Tag: Middle ast

What About Syria?

Cross posted fromThe Stars Hollow Gazette

Can the world stop the brutal crackdown in Syria?

Up with Chris Hayes panelists Colonel Jack Jacobs, MSNBC military analyst; Karam Nachar, an activist who has been working with opposition leaders in Syria; Jeremy Scahill of The Nation magazine; and Josh TreviƱo of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, discuss the international community’s inability to reach a consensus on how to stop President Bashar Al-Assad’s crackdown on protests in Syria.

In the second segment, the panel discusses whether civil war is inevitable in Syria, and whether there’s anything the United States and the world can do to stop it.

Should the US intervene to stop a civil war in Syria?

Syria’s President Bashar Assad, who took over power from is father in 2000, denied that government forces took part in last week’s gruesome Houla massacre and is accusing outsiders for fueling terrorists and extremist in the unrest that started 14 months ago.

In his hourlong address, Mr. Assad offered no specific response to Mr. Annan’s plea for bold steps to end the conflict.

Instead he repeated many of his earlier pledges to maintain a crackdown on opponents he described as terrorists added by interfering foreign governments and he again offered to sit down with opposition figures who have avoided armed conflict or outside backing.  [..]

Last month’s massacre in Houla of 108 people, mostly women and children, triggered global outrage and warnings that Syria’s relentless bloodshed – undimmed by Mr. Annan’s April 12 cease-fire deal – could engulf the Middle East.

Western powers have accused Syrian forces and pro-Assad militia of responsibility for the May 25 Houla killing, a charge Damascus has denied.

On Saturday, fighting killed 89 people, including 57 soldiers

The casualties also included 29 civilians and three army defectors killed in various regions of the country in shelling by regime forces or in clashes or gunfire, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Asked about the high number of troops killed in recent days, the Observatory’s Rami Abdel-Rahman told AFP: “This relates to the sharp increase in clashes across the country. Troops are vulnerable to heavy losses because they are not trained for street battles and are therefore exposed to attacks.”

France has stated that it will not intervene in military action unless it is sanctioned by the United Nations:

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told an Asian security summit Sunday that the international community should increase sanctions and pressure in an effort to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. An anti-government uprising has raged for more than a year in Syria.

The conflict is now spreading cross boarder into Lebanon with some heavy fighting in Lebanon:

Bloody clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian regime fighters raged on early Sunday in Tripoli, Lebanon, a day after the deadliest outburst of violence there in recent weeks indicated Syria’s turmoil continues spilling across borders.

Twelve people were killed and about 50 were wounded in fighting on Saturday, the state-run National News Agency reported. [..]

Clashes in both nations pit Sunnis, who make up the majority of the Syrian opposition and population, against Alawites and other Shiites, who are dominant in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

There is no easy solution.