Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So What!

Nothing impresses anymore: killing entire families by smashing their skulls or slashing their throats, pounding residential neighborhood with tanks, missiles, choppers and heavy artillery, burning people alive, commanding snipers to target children… nothing! The world remains indifferent to our suffering. After all, it’s nothing people haven’t seen before. Just another dictator torturing and killing his people, so what! So what!

Detailing the opposition's alternative plan exclusively to Fox News, Ammar Abdulhamid, an influential Syrian human rights activist, said Annan’s initiative clearly had “failed.” He also said that, given Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s track record for reneging on such agreements, “there was no reason for anyone to be surprised by the turn of events.”

The Plan was put together on the sidelines of a workshop on transitional justice in Syria that took place in The Hague.

The workshop itself was organized by the Tharwa Foundation in cooperation with Hivos and Public International Law and Policy Group, and comes as continuation of efforts meant to facilitate transition planning. Our first workshops had taken place in Copenhagen in late February and resulted in this report.  

Syrian Opposition Six Point Plan

1.       Arm the local resistance. This is a popular demand for Syrian revolutionaries, and the need for this move in the face of continued violations by the Assad regime cannot be denied any more. Despite occasional lapses, most local resistance groups remain dedicated solely to defending their communities against attacks by pro-Assad death squads and troops, and have not embarked on any vendetta activities in any of the regions under their control despite the highly mixed character of these regions. This is a good signs of things to come should the local resistance get the support they need. Moreover, supporting local resistance groups will enable emerging leaders inside and outside the country to establish a clear command structure and prevent further fragmentation of resistance activities, while ensuring adherence to international standards and covenants on armed resistance. 
2.       Establish a safe haven and provide aerial support to the local resistance. This is another popular demand. By providing a safe zone and establishing an aerial cover, the international community will help shorten the potential period of conflict by weakening the ability of the Assad death squads to operate.   
3.       Increase diplomatic pressures. Diplomatic pressures may not be having the desired effect at this stage, but when combined with increased support to the resistance and aerial strikes, the situation could change drastically, and Assad officials might find it useful under the changing conditions to listen to the demands made by the international community.
4.       Encourage defections by top officials by providing a series of conditional amnesties with specific start and end dates. Calls for defections may have gone unheeded before, mainly because the necessary conditions for them to be taken seriously have not been provided. The previous steps elaborated above could create a new context, encourage more defections and seriously undermine the Assads’ hold on power.
5.       Identify countries that can provide future peacekeepers who can be immediately sent to liberated territories to ensure stabilization and prevent potential retributions. While boots on the ground may not be needed in the actual fight against pro-Assad death squads and militias, the need for their involvement in the immediate stabilization period cannot be overstated. Future peacekeepers should be chosen from countries where the population has no communal ties to any of the groups in Syria in order to maintain perception of neutrality.
6.       Support ongoing efforts by opposition groups in regard to transition planning and capacity building for the transition period. This could be done by providing support to such efforts as: a) workshops dedicated to charting the path for national reconciliation, ensuring and increasing woman participation, and tackling important constitutional challenges such providing for communal protections; b) programs for capacity building, such as training judges and law enforcement officers, rehabilitating and reintegrating militia members, both pro- and anti-Assad, into state institutions and society at large; and c) providing support for media activities dedicated to national reconciliation and the promotion of civic and democratic values.  

Video Highlights

Rastan/Homs Province: locals allege that Napalm or napalm like substance was being used by Assad troops in the pounding of their town, resulting in new massacre Treating the injured

Qusayr/Homs Province: victims of new massacre

Homs City: dozens of undocumented bodies were found in the morgue of the national hospital Qoussour comes under heavy pounding Khaldiyeh: the neighborhood is pounded with missiles , , Homes catch fire after getting shelled Jouret Al-Shayah: the pounding continues , , The local shopping mall catches fire These bodies have been lying in the streets for days now with local unable to reach them Qarabees: tanks patrol the streets and pound the residential neighborhood

Tal Rif’aat/Aleppo: victims of new massacre People try to clean the mess generated by the pounding of their town

Wadi Barada/Damascus: The pounding of this Damascene suburb results in a number of fatalities Martyrs ,

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