Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 13, 2012

Syria: The Illusion Of Renewed Big Protests

(Sorry for weak posting - still a bit under the weather.)

Syria saw some protests today but from the videos that were posted by "activists" none amounted to more than two to three hundred protesters. This were certainly not the big turnout the expatriate revolutionaries had called and hoped for. There were also a few clashes between the government forces and militants but I saw no report of anything serious. So far the ceasefire seems to mostly hold.

Al Akhbar had an interesting story through a diplomatic leak about the exchanges between the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and Kofi Annan. Their source gives a political interpretation of what is to follow next. According to the source the EU and the United States currently have some illusions on what the ceasefire and UN monitors will lead to:

This will allow them to witness “a Syrian revolution based on the Egyptian model, especially in the presence of UN monitors who cannot be corrupted similarly to what happened with the Arab League monitoring team headed by General Mustafa Dabi.”

“This will be accompanied by popular gatherings in public squares that could mobilize international public opinion once more after it had moved away from the popular mobilization in Syria, which turned into a civil war with reciprocal violence, instead of a peaceful popular revolution.” the revolution can again turn peaceful and that big demonstrations will reoccure.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar think differently and the Turks are somewhat in between says the source:

They do not see Annan’s mission and the implementation of the second point as a further effort to topple the Syrian regime but rather as an opportunity for the regime to calmly contain the popular protests and break its isolation on the international level.

Funny how I agree with the Saudis on this. There is no sign that Assad has lost support and most people have had enough of such a revolution. If the U.S. and EU hope for renewed big protests and a Tahrir square in Damascus they will get disappointed.

But who knows the motives of the Al Akhbar source and how much of what it says is real? But considering that it might be right what will the U.S. and EU do when they find out that their strategy failed and when will that be?

There are currently negotiations in the UN Security Council about the necessary resolution to enable UN monitors in Syria. I expect this to become another, probably prolonged, fight over the wording between Russia and China and the western regime change block which wants to blame everything on the Syrian government, leave a door open for war and have the monitors run as wild as possible. Depending on how that political fight ends the whole Annan mission may even fail soon with no monitors on the ground and a renewed phase of violence.

But whatever may come the Russians are preparing for it: Russian Warships to Patrol Syrian Coast

Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, a high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday.

Posted by b on April 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM | Permalink

Comments

Let's face it, Assad's toast. It's just a matter of time, and due to Syria's proximity and Turkey's history with it, Turkey wants to capitalize on the spoils. Same goes for Iran. The Mullahs have no future. Expand your time horizon to 2030 or 2040 and tell me the Mullahs will still be running the show in Iran. It's not in the cards.

Posted by: Sultanist | Apr 13, 2012 2:16:07 PM | 1

Today's Friday anti-government protests in Syria were branded "Friday of revolution for all Syrians" which in Arabic is جمعة ثورة لكل السورين . If you do a search for that Arabic text string at Youtube, Youtube will give you a list of videos of protests from around Syria today.

There were no large crowds anywhere.

The following Youtube account has uploaded many videos today of protests today in a slew of towns in Idlib Province. http://www.youtube.com/user/SYR4ALL/feed .
I see that the turnout size in these towns is smaller now than last summer (when the spirit of the protests in Idlib was a lot more peaceful than it is today). The turnout in Idlib city, the largest city in Idlib province, is a pale shadow, a decimation, of what it was last December.

But the fact that anti-government crowds turn up at all, after all the violence the rebels have done against the security forces in recent months, is a good indicator that the uprising it's going to disappear anytime soon.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Apr 13, 2012 2:19:36 PM | 2

I say the uprising in Syria is NOT going to disappear anytime soon, even though I say 'b' is right that "most people have had enough of such a revolution".

Posted by: Parviziyi | Apr 13, 2012 2:23:54 PM | 3

To #1

You are trying to foolishly presage the next 20 years while anybody knows that predicting the next 6 months is a kind of intellectualy impossible task in places like the middle-east.

Instead of that, you'd better ponder on what might be the best outcome for the iranian civil society in the next 20 years: the institution of the supreme leader having taken a ceremonial role of gardian of the state, similar let's say to the role of the monarch in the UK today; or, 20 years of war, misery, foreign dominance and tyranny disguised by a political system called "liberal democracy".

Posted by: AH | Apr 13, 2012 2:38:52 PM | 4

The Egyptian military is running Omar Suleiman for egyptian election, Egyptian Muslim brotherhood say that there will be a civil war if suleiman wins. If so, egypt may turn into Syria except with US, Saudi, Qatar backing the military, and Iran, Syria, and mabey Russia backing the rebels.

Posted by: nikon | Apr 13, 2012 2:47:31 PM | 5

"Expand your time horizon to 2030 or 2040 and tell me the Mullahs will still be running the show in Iran. It's not in the cards."

you think middle east will become secular by 2030?

Posted by: nikon | Apr 13, 2012 2:49:17 PM | 6

The secular Turkish model is being rejected, arabs are choosing a hybrid democratic-islamic model, which is exactly what Iran's government system is. If Assad falls, Syria will be ruled by clerics. Saudis are funding the most fundamentalist clerics in syria.

Posted by: nikon | Apr 13, 2012 2:54:56 PM | 7

Thanks to Russia and China, the development in Syria is back on a political track. The question if Assad stays in power or not is now a question of how he handles the relations between the different classes in Syria.See http://www.jungewelt.de/2012/04-12/001.php. His external opposition has burnt the military solution. But in the country, the fear is broken. There will be a lot of demonstrations in the future and there will be a lot of struggeling about the furure of Syria, but the Syrians will not allows foreigners to destroy their country.

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Apr 13, 2012 3:20:23 PM | 8

That's the thing I love about the US Empire... they are greedy enough to try and dominate the Middle East but are too stupid to ever be successful. The British Empire in its time would have been a much more formidable enemy, equally as greedy and nefarious but also possessing an expert knowledge of the societies they tried to conquer.

There is absolutely no evidence that Damascus will erupt into "Tahrir-like" demonstrations. If such a thing was likely what have the inhabitants of Damascus been doing the last 12 months? There has been chaos in Syria for a year now... if the cities of Aleppo and Damascus wanted to rise up they would have.

But again what you have is the US putting out propaganda that this is a full scale revolution only for US officials to end up believing their own propaganda. Obviously the Saudi's know this which is why they have no intention of returning to "peaceful, big demonstrations". This whole thing has given the Syrian people a view of their options, they might not even like Assad but if the alternative is civil war and Iraq 2.0 then I think most will stick with the guy.

Other stuff:

- P5 talks start tonight in Istanbul between Iran and US.

- Just over a week until the French first round elections and Reuters sums up the view with the headline "Sarkozy's comeback hopes crumble, polls show". In a straight up contest between Sarkozy and Hollande polls show a Socialist win of 57% to Sarkozy's 40%.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/13/us-france-election-idUSBRE82P0BP20120413

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Apr 13, 2012 4:34:24 PM | 9

As Putin said not long ago, Assad is a dead man.

It doesn't matter that the majority in Syria support the government and Assad. When has that stopped the west? Why would it stop them in the future?

The only reason they were stopped recenlty is because the government enjoyed the support of the people and the military and police repelled an attack.

The west is not going to say, "Oh gee, that didn't work, we better go home gang." No. They are going to say, "see, I told you so. Simply giving the "rebels" "humanitarian assistance" isn't enough. We need a no -fly zone!"

C'mon. Who doesn't think that happens next?

In fact, hasn't it already happened? Isn't Turkey lobbying for another resolution right now? Aren't insurgents gathering at the border? Isn't Turkey drawing up plans?

And what good is the Russian navy if Russia has already promised that it won't defend Syria militarily? Kind of an empty trheat. It's not even a threat, they simply claim to be monitering the situation. A threat would be saying they still have a valid treaty with Syria and are sending support (like a year ago).

No, this whole diplomatic game is a march to Syria's certain attack. Syria's fate was sealed once the UN was brought in. They will simply ratchet up the pressure until Russia and China are forced to push them under the bus, or meekly complain about the use of NATO article 5, etc.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Apr 13, 2012 5:22:46 PM | 10

there's been a rash of "end ot peak oil" stories in the big western media, including estimates that the US will again become the biggest oil producer in the world.

the propaganda isnt working, judging from the oil prices, which dropped a couple dollars... not enough to show wide accptance.

it's probably safe to assume that the big wheels who've bought into the PNAC plan, including 9/11, are scared that people are starting to connect the dots... peak oil as motive for 9/11.

of course, if all this new technology was a guarantee of future abundance of oil, then there's be no reason for the US to continue to agitate for wars in syria and iran, would there?

no reason but defense of israel... if you believe the propaganda about the "existential threat" to israel... but nobody believes that, either.

so it's all bullshit, the israeli american empire is on the wrong side of history, and, sooner or later, the looters will start having a noticable negative effect on the US taxpayers' ability to finance the bullshit.

so the priorities are: loot and try to obscure the role of peak oil as motive for 9/11.


dont forget the map at url below.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 13, 2012 6:34:56 PM | 11

Issues such as b's latest take on Syria used to interest me. But not now, for we are a world in denial.

There was an earthquake swarm near Fukushima Daichi today. The Ring Of Fire is restless....

http://www.iris.edu/dms/seismon.htm

.....Tepco just "discovered" a 35 ton piece of machinery lying INSIDE the spent rod pool atop the rods.(What??? They didn't notice a "missing" piece of 35 ton machinery, and, uh, ponder about just where the fuck it mighta gone????) Meanwhile, the temp on reactor number 4's spent rod pool is rising.

You think a meltdown is disastrous??? Wait until a building housing 460 tons of spent fuel collapses. Or TWO of them collapse. You ain't seen nothing yet.

Mankind needs a "Manhattan Project" kind of global effort NOW NOW NOW to rein in this disaster. Syria doesn't mean SHIT right now. In fact, NOTHING means SHIT right now in the face of this ongoing, unfolding, deadly, and unprecedented emergency. Wake up.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Apr 13, 2012 8:11:28 PM | 12

PissedOffAmerican @12 says...

"syria doesnt mean shit..."

how many people have died of radiation expose from the fukushima disaster?

how many people have died in syria because of israeli america's efforts to get rid of assad?

how many people have died, total, worldwide, as a result of israeli america's efforts to achieve "benevolent global hegemony"?

what's the biggest threat to humanity... fukushima or the israeli aemrican empire, escpecially once you figure in israel's "samson option" and israeli america's "nuclear primacy"?

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 13, 2012 9:01:31 PM | 13

nikhon 7:

, arabs are choosing a hybrid democratic-islamic model, which is exactly what Iran's government system is'

what is a democratic-islamist model? how much do people want the sharia law the islamists want to thrust upon them? does democracy(= rule by the people) exist anywhere?

Posted by: brian | Apr 13, 2012 9:33:00 PM | 14

"what's the biggest threat to humanity... fukushima or the israeli aemrican empire, escpecially once you figure in israel's "samson option" and israeli america's "nuclear primacy"?"

Hands down, unarguably, Fukushima.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Apr 13, 2012 9:35:01 PM | 15

well, there's some typical zionist logic for you...

something that hasnt yet killed anyone is more dangerous than something that's killed hundreds of thousands, and is using their capability to kill millions, maybe billions more, to bluff their way to "benevolent global hegemony".

some "benevolence", huh?

and what's gonna happen when somebody calls their bluff? ...or is everybody in the world expected to roll over and play dead when faced with the awesome might of the israeli american empire?

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 13, 2012 9:41:48 PM | 16

Go fuck yourself. Onlty an idiot would call me a "zionist".

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Apr 13, 2012 10:36:36 PM | 17

then there's the way the israeli american empire is destroying morals and morale...

the evidence is mounting up... the evidence of moral bankruptcy, and now we're committed to committing one atrocity after another... we cant help ourselves... we're locked in.

and that may be the most destructive aspect of the israeli american empire, and it's way more destructive than fukushima will ever be.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 13, 2012 10:38:55 PM | 18

POA a "zionist"....No way.

Posted by: ben | Apr 13, 2012 11:23:32 PM | 19

Do you want your apocalypse warmed up--or served cold? It seems like a pointless argument. Fukushima is wildly off topic on this thread; and the name calling and puerile bickering is chewing up yards and yards of these comment threads to the point where it is really interfering with any coherent discussion. It is arrogant to tell someone that their concerns for world peace, and the very real possibility of a regional war, escalating to a conflagration between nuclear powers, is not an overriding concern, on a thread where this is implied as a subject of concern.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 14, 2012 1:15:41 AM | 20

For the ones getting shot, a raise in the background radiation hardly matters. But that is a open thread topic.

For anyone thinking the west is going to bulldoze thru an intervention, the Russian and Chinese learned what the west mean by "No-Fly-Zone", and are not going to allow that to happen again. And NATO are not going thru with anything not sanctioned by the UN. The ceasefire-inspectors, most likely going in tomorrow, are not in any way a precursor to a intervention, and might lay the foundations for a proper election next month. A good election will hopefully be the end to all the US-NGO and media-created delusions of the west.

Posted by: Alexander | Apr 14, 2012 3:08:35 AM | 21

@retreatingbladestall, it's painful enough already having to see half a dozens of your posts every hour or so on each thread, could you at least have the courtesy to stop your ad hominem crap ?
and while we're at it, just use notepad or whatever suits you each time another great thought of yours crosses your mind and WAIT the page is full before pasting the whole here, so w're not all tempted to skip the comments here.
thanks

Posted by: rototo | Apr 14, 2012 6:08:17 AM | 22

B. Don't worry for us, have some rest and get well.

Posted by: Sophia | Apr 14, 2012 6:25:38 AM | 23

For those in need of a post and discussion on Fukked... Naked Capitalism has one up today.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/fukushima-dai-ichi-no-4-an-earthquake-before-spent-fuel-rods-are-moved-to-safe-storage-would-be-the-end.html#comment-690431

And... what Sophia said... rest easy, b.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Apr 14, 2012 10:42:01 AM | 24

I'm returning here once again to my theme that the Syrian leadership has the support of the majority of the Syrian people.

Starting with an anecdote, a few days ago a crew from Al-Arabiya TV went to Taftnaz in Idlib province, a town which was the site of a battle between the Syrian army and rebels about 11 days ago. The TV crew recorded civilian workers removing rubble from wrecked buildings. They asked a nine-year-old boy: "Why did the army kill the people?" The boy replied with concision: "Because they are traitors". The boy is saying the killed people were traitors; it's impossible for him to think the Syrian army are traitors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddrkSAJ4Zck

Now here's a point an anti-Assad commentator recently made about the Syria-based news media (http://www.al-monitor.com/cms/contents/articles/politics/2012/04/the-syrian-media-and-the-challen.html ): "The Syrian media, in all its components, constitutes an integral part of the crisis.... One year after the introduction of the “new and modern” media law, the official and private media continues to polish the image of the authorities, straying away from objectivity while ignoring the people’s demands and their revolution. The media has painted the uprising as terrorist acts carried out by armed groups, funded by foreign parties in an attempt to hatch an international plot against Syria." -- Yes, and more concisely, painted as traitors.

Syria's information media law enacted last year is specifically intended among other things to support an expansion of political pluralism in news outlets. Nonetheless the Syria-based news media including the privately owned media in all its components has been unanimously and straight-up pro-regime and anti-uprising. And in recent months it has been even more whole-heartedly and emphatically and unanimously so.

The state of the Syrian media is one item of evidence that strong anti-government political opinion doesn't have a broad base in Syria. It is impossible to have a broad political base without information-dissemination outlets reaching the minds of a broad base.

Some of the dissidents have the expressed notion that a broad base exists, or else could be created, but is invisible to us because the government doesn't permit anti-government media outlets. That notion is refuted by the laws of Syria, including last year's information media law, the text of which is in Arabic at http://www.moi.gov.sy/ar/aid19879.html . In Syria now, since the institutional reforms enacted over the past year, the members of parliament and the president can be voted out of office in free and fair elections (religious and tribal parties banned). Regarding the notion of a political base that would want to vote against the current government, this notional anti-government base is not in evidence in any Syrian information media outlet reaching a non-tiny number of Syrians -- which implies the base doesn't exist.

Regarding the base of those who want to violently overthrow the government, how much of a political base can "traitors" have? As 'b' put it a few weeks ago, "The only ability the terrorists have left is to commit random acts of terrorism like exploding bombs or assassinating people. While such terrorism is a danger it alone can not bring down the Syrian state and its government. But it is alienating the people that earlier took part in peaceful protests against the regime."

The great majority of the people of Syria get the great majority of their political news and information about their country from information outlets that are based in their country. In any country around the world, you're not in touch with the mainstream political community in that country if you're not regularly consuming news from the country's mainstream broadcasters including especially the State-owned broadcaster, and the same is true in Syria. By my consuming the Syria-based news media, and without seeing any public opinion polls, it is clear to me that the mainstream political community supports the institutional reform program led by the government and opposes the rebellion.

The people of Syria have proven themselves to be smarter than all the foreign hectoring that went on this past year.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Apr 14, 2012 9:59:51 PM | 25

FYI

who wants sharia law?
http://truthsyria.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/the-syrian-revolution-another-madness-to-bring-the-sharia-law/

Posted by: brian | Apr 14, 2012 11:09:36 PM | 26

Assad should just ask the Russians to come in and establish one of those "humanitarian corridors" everyone is raving about these days. it's the least they could do, considering that Russia has a dearth of seaports that aren't iced up part of the year, or require exits through narrow passages. the Russians wouldn't have to get involved in any military skirmishes. however, they would be able to do the same things that other nations humanitarians would be doing, like relaying what they see.

Posted by: Proton Soup | Apr 15, 2012 12:24:22 AM | 27

Here's an example of an illusion of a protest analysed.

http://fitzhenrymac.wordpress.com/

Posted by: Fitzhenrymac | Apr 17, 2012 12:37:28 AM | 28

Excellent - two of my fave MOA empty headed idiots are arguing over who's peddling the most ridiculous version of a paranoid apocolyptic vision of the end of the world being nigh.

Somebody pass the popcorn, cos hopefully PissedOffAmerican and retreatingbladestall will wipe each other out in a Tarantino-esque cyber-mexican-standoff

That way no one here would have to listen to either of their crap-peddling any longer

Win-Win as far as I can see . .

Posted by: Hu Bris | Apr 17, 2012 7:55:12 AM | 29

Ps:

Is there any silly little apocolyptic bullshit that you two wouldn't swallow?

Because between the 2 of you you seem to have them all covered, and pimp them here daily

For POA it's : "Fukushima and Global Warming are gonna kill us all maaaaan!!!!"

And for the other idiot it's: Because of AGW, Peak Oil, Invading Penguin hordes from Antartica (plus any other bullshit I can think of) the JEWS!! are gonna kill us all

To be honest I'm fairly sure there's a lot more MOA-readers than just myself that completely skip over every comment you two morons post here

Posted by: Hu Bris | Apr 17, 2012 8:07:35 AM | 30

The Arab Spring, Soft Power and Gene Sharp

When the Arab Spring broke thru in Tunisia, this was the innocent genuinely arab part of the spring, since then, much of is has been incepted by western NGO's, like the Gene Sharp inspired nonviolent resistance run from the USA.
In Egypt, the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) trained activists in methods to subvert the government institutions, notably the military, and the media using social medias on the Internet.

The real problem though, arose when CIA saw an opportunity, by using soft power, to hijack the arab spring and force regimechange in Libya and Syria. What the CIA did wrong however, was to deviate from the nonviolent consept, not heeding the warnings from voices saying this will take away the legitimacy of what has to appear as a popular peaceful uprising. By arming the insurgents and even criminal elements, they had to force a media-climate where western leaders would assist with air-strikes, turning NATO into the Libyan rebels private airforce. At this point the revolutionary forces had lost its innocence.

By the time Syrian demonstrators got to the streets, the western public were fed up with the arab spring, and a armed intervention was a tougher sell. Even the false-flag operations of having french special-ops shoot peaceful demonstrators wasn't enough to persuade the UN to sanction a No-Fly-Zone in Syria.

Russia, who have had their own problems with western soft power influences, and the Gene Sharp colour revolutions, knew what had to be done with the Syrian situation, and along with China who also resist western democracy project influences, would block what potentially could threaten the relative peace and stability in the eastern part of the world.

Posted by: Alexander | Apr 18, 2012 2:42:48 AM | 31

there never was an 'arab spring', a term coined by i believe a zionist!

Posted by: brian | Apr 18, 2012 4:09:35 AM | 32

When the Arab Spring broke thru in Tunisia, this was the innocent genuinely arab part of the spring, since then, much of is has been incepted by western NGO's, like the Gene Sharp inspired nonviolent resistance run from the USA.

What evidence do YOU have that the Tunisian 'spring' was not just as orchestrated by the US/West as all the other bogus 'spring' events we have been force-fed by the media.?

As far as I can see it is very very foolish indeed to presume that events in Tunisia were any different than events in all the other so-call Arab-Spring countires

Given how all this has panned out it would appear to me to be highly dubious to suppose that events in Tunisia woul;d have been any different than, say, Lybia, had the Gov't in tunisia not very quickly fallen

http://aangirfan.blogspot.de/2011/01/tunisia-rip-cias-jasmine-revolution.html

Posted by: Hu Bris | Apr 18, 2012 6:47:22 AM | 33

highly dubious to suppose that events in Tunisia woul;d have been any different than, say, Lybia, had the Gov't in tunisia not very quickly fallen

The quick captitulation of the Tunisian Gov't of Ben Ali PROVED that Ben Ali was NOT the tyrant that thwe west tried to paint him as

Posted by: Hu Bris | Apr 18, 2012 6:49:24 AM | 34

There are people in all the arab countries that are genuinely democracy-seeking. Including Tunisia, Libya and Syria, as well as Saudi-Arabia, Quatar and Barhain.

Whether it is a big enough movement to be called a popular democratic uprising, or part of the Arab Spring, is a different issue, but what sets Tunisia apart from Syria is the Tunisian man starting it by setting himself on fire.

The problem arises when western interests provide methods, funds, weapons and even soldiers, and it stops being a properly homegrown democratic movement. This has probably been the case to some extent or degree in all the affected countries, but from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya and Syria there is a difference in popularity, whether it is incepted by western NGO's or not, it is however not created or only portrayed by western media.

Posted by: Alexander | Apr 18, 2012 8:01:11 AM | 35

However, I might just be a victim to the western media when it comes to Tunisia and Egypt. Perhaps there wasn't even that many supporting revolution, although it looked like it on TV.

Posted by: Alexander | Apr 18, 2012 8:07:52 AM | 36

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wcx9f6Qbno

:-)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Apr 18, 2012 8:17:46 AM | 37

'There are people in all the arab countries that are genuinely democracy-seeking. Including Tunisia, Libya and Syria, as well as Saudi-Arabia, Quatar and Barhain.'


libya had democracy: the jamnahirya...

the US and EU have yet to experiment with democracy...but wont until people learn they do not yet have it

Posted by: brian | Apr 18, 2012 10:22:02 AM | 38

True. Syria also has democracy, they are having an election may 7, if the rebels or NATO doesn't obstruct it. The initial demonstrations in Syria were calling for a vote on the newly approved constitution, which makes a proper democracy possible.

Posted by: Alexander | Apr 18, 2012 10:54:35 AM | 39

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