The United Nations Security Council will be meeting today to *possibly* pass a weakened and much watered down version of a resolution against Syria. It's a step forward but it will not stop the regime killing people. Politically it will be a major blow, however.
Russia has rejected the United Nations Security Council draft resolution even though it has been watered down.
"France Warns Syria Not to Intimidate Activists" - a recurring theme over the past few months. Pro-regime demonstrators in Western capitals relish threatening anti-regime protesters and coming to take pictures of them. Implicit in the threat or action is the understanding that they will never be able to return to Syria, or that their families will be endangered. Hardly surprising that this regime resorts to such underhanded tactics. The real question is how long they will be able to speak reform to foreign observers and blackmail to Syrian nationals without this policy of doublespeak backfiring.
"Assassinations Sow Discord in Syria" - I think some Syrians have had enough with being killed by the Syrian regime and have decided to take matters into their own hands:
Syria's government said an armed terrorist group shot the 22-year-old Mr. Hassoun in the back while he drove to his university between Aleppo and Idlib with a professor. Mr. Hassoun later died of his injuries, while the professor, Mohammad al-Omar, died on the spot, state media said.I don't know what the young Mr. Hassoun's politics were, but it is sad that the sons are paying the price for the sins of their fathers. This series of tit-for-tat killings does bring to mind the period of 1979-1982 when such assassinations were common in Syria. But, we must be very careful of drawing analogies. History is repeated only in the minds of those who do not learn from it.
Day Press, a pro-Syrian regime news site, reports on the funerals of those assassinated. Amusingly, they also report that:
Also on Monday, The competent authorities seized amounts of different weapons near the Syrian-Turkish borders were smuggled to Syria.
I'd hardly call the Syrian security forces, "competent", but then again what should I expect from a website that fully expects its readers to believe that Syria is the victim of a massive conspiracy involving the United States, the Mossad, Qatar, Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al Qaeda? That doesn't mean that the story is in any sense untrue, rather, it is very likely. Syria has a very large and porous border with Turkey and the Turkish hinterland is by no means under the full control of the Turkish security services (just ask the Kurds). There are probably many people who would be interested in supporting the so-called "Free Syrian Army" and it is not difficult to get weapons across the border.
Ramzy Baroud, writes an angry article in the "Asia Times Online" criticising the "feisty" US ambassador to Syria for sticking his nose in other people's business. His article is a denunciation of US policy in the region, but he rightly places US politicking as the "second greatest danger" facing the Syrian people, the first being the "cruelty of the Syrian regime". I do agree with him, but I'm extremely wary of transforming my anger at US policy in the region with supporting the Syrian regime as a resistance to those policies. He treads a careful line.
Speaking of US policies, the American propaganda organisation Voice of America also reports that the Syrian security forces have "seized smuggled weapons" allegedly coming in from Turkey. As I said before, this is probably true, as the country is now on the verge of civil war and, frankly, the regime can't crush the protests as hard as it tries to right now. The people who have lost loved ones so far will not be satisfied by anything other than the Syrian president and those responsible hanging from their necks. Syria has entered a long dark tunnel and it is not certain if any of us here today will see the country when it comes out.
Mikati denies secretly meeting Moallem in Syria - according to the "Daily Star". I have heard that Mikati's brother, who is richer and far smarter, is very good friends with Bashar al Assad. The fact that this comes so soon after the US has warned Mikati of his links with the Syrian regime suggests that he could be playing some role as a go-between and possible mediator.
In other news, it seems that "almost all Filipinos in Syria" are undocumented, according to this site. So getting them out safely will be even more difficult than at first imagined.
Also, revoking a recently passed 'law' banning the import of non-essential items appears to be a clear sign that the Syrian merchant classes can still exert some pressure on the regime if need be. Either that, or the idea of a trade war with Turkey would have been a step too far.