Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dead Syrians, Stability, and Getting a Grip

First, some news and views. Then I'll opine a bit.
"U.N. observers in Syria see gruesome evidence of a new massacre"
Los Angeles Times (June 8, 2012)

"Bullet-pocked homes and bloodstained walls. Shell casings littering the ground in a ghost town still smoldering from the onslaught.

"A United Nations observer team on Friday finally reached the site of Syria's latest apparent massacre, a now-abandoned farming village where opposition activists accuse pro-government forces of killing dozens of civilians this week in an artillery bombardment and grisly door-to-door executions.

" 'Young children, infants, my brother, his wife and seven children … all dead,' said a grieving man in a video distributed by the U.N. 'I will show you the blood. They burned his house.'..."

"The U.N.'s Syria disaster"
The Post's View, The Washington Post (June 8, 2012)

"THIS MAY BE remembered as the week in which the illusion that the bloodshed in Syria could be stopped by United Nations diplomats was destroyed once and for all. Inside the country, the killing sharply and sickeningly accelerated. In Washington, U.N. envoy Kofi Annan finally had to acknowledge that his calamitous peace initiative, which has provided the United States and its allies with an excuse for inaction for the past 11 weeks, 'may be dead.'

"Mr. Annan's concession was forced in part by the latest massacre by a government-backed militia. In a village near Hama, some 80 people were butchered and their homes burned...."

"In Its Unyielding Stance on Syria, Russia Takes Substantial Risks in Middle East"
Ellen Barry, News Analysis, The New York Times (June 8, 2012)

"MOSCOW - The international deadlock over Syria has, in a dreadful way, provided balm for old grievances in this city. After years of fuming about Western-led campaigns to force leaders from power, Russia has seized the opportunity to make its point heard.

"This time, its protests cannot be set aside as they were when NATO began airstrikes in Libya or when Western-led coalitions undertook military assaults in Iraq and Serbia. Instead, the international community has come to Russia’s doorstep.

" On Friday, a top State Department official visited Moscow, presumably seeking to persuade the Kremlin to reconsider its stance and contribute to an effort to engineer a transition from the rule of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a longtime Russian ally. In remarks after the meeting, Russia's top negotiator was implacable, telling a reporter that Moscow’s position was 'a matter of principle.'

"Russia's leaders have said repeatedly that their goal is to guard against instability, not to support Mr. Assad...."

"United Nations frets about 'sitting duck' monitors in Syria"
Tim Witcher, The Daily Star (UK) (June 9, 2012)

"The United Nations is increasingly worried about the unarmed observers it has sent into Syria to monitor the war between President Bashar Assad's troops and opposition rebels.

"The U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria is caught between hostile troops accused of firing at its patrols and increasingly bitter Syrians who cannot understand why it has not halted the bloodshed, officials said.

"Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, likened the monitors to '300 sitting ducks in a shooting gallery, one IED from a disaster,' at a recent U.N. Security Council meeting...."

The Los Angeles Times seems to be doing fairly straightforward reporting. And, sadly, Syria's boss has another mass death of civilians to explain.

The Washington Post's op-ed may have something to do with the upcoming November presidential election: or not. Either way, it looks like the W.P. has decided that asking Syria's boss to start acting nice isn't working.

The New York Times' op-ed seems to imply that (nice) Russia is protecting the world against the (nasty) west:
"...After years of fuming about Western-led campaigns to force leaders from power, Russia has seized the opportunity to make its point heard...."
(The New York Times)
I could be wrong about that, of course.

The Daily Star brings up an important point: the U.N. observers are in an awkward position. Folks in Syria understandably seem to want the observers to 'do something.' Which is frustrating, since the U.N. observers are doing just that: observing.

And since even Syria's neighbors don't particularly like outsiders observing what happens to Syrians when they're not properly appreciative of Asad, the U.N. observers are under attack themselves.

What continues to impress me about the situation in Syria is that, as far as I've seen, nobody's figured out a way to blame the Jews. As I've said before:
"...this is, I think, a hopeful sign. Maybe more folks are starting to consider the idea of living with neighbors: instead of killing them.

"It's a start, and that's yet another topic."
(May 26, 2012)
Finally, about Russia's decision to defend Asad's regime: Stability is nice. But it seems to me that Syrians who aren't on Asad's 'preferred' list don't want "stability." They want a government that doesn't kill its own citizens.

I think that's a reasonable desire.

Somewhat-related posts:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.