Syria's Assad names new prime minister after defection

BEIRUT Thu Aug 9, 2012 7:34am EDT

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed Health Minister Wael al-Halki as prime minister on Thursday, after the defection earlier this week of Prime Minister Riyad Hijab.

Halki, born in 1964, is from the southern province of Deraa where the uprising against four decades of Assad family rule erupted. He replaces caretaker premier Omar Ghalawanji who was appointed hours after Hijab's defection.

Like Hijab, Halki is from Syria's Sunni Muslim majority. Sunnis have been the driving force of the 17-month-old uprising.

Assad's Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, dominates political and military power circles.

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Comments (2)
paintcan wrote:
A poster on another article about Syria a few days opposite gave this link to Syrian TV. The poster was kartona, and seemd to know a lot about Syria from the inside.

If this is not a propaganda stunt it reminds me that I have no idea what might really be going on and who did this but it is very like al Qaeda in Iraq. Then the rebels are cold-blooded killers. If this is the FSA – they are maniacs. All the comments that seem to come from pro government sympathizers claiming that the “rebels” are really in the pay of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and even Israel may be truthful? They also frequently say that it is the rebels who are committing atrocities against government forces and unarmed civilians. It is very like what the US faced in Iraq.

The victim was an unarmed civilian from the looks of his shirt and jogging pants. He lies there like a frightened sheep until they butcher him. It it the first time I ever watched a cold-blooded murder. I don’t remember that I had a computer or didn’t know how to use it well when stories like this were circulating in Iraq. I got this thing in 2004.

If the Assad regime is planting these videos – I have no reason to believe all such videos weren’t planted also and by the western side. As a passive sheep or consumer of the western press – I have no way to verify anything myself. But I have no reason to believe that this country or any of the others are above bribery and the gross distortion of information for their own self-interest.

If this is not a fake – and Reuters has planted fake photos before and I think it even runs fake stories from time to time – than it is no wonder that the Assad regime is acting like the US forces in Iraq who really were able to do nothing and even seemed to encourage the blood bath in Baghdad and Iraq by ripping the country out of hands that knew the nature of their own zealots and religious mad man. I still believe that Donald Rumsfeld was a strutting and arrogant stooge for bigger business interests.

What sickens me more is that the US let al Qaeda into Iraq and had disbanded the country’s own military and police forces so they were prone to these killers. They were not there under SH. No one had ever claimed they were before the invasion and they appeared very quickly afterward.

I don’t know who is more responsible and guilty: corrupt western, corrupt Middle Eastern – in this case Syrian TV – a regional culture of bribery and payoffs that also very likely came here (like the Spanish Flu in the last year of WWI), or ruthless power politics.

But the only people who look like they are sane now are the Russians, Chinese and Kofe Annan – who was quickly made irrelevant. The Russians have very practical and sane interests in Syria and have had long standing relationships with the country. The US did not have long-standing interest in Iraq and had even encouraged SH in his war with Iran during the tenure of the Shah. Theirs and the Israeli’s constant obsession with the Iranians doesn’t realy make sense expect that there are Iranian exiles who don’t want to die without reclaiming their power, influence and fortunes they had under the nyper corrupt police state regime of the Shah. I was sufficiently aware of global politics at the time to understand this about the Shah.

It is not that hard to believe that this is the true color of the rebels. Children soldiers have been turned into mindless killers in some African countries. Adults paid by outside governments could easily do this too I have no doubt.

The US is using it’s own paid professional troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps, other countries with smaller armed forces are now resorting to paid mercenaries too? Why wouldn’t they?

The US bombardment of Cambodia drove that country insane and they may have done the same thing to the ME for their own misguided and arrogant attempts at world domination.

God Damn the lot of them. I hope anyone who made so much as a dollar on this for the past ten years soon regrets it.

The expression is – in War the first casualty is the truth.
I’m sure it is – I have no real idea who may be telling it anyone and blind trust in any side is probably very naive.

Aug 09, 2012 9:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:
Excuse me – I made an inadvertent factual error.

Not to say “SH in his war with Iran during the tenure of the Shah” – but after the Shah had been deposed and the country was ruled by Khomeini and the Revolutionary Council. I meant to write that sentence differently and forgot to correct it. I have no proofreader.

I have never believed any of the arguments that this country’s administrations have given – in fact it was barely noticed in popular media or TV at the time – as to why the US backed Saddam against Iran. Now I believe it was solely aid given, spurred by Iranian exiles (a group that somehow never gets mentioned anywhere) and, very likely, Israel: a regime that never seems to see a popular problem in the ME that can’t be made somehow worse.

Aug 09, 2012 2:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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