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Old 09-01-2011, 03:13 PM   #1
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There Will Be Blood - Syria

The Arab Spring is different things in different places.

Can Syria avoid civil war? - CSMonitor.com

A slow rumble or a beginning avalanche?
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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this is a picture with her head still attached to her body



GuelphMercury - Young woman’s beheading underscores Syrian regime’s...

Mutilation of teenager terrorises Syrian women | The Observers
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:00 PM   #3
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/wo...n-militia.html

I think this will keep simmering, until it blows wide open.
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:11 PM   #4
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Yeah, if Turkey's really willing to play support base for the FSA et al., that *could* be a huge game-changer. For starters it'd be a lot easier to arm them...
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:42 AM   #5
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I've read several commentaries suggesting that the Syrian protesters actually represent a minority of the population, who are seen by the majority of Syrians as criminals trying to take advantage of the protests in other Arab countries in order to acquire power and wealth.

Indeed, the Western media's view on events - that this is another people-wide protest arising from genuine discontent with their government - is hard to verify as there are no foreign journalists in Syria. We therefore have to rely on the accounts that the protesters are giving us and it is not at all certain that they can be relied on. The rebels in Libya, for example, continually came up with claims that were widely believed by Western media and government officials alike, but were later disproven (for example a rather far-fetched claim that Gaddafi had supplied Viagra to his soldiers and given them the order to mass rape the population; many important people took them on their word including Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN and Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; Amnesty International however found no evidence for the claims whatsoever). Who is to say that the Syrian rebels are a different class of people who are telling the honest truth when they're claiming they're just peaceful protesters who only want democracy and that unarmed people are being massacred by the government?

It has to be noted as well that the protests in Syria are not at all 'peaceful protests' like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt. The protesters in the city of Homs, among others, have taken up arms and not just to defend themselves from attacks by the government army. There are reports of attacks on government buildings and the use of deadly force in order to make civilians comply with a rebel-staged "general strike".

Bashar al-Assad is certainly not a saint, and I fully support initiatives for reforms in Syria. But armed rebellion will never have my blessing and neither will a foreign military intervention. In my opinion, arming the rebels, such as yolland seems to propose, would be a criminal act. From the point that you're arming the opposition the 'peaceful protester' thing goes right out of the window and you're in effect creating a civil war. And creating a war should never be your goal. There's nothing glorious about war; you're effectively plunging a whole nation into death and misery.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:56 AM   #6
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While there may have been attacks on government buildings, the Assad government clearly instigated the violence - the protests began as entirely peaceful and were met with an overwhelming and brutal show of force. In light of the brutality displayed against them, I don't think their reaction is all that terrible. And I (obviously) disagree that there is never a reason for armed rebellion (without it, there'd be no United States, for one...). When your government is shelling entire cities in an attempt to discourage a supposed minority from airing their grievances, and when the government is brutally torturing, maiming and killing children, I don't blame anyone for feeling their only recourse is to take up arms and fight back.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
While there may have been attacks on government buildings, the Assad government clearly instigated the violence - the protests began as entirely peaceful and were met with an overwhelming and brutal show of force. In light of the brutality displayed against them, I don't think their reaction is all that terrible.
I don't condone violence against peaceful protest. I'm not altogether sure how peaceful the protest was in the first place and how disproportionate the government response was, though. The issue of there being little to no independent journalists around rises again. But even if this was an entirely peaceful protest and the army executed a massacre against unarmed civilians, responding to violence with anything other than defensive violence (attacking government buildings and civilians clearly has nothing to do with self-defence) is not acceptable as far as I'm concerned. For example, the British Army was clearly wrong in firing at unarmed protesters during Bloody Sunday (1972). But did that give the various IRA splinter groups the right to carry out their attacks against army, police and civilians? It didn't, in my opinion. And for the same reason I don't think the actions of the Syrian government warrant an armed rebellion.
Quote:
And I (obviously) disagree that there is never a reason for armed rebellion (without it, there'd be no United States, for one...).
Your northern neighbours Canada didn't have their war of independence and yet they aren't doing much worse than you. In fact, when it comes to things like Human Development Index and income equality, Canada has done much better over the years than the United States. Same goes for other former British colonies that didn't stage an armed rebellion against their colonial masters, such as Australia. So you're not really convincing me with this example.
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When your government is shelling entire cities in an attempt to discourage a supposed minority from airing their grievances, and when the government is brutally torturing, maiming and killing children, I don't blame anyone for feeling their only recourse is to take up arms and fight back.
There is, by my knowledge, no independent proof of the Syrian government intentionally killing children, or torturing and maiming them for that matter. Also, where you say Syrian forces attack "in an attempt to discourage (...) from airing their grievances", others would argue that they're attemping to neutralize armed rebels who pose a threat to the security of the Syrian state.
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WalkOn21 View Post
I don't condone violence against peaceful protest. I'm not altogether sure how peaceful the protest was in the first place and how disproportionate the government response was, though. The issue of there being little to no independent journalists around rises again.
There were journalists in Syria as the protests began, but the Syrian government quickly kicked them out and barred any from entering. When a government's first move during attempts to quell an uprising is to effectively ban journalists from covering it, I can't speak for anyone else but I know that my suspicions are heightened.


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There is, by my knowledge, no independent proof of the Syrian government intentionally killing children, or torturing and maiming them for that matter.
Right, because the government kicked out any independent source that could prove it. Awfully convenient for the Syrian government (and you) to say that there is no independent verification of these atrocities when they've banned the very people who could verify whether the atrocities did or did not occur. There are, however, youtube videos, flickr and twitter pics documenting that torture of children has occurred.

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Also, where you say Syrian forces attack "in an attempt to discourage (...) from airing their grievances", others would argue that they're attemping to neutralize armed rebels who pose a threat to the security of the Syrian state.
One could argue that any protestors, peaceful or not, pose a threat to the security of the state that. The tone of a government's response to that threat should tell you a lot about the government's overall view of its citizens and their rights.
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:40 PM   #9
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I wouldn't deny that with a foreign media ban a government raises suspicion onto itself. I'm not saying either that the Syrian government isn't an oppressive regime.

What I am saying, though, is that I believe answering violence with violence is the wrong idea. Once you start arming the rebels, a civil war can't be avoided. It's not like the government are going to say: "oh, so they're heavily armed now as well? Time for us to give up then." On the contrary, the government will then feel it has no other option than to fight till the bitter end (cf. Libya).

I would like you to consider that while fights between protesters/rebels and the government harm only those two parties, a civil war brings misery to the whole nation. There are lots of people, pro- and anti-government, who did not take to the streets and did not pick up arms. They didn't ask for a civil war. Yet if you start arming rebels, that's exactly what you're giving them.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:05 PM   #10
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That's certainly a valid point. I agree that arming the rebels isn't the answer - but I do sympathize with those who feel armed resistance is their only recourse now, especially given the international community's hesitation to get involved (so far).
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:04 PM   #11
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In my opinion, arming the rebels, such as yolland seems to propose, would be a criminal act.
Wasn't proposing that at all; I opposed our military intervention in Libya and would oppose it here also, whether directly or indirectly. I was rather raising an eyebrow at the apparent strategic implications of Turkey so openly supporting the FSA at a time when they're already hosting the SNC and threatening sweeping sanctions on Syria. It is possible that Erdogan has no intention of facilitating civil war in Syria and is merely using the FSA as leverage (in tit-for-tat fashion, Assad having used the PKK against Turkey in precisely that manner in the past). In any case, the Obama Administration doesn't seem at all keen on getting militarily involved; however much they loathe the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis, they surely wouldn't be keen on a Salafist-dominated successor government either, which would appear to be *one* likely possible outcome of a 'successful' revolution. Still, I find it hard to believe open Turkish protection won't lead to the FSA acquiring more arms one way or another; thus far their only suspected suppliers have been smalltime arms smugglers in Lebanon, which needless to say has numerous factions who would love to see Syria badly destabilized.

There have been some journalists reporting from Syria undercover by posing as tourists for brief periods, though usually just from Damascus or Aleppo, which remain fairly quiet. Most of the violent uprisings have been based in Sunni-majority areas, as has been the case with past uprisings in Syria; these are hardly powerful or wealthy communities though, on the contrary it's the country's large minority populations who dominate the elite (and the government, and all but the lowest ranks of the military). It certainly does seem to be true, at least based on the public statements of the 'official' organized opposition (LCC and SNC), that the majority of those demanding reforms never wanted violent revolution and still don't, but unfortunately there does at the moment appear to be a growing possibility (still not a high one, though) that they may eventually be forced to take sides, whether they wish it or not.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:27 PM   #12
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Lebanese Police Accuse Syria in Kidnapping of Dissidents - NYT, Oct. 31
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:34 PM   #13
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Syria agrees to Arab League plan

Based on the sparse information available at the moment, the agreement seems to comprise:
- the government calling a ceasefire;
- the government withdrawing tanks and armoured vehicles from cities and towns;
- the government meeting with the opposition within two weeks, with the meeting to take place in Cairo under Arab League supervision;
- the government releasing all political prisoners;
- the government agreeing to let journalists back into the country.

However, The Guardian notes:
"Colonel Riad Assad, leader of the Syria Free Army, said the defected brigade is continuing to attack government targets."

Somehow I feel this is not going to work.
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:47 PM   #14
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British-Iranian journalist Ramita Navai and her producer spent two weeks undercover in Syria during September; it aired as a half-hour segment on PBS' Frontline last night and is now up on their website.

Syria Undercover | FRONTLINE | PBS
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:59 PM   #15
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Jordan's King Abdullah condemns Assad as pressure on Syria mounts

this is getting more interesting
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