Daraa protesters tear down AlAssad statue
-Reports that Emergency law in Syria is to be lifted plus a cabinet reshuffle when the president addresses the nation later on.
– US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says United States will not intervene in Syria like it did in Libya.
-Reuters – Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, deploys the army to the northwest port of Lattakia
Buzzword in Syria today: “Shabeha” the infamous sectarian pro-regime thugs operating a wide variety of criminal enterprises in coastal towns and cities in Syria. Anything from smuggling, drug dealing and armed robbery, as well as extortion. Interestingly, the regime seems to be pointing the finger at them for the violence yesterday in Lattakia, Citing “unknown armed gangs roaming the streets in cars shooting at both protesters and security forces, and inflaming sectarian tensions.” Is it possible that they are operating without the explicit consent of the Syrian regime? or are they the regime’s covert underhand in spreading fear to dissuade people from peacefully protesting and demanding reforms? It is certainly possible that stirring up the specter of sectarian conflict is just one of the strategies the regime is deploying, alongside violent repression of demonstrations and media propaganda. Historically, the Shabeha have been a part of the repressive arsenal the regime has deployed in keeping the Syrian people in check through fear and intimidation, alongside Baath activists, the dozen or so Mokhabarat secret police branches, and a Soviet era state media propaganda system system. So have these institutions become a liability for a regime seeking genuine reforms, or is the regime just paying lip service and playing for time in order for this “Arab Spring” phase to pass then it’s back to business as usual? Certainly skeptics will point to the myriad of broken promises of reform president Bashar undertook when he first took office. However, uncertainty is the order of the day when it comes to the situation in Syria and the next few day will be critical in shaping the country’s future.
Video showing the “Shabeha” chanting sectarian songs and shooting their weapons off
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