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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: An Attack on a Major Military Complex?

A demonstration last night in Anadan in Aleppo Province, calling for the execution of President Assad

See also Middle East/North Africa Analysis: The Rise of a "Civic Islamism"?.
Tuesday's Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: A New Phase in the Conflict

Syria Special: "Phase 3" --- Consolidating the Opposition, Moving to Armed Conflict

2152 GMT: Another clip of the occupation of the Kuwaiti Parliament tonight:

2042 GMT: In Kuwait, after months of discontent at the lack of reform and the failure to seriously tackle corruption, 20 opposition members of parliament boycotted a parliamentary session earlier today. In the evening, thousands of protesters descended on the Parliament building. AFP reports:

Thousands of Kuwaitis stormed Parliament on Wednesday after police and elite forces beat up protesters marching on the Prime Minister's home to demand he resign, an opposition MP said.

"Now, we have entered the house of the people," said Mussallam al-Barrak, who led the protest along with several other lawmakers and youth activists also calling for the dissolution of Parliament over alleged corruption.

The demonstrators broke open parliament's gates and entered the main chamber, where they sang the national anthem and then left after a few minutes.

The police had used batons to prevent protesters from marching to the residence of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, after staging a rally outside parliament.

Video of the occupation of the Parliament building has been posted. In this clip, occupiers sing as they move into the building:

Protesters are reported to have now moved into Erada Square --- a man raises the Kuwaiti flag:

The background to tonight's development, from the Kuwait Times:

In one of the most "exciting" political dramas in Kuwait, the government and its supporters in the National Assembly succeeded in scrapping a grilling against the prime minister, but the opposition immediately filed a fresh quiz, setting the stage for a fierce confrontation.

Several opposition MPs meanwhile warned the government that popular anger was growing rapidly and could explode anytime if the government insisted on protecting the prime minister against grillings.

The drama began when Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi put for debate a government request to scrap a grilling filed against prime minister in March by MPs Ahmad Al-Saadoun and Abdulrahman Al-Anjari, claiming that it is unconstitutional following a constitutional court ruling last month.

The court said in a controversial ruling that the prime minister cannot be grilled for violations committed by his ministers and he can only be questioned for issues under his direct authority.

2036 GMT: In what's already being called "Occupy Parliament" in Kuwait, protesters have marched onto the floor of the Parliament building to demand change:

"For those who don't speak ArabicReports that 5,000 protestors in #Kuwait calling for PM to change.Entered the parliament building. (@ahmed)"

2009 GMT: According to activists, this was the scene along Alamien street in Hama, as security forces used tear gas and fired warning shots to disperse protesters:

An evening protest in Halfaya, Hama, northwest of the city (MAP):

1742 GMT: The LCCS also reports that there has been a curfew imposed in al Harra, Daraa province, and electricity has been cut in many suburbs of Daraa. The area was the scene of severe clashes in recent days between defectors and the military.

1736 GMT: The LCCS reports more military action near Homs (MAP):

Homs: Hola: Heavy shooting from army's armored vehicles deployed in the barricades, towards a demonstration that started in Hola, along with storming of Aqrab village by Shabiha

1724 GMT: Syrian activists post this video, reportedly showing the body of defected soldier Sariy Quntari who was killed in Idlib today, his family surrounding his body.

1717 GMT: The men in the video are reportedly Mukhabarat, secret police, beating the mayor of Kafer Nebal, on the road west from Ma'arrat an Nouman, Idlib, until he passes out (MAP):

1709 GMT: A protest today in the Aleppo suburb of Tal Rafaat (MAP):

1704 GMT: A video showing the damage to buildings, amidst nearly constant gunfire, in Baba Amr, Homs:

1659 GMT: According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, 20 people have died today, 10 in Homs alone.

1611 GMT: The LCCS now posts two updates in the last 30 minutes suggesting a miliatary escalation in Hama:

Hama: Huge military enhancements along with tanks and armored vehicles entered the city from the south entrance

Hama: Gunfire in Al Qusoor neighborhood

1605 GMT: A Syrian activist shares this GRAPHIC VIDEO, showing clear signs of torture on the body of a man who was reportedly taken prisoner in Kafer Rouma, Idlib Province (see update at 1547):

Graphic #Kafarouma #Idlib #Syria - 16th november 2011 Yusef Mohammad Kheir Al-Zyadeh was arrested a month ago and handed over dead to his family, clear signs of torture on his body

1552 GMT: In Yemen, we've often said that there were at least 3 fronts of conflicts: protesters against the government, tribes against the government, and the government against terrorists in the south. Al Jazeera has an update on the third front:

Yemeni troops killed seven al-Qaeda-linked militants including an Iranian, a Pakistani and two Somali nationals in the latest fighting in a turbulent southern province, a security official said Wednesday.

The official said the seven were killed when the army shelled the headquarters of the local government and the offices of the internal security agency in Zinjibar, provincial capital of Abyan. Zinjibar has been held by the militants since May.

1547 GMT: News from one of the central "fronts" in the conflict between deserted soldiers and the Syrian army in recent days (MAP):

‎13 people were wounded in the town of Kefer Romaa in gunfire by military and security forces as they raided the town. Also, 62 people were arrested at the raids.

1542 GMT: Now we receive this video, reportedly showing the Syrian army arriving in the town of Zabadani (see last update). Whoever took this footage is particularly brave:

1535 GMT: At least three people have been killed today in Syria, 2 in Homs --- and one in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani (MAP), where this very large protest has erupted during the funeral for the martyr:

1530 GMT: This video reportedly shows an injured protester at Qalamoun University, north of Damascus:

1505 GMT: Just hours after the Syrian government pledged to Jordan's King Abdullah that no more embassies would be attacked by Syrian loyalists... three more embassies in Damascus were attacked by Syrian loyalists, Morocco, Qatar (for the second time), and the UAE.

Sticking to an embassy theme, France is withdrawing it's diplomat from Syria.

1457 GMT: Former members of the political party of deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be allowed to run for election, according to a new court ruling. Jack Shenker writes:

Today's decision follows months of wrangling over the issue, and overturns a lower court ruling that would have seen the remnants of the old regime barred from running as candidates.

Mubarak's National Democratic party (NDP) dominated all areas of political life under his dictatorship before being dissolved in April this year after a national uprising that toppled the president. Public opinion has been split on whether its estimated 2 million members should be allowed to join the race in what has been called the country's first democratic parliamentary poll.

1448 GMT: Members of the Free Syrian Army have told CNN that the attack on an air force intel facility in Harasta was coordinated with defectors inside the intelligence complex. That's a big claim, as the Air Force Intelligence has been an important resource for the regime in coordinating the crackdown against the opposition.

1432 GMT: An activist reports that there have been more protests, and clashes, at a university outside Damascus (MAP). Arrests have been reported. We've seen more protests on campuses in the last week than we have seen in recent memory, though that is a non-scientific observation:

BREAKING: university of #Qalamoon witnesses a demonstration which is faced with brutal force from regime forces in plain clothes

1422 GMT: More videos from Yemen, where large protests have taken place in several towns and cities across the country. The first, women in Sana'a, the capital, march today:

A large protest in Taiz, where people are marching from Freedom Square to the homes of three women who were reportedly killed on Friday:

Women and children protest in Yarim, Ibb (MAP):

A protest in front of an oil company in Ibb, where protesters chant slogans of resilience and steadfastness:

James Miller takes the blog.

1300 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says defecting troops have killed at least eight soldiers and security forces today in an attack on an army checkpoint in Kfarsita in Hama Province.

1200 GMT: A Syrian activist is live-Tweeting an account of a pro-regime rally in Latakia. A striking declaration from one of the speakers: "We have 100s of 1000s of suicide bombers. We have 100s of 1000s of suicide bombers. We will move from civil and political action to resistance suicide bombings."

1150 GMT: Claimed images on Al Jazeera of the burning building of Syrian Air Force Intelligence and of casualties after an attack by the insurgent Free Syrian Army overnight (see 0610 GMT):

1140 GMT: Syrian State media report that President Assad has issued a law exempting taxpayers from interest, unpaid fines, and late payment penalties if they pay money that they owe before 31 December.

1140 GMT: A mass march in Yemen's capital Sana'a today:

A rally in Radaa, remembering those who died in Taiz from regime shelling and gunfire last week:


1120 GMT: Officials of Libya's National Transitional Council say hundreds of uniformed men in the "new Libyan army" have been deployed, intervening in fighting between Tripoli and Zawiya to the west.

The soldiers, wearing beige camouflage uniforms and ID badges, were sent to serve as a buffer between gunmen from Zawiya and from the nearby tribal area of Warshefana. Four days of fighting killed at least 13 people.

1050 GMT: This weekend the Bahraini regime announced that authorities had broken up a plot by a terrorist cell, linked with Iran, to blow up installations and buildings in the kingdom, including the Ministry of Interior, Saudi Embassy and the causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Opposition activists re-create the episode:

1025 GMT: Claimed footage of a march in Sanabis in Bahrain last night, calling for freeing of detainees:

1010 GMT: The Jordanian Foreign Ministry has said that the Syrian regime has pledged no more attacks on foreign embassies by supporters of President Assad.

During a meeting with Arab ambassadors in Damascus on Tuesday, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister "promised that such incidents will not be repeated against accredited embassies in Syria", according to a Jordanian spokesman. "The Syrian government apologized to Jordan for the attack against the Jordanian embassy in Damascus during which demonstrators tore down the Jordanian flag."

Monday's raid on the embassy came after King Abdullah II said publicly that he thought Assad should step down.

0910 GMT: The New York Times summarises latest news from Syria, including the claim of more than 71 deaths in the last 48 hours, including 34 soldiers. It adds this provocative note, "Unlike past episodes, when the Syrian government publicized the deaths of soldiers and security forces, official Syrian news outlets carried no reports about the clashes."

0900 GMT: Ahead of next week's release of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, the "Religion in Politics in Bahrain" blog skilfully takes apart the politics and propaganda, in particular, the regime's arrest of five men who allegedly were plotting attacks in co-ordination with Iranian agencies:

I have done the government the favor of creating a terrorist flowchart template for use in future busts, based on the famous Al-Watan version referenced in the previous link. It simply requires the entry of a new date, new names for the "terrorists," and some stock photos. Then you just hit PRINT and--bam!--another terrorist cell has been dismantled.

A curious thing about this most recent cell that it would seem to contradict another of the Bahraini government's positions: namely, that the opposition's activities inside the country, not least the February uprising itself, are choreographed by Iran. For why, then, would these terrorist suspects attempt to travel to Iran (via Saudi, Qatar, and Syria, supposedly) in order to organize a cell that would then RETURN to Bahrain (somehow) to carry out attacks? Indeed, if the government is correct in its claims that the opposition has secret arms caches and training from Hizballah and/or Iran, why don't these armed, trained "terrorists" who are ALREADY IN BAHRAIN simply carry out their attacks?

0610 GMT: The most striking overnight news from Syria is the claim that members of the opposition Free Syrian Army have attacked an intelligence complex in the Damascus suburb of Harasta.

Activists claims that the attackers fired rockets and machine guns at a large air force intelligence complex along the Damascus-Aleppo highway at about 2:30 a.m. (0030 GMT).

Sources said a gunfight followed as helicopters hovered. There was no immediate report of casualties.

Air force intelligence is not only responsible for information on military operations versus foreign powers but is also charged with preventing dissent within the military. 

If true, the attack is the first on a major facility of the security forces since the uprising beganin mid-March. At the same time, it is important to note the location: we have been noting that armed clashes have been moving from Homs and the "periphery" of Syria --- towns in the northwest, Daraa Province in the south --- towards the centre. This challenge would be a vivid example of that shift.

On the diplomatic front, the Assad regime will not attend Wednesday's meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

The League decided last week to suspend Damascus unless it ceased violence and withdrew its military from cities by today. The regime had initially said it would welcome and work with League diplomatic and military observers.

A rally in Kafrsita:

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