Posts tagged syria
Posts tagged syria
More than 60,000 people have died in the Syrian uprising and civil war, the United Nations said on Wednesday, dramatically raising the death toll in a struggle that shows no sign of ending.
Dozens were killed in a Damascus suburb when a government air strike turned a petrol station into an inferno, incinerating drivers who had rushed there for a rare chance to fill their tanks, activists said.
“I counted at least 30 bodies. They were either burnt or dismembered,” said Abu Saeed, an activist who arrived at the area an hour after the raid occurred at 1:00 PM (1100 GMT) in Muleiha, a suburb on the eastern edge of the capital.
U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said in Geneva that researchers cross-referencing seven sources over five months of analysis had listed 59,648 people killed in Syria between March 15, 2011 and November 30, 2012.
“The number of casualties is much higher than we expected and is truly shocking,” she said. “Given that there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013.”
Shashank Joshi on the West preparing for Assad’s end.
Now, the good news: these disturbing possibilities notwithstanding, we are witnessing the beginning of the end for the Assad dynasty, the last republican monarchy of the Middle East. And events, as they often do, are moving quicker than our policies.
Civil Wars have historically tended to last longer, but is Syria going to stick to that trend? It’s not clear, for the possibilities for how this war can end are endless. Regardless how it may end, the good news is that no matter what, Assad is nearing the end of his rule. Rebels have been running over military bases, acquiring heavy weapons, and fighting harder. They are now fighting fire with fire, at least, considering that the Syrian army becomes weaker as the rebels take more weapons and bases.
Fighting has intensified, as the capital has been reached, the national airport is shut down, influential leaders are defecting, international workers are escaping, and other nations are trying to step up to the mediating plate. It’s taking us too long to get involved for various reasons, for example, we can’t agree on how far we should support the rebels. We simply cannot trust who is part of the rebel factions, and the risk of providing weapons to them are heavier than the benefits. A no fly zone is being rejected, and it might be too late before any actions are undertaken.
We do need to start thinking, however, of what role we should play as the end nears. Oppressive regimes are known to have taken irrational actions in the past, and we’re prepared for that as exemplified through NATO’s approval of arming patriot missiles on the Turkish border with Syria. Most importantly, if the rebels do win, they must be able to secure the chemical weapon stockpiles. It is highly possible that on the event of the regime collapsing, Hezbollah or the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda could smuggle some of these chemical weapons. The world cannot allow this to happen on top of all of the atrocities that have taken place in that country. We should also think about a safe passage for Assad (weird as it sounds), and protection of the minority Alawite community that Assad is a part of (since they’ll be targeted extremely fast if not already). In order to make sure everything goes along smoothly, we have to be willing to talk to Iran and Russia, as controversial as that might be (and improbable).
Assad is in the final stretch, so let’s make sure we’re not ready for the results.
Dina Esfandiary on how to prevent chemical warfare in Syria.
“Given the latest developments in Syria, fear that Assad will resort to these weapons is not unreasonable. Pressure must be mounting for Syria’s ruler, as the rebels advance and his army proves increasingly unable to push them back. Logic dictates that if Assad truly fears for his survival, then the use of his most potent weapon may not be so far-fetched.”
There has been much fear-mongering that Bashar Assad might use Syria’s chemical weapons on rebels, but the situation isn’t so clear. It’s understandable that Assad has reason to use the chemical weapons out of fear of losing his civil war. But we can’t jump to conclusions, as we need to demonstrate that we’ve learned from our mistakes (we HAVE jumped into a war because we thought someone had WMDs). Reports are saying that the chemical weapons are being moved and secured in different locations, and that dangerous chemicals are being mixed to make a “modest” amount of weaponized sarin gas. The problem with this assessment is that it has not been confirmed and other countries are strongly urging caution.
Getting intelligence about the weapons is really hard taking the heavy conflict on the ground into account. The US is touting that it has the best available information on Syria’s chemical weapons, but has still acknowledged that there are many “unknowns”. Other bits and pieces of information come from France and Turkey, and NATO has been making surveillance fly-overs since 2001. The obvious question is what to do with all of the intel being uncovered?
We need to understand that things in Syria aren’t clear, as chemical weapons are unlikely to be used. The army will not accept it, and the US would need “75,000” troops to secure chemical stockpiles. The world has already started practicing such a contingency scenario IF Syria crosses the red line of releasing chemical weapons, so Syria should know that the international stage is ready to react. The last thing Esfandiary said can be done is to constantly persuade Assad that chemical attacks would be extremely stupid, and this has already happened as evidenced by Obama’s warnings and Clinton’s “red line” statement. The best thing to do, is if the world unites in actually telling Assad what actions will be undertaken – supported by those who are helping Assad, such as Russia and Iran. If Assad knows better, he will not attack his own people with chemical weapons.
On China’s foreign policy with Syria.
“This month, a curious thing happened in the annals of diplomacy. A country offered up a peace plan to put an end to a seemingly endless civil war in Syria. This country was not one of the usual foreign policy suspects — it was not the United States, it was not in Europe, and it wasn’t Syria’s neighbor. It was a country that has no real experience in playing the world’s policeman. But, seeing a world filled with retired officers, it decided to try on the uniform for itself. China has taken another step into the spotlight of the world stage.”
China has offered a peace plan between Assad and the Syrian rebels, an unusual move for China. China doesn’t publicly step into anything that’s happening in the world, but considering that China has some new oil investments in Iraq and Iran, consider it a new world player. The peace plan itself isn’t important to Bremmer, it’s the notion that China now thinks one of its priorities are world affairs. This doesn’t mean that China will be particularly good at shaping foreign events anyway just by looking at their relationship with Sudan and South Sudan, and considering that it is a nation that is afraid to intervene in anything from the pure fact it wouldn’t allow anyone else to interfere in their business, it would be a long shot to see China actively doing anything worthwhile. This is more evident in the fact that China’s plan won’t do jack squat, and it’ll keep vetoing Syrian sanctions on the government. America isn’t the world’s police man anymore, but it doesn’t look like China will replace us anytime soon.
(via Tehran Sent Troops to Syria - Iranian Officer | World | RIA Novosti)
“Before our presence in Syria, too many people were killed by the opposition but with the physical and non-physical presence of the Islamic republic, big massacres in Syria were prevented.”
That statement was made by Ismail Gha’ani, the deputy head of the Iran’s Qud Force. It officially confirms that Iran has been helping out Syria with the regime’s attempts at destroying the opposition fighting to oust Bashar Al-Assad.
It’s a little scary thinking about this.. But I can see how this can drag into an all-out war..
The Houla massacre may just be the last stepping stone to a full intervention in Syria. France’s President Francois Hollande did not rule out military intervention, only if it were a UN statute. To let someone like Assad to still be left in charge of the country, not to mention the military, is appalling completely. Kofi Annan’s “plan” was a joke from the start, as the whole world knew that it wasn’t going to be carried out when thousands had already died from the violence. Something like that doesn’t just cease. Women and children were executed. EXECUTED. The ones following Assad and the ones still going through their orders; how can they go on murdering other people like this? People that never hurt them in any way? The rest of the world needs to step in because now there’s no other way to stop this madman and his army.
(via BBC News - Syria ‘failing to keep to truce’, says Ban Ki-moon)
While Bashar Al-Assad openly doesn’t care about the truce aimed at establishing some sort of peace in Syria, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is trying to send even more observers to the country. Ki-moon was stated to have said that “there’s an opportunity for progress”. That opportunity should’ve came at the start of the protest movement, not when Bashar has already murdered more than 9,000 Syrians.
Even when the “truce” started between rebels and the state military, clashes broke out and people were still dying and cities were still being shelled. Other parts of the peace plan that was brought up by Kofi Annan, such as releasing detainees and negotiating access to human rights, has fell through. So why are we still acting as if Bashar is acting under the peace plan in the first place? Observers are not even allowed to freely go wherever they need to in the country. Homs is not accessible due to “security concerns”, when in actuality, the military just isn’t done murdering everyone in the town just yet.
An upcoming “Friends of Syria” meeting in Paris aims at trying to find more solutions to the Bashar problem in Syria, with French President Sarkozy calling for more humanitarian access as one point of discussion. Russia, meanwhile, still turns a blind eye, siding with Bashar and saying that nothing will be achieved at the meeting. Russia needs to start standing up for human rights, because it is painful to see such a strong Federation bow down to the evils of a murderous dictator.
Syrian government forces shelled the city of Homs, resident opposition activists and a rights activist said, as a six-person advance party of UN observers is due to arrive in Syria to monitor a ceasefire meant to start four days ago.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the 30 unarmed observers who have been sanctioned to enter Syria by a unanimous vote at the Security Council on Saturday was insufficient and had to be “beefed up.”
It just amazes me when I read about how the UN votes constantly in order to decide the fate of Syria. Whereas a democratic process may sound like the right way to approach the question on how to get rid of the tyrant Assad, Bashar has killed thousands at this point. So many people, lives lost, families separated, homes destroyed and shelled. Yet here we are, politicians and diplomats sitting in their fancy clothes and chairs, voting in a civilized manner.
And it’s purely ridiculous.
“(CNN) — Shelling in the besieged Syrian city of Hama continued Thursday, a day after the United Nations Security Council called for the regime to end the bloodshed.
A number of civilians were wounded and buildings collapsed during the attack by Syrian security forces, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria.”
I’m glad everyone’s taking their lovely time brokering this peace deal with this stupid fucking madman. I just don’t understand at all. Why broker any peace deal at all? Al-Assad has slaughtered close to 9,000!!! It may be even more, no one knows the exact count. While Russia and Kofi Annan play checkers with this murderous government, hundreds of die everyday. People are living in fear.
(via Syria responds to Annan’s proposal; rebel stronghold of Idlib seized - CNN.com)
[The U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, has received a response from Syrian authorities to proposals laid out in weekend meetings, officials said Wednesday, as opposition activists reported another day of bloodshed across the nation.
Annan “has questions and is seeking answers,” said a statement by his spokesman.
“But given the grave and tragic situation on the ground, everyone must realize that time is of the essence. As he said in the region, this crisis cannot be allowed to drag on.”]
Idlib has fallen and Assad is winning. I can’t believe this has to be one of the biggest failures of the humanitarian efforts the world has ever seen. No one can’t seem to come up with a solution as to how to get rid of this guy let alone stop him from killing so many innocent people…
Two Turkish journalists are missing in Syria as well. We’ve seen the media try to use journalists as a more sentimental instrument to get people to open their eyes to what’s going on in Syria, but that alone isn’t even working. We seem to be ignoring the fact that not only is Assad massacring his own people, but he doesn’t seem to consider the repercussions of assassinating those that have come into the country internationally. This alone might prove to be a tool for direct intervention in the future if there will be any.
Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, doesn’t seem to be doing JACK SHIT. The guy’s briefing the Security Council on Friday. What is he going to say? “Uhh.. more people are dead and I don’t know what to do. But it’s gonna get better I promise, Assad said so!”
Meanwhile it seems that everyone in Syria can do nothing but lose hope. Three people have resigned from the Syrian National Council, which was the main opposition. Something has to be done, the world can no longer stand by…
(via Eastern Libyan leaders seek semi-autonomy - Africa - Al Jazeera English)
The leaders of the Eastern part of Libya, Cyrenaica, have decided that they want semi-autonomy following fears the state of Libya will fall apart without consensus on leadership.
I like this, and it could possibly be a precedent for those places that found that they just have too much turmoil and strife going on within their country. Fear of civil war in Syria? Split it up!
Name one part al-Assad land, and the other Syria.
“Preliminary discussions begin on a new U.N. resolution.”
How many U.N. resolutions can you make? THEY’RE NOT SAVING ANY LIVES.