Sunday, October 30, 2011

As OWS settles in for Valley Forge winter, Arab Spring has sprung in Yemen, Syria

President al-Assad doesn't realize he's the one straddling the fault line.

Western powers risk causing an "earthquake" across the Middle East if they intervene in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad said, after protesters called for foreign protection from a crackdown in which 3,000 people have been killed.

Assad's warning came ahead of Syrian government talks on Sunday with the Arab League aimed at starting a dialogue between the government and opposition and ending violence which has escalated across Syria in recent days.

Activists said Syrian forces killed more than 50 civilians in the last 48 hours and one activist group said suspected army deserters killed 30 soldiers in clashes in the city of Homs and in an ambush in the northern province of Idlib on Saturday.

Assad's suppression of the seven-month uprising has drawn criticism from the United Nations and Arab League. Western governments have called on him to step down and imposed sanctions on Syrian oil exports and state businesses.

Assad is, as the toon suggests, the last in a long line of Arab dictators whose number has come up this year. As with Mubarak, Ben Ali and Ghaddafi, his time is coming. And he'll spill a lot of blood before the sands run out on him.

Western countries "are going to ratchet up the pressure, definitely," Assad told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"But Syria is different in every respect from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen. The history is different. The politics is different."

"Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake."

Even as the Occupy Wall Street movement settles in for its Valley Forge winter, the Arab spring continues, with Yemeni president Saleh the most recent leader teetering on the brink.

Hundreds of Yemeni women set fire to traditional female veils in the capital to protest against President Saleh's regime as it continues a brutal crackdown againsy the country's popular uprising.

Although unverified, amateur video reportedly filmed on Wednesday showed women throwing their full-body veils, known as makrama, onto a pile and setting them ablaze in the capital Sanaa.

The act was a symbolic Bedouin tribal gesture appealing to tribesmen for help in stopping the attacks on anti-government protesters.

As for OWS, they're waking up in a snow blanket this morning. That's much better than taking police projectiles in the head, though. Austin followed Oakland, Portland, and Denver's lead in bashing its protest camp yesterday:

I'm ashamed of my city tonight. 35+ arrests and counting as #OccupyAustin food & water raided by APD. This will only fan the flames.

Update: More in detail from the Austin Chronicle. Meanwhile, Occupy Houston had a real fun Halloween party.

And the beat goes on.

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