Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ghosts will haunt Libya for decades

World View: Whatever Nato may say, the country is in the grip of a civil war that will resound for years to come

By Patrick Cockburn

A rebel fighter displays the US flag on his pick-up truck near Ajdabiya last week. Does the fool think that USrael came to liberate him? Unbelievable!

"....Crossing the Egyptian-Libyan border is, by way of contrast, not a problem, though the road journey from Cairo to Benghazi is a tedious 16- to 20-hour drive. Once in eastern Libya, dealing with the transitional council is easy since the council's main, and possibly only skill, is dealing with the foreign media. Anti-Gaddafi demonstrators are much better organised than anti-Gaddafi militiamen.

It would be difficult, in fact, to be worse organised than the rebel fighters
who stream to and from from the front in their pick-ups. It is in taking too seriously these Gilbert-and-Sullivan advances and retreats that the media become badly misleading. The skirmishing in the small city of Ajdabiya, 90 minutes' drive south of Benghazi, comes across as if it was akin to the battle of Stalingrad. Neither side has the numbers or experience to set up fortified posts in the city or make an effort to hold it. In Misrata, fighting is more intense but never as fierce as Beirut at the height of the civil war.

All this matters because the exaggeration of the rebels' military strength has led to a misunderstanding of Nato's involvement. Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy started by claiming they were launching air strikes to defend civilians. This has since escalated into saying that the aim of the war is to get rid of Gaddafi.

The implications of these two aims, given the political and military balance of power in Libya, have never been made clear. Nato is not just aiding the rebels, but has already largely replaced them as Gaddafi's main military opponent. If he goes down, it will be because of massive foreign intervention. Second, it is absurd to demand as a precondition of a ceasefire that Gaddafi should go, because only he can deliver a ceasefire. His departure ought to be the objective of negotiations after a ceasefire, which, to have any credibility, would have to be policed by non-Nato troops.

When all this is over what will Libya look like? The country is gripped by civil war, whatever the rebels may say, and its legacy of hatred, like the troubled ghosts of Abu Ghraib, will take decades to disappear."

Outrage follows Syria security crackdown

Bloodshed in cities across the country prompts protesters to redouble calls for end to president Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Hugh Macleod and a special correspondent

"Weeping over his Quran, the imam of the al-Rahman mosque in Hajjar al-Aswad, a poor neighbourhood near the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern edge of Damascus, the Syrian capital, led evening prayers for the dead.

Six young men from the neighbourhood had been shot and killed by Syrian security forces, one of them Imam Abu Bilal's 22-year-old son.

His eyes black with rage, the imam vowed to bring thousand of supporters on to the streets to rally against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the president, when, like up to 100 other Syrian families on Saturday, he buries his dead.

"It started with 200 to 300 young men demonstrating in front of the police station," said Omar, a shopkeeper from the neighbourhood.

"Then the mosque told us the names of six people killed and within half an hour all the residents of Hajjar al-Aswad were on the street.

"All the young men, all the women, all the teenagers. We are a tribal society here."

The largest day of protests in a five-week uprising against the Syrian regime was also the most widespread, with the blood of citizens killed by plain clothes security and military spilled on the streets of the capital for the first time......

'Arabs and Kurds are brothers'

As they had on previous Fridays, the protests began in the northeast, home to the majority of Syria's Kurds, the largest ethnic minority in the country.

Earlier this month, al-Assad tried to win support among this long-hostile demographic by restoring citizenship to up to 300,000 stateless Kurds.

But for at least one of the up to 8,000 mainly Kurdish demonstrators who took to the streets of Qamishli and Amouda chanting "Syrian people are one" and holding banners declaring "Arabs and Kurds are brothers", the concession meant little......

Bloodshed in the capital

It was the towns and suburbs around Damascus that saw the most killing, bringing bloodshed and chaos crashing in on the peace and quiet many in the capital had hoped would not be disturbed....."

حركة 6 ابريل المصرية تطالب برحيل الرئيس بشار الأسد

حركة 6 ابريل المصرية تطالب برحيل الرئيس بشار الأسد

"القاهرة- ا ف ب: أصدرت حركة 6 ابريل، أحد القوى الأساسية التي مهدت لـ(ثورة 25 يناير) في مصر، بيانا السبت بعنوان (السفاح بشار الأسد يجب أن يرحل) وجهت فيه تحية لـ"شهداء" حركة الاحتجاج في سوريا.
وأكدت الحركة في بيانها "تضامنها وجموع شباب الثورة والشعب المصري عامة مع ثورة اشقائنا الاحرار في سوريا ودعمنا لانتفاضتهم السلمية في سبيل تحقيق كافة مطالبهم المشروعة".

وراى البيان أن "سقوط 120 شهيدا في يوم الجمعة العظيمة التي هي حقا عظيمة باهلها وشهدائها وعظيمة بتضحياتها وشبابها الذين خرجوا من كل مدينة في سوريا ينشدون التغيير واسقاط نظام بشار الأسد الدموي مع أول تطبيق لالغاء حالة الطوارئ في سوريا يعني ان بشار الاسد لا يعرف غير لغة الدماء في حواره مع الشعب السوري".

وطالب البيان النظام السوري بان "يفهم جيدا ان نهايته اصبحت امرا محتوما ومنتهيا فالشعوب عندما تريد الحياة لن توقفها زخات رصاص الانظمة وعلي بشار الاسد أن يستوعب ذلك جيدا ويخرج من السلطة فورا حقنا للدماء ليترك المجال امام الشعب السوري ليبني سوريا الجديدة".

وضمن السياق نفسه اكد البيان "تضامن الحركة ودعمها الكامل لثورات الشعوب العربية في ليبيا واليمن ورسالتنا دائما للانظمة المستبدة التي تتحكم في مقدرات بلادنا وتقمع ثورات شعوبها بتلك الافعال الدموية الاجرامية انتهي امركم فارحلوا عنا".

President Bashar Assad, things are going from bad to worse

THE president of Syria is in a fix. Bashar Assad must decide whether to copy the tactics of Hosni Mubarak, who tried too late to appease the protesters, or those of Muammar Qaddafi, who killed many hundreds of his people when they turned against him. But he is swinging between those two poles. Neither course is doing him much good. The killing of at least 15 people in the early hours of April 19th in Homs, the country’s third city after Damascus, the capital, and Aleppo, may have marked a turning point. Mr Assad’s grip looks increasingly weak.
His first attempt at dampening dissent by promising reform, in an address to parliament on March 30th, was a failure, because his belated offer seemed vague and haughtily insincere. On April 16th he tried again, this time with a speech to government insiders. He said citizens needed dignity. He acknowledged Syria’s economic woes and spared his audience his usual railing against foreign conspiracies. He sounded more sincere (and more desperate) than before. He may even have been trying to signal a change of tack. But the people on the street no longer take much notice. The protests in Homs got going immediately after his second speech.
He is also taking a risk by blaming conservative Sunnis for the recent troubles, linking them to militant Islamists such as al-Qaeda. “Their terrorist activities will not be tolerated,” say government spokesmen. Such charges raise the spectre of the 1980s, when a revolt by the Muslim Brothers was ruthlessly suppressed, leaving around 20,000 dead. Mr Assad may not be as brutal as his father, Hafez Assad, who oversaw that wave of repression—and survived. Yet if he is not, his days in charge may be numbered.

Protests in Saudi Arabia

الجمعة العظيمة في سوريا

السبت‏، 23‏ نيسان‏، 2011
الجمعة العظيمة في سوريا
د. محمد الزعبي

يمكن وصف المذبحة التي جرت وتجري في سورية منذ 15 /3 /11 وحتى يوم الجمعة العظيمة في 22 /4 / 11،واليوم التالي له ( يوم دفن الشهداء ) ، بأنه شكل من أشكال الصراع بين إرادتين متباينتين ومتباعدتين هما : إرادة الشعب في سورية من جهة ، وإرادة النظام السوري الذي ترأسه عائلة الأسد من جهة أخرى .
إن وصول هذا الصراع إلى مدياته القصوى التي تمثلت بإطلاق الرصاص الحي على المتظاهرين السلميين من قبل النظام ، حيث بلغ عدد الشهداء عدة مئات ، ناهيك عن الجرحى والمفقودين ، وبرفع سقف مطالب المتظاهرين ، من المطالبة بالحرية والديموقراطية ، إلى المطالبة بإسقاط النظام ، إنما يشير إلى أن هذا الصراع قد أخذ بعداً جديدا وأن الهوة بين
الطرفين باتت أكثر عمقاً ، والمسافة أكثر بعداً ، بغض النظر عن الخطابات الشكلية ، والعبارات الدبلوماسية التصالحية
التي يطلقها هذا الطرف أو ذاك ، سواء أكان بحسن أو بسوء نيّة .
وسنورد فيما يلي مانراه يمثل أبرز أوجه الخلاف التي تقف وراء هذا الصراع ، الذي هو بنظرنا صراع جوهري ومبدأي
بحيث لايمكن حلّه إلاّ على حساب أحد الطرفين ، سواء بالإزاحة أو الإزالة ، حسب تعابير المنهج الجدلي .

مايريده الشعب ( وكله يصب في خانة الحرية والكرامة )
مايريده النظام ( وكله يصب في خانة الحفاظ على الكرسي)
إلغاء قانون الطوارئ ، شكلاً ومضموناً ، ولاسيما :
إلغاء كل ماترتب على هذا القانون منذ صدوره حتى الآ ن وذلك بإصدارعفوعام وشامل يسمح بالإفراج الفوري عن كافة سجناء الرأي وكافة السجناء السياسيين ويسمح بعودة المبعدين والمهجرين منهم ، من أي لون كانوا .

إلغاء قانون الطوارئ شكلاً وبقاؤه مضموناً بدليل العدد الضخم لشهداء الجمعة العظيمة في 22 و23 /4 /11 ، وإبقاء السجن والتهجير والإبعاد والإخفاء سلاحاً بيد النظام يستخدمها في علاقاته الداخلية و الخارجية وخاصة مع الدول الكبرى في إطار مايسمى "مكافحة الإرهاب" .
إنهاء لعبة التوريث لأنه يتناقض مع الديموقراطية
الإبقاء على التوريث كضمان لاستمرار الحكم الأسري
نظام حكم مدني ديموقراطي يقوم على مبدا المواطنة
نظام أمني أوليغارشي نقيض لمبدأ المواطنة
إنهاء الفساد ،الإداري والمالي قولاً وعملاً ووضع الشخص المناسب في المكان المناسب .
إنهاء الفساد قولاً والإبقاء عليه فعليّاً ، وتسليم المناصب العليا المدنية والعسكرية للأقارب والأتباع والانتهازيين .
العمل على تحرير الجولان بكل الوسائل وبدون التواطؤ والتباطؤ
العمل على تحرير الجولان بالمفاوضات ، وباستبعاد أي خيار آخر غير خيارالصمت والتواطؤ والتباطؤ .
دستور جديد يضمن التعددية السياسية، ويلغي حكم الحزب الواحد ، ويعيد للسلطتين التشريعية والقضائية اعتبارهما
المحافظة على دستور1973 الذي يضمن بقاء عائلة الأسد في السلطة ويبقي السلطتين التشريعية والقضائية بيدها .
إجراء انتخابات نيابية حرّة ونزيهة لمجلس شعب حقيقي مهمته التشريع ومحاسبة السلطة التنفيذية وليس الهتاف والتصفيق والتأييد الأعمى !
الحرص على مجلس شعب شكلي ومصفّق يأتي عن طريق المادة الثامنة ـ سيئة الذكرـ من دستور الوالد ،أي عن طريق "التعيين بالانتخاب" !
أن تكون مهمة الجيش الدفاع عن الوطن ، وليس عن النظام
وأن تكون أبوابه وكلياته العسكرية مفتوحة أمام كل أفراد الشعب دون استثناء .
أن تكون مهمة الجيش حماية النظام أولاً والوطن ثانياً ، وان تكون مهمة القوى الأمنية ( الحرس الجمهوري خاصة ) حماية النظام من الشعب ومن الجيش في آن واحد .
حوار متكافئ بين متساوين يؤدي إلى حقن دماء المواطنين
حوار العصا والجزرة بداية ، وحوار الرصاص الحي نهاية
الحراك السلمي البعيد عن العنصرية والطائفية ، والذي ظل رغم كل الدماء متمسكاً بهتاف: سلمية سلمية ، وحدة وطنية .
محولة مستميتة من النظام لاستدراج المتظاهرين لاستخدام العنف و لجرهم ـ دون جدوى ـ للهتافات الطائفية
حرية الإعلام واستقلاليته وموضوعيته
هيمنة النظام على كافة وسائل الإعلام والإعلان

Ghassan Bin Jiddu: resigns from Aljazeera

By Angry Arab

"This is big: the Beirut bureau chief for Aljazeera, Ghassan Bin Jiddu, who hosts the program Hiwar Maftuh (widely watched), has submitted his resignation. It is due to the recent radical shift of Aljazeera's coverage in alliance with the Saudi-Israeli alliance in the Middle East. Ghassan Bin Jiddu is one of the most visible personalities of the network and he was seriously considered to be the director-general of the network before Waddah Khanfar was given the job. Ghassan belongs to the Arab nationalist mold and is a fierce supporter of resistance to Israel. I last saw him last year when he invited me to dinner with Samir Al-Quntar. Bin Jiddu was very influential in Aljazeera and this step will bring further embarrassment to the network. On a related note, I must report this: I have heard from a number of people who work in Aljazeera Arabic and English and I am hearing that the majority are quite irate at the coverage of the network especially in relation to the Bahrain issue. There will be marked changes in Arab media in the next months and years: comrade Hicham yesterday observed that Egyptian media in the new era will once again play the leading role that it had played in the 19th and 20th century, before the Sadat-Mubarak era."

Al-Jazeera Video: Listening Post - Bahrain: Below the radar

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria's deadliest day

أغنية الشعب السوري ما بينهان .. اهداء الجمعة العظيمة

Courtesy of

Two-Faced Arab League Losing Ground

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Apr 23, 2011 (IPS) - As the Cairo-based Arab League continues to back western military intervention in support of the popular rebellion in Libya, the League's failure to back similar uprisings in other Arab countries - most notably Bahrain - has led to charges of double standards.....

According to Egyptian political observers, the Arab League's conflicting positions are largely explained by Saudi Arabia's longstanding influence over the pan-Arab organisation.

"States of the Saudi-led GCC finance most of the Arab League's activities," Abdelhalim Kandil, political analyst and editor-in-chief of independent weekly Al-Sout Al-Umma told IPS. "Therefore, the league is subject to disproportionate Saudi influence.

"The Saudi regime, fearing for its own stability, has consistently opposed the Arab uprisings," he added. "Riyadh hosted Tunisia's Ben Ali after his ouster; pressured Egypt's transitional government not to prosecute Mubarak; continues to support President Ali Abdullah Sallah in Yemen; and, most flagrantly, sent troops to support the Bahraini monarchy."......

According to Kandil, Saudi Arabia has played a chief role in turning the Arab League in recent years into a "bastion of U.S. influence" lacking any "effective or constructive" role in the region.

"Washington's Arab allies, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, had long used the League to legitimise U.S. policy in the Middle East," he said. "As was the case with the 2003 U.S.-led war on Iraq, the west used Saudi's leading role in the League to obtain a resolution allowing it to use military force against Libya."........

But in light of rapidly unfolding political realities, Kandil believes this influence to be waning.

"In the past, regional policies were largely determined by an axis consisting of the U.S. and Israel on one hand, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the other, with the former two using the latter two to implement their policies," he said. "But in the revolutionary atmosphere now pervading the Arab world, this era appears to be coming to a close." "

Scores killed in Syria as 'Great Friday' protests are attacked

22 April 2011

"At least 75 people have been killed today in Syria during mass protests, local human rights activists told Amnesty International, as the government launched its deadliest crackdown yet on demonstrators calling for political reform.

Security forces fired live ammunition at demonstrators who had gathered across the country following Friday prayers.

Thirty were killed in the southern town of Izzra’, 22 in Damascus, 18 in the Homs area and the rest in other towns and villages, activists said, in what is the deadliest day so far during weeks of protest.

Two boys aged 7 and 10 years old were among those killed in Izzra’ as was a 70-year-old man.

“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.”"

رسالة إلى المثقفين السوريين: أين أنتم؟

فبعد أن حطم الشبان السوريون جدار الخوف السميك، الذي شيده النظام بأنين معارضيه، لم يعد الخوف مبرراً. لم يعد الصمت مقبولاً، فماذا يعني أن تكون مثقفاً سوريا وتصمت على رصاص الأمن الحاصد؟ ما جدوى الكلمة إن لم تقل الآن وهنا؟ كيف يمكن لشاعر أو كاتب يرى بلاده تترنَّح تحت ضربات رجال الأمن والشبِّيحة ويدير ظهره أو يضع يده على فمه؟

يد النظام
من السهل قول قولي هذا من لندن وليس من دمشق. لست قريباً من يد النظام كي ترمي بي في أقرب سجن. أعرف ذلك. لا شجاعة، كذلك، في قولي هذا ما دمت بعيداً عن غيلان الأمن السوري وبطش سجانيه. لسنا في الثمانينات عندما كانت مسدسات النظام كاتمة الصوت تتجول في أوروبا. ولست أحرّض أصدقائي وزملائي على ما أنا في منجى منه. ولكني لا أجد أمامي، في هذا الوقت السوري الصعب، سوى هذه الكلمات "السهلة". سوى هذا الموقف "غير مدفوع الثمن". لا أملك وأنا أرى الدم السوري يسيل بيد نظام من مخلفات الحرب الباردة، نظام قزَّم سوريا العظيمة، كبح جماح خيالها، أعاقها عن النمو، حولها مزرعة أبدية للجنرالات وأبنائهم وأحفادهم، سوى هذه الكلمات المدفوعة بحماسة قد تبدو للآخرين زائدة.

وكما قال "حكيم" الثورة التونسية، الرجل الذي يمسّد شعر رأسه الأشيب بيده المرتجفة أمام الكاميرا، أقول لأصدقائي المثقفين السوريين: لقد شابت نواصيكم وأنتم تنتظرون هذه اللحظة التاريخية التي أتاحها لبلادكم هؤلاء الفتيان الشجعان فلا تتركوا دمهم يسيل بلا نصير. لا تخذلوهم في خروجهم الكبير إلى الحرية. لا تتركوا الرصاص يخمد جذوة الأمل. هذا وقتكم. هذا أوانكم. إنه وقت كلماتكم المحبوسة، قسراً، في الصدور.

النظام البوليسي الذي فاق كذبه آلة قمعه لا يزال يكذب
. إنه يراوغ للإفلات من استحقاق التاريخ، فضيقوا عليه الخناق. الأيام الأفضل التي حلمت بها قصائدكم ونصوصكم قد وصلت... في غيابكم غير المفهوم حتى الآن.

'Nine killed' at Syria funeral processions

Security forces open fire on processions for pro-democracy activists killed on Friday, killing several, witnesses say.


"With the government severely restricting press freedoms, getting images and footage of protests in Syria has been difficult.

Al Jazeera obtained this dramatic footage from one of Friday's demonstrations - this one in Harasta, where security forces appeared to open fire on protesters, just as they had done in several other cities and towns in a crackdown that claimed at least 75 lives."

"Four people have been killed in the Syrian town of Douma, a witness told Al Jazeera, after security forces on the ground and snipers on rooftops opened fire on a crowd of thousands of mourners gathered to bury protesters killed on Friday.

Army and security personnel also shot at mourners at a funeral procession in the southern town of Izraa. Eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera that five people had been killed there, four of them after having been shot in the chest. Several others were wounded.

The eyewitness in Douma said that the gunfire erupted during the processions on Saturday, in the largest of the towns that surround Damascus to the northeast. Eight people were killed and at least 25 injured in Douma when security forces fired upon pro-democracy protesters on Friday.....

Funerals turn into protests

Thousands of people gathered near the Osman Ibin Afan mosque in Izraa, a southern village that was the scene of some of the worst violence on Friday. At least 15 people were killed there.

During Saturday's funerals, army and security personnel shot at the mourners, killing five people and wounding several others, said an eyewitness present at the funerals.

"I saw four of the dead myself. They had been shot in the chest," he said.

Al Jazeera's correspondent, who we cannot name for security reasons, was just outside Izraa, and confirmed that he had witnessed a funeral procession being fired upon....."

Palestine was, is, has always been in our hearts

By Hossam El-Hamalawy

"Stickers, in my room at my family’s house where I grew up and lived till university years.

Whenever I visit my family or stay over for the night, I’m reminded of what politicized my generation and where our sources of inspiration came from Sorry, it’s not Gene Sharp…"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This brand new poll asks:

Do you see the protests in Syria ending through political dialog?

With over 600 responding so far, 72% said no.


Keep an eye on this poll. The early results, such as now, present the true picture. This is because the early sample is truly random.

After the Syrian regime and its supporters find out about a poll, they swamp the poll and change the results in their favor.

This happened last week in a poll about whether the Syrian "reforms" would put an end to the protests. Early results indicated that 83% did not believe in the "reforms." However, after the regime discovered the poll, very large numbers started voting in the opposite direction (supporting the "reforms"). In the end, only about 60% (instead of 83%) said no, the "reforms" would not end the protests. Of course the events vindicated those who saw the "reforms" as a sham and voted no.

I expect the same thing happening with this poll, so keep an eye.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Houses turn into make shift hospitals

The "beacon of resistance" regime is taking  a page out of Bahraini oppressors as they have been going to Hospitals and arresting and abusing the injured. Even people going to donate blood are not spared the barbarism of this despicable regime. Houses are turned into make shift ERs as this video shows. The Hague would be a great place for Dr. Bashar and his thugs for their crimes against humanity.

Every concession makes the President more vulnerable

By Robert Fisk

Saturday, 23 April 2011

"Every dictator knows that, when he starts making concessions, he is at his most vulnerable.

It is an exquisite torture for the regime in power....

In Damascus, in Hama – that ancient city that tried to destroy Bashar's father Hafez with an Islamic uprising in the February of 1982 – and in Banias and Latakia and Deraa, they came out in their tens of thousands yesterday. They wanted 6,000 more political prisoners freed, they wanted an end to torture, an end to the security police. And they wanted Bashar al-Assad to go.

Syria is a proud country, but Tunisia and Egypt were studied by the Syrians (if not by Bashar himself – a big mistake). If the Arabs of north Africa could have their dignity, why couldn't the Syrians? And an end to the monopoly of the Ba'ath Party, while they were at it. And free newspapers; all the demands that they thought would be met 11 years ago, when Bashar walked behind his father's coffin and friends of the President told us that things were going to change. This was a confident new state under Bashar, they insisted.

But they didn't change. Bashar found that family and party and the massive security apparatus were too strong for him, too necessary for him. He failed. And now that failure is self-evident: in the tear gas fired at the crowds in Damascus; in the live rounds reportedly fired into the crowds in Hama.....

I'm not sure they'll get it yet. The Syrian Ministry of the Interior was playing the sectarian card again yesterday; the protesters were sectarian, they claimed. There may be some truth in this; but it is a small truth. The people on the streets of Syria want change. They were not, to be sure, in the vast numbers that Egypt produced to rid themselves of Mubarak; nor even the numbers of Tunisians. But it has begun."

But what if the spirit of rebellion spread to Iran?

By Robert Fisk

Saturday, 23 April 2011

".....What strikes me is how the Egyptians mobilised in a quite different way from the Tunisians and – lucky for them – quite differently from the Libyans. Indeed, civil war has now stricken Libya and is in danger of striking Syria, too. The dictators all churn out the same idiotic nonsense: that the revolutions – the demands for freedom, liberty dignity – are all the result of foreign plots. Ben Ali said this; Mubarak said it ("foreign hands"); his vice-president Omar Suleiman talked of "bats in the night". Gaddafi blames al-Qa'ida and America (quite an alliance); Jordan's king has blamed foreign plots, too, and Assad did exactly the same this week. Saleh in Yemen tells his people that the plot is al-Qa'ida, Israeli and American. Ye gods! This is the kind of talk the Middle East had to listen to back in the Sixties. But today?

The Syrian regime is made of tougher stuff than Mubarak's police scum – they are infinitely more brutal – and Baathist backbone probably has something of the Gaddafi about it. There is too much shooting in Syria. And the effects can spill over into Lebanon, reflecting a Shia (Alawi) and Sunni dispute in Syria. Assad has already tried to implicate Lebanon in his crisis, which is preposterous. I prefer not to think about Libya. First we say we won't get involved. Then we bomb Gaddafi. Then we promise military "advisers" (soon, no doubt, to be kidnapped by Gaddafi's sleeper cells) and now we're doing a Waziristan and sending drones over Tripoli. What is this insanity that Cameron and Sarkozy – and Obama – have got themselves involved in?

But there's a non-Arab country with a very big stake in this extraordinary history. It is called Iran.....

And if Iran remains peaceful, what if it loses its Syrian ally? And then what of the Palestinians? What if a million Palestinians in Gaza decided to walk "home" to the original "Palestine". While the Israelis are worrying about the fate of their favourite dictators, it might be a good idea to consider what people power can do in Palestine."

No Boots on the Ground, by Phil Disley

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Those who are silent about truth are mute devils

I am going to take a page out of angry arab : he always takes an article or a news item then attacks the NY Times for either ignoring it or not covering it (for example:  oppression in Saudi,  crimes of Saleh in Yemen or Countless Israeli crimes that either get justified or get totally ignored by the paper)... Well today after the bloodiest day in resent weeks and one of the worst in 2011 (the year of the arab revolution) where at least 80 innocent civilians were killed by Syrian security forces and hundreds injured and where hundred of thousands of Syrians protested in every city and every town from Damascus to Homs to Qamishly to Deir Zour to Sueyda . Where Christians in 'assa'a neighborhood in Damascus and Druze in quaneitra and kurds in Qamishly protested. I decided to go to Al Manar site to see what they are covering and  not to my surprise they are acting exactly like the NY times does with Palestine or Arab media does to Bahrain : UTTER SILENCE.
Here is the headlines for those who are curious on their main page as of the publishing  of this post:

Hezbollah Slams Ban’s Report as ZionistResistance Prevented Turning Lebanon to Israeli Settlements!McCain Arrives to Libya, Meets Anti-Regime LeadershipIran asks UN to End Israel’s ImmunityIn Bahrain: Mosques Destroyed, People Tortured, Medics ArrestedFour Palestinians Injured in Israeli Attack on GazaIsrael Warned of ‘Arab Sea of Anger’

درعا - إزرع - مجازر النظام السوري -22-4-2011

Video: Syria Revolution Summary, April 22, 2011

WARNING SENSITIVE VIEWRS: Video contains some graphic images

شام - دمشق - الحجر الأسود تزف شهدائها الى الجنان 22-4

شام - الزبلطاني - قناصة الأمن على أسطح العمارات 22-4 ج1

شام - حماه - إصابات بالرأس - الجمعة العظيمة 22-4

شام - حرستا - إطلاق نار و اسعاف جرحى و شهداء 22-4

شام - السيده زينب - تطهير الساحة من صنم البائد حافظ 22-4

شام دمشق زملكا وصول الشهيد الرابع 22 4 2011

شام - حمص - إستهداف سيارات الإسعاف من قبل قوى الأمن 22-4

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian protests on video

Al-Jazeera Video: Rula Amin reports from Damascus

Al-Jazeera Video: Robert Fisk on Syrian Uprising

Al-Jazeera Video: Empire - The evolution of Arab revolutions

With Marwan Bishara

Mirage and reality in the Arab Spring

If rebels start using violence, as has happened in Libya, then decades of turmoil could follow, professor argues.

Mark LeVine

".....Revolution or refo-lution?

Lenin's tract argued for a total revolution; but in Tunisia and Egypt the pro-democracy forces succeeded because, as Asef Bayat described in the journal Jadaliyya, the aims during the protests were much closer to refo-lutions, which "want to push for reforms in, and through the institutions of the incumbent states," rather than revolutions that seek completely to topple the system.

The advantage of such a potentially paradoxical process is that they increase the chance for an orderly transition that is relatively free of violence, destruction, terror and chaos. The problem is that they demand constant and long term pressure from below – "the grassroots, civil society associations, labour unions, and social movements" – to succeed.

Once the tap of violence is opened fully, as has happened in Libya, even more problems arise that harm the prospect for successful political transformation across the region.

First, inevitably (it seems), international law becomes reduced to a tool of war-craft rather than being the measuring stick against which all sides must be held accountable. In this case, as the UN approved no-fly zone failed to stop the violence, the Western and Arab "allies" enforcing it have moved to calling for regime change and arming the rebels, both of which clearly exceed the actions authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

If Security Council resolutions can be ignored or exceeded in Libya, why should other countries, such as Israel, Iran or any other number of states, consider themselves bound by them? And so a noble humanitarian impulse to rein in a brutal dictator, can seriously weaken the institution primarily responsible for maintaining peace, security and stability globally.....

While protesters in Yemen have remained remarkably disciplined, the violence that pervades Yemeni society could easily swallow the pro-democracy movement if only a small minority of the protesters lose faith in the process and take up arms. A similar fate would befall the Bahraini democracy movement if the ever intensifying crackdown against it led even a small number of the protesters to resort to violence in response......"

'Deadliest day' in Syria uprising

At least 88 protesters are killed across Syria during the "Great Friday" protests, rights groups say.

A Young Boy Shot in the Head Near Daraa


"As many as 70 people were reported to have been killed in Syria on the bloodiest day since the uprising began, as security forces use live ammunition and tear gas to quell anti-government protests across the country.

Activists sent a list naming 70 people from across the country who they said had been killed by security forces during the "Great Friday" protests. AL Jazeera has been unable to confirm the exact number of fatalities.

Fifteen of the deaths took place in Izraa, near the flashpoint southern town of Daraa, according to the list.

Deaths were reported in Douma and Zamalka, near Damascus (see this video posted from an unknown source from Zamalka). Other protesters were killed in Homs, Syria's third largest city, in Moadamia and in Daraa and elsewhere.

Demonstrators marching in peace were surprised by security forces' live ammunition, according to Hazem, a protester who spoke to Al Jazeera via phone from a Damascus suburb.

"Demonstrators were going with olive branches, it was peaceful" until they were "surprised by live ammunition from some security forces in one of the flats of the street", Hazem said......"

BBC: Death toll rises up to 60 killed

افاد ناشطون حقوقيون وشهود عيان ان ستين شخصا قتلوا واصيب العشرات الجمعة لدى قيام قوات الامن السورية باطلاق النيران لتفريق متظاهرين في عدة مدن.

وبحسب المصادر، سقط ثمانية قتلى في مدينة ازرع في محافظة درعا وقتيل تاسع في مدينة الحراك في المحافظة ذاتها، بينما قتل ستة اخرون في مدينة دوما القريبة من دمشق.

Twenty-five reportedly killed as live bullets and teargas used against rallies after Friday prayers

[I guess the conspiracy spread to the entire country. Every Syrian city now is working hand and hand with USrael to topple the "beacon of resistance" ]

Syria endured its bloodiest day yet of the Arab Spring as mass protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad roiled dozens of town and cities across the country and security forces reportedly gunned down dozens of people.

Despite a string of government concessions earlier in the week, including the lifting of the hated, 48-year-old emergency law, tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding greater political freedom and an end to Ba'ath party rule took to the streets after Friday prayers.
Security forces that deployed overnight close to Damascus and other key cities ignored appeals to eschew violence and opened fire with live rounds and used teargas against several pro-democracy protests, activists and witnesses reported.

Although firm information was difficult to obtain, at least 25 people were reported killed – including two in Douma, at least one in Homs, at least six in the southern town of Izraa, and others in Moudamiya, outside Damascus, the activists said.

With more casualties being reported by the hour, it was Syria's bloodiest day since the unrest began, and there were fears the final toll might be significantly higher.

Is the World Too Big to Fail?

Privatizing the Planet


"The democracy uprising in the Arab world has been a spectacular display of courage, dedication, and commitment by popular forces -- coinciding, fortuitously, with a remarkable uprising of tens of thousands in support of working people and democracy in Madison, Wisconsin, and other U.S. cities. If the trajectories of revolt in Cairo and Madison intersected, however, they were headed in opposite directions: in Cairo toward gaining elementary rights denied by the dictatorship, in Madison towards defending rights that had been won in long and hard struggles and are now under severe attack....."

Do You Need More Proof that the Libyan "Revolution" is No More?
شام - المعضمية - إطلاق رصاص و سقوط جرحى 22-4

شام - درعا - مظاهرات الجمعة العظيمة 22-4-11 ج1

شام - درعا - مظاهرات الجمعة العظيمة 22-4-11 ج2

شام - درعا - مظاهرات الجمعة العظيمة 22-4-11 ج3

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شام - درعا - مظاهرات الجمعة العظيمة 22-4-11 ج5

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera correspondent reports from Damascus

Al-Jazeera Video: McCain Inspects the "Rebels" He Has Just Bought.

A Great Cartoon by Khalil Bendib: Israel and Assad, Partners in Crime

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Corruption Ran in the Family

By Cam McGrath

"CAIRO - Ousted president Hosni Mubarak ran Egypt as his own private estate, carving up its resources and siphoning off its capital into offshore accounts. But he didn’t do it alone: he had help from his family and a few trusted friends....

Egyptian prosecutors are also putting together a case against Mubarak’s wife, 69-year-old Suzanne – whose reputation for extravagance and haute fashion have earned her tabloid comparisons to Marie Antoinette.

Anti-corruption investigators recently discovered that the former first lady maintained a secret account at the National Bank of Egypt with over 147 million dollars in donations from European countries intended for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The library’s administrators claim they were unaware of the existence of the account, for which Suzanne had sole signatory power.

The discovery appeared to confirm long-held suspicions that the former first lady’s involvement in various NGOs and charities was merely a front for capturing foreign donations. Investigators are now examining her other pet projects, including literacy campaigns, a peace movement, and a children’s cancer hospital....."

Iraq: Widening Crackdown on Protests

New Restrictions, Abuse in Arbil, Sulaimaniya, Baghdad

April 21, 2011

"(New York) - Kurdistan authorities should end their widening crackdown on peaceful protests in northern Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should hold accountable those responsible for attacking protesters and journalists in Arbil and Sulaimaniya since April 17, 2011, including opening fire on demonstrators and beating them severely, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch also called on Iraqi authorities in Baghdad to investigate the detention and torture of a protester, Alaa Nabil, and to charge or release more than two dozen activists held in a prison in Baghdad's Old Muthanna Airport. Central government and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities should revoke their recent bans on unlicensed demonstrations in Sulaimaniya province and on street protests in Baghdad, Human Rights Watch said.

"Iraqi authorities in Kurdistan and Baghdad need to rein in their security forces and protect the right to protest peacefully," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The Iraqi political authorities need to end their knee-jerk responses and stop banning protests, detaining demonstrators, and beating journalists."....."

The regimes are rallying their forces. Is the tide turning against Arab freedom?

In Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Syria leaders are no longer caught by surprise; their defeat no longer seems inevitable

By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 22 April 2011

"Is a counter-revolutionary tide beginning to favour the "strongmen" of the Arab world, whose regimes appeared a couple of months ago to be faltering under the impact of the Arab Awakening?

From Libya to Bahrain and Syria to Yemen, leaders are clinging on to power despite intense pressure from pro-democracy protesters. And the counter-revolution has so far had one undoubted success: the Bahraini monarchy, backed by troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, has brutally but effectively crushed the protesters in the island kingdom. Pro-democracy leaders are in jail or have fled abroad. The majority Shia population is being terrorised by arbitrary arrests, torture, killings, disappearances, sackings, and the destruction of its mosques and religious places.....

The counter-revolution is showing that it has more going for it than seemed likely two months ago. This only appears surprising because well-established authoritarian regimes went down so swiftly in Tunisia and Egypt. Police states have had time to rally their formidable forces of repression, but even this may not be enough to quell newly politicised populations which believe they can end autocratic rule."

Leading article: A blind eye in the West to repression in the Gulf

This is different to Libya because Bahrain is considered to be an important strategic ally

The Independent
Friday, 22 April 2011

"A state is engaged in violent repression; the ruling regime has forfeited its legitimacy; there are disturbing reports of civilian casualties. All this describes what is taking place in Bahrain. The fundamentals of the emergency in the small Gulf state are not so dissimilar from what is taking place in Libya. And yet whereas Muammar Gaddafi's vicious assault on his opponents last month galvanised the international community into protective action, the situation in Bahrain has gone more or less ignored in Western capitals....."

In Bahrain, first, they came for the athletes

(A Bahraini police officer bars Nabeel Rajab, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, from gaining access to the court house in the Bahraini capital Manama.)

The counter-revolution is being televised, with witch trials played out on Bahrani talkshows

Tahiyya Lulu
(Tahiyya Lulu is the pen-name of a Bahraini woman and independent commentator), Friday 22 April 2011

".....If the walls of these prisons could talk, they would tell tales of Bahrain's secular nationalist political history and speak of the coalition of legal minds fighting for constitutional rights and rule of law.

They might also tell us the high price of providing medical care to protesters, or being a student participating in a national youth movement, a teacher practising the values they teach, or a unionist in a country that doesn't value the land and sea it rests upon, let alone the salt of its earth.

They may not even talk of politics at all, but of community service or online social media and blogging. They might just tell you about being young, and daring to dream aloud under the false spell of freedom during a brief Bahraini spring. With these and many hundreds more brave Bahrainis behind bars, every day fewer are left to speak for freedom or justice in Bahrain.

In the shadow of diminishing international media attention, if Rajab's voice is silenced by the government, what will happen to us? And by "us", I mean all the people who are protected by his courageous words and unwavering determination to speak for the protection and promotion of people's rights, whatever the price he may pay."
شام القامشلي مظاهرة حاشدة بالجمعة العظيمة 22 4 ج1

شام عامودا مظاهرات الجمعة العظيمة 22 4 11 ج1

McCain lauds rebels in Libya visit. As if the "Rebels" Needed This Kiss of Death! Who is Next to Visit Benghazi? Senator Lieberman? What a Disgrace

Top US senator's trip comes as President Obama authorises the use of armed drones against forces loyal to Gaddafi.


"Senator John McCain, one of the strongest proponents in the US Congress of American military intervention in Libya, has arrived in Benghazi for talks with pro-democracy forces fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.

McCain's arrival on Friday came close on the heels of the US president approving the use of armed drones in Libya against ground forces for the first time since America handed over the military operation to NATO.

Al Jazeera's Sue Turton, reporting from the eastern city of Benghazi, said McCain told reporters he was there to meet the opposition Transitional National Council and members of the military to assess the situation on the ground.

He also denied concerns about the possibility of extremist or al-Qaeda elements fighting alongside the pro-democracy forces, saying "they [opposition fighters] are my heroes".

The top US military officer offered a similar assessment earlier.

"We're watchful of it, mindful of it and I just haven't seen much of it at all. In fact, I've seen no al-Qaeda representation there at all," said Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US military's joint chiefs of staff, during a visit to Baghdad.
[Make no mistake about it. This "revolution" is now totally owned by USrael, and I can no longer support it.
Next expect the Libyan Karzai to declare that he would be willing to recognize Israel. I will remind you when this happens.]
The trip to Benghazi by McCain, the top Republican on the US senate's Armed Services Committee, is the highest yet by an American official to the opposition-held east......"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bahrain security forces 'tortured patients'

By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 22 April 2011
A doctor outside Salmaniya hospital during the unrest in February
A doctor outside Salmaniya hospital during the unrest in February
Bahrain’s security forces stole ambulances and posed as medics to round up injured protesters during a ferocious crackdown on unarmed demonstrators calling for reform of the monarchy, an investigation by a rights group reveals today.
The first major report on repression of the medical profession during the country’s crisis details how a doctor was abducted during an operation and injured patients lying in hospital were tortured and threatened with rape.
The investigation by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) followed a report by The Independent yesterday detailing threats faced by medical staff who treated victims of the repression. More than 30 medics have been taken away by security forces and have had little or no contact with their families.
The report said it found that security forces targeted Shia doctors in particular. The crackdown has created such a climate of fear that wounded people were too frightened to go to hospital to seek treatment.
The Bahraini monarchy responded to calls for reform by massed demonstrations starting on 14 February by calling in 2,000 troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Over the next two days, Bahraini security forces, backed by the Saudis, drove protesters from the streets, made arbitrary arrests of at least 500 people, systematically tortured detainees and sacked anybody who had shown sympathy for protests

Today's Cartoon, by Ali Ferzat: Repressive States

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Bahrain: International pressure needed now to halt spiralling human rights crisis

Amnesty International

21 April 2011

"Bahrain’s allies must take stronger action to address the rapidly worsening human rights crisis in the small but strategic Gulf state, Amnesty International said today as it released a new briefing paper on the continuing suppression of peaceful protest.

In Bahrain: A Human Rights Crisis, Amnesty International calls on governments with close ties to Bahrain to press for an end to the crackdown on those calling for change.

“North American and European governments, so vocal recently in espousing the cause of human rights in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, need also to speak out loudly about what is going on in Bahrain” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“To avoid the charge of double standards, they must be much more robust in pressing the Bahraini authorities to uphold their international human rights obligations.”....."

Download the Briefing Paper (7 pages): Bahrain: A Human Rights Crisis

Here Come the Drones! Hello Pakistan, This is Libya Calling: Drones can be used by Nato forces in Libya, says Obama

Senior Nato military commanders have been pressing for the unmanned US planes to strike Gaddafi forces in besieged Misrata

Nick Hopkins, Thursday 21 April 2011

"The White House has approved the use of missile-armed Predator drones to help Nato target Colonel Gaddafi's forces in Libya.

Coalition commanders have been privately urging the Americans to provide the specialist unmanned aircraft, which have become a favoured – if controversial – weapon in Afghanistan and Pakistan....."

Analysts: Syria unrest not led by Islamists

Contrary to claims by Bashar al-Assad's regime, the role of Islamists in Syria's uprising is minor


"Despite accusations by Syrian authorities, Islamists did not instigate and are not leading the unrest that has rocked the country for a month, although they are partners in the protests, analysts say.

"They are certainly present but they are not directing it. This popular uprising does not depend on the old political parties," said Rime Allaf, a researcher on Syria at London-based think-tank Chatham House.

Around 220 people have been killed by security forces or plainclothes police since the emergence of the protest movement in mid-March, according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

"The Muslim Brotherhood has lost much of its influence since (the 1982 massacre in) Hama, and especially after they allied themselves with former vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam," Allaf said.

Khaddam was second in command during the rule of Hafez al-Assad -- father of the the current President Bashar al-Assad -- before breaking with the regime in 2006......"
نافذة تحليلية لتطورات المشهد العربي .. د. عزمي بشاره - 1

نافذة تحليلية لتطورات المشهد العربي .. د. عزمي بشاره - 2

نافذة تحليلية لتطورات المشهد العربي .. د. عزمي بشاره - 3

نافذة تحليلية لتطورات المشهد العربي .. د. عزمي بشاره - 4

The Middle East's oldest dictatorship

......TADA.....The "Palestinian State" is Coming! Celebrate it with the Head Turkey!

Al Jazeera's senior political analayst discusses Israel's rule over the Palestinians beyond the peace rhetoric

By Marwan Bishara


"As the conventional wisdom goes – especially in the West – Israel is the "only democracy" in the Middle East. And that is so, particularly for its Jewish citizens. However Israel has been anything but democratic for the indigenous people of the land, the Palestinian Arabs....

Where is the Palestinian revolution?

It was no coincidence then, that the "Palestinian revolution" emerged following Israel's 1967 war and occupation, when it defeated its neighbours' post colonial leaders and their national projects, be it pan-Arab nationalism, Baathism, etc.

As Israel allied itself with the colonial and imperial powers of the time – France, Britain and the United States – the Palestinian revolution – as the Palestinian liberation movement was depicted at the time – was inspired by similar anti-colonial struggles, such as the Algerian FLN against the French colonial dictatorship of their country.

But Cold War polarisation, Arab divisions and its own mistakes and blunders led to the disintegration of the 'Palestinian revolution'. With the advent of the post-Cold War Peace Process in 1991, the Palestinian liberation movement was finally reduced to spearheading accommodation with Israel's colonialism.

The domestication of the Palestinian liberation movement by the Peace Process soon led to national divisions leading to armed conflict between the Islamist and secular currents under Hamas and Fatah.

Separated by hundreds of checkpoints, 'security' walls and fences, and policed by British/American trained Palestinian forces under the supervision of Israel military and security services, Palestinians today live under multiple levels of military dictatorship and police state.

Alas, the Hamas-controlled, Israeli-choked mini entity in the Gaza Strip doesn't look much different in reality.

Instead of pursuing their struggle for liberation from dictatorship, 'Palestine Liberation movement' and PLO leadership in the West Bank are suppressing Palestinian eagerness to join the Arab revolution's struggle to bring down the – in this case, colonial – regime.

For two decades, the PLO leadership has looked for salvation in Washington, and when that has proved a pipe-dream, it has decided to go to the UN for a recognition of a Palestinian state.

Come September, the PLO leadership will realise that the end result will, at best, be a state on paper, and its true realisation requiring more of the same diplomacy with Israel. All that assuming Washington wouldn't veto such a draft resolution.

But regardless of the diplomatic acrobatics, at the end of the day, peace is possible between Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of one state, or two independent states divided by the 1967 borders.

It's however not tenable nor moral, let alone revolutionary, for the Palestinians to be forced into accommodation or peace with Israel's occupation or its colonial dictatorship."