Friday, May 13, 2011

Another Bloody Day In Syria

At least 19 people were killed in the latest crackdown against Bashar al-Assad's opponents. While the regime continues holding on to power despite widespread protests there is some indication that Assad is gaining the upper hand. I'm not buying into that - the fact that the protests are spreading beyond the original locations and that Assad has been forced into bringing out the armored divisions all across the country suggests that his regime is fighting for its very existence here.

The protesters keep taking to the streets despite the mortal peril they're putting themselves in. The number of people being detained keeps rising, as does the death toll.

For its part, the Russians are continuing to prop up the Assad regime by warning against military action by the West to stop Assad's bloody crackdown. That follows a similar call from the Chinese earlier in the week.

At the same time, there's movement on the UN probe in to the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and that Syrian officials have been fingered:
According to Lebanese press reports, prosecutor Daniel Bellemare has obtained new information indicating the involvement of Syrian senior officials in the 2005 assassination. The material was included in the amended indictment draft which was filed last week.

The report indicated that the information was provided by Syrian expats in Hague who claimed they witnessed the event.

Meanwhile, the as-Safir newspaper quoted a French source who said the UN prosecutor discussed cooperation with French security authorities with Paris officials. According to the report, the prosecutor promised to track down the Syrian organizers of the Hariri assassination.

Twenty-two other people were killed in the 2005 attack which ignited a protest wave which led to Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon.

At the time, Syria was marked as the prime suspect for the hit as Hariri was known as fiercely critical of its involvement in Lebanon. Later, fingers were pointed at a Syrian ally – Hezbollah.
This is yet another complication for the Assad regime, which has long backed not only Hizbullah and meddling in Lebanon, but Hamas as well. Assad's problems are multiplying the pressure on his regime but he's resorted to the only solution his regime (and that of his father has known) - violently cracking down against all those opposed to his regime.

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