Syria: political vultures circle in

Deadly repression is unabated in Syria, where security forces killed at least 70 demonstrators during Friday protests on June 3, according to activists’ accounts. This was one of the highest single-day death tolls in the course of the uprising, and some activists said the day’s final toll could be 100. Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least 60 people were killed in Hama, where President Bashir al-Assad’s father Hafez crushed an armed revolt 29 years ago by killing up to 30,000 people and razing parts of the city. (Reuters, June 4)

Washington’s neocons are clearly heartened by this bloodshed, and see it as an opportunity to augment it with US bombardment, as in Libya. When the uprising began three months ago, Elliott Abrams immediately started calling for the US to embrace a program of regime change. (WP, March 25) More recently, so-called “moderate” Fareed Zakaria has done the same, while wimp-baiting Obama for his supposed inaction. (CNN, June 3)

Assad meanwhile is attempting to play a divide-and-conquer card to ride out the storm, exploiting Syria’s ethnic divisions. We’ve already noted his attempts to exploit the Kurds, promising redress of their long-standing grievances in exchange for their loyalty. To their credit, they seem not to have taken the bait. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same of the Druze of the Israel-occupied Golan Heights, who last month staged a “solidarity rally” for Assad at the village of Buq’ata. Clerics, women and children waved Syrian flags and portraits of Assad, and chanted Syrian songs. “We came out to support the leader of our homeland, whose leadership is being undermined,” stated local protest leader Yussef Safdi—who explicitly dissed the anti-Assad protesters, adding, “Instead of solving domestic problems, they riot and harm Syria.” (YNet, April 2)

On June 4, the Golan Druze again mobilized for a Naksa Day rally, commemorating Israel’s seizure of the Heights in the 1967 Six-Day War. But this time, Israeli authorities sealed off the village where the Druze sought to gather for the rally, and they were forced to hold their protest at a road checkpoint. (YNet, June 4)

In short: The Syrian protesters and the Golan Druze alike have very good reason to be angry and to protest. But they had both better beware of their casues being exploited by those who mean them no good.

See our last posts on Syria and the Arab Spring.

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  1. this leo weiner is truly
    this leo weiner is truly pathetic,daringa s a western ejw to speak for Syrians?the overwhleming majority of Syrians support assad,thats afact,just so people realize why leo weiner supports anti assad and iranian eladers…see his ww4 links section..look at his iran sources..

    Iran Visual News Corps
    Iran Focus
    Persian Journal
    Payvand: Iran News, Directory and Bazar
    Iran Press Service
    Rooz Online


    1. Who the hell is Leo Weiner?
      Will you clowns please read our Posting Policy? You violated it by not writing clearly, but I’m feeling generous today so I will approve your post and tear you apart anyway. So to begin… Who the hell is “leo weiner”? Is this your attempt to render my name, Bill Weinberg? What the hell is a an “ejw”? Are you trying to say Jew? Who is “speaking for the Syrians”? The Syrians are speaking for themselves, and I am writing about it. If the overwhelming majority of Syrians support Assad, who are all these people filling the streets of Syria every Friday to demand he step down? Hollywood extras flown in by George Soros and the CIA in a secret operation? As for our links, I hardly think the ones you cited are all uniformly pro-monarchy. But perhaps you didn’t notice the disclaimer on our links page stating:

      A link on this page by no means should be construed as an endorsement. Many of these websites we support; some we definitely do not. All are interesting and/or useful.

      And I guess you didn’t notice these links from the Iran section:

      International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
      Organization for Women’s Liberation in Iran (OWLI)
      Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization (IKWRO)
      Meydaan: Stop Stoning Forever
      Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII)
      IASWI: International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran
      Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
      Iranian Voices in Translation
      Worker-Communist Party of Iran (WPI)
      Worker-Communist Party of Iran blog
      Communist Party of Iran (CPI)
      Komalah: Communist Party of Iran (CPI) (Kurdish)
      Neda News (Working Class Party of Iran in formation)
      Green Party of Iran
      Balochistan People’s Party
      Human Rights Activists in Iran
      Iran Tribunal

      I guess the Worker-Communist Party of Iran is “pro-monarchy” too?

      Get lost.

  2. Assad instrumented Golan Nakba protests?
    We make no claims as to the authenticity, by Michael Weiss of The Telegraph of June 13, who purports to have been leaked an internal Syrian document—signed by the governor of al-Qunaitera province:—which indicates that the Damascus regime “instrumented” (Weiss’ word) last month’s Nakba Day protests, in which demonstrators attempted to cross form Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and four were killed. The document notes that a particular captain “from the military intelligence division is hereby appointed to the leadership of the group assigned to break-in and infiltrate deep into the occupied Syrian Golan Heights with a specified pathway to avoid land mines.”