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, and there seems little likelihood of them being brought to justice in person. SOURCE
BAHRAIN: The UK Telegraph reports today that Bahraini leadership faces new claims that torture took place in hospital.
“One of the world’s most respected humanitarian organisations, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), alleges that security forces loyal to the tiny Gulf state’s authoritarian leader, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, regularly beat hospital patients who had injuries that could have been sustained during the rallies that started in February. It also says that, after working alongside the country’s doctors and nurses for months, the charges against them are without merit.” MORE and once again, we should ask: Because the USA continues to maintain a military presence via the U.S. naval base in Bahrain, isn’t that an indirect stamp of approval of the Bahraini government?
SYRIA: The New York Times reports that ”The Obama administration, seeking new ways to force the Syrian leadership to halt its violent crackdown on domestic dissent, is examining whether war crimes charges can be brought against President Bashar al-Assad, senior administration officials said.
The articles stated that United States was examining whether Mr. Assad’s actions constituted war crimes and whether it was possible to seek international legal action against him, his government or Syria’s police forces and military.
A U.S. official was reported as saying that the United States was “looking into” whether “there are grounds here for charges related to war crimes, and whether referrals on that are appropriate.” MORE [The Obama administration better watch it as they could find themselves sliding down the slippery slop of war crimes themselves. There are those who say that Obama's insistence to "look to the future" [i.e. beyond the war crimes of the Bush Administraton] is in fact a war crime itself.]
YEMEN: Voice of America News reports today that clashes in south Yemen kill 12 militants and two soldiers. Military officials in Yemen say clashes have killed 12 al-Qaida-linked militants and at least two Yemeni soldiers in the south, where insurgents have launched several attacks during the country’s political unrest. The Daily Star reports that fearing both civil war and political reform as results of the Yemen crisis, Saudi Arabia is struggling with its role as regional kingmaker.
While publicly backing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, still in a Saudi hospital after being wounded in fighting in the capital Sanaa after months of protests aimed at ousting him, Riyadh has also tried to broker a succession on its own terms.
EGYPT: CNN reports today that Egypt appointed a new foreign minister.
Egypt’s interim cabinet filled its recently vacant foreign minister position Sunday with Mohamed el-Orabi, the deputy foreign minister for economic affairs. The previous foreign minister, Nabil Elaraby, was elected in May to head the 22-member Arab League after Amre Moussa decided to be a candidate in the next presidential elections in Egypt, expected to take place in December.
At least based on his experience, Orabi appears to be suited for the job as he has extensive foreign service experience. He was deputy ambassador in Tel Aviv from 1994 to 1998 and has worked in Kuwait, London and Washington. He held the position of ambassador in Germany from 2001 to 2008
Assad’s Demise May be Sealed
Hamza, a thirteen year old boy was captured and tortured to death by security forces, and when his body was handed over to his family, it showed the traces of cigarette burns and other signs of torture and mutilation, including emasculation, as well as bullet wounds.
Gruesome video footage of the body, posted on the internet and shown on al-Jazeera and other satellite stations, seemed to back up the claim
Credible sources had earlier said that in order to regain the bodies of loved ones, relatives in Deraa have routinely had to sign documents either admitting that the deceased was a terrorist, or that he or she had been shot by terrorists, not the security forces.
In a report covering the period concerned, Human Rights Watch said that more than 400 people have been killed in the Deraa area alone since late March, when the uprising began. It concluded that torture of detainees there was routine, and that abuses amounting to crimes against humanity may well have been committed.
So, why hasn’t a warrant for Assad’s arrest been issued as it has been for Gaddafi. How is what Assad done any less worse than the crimes of Gaddafi?
The least that those of us in the West can do is to keep asking that simple question. and I ask it: WHERE IS ASSAD’S ARREST WARRANT FOR HIS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?