The scene in Syria: Hundreds of students have begun protesting, rallying around Damascus University in support of those shot and killed by Bashar al-Assad’s government in its violent response to pro-democracy protests. In past days, there have been many hectic reports of government forces firing on and killing both civilians, as well as military personnel. Al Jazeera reports that many present have said the government’s security forces fired upon the Syrian Army because the army wouldn’t open fire on civilians. source
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» Wikileaks strikes again: Cables released by the organization say that after the Bush administration’s severing of diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime in 2005, the U.S. had funnelled money to groups hostile to the Bashar al-Assad government. About $6 million went to a group of Syrian exiles in London with connections to Barada TV, a satellite station that beams into Syria and provides coverage of the protests against Assad. The funding began in 2006, and continued at least until September 2010, meaning the Obama administration’s diplomatic overtures to the Assad regime weren’t very sincere — frankly, this makes us feel a little better about U.S. policy towards them. Be sure to notch another tally for Wikileaks, exposing yet more profoundly relevant, enthralling information about our geopolitical world.
There was no provocation. There were forces being deployed since last night. When people went out in Homs, the security forces stepped out … and immediately started shooting.INSAN director Wissam Tarif • Describing the scene in the central Syrian city of Homs, where protesters were met by security forces who opened fire. At least seven were killed throughout Syria. In other towns, like Damascus, police took cell phones away from protesters, so the couldn’t shoot video or take photos of the protests. Fridays have been the traditional day of protest in Syria; they also double as a day of prayer. source (via • follow)
This is the moment of truth for Bashar al-Assad. He has potentially the ability to impose reforms on his own Baath Party, but has he the will to do so?Columbia University visiting professor Jean-Pierre Filiu • Describing the situation the controversial Syrian leader currently has to deal with. It’s not clear what he’ll do — enact reforms against the party that gives him power or let them keep doing what they’re doing, both putting him at risk of losing his power — but his history suggests a cycle of giving diplomats hopes that he’ll enact real change, but failing to follow through. A tough legacy to shake, and one that has strong implications for the Middle East. source (via • follow)