Syrian pipeline explodes; activists launch civil disobedience campaign

Syrian pipeline explodes; activists launch civil disobedience campaign A pipeline that ran oil from eastern Syria to a refinery in Homs — the scene of repeated regime violence where activists say nearly 1,500 people have been killed since the start of uprisings — was destroyed on Thursday. According to Syria’s official news agency, SANA, the ...

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546236_111208_1351812782.jpg

Syrian pipeline explodes; activists launch civil disobedience campaign

A pipeline that ran oil from eastern Syria to a refinery in Homs -- the scene of repeated regime violence where activists say nearly 1,500 people have been killed since the start of uprisings -- was destroyed on Thursday. According to Syria's official news agency, SANA, the pipeline was attacked by an armed terrorist group, while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed it was "bombed." No one has taken responsibility for the act. The pipeline was a major source of domestic oil, carrying 140,000 barrels of oil daily according to Nomair Makhlouf, general director of the Syrian Oil Company. Meanwhile, Syrian activists under the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), which has organized local anti-regime protests, have launched a civil disobedience campaign as a non-violent measure to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. The group has called for sit-ins at workplaces and the closure of stores and universities, hoping the efforts will escalate to a public sector and transportation network shutdown. The LCC refers to the movement as a "dignity strike...which will lead to the sudden death of this tyrant regime."

Headlines  

Syrian pipeline explodes; activists launch civil disobedience campaign

A pipeline that ran oil from eastern Syria to a refinery in Homs — the scene of repeated regime violence where activists say nearly 1,500 people have been killed since the start of uprisings — was destroyed on Thursday. According to Syria’s official news agency, SANA, the pipeline was attacked by an armed terrorist group, while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed it was “bombed.” No one has taken responsibility for the act. The pipeline was a major source of domestic oil, carrying 140,000 barrels of oil daily according to Nomair Makhlouf, general director of the Syrian Oil Company. Meanwhile, Syrian activists under the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), which has organized local anti-regime protests, have launched a civil disobedience campaign as a non-violent measure to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. The group has called for sit-ins at workplaces and the closure of stores and universities, hoping the efforts will escalate to a public sector and transportation network shutdown. The LCC refers to the movement as a “dignity strike…which will lead to the sudden death of this tyrant regime.”

Headlines  

  • Egypt’s new cabinet has been sworn in by the SCAF, who handed over nominal power to Prime Minister Ganzouri. However, they have retained critical oversight over military, judiciary, and constitutional powers.
  • Yemen formed a unity government under independent politician Mohammed Basindwa amid continued clashes in the capital of Sana’a.
  • An Israeli airstrike killed a member of Islamic Jihad and injured two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after clashes between Hamas and Israeli troops who had entered a Gaza buffer zone.
  • Turkey will begin using trade routes through Iraq and Egypt that bypass Syria to increase pressure on President Assad, whose country received 10 percent of imports from Turkey in 2010.
  • The U.S. military continues the withdrawal from Iraq with only 8,000 troops remaining. Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Department negotiated a contract for delivery of 18 fighter jets to the Iraqi government.

Daily Snapshot

A Palestinian man inspects damage to a mosque in the West Bank village of Bruqin near Nablus on December 7, 2011 after unknown attackers, believed by Palestinian residents to be Jewish settlers, scrawled anti-Arab graffiti on the walls and tried to set the mosque on fire (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images). 

Arguments & Analysis

‘Ultraconservative Islamist party reshapes Egypt’s politics’ (Ursula Lindsey, The Daily Beast)

“It is their extensive network of mosques and charities that has given the Salafis such an electoral advantage, say their opponents. And while El Taweel and his supporters insist all their activities are funded “from our pockets,” many here allege the group is financed by religious conservatives in the Arab Gulf. According to an ongoing judicial investigation, Ansar El Sunna received about $50 million from benefactors in Kuwait and Qatar this year. Critics of the Salafi movement suggest this is just the tip of the iceberg. And for years, the Mubarak regime gave Salafis “a green light to work in the mosques,” says El Ghobashy. While members of the Brotherhood were jailed for their political activism, he says, Salafis were allowed to operate because of their political quietism: they condemned demonstrations and formally forbid challenging rulers.”

‘Twilight in Damascus’ (Anonymous, New York Review of Books)

“As the crackdown hammers on, elements of the protest movement itself are becoming increasingly militarized…This is no match for a regime armed with tanks, a loyal security service, and fanatical thugs, and people fear that things will get worse before they get better. Yet there is widespread feeling of amazement that the revolt has lasted this long – and that it continues-and touches so many. Older men chastise themselves for having silently put up with this regime for four decades until taught by their sons and daughters that enough was enough. “I’m embarassed,” a middle-aged professional in Damascus confided. “We focussed on navigating our own lives and now our children are paying the price.” One man told me he has not yet been to register his newly-born daughter with the authorities. “I am waiting for after-after-so I can call her Thawra, Arabic for revolution.”

‘Why the ‘Arab Spring’ hasn’t reached Sudan’ (Elfadil Ibrahim, Open Democracy)

“The state has not only become a major employer (with around four million employees), but its growth has robbed the civil society of the fervour it once had.  The trade unions, the civil service and professional bodies that played leading roles in Sudan’s previous revolutions, seem fatigued and uninterested in pushing for anything that may prolong and exacerbate instability. In addition, not only are the masses unorganised, but the desire for a revolution is often tempered by extreme prudence in a nation ravaged by a decade of civil war, and currently witnessing insurgencies in Darfur and more recently in the ‘New South’.” 

Latest on the Channel

‘The costs that continue, the army that remains’ by Catherine Lutz

‘Tunisians voted for jobs, not Islam’ by Michael Robbins & Mark Tessler

    <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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