As former Bush presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer mused on Twitter today, the Syrian government does not appear to be on the verge of shutting down. At the very least, Bashar Assad has been careful to fund his protester mulching services.
The BBC reports that at least 17 protesters have been killed by government troops in the rebellious Syrian city of Daraa today. Daraa is exactly like the Libyan rebel city of Benghazi, which we went to war in order to defend, back in the days when all of NATO’s ordinance was hitting Qaddafi instead of the rebels.
The head of Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights, Ammar Qurabi, told MSNBC in a phone interview that his “clothes are soaked with blood,” and he has seen “pools of blood and three bodies in the streets.” Human rights groups say at least 100 people have been killed by security forces in the current crackdown.
Thousands of protesters had assembled to protest the Assad regime, which turned out to be 99.9% less interested in reform than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led us to believe. In addition to the unrest in Daraa, new protests are reported on the opposite side of Syria, in the town of Amouda, and there are rumblings of new demonstrations in the capital of Damascus itself. The BBC reports gunfire and tear gas from the community of Harsata, on the outskirts of Damascus.
There are both sectarian and racial conflicts mixed into the Syrian protests. Reuters reports that most of the protesters under attack are Sunni Muslims, while the Assad regime is composed of Shiites, and is strongly allied with Shiite Iran. More specifically, most of the regime’s top officials are members of the Alawite sect, while Bashar Assad himself appears to be a Cardassian, based on his photographs.
Some of the protest energy is also coming from Kurds in the eastern regions of Syria. MSNBC reports Kurdish youths have been chanting “No Kurd, No Arab, Syrian people are one. We salute the martyrs of Daraa.” Kurds are currently barred from full citizenship under Syrian law, although the Associated Press reports that Assad began handing out citizenships to a quarter-million of them yesterday, as part of his efforts to cling to power.
As far as I can tell, there has been no official condemnation of these new Syrian atrocities from the Obama Administration. This is consistent with one of the basic pillars of the Obama Doctrine, namely the refusal to confront Iran or any of its proxies. Also, Obama has some political points to score by forcing the American government to shut down… and that’s going to distract him from doing anything that might force the Syrian government to shut down.