Friday, August 19, 2011

Nice going, President Assad

You've got to hand it to tyrants -- they certainly know how to say one thing and then do another.

Despite assuring his people and the international community that the Syrian government's crackdown was over, Mr. Assad unleashed his military today. As Reuters reports, more than 30 people were killed.

"Bye-bye Bashar. See you in The Hague," chanted protesters in Homs, referring to the Dutch-based international war crimes tribunal. They also shook shoes in the air in a gesture of contempt.

"We want revenge against Maher and Bashar," shouted others, referring to the Syrian leader and his powerful brother -- a military commander accused by diplomats and residents of attacking cities and cracking down on pro-democracy protests.

Encouraged by growing global pressure on Assad, the Syrian opposition in exile said it would set up a National Council in Turkey on Sunday to support the uprising and help fill any power vacuum should the protests succeed in ousting Assad.
The Washington Post picks up on that theme of the opposition sensing it is gaining a decisive upper hand.
But there were signs that the country’s still largely leaderless protest movement has been revitalized by the signals of international support, as thousands of people turned out in dozens of locations across the country, their spirits buoyed by the calls from the United States and the European Union for Assad to step down, activists said.
In the central Damascus neighborhood of Midan, one of the capital’s few protest flashpoints, security forces opened fire with live ammunition almost immediately against hundreds of people who swarmed out of a local mosque after Friday prayers, in what has become a ritual over 23 weeks of protests.
NPR notes that the assault today has renewed the discussion as to whether Assad could face extradition to The Hague to face charges of crime against humanity.

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