Friday, April 22, 2011

Bloody Friday In Syria

Syrian forces loyal to Basher Assad took part in a bloody crack down on demonstrators today in a number of cities, using tear gas and live ammunition. The death toll is at least 80 and probably more.

Protests swept the entire country from the Mediterranean city of Banias to the eastern towns of Deir al-Zor and Qamishli. In Damascus, security forces fired teargas to disperse 2,000 protesters in the district of Midan.

In Homs ( Hama), Syria's third largest city, where security forces had killed 21 protesters this week when demonstrators tried to gather at a main square, Assad's security forces opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators, causing a number of casualties.

"I was in the centre of Homs and in front of me I heard a security commander telling his armed men: 'Don't spare them (protesters)'", rights campaigner Najati Tayara told Reuters.

Homs, of course, is the same city where Assad's father Hafez al-Assad had his army kill an estimated 20,000 people back in 1982.

Security forces also shot at protesters in the Damascus district of Barzeh and the suburb of Douma, and according to some eyewitnesses snipers on rooftops were used.

“The Syrian authorities have again responded to peaceful calls for change with bullets and batons. They must immediately halt their attacks on peaceful protesters and instead allow Syrians to gather freely as international law demands,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director.

“They must also immediately launch an independent investigation into what happened and ensure that any security forces found to have carried out these killings are brought to justice,” Mr. Smart said.

The Syrians, investigate murders by their own security forces? Mr. 'Smart' is apparently misnamed, and should look to legally change his surname to 'Clueless.'

The West and President Obama are of course being dead silent on all this, although th eBrits issued a perfunctory 'condemnation'. Syria has no oil, and aside from that, is still a member in good standing of the Arab League and the Muslim dominated UN as well as an ally of Turkey and Iran.

That UN doctrine of 'Responsibility to Protect' that was conveniently used against Khaddaffi and in the Ivory Coast? Some animals are more equal than others, as George Orwell famously wrote.

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louielouie said...

yeah, that assad, he's a real reformer, ain't he?
secretary of state klebb?

B.Poster said...

Syria is allied with Iran who is allied with Russia and China. Russia and China are the two most powerful countries on earth. Before you can begin to tackle the this problem you've got to somehow separate Iran from Russia and probably from China as well.

Now assuming this can be done, there's another serious problem we face. Iranian hatred toward America stems from back in the early 1950s when the US and Britian overthrew their deomcratically elected government based upon oil interests and because Iran wouldn't bend to their will. Arab hatred for America stems from similar problems. America has been exploiting the Arabs and their resources for decades. As auch, hatred for America and attacks against its interests and its people are not only justified but they should be encouraged. After all America "has it coming."

I'm not suggesting I agree with this narrative but it is the narrative that everyone is familiar and it is accepted as "gospel truth" in most parts of the world. Before America can begin to confront Iran, Syria, or anyone else for that matter this narrative has to be confronted. Until it is the any efforts are certain to fail before they are even attempted. How do we confront this narrative and improve our standing in the world?

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Poster,

A few caveats here:

1)Syria has no 'alliance' with China and most of its relationship with Russia is a byproduct of Russia's relationship with Iran. For instance, Syria's armaments from Russia were purchased for them by Iran directly. It's strict a commercial relationship with the Russians.

BTW, Russia and China are hardly the most powerful nations in the world, but we've had that conversation before.

2) The ascendancy of the Pahlavis in the 1950's did not engender 'hatred' from most elements in Iranian society. Mossadegh, the prime minister we helped depose was a commie whose chief backing came from the Iranian Communist Tudeh Party. His popular backing was very limited, and the Iranian majlis (parliament) had already passed a motion calling fo rhim to step down.

The majority of Iranians were happy to see him go.

The Shah fell because he was undermined by Jimmy Carter, who talked him into letting Khomeini into back the country, and because a fall in the price of oil combined with the Shah's military spending caused unrest.

The Iranian revolution, BTW was carried out by pro-democracy 'moderates', not Khomeini. His followers were both better organized and more ruthless and simply pushed the more moderate government of Mehdi Bazargan out of the way as soon as Khomeini was ready to take over.

Don't believe everything that comes out of Obama's mouth, please.

3) As for 'exploiting' the Arabs, their wealth is entirely due to British and American geologists who found the oil for them and then put up the infrastructure to allow them to get it out of the ground, something the Arabs could never have managed for themselves.

Our reward for that was the Arab 'nationalization'(theft) of millions of dollars of American property in the 1970's that went unpunished as the Arabs and others formed OPEC and the US simply made a new deal with them that gave them a much bigger chunk of the pie and allowed biz as usual at the American taxpayer's expense.

I also disagree with you, unfortunately, about the power of the narrative. There's nothing stopping us from confronting Iran but our unwillingness to do so.

Iran, Pakistan and the Saudi penetration of the West should have been the first order of business after 9/11, not Iraq or Afghanistan. Iran could be dealt with even today without having to invade the country and indulge in 'nation building'.


yzernik said...

Good analysis, but Homs and Hama are actually different cities.

B.Poster said...


Thanks for the reply to my post. I'm aware of your narrative about Iran. While others in America may also be aware of it, it is less common that Europeans or others whom we would need to confront Iran and others are aware of it. To them, America has it coming. As for the alternate explanation here, it certainly needs more distribution. Unfortunately the "narrative" has had a MASSIVE head start. I never said I agree with it but it needs to be contered. We ignore it at our own peril.

If we are going to confront Iran, we are likely going to need the assistance of other nations. This is where the narrative comes in. As for Russia and China, we definitely DO NOT want to get into a shooting war with them. Avoiding this should be the top priority of the American government. You're right we've had the conversation before.

I could not agree more with your last paragraph. Doing that would have given us greater utility for all of our national interests and furthermore we likely would not have had to invade anyone.

B.Poster said...

Acutally the Iranians could have developed their own oil infrastructure. They are just as smart as us or British. In some wasy perhaps more so. We were not needed by them to do this. Now by getting us to build this for them they are spared the expense and the labor efforts themselves to do it. Then when the building is process is completed and the oil is being pumped, they simply sieze the assetes all the while getting the media and others to enable them in this process. For a chess player, such a move would likely be considered brilliant. I hear Iran is where chess originated.

Even if Russia and China are not the most powerful countries on earth, they are definitely ascending in virtually every area right now. Whereas America is in decline in every area of importance. In other words, Russia and China are becoming the most powerful nations on earth if we assume you're right and they are not now. How would the Russians or Chiniese handle something like Iran or the narrative surrouding it? As I've said if you want to be the best, study the best. Our leaders should be studying the Russians and Chinese. This would give us excellent insight into how we should be responding to things like this.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello TLOS,
They're different cities, but right near each other, the outskirts bleed into one another and they are thus part of the same metro area.

Kinda like the difference between Los Angeles and Burbank.

Freedom Fighter said...

"How would the Russians or Chiniese handle something like Iran or the narrative surrouding it?"

After Carter was out of office, the Russian foreign minister told Zbignew Brezhinski, Carter's NSA that if the Iranians had seized the Russian embassy, there would have been a crater where Tehran is now.

That should give you an example of how the Russians and Chinese would handle it.

As for the Iranians developing their own oil infrastructure, the beginnings of it were put into place after WWI by British Petroleum, and we took over after WWII.

If you want to believe that the Iranians had this all figured out decades in advance, there's not much I can say!


B.Poster said...

I think you're right about how Russia or China would have handled this. I think this largely explained why Russia and China don't get messed with in this manner but we do. Now with that said we might not be able to handle things the same way that Russia may have. During most of the Cold War Russia was the most powerful nation on earth. As such, Russia never had to worry about any one who could beat them on the battlefield whereas the Americans had to alwasy look over their shoulders at what the Russians were doing. Had we have responded in that manner it likely would have invited a nasty Russian reprisal but then again perhaps not. We did have a robust nuclear deterent. Without this deterent we would have been easily defeated by better led, better trained, and better armed Soviet conventional forces. Given this reality, our best course of action probably would have been to not have an embassy in Tehran at all. Also, we'd have done much better to invest in our own oil industry and not in Iran's.

I don't know if the Iranians figured this out decades in advance, however, we did present them with an opportunity that would be hard for anyone to refuse. If someone offered you a large sum of money to develop something for you, it is highly likely you might accept their offer. You get an opportunity to make money on something without the cost of developing it or using your own labor. In this case, even though the Iranians could have and likely would have developed their oil industry if we and Britian didn't why should they use their own labor and money to do it when we will do it for them?

After the assets are developed, they simply sieze them via "nationalization" or something like this and the British and America investors are left holding the bag so to speak. In order to pull this off, they successfully enlised the support of American and Western media sources. Didn't Mossadegh win Time's man of the year award or something like that?

Whether they figured it out decades in advance, I can't say. What does seem clear is you underestimate them? Today our best approach to Iran is likely to simply get out of the way and allow Israel and perhaps other willing Arab sources to handle this problem. Given our current condition, if we're involved, we'd simply be in the way and the mission would be less likely to be successful. If we still have any allies, hopefully they would have the integrity to tell our leaders that.

prasad said...

These killings are commonly held in Syria what is doing The U.N.? these killings must be stopped and the the Syrian government must apologize for these killings and leave their posts immediately otherwise the U.N. send their coalition forces to the Syria and take necessary action against that cruel government.