They told us that they planned to shift control of a few prisons this week, but it has not happened. … The government has to take over the prisons one by one by negotiating with the people who run it. It is not uniformly or automatically done.
A United Nations official, based in Tripoli • Discussing the situation with Libyan prisons, where conditions in the post-Gaddafi era have gotten quite bad, as rebel-sympathizing prison runners are using the prisons to exact revenge on people who supported the former Libyan leader during the revolution. Prison owners have tried to tell a different story, but some humanitarian groups have stopped helping Libyan prisons due to torture allegations. The United Nations has complained about the problem for months, noting that the government should be in control of the prisons to ensure fair treatment, not former rebels. Roughly 8,500 detainees, many sub-Saharan Africans suspected of fighting for Gaddafi, are being held in detention centers nationwide. source
“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.”
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
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
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
the plan The Arab League’s deadline for the Syrian government to agree to an extension of the peace monitor delegation that’s been in Syria the last several weeks. They also wants the UN Security Council pass a resolution against Syria, giving their role more leverage and legitimacy.
the hitchSome have accused the Syrian government of using the peace monitor mission to stall action against them, rather than seek reform; also, don’t expect a resolution from the Security Council with permanent members China and Russia in the mix. source
“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.
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
5,000+number of people the UN estimates have been killed in Syria since the current crisis started
300number 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.
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