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Human Right Watch has just release a new report on torture in Assad's Syria. Take a good look at the regime Syrians are dying to replace, the old regime that the UN decreed this Saturday should be eligible for participation in the new regime.

Torture Archipelago
July 3, 2012

Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, and Enforced Disappearances in Syria'€™s Underground Prisons since March 2011


Ivan Watson of CNN has an early article on the report:
Istanbul (CNN) -- "Basat al reeh." "Dulab." "Falaqa." They are Arabic names for torture techniques that send chills through the hearts of Syrians, particularly the untold thousands who are believed to have been detained during the uprising of the last 15 months.

"We suffered torture all the time," said Tariq, an opposition activist from the port city of Latakia who spent 40 days in solitary confinement in spring 2011.

He told CNN he endured "dulab," in which torturers force the prisoner's legs and head into a car tire before beating them, and "basat al reeh," in which the prisoner is tied to a board and beaten.

"They threw cold water on our naked bodies and they also urinated on us ... they are really good at what they do," said Tariq, who now is in Turkey helping mobilize men and weapons to rebels inside Syria.

According to a report published Tuesday by the New York-based human rights organization Human Rights Watch, the Syrian government has been carrying out "a state policy of torture" as part of an effort to crush dissent throughout the unrest.

Human Rights Watch identified 27 detention centers across Syria where torture was systematically inflicted on prisoners, according to testimonies from more than 200 former prisoners and security officers who defected.

"It is a network of torture chambers that the authorities are using to intimidate and punish people who dare to oppose the government," said Ole Solvang, a Human Rights Watch researcher.

"Nobody knows how many people are being detained, how many are being tortured," he added. "But one local activist group has collected names of 25,000 people in detention. The numbers are absolutely staggering."

             The Bashar al-Assad Regime's Favorite Torture Methods

Electrocution

Detainees described being bound, sometimes on a chair, having cattle prongs attached to their bodies, and being jolted repeatedly by electrical currents.  The prongs were reportedly attached to sensitive places including genitalia, inside the mouth, and also on the neck, chest, hands, and legs.

“I didn’t confess.  The interrogator said ‘bring me the electricity.’…The guard brought two electric prongs.  He put one in my mouth, on my tooth.  Then he started turning it on and off quickly.  He did this 7/8 times.  I felt like, that’s it.  I am not going to leave this branch.”

— Soldier who was held at the Air Force Intelligence branch in Latakia in June 2011.  Human Rights Watch interviewed him in Hatay, Turkey in January 2012.

Falaqa

Detainees described being beaten on the soles of their feet with sticks and whips to the point that their skin was raw, their feet swollen and bleeding, making it impossible to walk.

“He ordered me to raise my legs and then he started hitting me on my soles with a thick wooden baton. I started screaming “I didn’t do anything, I can’t bear the pain.” He hit me 5 times and ordered me to stand up. After standing he told me to run in my place. I couldn’t lift my legs because of the pain.”

—   Male detained at the Tadumr roundabout checkpoint and taken to the Political Security branch in Homs.  Human Rights Watch interviewed him by Skype while he was inside Syria in April 2012.

Beating with Objects

On the way to and inside detention facilities detainees described being bound and blindfolded while being beaten by batons, cables, whips, and other objects.  

“There were 20 security officers.  To welcome us each started beating us with a whip while we were standing.  We were ten people in a row [one right after the other].  The officer hit me in the chest and I fell on those behind me and they fell down.  Each security officer hit us and they were laughing.  They made us lie on our stomachs and they hit the bottoms of our feet… ”

—   Male detained in the Central Prison in Idlib in July 2011.  Human Rights Watch interviewed him in Hatay, Turkey in January 2012.

Dulab

Detainees described being folded at the waist and having their head, neck, and legs put into a car tire so that they were immobilized and could not protect themselves from beatings on the back, legs, and head including by batons and whips.  Some detainees described having their arms inside the tire as well.

“They fold you in half, feet first, and put you inside so that you can’t move at all.  Then they started beating me.  They had a braided electrical cable and they hit me with it.  There was no talking.  It was like this for 30 minutes then they pulled me out and poured water on my legs and hands.  Cold water.  I was feeling death.”

—  Soldier who was detained in the Military Intelligence branch in Latakia in June 2011.  Human Rights Watch interviewed him in Hatay, Turkey in January 2012.

Shabeh

Detainees described being hung from the ceiling by their wrists.  Some detainees described their toes barely touching the ground, while others said they were suspended in the air with their entire weight on their wrists, causing extreme swelling and discomfort.  While suspended, a number of detainees told Human Rights Watch they were beaten.

“ They would beat me and say ‘don’t you want to confess!’  For an hour and a half I was hanging.  I didn’t confess and they brought me down.  At his point it was 3.30-4:00 am.  My hands were red like blood.”

— Male detained in the Kafr Souseh neighborhood of Damascus in September 2011.  Human Rights Watch interviewed him by phone while he was inside Syria.





Initial images from the massacre in Douma July 2, 2012 WARNING EXTREMELY GRAPHIC!



Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on SyriaMy response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:43:13 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like SOP at Baghram . . . (10+ / 0-)

    or normal treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

    Guess the Syrians learned from the masters . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:30:39 AM PDT

  •  Sounds like the recent history (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Funkygal, Russgirl, snoopydawg

    of the USA.

    'Betting against Facebook since 2012'

    by VictorLaszlo on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 01:12:31 AM PDT

  •  And we're supposed to have hope that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, Clay Claiborne, mookins

    there will be a diplomatic end to this?

    In the case of Assad, the only type of diplomacy he will understand is that at the end of a gun barrel.....unfortunately.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 03:21:53 AM PDT

    •  What we have seen from the UN for months now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ctexrep

      is a diplomatic continuation of this.

      Without the flourish of Kofi Annan's "hope" that Assad will reform and UN Observers that couldn't even protect themselves, it is much more likely that the people of the world would have demanded that something substantial be done.  

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:18:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac, Funkygal

    Human Rights Watch condemned the torture in Libya today.

    From the link above regarding Libya:

    “Torture and illegal detention are an ongoing national crisis"
    So, the Assad regime in Syria is terrible, but what would an intervention do?  The same as in Libya? Change from one regime that commits torture to another one that commits torture?  
    •  You obviously missed the part where HRW is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot, mookins

      calling it state-sanctioned torture in Syria while in Libya, in contrast, it says that torture is taking place in militia prisons where the state does not have control yet.

      And you obviously have missed the fact that people can't do anything about it via democratic means in Syria, whereas the people of Libya will be voting for their constituent assembly and  a new govt. this Saturday.

      But that's par for the course with you.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:57:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Funkygal

        is simple.   Libya is not better after the intervention and destruction there.   Although a horrible dictator (Gaddafi) is gone, the new situation may be even worse.   They can not have real elections as armed gangs attack and occupy election commission centers (see my diary from yesterday) and widespread torture and war crimes continue by the different militias.   In a way the situation is worse, as there is now a fragmented regime, composed by different militias with different interests who have no problem killing or torturing.   That country is in complete chaos and Putin was right when he recently pointed that out.    The intervention in Libya did not make things better.   More people got killed because of the NATO bombings, but the outcome is chaos, and continuation of torture and war crimes by the uncontrolled militias.   That's why I am strongly against any intervention in Syria, as I was against any intervention in Iraq and Libya.

        •  Oh yeah... "Putin was right". (0+ / 0-)

          What next?  Are you going to be quoting Pravda?

          You don't know any Libyans and obviously don't really know what's going on there since your comments are always so chock full of inaccuracies, hyperbole, massive exaggerations, and speculation.

          Just because a country has not become a perfect state a mere 7 months after the fall of the dictator, it doesn't mean that it is in "complete chaos".

          I bet you'll never admit that you were wrong about Libya, no matter how much the situation there improves in the future.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:19:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes Putin is right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Funkygal

            If Libya becomes a real democracy, I will have no problem whatsoever admitting I was wrong.   But so far, it seems to be even worse than Iraq as an outcome.

            •  Oh really, You live in an alternate universe. (0+ / 0-)

              This morning's news from Iraq:
              50 Killed in Iraq by Truck Bombs, Explosives and Gunfire
              The latest news from Libya:
              The Libyan Regime releases ICC officials accused of "spying" - Updated
              The latest negative news from Libya:
              Protesters storm Libya election office in Benghazi

              And how many were killed in that fracas? Zero!

              And how many were injured in that fracas? Zero!

              Yet here you are on a blog about torture in Syria trying to divert the discussion into how things are worst in Libya.

              Personally I'd much rather be in Benghazi than Homs right now.

              Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

              by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:36:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I provided you (0+ / 0-)

                a link from a very recent report of Human Rights Watch in which it is indicated torture is widespread and a major issue in Libya, but of course you chose to ignore it.   Your reality is selective.

              •  Life in Libya has become more sectarian (0+ / 0-)
                German Businesses Unwelcome in Postwar Libya

                If Meinardus is successful with his conference, and if he manages to have his ideas about freedom take root in a new Libya, he could pave the way for the long-term success of Schnaars, the logistics manager, and the shipping company he works for. The FDP and its foundation aren't just interested in freedom; they also seek to promote the free market economy.
                ...
                "How strong would the liberal parties be if there were elections today?" Meinardus asks.

                "People would vote for the Islamists," the old man says.

                Meinardus walks around the room until a young man in a tracksuit top gets up and blocks his path. "You want to separate Islam from the state? But that's the opposite of freedom," he says.
                ...
                "Whether it's car markets, weapons markets or bird markets, these are simply not places for women in Libya," Ebkura says. Then she talks about a Libya that, despite having killed its dictator, continues to oppress its people. "I can no longer go into a café without a male companion, without having to fear being berated as un-Islamic," she says. "Hardly any women dare to wear their hair uncovered anymore."

                Men and women fought side by side during the revolution, Ebkura says. But today, she continues, she is the only woman at demonstrations and she is mishandled by men during them.

        •  Things are better in Syria than Libya now, right? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mookins

          You think there is more torture in Libya now than there was under Qaddafi.

          You are angry that Qaddafi wasn't allowed to do what Assad is doing. That's unfair.

          But why are you here, on a blog about torture in Syria and trying to divert the discussion to another country?

          Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

          by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:38:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dont be ridiculous again (0+ / 0-)

            as always.

            •  You said it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mookins
              Although a horrible dictator (Gaddafi) is gone, the new situation may be even worse.  
              In a way the situation is worse
              The intervention in Libya did not make things better.
              You show your longing for the "good ole days" of Mummar Qaddafi as you fight to extend the regimeof Bashar al-Assad.

              Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

              by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:52:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are so funny (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Funkygal

                I am against all dictators.   I just dont like interventions that makes things worse, as it happened in Iraq and Libya.   One the other hand, you are selectively against some dictators, but you dont have problems with others and you even praise them (as you praise the current Libyan regime that tolerates torture and war crimes).    When the facts are against you, you resort to name calling.   That shows your weakness.

    •  Also... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kvetchnrelease, Lawrence

      al-Assad today confirmed that Syrian defense forces were responsible for downing the Turkish aircraft on 22 June; not, as you intimated, by the crew of a Russian vessel. Whatever narrative you're spinning in your head re both Syria and Libya seems quite removed from reality. Why is that?

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:30:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

        Thats funny.   I just quoted the news and you made it that it was "spinning" now.  Go and read again the diary and comments.   When I realized it was not legit, I wrote it down.  

      •  The reality is that we have so diluted defining (0+ / 0-)

        torture that when examples like those in the diary are exposed, we loathe less due to the jaded exposure given waterboarding. No matter who remains in power in Syria, the torture will continue. The President would be ill advised to involve us in this conflict.

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:53:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, after the revolution, Libya still has some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins

      work to do. Because after a brutal dictator is overthrown there will always be people who want revenge. After Assad is overthrown, Syria will have the same problem.

      You want to know why? Read the report.

      Yes, HRW said

      In militia-run detention facilities especially, torture and other ill-treatment are a major concern, Human Rights Watch said.  Human Rights Watch documented a dozen cases of deaths in detention and heard credible reports of more
      My question is why are you bring this up here and now? Are you trying to create some sort of parity between torture in Syria and Libya now?

      That is just and underhanded way of defending Assad torture, which is apparently something you feel the need to do todasy.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:28:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not defending torture, you are.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Funkygal

        I have repeatedly written that the Assad regime is terrible.   But you are defending and speak highly of the current Libyan regime, despite Amnesty International and Human Rights watch calling it for torture and war crimes.  

  •  I guess. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kvetchnrelease

    Certainly torture has to stop. Everywhere. No disagreement there. If that is your point, here.

    But what about, for example, PR China, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Mexico, etc., probably others as well..?

    Are they TBTF, or just not topical enough, due to the very curious and contrasting lack of a massive and destabilizing influx of arms, into these countries?

    H'mm. I'm not terribly into this, anymore.

    by Knarfc on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:32:27 AM PDT

    •  Maybe bacause they aren't also shelling (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins

      there cities and sending death squads.

      Of the countries you list, how many have hundreds if not thousands of people murdered by the state and rotting in the streets.

      Douma, which was a city of half a million a few weeks ago was describe as deserted except for bodies rotting in the streets and you want to compare this to Mexico?

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:45:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like your dislike now is more one of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        protectspice, Claudius Bombarnac

        civil wars than torture per se.

        At least that is what I hear you reporting. Of civil wars we can think in terms of the recent histories of Yugoslavia (twice since WWII, Lebanon, Nigeria, Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda, (the formerly Belgian) Congo (I don't think the civil war ever ended there), Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (twice), Angola (and so many other counties in Africa I can't list them all at the moment), Nicaragua, Honduras, Iraq (two or three times), East Timor, Afghanistan (twice), Yemen (two or three times), Russia/Chechnya, Georgia, etc. Going back a bit further but just since WWII we have Vietnam (twice), Malaysia, Kenya, China, Greece, both the founding war of 1947 and the 1971 war of India/Pakistan, Algeria, the Phillipines, Korea, Cuba, etc. Admittedly perhaps one would need to go back as far as the 1910s to include Mexico in the category of the worst of civil wars.

        In other words, just off the top of my head, a rather long list.

        You want to compare Syria in some sort of a contest for winner of worst of the worst with these places? In terms of civil war, at this moment, I suppose it is in the running with Yemen

        H'mm. I'm not terribly into this, anymore.

        by Knarfc on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:43:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Israel - let's not omit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      our "allies" and "friendly" dictators....

      "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

      by Funkygal on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 03:13:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking over the comments, I'm mildly disgusted (8+ / 0-)

    by the excuses and comparisons being brought up in what appears to be a weak attempt at downplaying what is going on in Syria by self-described liberals.

    Those who hear what has been happening over the last year, those who hear what is happening today and on the scale that it is, those who hear these things in the context of just what the Syrian regime has been doing ever since those tortured kids in Daraa sprayed some graffiti in March '11, those who hear and know these things yet bring up Bagram, Israel, Gitmo, or claim torture and inhumanity will continue in Syria no matter who is in charge and therefore it does not matter- those who say such things know not what they do.

    Bashar al-Assad stands for 10% controlling 100% by any means necessary.  Why he seems to receive passive-defense from some supposed liberals here is beyond me.

    "Your diary is a pack of filthy lies." -bronte17

    by Setrak on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:46:21 AM PDT

    •  Well said! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:47:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll never understand it. (0+ / 0-)

      All this bleating about how the US and Israelis do it too - nothing on this scale happens in either country. Or if it goes on in Libya, China or Russia - what, does that make it right? Does anyone believe that it's happening at this scale in any of those places?
      This sort of thing has been going on in Syria for decades, of course, but not at this level. I don't have any illusions that Syria will get any better if Assad is overthrown, but it certainly can't get any worse!
      The Allawites should just realize the game is up. Their best bet is to take their army and move to the northern portion of the country and declare and independent statelet. It's going to be messy for them otherwise.

      Language professors HATE me!

      by Zornorph on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:02:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Syria - War by Proxy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, Funkygal
    War Scenarios for Syria (II)

    A War by Proxy
    The West's, including Germany's, attempt, with the assistance of Qatar [7] and Saudi Arabia, to replace Assad's - like Gadhafi's - regime with Sunnite forces, has been received with reservations even among western foreign policy experts. The International Crisis Group, for example, warns that western sanctions against Syria could transform "a socio-political crisis into a comprehensive humanitarian one." One also should not forget that dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsula, notably Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are at the forefront to topple the Assad regime, with their "religious leanings, lip-service to domestic reform and defence of Bahrain's suppression of its Shiite majority" are "dubious champions of personal freedom and human rights."[8] Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs recently confirmed that "the Sunnite fundamentalists on the Arabian Peninsula" notably support "Sunnite fundamentalists" in Syria, therefore systematically strengthening their position.[9] This is precisely the aim of Western operations: a Sunnite regime in Damascus would not support Shiite Iran, as Assad does, but would take up positions against Teheran. The civil war in Syria, which began as a rebellion against a repressive regime collaborating with Germany [10] in 2011, is, under Western influence, being transformed into an instrument in the Middle East struggle for hegemony over Iran.[11]

    •  This is not a proxy war, this is the Syrian people (0+ / 0-)

      rising up against a regime the brutality of which is well illustrated by this dairy.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:26:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit. It's a classic regime change, country (4+ / 0-)

        destabilization campaign by western imperialists using proxies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply arms and fund various internal and external Libyans, fundamentals, mercenaries, and terrorists.  Why don't you ever mention their role in all this and the Sunni/Shiite sectarian conflicts instigated by the western imperialists, as written about by Seymour Hersh in 2007?  Have you even read that piece?  

        "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:40:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You selectively chosen videos and articles to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt, Funkygal

        support your personal views.

        Smuggle Supervisors

        Parallel State
        It is not new that, in spite of the arms embargo, the western protected militias are able to stock up on weapons. This was also the case during the Yugoslavian civil wars, and more recently during the war on Libya.[7] Observers report that the arms buildup of the Syrian insurgents has dramatically accelerated. They used "the short ceasefire," beginning April 12, "to reorganize and stockpile arms." In the meantime, they have mortars, assault rifles and machineguns, as well as anti-tank missiles. Since the end of May, at least two dozen Syrian army tanks have been destroyed; since the beginning of the "ceasefire" in April more than 1,000 Syrian soldiers killed.[8] The militias are currently operating within Syria "from relatively safe havens,"[9] reported the correspondent from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the most renowned experts on the region. They have taken control of a region "with corner marks at Idlib and Jisr ash-Shugur to the north as well as Salhab and Hama to the South," in which they have created "a parallel state, where they administer the law, distribute and produce weapons as well as prepare their operations. The territory under their control is slowly expanding."

        Opposition to Violence
        All of this is very controversial within the Syrian opposition, because of the country's extremely sensitive religious constellation. Numerous religious minorities comprise more than a quarter of the population. Violence has become confessionalized (sectarian) - something experts had warned against already in the spring of 2011 - and religious motivated killings are commonplace. The Damascus-based "National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change," a coalition of opposition groups, which strictly rejects both the armed struggle against the regime, because of its inherent danger, as well as any sort of western intervention, is appealing for a refusal of support to religiously motivated insurgents or even to the Salafist militia.[10] The situation in Iraq and Libya should serve as a warning. The locally active "National Coordination Committee" complains that the West is particularly using the exile-based "Syrian National Council," which has hardly a following inside Syria, to recruit allies for the violent overthrow of the Assad regime. Unlike in the "National Coordination Committee," Islamist organizations, particularly the exiled Muslim Brotherhood, are very influential in the "Syrian National Council."

  •  The Devil in the Details (0+ / 0-)

    What strikes me the most in this report is the method and level of precision of the harrowing details - a perfect mirror of the Syrian regime's systematic and calculated detention, torture and killing of civilians "dissidents".
    This and the latest laws banning government workers of supporting political discontent showcase the MO of a regime which flattens all dissent and only then will implement "reform".
    Basically: bump the competition before it gets too strong.

    To those who keep harping on about US imperialism, you should be ashamed. The only imperialist still upholding this brutal regime is Russia's Putin & C°, although, even now they are starting to wonder why... pride perhaps, because it sure isn't out of respect for Assad (whom they consider an idiot, and embarrassing, for having let this revolution get out of hand). It isn't for Tartus either - not a very exciting port. It may be because of the gaslines, but then again, Russia is quite resourceful, and has always been able to find alternate routes. The arms market? They seem to be shifting their prospects to Iran according to the latest opinion pieces (perhaps to protect Hormuz?).

    So lets hope for a speedy erosion of this imperialist support.

    As for the UN & Ms Pillay's statements, well, it's her job to report on human rights abuses. Are we going to bash her for that now?

    •  Thank you StephLamy (0+ / 0-)

      There are many, many places in the world were US imperialism is the main problem, Syria is not one of them, and right now Syria is the world's number one killing field.

      We can discuss past atrocities at our leisure later because people are being murdered in Syria right now.

      As for Ms. Pillay, I have no problem with her whole statement because she makes it very clear that the really big problem is with the Assad regime. My problem is with those that quote her "both sides guilty of hr abuse," just leave it at that and use it as an excuse for inaction.

      As for the UN as a whole, I think their lack of action is shameful but that may be largely Russia's fault.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:04:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You have yet to tell us what you think should (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt

        be done.

      •  Un-UN (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, Syria is THE priority, one fire at a time.

        I don't agree that Ms Pillay's arguments are the only excuse for inaction. Inaction seems to be the status quo on Syria, even though we have been witnessing some sword rattling from both Russia and "west" (geesh I hate that term).
        We know that she is merely pointing out the fact that this is an armed conflict and the FSA, perhaps because of a lack of structured command and control & rules of engagement seem to resort to any tactic available to them, regardless of conventions - not surprising considering the methods of their much more powerful adversary.
        Those who quote her out of context are the same people who only read and repeat headlines, without digging deeper.

        As I see it, the whole UN power distribution reposes on 2 contradicting theories: one which federates and one which balances powers. Where the first strives to unify people, the latter relies heavily on alliances.
        This leads to very sad impasses.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/..._(international_relations)

        So, if you break it down, Russia is just playing the system. Perhaps UN res 1973 on Libya gave them reason to shy away from intervention in Syria (simplistic idea, but hey, lets imagine that's true). Maybe if:
        1. There had been a more concerted effort to reach out to the civilian population inside Libya during Operation Unified Protector, one could have justified more clearly the R2P factor of the intervention.
        2. The executant of the resolution (NATO) had included some form of assessment of the operation it could have reinforced the necessity to act.
        (hindsight is a wonderful thing....)

        Some orgs call for abolishing the system altogether, but I don't think that will ever be a viable option.
        http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/...
        I'm convinced that the veto system really needs to be reviewed. As it stands, one of the P5 can just say "no thanks" and walk away without ever proposing an alternative.

  •  title Blue Wind might've suggested for this diary (0+ / 0-)

    HRW: Assad Doesn't Waterboard!

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:20:19 PM PDT

    •  This one's aimed squarely at you Clay (0+ / 0-)
      Six Ways the Media Has Misreported Syria
      How One-Sided Reporting is Facilitating Escalation

      As in the case of Libya, from NY Times to Fox News, from Guardian to National Post and from Le Monde to Le Figaro, the Western mainstream media’s coverage of the Syrian conflict has been mostly simplistic and black & white with a Hollywoodian good (opposition) and evil (Syrian government) story. The basic storyline reported is: “The dictatorial Syrian government is torturing and killing Syrian protestors and civilians including women and children and that the Western counties and the Arab League want to protect these Syrian civilians”. These outlets use any information that supports their stance regardless of its source and quality, and dismiss or ignore any information that brings it to question.

      The bloody suppression of protestors by the Syrian government and also instability resulting from the armed insurgency aggravated by a complex set of foreign forces, each with its own set  of vested interests, have resulted in significant suffering for the people of Syria. Western media’s unquestioning, consensual, biased and melodramatic coverage of the Syrian events risks moving this conflict to a full blown war with grave consequences for the Syrian people and the region.

      Here are the six ways that the Western media, across the board, have been uncritical and misleading in their coverage of the Syrian conflict:

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