Inside the Middle East
March 20, 2011
Posted: 757 GMT
A picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the entrance of a store at a market in Damascus.
A picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the entrance of a store at a market in Damascus.

Syria's Ministry of Interior set up a committee to investigate Friday's deadly demonstrations in Diraa, the Syrian news agency SANA reported Saturday.

Anyone who is proven responsible for having committed abuse during the protests will be punished, the news agency reported, citing an unnamed source.

Meanwhile, during the funeral Saturday for two people reportedly killed during the clashes in Diraa, hundreds of people gathered to call for freedom and reforms.

"The general atmosphere was tense," one participant told CNN, referring to demonstrators and security forces, "but no serious clashes occurred."

Said another participant: "None of the slogans were against the president, but all are asking for more freedom and putting an end to the current corruption."

The United Kingdom's Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said Saturday that he was "extremely concerned by reports of increasing violence and the excessive use of force by security forces, apparently resulting in the death of a number of protesters yesterday."

"I am also disturbed by reports of the arrest and prosecution of around 20 human rights activists who attempted to conduct a peaceful protest outside the Interior Ministry on Wednesday," Burt said. "This, along with reports of demonstrations in towns around Syria being broken up with lethal force is very worrying. Read more...

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Filed under: Protests •Syria

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John A   March 20th, 2011 12:12 pm ET

And where were the UN resolutions to support the Irish when they want freedom from Britain. Was Britain bombed by the UN after Bloody Sunday?

Where were there UN resolutions to help Martin Luther King gain democratic rights for Americas 20% Negro population? Who stopped the KKK hanging blacks from trees?

Where were the UN resolutions to prevent the French breaking up peaceful protesters with police baton charges last summer?

Where is the shuttle diplomacy in Libya?
Why haven't the Chinese, Germans and Turkish been allowed to send diplomats to Libya to discover the truth?

Why is every western media statement conclud with, " we are unable to verify" and yet the military has been activated over Libya

What are the rules now? Libyan anti Gadaffi forces can continue fighting, but pro Gadaffi forces can't?

How come two days ago, the rebels had no heavy weapons and yesterday a rebel jet fighter was shot down?

As with the weapons of mass destruction lies, the media is not making any real attempt to establish fact and promote a rational approach. The only proof provided against Gadaffi is a list of unnamed voices on the end of a mobile phone who claim Gadaffi is a butcher. No real proof of Gadaffi mass crimes have been presented.

Who can say Gadaffi is wrong when he claims the UN resolution breaks the UN charter? The UN charter clearly states that internal problems of any nation are not for the UN to resolve. Hence in Rwanda there was no intervention.

Sometimes intervention may appear to be the best way forward. But in truth it never is. For example, would the west have accepted an intervention in Libya by China or Russia? No and so the west are again big hypocrites.

Farid Ghadry   March 20th, 2011 2:48 pm ET

Do you believe in fairy tales?

Free Syria from Dictator   March 20th, 2011 3:51 pm ET

Syria lives under emergency law more 40 years, they arrest any person want his rights & freedom.
They now want to make massacre in Dirra . Help us.

Mark Turrell   March 20th, 2011 6:20 pm ET

Simple & obvious delaying tactic, slowing momentum. Even if find people... Expect two year 'legal process' – Syria is going through the list of 'basic' tactics to slow/prevent contagion

Filipe   March 21st, 2011 1:53 pm ET

John A -Off Topic Jibberish!!!!

This blog is about Syria.

Post your pro Ghadaffi jibberish on a blog about Lybia!!!!

Ariely   March 21st, 2011 9:48 pm ET

If a dictator kills couple of citizens – he is blamed.
If a dictator kills in one day 40.000 citizens- he is a force of stability

Hafez Assad decided that Hama would be the staging point of the example he was to make to the Syrian people

In 1982 the Syrian government killed in one day
30,000 – 40,000
of its own citizens.
Assad leveled an entire city with an air bombardment followed by artillery and tank fire.

Are the Syrians still afraid from their government brutality?
Will his son Assad junior follow his father example?

Is the world still practicing the same values?

Phillip Brewster   March 22nd, 2011 3:45 am ET

I have figured out where Gaddafe is hiding. In the basement of the building where all the reporters are reporting from earlier 2 weeks ago reporters showed him entering that building to give a press confrence but they never showed him leaving. Gaddafe knows they will never bomb the building the reporters are in and his goons are keeping all the reporters couped up in that building duh!!!!! HE IS IN THE DAMN BASEMENT!!!!!

miriam   March 22nd, 2011 9:07 am ET

John A,

As if the UN doesn't regularly violate its Charter!

It's just as well its decisions do not constitute actual international law.

The UN Charter in Chapter, Article 2 (7) states that:

Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize tha UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter, but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.

That is, there is "nothing in the Charter", but that does not mean internal disputes cannot be resolved by the UN.
In addition, it is clear that the UNSC can stipulate Chapter VII enforcement measures.
Although non-compliance with Chapter VII binding decisions is a violation of the UN Charter, the UNSC does not have general lawmaking authority.
And before you jump in, UNSC resolutions concerning Israel are under the non-binding Chapter VI.

It is absurd to believe that a country that has been under Emergency Law for 48 years can hold a fair and transparent investigation.
Since Syria is also seeking a seat on the UNHRC, the results of any investigation are predictable and we'll probably see Syria sitting on the Council as well!

John A   March 23rd, 2011 11:33 am ET

Miriam if there is nothing in the UN charter, then the charter doesn't authorize action. How silly can you be.

The UN charter doesn't mention anything about urinating on you. By your logic that means we are all free to urinate on you, because the UN charter doesn't state otherwise.

The UN is a brothel of politicians with less credibility than a hoar house. Lets take Israel for example. When Israel outrages the world community, the UN will make an empty resolution to condemn Israel. By doing so, the UN attempts to look credible. But Israel will be allowed to break all resolutions and has done so more than any country on earth. The UN will never lift a finger against Israel to enforce a resolution.

Obviously the UN watched as Israel killed 1400 civilians in Gaza with phosphorous bombs, which have dramatically increased levels of cancer. If Gadaffi did that, he would have been killed years ago with cheers from the UN.

In the past, I have quoted UN votes against Israel. This was not because I think the UN represents the world community. I have highlighted UN votes against Israel, because if UN hoars vote against Israel, then Israel must be really bad.

Meanwhile Gadaffi funded French presidential Nicolas Sarkozy's last election campaign. And now Sarkozy is desperate to have Gadaffi and his family killed, in an attempt to hid the evidence. What would the UN say about that? Who cares, the UN is a enterprise invented to rob nation states of their sovereignty. The UN should be the first place the free world bombs.

miriam   March 26th, 2011 8:53 pm ET

John A,

It's interesting how you rely on the UN's legitimacy when it comes to Israel bashing but promote it's violent destruction over every other matter.

I actually agree that the UN is largely irrelevant although the way to disband it should be a result of it recognizing its own deficiencies.
Of course, important developmental projects should be moved under alternative authority.

Not surprisingly you have reproduced myths from Israel's defensive war against Hamas.
Even Hamas has admitted that of the 1,166 deaths, the majority were Hamas operatives.
There were no "phosphorus" bombs dropped by Israel whereas there were internationally accepted exploding marking and signalling munitions and smoke projectiles that do contain WP used, in accordance with CCW Protocol III.

Gaddaffi has been murdering and abusing for decades while at the same time the UN appointed Libya to head the UNCHR and the UNSC. Rather than supporting his elimination, the UN cheered on his tyranny and murder. it is precisely the UN's support for such actions and its condemnation of Israel that highlights its morally corrupt direction.

John A   March 27th, 2011 11:28 am ET

Miriam, in response to my post your first sentence is a twisted lie, which means you never read my post and yet you respond to it.

How Israeli you are. A big mouth with no knowledge and full of perverted stories. Have you no shame?

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