U.N. reports Syrian death toll over 3,000 and warns of civil war

U.N. reports Syrian death toll over 3,000 and warns of civil war The United Nations reported that the number of people killed during the seven month uprising in Syria has exceeded 3,000. Navi Pillay, the United Nations top human rights official stated that the “ruthless repression” of the Syrian regime could drive the country into ...

548465_111014_1291662262.jpg
548465_111014_1291662262.jpg

U.N. reports Syrian death toll over 3,000 and warns of civil war

The United Nations reported that the number of people killed during the seven month uprising in Syria has exceeded 3,000. Navi Pillay, the United Nations top human rights official stated that the "ruthless repression" of the Syrian regime could drive the country into "full blown civil war," as the number of military defectors increases. She placed responsibility on the international community to "take immediate measures" to end the violence and protect civilians. Spokesman Rupert Coleville said, "What has been done so far is not producing results and people continue to be killed virtually every single day." Meanwhile, dozens of people were killed Thursday in clashes in Syrian's northwestern province of Idlib and southern Syria.

Headlines  

U.N. reports Syrian death toll over 3,000 and warns of civil war

The United Nations reported that the number of people killed during the seven month uprising in Syria has exceeded 3,000. Navi Pillay, the United Nations top human rights official stated that the “ruthless repression” of the Syrian regime could drive the country into “full blown civil war,” as the number of military defectors increases. She placed responsibility on the international community to “take immediate measures” to end the violence and protect civilians. Spokesman Rupert Coleville said, “What has been done so far is not producing results and people continue to be killed virtually every single day.” Meanwhile, dozens of people were killed Thursday in clashes in Syrian’s northwestern province of Idlib and southern Syria.

Headlines  

  • Two explosions killed at least 17 people in Baghdad’s Shiite district of Sadr City in the third major attack this week.
  • An estimated 100-200 loyalists forces controlling less than a square mile remain as Sirte nears fall.  
  • President Obama threatened sanctions on the Iranian central bank and said all options are on the table for dealing with Iran after the alleged assassination plot.
  • As violence escalates in Yemen so does food insecurity, according to the U.N. World Food Programme.
  • Egyptian arrests of weapons smugglers transporting Libyan arms raise concerns of volatility in the Sinai and risks to Israel.

Daily Snapshot

Nearly 3,000 Egyptian mourners gather in central Cairo on October 13, 2011 in honour of Coptic Christians among 25 people killed in weekend clashes during a demonstration over an attack on a church. Egypt’s government said it would discuss the sensitive issue of building permits for Christian churches at the heart of sectarian tensions in the overwhelmingly Muslim country (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images).

Arguments & Analysis

‘A guide to the Tunisian elections [pdf]’ (Daphne McCurdy, Project on Middle East Democracy)

“On October 23, Tunisians will vote for a national constituent assembly in the first competitive elections in the Arab world since historic uprisings swept the region this year. These elections will not only be critical for the future prospects of democracy in Tunisia, but will have implications for the entire Middle East and North Africa. If successful, they will help dispel claims of Arab exceptionalism to democracy, and could set an example for the rest of the region. On the other hand, if problems stemming from these elections were to derail Tunisia’s democratic transition, that could be a considerable setback for democracy across the Arab world. Despite the significance of this moment, the National Constituent Assembly elections have received very little coverage in the American press. Yet there could hardly be a more important time for the United States to be well informed about the developments in Tunisia. While the revolution that overthrew President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was fueled exclusively by indigenous forces, international support for Tunisia’s democratic transition will be critical to its success.”

‘Egypt’s bloody Sunday’ (Mariz Tadros, Middle East Report online)

“Most political forces in today’s Egypt are wary of seeming to side with the Copts or acknowledging their grievances, in all likelihood for fear of losing popularity. Hence, like the weak transitional government, various parties jockeying for position in advance of the parliamentary elections have issued anodyne calls upon all parties to show self-restraint, lest an outbreak of sectarianism undermine the progress of post-revolutionary Egypt. Such equalization of responsibility obstructs movement toward a policy of zero tolerance for religious discrimination. When there is no perpetrator and no victim, but only two competing sides, the question of justice is sidelined. Some liberal thinkers and activists have pressed for measures of justice: accountability for the army officers who issued the order to fire; Information Minister Haykal’s resignation; and the sacking of the news team responsible for inciting sectarian violence on live television. These liberals, however, do not comprise an aggregate voice of adequate political weight. As for politicians, they may feel uncompelled to pursue the votes of Copts, who are, after all, a geographically diffuse 10 percent minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.” 

‘The economics of the Arab Spring’ (Adeel Malik & Bassem Awdalleh, Al Jazeera English)

“This state-centred development paradigm rests on the uninterrupted flow of external windfalls. In fact, many of the region’s pathologies – whether it is a weak private sector, segmented labour markets or limited regional trade — are ultimately rooted in an economic structure that relies overwhelmingly on external windfalls, whether derived from fuel exports, foreign aid or remittances. Reliance on these unearned income streams is truly the “original sin” for Arab economies. More than 80 per cent of total merchandise exports in many Arab countries consist of oil and gas. The dependence on hydrocarbons is so pervasive that even economies that are otherwise considered to be relatively resource-poor, such as Syria and Yemen, exports are dominated by oil. Up until 2005, for example, around 67 per cent of the total exports in Syria consisted of fuels. In Yemen fuel exports constitute 70 per cent of total exports.” 

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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