Syria: Local elections, General Strikes and Pillay at the Security Council

Posted: December 14, 2011 in International
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On Monday some of the representatives on the UN Security Council sat with Pillay, the head of the Human Rights Commission, as she reported again on the situation in Syria. Where they met is unknown.

What is most striking about this meeting is that now they are speaking of allegedly 5000 dead civilians. There is no talk of the soldiers who have lost their lives during the riots. There is no mention of the terrorizing of the population by armed gangs, despite the countless eyewitness reports from Syrians.

One cannot be a friend of the Syrian government, one must strictly adhere to the line of criticizing the government and one must completely shun the truth. Hence, turning to the Court in The Hague looks like a highly a questionable action.

Ms. Pillay has not set one foot on Syria, her colleagues have surveyed over 200 refugees outside of Syria and she wants to set their statements in stone as to how the situation actually is inside Syria. Certainly there were and still are violations on the part of some soldiers or officers. There are personal failings and misdeeds which have and are being dealt with by the courts in Syria. Bashar al-Assad, in his interview with Barbara Walters, acknowledged this.

The President responded to the demands for reform and laws related to both the Press and the Party was revised. Yesterday local elections took place, a first step in these democratic reforms and, this was rejected from the outset by the opposition.

The opposition argued that since there is still unrest and fighting the elections are no concession. They will not move from this stand and their only pursuit is clearly that of overthrowing the government. The results of the election are not available yet.

These local elections could have been used by the opposition to elect their candidates to the regional administrations. Instead, the opposition chose to deny the democratic processes and boycotted the election. Perhaps they were afraid of defeat. Perhaps they wanted to take the safer option of recruiting support from foreign countries.

After all, they worked very hard to have their Syrian National Council recognized in Istanbul by the Western nations. They were very cunning: in order to create accounts for receiving donations their organization must be recognized. One could have just set up a charity organization to help those who are in need.

The President and the government continue to put pressure on the opposition who now attempted to organize a general strike. Last Sunday’s strike did not go really well and neither did Monday’s where relatively few businesses responded to their calls. Bashar al-Assad’s reforms of the economy in recent years resulted in a large middle class benefiting from it.

They certainly deserve this. The so-called opposition is attempting to destroy these reforms. They have tried in the past to do this and have had no great success. Those who sided with the opponents of the government participated in the strike and they are the ones who are losing out. The others can look forward to keeping their businesses open.

Discussions are still not finalized regarding the dispatch of a delegation of observers. Syria has made its position known regarding the Arab League‘s conditions concerning the observer delegation. Until now, there is no response to this from the Arab League.

The offer of Iraq to mediate between the parties has only been accepted by the Syrian side. The governments of the rest of the Member States of the Arab League are not interested in any negotiating. They want to have a free rein in Syria and this just isn’t going to happen.


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