Video: Violent Crackdown in Hama, Syria

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sztIb-As7Jo&feature=channel_video_title]

A very shocking video of the protests in Hama, Syria on Friday after prayers which turned very violent. Security forces cracked down heavily, as you can see in the video with plainclothes officer and uniformed officers opening fire on protesters.You can hear gunfire ringing out all through the video, which seems hard to play for some reason. 34 people were killed.

The protesters don’t exactly seem peaceful. They are throwing rocks and lighting fires in the streets. At 1:20 in the video, you can see protesters laying siege to what is probably some sort of govornment office.

These videos are hard to find on Youtube because they are all written in Arabic. My Arabic is not that good, but I was able to figure out that this was shot in Hama, Syria on Friday, June 3, 2011.

Hama has long been the most conservative Sunni Muslim city in Syria. This is where the Muslim Brotherhood staged their uprising in 1982. Hafez Assad smashed it with massive force, killing 30,000 people. That shut down the Muslim Brotherhood for some time. The MB in Syria is very militant, partly as a result of their decades long war with the state. After 1982, many of them left and went to Germany, where quite a few became active in Al Qaeda. Some of these folks were involved in the 9-11 plot.

The cities of Homs, Hama, Rastan and Jisr As Shughur are the center of the insurgency right now. They are all in the heavily Sunni Muslim northwest of Syria.

The situation is very confusing and it’s hard to know where to take a stand. The Western media hates Assad’s guts and is rooting for the rebels. Hence, Western coverage is biased.

My overview found that Syria is utterly polarized. Almost all Alawites, Shia, Druze, and Christians are with the regime. In fact, they are increasingly fanatical in their support for it. The rebels are now armed and are being led by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Christians and Alawi and others look east and see Iraq. Look what happened to the Christians and the Shia there. A Civil War in Syria could conceivably see the Syrian Christians subjected to genocide as the Iraqi Christians were, and the Shia Alawites may also be subjected to mass murder campaigns.

In recent days, in contrast to the lying Western media, the Kurds seem to be turning towards the regime. The Sunni Arab regime next door in Iraq was not very nice to the Kurds, nor was the Sunni Turk regime to the north. Assad recently granted citizenship to all of the Kurds who had been denied citizenship for decades. Also, the Kurds are fairly secular, and they don’t think too much of the MB.

Syria is still a confessional state, and sectarian tensions run very deep. Each group has a sense of superiority and thinks they are better than the others.

It’s hard to say what more Assad can do. Increasingly, the protesters are demanding the end of the regime, and they want Assad to step down. So there’s really nothing Assad can do to mollify them at this point. That’s essentially a non negotiable demand. Another argument is the Israeli-US type argument that the Arab leaders who gave in to demands of the protesters all had to resign. Hence, consessions just emboldens the rebels and makes the regime even weaker. So why give them anything?

There is a question of the economy. How much longer can it hold out as Syria slips towards civil war? It’s hard to say, but Algeria carried on with a vicious civil war for a long time. Iraq’s economy went to Hell with the sanctions, but Saddam held on. Syria’s economy is still pretty much closed to world, hence there’s not that much the world can do to it.

At the moment, the protesters are almost all Sunni Muslims. There are a few Shia Muslims and Kurds, and some Leftists and atheists/secular. There are about zero Christians and Allawi down with the protesters at the moment.

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0 thoughts on “Video: Violent Crackdown in Hama, Syria”

  1. Reportedly, military intelligence (no, it’s not a contradiction in terms) in Israel is moving towards the view that Assad’s days are numbered. More and more people are thinking that he might hang on for months or even a year or so, but not much longer. I’m skeptical, though – not that I know anything, of course. Syria isn’t Egypt. I’d put my money on Assad lasting indefinitely.

    According to the report, the sources explicitly espoused the view that you attributed here to Israel and to the US (huh?!), that if Assad were to grant concessions it would just be seen as a sign of weakness. Ya gotta admit, that does seem to be how things work in that part of the world.

    You wrote, “Syria is still a confessional state, and sectarian tensions run very deep.” I’m gonna ride my nationalism hobby-horse here. I wonder how many of those confessional identities are national identities as well, with those two elements probably mixed together inseparably. For instance, the Druse seem pretty clearly to be a nation (or ethnie) as well as a confession. You can’t separate the two identities. Is the same true for the Alawites? For the Syrian Christians? My guess is that all these groups are nations or ethnies or whatever you want to call it, as well as religions. If so, then while you’re correct to call Syria a “confessional state,” it’s at least as correct to call it a national state dominated by a single Staatvolk, the Alawites. Then what’s portrayed as a conflict between confessions is really a conflict between nations, too. National and confessional lines coincide.

    1. The right wings of the US and Israel military establishments, or frankly, the entire US and Israeli military establishments, take the view that concessions are seen as weaknesses and only embolden the enemy. This is particularly true with the hard Israeli Right such as Debka, and it’s long been the case with the US Right (No negotiated settlements!). This is argument from strength. If you think you can win, you don’t negotiate a peaceful settlement. You just try for a military win.

      I agree with you that these may indeed be ethnies.

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