Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brief History of the Syrian Revolution

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:6

Granted, I have not been following the events in Syria closely. Let's be honest, there is so much going on that seems more pertinent and much closer to home, but as I was perusing the news of the day several articles seemed to present themselves as ominous warnings.

First, Jake Tapper reports that Speaker John Boehner is set to issue an ultimatum to the President to get out of Libya or come before congress seeking authorization for military intervention:

In the immortal words of the vice president, this could be a big $%^ing deal: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is throwingwhatone Republican calls “a legal and political hot potato at the President.”

In a resolution to be voted on in the House tomorrow, Boehner is giving the president two weeks – until the Pentagon Appropriations bill comes up – to either:

a) Ask for authorization for the military intervention in Libya, or

b) Figure out how to disengage the US from the NATO operation in Libya.

The resolution states: “The President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya. Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.”

Certainly seems appropriate under the circumstances given the fact that President Obama invoked the 1973 War Powers Act when he launched military action against Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi in March. This act requires president's to obtain congressional approval within 60 days (Friday), or withdraw forces within 30 days.

Interestingly I also noted today, via DEBKA File:

Military and intelligence sources report that Monday, June 13, the US deployed the USS Bataan amphibian air carrier strike vessel opposite Syria's Mediterranean coast with 2,000 marines, 6 war planes, 15 attack helicopters, including new V-22 Ospreys, and 27 choppers for landing forces aboard.Also this week, US naval units went operational in the Aegean, Adriatic and Black Seas as part of the joint US-Ukrainian Sea Breeze 2011 exercise.

The USS Monterrey cruiser armed with Aegis surface missile interceptors has additionally been stationed in the Black Sea. Western sources additionally report a build-up of ship-borne anti-missile missile strength in the Mediterranean basin.

This huge concentration of naval missile interceptor units looks like preparations by Washington for the contingency of Iran, Syria and Hizballah letting loose with surface missiles against US and Israeli targets in the event of US military intervention to stop the anti-opposition slaughter underway in Syria.

Moscow, Tehran and Damascus, in particular, are taking this exceptional spate of American military movements in and around the Mediterranean as realistically portending American intervention in Syria.

Now I will grant you that DEBKA File isn't always accurate in their reporting, but movement of naval resources doesn't strike me as particularly confidential information.

Regardless, you may recall on May 15, 2011 Israel opened fire on pro "Palestinian" demonstrators attempting to breach its borders on three fronts, killing at least 13 people. The Guardian reported:

Israeli troops opened fire on pro-Palestinian demonstrators attempting to breach its borders on three fronts, killing at least 13 people. Scores more were wounded at Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

Clashes also erupted in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as Palestinians commemorated Nakba Day, the anniversary marking the 1948 war in which hundreds of thousands of people became refugees after being forced out of their homes.

Thousands of Palestinian refugees in Syria marched towards the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. At least four people were killed by Israeli troops as they crossed the border, Israel Radio reported. Up to 20 were injured, according to the Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance service.

At the time there were suspicions that this event was orchestrated by Syria. Today comes confirmation from Syrian state documents that show Assad orchestrated Nakba Day raids on Golan Heights':

The document which bears the Syrian Republic emblem, is dated May 14, 2011 and describes an “urgent meeting” of Major General Asef Shawkat, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, and the chiefs of security and military intelligence branches in the province in Al-Qunaitera, which is located at the Syrian-Israeli border. The memorandum outlines how the regime ordered the dispatching of 20 buses, each one with a passenger capacity of 47, to cross the border into Majdal-Shamms in the Golan Heights in order to precipitate a confrontation between Palestinian refugees and Israeli soldiers and UN peacekeeping forces, thereby distracting international attention from the Syrian revolution.

Lastly we have word that Syria is pursuing a "scorched earth" campaign (video at the link):

AFP - Six civilians were killed Tuesday and tanks were deployed near Syria's border with Iraq, activists said as President Bashar al-Assad came under sharp pressure to halt a crackdown on democracy protests.

The latest deaths came after fresh protests erupted in the eastern town of Deir Ezzor, a human rights activist told AFP and troops pursued a scorched earth campaign in northern mountains, sending thousands fleeing.

"The armed forces are continuing their operations and the sweep of the villages near Jisr al-Shughur," the flashpoint northeastern town which the army took by force on Sunday, the activist said.

"Six civilians perished in the past few hours in Ariha," east of Jisr al-Shughur, he said, without providing further details.

"Some 10 tanks and 15-20 troop carriers were deployed around the town of Abu Kamal," 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Damascus near the border with Iraq, the activist added.

In the end, though, Assad has to go. He and his family, have proven themselves to be brutal dictators, willing to repress, torture, and slaughter Syrian men, women, and children to maintain their grip on power and ultimate authority.

Also today I found a video entitled a "Brief History of the Syrian Revolution". It is difficult to watch as it is graphic and ugly, but something I think needs to be seen. It sort of coalesced all that I presented above into a reality that cannot be dismissed. Bashir Assad is a tyrant and must go, even if it means giving Obama an out in Libya.

Warning Graphic Video!

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