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Syria - As the world watches
Transcript of Syria - As the world watches
1973 - Rioting breaks out after Assad drops the constitutional requirement that the president must be a Muslim. He is accused of heading an atheist regime. March 1971 - Assad is elected president for a seven-year term in a plebiscite. 1974 Syria and Israel sign a disengagement agreement. June - Assad dies and is succeeded by his second son, Bashar. 2000 2001 September - Detention of MPs and other pro-reform activists, crushing hopes of a break with the authoritarian past of Hafez al-Assad.
--------->Press Law (Decree No. 50/2001) provided the government with sweeping controls over newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals, as well as virtually anything else printed in Syria, from books to pamphlets and posters. May 2002 - Senior US official includes Syria in a list of states that make-up an "axis of evil" 2004 May - US imposes economic sanctions on Syria over what it calls its support for terrorism and failure to stop militants entering Iraq. 2008 September - Damascus hosts four-way summit between Syria, France, Turkey and Qatar to boost efforts towards Middle East peace.
Explosion kills 17 on the outskirts of Damascus, the most deadly attack in Syria in several years. Government blames Islamist militants. 2010 May - US renews sanctions against Syria, saying that it supports terrorist groups, seeks weapons of mass destruction and has provided Lebanon's Hezbollah with Scud missiles in violation of UN resolutions. January – A Syrian man drenches himself in gasoline in protest of oppressive governance by Bashar Al-Assad – mimicking the self-immolation of Tunisian produce seller a month earlier.
March - Protests in Damascus begin in the southern city of Deraa demanding the release of prisoners.
TADMOR PRISON REOPENED. 2011 1973 October - Syria and Egypt go to war with Israel but fail to retake the Golan Heights seized during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Leading up to the nationwide uprising Just a few logistics. WHERE IS SYRIA? CLIMATE Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey 35 00 N, 38 00 E Total: 185,180 sq km
Land: 184,050 sq km
Water: 1,130 sq km
Including 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory Mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers and mild, rainy winters along coast; cold weather with snow. POPULATION 20,820,311 - 2011 Natural hazards & Environment issues: dust storms, sandstorms, deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water. - 74 percent - Sunni Muslim
- 16 percent - Other Muslims
- 10 percent: Christians*
- Small Jewish population
Capital - Damascus Largest Christian population
in Middle East. GOVERNMENT Form Of Government: Unitary multiparty republic with one legislative house (People’s Assembly; 250 members) GDP (current US$) $59.15 billion 2010 Income level: Lower middle income Head of state and government President: Bashar al-Assad Source: World Bank Official language - Arabic Official religion -None Resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower Home to largest Christian population in the Middle East. Alawite leader; last minority regime in the region. Internet debut in Syria 1949-1963: Sunni senior officers engaged in
countless military coups (Three alone in 1949).
Each change of government came after
damaging power struggles, the result being
the weakening of Sunni ranks.
Opening the door to Alawites, one of
the minorities that had staffed the lower ranks.
The Alawites—a small minority within
Syria and a branch of Shia Islam—made
their play in the 1960s. But what exactly brought him to power? His security services detain bloggers and censor popular websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Blogger (Google’s blogging engine). THE SYRIAN BATTLEFIELD
A "DEAD MAN WALKING" Who is Bashar Al Assad? Described as a gangly bachelor and computer buff whose personal blueprint for life appeared to include nothing more public than running a quiet medical practice. But Basil's death in a high-speed car crash in 1994 suddenly called for a new game plan, Dr. Assad, the eldest surviving son was then called to fill in at the age of thirty-four. Bashar al-Assad was born on Sept. 11, 1965, in Damascus, the third of President Assad's five children. He trained in the specialty of ophthalmology at a military hospital in Damascus and left for England in 1992 to continue those studies. Dr. Assad -- long known to Syrians as "Doctor Bashar" -- was considered by his Damascus contemporaries to be a shy young man but the younger brother came to the attention of most Syrians only after Basil's death, when their father summoned him home from London. He never returned to his studies. and his wife, Asma, and their three young children, lived in an apartment in the upscale Abu Rummaneh district of Damascus, as opposed to a palatial mansion like other Arab leaders. But the "Damascus Spring" turned out to be short-lived, and Assad slipped into the autocratic ways of his father.
Arrests struck a chord when residents found out their boys were being beaten and tortured in prison. The families of the boys approached authorities and asked for their sons' release but instead were shunned away. Daraa, a few miles from the Jordanian border had its economic struggles, such as drought and drops in subsidies and salaries. Nevertheless, known to be still in support of the regime and its Baath party. Tribal and predominantly Sunni. When schoolchildren were arrested in late February 2011,
they were accused of scrawling graffiti on a school that said... March 15 2011, residents of that small southern city took to the streets to protest the torture of those students and the government responded with heavy-handed force. NOVEMBER 2012 NEARLY 40 000 DEAD 400 000 REFUGEES 2.5 MILLION SYRIANS NEEDING AID
INSIDE THE COUNTRY 1.2 DISPLACED DOMESTICALLY According to the United Nations WHAT IGNITED THIS CONFLICT? The government announces conciliatory measures in an attempt to damp down unrest. President Assad releases dozens of political prisoners and dismisses the government. However, he accuses protesters of being Israeli agents. Army tanks enter Deraa, Banyas, Homs and suburbs of Damascus in an effort to crush protests.
US and European Union tighten sanctions. President Assad pledges to start a "national dialogue" on reform. Mass protest in Hama, President Assad sends troops to restore order.
Opposition activists meet in Istanbul to form a unified opposition. MAY 2011 JULY 2011 INTERNAL AND EXILED OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS.
Defied accusations of being Islamist-led GEORGE SABRA
A 65-year-old geography teacher
From the mixed Damascus suburb of Qatana
LEFT SYRIA WHEN secret police began targeting prominent pro-democracy campaigners. Some believe the SNC are trying to slow the process down but the
Western and Gulf states have been pushing for such a body, which would act as a conduit for humanitarian - and possibly military - aid. Bringing together Syria's exiled and internal opposition and channeling foreign aid. The SNC formed a military bureau on March 1st, 2012 to serve as a Ministry of Defense. It serves as a liason with the different armed opposition groups including the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Criticized for the fact its members are largely based outside Syria. It wants to set up a broader opposition group in which the SNC's influence is diluted. AND SO THE QUESTION NOW IS: PRESIDENT ASSAD CONTINUES TO RULE...WHY IS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY NOT TAKING ACTION? ANAS HISHAM MARWAH - MEDIA COMMITTEE MEMBER OF THE SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL *Main political opposition to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime WHAT IS THE SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL? WHO? WHAT DOES IT DO and WHAT DOES IT WANT? A GOVERNMENT IN WAITING FREE SYRIAN ARMY - Made up mostly of Sunnis either defected from the regime or civilians
- A lot of controversy whether or not all fighters are Syrians YAMAN MARWAH SPENT 10 DAYS IN SYRIA WITH THE FREE SYRIAN ARMY president of the Syrian Student Association in Ottawa What he saw during that visit... Here in Canada, Anas Marwah is trying just about everything to raise awareness through twitter, facebook, rallies and fundraising. ITS LEADER It's goal: to protect Syrians and take down the oppressive regime Why has the international community refused to support the Syrian National Council and the rebel fighters? WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES SAYING NOW? The U.S State department was one of the first governments to call out the dictator. DIVISIONS/OPPOSITION/DIVIDED/SUBDIVISIONS/CONFUSION/DIVERTING international community has spoken NOVEMBER 11th - THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR SYRIAN REVOLUTIONARY AND OPPOSITION FORCES
and so they either join or they leave. EUROPEAN UNION, TURKEY, JORDAN, ISRAEL, QATAR... Obama says the U.S is continuing its talks with the opposition. A credible alternative to the Assad government. UN appoints veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi
as new UN-Arab League envoy for Syria after resignation of Kofi Annan. UNITED NATIONS 2012 May - UN Security Council strongly condemns the government's use of heavy weaponry and the militia killing of more than a hundred civilians in Houla, near Homs. France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada and Australia expel senior Syrian diplomats in protest. 2012 August - UN General Assembly resolution demands that President Assad resign.
Syria's Prime Minister Riad Hijab resigns.
US President Obama warns that use of chemical weapons would tilt the US towards intervention. February 2012 - Russia and China block a UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria, and the government steps up the bombardment. 2012 March - UN Security Council endorses non-binding peace plan drafted by UN envoy Kofi Annan. China and Russia agree to support the plan after an earlier, tougher draft is modified. The UN statement falls short of a formal resolution. The Syrian government agrees to a four-day UN ceasefire during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. The opposition says it will reciprocate. Fighting continues nonetheless. = SANCTIONS According to the 2010 UN report: the five year drought plunged 800,000 Syrians in the eastern part of the country into extreme poverty. Phone cases are among the items being sold by the council to raise funds. Family aid packages distributed to
59,000 families=295,000 people.
WHAT DO THEY CONTAIN:
non-food humanitarian supplies ranging from blankets and clothing to cooking kits and jerry cans.
BASIC NEEDS FOR WINTER. WE NEED AID LOSS OF AID
-13,000 blankets destroyed in a Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse in Aleppo.
- Truck carrying 600 blankets was hijacked on its way to Adra, outside Damascus. *A recent positive development was the Lebanese government's announcement to waive visa renewal fees for Syrian refugees. Number of Syrian refugees registered or awaiting registration has surpassed 407,000 and continues to climb. The UN refugee agency is making progress in a major
effort to provide aid to up to 500,000 people in Syria
by the end of this year 2011 October - Newly formed Syrian National Council says it has forged a common front of internal and exiled opposition activists. Russia and China veto UN resolution condemning Syria.
who wish to wreak havoc in the country. Controlled by the state and serve interests of the Kremlin. Their share of the TV news audience is significantly higher. These channels get around 50% of the total TV audience. "bandits" "terrorists" &"armed gangs" RUSSIA CHINA defend its support for President Assad and criticize Western nations for aggravating the situation and using it to further their own interests. Russia DEFENDS
Presence of Western-established organizations LEADING TO July 2012 - A THIRD VETO
“We simply cannot accept a document under Chapter VII, one which would open the path for pressure of sanctions and further to external military involvement in Syrian domestic affairs,” Most important country in the region is Iran – a close ally of Assad's Syria. Russia and Iran - Caspian Sea states Russia fears a collapse of the Syrian state will result in the proliferation of Syria's large cache of chemical weapons and the potential to encourage militant extremists. A base for Russian military personnel supporting the long-established arms trade between the two countries. REFUSED TO BACK DEMAND THAT PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD STEP DOWN. Up to July 2012 Russia was supplying its ally with military equipment. traditional interpretation of international law STRESSING respect for the sovereignty of states &
the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs. Syria ORANGE VIRUS - 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia
- 2004 ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine
- 2005 ouster of President Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. Kremlin strategists responded creating a youth movement to form counter-revolutionary demonstrations. Pro-Western governments coming to power. IRAN? Want to regulate the build-up of other Caspian navies and united in opposing the construction of oil and gas pipelines on the seabed. NAVAL POWERS to the growing presence of terrorists in Syria or supporting
them with arms and other forms of assistance. The murder on 11 September 2012 of Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, by militants in Benghazi was regarded by Russian commentators as a tragic justification of their critique of Western policy. WHY ARE WESTERN STATES TURNING A BLIND EYE Syria was Russia's second largest arms customer in 2011, after China; Syria accounted for 15% of total sales of $3.7 billion. TARTUS REFUELING STATION. Washington might be convinced to “lead from behind”: Instability in Syria means opportunity to undermine Iran & downgrade the Islamic Republic's role in the Arab‐Israeli conflict through Hezbollah. Syria's growing income gap is mainly due to three causes:
- Severe drought of the last five years. Drove an estimated one million people off the land and into urban slums.
- Rising price of food. The average basket of Syrian foodstuffs increased in price by close to 20 percent in 2010.
- Unemployment. The Syrian economy has been unable to provide jobs for the rapidly growing population. Around half the population of the Arab world is under the age of 30. Russia and China are "embittered" by the Security Council actions last year that led to Western military intervention in Libya and the downfall of its longtime leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi. MEDIA THREE DOMINANT TV CHANNELS IN Rossiya 1 NTV Channel One CHAPTER VII: ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THREATS TO THE PEACE, BREACHES OF THE PEACE, AND ACTS OF AGGRESSION. Russian ambassador, Vitaly I. Churkin COVERING SYRIA AT LEAST 19 JOURNALISTS DEAD
The Committee to Protect Journalists
Feb. 22 - Marie Colvin, an American who worked for Britain's Sunday Times, was killed in Homs at the age of 56. Jan. 11, 2012 - Gilles Jacquier, of France 2 television station, was killed along with at least seven other people by bombardment during a government-organized visit to Homs. He was the first foreign journalist to be killed in the uprising. "My job is to bear witness. I have never been interested in knowing what make of plane had just bombed a village or whether the artillery that fired at it was 120mm or 155mm,"
Marie Colvin Reporters without borders. Citizen journalists have been making their mark. ARAB SPRING. EVERYONE HEADS TO DAMASCUS. Assad’s government bans visits by most foreign journalists, but then reversed the decision allowing them to work but under tight supervision. Few reporters on the ground.
Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey and other international bureaus. ASSAD - PREDATOR OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION. Hard to differ fact from fiction. Sept. 26 - Maya Naser, a correspondent for Iran's English-language Press TV, is shot dead in Syria. Born in Damascus in 1960, Al-Khatib worked as a geologist and was the imam of the most important mosque in Syria, the Grand Umayyad Mosque of Damascus. Mouaz Al-Khatib