Third, the countries and organizations that makes this possible (continuation):
There are reports that Turkey has switched side again (for the fourth time). Remember that up to last summer Erdogan was Assads (and Iran’s) buddy and ally. Then Turkey switched to “neutrality”, sort of. Then last winter Turkey switched to sort of support for the opposition.
It is now reported that Ankara had secretly notified leaders of the rebel Free Syrian Army on Thursday, May 31 that it had withdrawn permission for them to launch operations against the Assad regime from Turkish soil.
So the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has double-crossed Western/UN/Arab Syrian policy and moved over to help prop Assad up at the very moment his regime was partly on the point of buckling under international after-shocks from the systematic massacres of his own people
That day, Foreign Minister Davutoglu announced over Turkish NTV: “We have never advised either the Syrian National Council or the Syrian administration to conduct an armed fight, and we will never do so.” He added: “The Syrian people will be the driving force that eventually topples the Syrian regime. Assad will leave as a result of the people’s will.”
This was precisely what Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the day before when he spoke out against violent rebellion, military intervention and sanctions to topple the Syrian ruler.
Obama and his administration have built their whole Syrian policy by letting Erdogan in practice be in the driving seat. Remember also that Obama repeatedly have said that he consider Erdogan to be a “close personal friend” and one of the five top international friends.
To be fair, Turkey had some proposals how to support the opposition and what to do, But they were ALL turned down by the Obama administration, And Turkey didn’t dare going at it alone.
See Part 6 –Turkeyin my original series for more info
The joke that is called EU and its “united” foreign policy (EEAS) is now at round 15 of sanctions against Syria.
Just one example of the steady stream of UTTER MEANINGLESS BABBLE AND PRATTLE that’s coming from EU:
EU: Syria massacres ‘unforgivable’
“European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday condemned the ”horrendous” and ”unforgivable” massacres of citizens in Syria.”
Just a hint – if they are SO ”horrendous” and ”unforgivable” why don’t you DO SOMETHING FOR A CHANGE!
”It is totally unacceptable and unforgivable that any party to the Syrian conflict, either government or opposition forces, continues to commit these heinous acts of violence against innocent Syrian citizens,” she said.”
So let’s se if I get this right – The Syrian civilian population are in effect, according to this “brilliant analysis of EU: s Foreign Minister, slaughtering themselves in the most barbaric way??
Yeah, that sounds right.
”I strongly condemn the brutal violence and killing of dozens of civilians yesterday” in the villages of Al-Kubeir and Maarzaf in Hama province, she added in a statement.
”The Syrian government has the responsibility to protect its people,” the statement also said. ”I call for a full investigation of the horrendous crimes and support all efforts to this end.”
Well, the Assad regime doesn’t want to “protect” its people. It wants to slaughter ALL the opposition, which is most of the country.
“Ashton said the EU also condemned efforts to obstruct the implementation of Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s six point plan and called on the international community ”to unite behind a political process leading to a democratic transition.”
”It is time for us to agree on a united way forward. There is no time to lose. The UN Security Council must continue to support Kofi Annan and use all its influence to stop the violence.”
“There is no time to lose” Eehh – the slaughtering has been going on for over 15 months by now. With over 15 000 dead. And the brutal dictatorship has been going “on” for over 45 years.
After all this talk, what do they propose? More of the same that has failed all this time. And time and time again before Syria.
Another meaningless sanction.
Another meeting or conference.
Another “peace plan”.
Another “observation” mission.
See Part 8 – EU and NATO in my original series for more info
And some news from Syria- Nothing new here:
A new Massacre (number XX) – now in al-Qubeir. In the all too familiar pattern. First, the army begins by a merciless barrage of artillery on a village, town or neighborhood. Second, the Shabiha goes in and literally slaughter EVERYONE. From the youngest child to the oldest pensioner.
Syria: full horror of al-Qubeir masacre emerges
The voice of Laith al-Hemary’s brother whispered on the mobile phone: ”There are shouts and screams coming from outside,” he said. ”They are killing everyone they find.” Then the line went dead.
“This was the last time that Mr Hemary, 30, spoke to his brother before he was killed inside the family home in the Syrian hamlet of al-Qubeir on Wednesday.
He was among 78 victims who are believed to have died in a frenzied onslaught in this village in a farming district some 15 miles from the city ofHama.
The full horror of the atrocity was betrayed by bloody videos of mutilated children’s bodies and charred corpses.
In a few hours, almost the entire population of al-Qubeir was massacred in what appears to have been one of the bloodiest incidents since the start of the Syrian uprising.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were responsible, according to opposition activists. They said that regular forces were working in tandem with a pro-government militia, known as the Shabiha, recruited largely from Mr Assad’s minority Alawite sect.
The regime’s troops began the attack on Wednesday afternoon with a heavy artillery barrage, said the activists. Then Shabiha militiamen entered the hamlet armed with sticks, guns and knives. They attacked homes and farmhouses, shooting and slaughtering all the inhabitants they could find.
Mr Hemary and his cousin were among only a handful of survivors of the massacre. ”I could see thick smoke rising from al-Qubeir,” he said. ”I called my brother constantly on the mobile. He was hiding in our home. He told me cars full of Shabiha had come to the village and were attacking everyone and burning houses.”
At 5.10pm, three hours after the attack began, Mr Hemary’s brother’s voice died away and he stopped answering his calls. Pushing open the door of his home several hours later, Mr Hemary found the bodies of his mother, three sisters and three brothers lying bloodied on the ground.
”They had been beaten on the head by sticks and stabbed with knives,” he said. ”I went to other homes. I saw family after family slaughtered by knives.”
After the militia departed and al-Qubeir fell quiet later that evening, people from nearby villages ventured into the stricken hamlet. ”I saw a two-month-old child without a head,” said Abou Hisham al-Hamouli, who lives in a village just over a mile from al-Qubeir. ”I saw the burnt corpse of a woman. Her two children were wrapped around, hugging her. They died like that. There were two many burnt bodies.”
Other eyewitnesses reported how the militiamen sang songs in praise of Mr Assad.
A former soldier who joined the rebel Free Syrian Army said that he reached the village within hours of the massacre, but left quickly because Syrian government troops were still in the area. ”I went into houses and saw children without a head, and others without arms. Some were burned and some were without eyes,” he said.
There were only five known survivors, he added. The exact number of victims could not be confirmed, but people from the nearby village of Maarizab said they had buried 57 corpses. A further thirty bodies were missing and had not yet been buried, said activists.
With almost no foreign reporters inSyria, the accounts of what happened in this remote farming village cannot be independently verified.
The massacre comes less than two weeks after an atrocity in the town of al-Houla in Homs province, where eyewitnesses blamed the killing on the same Shabiha milita.”
Or as EU:s Lady Ashton said: ”It is time for us to agree on a united way forward. There is no time to lose”
Yeah sure, You are going to hit Assad with a 16th round of sanctions and he will be “so scared” that he stops the slaughtering don’t you think?
And the as always helpful Russians are as usual blocking EVERY ACTION:
“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday vowed there would be no UN Security Council mandate for outside intervention in Syria, indicating Moscow would use its veto to block any military action.
”There will not be a Security Council mandate for outside intervention, I guarantee you that,” Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of a trip toKazakhstan by President Vladimir Putin.”
This piece from Amal Hanano sums up the desperation inside Syria quite well:
Houla: Not a Game Changer
“Confession: the images of the carnage in Houla did not move me like they seem to have moved the rest of the world. Yes, they were tragic, horrific acts of violence against the most innocent of victims. But they didn’t break anything inside of me that was not already broken, nor did they raise the level of outrage or sorrow I feel everyday over what is happening in Syria.
Maybe it was because in the twenty-fours hours before hearing about the Houla massacre, I had heard that a friend’s relative had been killed, I had heard that another friend’s elderly relative had been kidnapped by gangs for ransom, I had received desperate Skype messages from an activist in Homs, crying, “my precious ones are gone, my precious ones are gone,” referring to three Shaam News Network media activists who had been shot dead by Assad forces, I had spoken with the brother of a martyr in Aleppo, who told me that since his older brother was killed one week ago, he was trying to act normally but the truth was, his “heart was burning.” By late afternoon, when I watched the first video of the children of Houla, with their tiny throats slit open below their ashen, angelic faces, all I could feel was yet another heavy thud of dread. One we had felt many times before.
The days after Houla brought the news of the death of Basel Shehade, the brilliant, young filmmaker who was killed by the shells falling over Homs. (Will the shells ever stop falling over Homs?) The days after Houla brought news of continued shelling and burning of Aleppo’s and Idleb’s countryside, and the deaths of another a dozen men — their eyes blindfolded and hands bound — executed in Deir al-Zor. The days after Houla brought news of thousands of Syrian refugees inEgypt who found themselves stranded with empty homes, empty pockets, and a bleak, uncertain future.
The days after Houla continued as all the days had before. But the world’s eyes halted on the massacre.
Houla’s images instigated the world’s outrage in its predictable forms: in heart-wrenching eyewitness accounts of children watching their families being murdered; in sectarian-tainted op-eds that cynically questioned who had perpetrated the crimes; in dry-eyed, canned statements by regime mouthpieces complaining about the media’s “tsunami of lies” which painted the regime as criminal when in fact it was a “victim.” There was outrage over the images themselves andoutrage over the decision to exposing the international public to the violent images (as not to upset an innocent British boy or girl).
And the outrage moved from analysis and narrative to questions: Is the UN plan working? Is a regime-led investigation a fair way to proceed? Who committed the crimes? Is killing by shelling (by the regime) as bad as killing by close-range (by unknown “monsters” according to Bashar al-Assad)? Is it pronounced Houla or Huli? Were the slaughtered people Sunni or Shite (or Sunnis who had converted to Shiism)? Are we with or against foreign intervention? Who will replace Assad? Who will arm the rebels? Who are the rebels? Why is the Syrian opposition still fragmented?
And of course the debate: Will Houla be Syria’s Sabra and Shatila, Syria’s Srebrenica, Syria’s game changer?
What exactly is the “world” responding to? The graphic images? The sheer brutality? The number of dead? The gruesome stories?
Over the last fifteen months we have seen Houla and variations of Houla happen over and over. We witnessed slaughtered bodies in February in the Karm al-Zeitoun massacre. We have seen men and boys dripping with blood, with half their face blown off, still struggling to breath. We watched while an entire city was destroyed, missile by missile. We watched a man flattened by an Assad tank, over and over, into human road kill. We have seen dead children, not only slaughtered but bombed, burned, and mutilated. We know in addition to Houla’s fifty-two dead children, there are hundreds of others; in addition to Houla’s murdered men and women, there are thousands of others. Our dead have been left to rot on the streets of Homs. Our dead have been buried in the public parks ofHama. Houla’s mass grave is just one more to add to the others, inHoms,Hama, Rastan, and Jisr al-Shoughour. And let’s not forget the unknown thousands of Syrians buried under the concrete foundations of a luxury hotel inHama by Assad the elder.
Houla was tragedy. But it was not a game changer. Not even close. Not to us, at least. Maybe it was to those who have been hedging bets on Syria’s future. Or to those who keep a secret, magic “number” of how many Syrians are allowed to die before it’s too much.
How many more gruesome violent videos can we watch before we really can’t stomach it any more? How many people have to die before the world either says enough is enough, or turns away from their screens? How long before the daily death toll in Syria is no longer on the front pages and becomes an invisible battlefield, like Iraq, like Afghanistan, like Libya?
How long before you are desensitized?
How long before you forget?
The cynics still claim that the majority of the Syrian people still back the murderous regime, (although by this time the regime and its “silent majority” should be irrelevant like it would be anywhere else in the world in face of such violence, includingBahrain). When a regime decides to kill thousands of its own, its supporters have become accomplices not neutral citizens.
Why the empty debates? Because the cautiously-watching (yet horrified) world has not decided yet on our “so-called” revolution. They claim it has changed from its romantic (and just) beginnings and has become armed, violent, and sectarian. While the world doubts, we watched the “sectarian” Abd al-Basset Sarout and his “bloodthirsty Salafi” FSA brothers sing in a room to a gleaming wooden coffin with a cross, that held their friend Basel Shehade’s shrapnel-ridden body. We witnessed the regime shut down Basel’s memorial service last Thursday in Damascus to the peaceful thousands who wanted to join the church service and light a candle in his honor. We watched last Friday in mosques across Syria, as Muslim men performed an “absentee” prayer for their martyr,Syria’s martyr,Basel. These are the Syrian people too, whether the world wishes to see them or not. Or perhaps they only tolerate seeing them as shrouded corpses.
Those who still argue searching for game changers in Syria should stop exerting themselves. Those who wait for Assad to change his ways and stop the killing, don’t hold your breath. For those who have been waiting for their magic “number,” it’s too late. The number is too high and has passed the threshold of forgiveness.
The game changed months ago while you were turned away.
Whether your eyes decide to confront or slide away from the images of our slain children makes no difference. Because we have already moved on, to face tomorrow, which holds only one Syrian certainty: there will be blood.
I, along with thousands of Syrians, made a decision from the moment the first fingernails were torn from the innocent hands of Bashir Abazid and his schoolmates in Daraa. After decades of our own silence, we had two words for the Assad regime: Game Over.
As for the world, across the spectrum, from the ones fretting anxiously to the ones claiming Houla was a “hoax,” and everyone else in between: we have one question: What’s your number?”
That is a good question.
What is the number of dead and slaughtered civilians the world “accept”? It now stands at over 15 000 dead.
Next part in one or two days
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