Sunday, October 30, 2011

Syrian developments

Some interesting developments in relation to Syria.
1. Not only does the insurrection against Pres. Assad continue, but it seems to increase in intensity every Friday. The total killed according to reports over the weekend rose to 50. In Homs it was reported that 17 soldiers were killed in ambushes by army deserters.
2. The Arab League sent an urgent message to Pres. Assad warning him to take steps to satisfy the demands of the Syrian people. Since the main aim of the protests is to remove Assad from office, there does not seem much that he can do to accomodate them except resign.
3. Chinese representatives visiting Syria, criticized for the first time the Syrian Government's response to the demonstrations. This is of course very hypocritical, since there is no right to demonstrate in China and any public manifestations would be speedily suppressed. Nevertheless, it shows that the international commmunity are getting fed-up with the continual daily death rate in Syria. But, so far China and Russia have shielded Syria from international condemnation in the UN Security Council.
4. The Intl. Atomic Energy Authority has criticized Syria for first agreeing to accept a fact-finding delegation and then rescinding the offer. This delegation was being sent to investigate the claim that the facility destroyed in an Israeli air raid 2 years ago was in fact an atomic plant intended to produce weapons grade plutonium. The refusal of Syria to allow the IAEA to investigate this site has only increased the belief that the Syrians did in fact have a secret and illegal nuclear weapons program.
5. For the first time there are reports of Syrian army deserters crossing the Lebanese border rather than firing on their own people. Also, there are rumors that the Turkish authorities are allowing an army of opponents of the regime to be formed in Turkey, with recruits from around the world as well as from Syria. Perhaps because of its rivalry with Iran, perhaps because the Assad regime is dominated by Alawites and the opposition is Sunni, like the Turks, or perhaps because of its attempts to gain influence in the Arab world, Turkey is now supporting the opposition to Assad. There have been several meetings of opposition groups in Turkey in order to form a united front, but it remains to be seen whether or not these groups can in fact together bring down the Assad regime.


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