Syria | Egypt | Greece | Quebec | Israel/Palestine | Iran

Conal Urquhart: Syria clashes kill at least 17 in Deraa, reports say (Guardian)

After the observers’ visit, UN spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh … said residents’ accounts of the mass killing were “conflicting,” and that the team was still cross checking the names of the missing and dead with those supplied by nearby villagers. Opposition activists and Syrian government officials blamed each other for the killings. … The Channel 4 journalist Alex Thompson claimed on Friday that the FSA tried to get him and his colleagues killed by deliberately directing them into government firing lines. He believed that the rebels considered a dead western journalist would strengthen their cause and look very bad for the Assad regime.

Henry Meyer: Russia, China Get Syrian Request to Investigate Houla Massacre (Bloomberg)
DAPD: Rebellen locken Journalisten in Falle (Handelsblatt)

Gut und Böse lässt sich in Syrien kaum auseinanderdividieren. Nun wirft ein britischer Journalist den Rebellen vor, ihn in einen Hinterhalt gelockt zu haben. Er vermutet dahinter eine tödliche PR-Falle.

Rainer Herrmann: Neue Erkenntnisse zu Getöteten von Hula. Abermals Massaker in Syrien (FAZ)

Nach Angaben der Augenzeugen habe sich das Massaker in dieser Zeit ereignet. Getötet worden seien nahezu ausschließlich Familien der alawitischen und schiitischen Minderheit Hulas, dessen Bevölkerung zu mehr als neunzig Prozent Sunniten sind. So wurden mehrere Dutzend Mitglieder einer Familie abgeschlachtet, die in den vergangenen Jahren vom sunnitischen zum schiitischen Islam übergetreten sei. Getötet wurden ferner Mitglieder der alawitischen Familie Shomaliya und die Familie eines sunnitischen Parlamentsabgeordneten, weil dieser als Kollaborateur galt. Unmittelbar nach dem Massaker hätten die Täter ihre Opfer gefilmt, sie als sunnitische Opfer ausgegeben und die Videos über Internet verbreitet.

Jochen Bittner: Wie riskant wäre eine Intervention in Syrien? (Zeit)
Karl Sharro: Hollow Responses to Houla Massacre (al-Akhbar)

By letting the Shabiha loose, the Syrian regime has created the conditions for atrocities, especially in mixed areas, and it was only a matter of time that sectarian massacres reminiscent of the Lebanese Civil War would happen. The creation of this militia was one of the early decisions that enhanced the sectarian dynamics of the conflict. The regime relinquished any claim to representing state authority and ultimately acted in a way that would undermine its overall control. …
The response of the opposition leadership to the Houla massacre was also far from coherent. The Syrian National Council (SNC) fell back onto its demands for international intervention, despite the fact that such intervention seems to be unlikely for now and that these requests have alienated many Syrians that do not support attacks on their country. …
The presence of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as a separate entity from the SNC and other opposition groups is itself revealing of a fundamental flaw within the anti-regime forces. An autonomous armed group devoid of clear political leadership not only suffers from the inability to formulate clear strategy and tactics, it also increases the risk of undisciplined outbreaks of violence that are very damaging.

As’ad AbuKhalil: Some Questions on the Houla Massacre…and Beyond (al-Akhbar)

Wilhelm Langthaler: Egypt poised for Tahrir III (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Pro-revolution forces nearly scored half of the votes but were cut out from the presidential run-off.

Vijay Prashad: Convulsions in Libya (CounterPunch)

Slavoj Žižek: Save us from the saviours. Europe and the Greeks (London Review of Books)

There are two main stories about the Greek crisis in the media: the German-European story (the Greeks are irresponsible, lazy, free-spending, tax-dodging etc, and have to be brought under control and taught financial discipline) and the Greek story (our national sovereignty is threatened by the neoliberal technocracy imposed by Brussels). When it became impossible to ignore the plight of the Greek people, a third story emerged: the Greeks are now presented as humanitarian victims in need of help, as if a war or natural catastrophe had hit the country. While all three stories are false, the third is arguably the most disgusting. The Greeks are not passive victims: they are at war with the European economic establishment, and what they need is solidarity in their struggle, because it is our struggle too.

Costas Lapavitsas: Default and exit from the eurozone? Greece could begin again (Monde diplomatique)

Greece is heading for an exit from the euro, and the rest of the eurozone periphery may follow, precipitating a huge change in the EU. After the crisis, Greece could slowly recover.

Sophia Ignatidou: Golden Dawn MP’s live TV assault shocks Greece (Guardian)
Griechenland: Das Versuchskaninchen übernimmt das Labor (DKP)

Serge Halimi: Radical Solutions (Monde diplomatique)

Last month’s student protests in Quebec have made it clear, yet again, that austerity policies cannot be imposed except by authoritarian methods. More than a third of the students in the province struck after Jean Charest’s liberal (centrist) government decided to increase student fees by 75% in five years; the National Assembly of Quebec, in a special session on 18 May, curtailed the rights of free association and demonstration. Thus, cutting off a democratic achievement (access to higher education) was logically followed by the suspension of a fundamental freedom.

Ismail Haniyeh: We Palestinians are reclaiming our destiny (Guardian)

We as a people want to live in our homeland, the land of our ancestors, in freedom, dignity and democracy, and with a just peace that restores our rights. We do not want to attack anyone and do not accept anyone attacking us. As we have said on more than one occasion, the key to security is the end of occupation.

Tariq Ali, Collin Harris: The Obama Syndrome (CounterPunch)
Aaron David Miller: Barack O’Romney (Foreign Policy)

Ignore what the candidates say they’ll do differently on foreign policy. They’re basically the same man.

Two book reviews:
Owen Bennett-Jones: Terrorists? Us? (London Review of Books)

Formed in the 1960s as an anti-imperialist, Islamist organisation with socialist leanings, dedicated to the overthrow of the shah, the [Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK)] originally stood not only for Islamic revolution but also for such causes as women’s rights … Since the 1970s, the MEK’s rhetoric has changed from Islamist to secular, from socialist to capitalist, from pro-revolution to anti-revolution. And since Saddam’s fall it has portrayed itself as pro-American, peaceful and dedicated to democracy and human rights. … Three dozen former high-ranking American officials regularly speak at MEK-friendly events. They include Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Obama’s former national security adviser General James Jones and the former congressman Lee Hamilton.

Ludwig Watzal: Norman G. Finkelstein: Knowing too much (Between the Lines)

AFP: Israel to lock thousands of Africans in detention camp (al-Akhbar)

Israel’s interior minister said on Friday he hoped to soon start moving tens of thousands of illegal African migrants from Tel Aviv and elsewhere to a detention camp being built, one of the largest in the world.

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