Thursday, December 20, 2007

Syria And Iran Use `Peace In Our Time' To Crush Dissidents

It's ironic, to say the least.

With all the verbiage put out by the Bush Administration on democracy in the Middle East being the cure for Islamic fascism and terrorism, its foreign policy on the ground seems to be aimed at exactly the opposite, catering to Sunni autocrats and coming to accommodations with Iran and Syria and seemingly working against democratic enclaves like Israel, Kurdistan and the March 14 government in Lebanon.

Also taking a hit are pro-democracy dissidents throughout the Middle East, but especially in Iran and Syria.

Middle East expert Walid Phares details exactly how this is working:

"While Petrodollars Propaganda showers networks in North America, the Middle East and Europe in order to weaken the resolve of democracies to confront the Iranian and Syrian regimes; and while "lobbies" in the West accelerate their campaigns to break the isolation of Damascus and Tehran; these two regimes confronted their oppositions in several attempts to crush them as long as the "window of opportunity is open", according to insiders.

The Khamenei and Assad regimes, relying on the Baker-Hamilton report which caused confusion throughout the West, took advantage of the findings of the NIE and rushed to clamp down on what they consider the real dangers emerging from the inside their countries. While the Iranian propaganda machine uses oil-generated revenues to place favorable stories in the international media to impact think tanks around the world, Syrian Mukhabarat (their secret police - ff) and Pasdaran ( AKA Iran's Republican Guard - ff) operated swiftly over the past few days to shut down dissident groups and youth activities deemed "dangerous".{...}

According to news agencies and the reformist site Aafaq, "Syrian security forces last Wednesday raided the home of Riad Seif and broke up a meeting of the Secretariat of the “Damascus Declaration for National Democratic Change in Syria.” Those who were present at the time of the raid were threatened with arrest if they did not leave the house immediately. This was just two days after the government launched a campaign of arrests across Syria sweeping up leading members of the political opposition. {...}

Syrian security services carried out a campaign of mass arrests on Sunday evening and Monday that covered all Syrian "governorates", and arrested members of the National Council of the Damascus Declaration, who held their convention in Damascus last week. Most of the arrested have been released, but Akram Bunni, Ahmad Tomeh and Jabar Shoufeh remain in custody. The Syrian Human Rights Committee (SHRC) said Sunday that the Amn al Dawla State Security in the city of Hama summoned Dr. Fida’a al-Horani, the president of Damascus Declaration for National Change, that same day, Sunday December 16. She was arrested at the time of her arrival at 11.00 a.m. and hurriedly moved to the headquarters in Damascus. {...}

... the campaign aims at "breaking the backbone of the democratic opposition, while taking advantage of the American so-called dialogue with the Assad regime. The latter," added the source "took advantage of the invitation to Annapolis by the US to claim that a US-Syrian dialogue is underway. Hence under the aegis of such perception, Bashar Assad instructed his Mukhabarat to hit the iron while it is hot." Every time Western media talks about "talking with Syria" the secret services comes to "talk" with us, said a dissident.


According to Reuters and other agencies, Iranian Police closed down 24 Internet cafes over the past 24 hours and arrested 23 youths. The Police commander Nader Sarkari said his troops burst into 435 cafes looking for anti-revolutionary elements. Iranian opposition sources said 11 young women were arrested. In addition security forces searched 275 restaurants and closed down 17.

According to Iranian opposition sources, the Pasdaran were instructed by Ahmadinejad to sweep the capital and other cities for the "potential threat of growing pro-democracy youth." In fact, the Internet cafes have become bases for the "revolutionary anti-Khomeinist youth" in the country. {...} Per Iranian dissidents appearing in chat rooms in cyberspace, a "real revolutionary force is mushrooming in Iran." They said "how sad it is to see Western media and academics siding with the fascist regime in Tehran as we are on the brink of a formidable uprising."

Read the whole thing here.

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