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29 Jan 2012 21:52


World: Syria conflict: Calls for outside involvement rise as Arab League leaves

  • The current battles taking place in and around Damascus may not yet lead to the unraveling of the regime, but the illusion of normalcy that the Assads have sought hard to maintain in the capital since the beginning of the revolution has surely unraveled. … Once illusions unravel, reality soon follows.
  • U.S.-based Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid • Discussing the current situation in Damascus, where government tanks have gone into rebel strongholds in an attempt to take back the ground. The situation in the country is quickly deteriorating, with another 62 killed throughout the country Sunday, and the Arab League had to suspend their mission in the region on Saturday as a result of the violence. The big question here: Will outside military forces have to get involved to help ease the situation? Libya was a controversial decision for the U.S. and NATO, and the situation in Syria is in many ways as violent and unhinged. While the U.S. may not heed the call again, the United Nations might. A lot of difficult questions to answer in Syria. source

10 Jan 2012 10:13


World: Assad blames “foreign conspiracies” for Syrian crackdown

  • The external conspiracy is clear to everybody. Nobody can be fooled any more. The veil has fallen away.
  • Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad • Offering up tough words in his first public speech in months, in which he blamed “foreign conspiracies,” mixed with Arab-region meddling for the ten-month crackdown in his country. He says that the country’s enemies will be defeated soon. During the rambling 100-minute speech, he also noted that Syria will hold a referendum on its constitution and, later in the year, parliamentary elections. However … he didn’t say anything about relinquishing his own power. source

05 Jan 2012 10:51


World: Syria says it has freed political prisoners detained during revolt

  • 552 prisoners freed, according to Syrian state television source
  • » The second round of prisoner releases: Last month, the Arab League made a deal to free 755 detainees as part of a peace plan. Now it seems to have gone further, as the Arab League said on Monday it had secured the release of 3,500 total prisoners. However … it’s possible they may just be getting detained outside of the view of Arab League observers. Last week, Human Rights Watch accused Syria of moving prisoners to military facilities, where observers are not allowed to go. Syria hasn’t proven the most trustworthy government during the conflict.

01 Jan 2012 15:31


World: Syria: Arab League-tied group recommends observers leave Syria

  • The killing of children and the violation of human rights law is happening in the presence of Arab League monitors, raising the fury of Arab people. The mission of the Arab League team has missed its aim of stopping the killing of children and ensuring the withdrawal of troops from the Syrian streets, giving the Syrian regime a cover to commit inhumane acts under the noses of the Arab League observers.
  • The Arab Parliament’s Kuwaiti head, Ali Salem al-Deqbasi • Strongly suggesting, along with the rest of Arab Parliament, that the Arab League’s observers should leave Syria, as the deaths of Syrians continue despite their presence. The 88-member Arab Parliament, while a sister organization of the Arab League that makes recommendations to the higher-profile group, its recommendations are non-binding. source

26 Dec 2011 09:55


World: Syrian violence flares up as Arab League observers arrive

  • bad Gunfire in the Syrian city of Homs killed at least 20, as rocket fire and machine gun shelling gained intensity throughout the Baba Amr quarter of the city, a focal point of opposition unrest.
  • worse This violence and gunfire came as observers from the Arab League — 50 in total — were about to land in  the country. A key opposition group said the observers must head to Baba Amr. source

19 Dec 2011 11:08


World: Syria, fearing UN intervention, finally caves to Arab League

  • This illustrates that the regime recognized they can’t completely turn their nose up at the Arab League and they actually do have some leverage over them. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if and when they do allow the observers in that they will give them the full, unrestricted access that they demand.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Chris Phillips • Discussing the decision by Syria to allow the Arab League to place monitors in the country — a move seen as an attempt by Syria to fend off United Nations intervention in the country. The UN totally has a reason to show up, too: Months of crackdowns on dissidents have led to thousands of deaths in the country, and Syria essentially ignored a prior agreement with the Arab League. The real question, of course, is whether Syria will follow through this time. source

12 Dec 2011 21:41


World: United Nations: Nine months in, Syria death toll reaches new peak

  • 5,000+ number of people the UN estimates have been killed in Syria since the current crisis started
  • 300 number of children that were among the dead, according to UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay source
  • » An accelerating rate: In the first five months of the conflict — between March and August — roughly 2,000 people died fighting the Assad regime. In the four months since, more than 3,000 more have died. Another 18 people died today, as a general strike continued in the country.

07 Dec 2011 11:22


World: The View from Syria: Bashar al-Assad denies crackdown to Barbara Walters

  • This is a frustrating interview, friends. In it, Bashar al-Assad essentially denies the obvious — that there’s a bloody crackdown happening against anti-government protesters, led by the Syrian government. Example: Walters references a series of pictures showing pictures of violence — including against children. “People went from house to house,” she said. “Children were arrested. I saw those pictures.” Assad’s response: “To be frank with you, Barbara, I don’t believe you.” Like we said, supremely frustrating. Assad says that “terrorists” are behind the months-long violent crackdown, rather than Syrian troops. source

27 Nov 2011 10:21


World: Arab League approves tough sanctions for Syria amidst unrest

  • Changes that Could hit the government and its people financially: Weeks after the Arab League suspended Syria over its handling of anti-government protesters, the influential regional organization ratcheted up the sanctions — with member countries agreeing to stop transactions to and from the country’s central bank and cutting off funding for infrastructure projects. The Syrian government has called foul on the sanctions, claiming on state television that the moves are “unprecedented measures aimed at the Syrian people.” Meanwhile, the violence that led to the sanctions continued unabated on Sunday. 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