(Washington, DC – 4/27/11) — The popular uprising in Syria has escalated in recent days and weeks with the President Bashar Assad’s increasing use of force to intimidate, disperse and kill anti-government civilian protesters. The Muslim Public Affairs Council condemns the use of violence by the Syrian government and demands intervention by the International Criminal Courts to bring perpetrators of war crimes against civilians to justice.
SEE: “ Syrian Crisis Tests the Mettle of Its Autocratic Ruler” (NY Times)
MPAC commends President Barack Obama’s statement on Syria, which called the Syrian regime’s moves to lift the emergency law, reshuffle the cabinet and allow for pre-approved organized protests meaningless in light of the continued use of deadly violence against civilian protesters. The White House, State Department and members of Congress should call for Assad to step down as was done with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in addition to calling for war crimes prosecution for those responsible for the violence against civilian demonstrators as has been done in the case of Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
More than 450 civilians have been killed in the past four weeks in anti-government protests, which includes the more than 120 civilians killed by security forces in just the past three days. Adding to the situation is the denial of medical care to wounded civilians across the country. Meanwhile, Syrian opposition members met in Istanbul yesterday asking for the international community to pressure Assad to halt the recent brutal crackdowns against demonstrators.
SEE: “Editorial: Shameful U.S. Inaction on Syria’s Massacres” (Washington Post)
Dr. Zaher Sahloul, Chairperson of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and a prominent Syrian American, issued the following statement Monday:
“We urge all people of conscience to call their elected officials and ask them to pressure the Syrian government to stop the killing of civilians, protect the demonstrators, provide open access to medical care, allow free access to humanitarian organizations and international media and to expedite serious political and democratic reforms that satisfy the aspirations of the Syrian people.”
Media coverage of the protests and subsequent crackdowns has been minimal due to limited access provided to international media outlets. In the face of such brutality against innocent civilians, it is urgent that all people of conscience contact their elected officials to take action on this crisis. We must demand unimpeded access for international media to determine the full extent of human rights violations in Syria and to hold culprits accountable.
- Click here to find your Representative
- Click here to find your Senator
- Call the White House: 202-456-1414
- Call the U.S. State Department: 202-647-4000 and 202-647-6575
- Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Chairman of Foreign Relation Committee: 202-224-2742
- U.N. Secretary Gen. Ban Ki-moon: 212-963-5012 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Syrian Embassy: 202-232-6316 or email@example.com
- If you have information about human rights violations in Syria, contact the International Criminal Court: 011-31(0)70-515-8515, 011-31-(0)70-515-8555 (f), or firstname.lastname@example.org
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS:
- Just as President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders called for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan President Col. Muammar Qaddafi, so too must they call for the immediate resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad. His deadly attacks on peaceful demonstrators must be condemned by the U.S., if we truly support democracy and the will of the people.
- The Syrian government must immediately stop the killing of civilians, protect peaceful demonstrators, provide open access to medical care, allow free access to humanitarian organizations and international media and expedite serious political and democratic reforms that satisfy the aspirations of the Syrian people.
Founded in 1988, MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims.
Reglamento por el gobierno que limitan los derechos de los sirios incluidos los partidos políticos, la seguridad, la nacionalidad y… las palomas
In today’s “Clock Ticking Against Assad,” another NYT analyst equates “studied abroad, elegant British-born wife, French speaking, and widely-read” with a desire “to reform the repressive police state he inherited from his father, given time and opportunity.” We are told that Bashar, unlike his stern father, “seems quiet, almost meek.”
The press’s treatment of Assad reminds me of the foolish optimism that greeted the appointment of the “sophisticated” Yury Andropov. (Andropov must be a reformer; he loves jazz, cognac and speaks foreign languages. Bashar must be a reformer he studied medicine in Britain).
Apparently Assad’s brutal crackdown of his own people has dashed our expectations. The Obama administration’s bet that Assad, the closet reformer, will democratize and broker a real peace with Israel appears to be lost. But, we learn from the article that this is not Basher’s fault. He is surrounded by sinister relatives and security forces, who stymie his benevolent impulses. His fault (according to an anonymous diplomat) is that he “doesn’t have the courage to do what he needs to do for the sake of the country.”
Somehow we are supposed to believe that one of the world’s tightest and most brutal dictatorships is made up of “good” and “bad” factions, where the bad guys do bad things behind the back of the “good” head of state. We are supposed to believe that Syrian security forces assassinated a leading Lebanese politician without Bashar knowing. Bashar must also be blissfully unaware of Syria’s support of Hezbollah mischief, or of the clandestine attempt to build nuclear weapons.
We are told that Basher’s salvation is meaningful reform. The Baath regime will survive if it allows freedom of assembly and press and opposition political parties! For Bashar’s sake, he should not read such stuff. Basher’s survival chances are near zero if he offers “meaningful reforms.” They will only show weakness and intensify the demonstrations (now without fear of being shot dead). The only “reform” the outraged Syrian population will accept is the removal of Bashar and his entire regime. Bashar Assad, like Qadaffi in Libya and the Mullahs in Iran, can only survive by the sword. That is their best chance, and they are likely to win.
Our diplomats and journalists must learn that dictatorships operate according to specific dynamics that do not depend on the education, background, or humanistic orientation of their leaders. Stalin was extremely well read; was kind to his daughter, and made a great impression on Roosevelt. Pol Pot frequented Paris coffee houses as he wrote his dissertation at the Sorbonne. Hitler had excellent table manners. Bashar speaks French and reads good books.
These things make little difference. They are a foundation of sand upon which to base foreign policy.
Posted by Paul Gregory
Below is a message from Syria describing the development of the defenseless Syrian people and how they are being persecuted, they are calling on the world to stand up and help them…
The Syrian people are exposed today to a severe genocide carried out by the Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad and his terrorist security forces of the regime which is an infringement and a clear violation of all international laws, rules and values.
Please take all the necessary procedures and actions to stop these massacres against our Syrian disarmed people immediately.
They kill us with cold blood. They kill even the injured people in hospitals. They kidnap our youth from their homes and execute them. Imagine this regime when arresting students of Grade 4 (10 years old) just because they wrote protests against the regime on the wall, and the horrible thing is that the security forces pulled their nails out by torturing them and exposed them to electric shocks!
They steal corpses of the martyrs from the hospitals. They cut water and electricity and prevent flour, food, medicine and even milk of children from entering the cities.
Please stop this terrorist regime immediately!
We appeal to you on behalf of all the Syrian people with all its racial, ethnic, religious and sectarian components, Muslims and Christians; on your capacity as leaders of the free democratic world, and as supporters of human rights and freedom of expression and sponsors of the charters of global and international legislations which protect human dignity, considering your governments, your countries and your peoples’ prominent international role in the protection of oppressed peoples, support the peaceful liberation movements, seeking your support fordemocracy and peaceful coexistence, cooperation and positive interaction with all nations and peoples of the civilized world, we, the Syrian people, urge you to support our peaceful uprising against this terrorist regime to get our legal rights.
It should be noted that the system of Assad and his gangsters cooperate with Iran, Hizbullah and the extremist forces that threaten theinterests of the civilized world and threaten world peace through suppression of peaceful movements of peoples.
We, the Syrian people, in all of our components and sects reject terrorism and condemn the behavior of the Syrian dictatorial corrupt regime that has been oppressing us for nearly half a century, we reject his illegal behavior, conspiracies and plots against neighbors and his continued threatening of the world peace that cause strained relations between the neighboring peoples and harm to the democratic countries.
We also confirm that the movement of our people is a hundred percent peaceful and has not any kind of link, relationship or status with anypolitical, religious or sectarian party, and we do not have any relations with any countries, organizations or ideologies.
We want to take our role as active and positive part with all the world’s developed world to the renaissance of the democratic free world, the march of human civilization and the preservation of regional and global peace.
This is only an example of shooting the Syrian kids by Assad’s militiamen!
I am so sorry for this post, but I couldn’t help it but to show the world of how the Syrian War Criminals regime is claiming that Al Jazeera is distributing a hallucinations drugs with their logo on it? This is very funny but at the same time really sad. I just can’t believe that the people of Syria are ruled by this kind of criminal regime. I though Gaddafi would be the only one to Blame “Hallucination Pills”, but the Criminals regime in Syria have TOPPED Libya Gaddafi !!!
Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Situation in Syria, at the Security Council Stakeout
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ambassador Rice: Good evening. The brutal violence being used by the Government of Syria against its own people is abhorrent and deplorable, and the United States condemns it in the strongest terms. The outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end – and now. The Syrian Government’s actions to repeal the decade’s old emergency law and allow for peaceful demonstrations were clearly not serious, given the continued violent repression against protesters. The United States is currently pursuing a range of possible policy options, including additional targeted sanctions, to respond to the crackdown and make clear that this behavior is unacceptable.
The Syrian people’s call for freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and to choose their leaders freely must be heard. We strongly oppose the Syrian government’s treatment of its citizens and we continue to oppose its continued destabilizing behavior more generally – including support for terrorism and terrorist groups. Instead of listening to their own people, President Assad is disingenuously blaming outsiders, while at the same time seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria’s citizens, through the same brutal tactics that have been used by the Iranian regime. The United States will continue to stand up for democracy and respect for human rights, the universal rights that all human beings deserve in Syria and around the world. I’m happy to take a couple of questions.
Reporter: Ambassador, there is talk about probably dealing with Libya in a more definitive decisive way than dealing with the Syria issue. How hard of a time are you having with members, fellow members of the Security Council bringing the issue of Syria to the Security Council? And do you agree with some of the calls by different groups that it is time to start to think of moving on to the ICC in terms of accountability and the responsibility to protect, as well applying it to Syria as it was applied to Libya.
Ambassador Rice: Well, we certainly strongly support a discussion of the situation in Syria by the Security Council. We had an initial discussion today. We’ll have a more detailed briefing and discussion tomorrow. And we think that is appropriate, given the gravity of the situation and the concerns that we all share for the civilians that are at risk at present in Syria and the potential of this conflict to have implications for regional peace and security. But each of these situations is different. They are different in terms of their origins, of their consequences, and they will be different in terms of the action that is feasible and indeed desirable here from the Security Council.
Reporter: Ambassador. Two things, one given what you described as the abhorrent situation here, why isn’t there a quick agreement – I know you’re going to talk about it tomorrow – a quick agreement on some sort of statement? Obviously you left the meeting today without it. Number two, can you expand on what you said about Iranian influence in this situation?
Ambassador Rice: Well, first of all, Bill, we think that – this discussion today as you know was a briefing by the Secretary General on his trip and a handful of other topical issues. It was not an extensive briefing of the sort that we had last week for instance on Yemen and that we all agreed to seek tomorrow on Syria. So we will have that briefing. We will have a discussion about what reaction if any the Council can agree on and we will consider where to take this issue further. So we just haven’t had a full opportunity to do that yet and I hope that we will soon do so.
Reporter: How about the Iranian influence?
Ambassador Rice: With respect to – I’m not going to get into a great deal of detail on that, but we have said repeatedly that we are very conscious of and concerned by the evidence of active Iranian involvement and support on behalf of the Syrian government in its repression of its people. Thank you very much.