Sunday, 2 October 2011

The state of Syria

I was unable to travel to Syria recently as the country is simply not open to westerners.
The army is slowly deserting, and there are reports of many murders there every day.
Syria's leading cartoonist was badly assaulted recently when he composed a cartoon showing President Assad hitching a lift out of town with Colonel Gaddafi. Mr Ali Farwat, a Damascus cartoonist, had his writing / drawing arm and several fingers broken in a fairly explicit message not to mess with the government.
Newspaper reports show widespread problems by reason of the oil embargo, and price rises for many goods, as unofficial sanctions kicked in. It remains to be seen whether the UN will authorise offical sanctions. The approach in Beirut was clearly one of passive engagement, as the Lebanese Prime minister stated that, "we are going to have to apply sanctions against Syria in case they are issued," but added, "I am not against Syria. I want to protect Lebanon."
More recently there were widespread reports of the US Ambassador being attacked in Syria.