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15 Feb 2012 20:39


World: Syria’s Assad sets date for constitutional referendum

  • A plan for reform, or a play to credulity? Considering the Arab League deal Syria accepted then ignored, the complete lack of efficacy of the peace monitors they allowed the AL to send in, and the recent surge of violence (even in relative terms), it’s hard not to assume the latter. Bashar al-Assad has, nonetheless, set a date for a constitutional referendum, ostensibly for Syrians to approve a democratic system, and presidential term limits (of two, seven-year terms). The vote is scheduled for February 26th, but it begs the question; who would vote in an election if the integrity of it relies on Assad’s word alone? It would also force dissenters to publicly congregate at a place of the government’s choosing; not a welcome idea, we suspect. source

04 Feb 2012 13:29


World: Syria: Hillary Clinton says Russia was unwilling to budge on UN resolution

“I thought that there might be some ways to bridge, even at this last moment, a few of the concerns that the Russians had,” she told the Munich Security Conference. “I offered to work in a constructive manner to do so. That has not been possible.” source

01 Feb 2012 20:12


World: Sec. of State Clinton makes case to UN on Syria

  • Every member of the Council has to make a decision: Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the Syrian people? Are you on the side of the Arab League? Are you on the side of the people of the Middle East and North Africa who have during this past year spoken out courageously and often for their rights? Or are you on the side of a brutal, dictatorial regime?
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton • Stating her case to the UN Security Council, on the matter of the violent turmoil that continues in Syria. Clinton is clearly arguing on somewhat simplistic moral grounds, trying to put more pressure on Russia, which has said they’ll veto a resolution if it mandates that Bashar al-Assad step down from power. In particular, memory of the NATO mission in Libya is likely in play — Russia approved a resolution to protect Libyan civilians, only to see it broaden into a mission to depose dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which they opposed. Consequently, they’re now unwilling to agree to a resolution that carries either the overt or implied goal of regime change. source

31 Jan 2012 10:33


World: Syria: Russia again favors Assad, bucks against United Nations resolution

  • The Western draft Security Council resolution on Syria does not lead to a search for compromise. Pushing this resolution is a path to civil war.
  • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov • Criticizing a draft United Nations resolution which would ask Bashar al-Assad to step aside in Syria. Gatilov suggests the resolution would lead to military conflict in Syria — much like a similar resolution did in Libya. Russia, Syria’s largest ally in the current climate, has been the sticking point for the United Nations in handling the situation in Syria: Previously, they vetoed a UN Security Council attempt to condemn the crackdown in October, and they’ll likely veto the latest resolution. source

16 Jan 2012 00:23


World: UN’s Ban Ki-moon gets tough against Assad’s handling of Syrian conflict

“Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence, stop killing your people,” the UN Secretary General said Sunday. “The path of repression is a dead end.” There’s no misinterpreting that. source

22 Nov 2011 15:11


World: UN passes resolution condemning Assad, Syria government

  • Some notable and important countries passed on sponsoring it, though. A committee in the United Nations has passed a non-binding resolution, which decries the gross human rights violations and widespread murder undertaken by the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Since the violent crackdowns began in March, the UN’s own estimates suggest that over 3,500 Syrians have been killed. The resolution, perhaps most significantly, passed with support from many Arab states; Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Kuwait were all co-sponsors. Of note voting against the resolution: UN Security Council members Russia and China. source

15 Nov 2011 14:18


World: Jordan’s King Abdullah would step down were he Assad

  • An “expiration date”: Here’s a look at an interview recently conducted with Jordan’s King Abdullah, who speaks in understandably pessimistic terms about the nature of the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. While predicting that the use of violence against his own citizens meant that Assad could not maintain power unchallenged, he also expressed concern as to who would lead Syria afterwards — a member of the same regime doing little good. This comes at a time of great violence in Syria; just yesterday between fifty and seventy-one people were killed. source

02 Nov 2011 19:09


World: Syrian state television announces deal with Arab League

  • Some steps to end the violence? As we mentioned yesterday, the Assad government in Syria had announced an agreement with the Arab League to (hopefully) bring about a resolution to the chaotic violence that’s been perpetrated upon protesters and opponents. At the time, we had scant few specifics, but now we know a bit more; the deal would require Assad to withdraw security forces from cities, allow open media coverage into Syria, and release detained political prisoners. Some Syrians are skeptical that this deal is a feint by Assad to buy time, however, perhaps in advance of another brutal crackdown — this is a story that deserves your long-term attention. source

25 Aug 2011 15:34


Politics: Syrian protesters chant about Gaddafi’s fall, say Assad is next

  • Bye bye, Gaddafi, Bashar your turn is coming.
  • Chanting by anti-Assad Syrian protesters • A show of an often apparent aspect of the uprisings throughout the Arab world in 2011, but still one that bears further notice as protests in Syria continue to be met with deadly force by the government. Namely, the extent to which each uprising inspires and fuels the next — from Tunisia forward, to Egypt, Libya, the upheavals in Yemen and Bahrain, and Syria, protesters have at times been buoyed and given resolve by victories and protests in foreign lands. The ability of a movement to stay cohesive in the face of such violent force can demand a ton of bravery and human solidarity, so it’s a boon that those besieged by the government in Syria can take heart in the fall of another of the region’s longtime dictators. source

09 Aug 2011 17:58


World: U.S. may soon call for Assad’s departure from power

  • In the case of Syria, the message from 2009 was: If you are prepared to open Syria politically, if you are prepared to be a reformer, if you are prepared to work with us on Middle East peace and other issues we share, we can have a new and different kind of partnership. And that is not the path that Assad chose.
  • State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland • Speaking on the state of relations between the United States and Syria, the latter having seen months of bloodshed and death as Bashar al-Assad’s government has attempted to crush an upswell of protest and dissent. The Obama administration had made efforts to open up dialogue with Assad, which drew criticism from some conservative quarters — this represented a major change from the Bush administration’s antagonistic stance on Syria, and Assad’s cruelty as a leader was well-known before 2008. We can appreciate certain things about either tact; Bush’s seems more emotional, whereas Obama’s might feel colder and more calculating, but those distinctions now seem strictly academic. It’s reported that the U.S. could soon demand Assad leave power altogether. source