Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 04, 2012

People Killed in Syria - Compare The Numbers

During the insurgency in Syria over the last thirteen month about 10,000 people were killed. Of these some 3,500 were soldiers or policemen on the government side.

Syria has some 23 million inhabitants plus about a million refugees from Iraq. The usual statistic measurement for the rate of homicides is the number killed per 100,000 persons per year. For Syria that number would then be 38 5 per 100,000 per year. Not counting the government agents the rate is some 25 per 100,000 per year.

In 2010 the rate of homicide and non-negligent manslaughter in New Orleans was 49.1 per 100,000 per year. It was 40.5 in St. Louis, 34.8 in Baltimore, 34.5 in Detroit and 23.1 in Newark.

Why isn't there any talk of no-fly zones over New Orleans, humanitarian corridors in St. Louis or military intervention in Baltimore? Couldn't we at least get some UN observers to Detroit and an Amnesty International report on Newark?

Posted by b on May 4, 2012 at 18:57 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Good numbergame. :)

Posted by: Alexander | May 4 2012 19:09 utc | 1

maybe because for the whole of the US it is 4.7?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

:-))

Posted by: somebody | May 4 2012 19:18 utc | 2

There is a real issue for Honduras though ...
see above link

Posted by: somebody | May 4 2012 19:20 utc | 3

Syria is having parliamentary elections on 7 May 2012. Here’s a report about the parliamentary election in Aleppo: The candidates of the “National Unity List” (an alliance dominated by the Baath Party) are expected to win each and every seat in the election contest, even though the names of the candidates on this List were not announced until very recently — something like a week ago. In Arabic: http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_articles&id=c9ccc3b4884e12ce2478c18fc3c7caf1&ar=124828390 .

Thus the population is choosing to vote for the National Unity List itself, not for the individuals on the list. On the basis of that voting behaviour, I predict that the Baath Party will be in control of parliament for decades of years to come. Looking at today’s landscape, I cannot imagine how it would not require many, many election cycles before an opposition would be able to make serious inroads against the Baath, barring unlikely future events where the Baath inflicted serious damage upon itself.

Many independent candidates who were not part of the National Unity List tried to get themselves on the List and when they failed they withdrew their candidacy from the contest. In Arabic:
http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=147670
http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_news&id=60d34b33b5faf776eb3d1290bef8d093&ar=874384585

There’s more coverage of the parliamentary election in Arabic at http://www.dp-news.com/aswatsouria/ (but the English edition of that site has essentially no coverage of the election). Unfortunately today the site http://www.AlWatan.sy is down (inoperative).

I regard the outcome of the 7 May 2012 parliamentary election as historic and fundamental. The Baath Party and the governing Establishment is having an easy, no-sweat switchover to full-fledged democracy. (The street protests and the armed rebellion do not pose a challenge to the government on the democratic power front). After the election results are in next week, I’ll be saying that the Baath has proven itself to be a very powerful competitor, even more powerful than I thought it was. In my honest assessment, I’ll be expecting the Baath to rule Syria for the rest of my lifetime with high likelihood. That’s great news for the kind of Syria that I want. Hurray!!

A list of reasons why the governing party is so strong in the elections contest is given in an earlier post by me at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/03/open-thread-2012-07.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0168e90185c0970c

Posted by: Parviziyi | May 4 2012 20:49 utc | 4

do you really think the American weapons manufacturers want to test their small arms outside of their country?

- on a more serious note, the whole UN inspectors thing is political, it is not like most countries really care who is doing the shooting, but only that it doesn't come their way...

Posted by: simon | May 4 2012 20:51 utc | 5

Look Parviziyi, that is just not natural voting behaviour. What I know of voting manipulation is the history of two Germanies.
Voting was manipulated in the West and the East. In the West it meant certain parties were excluded for being unconstitutional, in the East it meant something was wrong with the count of votes.
The GDR in theory had a great constitution and - in theory - was a multi party system. In practice the Communist party controlled all the posts, controlled the security services, controlled the economic managerial posts, controlled dissent.
That control was not absolut, if lots of people disagreed, they had to react. That reaction could be less or more oppressive.
The communists ruled the GDR throughout against the majority of their population because of the occupation of the Soviet Union. They ruled against their own membership when the Soviet Union disagreed. Once Gorbachev said "who is too late will be punished by life", that was it.
I guess the Baath party rules Syria because the alternative would be worse. Once there is a better alternative than the Baath party that's it.


Posted by: somebody | May 4 2012 21:09 utc | 6

Frankly, I don't believe any of the numbers out of Syria, and certainly not those of the UN.

They're all taken from the opposition, including those from official UN. What is said from Kofi Annan, I'd have more confidence.

Posted by: alexno | May 4 2012 21:12 utc | 7

re 4.

In Iraq, at the time of the elections, lists were presented without the candidates being named. It's the same here.

Posted by: alexno | May 4 2012 21:35 utc | 8

anyone know anything bout ‘Lutfallah II’?

franklin lamb thinks it's another watergate.

Posted by: annie | May 5 2012 0:02 utc | 9

Syrian opposition studies terror tactics in Kosovo
http://rt.com/news/syrian-opposition-studies-terror-tactics-in-kosovo-585/

Kosovo Terror Training Camps Re-Open for Syrian Insurgents

A delegation of Syrian rebels has made a deal with Pristina authorities to exchange experience of partisan warfare. Syrian opposition is sending militants to Kosovo for adopting tactics and being trained to oust President Bashar Assad’s regime.

On April 26, a delegation of Syrian opposition members made a stop in Pristina on their way from the US to hold talks on how to make use of the experience of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in Syria, reports Associated Press
http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2012/05/kosovo-terror-training-camps-re-open-syrian-rebels

The KLA are organ traffickering terrorists who were listed as terrorists by US state dept. but ended up being aided by the US.

Posted by: brian | May 5 2012 0:16 utc | 10

And not only did the US aid the KLA, they supplied weapons to both sides.

Posted by: Alexander | May 5 2012 0:56 utc | 11

@9, that's idiotic. there couldn't be another watergate. too much has changed, and yet too much has remained the same. shock value is a thing of the past. it's why moa is increasingly irrelevant. yes, they lie and cheat and steal. get off it already. we know and we don't care.

Posted by: wenis | May 5 2012 1:25 utc | 12

@wenis moa increasingly irrelevant...

You obviously don't know what you're talking about.

Posted by: ruralito | May 5 2012 2:06 utc | 13

I lived in New Orleans in the mid 90s when in 1 year there were 435 murders with a city population of roughly 450,000. Rough figuring would place the murder rate at over 90 per 100,000 I taught in a public high school and every single year there was at least one student I taught who was murdered.

I always wondered about Bill Clinton spending so much time on peace-making in northern Ireland which was far less bloody than New Orleans.

A few years ago, I did some rough calculations and comparison of the homicide rate in Baghdad in 2005 or 2006--about 10,000 deaths and 10,000,000 people, only somewhat more than New Orleans 10 yrs. earlier, with cops just as crooked and violent as in Baghdad.

Posted by: sleepy | May 5 2012 2:24 utc | 14

brian@10, I used some RT reports in asking the simple question... Why Is The Terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army Training The Syrian Opposition On Our Dime?

Posted by: CTuttle | May 5 2012 4:06 utc | 15

brian 10
*The KLA are organ traffickering terrorists who were listed as terrorists by US state dept. but ended up being aided by the US.*

+when a force of 400 KLA fighters was surrounded in the town of Aracinovo near the capital, Skopje. As Macedonian security forces moved in, they were halted on NATO orders.

U.S. army buses from Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo arrived to remove all the heavily armed terrorists to a safer area of Macedonia. German reporters later revealed that 17 U.S. military advisors were accompanying the KLA terrorists in Aracinovo.+
http://tinyurl.com/79e5x2y

brian
looks like the wot skipped the white house

Posted by: denk | May 5 2012 4:49 utc | 16

Annie touched on a hot issue even if Lamb may have gone overboard with the Watergate comparison.One has to wonder how such a huge ship was not stopped by the UNIFIL naval patrols that have been stopping and searching the smallest of pleasure and fishing boats to block arms from entering Lebanon. It's said that moving and storing 130 metric tons of arms would have necessitated 40 semi-trailers, 5 huge warehouses and several hundred workers, which is a major logistical undertaking and that some of the arms seized are not available on the black market. One has to also wonder how Israel that has spies in almost every port did not react to the arms being loaded in Libya and making a stop in Alexandria before heading to Lebanon.

Posted by: www | May 5 2012 5:25 utc | 17

'from Wiki’s KLA entry:

…The KLA was regarded by the US as a terrorist group until 1998 when it was de-listed for classified reasons,[7][8] and then the UK and the US lobbied France to do the same.[9] The US then cultivated diplomatic relationships with the KLA leaders… {snip}'

'for classified reasons' is pentagon speak for we cant let the public know who pay us our wages that we are going to work with terrorists. Thats all that 'classified' means.

Posted by: brian | May 5 2012 6:26 utc | 18

yeah, the cynicism is the flavour of the age

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/04/obama-celebrates-press-freedom-but-refuses-to-let-yemen-free-journalist/#comments

Posted by: somebody | May 5 2012 7:48 utc | 19

>>> I regard the outcome of the 7 May 2012 parliamentary election as historic and fundamental. The Baath Party and the governing Establishment is having an easy, no-sweat switchover to full-fledged democracy.<<<

Of course the Baathists will have an easy victory, Parviziyi, but where do you see "full-fledged democracy" in all of this? The legislative body still cannot initiate laws as these are the prerogative of the executive which is under the direct control of the President, as is the judiciary and while this is probably what you and most of the country want and comfortable with, it surely isn't all of the country. The power to approve requests to form new parties is with a committee whose members are mostly (four out of five) chosen by the president and the minister of the interior.

Posted by: www | May 5 2012 11:49 utc | 20

'b' says without qualification that "During the insurgency in Syria over the last thirteen month about 10,000 people were killed." I'd like to echo Alexno #7 that that number is taken from anti-government sources. It is unverified and unverifiable. It is very likely an overstatement.

The Syrian government publishes deaths of Syrian security forces on a daily basis. Those figures are independently verifiable and reliable. For each dead soldier or policeman, we have on the Internet his name, his native city, his marital status, the date he was buried, the hospital from which he was escorted to his burial place (all dead are brought to a military hospital before burial).... and other details about the man and his family not on the Internet are available for any authorized independent investigator who seeks to verify.

Regarding non-security forces deaths, nothing even remotely comparable is available.

There is a lot of evidence that the number of non-security forces deaths has been greatly exaggerated. The following video is illustration that sticks in my memory. It dates from last December. Most of its content is taken from Syrian State TV, and English subtitles have been added. In December a UN agency was saying there had been 5,000 deaths in Syria. For the most part the UN agency's claim didn't have high quality or verifiable data sources. Most of the 5,000 figure was based on the mere says-so of opposition advocates. Somebody at Youtube commented that this video is regime propaganda, and the person who uploaded the video made the fine reply: "Assad propaganda? Dude, did you even watch the video AT ALL? People who were DEAD are ALIVE. I can't dumb it down any more for you." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3flBnf4Lb4

Posted by: Parviziyi | May 5 2012 12:17 utc | 21

And we also have to take in account all the people who died of other/natural/rebel causes counted as killed civilians.

Posted by: Alexander | May 5 2012 12:47 utc | 22

This is in reply to #20 'www'

Under Articles 74, 75, 79 and 80 of the Syrian Constitution, the members of Parliament have the power to propose new laws; new laws proposed by the Executive government must be approved by the Parliament; and the government's annual budget must be approved annually by the Parliament. By having approval power over the annual budget, the Parliament has some considerable power over governance.

Under articles 132 - 149 of the Syrian Constitution, the members of the judiciary, once appointed, are totally independent of the Executive government. The Executive government is involved in the appointments of the judiciary, as in the case in almost all other countries worldwide, but contrary to you that doesn't make the judiciary "under the direct control of the President". As it says in the Constitution's Article 134: "Judges are independent and there is no authority over them except that of the law".

The Syrian Constitution in English is at http://www.sana.sy/eng/370/2012/02/28/401178.htm

The approval of registration of new political parties is done by a committee which is bound to apply the law. Reading the law, there are no non-trivial restrictions on forming new political parties, except (a) religious or sectarian parties are banned, (b) parties based on ancient tribal allegiance are banned, and (c) parties with a purely local basis are banned (parties must be either national or making realistic efforts to become national). Those three restrictions on party formation have the support of the generality of the Syrian people. The main one is the ban on sectarian parties and the evidence that it has the support of the people was given by me in an earlier post on this board. For some more details of what's in the Political Parties Law, a link to a summary in English of the law was given by me on this board the other day at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/05/open-thread-2012-12.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0168eb130963970c

The parliamentary elections on 7 May 2012 are free and fair. The mechanisms by which the integrity of the vote counting is supervised and validated were mentioned by me on this board before at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/03/open-thread-2012-07.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0168e90185c0970c

Posted by: Parviziyi | May 5 2012 13:07 utc | 23

www #17, One has to also wonder how Israel that has spies in almost every port did not react to the arms being loaded in Libya and making a stop in Alexandria before heading to Lebanon.

the judge and prosecutor were probably wondering the same thing. that was a decent size ship. "300, 000 lbs (136 Metric tons) of arms for the Syrian rebels". that's lot of ammo. note the lebanese custom officials were also indicted.

Posted by: annie | May 5 2012 14:28 utc | 24

Parviziyi, from your post you mention above:

"(5) The various Syrian opposition parties that will be competing in the elections are very weak today, they are only being born, their representatives are barely known or entirely unknown to the Syrian public, and they are not attracting much interest today from the more educated classes (nor from the less educated classes). The don't have a route by which they can make themselves a whole lot stronger by election day. Under the new Political Parties Law enacted in August 2011, eight new political parties have recently registered themselves and will be competing in the elections, but the bulk of the Syrian population including the better educated population don't even know the mere names of any of those new parties, never mind what their political platforms are. They are generating very little chatter; the population is exhibiting very little interest in alternative political parties at the moment. Another point is that the Syrian Parliament has contained for many years, in addition to the Baath Party majority, a variety of independents and government critics, and also has some organized opposition parties, yet year after year they've failed to win much popular following."

that's strange, isn't it? political experience tells me it is unlikely for any party to remain in power for 10 years never 50 years without being completely corrupt, that is what power does to people.

for an election to be free and fair you need
a) free press
b) freedom of expression, association and assembly

there were 50 years of emergency rule in Syria until April last year, ie extra-judicial arrest and detention, somehow I cannot see a secret service change their habits in a fight for life or death of a regime (i.e. power structure), so i find it unrealitstic to believe that it got better after April 2011.


Posted by: somebody | May 5 2012 14:45 utc | 25

some remarks to the above

The new Syrian constitution is very much the French constitution of the fifth republic in its original form with a strong presidency (de Gaulle). I have read it and found nothing extraordinary except that the president has to be a Muslim. I think that it was unnecessary to put that in there but believe that it was some kind of compromise to the Sunni side.

That the elections will no lift new parties is normal. It takes time (in Germany usually two election cycles) for new parties to have some impact and it has to start locally. It probably would have been better for Assad if he had split the Baath party into two or three along economic-doctrine lines. One more neoliberal, one more socialist party. That still may happen though.

As for the current situation in Syria this interview with the UN General Mood is quite interesting: UN Mission Chief in Syria Offers Cautious Hope

Arrott: So you're hearing from the Free Syrian Army people here that they want to abide by the plan, but we're also hearing from the opposition, especially outside, that they want to have the military wing of the opposition armed.

Mood: There is an element of fragmentation in all this that obviously is a challenge. But what I can tell you from my engagement is that whomever I meet, they tell me that they want to move on the basis of Kofi Annan's Six Point Plan, and that includes the Free Syrian Army locally, and that includes Local Coordination Committees. I am fully aware that there are others with different agenda, that have other ideas, but I have yet to see a credible alternative to Kofi Annan's Six Point Plan.
...
Arrott: Have you heard reports about the emergence of these [outside salafi] groups, presumably from the government, but also from the opposition side?

Mood: I have heard the argument from several sides that there are, might be someone in the country that come from the outside and to be quite frank, I've also received the message from almost the same players across the spectrum that they don't want to see the future of Syria a very proud, warm, hospitable people being dictated by groups from the outside, having different agendas. They want the Syrian people to decide their direction on the basis of Kofi Annan's Six Point Plan.
...
Mood: ... I think it's key for any audience, if I might use that term, outside Syria to understand that the Syria we meet on the ground is very different from the Syria they see through the dramatic headlines in the media and through the reports in the written media. The Syrian people, they are proud, they are warm, they are extremely proud of their history. They are also proud of the secular characteristics of their society. And they are scared about the alternative, many of them, because that alternative for them is seen as a collapse and a direction that would lead to even more violence and more suffering.

So at the surface of it, in Syria today, the amount of normalcy, to put it that way, across the country is rather surprising. And the highways, they're all very high quality, so you can, if you travel in Syria avoiding, let's say, the hotspots, you can get a feel for a very, very normal, open, hospitable country almost a normalcy. But then you have almost a black and white change, because when you go into the hotspots, you meet children, families, individuals that have been through a terrible amount of suffering and that are living under conditions that are not conditions any human beings should be living under. So it's a different situation.


Posted by: b | May 5 2012 16:30 utc | 26

With the media exposure Robert Mood have been getting in Norway, that is the media he has been exposed to, he certainly would get a surprice seeing what the situation really is. The consitently pro-rebel coverage in Norway has been puzzling to me, that journalists and commenters in even the more radical media have been pro-rebel and anti-Assad has been a real dissapointment to me at least. Only recently have there been some understanding of how the government in Syria are not alone in performing the violence. I'm pleased to see Mood doesn't seem to be working for some western conspiracy.

Posted by: Alexander | May 5 2012 17:45 utc | 27

for an election to be free and fair you need
a) free press
b) freedom of expression, association and assembly

With respect, I would add that you also need
c) social equality (i.e., no discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnicity); and
d) approximate economic equality (otherwise the rich buy the election results)

Posted by: Watson | May 5 2012 18:20 utc | 28

re 26

To say what b has not said, Ban Ki Moon expects a pro-opposition report, and what Mood says has to be filtered in that sense.

Once filtered, the view seems to be as one imagines. Acceptance of the Asad regime remains strong, and the rebel areas are isolated.

I'm off to Iraq soon. We'll see whether all the jihadis have left to take part in the war in Syria.

Posted by: alexno | May 5 2012 20:20 utc | 29

Parviziyi, article 74 talks about the legislative assembly proposing laws, but says nothing about formally introducing laws, voting on them and passing them into law without any involvement by the executive council, as legislative bodies are supposed to do. Article 128, section 4 talks about the executive council drafting laws. In short, it continues as under the former constitution, the legislative assembly cannot propose, debate and vote on a law without the excutive council having first tabled it and and allowed its discussion by the legislature. You have a right to be happy with the way things are set up by the new constitution that's a first step in the right direction, but don't make it appear rosier than what it really is.

Posted by: www | May 5 2012 20:43 utc | 30

b, when you said that the new Syrian constitution was like the French one, you must have read article 24 in the French one that says:

"Parliament shall pass statutes. It shall monitor the action of the Government. It shall assess public policies."

Is this what makes it similar to the Syrian one?.

Posted by: www | May 5 2012 21:29 utc | 31

Al Akhbar English yesterday posted an article: Why Damascus is Wary of Annan summarising the positions of the Syrian government and the actions and positions of the Russian government – the latter are usually not mentioned in the western MSM without distortions ruling the day (cough,… I’m trying to find the most ‘polite’ phrasing for this…). And additional point they mention is the persecution of Christian communities in Homs by the ‘freedom loving’ rebels. Iirc, the same western MSM mentioned that on the side, blaming ‘Assad tugs’.

Posted by: Philippe | May 6 2012 1:52 utc | 32

Philippe, you are doing it yourself in discussing only half the story. The article mentions the expulsion of about 60,000 Christians by the foreign-backed terrorists but it also mentions that the official Syrian press has been keeping the lid on this information to keep from showing the ugly picture. No one is telling the truth.

Posted by: www | May 6 2012 7:25 utc | 33

28 elementary indeed Watson :-))

Posted by: somebody | May 6 2012 9:17 utc | 34

what is the number of people listed as missing?

how many of the missing are feared to be dead?

Posted by: omen | May 6 2012 12:45 utc | 35

It's said that moving and storing 130 metric tons of arms would have necessitated 40 semi-trailers,
Posted by: www | May 5, 2012 1:25:29 AM | 17

it was 3 shipping containers.

why is there no outrage over all the arms and munitions russia and iran has already shipped in or had flown into syria in support of the regime?

Posted by: omen | May 6 2012 13:07 utc | 36

Philippe, you are doing it yourself in discussing only half the story. The article mentions the expulsion of about 60,000 Christians by the foreign-backed terrorists
Posted by: www | May 6, 2012 3:25:02 AM | 33

is every muslim a terrorist to you? the regime gets support from russia and iran as well. why aren't they faulted for being "foreign backed" as well?

why would the syrian opposition expel christians? what is the rationale offered? or do you just take it on faith that this is something that (oooh) scary muslims would do?

al-akhbar is out of lebanon. a government and country filled with regime loyalists.

the claim about rebels kicking out christians has been debunked. via a mcclatchy report:

The group also has been accused of targeting Christians in Homs. But interviews with Syrian Christian refugees who’d fled to Lebanon from Homs and Qusayr uncovered no evidence that Christians were targeted because of their religion. Rather, Christian refugees from Qusayr said that a Christian man and 16 others working with government security forces in Qusayr had been captured by Farouq fighters in March, prompting some Christians to flee. Members of Farouq confirmed the story, as well as the arrests.

shockingly enough, this claim about rebels hating on christians can be traced back to an organ hyping regime propaganda:

In an April 6 article for Ha'aretz I wrote with two co-authors, I traced the widely circulated claim that 90 percent of Christians had been ethnically cleansed from the Syrian city of Homs by Islamist militants back to a site known as al-Haqiqa (Arabic for "The Truth"). This site, despite claiming to oppose the Assad regime while being critical of the Syrian opposition, is accurately described by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) as a "pro-Assad" site.

he also notes:

Besides, the claims of straightforward ethnic cleansing by Islamist militants do not add up, because that is not how jihadist groups deal with Christians. For example, the standard practice in Iraq for jihadist groups like Al-Qaida - renowned in Iraq for its brutality - is to first demand jizya, which is a "poll-tax" imposed on Christian and Jewish minorities, in traditional Islamic theology.

If the minorities fail to pay jizya, they face bomb attacks or other violence. Yet the reports in Al-Haqiqa and Fides make no reference to imposition of jizya.


Posted by: omen | May 6 2012 13:40 utc | 37

but it also mentions that the official Syrian press has been keeping the lid on this information to keep from showing the ugly picture. No one is telling the truth.
Posted by: www | May 6, 2012 3:25:02 AM | 33

why would it serve the regime's interest to "keep a lid" on what the rebels are purported to be doing? why would the regime want to paint a pretty picture?

Posted by: omen | May 6 2012 13:43 utc | 38

What's the outrage with Russia and Iran supplying arms to Syria? Outrageous is America supplying arms to Israel that are used on Palestinian civilians. Huge difference, Omen.

Posted by: www | May 6 2012 13:44 utc | 39

i'll forgive you for dodging the question by deflecting with another topic. but i'll play along.

what's the difference, www?

russia and iran are providing support to prop up the minority oligarch in syria and providing weapons to help kill off the poor.

the US is providing support to prop up the minority oligarch in israel and providing weapons in order to help kill off the poor.

Posted by: omen | May 6 2012 13:56 utc | 40

The "difference" is the abuse of the language. Liberty, freedom, democracy, human rights etc; these words are poison on the lips of the Lizard people. Cordyceps!

Posted by: ruralito | May 6 2012 15:18 utc | 41

ruralito, what are people suffering under oppression supposed to say? are they supposed to wish for freedom in a politically correct manner that doesn't offend you??

just because bush made a mockery of the language doesn't mean we should punish syrians for it.

Posted by: omen | May 6 2012 15:33 utc | 42

Not dodging anything, Omen, I simply don't believe reports by either the government or the insurgents. It's hard to tell how many are really dead or missing as both sides are outdoing each other in distributing disinformation. Syria has been keeping the lid on for over a year, absurdly pretending the insurgency is a not much more than a minor road bump. The pretending is still ongoing. The insurgents that have been carrying on like terrorists have been inflating the numbers of their own casualties and they're also still at it.

Posted by: www | May 6 2012 15:47 utc | 43

@annie @24 - "(136 Metric tons)"

I doubt the numbers being thrown around with those smuggled weapons. There was a Franklin Lamb piece on that at counterpunch which had several big errors.

What we know is that 3 40'' Containers were unloaded by the Lebanese Army. Those will not hold more than some 26 metric tons each.

AlAkhbar has a decent piece on the weapon smuggling: Lebanon-Syria Border: A Weapons Market Boom

Posted by: b | May 6 2012 16:35 utc | 44

omen, governments are allowed to buy and sell weapons, you know?
what's illegal is for governments to sell weapons to insurgencies (it's an act of war), annex occupied territories, ethnic cleansing

Posted by: claudio | May 6 2012 16:37 utc | 45

thanks b

He maintained that there was a tacit agreement between the Turkish authorities and the Syrian National Council for Turkish intelligence to turn a blind eye to the transfer of arms into Syria. He said weapons were also brought in via Jordanian territory, and also from Iraq via the Boukamal route. He noted that light arms are cheaper in Iraq, about half the cost compared to the Lebanese market.....

..efforts are being made to coordinate the activities of the various armed groups in Syria by establishing a Unified Military Council. According to the same sources, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been negotiating with the various factions in the hope of persuading them to join such a body. The FSA command has told them that they would retain freedom of operation in their respective areas, and promised that the council would not interfere with their activities on the ground, but merely liaise between them and act as an umbrella organization.

Posted by: annie | May 6 2012 17:15 utc | 46

b, the lamb article was where i got that figure and i suspect that's where the Ya Libnan got their figure (they cited "unconfirmed reports").

i find it very odd there are so few news reports on the indictments of the 21 people. aside from Ya Libnan and lebanon now there's..nothing although google search offers a link : all 46 news articles » when you click on it there are only the 2 sources available. very strange.

so i googled daily star/Lutfallah II and only this:

Lebanon charges 21 in Syria-bound arms case May 04, 2012 01:36 PM Lebanon charges 21 individuals Friday in connection with the Syria-bound arms cargo that was seized over the weekend in Lebanese territorial waters.


doesn't that seem a little strange?

Posted by: annie | May 6 2012 17:32 utc | 47

oh never mind i spoke too soon. here's another from the daily star and it's got a revolving photo, one allegedly a photo of the cargo. not so impressive.

Posted by: annie | May 6 2012 17:37 utc | 48

"just because bush made a mockery of the language doesn't mean we should punish syrians for it." your missing a clause or two here.

Posted by: ruralito | May 6 2012 18:00 utc | 49

"politically correct"? As if it were you the policeman's taser is pointing at.

Posted by: ruralito | May 6 2012 18:07 utc | 50

Annie, the 2 sources are with the anti-Syria political faction; the story not being favorable to the foreign powers backing the insurgents, it explains why it's being snuffed out. Compare this intercepted ship story with other ones such as those of Iranian ships and how they were front-paged in all the western press. Had the arms been destined for the Syrian government, the whole world would be talking about it.

Posted by: www | May 6 2012 18:29 utc | 51

The following comment is a rebuttal of comment #33 by 'www' above.

In all cases where Syrian rebels have taken over a neighborhood, the majority of the residents of the neighborhood voluntarily leave, because (1) it's just too dangerous to have hordes of trigger-happy armed rebels about the place, and (2) the presence of the rebels induces a collapse in provision of essential services including open supermarkets, electric power, removal of garbage, open schools, passable roads.

The neighborhoods that the rebels have taken over have been overwhelmingly Sunni, with a few exceptions. The Al-Hamidiya neighborhood in Homs City, having a large percentage Christian, is an exception. The town of Qusayr, situated a few kilometers outside Homs City, has a significant Christian minority. Qusayr is nowadays taken over by the rebels. The Al-Akhbar.com news article linked to by commenter Phillippe #32 above says there's been an "expulsion of about 4,000 Christians from al-Qusayr". The word "explusion" is not right. Almost the whole population of Qusayr (30,000 people) has left voluntarily. The following is a report from on the ground in Qusayr dated 23 Apr 2012 which says Qusayr is now "all but abandoned" of population, and "what civilians had chosen to stay were largely dependent on the Free Syrian Army." : http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/04/23/146425/rare-inside-view-of-syrias-rebels.html

The Syrian rebels do NOT persecute Christians as such. Any reported counterexamples to that generality are isolated, and are unrepresentative, and are liable to be over-interpretations of what actually happened.

The comment #33 by 'www' above was:

"The article http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/why-damascus-wary-annan mentions the expulsion of about 60,000 Christians by the foreign-backed terrorists but it also mentions that the official Syrian press has been keeping the lid on this information to keep from showing the ugly picture. No one is telling the truth."

On the contrary it is 'www' who does not have the truth.

I have one more point concerning that comment by 'www'. On 26 Apr 2012 the Syrian Ministry of Information said that the Ministry granted visas to 98 non-Syrian news media organizations in the one month since 25 Mar 2012 (and it also added that workers from 400 different foreign media organizations have entered Syria since the beginning of the crisis a year ago); http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2012/04/27/415236.htm . As you know, the Syrian government has committed itself to Kofi Annan's six-point plan, one of the points of which is "ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them". With that commitment, the Syrian government is not trying to "keep a lid on the ugly picture". It is true, however, that the official Syrian media has been consistently downplaying the ugly state of the rebel "hotspots" while they are "hot". But after the "hotspots cool down", or in other words after the forces of law and order regain full control, the Syrian official media sends in reporters with cameras to report from on the ground including the ugly side of the story. You can find lots of ugly-picture reporting on Syrian State TV programs, and even more on Addounia TV and Al-Ikhbaria TV (the two other main TV statations in Syria), and even more on certain other Syria-based media outlets. Acts perpetrated by rebels and terrorists are front page news on a daily basis in the non-official, pro-government Syria-based news media. The people of Syria are aware of the true picture, including the ugly parts of it, and their awareness is coming primarily from the Syria-based pro-government media.

Posted by: Parviziyi | May 6 2012 19:12 utc | 52

Parviziyi, you have to make up your mind which are the good guys and which are the bad ones. In one paragraph, you say Syrians are leaving their cities voluntarily after they had been taken over by the insurgents, while others chose to remain behind in spite of the reduced services because of the insurgents' presence and in another, you say how Syrian State TV, Addounia and the Akhbaria are reporting on the horrors of what the insurgents are doing. Like the Syrian government, you can't face what's been happening since 15 months. Go back to the part I wrote on how both sides of the conflict are monkeying with the truth in just about the same way you have been doing here. I wish you and your fellow Syrians a nice and safe elections day tomorrow.

Posted by: www | May 6 2012 19:47 utc | 53

In this post I'll be doing a rebuttal of comment #30 above by 'www' where it is said:

The Syrian Constitution in Article 74 talks about the legislative assembly proposing laws, but says nothing about formally introducing laws, voting on them and passing them into law without any involvement by the executive council, as legislative bodies are supposed to do. The Syrian Constitution in Article 128, section 4 talks about the executive council drafting laws. In short, it continues as under the former constitution, the legislative assembly cannot propose, debate and vote on a law without the excutive council having first tabled it and and allowed its discussion by the legislature.

Syria's Constitution says that the President or the Cabinet can propose and draft laws for the parliament to vote on. We agree on that.

But it also says that that the Parliament itself can do the same, independently of the President and Cabinet. Proposed new legislation does not have to be tabled by the executive council. Article 74 says: "Members of the People's Assembly shall exercise the right of proposing laws." The proper interpretation of that provision is that the parliament has the power propose, draft, and enact laws, all by itself. Regarding that proper interpretation, there is absolutely nothing elsewhere in the Constitution that even hints at contradicting or undermining it, and in fact there are provisions that support and re-inforce it.

The Constitution's Article 100 says: "The President of the Republic shall pass the laws approved by the People’s Assembly. He might also reject them through a justified decision within one month of these laws being received by the Presidency. If they are approved a second time by the People’s Assembly with a two thirds majority, they shall be passed by the President of the Republic."

That language is explicitly contemplating the situation where the People's Assembly has proposed, drafted and enacted a law on its own initiative without the President's consent.

Article 147 says: "If the President of the Republic or a fifth of the members of the People’s Assembly object to a law before it is passed, on the grounds of its unconstitutionality, it shall be suspended until the Court rules on it within 15 days of the date of lodging the objection at the Court."

Once again that language contemplates the situation where the newly proposed law was not proposed by the President (otherwise the president could not be objecting to its constitutionality).

Under Article 97, the members of the Cabinet can be appointed and removed by the President at any time for any reason or no reason, and therefore the Executive power is effectively all in the hands of the President in the event of any dispute between the President and members of the Cabinet (aka the members of the executive council).

To repeat, Article 74 of the Syrian Constitution says: "Members of the People's Assembly shall exercise the right of proposing laws." Commenter 'www' thinks that those words are mere empty words, devoid of all ordinary decent meaning, subverted by some other provision of the Constitution. He is wrong.

Posted by: Parviziyi | May 6 2012 22:47 utc | 54

@ www #53: I don't know what you're talking about when you say I am "monkeying with the truth". Of course I don't know all truth, and I can make errors, but I don't "monkey" with the truth, if by "monkey" you mean I am being intentionally untruthful or misleading. I support the Assad government alright, but far more fundamentally I support having the truth and approaching as close as possible the objective reality, no matter what the objective reality may be. So do you it seems. And we both need to be careful. It seems to me you've misunderstood me. Anyway, I don't understand what you're talking about.

Posted by: Parviziyi | May 6 2012 23:07 utc | 55

Parviziyi, you said it all yourself in your above post: "Under Article 97, the members of the Cabinet can be appointed and removed by the President at any time for any reason or no reason, and therefore the Executive power is effectively all in the hands of the President in the event of any dispute between the President and members of the Cabinet (aka the members of the executive council)."

It sure sounds close to a definition of a dictator. In any event,I said both sides are distorting the truth and I apologize for having said the same of you. I'm sure you are sincere in your love of your country and President and I have to respect that. Whether your President is right or wrong, at lest you're not asking NATO to bomb your own country as the terrorists in Syria are doing.

Posted by: www | May 7 2012 4:52 utc | 56

@ 'www': The power of the president under the Syrian Constitution is about the same as that of the president under the USA Constitution (the French Constitution I'm not knowledgeable about). Under both the Syrian and the USA Constitutions the president appoints the Cabinet Ministers and can replace them at any time for any reason; the president can veto new laws passed by a simple majority in the parliament but the parliament can override the president's veto by a vote of two-thirds majority of the parliament; the president appoints or nominates the judges to the courts. The USA president is sensitive to public opinion in the USA and normally doesn't do anything that USA public opinion disapproves of -- and the same is very true in Syria under Assad.

Bashar Assad and the Assad goverment are popular in Syria. One of the foundations of their popularity is that they're ruled philosophically by the idea that the government is the servant of the people and should be responsive to whatever the people want, an idea you can find repeatedly in speeches by Bashar Assad and other goverment officials, especially during the last year. Regarding the current crisis, the government's unshakeable position is that the political outcome must be essentially whatever is popular with the people of Syria as expressed in the results of competitive elections in which Assad and the Baath Party are competitors.

Posted by: Parviziyi | May 7 2012 17:19 utc | 57

B - that interview with general mood was very misleading.
this is the true nature of the regime you keep defending:

Assad’s relationship to Israeli and US imperialism


Much confusion exists on the left as to the real nature of the Syrian regime because of what it was in the past.

[...]

Al-Assad used his supposed “secularism” as a means of actually inciting ethnic divisions in Syria. He posed himself as a defender of religious minorities against the Sunni majority, allowing him to maintain a base of support among the Alawite and Christian groups who make up a significant portion of the population (today together they are 20% of the population). This sectarian “secularism” was used to repress opposition groups and the Sunni majority. Despite this secular facade, Assad relied heavily on both Christian and Islamic religious leaders to maintain control over the toiling masses.

[...]

It was in the early 1990s that the Assad regime began to shift its policy to one of significant liberalization policies to encourage foreign investment into Syria and to expand the private sector. This was particularly accelerated in the 2000s, with the expansion of private banking and businesses. The ruling bureaucratic cliques, presiding over much of the nationalized economy realized that they could increase their plunder by expanding capitalist investment into the country.

[...]

The ruling Syrian clique, inspired by the Chinese model of restoring capitalism, began to carry out similar reforms through a programme of privatisations, ending subsidies and opening up to the West and other imperialist countries. The old state bureaucracy, much like in China, has shifted its base from a state owned, planned economy one where parts of the old state owned sector have been privatised in favour of members of the regime itself and the “market” has been allowed to develop. As a result of this economic liberalisation, the gap between Syria’s rich and poor increased massively.

The estimate of the number of Syrians living below the poverty line is anywhere from 33% to 40%, with those in “extreme poverty”, defined as being unable to even meet their most basic needs, standing at around 13%. Unemployment has skyrocketed to 20%, and is much higher among the youth. It is precisely because of this programme of privatisation, cuts to subsidies and cuts to social services that led the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to express themselves as being quite satisfied with the Assad dictatorship. The anger at these gaping inequalities is a significant factor that fuelled the revolution that erupted in 2011.

[...]

Hafez Al-Assad first, and later his son and current ruler Bashar, regularly entered into alliances with the Western imperialists. They have played an openly counter-revolutionary role in repressing mass uprisings in Lebanon in league with regional imperialist powers, were open partners with George Bush Sr.’s invasion of Iraq in 1991 and have played a collaborative role in the so-called “War on Terror”. Far from the image that some on the left attribute to Assad as an anti-imperialist, he has been a regional partner with imperialism and has played a destructive role in relation to mass left-wing movements in the region, most notably in Lebanon.

During the Lebanese civil war, from 1975-1990, the Syrian regime and its proxies engaged in a direct offensive to repress the revolutionary left-wing movements, particularly represented by the left-wing Palestinian groups and the Lebanese Communist Party. Assad supported the right-wing Maronite regime and the far-right paramilitary squads that were used to drown the movement in blood.

From the standpoint of the Syrian regime, the mass left-wing movements in a neighbouring country represented a threat that could spread to Syria. Assad also wanted to establish and consolidate his influence in Lebanon. The Syrian military and Syrian-backed local groups directly intervened in the civil war. They also actively encouraged sectarian differences, much as Assad has done at home in Syria. During the mid-to-late 1970s, they were able to repress the Lebanese Communist Party and the Palestinian revolutionary groups. After succeeding in destroying left-wing groups in Lebanon, they turned to destroying the Syrian left groups, including the Communist Labour Party and the Syrian Communist Party.

this isn't secularism, this is fascism.

Posted by: omen | May 7 2012 17:58 utc | 58

@omen - this is the true nature of the regime you keep defending

I am well aware of the neo-liberal trend that has infected Syria as many other states.

But the current alternative with the SNC and the FSA is much, much worse. They are reactionaries of the worst kind. The Muslim Brotherhood (like many other such movements) is NOT a force of progress or more socialist policies. It is rightwing with regard to civil liberties as well as with regard to economics (see that mulch-millionaire MB boss in Egypt who wanted to become president).

Assad may be neoliberal in some policies and he is surrounded by cronies. Nothing new there. That's not different in the U.S. or in Germany. But Assad is much more liberal in a civil society context than any current alternative in Syria. That is the reason why he has my support.

Posted by: b | May 7 2012 18:53 utc | 59

what's liberal about the slow motion genocide he is embarked upon?

Posted by: omen | May 7 2012 18:54 utc | 60

The Muslim Brotherhood (like many other such movements) is NOT a force of progress or more socialist policies.

though the muslim brotherhood's approval ratings are declining in egypt, what gave them their base of support to begin with? they address the needs of the poor. they help provide food and healthcare. sounds socialistic to me.

and this is an alliance i had not heard of before:

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - At a meeting of Syria's opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad.


the syrian branch of the brotherhood is said to be more moderate than the ones in egypt. regardless of their merits or demerits, it should be up to the syrian people to choose.

Posted by: omen | May 7 2012 19:37 utc | 61

Omen, there is no genocide of any kind going on; you have to shake off those prejudices cooked up in the networks' back rooms. And Gadafi wasn't strafing Benghazi's civilians with his air force either, in case you also believed that one.

The poor had nothing to do with the Brotherhood's coming out into the sunlight after 50 years; it was Uncle Sam putting in a good word for them with the generals. It would help to diversify your news sources.

Posted by: www | May 7 2012 20:34 utc | 62

Parviziyi, you said something about competitive elections in which Assad and the Baath Party are competitors. Who are they competing against? Sounds a bit like shadowboxing.

Posted by: www | May 7 2012 20:54 utc | 63

www - you are in denial. get help.

Posted by: omen | May 7 2012 23:34 utc | 64

b - these numbers you cite are in all likelihood underestimated - if you consider accounts like these:

A woman whose house was set alight on 11 March was allegedly told that it was pointless reporting the incident unless she blamed terrorists.

"The neighbours saw it was military security members who attacked my house," she told Amnesty. "It was the middle of the day and there were tanks and soldiers and security force members everywhere in the area – how on Earth could this have been the doing of armed groups? So I did not lodge a complaint."

Posted by: omen | May 7 2012 23:39 utc | 65

It would help to diversify your news sources.

i not only follow western news outlets, i followed a translated compilation of news broadcast from the middle east.

http://www.linktv.org/mosaic

you?

Posted by: omen | May 7 2012 23:43 utc | 66

Omen, there is no genocide of any kind going on
Posted by: www | May 7, 2012 4:34:02 PM | 63

do you know any syrians? besides this one bashar supporter that posts on this board. how can you so easily dismiss their reality?

from robert fisk:

In Lebanon, the very closeness of the conflict – combined with the terrifying pictures of carbonised women and children in the Lebanese press (beyond anything seen in the West) – is creating enormous anger among both Assad's admirers and his detractors.

read the other cite i posted about mass graves.

Posted by: omen | May 7 2012 23:54 utc | 67

Omen, there's no need to know any Syrians or any other Arabs to understand what's going on. Link-TV is also a western news outlet picking and choosing what it wants you to see of the news. Most of its ME stories are taken from the BBC(!) and from the "Gadafi-is-strafing-Benghazi" network. Read a few articles from al-Ahram that is equally critical of the regime's abusive heavy-handed responses and the foreign-backed terrorists pretending to be the opposition. Looking up the definition of "genocide" would also help.

Posted by: www | May 8 2012 5:19 utc | 68

www -there's no need to know any Syrians or any other Arabs to understand what's going on.

it makes a great deal of difference. if you actually knew a few, i doubt you would dismiss these atrocities so lightly. you wouldn't treat the story as something abstract.

Link-TV is also a western news outlet picking and choosing what it wants you to see of the news.

have you ever watched linktv? it and freespeechtv aren't corporate agenda driven and are the two channels most critical of the u.s. government. mosaic's producer is a palestinian american.


Most of its ME stories are taken from the BBC(!) and from the "Gadafi-is-strafing-Benghazi" network.

one misreported story doesn't mean gaddafi was an angel.

Read a few articles from al-Ahram that is equally critical of the regime's abusive heavy-handed responses and the foreign-backed terrorists pretending to be the opposition.

that's a government owned paper that failed to hold accountable the mubarak regime back when he was in power.

Looking up the definition of "genocide" would also help.

the deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. those of a particular ethnic group or nation.

that's what bashar is doing. he's targeting sunnis.

come onto twitter and follow the #syria channel. follow the activist. some of them are on the ground reporting from syria. look at the photos and videos they're putting out. challenge them if you are in doubt.

Posted by: omen | May 8 2012 5:49 utc | 69

Omen, being a Palestinian American is not necessarily a good reference, Walid Shoebat is also a Palestinian American and you're right about one misreported story doesn't make Gadafi an angel; I wasn't defending any of the fruitcake's morals but simply recaling how the disinformation spread by a network was used by NATO to slaughter tens of thousands of civilians. The same network is now attempting to repeat it in Syria. You have to be wary of western powers and their "humanitarian" reasons for bombing civilians. Looks like you missed MOA's few good reports describing the bogus stories and "amateur" videos coming out of Syria. 75% of Syria's population is Sunni. Are you serious about Bachar being out to ethnically cleanse 16 million people?

Posted by: www | May 8 2012 8:17 utc | 70

www have you seen the destruction of homs? is that hollywood special effects too?

Posted by: omen | May 9 2012 7:34 utc | 71

It's a shame what the army did to Homs but you have to blame the terrorists for having taken over part of the city, which forced the army to do what it did. The army didn't just go into Homs and bomb it for no reason. Most of the choreographed news clips by the 2 networks that were shown in the West were filmed in Homs. By the way, the government wasn't above producing bogus news footage either.

Posted by: www | May 9 2012 9:03 utc | 72

the regime was inflicting collective punishment even before there was an fsa.

Posted by: omen | May 9 2012 11:19 utc | 73

Journalists and UN inspectors with Syrian military guards in rebel bomb-blast, 6 guards injured. Maybe now the rebels loose some western media and UN good-will?

Posted by: Alexander | May 9 2012 13:08 utc | 74

Omen, today, the freedom-fighting terrorists that you are rooting for targeted a UN convoy that included the commander of the UN observers team. The roadside bomb hit instead an army vehicle that was in the convoy and 9 soldiers were seriously injured.

This came after an interview with the FSA commander, Riad al-Aswaad appeared earlier today in the Shark al Awsat in which he more or less insinuated what he had in store for the government forces and the UN team; looks like your man kept his word:

>>> FSA to resume military operations – FSA commander

09/05/2012
By Caroline Akoum

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Free Syrian Army [FSA] commander Colonel Riad al-Asaad has threatened to resume attacks on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, considering this a “legitimate” defense of the Syrian people, in light of the continuing government crackdown on protests. Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, the FSA commander, stressed that “we have reached the climactic stage, regardless of whatever the UN Security Council decides, we will not stand idly by because we are no longer able to tolerate and wait whilst killings, arrests and shelling continue despite the presence of [UN] observers who have been turned into false witnesses.”

He added “Our people are also demanding that we defend them in light of the absence of any serious steps by the UN Security Council, which is granting the regime an opportunity to commit more crimes.” <<<

http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=29554

Posted by: www | May 9 2012 13:09 utc | 75

Indeed something did happen today, suddenly when the rebel roadbomb hit a convoy with journalists, and not only government soldiers, it's no longer a given to report the rebels narrative anymore. I noticed that on different new-outlets today, at least the Norwegian ones. And no surprise, Robert Mood wasn't the only Norwegian in the convoy, there were even some Norwegian journos too.

Posted by: Alexander | May 9 2012 22:05 utc | 76

Democracy is coming to Syria; this morning's early hours 2 Damascus blasts killed 40 and injured 170 mostly civilians.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/May-10/172905-syrian-capital-rocked-by-two-powerful-blasts.ashx#axzz1uSPXb8qF

Posted by: www | May 10 2012 9:38 utc | 77

So, when are the international community going to say, "enough is enough, time to let Assad crack down on the terrorists".

Posted by: Alexander | May 10 2012 11:08 utc | 78

The international community is the one that's sending in the terrorists. Right or wrong, the majority of the Syrians were happy with the regime and didn't ask to be helped.

Posted by: www | May 10 2012 11:34 utc | 79

terror blast in Damascus...SNC brazenly blames the govt...is this a muslim thing: to lie that way?
http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/huge-explosions-in-damascus.html

not the work of your average jihadi!

Posted by: brian | May 10 2012 13:14 utc | 80

'CBS News' George Baghdadi says human remains and badly burned bodies littered the streets after the explosions, which also destroyed as many as 40 cars and pickup trucks. Syrian Ministry of Interior says 70 people were killed by the explosions, including 15 whose bodies were completely torn apart. Another 372 were wounded, including civilians and members of the military, the ministry added.'

so CBS can see civilians are being massacred...the terrorists have even less concern than the US military at civilian casualties

Posted by: brian | May 10 2012 13:16 utc | 81

UPDATE # 2


From Euronews- "A crowd gathered around chanting pro-Assad slogans"

I want to quote that before the news cleanses itself of anything real coming out of Syria

“There are more than 20 cars which have been destroyed, inside are burned corpses. There are buses and taxis and you can see bodies which look as if they have been vaporised. According to Syrian officials these have been the biggest blasts in the capital to date. A crowd gathered chanting pro-Assad slogans.
“Just last night I was with the Syrian Minister for Information. He stressed to me his concern that al-Qaeda is becoming more active in the region. No group has claimed responsibility or has been named as being behind these explosions but suspicions have been raised they could be the work of al-Qaeda. The minister added terrorist attacks are becoming more sophisticated, the targets chosen well, while there are too many common factors between these attacks in Syria and ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Posted by: brian | May 10 2012 13:18 utc | 82

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