[Update] Changed title!

The Western powers have made it clear from the outset, even before the daily bloodshed grabbed headlines, the Assad regime must go. Problem is, the West needs an opposition group they can hand over the executive power of Syria while claiming it’s about democracy and the will of the Syrian people. So after trying for more than a year to unite the opposition …

Scuffles and fistfights break out at Syrian opposition meeting in Cairo

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters/Al-Akhbar)July 3, 2012 – A meeting of Syria’s splintered opposition in Cairo descended into scuffles and fistfights that dealt another blow to Western leaders seeking a unified front against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The meeting also failed to resolve many of the differences between the rival Syrian opposition groups, further complicating efforts to find a viable alternative to rule by Assad, whose forces have killed thousands of Syrian civilians and combatants.

“This is so sad. It will have a bad implications for all parties. It will make the Syrian opposition look bad and demoralise the protesters on the ground,” opposition activist Gawad al-Khatib, 27, said.

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Members of the Free Syrian Army walk in front of a damaged tank in Idlib. (Photo Reuters)

A Syrian Kurdish group quit the meeting, provoking mayhem and cries of “scandal, scandal” from delegates. Women wept as men traded blows, and staff of the hotel used for the meeting hurriedly removed tables and chairs as the scuffles spread.

“We will not return to the conference and that is our final line. We are a people as we have language and religion and that is what defines a people,” said Morshed Mashouk, a leading member of the Kurdish group which walked out.

“The Kurds withdrew because the conference rejected an item that says the Kurdish people must be recognised,” said Abdel Aziz Othman of the National Kurdish Council. “This is unfair and we will no longer accept to be marginalised.”

Syrian opposition due in Moscow next week

Of course, the US was comfortable with using Assad’s torture chambers …

Assad’s Premonition about Bush and the Iraq invasion

(Syria Comment) May 18, 2007 – Only months after Bashar’s rise to power, George W. Bush was elected to office in January 20, 2001. The timing for Bashar could not have been any worse. The Neoconservatives were soon throwing their weight around an extremely sympathetic White House. After eight months, the September 11th event …

The neoconservatives in the administration had their chance to translate their long held dreams into action. The U.S. President was more than happy to follow them. Afghanistan was the first easy target. Iraq needed more time but not much. During 2002, it became clear that the White House was intent on the invasion of Iraq.

During this same period, Mr. Assad had to contemplate his move. The decision was made to resist the American invasion to his East fearing that Syria would itself become the next American target. Simultaneously, Syria’s relations with Iraq kicked into high gear. The Americans were not amused.

While events in Iraq unfolded according to Bashar’s calculations, those in Lebanon did not. The White House was intent on punishing the young Syrian leader for his Iraq strategy.  It decided that he should pay the price in Lebanon. Rafik Hariri pounced on the opportunities created by the change in America’s power in the region. Using his personal relationship with Chirac and the Americans, he became the leading architect of resolution 1559, which was adopted at the Security Council in 2004.

France and the US put the blame for the Hariri assassination squarely on Assad and his henchmen.

If the Americans were already unhappy with Damascus, they were shocked once Bashar set out to scuttle their Lebanon strategy. The US Ambassador to Syria was called back to Washington in less than 24 hours. The U.N. resolution to try the killers of Hariri was put into full swing.

France and ‘Friends of Syria’ push for tougher sanctions and UNSC Chapter 7 resolution

PARIS (France24) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined senior officials from about 100 other countries to win wider support for a Syrian transition plan unveiled last week by U.N. mediator Kofi Annan. Joined by America’s allies, she called for “real and immediate consequences for non-compliance, including sanctions,” against the Assad regime.

But with neither Moscow nor Beijing in attendance, much remained dependent on persuading the two reluctant U.N. veto-wielding powers to force Assad into abiding by a cease-fire and the transition strategy. Clinton urged governments around the world to direct their pressure toward Russia and China, as well.

“What can every nation and group represented here do?” Clinton asked. “I ask you to reach out to Russia and China, and to not only urge but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”

“I don’t think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all – nothing at all – for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime,” she added. “The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price. Because they are holding up progress, blockading it. That is no longer tolerable.”

Frustrated by the difficult international diplomacy, Syria’s fractured and frustrated opposition is seeking quick military actions instead. “We’re sick of meetings and deadlines. We want action on the ground,” said activist Osama Kayal in the northern city of Khan Sheikhoun, which has been under Syrian army fire for days. He spoke via Skype from a nearby village.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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