In case you missed it, this was the very good show on al Jazeera where Muhammad al Abdullah faced the pro-regime Abdel Massih al Shami. And yes, Abdel Massih did fall off his chair at the end of the show. Very amusing forty eight minutes.
"Syria forced storm refuge for army defectors"
Rastan is the traditional "army town" for Syria, and Mustafa Tlass himself hails from there. It has also, since the start of the protests, become a centre for army defectors and has already been heavily assaulted before. So it is is interesting that the regime is once again going back there to crush what it thinks is a nuclear for army defectors. My bet is that anybody who is resisting the Syrian security forces has already melted away before the army surrounded it, and will probably return, or re-materialise elsewhere once the onslaught continues. At least that's what I think somebody smart would do.
Haaretz reporting (and probably with some irony) that Syria's UN envoy accuses Israel of committing 'state terrorism' against the Palestinians. A pot, calling a kettle black, calling a pot black, calling a kettle black. You get the picture.
Syrian oil, again, in the headlines as the Washington Post reports Syria wants oil companies to cut back production. In short, nobody is buying the stuff, and they are running out of places to store it. Oh dear...
The US is warning Najib Mikati, Lebanon's pro-Hezbullah prime minister, about any links with the Syrian regime - according to the "Daily Star". Mikati has his fingers in many pies, especially in West Africa and the Cote D'Ivoire, so the Americans seem to know who to point their warnings to. A man like him would do best to be very careful and tread carefully.
Videos on the Guardian's Live Blog show students being arrested by the Syrian regime security forces. Notice that children are now speaking freely and cursing Assad. Something unthinkable six months ago. Something tells me that when children aren't afraid of you any more then the game is starting to look up.
The British Ambassador to Syria has started blogging about what is happening there. Well, to be precise he has decided to start blogging. He still hasn't said anything substantial yet. So let's see what he comes up with.
"Assad Rejects Accusations of Seeking Minority Alliances" according to the "Daily Star":
Syrian President Bashar Assad rejected accusations Monday that he was seeking an alliance of minorities against Syria’s Sunni majority during a meeting with a Lebanese Christian delegation.
Actually that might be precisely what he's aiming to do. Forty years of sectarian Baath party rule can be thanked for this type of language.
In other news, four years after his assassination, Syria miraculously exposes the "spy" that Israel used to kill Imad Mughniyeh. Of course his family emphatically rejected this accusation (see my earlier post) but who cares about such a petty thing like evidence or the truth in today's Syrian media? Better late than never I suppose...
And finally, as has becoming depressingly usual, "Civil War Likely in Syria?" is the headline for a post by UPI:
"We are not in a civil war yet but we will certainly be heading there unless something is done," he said. "I would have rated this scenario very low in March. Today, it is quite a possibility."