Bashar al-Assad's shelling of towns and killing of citizens leaves country at risk of imperialist invasion, says author.
"The news this morning that the Syrian navy were shelling the water-front of Latakia - including the Palestinian refugee camp there - shook me to the core.
Not just because I lived in that camp last year, on that water-front, when Egypt's then-dictator Hosni Mubarak was stalling about letting the Viva Palestina 5 convoy sail for Gaza (after more than a fortnight of Syrian hospitality, the convoy sailed - though I was banned). The people of Latakia, a beautiful seaside holiday resort, were good to me. I cannot be silent about their suffering now.
More importantly, the news was shocking insofar as it calibrated how close we now are to a full-scale civil war in "the last Arab country" - as I described Syria in a speech in the Assad library five years ago, just after the Israeli attack on Lebanon was repulsed by the Syrian-backed resistance, led by Hezbollah.
Historically, I was never close to the Syrian regime. I'm writing this from my house - which I named Tal-al-Zattar, after the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon which suffered a massacre - facilitated by another Assad - more than thirty years ago, and carried out by his then Phalangist allies.....
That's why I must say, for me, it looks like five minutes to midnight in Syria. For years, the president has talked of reform. But the more he talked, the faster his relatives counted their ill-gotten gains.
He has talked about the lifting of states of emergency while presiding (one assumes he's still presiding) over the mother of all emergencies in his country. He has talked about ending the Ba'ath party's constitutional monopoly as the "leading force" in the country - but it still exists, at least on paper if not on the streets. He has talked about elections, but of those there is no sign - and how could there be amid the carnage?
The risk of open imperialist intervention in this situation increases almost by the hour...."