Syria's March 15 Anniversary sees Regime Give A Proper Arab Spring-Cleansing

Published March 13th, 2012 - 23:30 GMT

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Syria rally in Washington DC
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Image 1 of 14: Syria in the global spotlight: From Washington DC, to neighboring Lebanon and Jordan all eyes are on what will happen with the problem that is 'Syria'.

Pro-rebel protest in Lebanon
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Image 1 of 14: Syria's resistance or rebel movement started out as a peaceful protest which by now is distinctly armed and very violent. Bringing us to a cumulative death count of 8,000 plus, in Syria's escalating crisis which shows little sign of abating.

Homs massacre, 2012
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Image 1 of 14: Homs 2012: What began in Derra seems to be concluding in Homs. This weekend's latest massacre to be visited upon the residents of Homs is one more to many massacres afflicting this tragic city which has lost many families and children.

Russia and China convene on Syria
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Image 1 of 14: Russia and China are still standing by the Syrian regime, sitting tight with their vetoes, to thwart the international community from 'saving Syria' by implementing global punishments.

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Image 1 of 14: The regime stamp of destruction is being described as the 'scorched earth policy'. This military strategy famously appropriated by the Russians, involved a razing to the ground of enemy land, village by village. In the Homs case, infrastructure is flattened, mines planted, & civilians are being scared away. Homs is turning into a ghost town.

Arab League's Secretary General, Nabil el-Arabi
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Image 1 of 14: With this latest Homs massacre taking the death toll up to 8,000, the Arab League (AL) has failed in its mission to take care of its own affairs. Monitors came & went, there were tears; the AL could not guarantee the safe passing of its monitors. Russia is still pressing for monitors to secure a ceasefire between regime troops & armed rebels.

Turkey PM Erdogan
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Image 1 of 14: Turkey has taken a strong stance against the Syrian regime from the start. PM Erdogan's vested interest is a sectarian spillover into his Turkish Kurdish community, given that Syria is a mixed pot of ethnic & communal groups. An outspoken critic of Bashar, he says there's no heroism in fighting your own people. Turkey is harboring Syrian refugees.

Syrian refugees in Turkey
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Image 1 of 14: The Syrian refugee crisis escalates. Since the conflict began, Syrians are fleeing the violence from the regime & its army, as well as from the 'Shabiha' (thugs). Jordan, Turkey & Lebanon are all housing Syrians in tented camps. The regime claims people are running away from the 'terrorists' responsible for the violent attacks on the people.

Syrian rebel opposition
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Image 1 of 14: The rebel opposition: The Free Syrian Army was established by officers who defected from Syria's army. They have adopted the mission to support & secure the protesting public. The opposition Syrian National Council has been criticised for a lack of unity. It bands Syria's Muslim Brotherhood, the Damascus Declaration & Syrian Platform for Change.

Marie Colvin and Remi Oschlik
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Image 1 of 14: Foreign casualties of Syria's war: After sneaking in to the strictly non-media zone of Syria, Marie Colvin - the intrepid US foreign correspondent, on assignment by the UK's Sunday Times - died in Homs. Remi Oschlik, the French photo journalist, died in the same bombardment. It is safe to assume that legions of Syrian media troopers have expired.

Hilary Clinton and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
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Image 1 of 14: Iran Vs. US: Syria's conflict has fed the larger inter-regional media warfare being played out by the US, Iran, Israel & Hezbollah. While America is asserting pressure on Syria through the Arab League, the Syrian opposition & Turkey, Iran is wondering how to save its ally, Assad, aside from arming him. US's Clinton has declared him a war criminal.

Qatari Sheikh Hamad and KSA's King Abdullah
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Image 1 of 14: The Gulf states, speared by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are accused of being responsible for the 'terrorist' attacks being waged in Syria. Syria says Saudi and Qatar are responsible for the massacre in Homs. Riyadh and Doha made an appeal to arm the rebel forces against Assad. They have been calling for al-Assad to step down for a while now.

Adnan Araour, Syrian cleric
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Image 1 of 14: The conflict of Syria has played out in the utlra-conservative religious sphere - or the cleric-osphere. Adnan Araour, a Syrian Salafi Muslim cleric, resident in the KSA, emerged mostly during his country's conflict. He is anti-regime in his coverage of the conflict. Pro-Assad cleric, al-Bouti, has sanctioned supplication to al-Assad's likeness.

The Assad family portrait
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Image 1 of 14: Assad's Family: After seeing the fate of Gaddafi's family especially, the world's eyes are glued to the Assad family. Anissa Makhlouf, mother to Bashar, has already spoken of her concern for her boy's fate, and finding the family an exit strategy. What will their next move be?

A year on from the (Twitter hash-tagged, aptly named) "March 15" 2011 official start of the Syrian round of the wider Arab crisis, Syria's endgame looks nowhere in sight. One year anniversary, and counting.

A Spring-Cleansing

Marking the one year anniversary of revolution on March 15, 2012 when Syria's uprising lifted off in Damascus, having been conceived in Derra, we find the eye of the storm devastating Homs. The hottest spot of the Syrian conflict today, where massacres have cleansed both people and the city's infrastructure in one regime-destroying swoop, Homs is now synonymous with the Syrian crisis, much like Hama harks back to 1982.

A Lebanese newspaper spoke figuratively but tellingly of the "100 Deir Yassin's" occuring in Syria (Deir Yassin being the infamous and pivatol event for the Palestinian collective conscious). The Homs massacres of late, as such, are as charged an attrocity as the massacre of scores of Palestinian villagers in 1948, then, a harbinger to the foundation of the State of Israel - or for Palestinians uprooted, the Nakba. The crisis of a Syrian people displaced now is growing into something along a similar scale to Iraqi and Palestinian fates.

Sectarian Syria or Splintered World?

Why is the Syrian revolution escalating into something more globally resonating still than the story of its predecessors-  the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans? 

Some suspect a full-blown sectarian confict to be not far from the Syrian crust, that encases a splintering nation, creaking under the weight of sects- including religious and ethnic minorities.  Syria has already been cast into the same mold as Iraq and Lebanon where the seeds to a sectarian conflict once laid grew unchecked until the people drowned in national bloodbaths. "Lebanisation"  or a second Iraq have become ominous forecasts. The Sectarian fault-lines of the country after all they say, have long been scored.  Syria was hardly a homogenous country of one people. Others dismiss this sectarian bogeyman, preferring to view it all in the prism of a different narrative. 

The political show-down between regime and people has expanded into a wider confrontation that looks like a regional and international crisis. This Syrian crisis is the epi-centre of a simmering world war potentially. The Arab world is splintered. Syria's fate is bound up with intra-regional players to a Shia crescent stand-off with the Gulf oil states.  Syria herein plays a proxy role or a catalyst for something bigger and more globally resonant. A cold war.

The future for Syria at least upon the anniversary of the Syria Spring looks wide open or tightly sealed and deadlocked. Reviewing a year, in pictures and text. 

 

Will Bashar al Assad see the year out? Will the West deploy a plan of intervention? Please share your opinions and forecasts, or your views looking back on a year of Syrian upheaval.

 

 

 


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