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Posts Tagged ‘Damascus’

SYRIAN DEFENSE MINISTER KILLED IN SUICIDE ATTACK

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 18, 2012

AP  |  By  Share on Google+

Dawoud Rajha

By BASSEM MROUE and ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press

BEIRUT — A suicide bomber struck the National Security building in the Syrian capital Wednesday, killing the defense minister and wounding the interior minister in a brazen attack on the seat of government power, state-run TV said.

Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, 65, a former army general, is the most senior government official to be killed in the Syrian civil war as rebels battle to oust President Bashar Assad. Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar was in stable condition, state-run TV said.

Although it was unclear who was behind the attack, the high-level assassination could signal a turning point in the 16-month conflict as the violence becomes increasingly chaotic.

The capital also has seen four straight days of clashes pitting government troops against rebels – an unprecedented challenge to government rule in the tightly controlled capital.

Rajha was the most senior Christian government official in Syria. Assad appointed him to the post last year. His death will resonate with Syria’s minority Christian population, who make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population and have generally stood by the regime.

Christians say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people, and they are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Muslim groups.

Wednesday’s attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. State-run TV said some of the officials were seriously wounded. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria: President Bashar Assad Sets Referendum On New Draft Constitution

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 15, 2012

BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered a referendum for later this month on a new constitution that would allow political parties other than his ruling Baath Party, the centerpiece of reforms he has promised to ease the crisis, even as the Syrian military on Wednesday besieged rebellious areas.

The opposition quickly rejected the move, saying that the regime was stalling and that Syrians in the uprising would accept nothing less than Assad’s ouster. The referendum call also raises the question of how a nationwide vote could be held at a time when many areas see daily battles between Syrian troops and rebel soldiers.

Amendments to the constitution once were a key demand by the opposition at the start of Syria’s uprising, when protesters first launched demonstrations calling for change. But after 11 months of a fearsome crackdown on dissent that has left thousands dead and turned some cities into war zones, the opposition says Assad and his regime must go.

“The people in the street today have demands, and one of these demands is the departure of this regime,” said Khalaf Dahowd, a member of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, an umbrella for several opposition groups in Syria and in exile. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Obama Administration’s Syrian Double Standard

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 14, 2012

By Amb Marc Ginsberg,  Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco

“We do not want further militarization of the situation in Syria.” So sheepishly declared an Obama Administration spokesman today when pressed why isn’t the U.S. prepared to help defend defenseless Syrian protestors by providing humanitarian and perhaps financial and logistical support to the Free Syrian Army.

My how the tides have changed in the hallways of the Eisenhower Executive Office building.

When Col. Gaddafi’s forces were on the outskirts of Benghazi, White House staffers were falling all over themselves in a mad dash to declare to any and all that a humanitarian catastrophe demanded urgent international action to prevent an assault on innocent civilians. Nightmares of Rwanda and Bosnia compelled the burning of midnight oil at the State Department.

Abetted by a cavalry of outraged academics in Washington think tanks demanding action from the Administration, President Obama publicly signaled events demanded action and marshaled his top officials to explore every conceivable avenue to thwart Gaddafi’s forces. Secret arms deliveries were smuggled in to Libya courtesy of Qatar and Egypt. CIA operatives were parachuted in to help the nascent Libyan opposition forces. A NATO led no-fly zone was declared and enforced. No stone was left unturned to keep Gaddafi’s forces from killing civilians. Everyone was on red alert.

Fortunately, because of that example of presidential leadership a humanitarian catastrophe in Benghazi was averted and the Administration has been patting itself on the back ever since… never mind that Libya today is suffering a destabilizing outbreak of post-revolutionary violence threatening the very victory Administration officials crowed about. But, hey that’s no longer necessarily our business… right? Read the rest of this entry »

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Egypt: Thousands Protest Against Military In Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2011


Why leaders practicall­y – not theoretica­lly – undermine people’s power?:

Thousands of protestors have filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square in the latest demonstration against the military authorities in Egypt.

Organisers called Friday’s protest in the capital ‘the last chance million-man protest’ as they demanded that the country’s military rulers step aside after the latest wave of demonstrations that have left more than 40 people dead.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is overseeing the transition to civilian rule but many protestors believe the military will not cede power after next week’s elections and are demanding the postponement of the vote until civilian rule is installed.

The protests have continued in spite of the ruling military regime selecting, Kamal el-Ganzouri, a Mubarak-era politician to act as prime minister and who insisted he has power to rule.

“I have asked Field Marshal [Hussein Tantawi] to give me time to appoint a Cabinet which satisfies all people,” el-Ganzouri said, adding: “[SCAF] has given me all the authorities that could be given to a prime minister.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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