Featured Post

The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?

Some observers of the crisis in Syria have sought to divide the opposition to Bashar al-Assad into an "armed opposition" and a "non-violent opposition movement for freedom and democracy, which still rejects calls for military intervention" as Phyllis Bennis does in a recent opinion piece in Al Jazeera.

She sees these as two distinct oppositions movements, one non-violently fighting for freedom and democracy, and another that has taken up arms and "is also responsible for attacks leading to the deaths of civilians" and who knows what they are fighting for.

Even though the opposition to the Assad regime has clearly been growing in the last year, she sees this current state of the opposition as the result of fragmentation:
The opposition was divided from the beginning over whether massive reform or the end of the regime was their goal. It divided further when part of the opposition took up arms, and began calling for international military intervention.
Like many observers, she sees this armed opposition as drowning out the non-violent opposition in recent months.

I believe this way of looking at the opposition to Assad is incorrect and historically inaccurate. For 18 months there has been a main opposition to the Assad regime that has been composed of a lot of forces from across the political spectrum of Syrian society. There have always been political differences within the movement and there has been political development within the movement as a whole.

The movement started out as peaceful demonstrations demanding reform, as it did in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Egypt in January and February of 2011. There were always revolutionaries with in these movements that thought these demands could never be met by the current dictators and argued for regime change. In all of the movements of the Arab Spring, those demanding regime change gained greater and greater sway in the movement as the regimes met the peaceful protests with violence.

While, no doubt, there are Syrians who were part of this reform movement and left it when the main demand shifted to regime change, I think it is false to portray this as a split in the movement. I think it much more accurate and much more useful to realize that the movement as a whole shifted from being a movement demanding reforms from Assad to one demanding his overthrow. The opposition movement in Syria has grown massive and is united in the demand that Assad must go! Only long time fans of Assad, not members of the original opposition, are still asking him to stick around but just clean up his act.

Likewise, I think it is wrong to suggest that there is a separate and distinct "armed opposition" as opposed to the "non-violent opposition." In the beginning, this "Arab Spring" opposition to Assad was overwhelmingly non-violent. Assad may have been fighting al Qaeda or other "armed terrorist gangs" elsewhere, but he was lying when he used that as an excuse for firing on peaceful protesters on Homs, Hama, Dara and other places.

As Assad followed Qaddafi's lead in applying military power to peaceful protesters, this started to have a powerful effect on the attitude towards non-violence within the movement as a whole. Whereas the movement, even as it started to demand the removal of Assad, continued to stand on the principal of non-violence and non-intervention, this started to change as more and more Syrians were killed by the regime.

The attitude of the opposition movement both towards armed struggle and outside support changed as the revolution developed and was illustrated by massive demonstrations demanding intervention. They named July 29, 2011 "Friday of 'Your Silence Is Killing Us'" and held massive demonstrations across Syria that directed that slogan not only at other Syrians that had yet to join the struggle but to the people of the world as well. The Syria wide mass protests of September 9, 2011 were named the "Friday of International Protection." That was the first time the movement as a whole put forward an explicit demand for foreign intervention. As Assad's violence continued unabated on March 16, 2012 the opposition called the protests the "Friday of Immediate Foreign Intervention." Assad killed 15 protesters on that day. So you see, it is a most shameful falsehood to speak of a "non-violent opposition movement for freedom and democracy, which still rejects calls for military intervention." It lets us off the hook by telling a lie on them.

Damascus Protesters Call for International Protection Now ! Erbeen 9-2-11

Assad sent his troops out to crush the rebellion when it said "Your silence is killing us." From Wikipedia "20 protesters were killed throughout Syria, most notably in Deir ez-Zor, where the government tried to stop mass gatherings" on July 29th. And it was there, at Deir ez-Zor and on that day that a colonel in the Syrian Army defected to the opposition together with hundreds of soldiers to found the Free Syrian Army to protect the protester. So you see, separating the opposition into armed and non-violent camps is ahistorical as well.

The Free Syrian Army developed from soldiers ordered to shoot protesters, soldiers who decided instead that it was their patriotic duty to defend the protesters. They have been joined by formerly peaceful protesters that have now also taken up arms in defense of the revolution. The FSA started out exclusively as a force to defend peaceful protesters but as Assad's attacks continued and grew both in scope and brutality, the FSA has also started conducting offensive operation and while they may or may not have weapons given to them by the CIA or Qatar, it is clear that they have overwhelmingly armed themselves with weapons taken from Assad.

Even though the FSA is getting better weapons, that doesn't justify Phyillis Bennis' attempts to create a false parity between the two forces as she does when she says:
The regime is clearly responsible for more attacks with heavy weapons, including tanks and artillery, but it is also clear that the anti-government forces are being supplied with increasingly heavy weapons
"Heavy weapons" is a distinct military category that does include tanks and artillery as well as combat aircrafts. "Increasingly heavy weapons" is no such category. Since the FSA has had to do most of its fighting with AK-47s and they are now getting more RPGs, it can be said that the FSA is getting "increasingly heavy weapons" but that rhetorical flourish doesn't make an RPG equal to a 120mm cannon.

Furthermore, "being supplied" is an underhanded way of implying that the FSA is "being run" by outside agencies without providing any proof. It is by no means "clear that the anti-government forces are being supplied" with weapons by anyone. It is very clear that they are getting more and better weapons, here is a video of the FSA taking over of a Syrian military base and capturing a lot of weapons. Would you call that "being supplied?" More recently we have heard of whole units of the Syrian army defecting with sophisticated anti-tank weapons and manpads. Would you call that "being supplied?" They have even been successful at capturing intact, some of Assad's tanks. Would you call that "being supplied?"

This increased militarization in defense of the people has given the crisis in Syria all the characteristics of a civil war, which is what it has in fact become. But as has been said many times: War is a continuation of politics by violent means. So in assessing the legitimacy of either side of the conflict, its not enough to point out that both sides are "responsible for attacks leading to the deaths of civilians." That is unavoidable by either side in any war. It is much more important to understand what the two sides are fight for, i.e. what policies are being continued.

Assad is attempting to suppress a rebellious population. He has elected to use mass murder as his principal method of doing that and his armed forces as this principle instrument. With canon and aerial bombs he is attacking whole neighborhoods, not just those that oppose him. In response to that the opposition to Assad has developed armed forces of their own, but the mass opposition to Assad continues to grow.

Below the fold are a collection of videos of mass demonstrations in Syria in the past few days. These are the people that are driving this whole process, not NATO or Russia or Assad, and the whole UN diplomatic corp. They are all just reacting to thousands of Syrians in revolt. These protesters are united and have courageously come out to demonstrate knowing it could cost them their lives.

They are united in demanding regime change.

They are united in their support for the Free Syrian Army.

They are united in demanding that the world come to their aid and stop Assad's slaughter.

Please look at these videos and understand that Assad wants these people dead. He will continue to kill as long as they continue to oppose him and they will never stop opposing him.

As long as the diplomacy goes on, so will Assad's slaughter. After eighteen months of his war against his people, those that still think they can "talk" him out of this approach are fools. No, they are worst than fools, when they publicly advocate the continuation of this approach, they become accomplishes of his crimes.

Even though Phyllis Bennis argues "Only diplomacy can stop the war, " she concludes:
The best thing outside powers can do is to move immediately towards serious new diplomacy, in which supporters of both the regime and the armed opposition participate, with the goal of imposing an immediate ceasefire.
So after more than a year of the world talking and Assad killing, what she proposes is more of the same, so that eventually, after thousands more Syrians are slaughtered, we can reach "the goal of imposing an immediate ceasefire."

Oh, and what then? Won't that still require a UN Chapter 7 resolution authorizing the use of force? Otherwise just how does she propose that the world impose an immediate ceasefire on Assad and his army, throw blue darter at him?

This is how the civil war in Syrian will be decided. Not by NATO & Russian, and certainly not by opinions on the left. It will be decided by Syrian workers and soldiers turning against their government. Introducing the Miqdad ibn 'Amr Battalion, formed today, July 1, 2012 in the heart of Damascus, Syria.

Syrian protest videos posted online are accompanied by the common refrain "Syrian victims are screaming for your help. Will you answer?" The response from Phyillis Bennis and many other on the left is "Don't bet your life on it."

Minbaj | Aleppo | Evening Protest Demanding Freedom June 29, 2012

(6-30-12) Idlib | Standing in Solidarity With Douma

(06.30.2012) Kafar Sousah | Damascus, Syria | Amazing protests in support of Zamalka and Douma

Another HUGE HUGE protest in Salamiyeh #Syria today funeral of the martyr Ali al-Fakhur

The funeral of the martyr Ali Sadek Alqatrib July 1, 2012

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

BREAKING NEWS!!! UN to send monitors to Syria AGAIN!!! July 1, 2012
UN will be sending the monitors back to Syria. They will be unarmed and in a small team. Russia agree to this and back the new cease fire that is already under threat. Monitor's will over look the peace plan.

Car bomb kills 85+ at a funeral procession in Zamalka leaving behind a massacre! June 30, 2012
Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 12:41 AM PT: A few more point on the Phyllis Bennis article. She said about the NATO intervention last year:
they were wrong to see the Libyan intervention as a "human rights victory" then, and they are more visibly wrong now. A year later, following the deaths of thousands of Libyans, the now-divided country struggles with out-of-control militias holding thousands of prisoners, with torture, with escalating violence, with continuing attacks on sub-Saharan Africans and other foreigners,
It is true that 30,000 Libyans were killed in 2011 after Qaddafi started killing protesters. Thousand were killed by NATO bombs, but most of those were engaged in killing Libyans as part of Qaddafi's gang. According the HRW, NATO killed 72 civilians, the UN has them down as killing 60,
Qaddafi killed 8,000 Libyans in the month before NATO intervened. We can never know how many Libyans Qaddafi would have killed if he had been free to do to Benghazi and Misrata what Assad has been doing to Syrian cities, but all indications are that he would have killed many more than he did and since NATO's mandate was to save human life not assure that Libya had an nice recovery, I think I must be regarded as a big success in that regard.
This should not be taken to mean that I agree with her description of Libya now, I have dealt with this type of slander elsewhere, but my point here is that nation building was not NATO's mandate, saving civilian lives was, and they did do that.
Also one other point, Bennis's bigness fear seems to be:
As the violence escalates in Syria, as more civilians, especially children, are killed, calls for military intervention escalate as well.
She is worried that Americans may start to care about what is happening to the people in Syria and demand that something be done. This a sad plight for a leftist, to be worried that the masses may start to show an internationalist sentiments and demand that their government will do the right thing.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Is Libya better off than it was?

Ultimately this is the question by which the revolution will be judged. After all is said and done, did it actually result in an improvement in the quality of life for the Libyan people?

And today is a very good day to have that discussion because it is the 16th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre. On June 29, 1996 the murder of 1270 prisoners was carried out by the Qaddafi regime. It was seven years before people found out, as family members continued to bring money and food for the dead prisoners, and the prison continued to accept them. This is the first year they will be able to openly commemorate that tragedy without fear of government repression. So it is a very good day to take on the views of the Party for Socialism and Liberation [PSL], Workers World Party and others, as expressed by Diana Barahona, that thinks "Libya Worse Off After NATO Takeover".

That is the title of a critique she has written of my "Qaddafi lies live on after him." Frankly, it reads less like a good critique of my work and more like an example of exactly what I was talking about. As a matter of fact, I might even say On the Left, Ghadafi’s Lies Live On,” for example we have "Libya Worse Off After NATO Takeover" from a comrade who has been writing about Libya for the PSL, because she takes on my paper with the same old, now well debunked, pro-Qaddafi mis-information peddled by Cynthia McKinney and other supporters of Brother Leader during his reign.

She gets so involved in taking on my paper and me that she never really gets around to addressing the very important question raised in her title, so before we can delve into the minutia of her critique we must spend a little time addressing this question that she raised and then neglected.

I have some Libyan facebook friends that I'm sure would say that Libya was better off now simply because they feel safe enough or free enough to use their real names on the Internet. I've yet to know the fear that something I wrote in a blog might have me disappeared in the middle of the night, or a member of my family, so I'm not sure how to value that in the better off/worst off spectrum of choices but certainly it must be considered.

Hamid sent me this tweet on June 20. I think you can guess how he feels. Libyans are going to the polls July 7th in their first national elections in 60 years. Since May Day, over 2.9 million voters have been registered, as have 3702 candidates, including 625 women and 349 political entities. The lights are on, the people are getting back to work, the schools are in session, rebuilding is taking place everywhere, thousands injured in the war have been sent abroad for treatment and oil production is back up to 90% of pre-war levels.

A year ago, Libya was pretty much were Syria is today, a ruthless dictator was clinging to power and using massive military force against his own people. Now the gun fire in Libya is down to the occasional outbursts that make the news. So I don't think that there is any question whether Libya is better off now as compared to a year ago.

Of course the more important question, the one to which she undoubtedly is referring to is: Are the Libyans worst off after what she calls the "NATO takeover" as compared to the golden era of Qaddafi's Green Jamahirya.

To answer that question, in this context, we first must address a certain difference in frame of reference or POV of some groups on the left like PSL and WWP as compared with reality because the very way she frames her answer already indicates that she is living in an alternate universe. So first we must deal with the mythology of what Libya was like under Qaddafi versus the reality and then we must deal with mythology of the "NATO takeover" and the reality of the Libyan Revolution.

Mary Lynn Cramer in Counter Currents gives us a good example of the rosy picture pro-Qaddafi leftists painted of Libya before the revolution:
Before the USNATO and “rebels” began their murderous and destructive attacks on the Libyans and their government, people In Libya had the highest gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of all of Africa. The government took care to ensure that everyone in the country shared in the wealth. Libya had the highest Human Development Index of any country on the continent. In Libya, a lower percentage of people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands....Libya ranked 61st, with a lower incarceration rate than Czech republic. It had the lowest infant mortality rate of all of Africa. Libya had the highest life expectancy of all of Africa, less than 5% of the population was undernourished, In response to the rising food prices around the world, the government of Libya abolished all taxes on food.
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
-- Mark Twain

Contrast that with this view of Qaddafi's Libya published on the eve of the February 17th uprising in afrol News:
afrol News, 16 February - While the Libyan economy drowns in petrodollars and its "Great leader" Muammar al-Ghaddafi buys support abroad, almost half of its youth are unemployed. The non-oil sector is tiny.

Libya is the richest North African country. Counted in GDP per capita, Libya indeed is on an Eastern European level.

But that does not reflect the real economy of the average Libyan, with around half the population falling outside the oil-driven economy. The unemployment rate is at a surprising 30 percent, with youth unemployment estimated at between 40 and 50 percent. This is the highest in North Africa.

Also other development indicators reveal that little of the petrodollars have been invested in the welfare of Libya's 6.5 million inhabitants. Education levels are lower than in neighbouring Tunisia, which has little oil, and a surprising 20 percent of Libyans remain illiterate.

Also, decent housing is unavailable to most of the disadvantaged half of the population. A generally high price level in Libya puts even more strains on these households.

But the key of popular discontent is the lack of work opportunities, which strongly contrasts the Libyan image of a rich nation constantly propagated by the regime and its Soviet-style media.
One Libyan, responding to those like Cynthia McKinney, who were repeating Qaddafi's lies and telling the world how wonderful Qaddafi's Libya was, had this to say:
Have you been to Tripoli and seen the districts of Hadba Shergeeya, AbuSleem, Hay Alislami, Soug al Jomaa to name only a handful? Is it acceptable that in 2001, in a country with vast oil riches, and after 42 years of trying, that this country still has raw sewage pouring onto streets where children play, that some parts of the capital do not have phone lines or water pipeline? Is this credible leadership?

5- You mention that in Libya there are ‘excellent institutions of learning’. This is nothing short of laughable. Did you know that some libraries in the main uni have no books? Did you know that in other libraries where they have sections for books, you are forbidden to enter these sections? Did you know that corruption in academic institutions is rife, where most lecturers take bribes to allow students to progress, largely because their wages are pathetic, and sometimes delay in receiving these wages sees them without pay for months. Did you know when the ‘brother leaders’ daughter was studying Law in the main uni they banned all males from the law school for the duration of her uni years? So if you were her age, male and wanted to go to law school at tripoli’s main uni….you couldn’t. Tough luck. The ‘brother leader’ says you cant, so you cant.

6- Please tell me I misread your statement that Libya has good ‘medical facilities’? Are you not aware that most Libyans who require specialist care travel to foreign countries to receive this care? some countries FAR poorer than ours, i.e. Tunisia. Such is the market for ‘medical-tourism’ to Tunis that there are Libyan-only medical centres. Perhaps you don't know that you cant even get simple things such as the Flu jab in Libya. Its in such low quantities that it runs out within weeks. Perhaps you don't know that when one of my friends passed away with a heart attack the hospital where he was taken (well known) took 15 minutes to find an ECG that worked, and later kept replacing the defibrillator, because they were malfunctioning. Is this not a farce?

7- You talk of our sense of belonging to Africa. Do you not know how much money Qaddafi pumps into Africa? Have you not heard of the war with Chad where countless Libyans and Chadians needlessly died? Do you not know of Qaddafi funding of rebel movements around Africa contributing to more bloodshed?

You need to seriously revise your knowledge of the country if you want to be a credible activist for peace, or a worthwhile defender of Qaddafi. You are doing him more harm than good by demonstrating your lack of grass roots knowledge.
This is just a sampling. There is a lot more information available for a fact-based analysis that show that even on the highly touted economic front, Qaddafi's Libya wasn't all it was cracked up to be by those under the spell of the illusions he so skillfully created for them.

So to begin with they are comparing the Libya of today, not with the Libya of say, two years ago, but with the Libya of their imagination. One result of this is that they tend to see Libyan problems of long standing, problems aggravated by the 42 year Qaddafi regime, like racism against black Africans, as new problems to be blamed on the revolution.

The second problem with her title, and this too is typical of the anti-interventionist perspective, is that she sees the Libyan Revolution as a produce of NATO intervention. Most of these anti-interventionists woke up to events in Libya when their country got involved and their normally healthy reflex was to oppose their government's intervention in the affairs of another third world country. In Libya, it was the struggle between the regime and the people that was center stage, both before and after NATO started flying air support. To many anti-war activists in the United States it was "just another Iraq" and the main struggle was between US imperialism and another third world country. Moreover, in an attitude that I think smacks of western chauvinism, they demanded that the Libyan activists view things from this western "anti-imperialist" perspective.

When they refused, when they persisted in demanding that someone, even NATO, stop Qaddafi's slaughter of the Libyan people, these anti-interventionists decided that no true Libyan revolutionaries would ever allow such a thing and then they proclaimed the NTC and the whole leadership of the Libyan Revolution to be tools of NATO. By implication, the great masses of Libyan people that fought for the revolution, militarily or otherwise, were dupes who didn't know a good thing when they had one.

When it started to become clear that the people would have their victory, these anti-interventionists started to fume. and they started to turn into counter-revolutionaries at least with regards to the Libyan revolution. A blogger, who has named himself lenin, give us a typical anti-interventionist view of what the post-Qaddafi Libya would look like. He published this on August 21, 2011 as Tripoli was being liberated:
The rebel army is commanded by someone who is most likely a CIA agent. As far as I know, it has around 1,000 trained soldiers, within a total force of about 30-40,000 people (and within a population of 6.5m people). It is directed on the ground by intelligence and special forces. It isn't well armed, and it will probably now be either rapidly disarmed, or integrated into the post-Qadhafi state. There may be a small number of jihadis among them, but these will either adapt, integrate, or be hunted down and killed on the basis of the new Libya's remit of fighting 'Al Qaeda'. (Recall, preventing an 'Al Qaeda' takeover was one of the major justifications for intervention when the think-tanks started thinking tanks). There is as yet no political force through which the masses could act independently of the new government, were they even of a mind to do so. The rebels will be disarmed, and the initiative will rest with pro-US politicians and other ruling class spokespeople.
This hardly paints a true picture of Libya today. Even today those who looked upon the Libyan Revolution from the POV of NATO intervention cannot see this incredible accomplishment of the Libyan masses, instead they still strive to boaster the alternate universe of "NATO" takeover and paradise lost.

That's not so easy to do now with no NATO planes over Tripoli and no NATO "boots on the ground," none we can see, in any case. Certainly not like Iraq and Afghanistan, boots by the hundreds of thousands, bases everywhere, no hiding them, and still they couldn't control the situation. So the anti-interventionists speak of "invisible boots" and they require no proof. They speak of CIA control and amplify every claim of special forces involvement no matter the source. As if by magic, the CIA are controlling the destiny of Libya with a few score of secret agents more surely than they could Iraq or Afghanistan with special forces up the ass not to mention ten of thousands of combat troops.

What the anti-interventionists can't allow is the thought that a genuine revolution is taking place in Libya, the most far reaching and complete of all of those collectively called the Arab Spring. At a time when they should be studying developments in Libya the way Karl Marx studied the Paris Commune, they are turning up their noses and averting their eyes, looking down at Libya now only when they can point out some dirt.

They show by their actions that their concern is not for the people of Libya because Qaddafi is gone and there's no getting him back, so rather than looking to the future of Libya and asking the people how they can help build it, all they can do is embellish the past and lament about mistakes made.

So with that as an introduction, let us now look at highlights of Diana Barahona's Response to Clay Claiborne’s “On the Left, Ghadafi’s Lies Live On." Diana Barahona begins her paper by assuring the reader I'm an intellectual lightweight:
Claiborne, who has no academic credentials making him a Middle East expert, has published 95 opinion pieces supporting the overthrow of the Libyan government.
My writing wouldn't matter, she assures you, except I am now supporting revolution in Syria. Then she leads with her strongest argument:
First to address is his assessment of the human cost of the war. He throws around the figure of 30,000 dead without citing reliable sources. This figure is problematic since it comes from the new government,
She doesn't like the new government so she doesn't trust its numbers. That much is clear.

I have three problems with this: One, who else in Libya is in a position to make a creditable count of the dead nationwide? Two, Diana doesn't supply any alternate numbers, let alone sources for them. And three, none of my arguments depend on the number of Libyans killed overthrowing Qaddafi. The HRW finding that only 72 civilians were killed by NATO bombs is significant only because some anti-interventionists like to talk about carpet bombing and NATO bloodbaths.

She then goes on to talk about
civilians who allegedly died at the hands of the Ghadafi government.
Why does she give Gaddafi such benefits? why "allegedly" went it comes to the ones killed by Qaddafi? One might as well say the whole 30,000 is "allegedly."

She goes further than that. While millions of Libyans were demanding "regime change" she saw the Qaddafi regime as the legitimate government of Libya and a good thing.
I consider government soldiers and police doing their job in repelling a foreign-backed overthrow to be victims as well.
So she was, and is, opposed to the revolution. She should take no offense at being called counter-revolutionary because there it is.

Of course the American revolution was also "foreign-backed", so was the Vietnamese revolution "foreign-backed" and for that matter, most revolutions.

She then goes on to trot out the usual litany of pro-Qaddafi stories, no "allegedly" here, her sources are to be believed.
We do know for a fact that NATO bombing deliberately targeted the families of government officials, which is a war crime, and that the opposition militias also murdered many civilians (approximately 300 in Sirte alone), either because they were seen as pro-government or because they were black-skinned foreign workers.
There is a problem with Racism in Libya. That is why I wrote the piece by that name for the Libyan thuwar and I am very happy to see it posted on various Libyan websites and discussed among them. But the way I feel about those on the left that have only discovered Arab racism after Qaddafi, harbor many illusions about the racist Qaddafi and his relationship with black Africa, and now see in revolutionary Libya racism even where it ain't, is best summed up by a tweet:

I think it is the role of revolutionaries anywhere in the world to support revolutions everywhere in the world, not to stand on the sidelines carping.

That means supporting the people' struggles to recreate themselves in whatever way you can. It means pointing out flaws in a constructive manner so that they can be corrected and the revolution moved forward. It does not mean using any problems to stoke a desire to return to the past.

And for a Marxist, it means both teaching and learning from the revolutionaries. I have learned so much from my Libyan brothers and sisters and it makes proud that some have called me an honorary Libyan. And I was very happy to see my "Qaddafi lies live on after him" republished on the Libya Tweet Forum a week after I posted it to the Daily Kos.

Anyway, she goes on for a while, laying out her alternate reality for Libya. I don't know where she gets her facts and sometimes I wonder what she is thinking, as in,
Additionally, Special Forces were infiltrated into Libya, among them thousands of easily concealed Qatari commandos.
Easily concealed from who? Libyans? Other Arabs? Unless, of course, they are all in on the conspiracy and only westerners needed to be fooled.

She ignores a number of my major pieces, including Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure and Racism in Libya so that she can say:
The fact that anti-Ghadafi militias murdered many civilians, including the killing, torture and forced expulsion of up to 250,000 of African workers living in the country with their families, is not mentioned by Claiborne,
Then she goes on to disparage the up coming elections in Libya as meaningless:
He also makes a big deal about people registering to vote, as if being allowed to choose only among candidates acceptable to the global capitalist elites meant anything.
Of course she doesn't bother to explain just how the "the global capitalist elites" were able to filter the over 3700 candidates running for 200 positions. But then, its not her revolution, she can afford to be flip about it.

Finally, near the end, she gets to my favorite part of her whole paper. In recalling an ANSWER Coalition forum on Libya June 18, 2011, at which I took the picture below, she made a valuable admission.

When Cynthia McKinney came to Los Angeles after witnessing the destruction of the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, it fell to a group of us to form a cordon outside to prevent Libyans from entering the event and disrupting it.
I want to thank Diana Barahona for that honest description because after I wrote No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum I was subjected to all manner of abuse by people from ANSWER and PSL. For example Ian Thompson published an open letter in which he said:
But, political line aside, the article is full of patent distortions, mischaracterizations and shoddy analysis from start to finish. It's headline and main assertion that there were "no Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya forum" featuring Cynthia McKinney is a flat-out lie.
The only folks prevented from entering the forum were the few who came specifically to protest and disrupt the event. It wasn't because they were Libyan. Several Libyans and Arab Americans participated in the event and discussion. Some pro-war, most anti-war.
So now, I can consider that matter settled. Like I said, to me, that was the best thing in her whole critique.
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke

New material on the on going massacre in Douma has been moved to a new diary here.
Follow clayclai on Twitter

LiveStreaming the Massacre
Late Wednesday evening I wrote a dairy BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared, starting about 11PM and on through the night, I cataloged the information that was coming over the wireless about a massive new attack by Assad's forces on this suburb of Damascus, Syria.

The information mostly came in via Twitter with links to raw YouTube videos and pictures. There were even a number of LiveStreams coming from Douma from time to time. Nothing as gruesome as LiveStreams of people being shot or cut open, though I fear that is in our future, mostly these were courageous cameras pointed out windows. They caught the sounds mostly, but that was chilling enough, and the flash of artillery explosions.

The next day the news reports started coming in about a massacre in Douma. It fit the now familiar pattern, first the Syrian army shelled the community with their artillery, then the shabiha, Assad's armed terrorist gangs, came in to do the close up killing with small arms and knives. The overnight death toll was put at 41, but that's not the final count because Douma is still under attack by Assad's forces.

The world is letting Douma happen. I was able to write a timely blog, reporting the cries for help as the first shells began to rain down and the first reports of shabiha mobilization began to come in. It made no difference. We were all spectators to a massacre. This may be the first time parts of one were Livestreamed. I admit, there wasn't much to see, but I'm sure production quality will improve with practice and I'm afraid this affair will go on for awhile longer and provide it because the world doesn't seemed inclined to help the Syrian people bring to justice a mass murderer who is also the head of state, and it may take them a while to do it on their own. So grab your popcorn and settle in before the LiveStream.

Meanwhile, Back at the UN
The next dairy I wrote was Thursday morning: BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad! which broke the news of a new meeting of the UN Syria Action Group in Geneva on Saturday to deal with the crisis. Friday, Clinton had a surprise meeting with Lavrov on Syria ahead of the Saturday meeting and I covered that to BREAKING: Clinton, Lavrov to debate Syria in Russia today.

It is now Saturday, the nine member countries have just concluded their meeting and held a press conference only minutes ago.

The short story is that, faced with the rising tempo of events in Syria, they have decided to do nothing.

Two main points came out of their closing communication:

1.) They re-affirmed their commitment to Kofi Annan's six point plan.

2.) Called for a transitional government formed from both members of the current government and the opposition. Most notably, the language in Kofi Annan's original proposal for this meeting widely interpreted to exclude Bashar al-Assad was missing.
"I expect the Syrian parties to cooperate"
Special Envoy Kofi Annan just said this in the press conference Q&A [10:24am pst] by this he means that this new plan for the formation of a transitional government is entirely dependent on the voluntary cooperation of Bashar al-Assad. He expects Damascus to "embrace" this plan!

As I said in the title, the UN is blowing more smoke and it it now time to consider the culpability of those who throw up a smoke screen for a massacre.

10:42am pst: Clinton is say she interprets the communication to mean Assad must go in spite of agreeing to the removal of the anti-Assad language that was in the original call to meeting.

10:56am pst: Lavrov is saying not only was anti-Assad lang removed, but lang calling up Assad forces to cease fire and withdraw from cities first was removed.

Demonstration at the Golden Mosque in Damascus Friday June 29, 2012

Here is the Official UN Syria Action Group Communique

Untitled Here is the BBC News report:
UN envoy calls for transitional government in Syria 30 June 2012 13:50 ET The UN's envoy for Syria has said there is international agreement that a transitional government should be set up in order to end the fighting. Kofi Annan said an international conference in Geneva had agreed there should be a "transitional government body with full executive powers". This could include both members of the government and opposition. However US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could not remain in power. Saturday's "action group" conference was attended by both Western powers and Russia and China. Mr Annan also called for an immediate ceasefire and adherence to the UN's six-point peace plan. He said there should be access to Syria for humanitarian organisations and media. Some 15,800 people have died in the 16-month uprising against the rule of President Assad, activists say. More than 180 people are said to have been killed on Friday alone as government forces reportedly shelled a suburb of the capital Damascus and the restive central city of Homs. On Saturday, activists and witnesses said many residents were fleeing the Damascus suburb of Douma, which has come under sustained assault from government forces. Mr Annan said the international community was increasing pressure to end the violence.
That will be very good news for Syrians fleeing the violence today in Douma. Video of mass burial today 6/30/202 after massacre in Douma, Syria Here are my related diaries on Syria: 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

Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee

spotted on facebook June 30, 2012 7:54pm pst
???? :: ????? ????? :: ???? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ??? ??? ...
Urgent:: City harasta:: see the tank with four cars shabeeha 4WD on main street at harasts town to always think they're God peace peace ... (Translated by Bing)

Follow clayclai on Twitter

9:16am pst, June 30, 2012 Reuters just posted this report. It is the first fruits of the UN's benign treatment of Assad in Geneva today:
Syrian forces push into Douma, residents flee

BEIRUT, June 30 (Reuters) - Syrian government forces pushed their way into Douma on Saturday after weeks of siege and shelling, and fleeing residents spoke of corpses in the streets
of the town near the capital Damascus.

The residents said hundreds of people were fleeing the town as government forces swept the streets in search of rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

They reported many bodies buried under the rubble of houses in the town of half a million people, 15 km (10 miles) from Damascus.
Bill Neely of ITV News is on the frontline and he is reporting that Assad in now using his air force to attack Douma. This is unprecedented in this conflict!

Syrian helicopter dropping bombs on Douma - uploaded July 1, 2012

Shelling Douma by Al-Assad Military Planes. Saturday, June30,2012

Here is an AFP report from this morning [9:30am pst]:
Syria violence kills 83, regime troops storm Douma: NGO

BEIRUT — At least 83 people were killed, mostly civilians, in violence across Syria on Saturday, and hundreds more were trapped in Douma as regime forces stormed the town in Damascus province, monitors said.

In the single most serious incident, mortar fire killed 30 civilians who were attending a funeral in the town of Zamalka, 10 kilometres (six miles) east of the Syrian capital of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said.

The Observatory did not give any further details on the Zamalka incident but published two videos from people on the ground.

The first showed several dozen people, mostly men waving Syrian revolutionary flags and shouting slogans as they accompanied the funeral cortege, when the picture was interrupted by an explosion.

The second, which could not be confirmed as being shot at the same scene, showed people running away from a cloud of dust that gradually dissipated to show numerous bodies lying on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Observatory urged the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to "urgently send medical teams" to Douma.

"The security forces have seized control of the main hospital in Douma," the Observatory said. "There are no doctors in the town, though dozens of wounded need urgent care."

The Setup: UNSMIS was in Douma May 24th "opening dialogue with opposition"

A team of UN observers visited Douma, an opposition-controlled city 10kms north-west of Damascus, to initiate dialogue with opposition activists on the ground. This is first meeting of its kind in Douma. The purpose: to assist with mediation whenever possible and establish bridges to help build the space for a political process on the basis of Joint Special Envoy Kofi Anan's six-point peace plan.
"We want to get your guidance on all the priorities that we have to address," explained Martin Griffith, Deputy Head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) to the opposition.
Things don't look the same in Douma these days. How soon will the UNSMIS be back in Douma to see if their last visit did any good?

As I reported here, Assad's killing spree in Douma has been going on since Wednesday. In the wake of the UN's decision in Geneva to do nothing, he is quickening the pace of the killing. This is what happened to one family two days ago.

Only One Male Survives, Regime Forces Slaughters Touma Family (06-28-12) Douma | Damascus |

The NY Times is reporting some background on this video:
A family is said to have been killed together in their basement.

After days of Syrian Army attacks, antigovernment activists reported heavy civilian casualties in Douma, a rebellious suburb of Damascus, including the gruesome killing of many members of a single family on Thursday. "One of the members was filming the army from the balcony of his building," said an activist reached by phone. The army, noticing the videographer, stormed into the building and shot to death the entire Tohme family, including children as young as 4 years old, the activist said.
This is the price some brave souls paid for the YouTube videos I posted that night! Here is an extremely graphic video of the family as they were found at the bloody war crimes scene.

Assad's soldiers on their way to clear the "terrorists" out of Douma - Uploaded 6/30/2012

Syria | Douma | Victim Dies From His Wounds as Residents Try and Fail to Get a Doctor

The victim Khaled Al-Ghazzawi, in the throes of death, appears in this footage uttering his last prayer and asking his friends to forgive him. His friends attempted to get him to a doctor but could not due to the continual shelling. Douma, Saturday, June 30, 2012

(6-30-12) Idlib | Standing in Solidarity With Douma

(06.30.2012) Kafar Sousah | Damascus, Syria | Amazing protests in support of Zamalka and Douma

Another HUGE HUGE protest in Salamiyeh #Syria today funeral of the martyr Ali al-Fakhur

Mortar attack on funeral outside Damascus kills 30 June 30, 2012

The aftermath of the attack June 30, 2012

Zamalka massacre - bodies of those killed by mortar shell at funeral 30 June 2012

Al-Toub | Deir ez-Zor | Funeral Procession of Martyr Ahmad Fareej Al'ikla July 1, 2012

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Clinton, Lavrov to debate Syria in Russia today

Remember: It is the people in the streets that are driving this process, amidst this weekend's flurry of great power diplomatic activity, and in spite Assad's unprecedented military assault on them, the protesters again hit the streets in their thousands after Friday pray in Syria today.

(06-29-2012) Saraqib | Idlib | Friday of We Are Confident of Victory - Free Syria

Protest in Maraa, near Aleppo, on Friday.

Beautiful photo of a protest in ?#Damascus?. God protect them 10:39 AM - 29 Jun 12

Follow clayclai on Twitter
In a surprising new development, US Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton is to meet with Russian FM Sergei Lavrov in St. Petersburg, Russia to discuss the situation in Syria ahead of the United Nations Syria Action Group meeting in Geneva on Saturday. Obviously a lot is hinging on this meeting. The LA Times just posted this an 90 minutes ago, and the AP announcement is near the end of the video below:
Syria on agenda as Clinton, Lavrov meet in St. Petersburg
June 29, 2012 | 7:25 am

BEIRUT -- The tough-talking U.S. secretary of State faces off with a wily Russian statesman Friday at a meeting that could help determine the fate of strife-ridden Syria.

Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to host Hillary Rodham Clinton in St. Petersburg, Russia, at a pivotal moment in stalled diplomatic efforts to craft a solution for the Syrian crisis. The two top envoys with greatly contrasting styles have tussled verbally from afar in recent weeks about the issue.

This news is breaking as Russian eminent a variety of signals with regards to crucial question of their stand on the future of Assad in Syria with tweets like the one below being the latest.

The Telegraph has also picked up the story, 3:20PM BST 29 Jun 2012:
Clinton and Lavrov set for showdown over Syria transition plan

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were heading for a face-to-face showdown over Syria on Friday as major powers prepared for a weekend conference to hash out a political transition plan for the country.

On the eve of Saturday's conference aimed at ending 16 months of brutal violence in Syria, Clinton and Lavrov were to meet in St. Petersburg in a bid to iron out deep differences over the transition plan being pushed by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan that calls for the formation of a national unity government that would oversee the drafting of a new constitution and elections.

U.S. officials are adamant that the plan will not allow Syrian President Bashar Assad to remain in power at the top of the transitional government, but Russia insists that outsiders cannot dictate the ultimate solution or the composition of the interim administration.

Annan laid out his expectations for the weekend conference in an op-ed in The Washington Post. The future government in Syria, he said "must include a government of national unity that would exercise full executive powers. This government could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, but those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation would be excluded."

Such a proposal does not explicitly bar Assad, but the U.S. and other western powers who will participate in the conference said that is implicit.

Today RIA Novosti is reporting:
Moscow Upbeat on Syria Conference

Moscow hopes the international conference on Syria will facilitate the country’s progress to peace, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The conference will take place on Saturday in Geneva.

There is no alternative to a “peaceful political settlement in Syria,” the ministry said in a statement.

The conference should consider all the viable mechanisms of ensuring a ceasefire in the Middle Eastern country, the ministry said, adding that they should facilitate the start of a “nationwide political dialogue in Syria between the government and all opposition groups.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the Syrian government is ready to withdraw its armed forces from the country's cities in parallel with the forces of the Syrian opposition.

Russia has said the Geneva conference should include all the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Syria's neighbors (Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon), as well as key players in the region (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran) and international organizations (League of Arab States, European Union).

Yesterday RIA Novosti reported on Lavrov's press conference:
Russia Would Not Support Intervention in Syria, Lavrov
14:14 28/06/2012
MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia would not lend its support to any plans for outside interference in Syria which may be voiced at the upcoming international conference in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

“We will not, and would not be able to support any outside interference or imposition of recipes [in Syria],” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow.

Syria needs political transformation, but its nature should be defined by Syrian people only, the minister said.

UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, reportedly proposed on Wednesday creation of an interim government in the country comprising both opposition members and President Bashar al-Assad loyalists, but not necessarily Assad himself.

Lavrov denied media reports that Russia has agreed to support Annan’s plan, which could be approved at the conference in Geneva on Saturday. The resolution for the conference is still being drafted, he said.

“The fate of President Bashar al-Assad should be decided by the Syrians themselves,” Lavrov added.

The Foreign Minister also said that he did not expect any NATO members to push for a repetition of a “Libyan scenario” in Syria.

Its tomorrow already in Australia, so tomorrow the Brisbane Times said events on the ground are driving the process beyond the control of the diplomats:
Hopes fade for crisis talks as Syrian conflict worsens
Ruth Pollard
June 30, 2012
IN THE face of a dramatically deteriorating conflict in Syria, major powers are set to meet in Geneva today to discuss a UN plan for an interim transitional government.

Yet many fear the security situation has disintegrated so much that even if Syria's key ally Russia were to throw its support behind the plan, the rebel Free Syrian Army could reject the proposal.

''Too much blood has been shed,'' one observer noted.

The last-ditch meeting in Geneva is taking place in the shadow of worsening tensions between Syria and neighbouring Turkey, as the fallout continues from Syria's downing of a Turkish military jet earlier in the week.

Turkey has begun deploying rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along its border with Syria, where thousands of terrified and injured refugees have poured across in the past few months.

Since March, more than 500 Syrian refugees have crossed the country's borders every day, bringing the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey to more than 90,000 people, the United Nations said. More than 75 per cent are women and children.

''The speed of the conflict has accelerated in the last week and it is now a very dynamic situation where there is increased sectarian violence, a growing number of defections … and a more proficient Free Syrian Army,'' warned Mona Yacoubian, senior Middle East adviser at the Stimson Centre in Washington.

''People are no longer talking about the fact that [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad may hang on for years - that is just not a reality any more. We cannot rule out the possibility that we are heading towards a total regime collapse, which is not ideal without a plan in place.''

There are not high hopes for a positive outcome from this weekend's meeting in Geneva. Beyond Russia's agreement, there must be firm plans for power-sharing arrangements, including what elements of the military apparatus will be maintained as well as guarantees for the protection of Christian and Alawite minorities, she said.

''In the end, the FSA may well reject an internationally endorsed transition plan - they are gaining momentum on the ground and it may be precisely because they are gaining ground that the Russians might be more likely to agree to the transition plan.''

Turkey's move to fortify its border with Syria is a key part of this conflict that is now evolving at alarming speed, Ms Yacoubian said.

''It may create an opportunity for the rebels themselves to lay claim to a safe zone on the Syrian side, creating the buffer zone for refugees that many have been asking for.''

RIA Novosti is now reporting on the results of the meeting:
Good Chance to Implement Annan Plan on Syria - Lavrov
23:57 29/06/2012
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes that the international community has a good chance in Geneva of finding a path forward to stimulate the implementation of Kofi Annan's Plan on the Syrian conflict.

"We have a very good chance tomorrow in Geneva to find a common denominator and find a path forward in order to stimulate the implementation of of Annan's Plan from both sides of the Syrian [conflict]," Lavrov said during a briefing after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in St. Petersburg.
Lavrov has said the Syrian government is ready to withdraw its armed forces from the country's cities in parallel with the forces of the Syrian opposition.

Lavrov also noted that he felt a change in the United States' position after speaking with Clinton about Syria.

"I felt there was a change in that no ultimatums were voiced, or that the paper that is now being discussed (results from the Geneva meeting) is not subject to change," Lavrov said.

NY Times: Syria's deadliest day with many killed in Douma

Here at the DailyKos I broke the news of a massive new attack on Douma, Syria as it happened. See BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared. Now the NY Times is reporting that day as the deadliest yet in Syria with a 190 Syrians killed, many in Doama:
Syrian Groups Say Bloody Day Left High Toll of Civilians

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian opposition groups that track casualties reported on Friday that the previous day was the deadliest so far this year, and possibly in the entire Syrian uprising, with as many as 190 civilians killed in a 24-hour period.

The dead on Thursday were scattered in towns and cities throughout Syria, with the largest number concentrated in the Damascus suburb of Douma, about eight miles northwest of the city, according to reports from both the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in Britain, and the Local Coordination Committees, a Syrian-based group.
The dead on Thursday were scattered in towns and cities throughout Syria, with the largest number concentrated in the Damascus suburb of Douma, about eight miles northwest of the city, according to reports from both the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in Britain, and the Local Coordination Committees, a Syrian-based group.

A destroyed helicopter in the Northern city of Idlib, Syria. Note rockets still attached.

Two of Bashar al-Assad's secret police generals have been captured by Syrian freedom fighers 6-28-2012

Comment with video:
Payback is Definitely Going to Hurt for these Two Serial Killers - The Syria Freedom Fighters have now Captured 2 Assad Secret Police Generals - one who slaughtered political prisoners at Sednaya jail - see the Maher video - (I would hate to be in his shoes) 6-28-12 One guy was captured on 6-26-12 in the middle of Damascus so the Dictator now knows that no place is safe for the criminal elements of the fascist alawite baathist regime - The other one was captured on 6-28-12 -- One guy is originally from Latakia and other is from Suwaida -- The general's name is Brigadier General Munir Ahmed Chleba (who helped slaughter hundreds of jailed political prisoners at Sednaya prison) and the other is Major General Faraj Shehadeh

Here are my related diaries:
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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared

Follow clayclai on Twitter


Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:38 PM PDT: No pictures, video or new coverage to show you but twitter is alive with reports of a massive Syrian government assault of the City of Dourma which is a suburb of Damascus.

The Revolution may not be Televised but it will be LiveStreamed!

Posted at 8:44PM PST on facebook:
رÙ?ف دÙ?Ø´Ù?: دÙ?Ù?ا: سÙ?Ù?Ø· عدد Ù?بÙ?ر Ù?Ù? اÙ?Ø´Ù?داء Ù?اÙ?جرحÙ? جراء اÙ?Ù?صف اÙ?Ù?دفعÙ? اÙ?عÙ?Ù?ف Ù?Ù?Ø° اÙ?صباح Ù?تدÙ?Ù?ر عدد Ù?Ù? اÙ?ابÙ?Ù?Ø© اÙ?سÙ?Ù?Ù?Ø©
Damascus Suburbs: Douma: Dozens of martyrs have fallen due to the indiscriminate and fierce regime shelling which has been ongoing since this morning. Several residential towers have been destroyed.

Posted at 10:26PM PST on facebook:
عاجÙ? :تÙ?سÙ?Ù?Ù?Ø© دÙ?Ù?ا : Ù?داء Ø¥Ù?Ù? جÙ?Ù?ع اÙ?أطباء Ù?اÙ?Ù?سعفÙ?Ù? فÙ? اÙ?Ù?دÙ?Ù?Ø© Ù?Ù?تÙ?جÙ? فÙ?را Ø¥Ù?Ù? اÙ?Ù?شافÙ? بسبب اÙ?أعداد اÙ?Ù?بÙ?رة Ù?Ù? اÙ?Ù?صابÙ?Ù?
Urgent: coordinating always: appeal to all physicians and paramedics in the city to go immediately to the hospital because of the large numbers of people living (Translated by Bing)

SANA - The Syrian government news agency has its own spin on events in Douma:
The Reality of Events>>Authorities Clash with Terrorists in Douma, Ariha and Deir Ezzor, Kill Many, Arrest Several Others
Jun 27, 2012
PROVINCES, (SANA) â?? Authorities in Damascus Countryside on Wednesday confronted an armed terrorist group who set up barriers at Khorsheed Street in Douma.

A source in the province told SANA reporter the clash resulted in killing 13 terrorists, including Mohammad Walid al-Idrees and Omar Darwish, and seizing their weapons.
No Syrian civilians are ever harmed by the Syrian government in Syrian government reports.

1:33 AM PT: Al Jazeera English has picked the story up:

Activists in the Damascus suburb of Douma are broadcasting live what they say is the shelling by government forces on their city.

June 28, 2012 - 10:20

Activists in the Damascus suburb of Douma are broadcasting live what they say is the shelling by government forces on their city.

Click here to watch the broadcast

{thick smoke shells random on the Corniche]

[Sounds of heavy shelling and rising columns of thick black smoke in the city, a result of the barbaric bombing by al-Assad - 28 \ 6 \ 2012]

[Explosions and rise of smoke columns in Douma, Damascus Suburbs]

[28/6/2012 voices always lead Assad al-stricken city in the sky]

Meanwhile Moscow is still promising to do every thing it can to get Assad his helicopters:
Interfax: Russia will do everything to supply air defense systems and helicopters to Syria
27 June 2012 | 16:12 | FOCUS News Agency

Moscow. In any case Russia will do everything to fulfill its duties under the signed contracts about supplying Syria with air defense systems and helicopters which are now aboard the Alaed ship, a military diplomatic source from Moscow told Interfax.
â??The three helicopters MI-25 and air defense systems can easily be supplied to Syria by air,â? said the source.
According to the source, the issue of the alternative transportation of the cargo which on the vessel might be solved very soon.

Martyr Mohammed Khadir killed in Douma 28-6-2012

Martyr Mohamed Khair wool killed in Douma 28-6-2012

Martyr Sheikh Ahmed Mahmoud Bakri in Douma 28-6-2012

Free Syrian Army columns headed to Damascus 27-6-2012

12:19 AM PT: BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!

And Kofi Annan has called for the UN Action Group for Syria to meet on Saturday.
UN-Arab League Envoy: Action Group for Syria to meet on Saturday

27 June 2012 â??
The Action Group for Syria will convene in Geneva, at the ministerial level, this Saturday, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan, said today.

â??The objectives of the Action Group for Syria are to identify steps and measures to secure full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms,â? Mr. Annan said in a statement.

â??The Action Group for Syria should also agree on guidelines and principles for a Syrian-led political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and agree on actions that will make these objectives a reality on the ground,â? he added.

The Joint Special Envoy said that he had sent on Wednesday invitations to the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council â?? China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America â?? and Turkey, for the meeting this weekend.

In addition, invitations were also sent to the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Ban Ki-moon and Nabil Elaraby, respectively, and to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; as well as to the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, as Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States; Kuwait, as Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States and Qatar, as Chair of the Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States.
Note that neither Iran or Saudi Arabia were invited.

According to Reuters, Annan is calling the formation of a Syrian national unity government.
Exclusive: Annan calls for Syria national unity government: envoys
UNITED NATIONS | Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:48pm EDT

(Reuters) - Russia and other big powers have told Syria mediator Kofi Annan they support his idea of a Syrian national unity cabinet that could include government and opposition members but would exclude those whose participation would undermine it, envoys said on Wednesday.

The proposal is one of the main topics that Russia, the other four permanent Security Council members and other key players in the Middle East will discuss at a meeting in Geneva on Saturday about the 16-month conflict in Syria, diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"It could comprise present government members, opposition and others, but would need to exclude those whose continued participation or presence would jeopardize the transition's credibility, or harm prospects for reconciliation and stability," a diplomat said, summarizing Annan's proposal.

The diplomat added that the idea of excluding certain people was clearly referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, though Annan's proposal does not explicitly say Assad could not serve in a national unity government.
This is also being report by the Russian Focus News Agency.


Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:23 AM PT:

Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM PT: The Aftermath: Video from the massacre in Douma 6/28/2012

Syria, Rural Damascus, Douma, June 28, 2012/ A New Massacre in Douma.

Regime militias killed and slashed with knives entire families, including
children in a new massacre in Douma Thursday, June 28, 2012.

Here are my related diaries:
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