Sunday, July 10, 2011

War of Words Continues Over Syrian Crackdown Against Protests

The war of words between the diplomatic corps of the US, France and Syria continues. Syria has called the US ambassador Robert Ford and his French counterpart to protest their visits to Hama to witness the protests.

That comes a day after the Syrian ambassador was called to the US State Department in Washington DC to protest Syrian diplomats photographing and videotaping American protesters outside the Syrian embassy as a means to intimidate protesters.

It comes as no surprise that Iran is backing Syria's view on US Ambassador Robert Ford's visit to Hama to witness first hand the protests against the regime of Bashar Assad.

Note the key difference here - Syrian diplomats are attempting to intimidate legitimate protesters and the American and French diplomats were simply attempting to witness protesters in Hama demonstrate against the autocratic and brutal regime of Bashar al Assad.

Assad's regime simply cannot tolerate dissent and anything that even comes close to backing the protests is seen as a threat to be dealt with accordingly.

Meanwhile, I don't consider calls by the Syrian Vice President for a transition to democracy to be credible or trust-worthy. After all, Assad has gone on various media outlets claiming he was reforming or providing amnesty or otherwise giving in to various demands by the protesters, but then turns around to brutally suppress protests and continues murdering, torturing, and detaining thousands.
The Syrian regime has used a mix of brute force and tentative promises of reform to try to quell the uprising, which was inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Some 1,600 civilians and 350 members of security forces have been killed since demonstrations began, activists say.

Al-Sharaa acknowledged that the promise of reforms would not have come without the uprising.

"It must be recognized, that without the blood sacrifices that was shed by civilians and soldiers ... that this national dialogue would not have been held, at this high level of supervision, under the lens of cameras," he said.

But at the same time, he condemned some protesters as tools of foreign agents seeking to enflame sectarian tensions and divide the country — echoing Assad's position.

The government accuses foreign conspirators and thugs for the unrest, not true reform-seekers.

The conference was a rare step in a country where people rarely criticize the regime publicly or directly, fearing retribution by the pervasive security forces. Though the main opposition boycotted the dialogue, some opposition figures, intellectuals and members of parliament were on the other side of the table.

On live Syrian television — which usually is a tightly controlled medium for the regime — a series of intellectuals slammed the government for using force against protesters.

Still, leading opposition figures and some of the coordinators of the anti-government uprising said they would not participate in the dialogue, saying it sought to whitewash the regime's brutal crackdown.

"They are blockading (restive) cities, and killing demonstrators, arresting people and torturing people to death," said Omar Idilbi, a spokesman for a loose network of anti-government activists. "That cannot create a good environment for dialogue."
At the same time, Syrian businessmen linked with Assad are attempting to evade sanctions imposed on the regime. This includes Assad's cousin Rami Makhlouf

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