Bad news first (courtesy of DrewM at Ace of Spades):
BEIRUT – The Syrian army shelled residential areas and unleashed gunmen Wednesday, and a human rights group said at least 18 people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy. The shelling of neighborhoods evoked memories of the Assad regime’s brutal, 40-year legacy of crushing dissent.
I’m sure the international community will not stand for such brutality!
Assad is determined to crush the uprising despite international pressure and sanctions from Europe and the United States. European countries summoned Syrian ambassadors Wednesday to threaten a new round of sanctions if the regime fails to halt the bloodshed.
Ignore European sanctions will you? Well then we’ll just have to try sanctions again! I’m sure they’ll work this time.
But rights activists brushed off the threats as ineffective, saying the death toll already has exceeded those seen during the recent uprisings in Yemen and Tunisia.
“It is clear the international community is still giving the regime chances,” said Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Ineffective? How could they have ever arrived at such a conclusion?
What we need here is leadership. President Obama to the rescue…
Obama administration officials said Tuesday the U.S. is edging closer to calling for an end to the long rule of the Assad family. The officials said the first step would be to say for the first time that Assad has forfeited his legitimacy to rule, a major policy shift.
So that’s the good news, so far as that goes, though there is also this interesting development:
This incident was apparently the first such time soldiers and security people opened fire on each other. Worse, the word has gotten around that the army will “protect the people.” With the more loyal army officers and sergeants on the alert (and reminded where their economic interests lie), another spontaneous effort by Sunni Arab troops to protect Sunni Arab demonstrators, is less likely. But the precedent has been set. The people know it, the government knows it and the Sunni Arab soldiers know it.