Syria Circling The Drain

So far, we’ve seen varying degrees of serious Muslim unrest in Pakistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, and Oman. Now, it appears that Syria is also on the verge of descending into chaos.

Thousands continue protests in Syria

Thousands of people took to the streets in the southern city of Dara, chanting “Syria, Freedom,” a day after a deadly crackdown on protests there, human rights activists said.

The demonstrations Thursday occurred at the funerals for some of those killed when government forces opened fire on protesters the previous day. Initial reports put the death toll at 15, but Reuters news agency, citing a hospital source, said more than 25 people were killed.

. . .

No additional violence was reported Thursday, but human rights activists said a number of Syrian writers and journalists who reported on the unrest in Dara had been arrested.

. . .

Presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban pledged to consider ending the emergency law in place since 1963 that has allowed the government to detain anyone without a warrant or a trial.

She said the government was also drafting a law that would allow political parties other than the ruling Baath party to operate, and loosen restrictions on news media. She also promised wage increases and health insurance for public servants.

But the human rights activists noted that the promises were not binding and pledged to move forward with their plans for Friday protests.

See also:
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad faces most serious unrest of his tenure
The Syrian revolt
Syria: patience of people running thin
Thousands Protest At Syrian Funerals
Thousands of Syrians chant “freedom” at Deraa mosque
Reports of bloodbath in Syria
Syrian Police Kill at Least 15 Protesters
Syria changes tack, promises reform
Syria offers reforms to calm violence
Syria crisis: Can reforms appease protesters?
Obama administration condemns Syria crackdown
2011 Syrian protests

Like Libya, here’s another revolt that I can heartily root for. Bashar al-Assad has buckets of American and Israeli blood on his hands and I would thoroughly enjoy watching his corpse being dragged through the streets. Tomorrow’s planned Day of Rage, after Friday prayers, could be a tipping point as to whether the Syrian government will fall or brutally repress the protesters. Stay tuned.

/of course, the Muslim country government that I would most like to see circle the drain is the Iranian regime, directly responsible for well over 90% of all the terrorism on the planet, maybe, hopefully, soon

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Oman Circling The Drain

We can now add Oman to the ever growing list of teetering or toppled Muslim country governments that already includes; Pakistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, and Libya.

Oman clashes: Two killed during protests in Gulf state

Two people have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters in the Gulf state of Oman, witnesses and officials said.

Hundreds had gathered for a second day in the industrial city of Sohar to call for political reforms.

At least five people were said to have been wounded when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

Until now, Oman had mostly been spared the unrest which has affected other Arab states in recent months.

Demonstrations are also taking place in the southern town of Salalah, according to Reuters news agency.

See also:
Protests turn violent in Oman port
Deaths in Oman protests
Middle East unrest spreads to Oman
Oman shuffles cabinet amid protests
Oman police clash with protesters
Two Killed In Oman As Protesters Clash With Security Forces
Clashes Between Police, Protesters Kill 2 in Oman
Anti-Govt. Clashes Kill 2, Injures 5 in Oman
Protesters clash with police in Oman
Two dead as Oman police move to quell protests
Police station, state office burning in Oman town
Six killed in Oman protests on Sunday: government hospital
Factbox: Facts about Oman

Oman is yet another country in political turmoil that borders Saudi Arabia. If this unrest consumes Saudi Arabia, all world economic hell will break loose and you can expect to pay a lot more for a gallon of gas. Will the Saudis be able to keep the wave of regional ant-government rebellion from splashing across her borders?

/we probably won’t have to wait long to find out, youth groups and workers in that country now calling for a “day of rage” demonstration in the capital, Riyadh, on March 11th

Somali Pirates Collect Four More Americans

Judging by recent events, it’s pretty obvious that Operation Ocean Shield isn’t working very well.

Somali pirates seize American yacht crew off Oman

Four Americans sailing on a yacht off the coast of Oman have been taken hostage by Somali pirates, an international maritime watchdog says.

The S/V Quest, owned by a retired couple, was hijacked 240 nautical miles (275 miles) off Oman on Friday afternoon, Ecoterra told BBC News.

It is believed the yacht was en route from India to Oman.

While pirates usually attack cargo ships, they have hijacked a number of yachts in recent years.

Ecoterra said the capture of the S/V Quest had been reported by both its sources and by Nato’s anti-piracy operation, Ocean Shield. Nato could not be reached immediately for comment.

Jean and Scott Adam, the yacht’s owners, have been sailing it around the world since 2002, according to their website.

See also:
Somali pirates seize yacht with four Americans onboard, military says
Pirates hijack yacht with Americans on board
Yachting race organizers name Americans aboard yacht hijacked by Somali pirates
Pirates hijack 4 Americans; US mulls responses
Somali Pirates Seize a Yacht, the Quest, with Four Americans on Board
Somali pirates hijack yacht and capture Americans sailing in the Indian Ocean
Somali pirates seize American yacht crew off Oman
Yacht with 4 Americans Seized by Pirates in Somalia
Pirates seize four Americans from yacht off Oman
American sailors kidnapped by Somali pirates
Local Couple Taken Hostage by Somali Pirates: Reports
US assessing options in hijacking of couple by Somali pirates
US considers yacht hijack response
Pirates bringing hijacked US yacht to Somali lair
Pirates: Yacht to make landfall in Somalia

When are we going to get serious about this pirate threat? It’s not enough to react after they strike. In fact, in most cases, a ransom is paid, which only encourages more pirate activity. We need to strike at these pirates preemptively, lay waste to their home port bases and scuttle their entire pirate fleet. In other words, we need to change the pirates’ risk calculus so that the thought of engaging in pirate activity is equivalent to the thought of touching a hot stove.

/and if the combined naval resources of the civilized world aren’t able or willing to eliminate this piracy scourge, Western governments should start issuing letters of marque and let the private sector take a shot at the problem

The M Star Mystery Solved?

Who or what the [expletive deleted] dented Japan’s supertanker in the Strait of Hormuz?

We have a putative winner.

Tanker blast in Gulf ‘was terrorist attack’

A terrorist attack was behind an explosion last week that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the United Arab Emirates official news agency said on Friday.

More than a third of the world’s traded oil flows through the oil-rich Gulf’s strategic waterway that is bordered by Oman, the UAE and Iran, and a terrorist attack, if confirmed, will heighten security concerns in a region where tensions are already running high, analysts said.

Remains of homemade explosives were discovered on the M Star’s hull, as was a dent on the starboard side of the ship, a UAE coastguard source was quoted as saying by the Wam agency.

“Probably the tanker had encountered a terrorist attack from a boat loaded with explosives,” the source was quoted as saying. The investigation into the incident was conducted in the UAE’s Fujairah port.

The M Star, which is owned and operated by Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines, was damaged by what the crew said was an explosion after midnight on July 28, as it travelled through the strait on its way to a port near Tokyo. The tanker, which was loaded with 270,204 tons of oil, was able to continue under its own power to the UAE, with only one crew member slightly injured.

See also:
Japan tanker was damaged in a terror attack, UAE says
Japanese oil tanker attacked by terrorists, says UAE
UAE: Japanese tanker attacked in Persian Gulf
Report: Terrorist Attack Damaged Japanese Oil Tanker
Report: Terrorists Damaged Japanese Tanker
U.A.E. Confirms Terror Attack on Japan Tanker in Persian Gulf Last Month
Brigades of Abdullah Azzam
The M Star Mystery

Oh boy, Islamic terrorists are now ramming shipping in the Strait of Hormuz with explosive laden boats. They failed this time, but they learn.

/it’s not a cold war, it’s not a hot war, it’s an asymmetric war, a concept we barely have the stomach for

The M Star Mystery

What the hell happened here? Was it a collision, an explosion, a rogue wave, or something else? So far, your guess is as good as theirs.

Supertanker ‘was damaged by explosion or submarine’

A JAPANESE supertanker which sustained serious hull damage while sailing through the hyper-sensitive Straits of Hormuz was either hit by an explosion or in a collision with a submarine, officials in the United Arab Emirates said yesterday.

When the M Star supertanker reported it had been hit by an “explosion” late on Wednesday, officials in the UAE played down the claim, citing seismic activity and saying the vessel had been hit by “a freak wave”.

Yet yesterday, it was confirmed the crude carrier had been hit by an external force and a specialist on military attacks has been asked to help investigate damage to the 1,100-foot vessel laden with oil for Japan.

“What we know is some collision happened. We don’t know what it was,” said Captain Mousa Mourad, general manager at the UAE port of Fujairah.

See also:
Rogue Wave Is Suspected in Mideast Tanker Blast
Official: Wave not likely cause of Gulf ship blast
Plot thickens over tanker explosion
Cause of explosion on Japanese tanker in Hormuz remains unclear
Damaged oil tanker may have hit a mine
Mitsui O.S.K. Oil Tanker ‘Blasted From Outside’
Giant Supertanker Suffers Mystery Explosion
Japanese supertanker was in collision-official
Japanese tanker was damaged in collision, UAE official says
Japanese tanker may have hit submarine
Oil tanker ‘attacked’ off Oman
Mystery of Japanese tanker damage probed
Questions Swirl About Damaged Japanese Tanker
Oil Tanker Sails Back To Fujairah After Accident
Causes behind Oil Tanker, M. Star incident still mysterious
Japanese Supertanker Explosion Occurred Outside the Strait of Hormuz

A rogue wave sounds unlikely, at least to me. If it was an explosion, shouldn’t there be more discoloration and shrapnel marks or penetration, instead of just a big dent? And looking at the dent, if it was a collision with a submarine, the submarine would have had to be fully or at least partially surfaced. Why wouldn’t the M Star have seen it and where’s the damaged submarine?

/beats me, I have no idea