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02-28-2012, 02:37 PM   #1
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Syria

I don't often (ever, actually) get involved with political demonstrations, & I wasn't in this case either, but last Sunday, we had to go into Melbourne, & on the way back to the station, I came across a peaceful demonstration with respect to Syria...supporting the current leader President Assad.
The demonstrators made the following points in support of President Assad:
1. He has transformed Syria in the last 10 years in regard to economic reforms, & social freedoms.
2. He is open-minded, honest, and represents those who want an end to corruption.
3.He is not likely to be corrupted by the oil rich elite or by M.E. extremists., has stood up to Israel, is articulate, & his rule unites Syrians of all backgrounds.
4. Women have equal rights in Syria..they can be docters, lawyers etc.
The demonstrators said that Assad was supported by many countries, including Russia, China, India etc, & even Iran....but not by the U.S., U.K. etc who supported the "rebels".
I'm no political "expert" like some on here....but in this case, I seem to be on Assad's side....I'd like to know why the U.S., U.K. etc are supporting the rebels. maybe I have common ground with "Mr. Wheatfield" here.
Regards, Pickles.

02-28-2012, 02:52 PM   #2
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Perhaps it is because he also tortures and murders children? Is that open-minded and honest? I guess so if you think torture should be spread evenly throughout society - why not torture 12 yo boys, cut off their genitals and stomp them to death?

Or because he is a dictator? Many would say that the economic reforms and social freedoms go unequally to those he favors and against those he doesn't. I think there's a great deal of dispute over his "open-mindedness" -- as the shelling of civilian housing indicates -- and of his honesty -- as the enrichment of his family and regime indicates.

Just some passing thoughts I had upon reading what a great chap this is. Tally ho!

QuoteQuote:
In office, Bashar presented himself as an unassuming family man and an advocate of transparency and democracy, and he spoke out vigorously against corruption. But he has made no essential changes to the status quo. He has imprisoned dissidents, journalists, and human-rights workers, and his secret police torture suspects with impunity. The Baath Party has held power since 1963, in large part by maintaining aggressive domestic surveillance. Last March, in the city of Deraa, a group of schoolchildren, who had been caught scribbling anti-government graffiti, were taken into police custody and tortured. As the story spread, Syrians, swept up in the fervor of the Arab Spring, broke their silence to demand political reforms. Assad promised a series of gradual concessions, which he said would culminate in a revised constitution. Meanwhile, across the country, his security forces killed and detained and tortured hundreds of unarmed protesters. In some cases, the mutilated bodies were sent back to their families as a warning.

Read more Syrians Rebel Against the Bashar al-Assad Regime : The New Yorker

Contrary to the peaceful (possibly Syrian-govt sponsored protest), various journals have reported that corruption is high and rising. [Institute for War and Peace Reporting].

A 2007 law required internet cafes to record all the comments users post on chat forums.

Human Rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have detailed how Bashar's regime and secret police routinely torture, imprison, and kill political opponents, and those who speak out against the regime.


The Sturdy House That Assad Built | Foreign Affairs
QuoteQuote:
During its decades of rule, moreover, the Assad family developed a strong political safety net by firmly integrating the military into the regime. In 1970, Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, seized power after rising through the ranks of the Syrian armed forces, during which time he established a network of loyal Alawites by installing them in key posts. In fact, the military, ruling elite, and ruthless secret police are so intertwined that it is now impossible to separate the Assad regime from the security establishment.

Last edited by yucatanPentax; 02-28-2012 at 03:01 PM.
02-28-2012, 03:46 PM   #3
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I have to admit, the Syrian regime was 'one of the better ones'. I had a Syrian co-worker once, nice guy, and there was a good documentary on a Syrian school last year... heh the work ethic, academic standard and ambition of the girls would put our school kids to shame.

There was a slightly weird segment of the documentary where one of the boys was picked on a shortlist to be in some sort of elite 'boys brigade' - it involved parroting off a lot of pro-Assad propaganda which came over like something straight out of North Korea....

Nevertheless Assad's reaction to the protests has so obviously crossed over into brutal suppression. Even Mr. Ahmedinejad recognises this, and has called for an end to the crackdown. The recent reforms pledged by the leadership have come about a year too late.

QuoteQuote:
The Syrian regime is trying to absolve itself of its sins against its own people by pledging democratic change, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Turkish diplomat said: “The Syrian regime did not keep any of their promises to the Syrian people or international actors like Turkey and Russia. President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which is massacring its own people, is currently trying to absolve itself of its sins and keep power by claiming it will initiate democratic change, but it's too late."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov got a promise from Assad on Feb. 7, days after a brutal massacre in Homs claimed hundreds of lives, that the regime would immediately stop the violence in the country. However, the Syrian army's shelling of Homs continued in February.

The diplomat repeated remarks that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made on Saturday en route from Tunisia to Turkey. “The Syrian regime wants first to destroy the opposition, then to hold elections. This line of thinking is senseless and disingenuous,” Davutoğlu said about the Syrian crisis.
A complete cessation of hostile action by Syria, and opening up of the country to humanitarian aid and UN peacekeepers is needed. The regime needs to let go of power and a temporary government will have to take the helm and keep order (peacefully) while urgent and drastic political reform is hammered out. This will not happen though.
02-28-2012, 06:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by yucatanPentax Quote
Perhaps it is because he also tortures and murders children? Is that open-minded and honest? I guess so if you think torture should be spread evenly throughout society - why not torture 12 yo boys, cut off their genitals and stomp them to death?

Or because he is a dictator? Many would say that the economic reforms and social freedoms go unequally to those he favors and against those he doesn't. I think there's a great deal of dispute over his "open-mindedness" -- as the shelling of civilian housing indicates -- and of his honesty -- as the enrichment of his family and regime indicates.

Just some passing thoughts I had upon reading what a great chap this is. Tally ho!




Contrary to the peaceful (possibly Syrian-govt sponsored protest), various journals have reported that corruption is high and rising. [Institute for War and Peace Reporting].

A 2007 law required internet cafes to record all the comments users post on chat forums.

Human Rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have detailed how Bashar's regime and secret police routinely torture, imprison, and kill political opponents, and those who speak out against the regime.


The Sturdy House That Assad Built | Foreign Affairs
To be fair, the USA supports and uses torture, my own country now supports torture, but as of yet isn't actively using torture (at least I hope it isn't), most every government in the world is corrupt to some degree, The American government is well known for corruption and deceit, my own government may well be brought down over the next little while because of corruption during the last election (voter fraud). Western governments, the USA in particular have set up nasty little dictators in various countries for short term expedience (I'm thinking Noriega in Panama and Pinochet in Chile).
I'm not sure if anything Assad is doing is any worse than the wholesale burning of Vietnamese villages with Napalm was.
Dictators are not automatically evil and oppressive, though most do seem to be.
Certainly, the Assad regime has crossed the line, I'm just pointing out that stone throwers probably shouldn't live in glass houses.

02-28-2012, 07:15 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
To be fair, the USA supports and uses torture, my own country now supports torture, but as of yet isn't actively using torture (at least I hope it isn't), most every government in the world is corrupt to some degree, The American government is well known for corruption and deceit, my own government may well be brought down over the next little while because of corruption during the last election (voter fraud). Western governments, the USA in particular have set up nasty little dictators in various countries for short term expedience (I'm thinking Noriega in Panama and Pinochet in Chile).
I'm not sure if anything Assad is doing is any worse than the wholesale burning of Vietnamese villages with Napalm was.
Dictators are not automatically evil and oppressive, though most do seem to be.
Certainly, the Assad regime has crossed the line, I'm just pointing out that stone throwers probably shouldn't live in glass houses.
That's all pretty general stuff, & I'm not interested in your usual "what the U.S. has done" stuff. That is not the question I asked.
You obviously take an interest on issues like those currently concerning Syria, so, to be specific, & without "peeing in your pocket", I honestly thought I may have been able to gain an insight into what is happening, from you.
So, who do you think is "right" in Syria...if there is a "right"?.....Is it the "rebels", or is it Assad? Why would the U.S. & the U.K. be behind the "Rebels", if Assad has done a half reasonable job when compared to other so called "rulers/presidents" or whatever in the region?
Cheers, Pickles.
02-28-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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I was thinking from the perspective originally stated, "I seem to be on Assad's side."

I am not.

Not on the side or torture, corruption, murder, war crimes.

Regardless of which country commits them. Regardless of which leader commits them. No one should be above the law, but we do not live in such times, unfortunately.

There are fine people in any and every country in the world. The fineness of their character does not justify support for evil done by any of their governments, especially not our own.

A statement was made about corruption improving. Sources were provided showing outside observers (not in a pro-Assad 'protest') believes corruption is increasing and is rife throughout the regime. That is not a claim to lack of corruption elsewhere. Presence of corruption anywhere - or evil, murder, torture - never excuses it elsewhere.

That's my thinking on the matter.
02-28-2012, 07:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pickles Quote
That's all pretty general stuff, & I'm not interested in your usual "what the U.S. has done" stuff. That is not the question I asked.
You obviously take an interest on issues like those currently concerning Syria, so, to be specific, & without "peeing in your pocket", I honestly thought I may have been able to gain an insight into what is happening, from you.
So, who do you think is "right" in Syria...if there is a "right"?.....Is it the "rebels", or is it Assad? Why would the U.S. & the U.K. be behind the "Rebels", if Assad has done a half reasonable job when compared to other so called "rulers/presidents" or whatever in the region?
Cheers, Pickles.
I just take a dim view of unwarranted piousness.
I'm of the opinion, perhaps the wrong one, that Muslims are too fractured to accept democratic rule (pretty general stuff I realize). It seems to me that most of the primarily Muslim countries that are more or less at peace internally have fairly authoritarian, heavy handed governments, and the Muslim countries that we have brought democracy to have tended towards civil war after we've gone home.
The options as I see them:
1)If Assad is tossed out by his own people, there will be civil war until another dictator takes his place, and nothing much will have changed.
2)If we go in guns blazing and take Assad out, there will be a very bloody civil war until another dictator takes his place, and nothing much will have changed (we get the side benefit of more hatred and terrorism being sent our way for interfering).
3)If Assad puts down the rebellion, fewer people will die, and nothing much will have changed.
If we are truly interested in saving lives, we in the West need to stay the hell out of this, since no mater what our motives may be, we will be seen as invading oppressors engaged in a Holy War, not saviors.
The Muslim countries are the only ones who can do anything about Assad, but anything they do will only lead to an expurgated version of option 2. We might not see an increase in terrorism against the West if Saudi Arabia, for example, gets involved, though since we have armed them, it's really anyone's guess.
02-28-2012, 09:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I just take a dim view of unwarranted piousness.
I'm of the opinion, perhaps the wrong one, that Muslims are too fractured to accept democratic rule (pretty general stuff I realize). It seems to me that most of the primarily Muslim countries that are more or less at peace internally have fairly authoritarian, heavy handed governments, and the Muslim countries that we have brought democracy to have tended towards civil war after we've gone home.
The options as I see them:
1)If Assad is tossed out by his own people, there will be civil war until another dictator takes his place, and nothing much will have changed.
2)If we go in guns blazing and take Assad out, there will be a very bloody civil war until another dictator takes his place, and nothing much will have changed (we get the side benefit of more hatred and terrorism being sent our way for interfering).
3)If Assad puts down the rebellion, fewer people will die, and nothing much will have changed.
If we are truly interested in saving lives, we in the West need to stay the hell out of this, since no mater what our motives may be, we will be seen as invading oppressors engaged in a Holy War, not saviors.
The Muslim countries are the only ones who can do anything about Assad, but anything they do will only lead to an expurgated version of option 2. We might not see an increase in terrorism against the West if Saudi Arabia, for example, gets involved, though since we have armed them, it's really anyone's guess.
Thank You...I can relate to that.
Cheers, Pickles.

02-29-2012, 06:49 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I'm of the opinion, perhaps the wrong one, that Muslims are too fractured to accept democratic rule (pretty general stuff I realize). It seems to me that most of the primarily Muslim countries that are more or less at peace internally have fairly authoritarian, heavy handed governments, and the Muslim countries that we have brought democracy to have tended towards civil war after we've gone home.
I would not attribute lack of democracy to being Muslim. Regardless of the native religion, former colonies of European countries (often created by foreign powers) have had a difficult time creating and maintaining democracies. The largest Muslim majority country in the world, Indonesia, is a democracy and has the structure in place to make it more and more effective. Christian countries in Latin America have struggled toward democratic governments with similar difficulty. The origin of the concept is usually traced to pre-Christian Europe (Greece), and its implementation on its native continent has only solidified in the last century.

Last edited by GeneV; 02-29-2012 at 08:34 AM.
02-29-2012, 07:41 AM   #10
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Under Saddam Hussein the women of Iraq had equal educational opportunites and prior to the invasion of Kuwaitt promising students of either sex had advanced education abroad paid for by the state. There was a decent health care system. Women could be professionals there too. Iraq was a secular country and little if any of the radical Islamist ideas of keeping the people in their place using religion as a tool.

And yet few if any thinking people would say that Saddam ran a good regime. The current leader of Syria always to me until this past year seemed more moderate than his father or some of his contempories. But that is relative and what he has been doing is far from benign. But there are always some who would support any regime for whatever reason. Some times to get favours or into a posiiton they would not be able to get otherwise like some of the Nazi collabators in occupied countries, some for ideological reasons and there are some that will support their leader no matter what.
02-29-2012, 01:37 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I would not attribute lack of democracy to being Muslim. Regardless of the native religion, former colonies of European countries (often created by foreign powers) have had a difficult time creating and maintaining democracies. The largest Muslim majority country in the world, Indonesia, is a democracy and has the structure in place to make it more and more effective. Christian countries in Latin America have struggled toward democratic governments with similar difficulty. The origin of the concept is usually traced to pre-Christian Europe (Greece), and its implementation on its native continent has only solidified in the last century.
Gene - as usual, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Turkey proves that Muslims can create secular democracies if given the necessary time and freedom from colonialism.
02-29-2012, 01:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ihasa Quote
Gene - as usual, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Turkey proves that Muslims can create secular democracies if given the necessary time and freedom from colonialism.
A good example all the way around. The Turks were more the colonizers than colony.
02-29-2012, 04:19 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
A good example all the way around. The Turks were more the colonizers than colony.
My post was mistakenly ignoring the effects that deliberate meddling in Muslim governments by outside forces would have. I suspect countries like Iran and Syria have been the victims of a fairly constant barrage of destabilizing influences by Western countries for decades.
02-29-2012, 04:51 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
My post was mistakenly ignoring the effects that deliberate meddling in Muslim governments by outside forces would have. I suspect countries like Iran and Syria have been the victims of a fairly constant barrage of destabilizing influences by Western countries for decades.
Reminds me that Lawrence of Arabia was playing on the Dish last night.
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