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Sun Jan 6, 2013, 08:14 AM

Syria's Assad offers peace plan but stands firm

Source: LAT

Syrian President Bashar Assad in a rare public appearance presented a plan for ending the country’s deadly civil war, but called his opponents “terrorists” and made clear he had no intention to leave office, presenting himself as his people’s protector.

His dismissive attitude toward critics, and his dangling of limited concessions, offered little hope for a diplomatic breakthrough to end the 21-month-old civil war.

Assad cast himself as a leader saddened by his country’s strife and ready to find a way to end the conflict, but only on his terms. In his roughly hour-long speech at the national opera house in central Damascus, Assad sketched out a plan for peace.

In phase one, Assad called for a freeze to the fighting and an end to foreign aid to anti-government forces. If those conditions were met, Assad said he would order his forces to halt military operations and convene a national dialogue conference. Then, under a transitional government, the draft of a new constitution would be put to a national referendum. In a final phase, a new government would be formed and prisoners released.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-syrias-assad-offers-peace-plan-20130106,0,4227606.story

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 08:19 AM

1. Poor martyred Assad trying so hard to make peace

But his people won't let him!

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Response to lunatica (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 08:50 AM

2. They

made him be mean.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 11:41 AM

5. He hasn't been martyred, yet.

I don't think that he portrayed himself as a victim in the speech. The speech was a pretty accurate review of the events of the past two years.

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Response to David__77 (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 11:52 AM

6. +1. No need to repeat your excellent summation so I'll just kick your comment. nt

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 09:02 AM

3. Assad is aware of what will happen to his clan & the ruling Alawite minority if they lose Damascus.

The US and France opened the door to the Sunni uprising, and the question is can we close it or even want to control the inevitable push toward genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Alawite that will follow the collapse of the Syrian State and Army?

One of the things that has been deeply troubling about Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice's brand of humanitarian intervention is the claim that it's based in the lessons learned in Rwanda, and how the Clinton Administration did little while the Hutu carried out a campaign of genocide extermination against a million minority Tutsi who had previously run the government during and after the French colonial era. This is the same pattern of minority group colonial administration that was established by the French and the British across their empires, including Syria, and it has led to bitter ethnic and religious clashes.

Another frightening Syrian parallel with Rwanda is the incident that sparked the genocide. In 1994, as the Hutu leader was returning from a trip to neighboring Burundi, a SAM-7 missile destroyed his aircraft. MANPADs looted from Libyan arms depots after the overthrow of Ghadaffi are now abundant in Syria. From the Rwanda Genocide Wiki:

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu president of Burundi, was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, killing everyone on board. Responsibility for the attack was disputed, with both the RPF and Hutu extremists being blamed. A later investigation by the Rwandan government blamed Hutu extremists in the Rwandan army. In January 2012, a French investigation confirmed that the missile fire which brought down the Rwandan president’s plane came from a military camp and not Tutsi rebels. In spite of disagreements about the identities of its perpetrators, many observers believe the attack and deaths of the two Hutu presidents served as the catalyst for the genocide.

If Rice were truly impacted by the events in Rwanda when she served as the Undersecretary for African Affairs in the State Department, she and Secretary Clinton should have been aware of these terrible parallels as they pushed the strategy for regime change across MENA. The really frightening thing is that she and the other humanitarian interventionists may well be cognizant of these lessons about how genocides occur, but enthusiastically followed a parallel road, nonetheless.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 11:52 AM

7. Yup, another +1.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 12:32 PM

8. The Syrian flag behind him was composed of many hundreds of photos of victims...

They are among the many dead since certain groups launched their insurgency/"revolution" in March 2011.

Now, thousands of jihadis from various countries have descended on Syria, engaging in the worst crimes, imposing a most perverted form of sharia, all the while shouting themselves hoarse with hypocritical cries of "allahu akbar."

The Treaty of Westphalia brought Europe out of religious savagery and opened the way to peace and economic development. In the Middle East, the US is supporting precisely the opposite tendency/process.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 11:36 AM

4. It's Assad, or Nusra/Qaeda...

Thems the breaks. And I do not want my country to materially support the coming to power of Islamic fundamentalism in yet another country.

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Response to David__77 (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 03:49 PM

10. It's worse than that. It's Assad or Somalia II

Al Nusra has been acknowledged by our own government to be an anti-American, anti-Israel terrorist group with a goal of turning Syria into the next Afghanistan (ultra othodox Sharia state). Al Nusra is also the most effective and powerful organization within the rebel groups, and is single handedly responsible for the majority of their military victories.

If the rebellion wins, the nation will unquestionably splinter. Al Nusra's goals aren't supported by most Syrians, but they have already been implicated in some horrific human rights violations and have no problem executing noncombatants and journalists. There is virtually ZERO question that they will attempt to use force to implement their goals after Assads fall. The rest of the rebellion will no dobut fight against them, but at that point we're talking about a full-on civil war. On top of that you have the Kurds, who were granted a semi-autonomous Western Kurdistan by Assads government and who have been fighting AGAINST BOTH the rebellion (because the Sunni Arab dominated rebellion doesn't want the Kurds to have autonomy) AND Assad (who they believe only offered the agreement to free his troops for use elsewhere) who will not easily give up their newfound freedom, you'll have the Alawite and Christian minorities along the western coast fighting for their very existence, and the Shia minorities fighting to maintain some semblance of autonomy. It's going to be ugly.

At best, it will be Lebanon for a few years, with the entire country embroiled in a bloody civil war. At worst, it will end up like Somalia, with the country lacking a central government and divided into multiple heavily armed camps. Given the players, there's very little chance that this will end peacefully. Ironically, many commentators are, at this point, saying that an Assad victory is the country's only real chance for peace anytime soon.

Do you burn the village to free it? Or do you leave it intact under the control of a tyrant?

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 02:18 PM

9. The peace offer is being dismissed out of hand by the West and the opposition.

I guess they want to get their war on.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 04:30 PM

11. It was more an encourage the troops sort of speech I thought.

Even Assad cannot think anybody is going to take him up on it.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 05:00 PM

12. Assad had a chance near the beginning of the protests

to "convene a national dialogue conference. Then, under a transitional government, the draft of a new constitution would be put to a national referendum".

He missed his chance to shape history IMO.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 05:41 PM

13. If you mean in the first week or two of the revolution, then yes perhaps he missed his opportunity

Syria's "opposition" morphed dramatically quickly into a band of terrorist organizations funded by outside groups. In fairness to Assad, its even entirely possible to say that the "opposition" was never entirely a grass roots organization ever and he was fighting Nusra from the beginning. Assad's only and best chance was to try to quell the rebellions early and then negotiate. Alas, the "revolutionaries" (sic) were never going to allow that.

Syria has always been a nexus of religious, tribal and cultural clashes within its borders - any of which were ripe for exploitation. I'd guess that rival factions have been watching Syria for potential revolutionary exploitation since Assad's father put down the last one. The ill fated (and misnamed imho) Arab Spring rhetoric was almost perfectly designed to provide cover for bad actors within Syria.

Regardless, the chance for this to end peacefully IS gone. I believe it will end badly with a lot of Sunni genocidal cleansing of Shia, Alawites and other minority groups. The Sunnis have been waiting to do this for well, centuries. They probably believe this is their best chance ever since even the big players like the US are behind them in their fanatical blood lust.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 10:14 PM

14. More nonsense

More of the same crap going on here. The west instigate an insurrection and then blame the regime for the destruction. No one has an accurate analysis of what side killed how many of the other side and yet the 60,000 number is bandied about as if it was all one sided.
Dictatorship in of itself needs to go away, including the so called democratic dictatorships leading most of the planet.

We've seen democracy come to Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan and it looks worse than the dictatorships that it replaced. The reason for that is that they are not democracies, just different dictatorships that cooperate with the west. It's a bloody mess and the western powers have a high degree of responsibility for the chaos that is being unleashed across the globe. The west doesn't give a damn about democracy as evidenced by the way they are continually eroding it in their native countries.

Criminals now run the world and that bodes very badly for everyone who values peace, prosperity and respect.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 10:39 PM

15. Speech video with English translation.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:46 AM

16. Funny, CBS News tonight had "the Syrian dictator refuses to negotiate."

I watch them regularly. They've been particularly biased on Syria.

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