Syria Places 30% Tariff on Turkish Goods; Conditionally Accepts Arab League Observers; Syrian Muslim Brotherhood: “To Hell with Syrian Identity”

Syria struck out at Turkey in response to Turkish sanctions by imposing 30% tariffs on Turkish imports. This will bring trade to a standstill between the two countries that had expanded their trade to well over 2 billion dollars a year. Syria also pulled out of the Barcelona Agreement for EU Partnership in reaction to EU sanctions.

Aleppo and Damascus consume more than half of Syria’s mazoot (fuel oil). Many believe this is because they smuggle so much outside to countries where its price is much higher. In Turkey, mazoot costs six times more than the official price in Syria.

Syria Says It Accepts Arab League Observer Request
By ALBERT AJI and BASSEM MROUE Associated Press
DAMASCUS, Syria December 5, 2011 (AP)

Syria has accepted an Arab League request to send observers to the country in an effort to end its eight-month crisis, a move that could ease Arab sanctions on Damascus, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The Syrian statement came after Damascus announced it conducted mass military maneuvers over the weekend in an apparent show of force as President Bashar Assad’s regime defies pressures over its deadly crackdown on opponents.

The ministry’s spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, told reporters that Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem “responded positively” to the League demand and sent a letter to the organization’s chief Nabil Elaraby on Sunday night.

There was no immediate reaction from the Arab League, which has already suspended Syria, to Damascus’ announcement.

But Makdissi said that al-Moallem’s message to the League combined some “minor amendments that won’t affect the essence of the plan,” stressing that Damascus is still insisting that the protocol be signed in Damascus rather than at the League’s headquarters in Cairo.

“It is a right step on the road to a solution,” Makdissi said.

“To hell with Syrian [identity]! We do not recognize Syria”
Interview: Zuhayr Salim, Speaker of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria:

KURDWATCH, December 4, 2011—Zuhayr Salim (b. 1947) is a writer and lives in London. In an interview with KurdWatch, the speaker of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood speaks out about the Kurdish question in Syria.

KurdWatch: On May 17, 2005, the Muslim Brotherhood spoke at length about the Kurdish question in Syria for the first time. This was the first statement by a Syrian political party about the Kurdish question in Syria. You describe the Kurds as »a genuine part of the fabric of the Syrian people«, living on its »historic territory«. You further explain that in a state under the rule of law, the Kurds must participate in power. What remains of this vision today?

Zuhayr Salim: We are seeking a state under the rule of law. Every person who lives in Syria or was born there must enjoy the same rights, regardless of whether he is an Arab, Kurd, Muslim, Christian, Sunni or Alawi. This stance will not change. Everyone must be convinced that he is equal. So, for example, an Alawi cannot think that he has more rights than a Sunni. And an Arab cannot think that he has more rights than a Kurd. And vice versa. That is a patriotic approach. The cultural and ethnic characteristics of each group, for example, customs and rituals, must be respected and accepted. KurdWatch: Yes, but not an Arab as it is written on the identity card.

…… KurdWatch: In Syria, a Kurdish citizen’s identity card states that he is a Syrian-Arab citizen, even though he is a Kurd and not an Arab. Will this also be the case in the new Syrian state?
Zuhayr Salim: A counter question: What is the status of a Turkmen living in Iraqi-Kurdistan?

KurdWatch: He is an Iraqi-Turkmen. He is not designated as a Kurd.
Zuhayr Salim: In Syria, a Kurd is also a Syrian.

Zuhayr Salim: Do only Kurds live in Iraqi-Kurdistan? Or do Arabs, Turkmen, Armenians, and Assyrians also live there? The general identity is that of the majority. With one condition: The identity of a group that defines itself as a minority must not be negated. We are not talking about minorities. Nevertheless, there are people who say that they do not belong to the majority. The identity of the majority is the identity of the state. The minorities have the right to enjoy their own rights. I don’t see a contradiction here. If an Arab lives in Zakho or Erbil in Iraqi-Kurdistan, then he is called an Iraqi-Kurdistani. That just isn’t a problem. Why shouldn’t we grant to others that which we want for ourselves?

KurdWatch: Kurdistani isn’t an ethnic term, but rather refers to the Kurdistan region. In contrast, Arab is an ethnic term and applies to members of the Arab nation. And the Kurds are definitely not Arabs.

Zuhayr Salim: To be Arab is not an expression of citizenship, but rather an expression of identity.

KurdWatch: Why don’t we forgo the label »Arab« and speak only of Syrian identity?

Zuhayr Salim: No, no. To hell with Syrian [identity]! We do not recognize Syria. Who created Syria? Sykes-Picot. Is that true or not?

KurdWatch: Yes, that’s true.

Zuhayr Salim: You and I do not recognize Sykes-Picot. You [Kurds] feel that you have been treated unjustly by Sykes-Picot. We also feel that we have been treated unjustly by Sykes-Picot. Syria is a temporary phenomenon, a state that exists only temporarily. Our goal is the creation of a state for the entire umma. A Kurd will be ruler in this state, for he will be supported by a people that numbers anywhere from thirty-five to forty million.

KurdWatch: Are you talking now about an independent Kurdish state?

Zuhayr Salim: No, about an Islamic state for everyone. Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Circassians, and all others will live there……

Riad Shaqfa interview – Head of Muslim Brotherhood:

Bashar al-Assad is mentally unbalanced – Syrian Muslim Brotherhood chief,  05/12/2011
By Mohammed Al Shafey

Istanbul, Asharq Al-Awsat – Asharq Al-Awsat spoke with Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Riad Al-Shaqfa, on the sidelines of the Arab – Turkish Media Forum in Istanbul earlier this week. Al-Shaqfa spoke about the situation in Syria, his hopes for the future of the country, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s plans for the post-Assad era.

The following is the full text of the interview:

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you believe that the pressure being exerted on Damascus – whether we are talking about the international or Arab League pressure – will ultimately lead to the collapse of the al-Assad regime?

[Al-Shaqfa] We hope that all countries around the world put pressure on the arrogant [al-Assad] regime until it is completely isolated and has no choice but to responds to the will of the people. I pray for the end of this suppressive regime, and the [al-Assad] regime will collapse; it is only a matter of time. As the Prophet Muhammad said “the pens have been lifted and the ink has dried.” [i.e. what will come to pass has already been written]. The al-Assad regime will collapse within the next few months. The Syrian people will accept Turkish military intervention to protect them from the forces of President al-Assad, but not western military intervention. However I personally do not want to see any foreign military intervention [in Syria] because the Syrian people have the will and commitment to isolate and oust the Syrian regime, particularly if the international community intervenes and real sanctions are imposed on the Syrian regime and it is [internationally] isolated with the world recalling their ambassadors from Damascus. In this case, it would be easy for the Syrian people to overthrow the al-Assad regime, and so we want the Arab and Islamic states to intervene to protect the Syrian civilians…..


COULD economic collapse bring down Bashar Assad’s regime even when mass protests have not? Pressure on the economy is mounting from every direction. On November 27th the 22-country Arab League took an unprecedented decision to impose economic sanctions on a fellow member. It voted to stop trading with the Syrian state in all but essential goods, to ban Arab investments in Syria, to freeze assets held by senior members of the regime abroad, and to end dealings with Syria’s central bank. Three days later Turkey, one of Syria’s biggest trading partners, said it would follow suit.

Meanwhile, American and European Union (EU) sanctions are starting to bite. A ban on oil imports, applied by America in August and the EU in September, is costing Syria $400m a month. The shrinking of foreign-currency reserves, estimated at some $18 billion when the crisis began in March, is making trade increasingly tricky. The Banque Saudi Fransi, a Saudi bank, has announced it is selling its 27% interest in one of Syria’s private banks. Foreign investment has halted. International credit cards no longer work. The Syrian pound has fallen on the black market to its lowest point yet. To prevent even more unrest, the government has brought back some subsidies on staples. Tourism, which accounted for over 10% of GDP in 2010, has virtually disappeared.

Officials sound less confident that Syria can weather the sanctions. In recent years, thanks to a tentative liberalisation policy, the country has come to depend more on the global economy than before. “If you’ve always been North Korea, you may be able to stay closed,” says a Damascus businessman. “But you can’t open up and shut the doors again.” Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Muallem, reacting angrily to the league’s decision, threatened to close transit routes between Arab states.

No one knows how long Syria can continue to pay its bills. In September the government sought to shore up foreign reserves by banning imports. Prices of various goods immediately rocketed. Ten days later, facing outrage among business people, the government did a volte face. In any case, not all of Syria’s neighbours will ban trade. Iraq, its second-largest trade partner after the EU, says it will not apply sanctions. Some of Lebanon’s banks are likely to act as a haven for Syrian money. The Assad regime and its business friends say they will look to other countries, such as China and Russia.

But that may not be easy. “Until two weeks ago we didn’t have any contacts with a bank in either country,” says a financier. Early in the uprising, the IMF predicted that Syria’s economy would shrink by 2% this year. But local analysts think sanctions may push that figure into double digits. Inflation is steadily rising. Insurance companies are loth to cover business.

Ordinary Syrians will suffer first as the cost of food soars and queues for fuel for heating and cars snake round buildings. But dissidents welcome the sanctions. The hardship they inflict is a lot less severe than the regime’s bullets and batons—and may in the long run be more powerful.

Foreign Policy Brief

U.N. official calls for “urgent” actions in Syria as death toll far exceeds 4,000

In an emergency meeting held by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, called on the international community to take “urgent and effective measures” to protect Syrian civilians and pushed for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be tried before the International Criminal Court. The meeting was called by the European Union, and supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia, following an independent commission of inquiry report that found evidence of security forces committing crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the Free Syria Army is gaining strength as Syrian army defections escalate, with forces believed to number between 1,000 and 25,000. While initially the group acted primarily to protect unarmed civilians and protesters, offensive actions taken by the FSA have increased, evidenced today in an attack on a Syrian air force intelligence base. Navi Pillay, characterized the declining situation as a civil war and placed an estimate of the number of people killed in the nine month long uprisings at 4,000. However, she stated, “the information coming to us is that it’s much more.”


Ranks of Free Syrian Army gain strength

Syrians’ fear recalls dark days of Assad the elder

Syrian activists initially had hoped to avoid reliving history by organizing a different uprising that would be characterized by peaceful protests, attempts to cut across sectarian lines and, in the early days, demands for reform rather than a leadership ouster.

But painful parallels with the past became undeniable this summer, the day before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, when security forces laid siege to Hama and killed dozens of people.

Now talk of history repeating itself is a common topic of discussion, Dima said.

“These tactics are played and replayed. These are the tactics they know; they are not very imaginative,” said Murhaf Jouejati,

Jordanian Debate on Syrian Crisis Degenerates into Brawl; Syrian Political Analyst Accuses Free Syrian Army of ‘Working for the Mossad’; Syrian Cleric Weeps at the Thought of the Wounded in Syrian Demonstrations… MEMRI Daily-December 4, 2011

Analysis: Syria opposition labors for united front

Jerusalem Post

Doubts abound over cohesion, inclusiveness of Syrian National Council, Free Syrian Army; dissident to ‘Post’: Reports of SNC’s Islamist sympathies are overblown. Fragmented for months, Syria’s opposition is showing signs it may be …  questions remain over the internal cohesion of each organization as well as its inclusiveness – whether it represents the broad mosaic of Syrian society or narrower sectarian interests. The Sunni-majority SNC touts its inclusiveness, noting that its membership includes Christians and Kurds. But in an email to The Jerusalem Post, a spokesman for the Washington- based Kurdistan National Assembly dismissed those Kurds in the SNC as “opportunistic.”

“Yes, there are a few opportunistic individual Kurdish expats being used as stooges, but the Kurdish street does not support them – period,” he said, adding that the majority of Syrian Kurds view his own organization and the Syriabased Kurdish National Council as their legitimate representatives.

Critics have also described the SNC as Islamist-heavy, but one US-based Syrian dissident who supports the council said both charges – sectarianism and religious fundamentalism – are overblown.

“There are a lot of rumors, and many of these stem from the regime. The SNC leader is Burhan Ghalioun – he’s a leftist and he’s pretty powerful,” the dissident told the Post on condition of anonymity. “I think the SNC will give more room for minorities and secular people. We’re working now to strengthen the secular bloc inside the SNC.”

On Friday Ghalioun told the Wall Street Journal a post-Assad Syria would cut or curtail the close ties the country has nurtured for decades with Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah. “Our future is truly tied to the Arab world and the Gulf in particular,” he said, dismissing Damascus’s bonds with the Islamic Republic as “abnormal.”…

Analysis: Army defectors complicate Syria uprising
San Francisco Chronicle – ‎Dec 3, 2011‎

Nov. 21, 2011…. the defectors could make it harder for the West to give strong diplomatic support to a movement that so far has been largely peaceful….

The Cutting Edge – The Washington Institute

…. The Asad regime cannot survive without killing, and the FSA has changed the game from one in which the regime was free to kill its citizens at will and without cost, to one in which it faces an armed opposition and is suffering losses. Increased demands on government forces and further civilian deaths will produce more defections, and these processes will in turn escalate the fighting.

Because the FSA is an increasingly important player that will likely influence the outcome of events in Syria, the United States and its partners should make contact with its members and learn as much as possible about the group. Questions concerning its nature, its potential as an armed force, and the role of Islamists can be resolved through such contact as well as intelligence work. If the results are positive, then the FSA should be assisted ….

   ي العمق – الربيع العربي والسياسات الغربية  Jamal Barout

Waging Nonviolence—a discussion about the Syrian resistance movement by Gene Sharp, the foremost theorist of nonviolent conflict alive today

Religion/Morality, Syria/Resistance: For Syria, What is “Left?” (Part 2 of 3)
Bassam Haddad.  . . .

A conversation among friends . . . and not necessarily for everyone…. the free and unfettered voices of the Arab masses is the fountain of resistance (without quotations marks) to both domestic oppression as well as external designs and domination. Judging by the courage of protesters’ bare bodies against rifle and metal, who needs anything else to make oppressors and occupiers tremble?

Syrian Elite Smuggle Out Billions, New Report Finds – Wall Street Journal Blog, 2011-12-02

As Syria teeters on the edge of revolution, the ruling elite are likely diverting millions in illicit capital out of the country, according to a forthcoming report by Global Financial Integrity. The report, titled “Illicit Financial Flows from …

the ruling elite are likely diverting millions in illicit capital out of the country, according to a forthcoming report by Global Financial Integrity.

The report, titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries over the Decade Ending 2009,” found that Syria lost $23.6 billion to corruption, crime and tax evasion from 2000-2009, a practice it said has likely accelerated as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is gripped by violent unrest. The report will be released later this month, according to a news release Thursday.

GFI Economist Sarah Freitas, who co-authored the report, said the study also found evidence that bribery, kickbacks, and corruption increased dramatically in Syria from 2005 to 2009.

“In a country with a per capita GDP of just US$2,891 in 2010, these outflows represent a loss of US$1,048 for every Syrian citizen,” Freitas wrote in a blog post on the website of the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development. “It’s no wonder that Syrians are discontented.”

The study drew on data from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on external debt and trade mis-pricing to calculate illicit capital leakage….

Carnegie Endwmnt: The Next Move for Syria – by Paul Salem, 2011-12-02

With Tunisia and Egypt holding democratic elections as their transitions move forward, Syria continues its descent into violence. In a video Q&A, Paul Salem says that even with Syrian demonstrations spreading and additional sanctions from the Arab … “Syria not yet in civil war… Yes, there is likely to be a violent transition…..I don’t think the the risk of long term civil war is high.”

Inside the City of Fear; James Harkin is one of the few non-Syrian journalists to get into Homs., 5 December 2011, Newsweek International

Comments (369)

Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] Show All

351. Tara said:


You are absolutely right. A good insight into oneself. I always consciously or unconsciously associate being pious with caring about others. A naive and incorrect association.

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December 7th, 2011, 3:42 pm


352. Juergen said:

Asmaa the desert rose… very well planned orchestrated pr, probably prepared when Assad still cared for international pr. They even flew in Mario Testino, the famous photographer of the rich and fancy, he did of course made some of the best pics ever made of Lady Di….
Robert Fisk suggested that she left Assad with the children to London because she was asking Assad to stop the bloodshed, for my taste thats a bit too much, kind of a royal household journalism. I am sure as mucb as we may or may not believed in the first days of his rule that things would change, I lost my hope after a good friend of mine got imprisoned because she was writing about honor killings in Syria.

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December 7th, 2011, 4:13 pm


353. ghufran said:

Anybody who knows Jihad Maqdisi? He has a difficult job and I wonder how he can perform under the circumstances. Aside from politics,the addition of a FM spoke person who briefs the press regularly is an improvement,a bigger improvement is to have a better FM.
It seems like the regime is expecting further escalation and an attempt to enforce a neutral zone in the north with more flare ups of ambushes inside Syria by the FSA and other groups.

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December 7th, 2011, 5:04 pm



Jailed Friend


I have a feeling that Bassam Alkadi was involved in your friend’s imprisonment. Many of my friends who are heavily involved in these issues knew that Alkadi was a “Palace Man” in the sense that he would get the nod to move in one direction and apply pressure when the Palace (read that Betho and rothe of the dethert) needed pressure applied. His always fake indignation. Never trusted him, never will. And now he shows his real self. One thing well known about the man is that he never went to the field to document field cases.

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December 7th, 2011, 5:05 pm


355. majedkhaldoun said:

كان عمر يتفقد أبابكر وقت الفجر
وتنبه أن أبابكر يخرج الى أطراف المدينة.
ويدخل بكوخ لساعات.
مرت الايام ومازال الخليفة يزور الكوخ.
قرر عمر دخول الكوخ بعد خروج أبي بكر منه فوجد سيدة عجوزا عمياء لا تقوى على الحراك فسألها: ماذا يفعل هذا الرجل عندكم؟
… فأجابت: لا أعلم فهو يأتى كل صباح
وينظف لي البيت ويكنسه و يعد لى الطعام وينصرف.
جثم عمر على ركبتيه واجهشت عيناه بالدموع وقال عبارته المشهورة
’ لقد أتعبت الخلفاء من بعدك يا أبابكر
اللهم ولي علينا خيارنا يالله
اللهم صلي على سيدنا محمد سيد الخليقه وعلى أل محمدSee More

What a difference between Ibu Bakr and Bashar

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December 7th, 2011, 5:07 pm



While I appreciate if you can correct my misconception, if there are any, I must mention that my sources are beyond reproach, at least in my opinion and those of many free thinking Syrians.

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December 7th, 2011, 5:07 pm


357. Dale Andersen said:


RE: “…we are proud and satisfied that Syrian leader is smart and know that the world is made of gullible idiotic two legged brainless morons…”

Dear Party Animal –

You are a walking rectum

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December 7th, 2011, 5:09 pm


358. jad said:

China is backing the Russian stand, it will use the Veto again against any international intervention, this is why the puppet AL is saying that they ‘don’t’ want to go to the UN, not out of there ‘care’ of Syria:

سفير الصين بلبنان: سنمنع مستقبلا أي تدخل بالشأن السوري ولو عبر فيتو جديد

أكد سفير الصين بلبنان “وو تسيشيان” أن بلاده ستتخذ فيتو جديد في حال عرض مشروع في مجلس الأمن يستهدف سوريا، كما أكد أن الصبن تجد بالحوار الحل الوحيد للأزمة في سوريا التي يأمل عودة الإستقرار إليها سريعاً.

وقال السفير الصيني غفي حديث مع موقع “المنار” اللبناني: “نأمل أن تهدأ الساحة الدخلية في سوريا، إن السياسة الخارجية للصين تقوم على مبدأ أساسي وهو السعي إلى إرساء السلام في العالم. ولكي نقوم بالحفاظ على هذا المبدأ نسعى لعدم التدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لأي دولة، لأن التدخل يزيد من تعقيد أزمات ومشاكل هذه الدولة. فالطريقة الأنجع لحلّ المشاكل هي عبر الحوار والتفاوض. ونأمل أن تحل الأزمة في سوريا في أسرع وقت ممكن، خصوصاً أن الجامعة العربية أشارت إلى أنها لا تريد أي تدخل خارجي وهذه النقطة مهمة جداً.

وأضاف السفير: “الصين بشكل عام تسعى لعدم التدخل في شؤون أي دولة، لا يتعلق الأمر بسوريا وحدها بل ينطبق على كافة الدول الأخرى. في الآونة الأخيرة أثير سؤال حول سبب استخدام الصين للفيتو عندما اتخذ مجلس الأمن قراراً بشأن سوريا، ولم تستخدمه عندما تم اتخاذ قرار بشأن ليبيا. إن قرار مجلس الأمن لم يفوّض للدول الغربية استخدام كل هذه القوّة العسكرية في ليبيا، لقد اقتصر الأمر على فرض حظر جوي. لقد فاق قصف حلف الأطلسي للمناطق الليبية هذا القرار، لذلك نرفض التدخل الخارجي لأي دولة في الشؤون الداخلية لأي دولة أخرى وسنمنع أي محاولة للتدخل بشؤون سوريا مستقبلا.الصين ترفض مثلاً تدخل الولايات المتحدة في شؤونها وفي شؤون الدول الأخرى. فالولايات المتحدة تتدخل بالشؤون الصينية بما فيها بيع أسلحة إلى تايوان والتدخل في قرارات الصين الداخلية”.

وحول الموضوع الإيراني قال السفير الصيني: “ترفض الصين فرض عقوبات على ايران بشأن استمرار نشاطها النووي. مسألة الملف النووي الإيراني معقدة للغاية، ليس هناك من حلّ إلا عبر حوار ينتج تسوية معينة. بالإضافة إلى الملف النووي الإيراني هناك نقاط صعبة ومتشابكة، لذا فإن الخيار العسكري أو خيار العقوبات ستزيد هذه القضية تعقيداً. الطريق الوحيد هو تعزيز الثقة المتبادلة بيننا عبر الحوار والتوصل إلى توافق ولا من طريق أفضل من ذلك. كما ذكرت قبل قليل بعض الدول استخدمت قوة عسكرية ولم تلقى أي نتيجة ايجابية لذلك”.


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December 7th, 2011, 5:39 pm


359. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Oh Dale.. Oh Dale Anderson, I know your suffering man. Not easy going thru life with that tiny winnie limp.
Stoked. Very happy that the comment made you upset. Try a rope next time you cannot cope with life difficulties, specially other people disagreeing response.

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December 7th, 2011, 5:55 pm


360. NK said:

حازم النهار يرد على بشار الاسد : ماذا ينقصك لتكون المالك الحصري للبلد ؟

أنا رئيس ولست مالكاً للبلد أنا رئيس الجمهورية منذ 12 سنة ولا يخفى عليكم أنني أخذتها بالوراثة، والأمين العام لحزب البعث القائد للدولة والمجتمع، ورئيس الجبهة الوطنية التقدمية، والقائد العام للجيش والقوات المسلحة، ورئيس مجلس القضاء الأعلى..وبعض أقاربي في المواقع الرئيسية في البلد عسكرياً وأمنياً واقتصادياً وسياسياً، وصوري في كل مدرسة وشارع وبيت ومؤسسة، وووسائل إعلامنا لا تنشر إلا ما نريد، ولم نترك لأي معارض أو مخالف فرصة للوجود إلا في السجن أو التخفي أو المنفى أو القبر، وصنعنا مؤسسات ونقابات ومنظمات شعبية ومجالس محلية ومجالس شعب كاريكاتورية، وجميعهم يسبحون بالولاء لنا، حتى أنه لا يطير طير إلا بعلمنا، ولا يزحف صرصور في البلد إلا بإرادتنا، واستجابة لرغبة الجماهير أصبح اسم البلد “سورية الأسد”، ونزولاً عند إرادتهم رفعنا شعار “إلى الأبد”……مع ذلك أنا رئيس ولست مالكاً للبلد.
السؤال: ما الذي ينقص “السيد الرئيس” ليكون المالك الحصري للبلد وما عليها…. لا أدري حقاً إن توافر لإمبراطور الصين العظيم ما توافر لـ “السيد الرئيس”!!!

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December 7th, 2011, 6:15 pm


361. NK said:


Here’s the work of your “Abe Lincoln”

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December 7th, 2011, 6:44 pm


362. Bronco said:

#299 Mina

“the picture attached to the article shows someone whose face is full of blood, giving an idea that the “dispersion” was quite violent’

I think you are mistaken about the blood on the head of one person in the photo. One of the dramatic Shia ritual related to Ashura involves hitting oneself head with a blade and letting the blood flow. This is commonly followed by Shias in Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan while it is strictly forbidden in Iran.
In Iran they have ceremonies that are very elaborated artistically and impressive, but no blood.

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December 7th, 2011, 7:02 pm


363. Darryl said:

Tara, I had a bit of listening to that group you. Given this group is composed of Eastern Europeans, their music would have been influenced by Turkish and Arabic music indirectly.

Music of the Levant was documented largely due to the fact one of the Ottoman Sultans loved music, he sent an envoy to the various regions to document all the Maqams used in the Sultanate. That is one reason why some of the maqams used in Arabic music have names of regions or ethnic make up. Like Kurd, Iraq, Hejaz, Ajam etc.

Did you know that in the early part of the past century, Halab (Aleppo) was the center of Music in the middle east, it was not Cairo or Beirut. Syria lost that to other countries and I am not sure what was the reason behind it. When I started to learn playing Qanoon, I took lessons from an Eqyptian Qanoonist who was proud that his grandfather was a Halabi and would say, to be a good Qanoonist you must have Halabi blood as the Qanoon was invented by Al-farabi in Halab. Al-Farabi was apparently such a master he could make people cry, laugh, dance and even sleep by playing his music.

To this day the most renowned Buzq players are Syrians, Muhammad Abdul Karim and Matar Muhammad, I knew Matar Muhammad personally and the Lebanese claim he is from Lebanon. But he is from a gypsy background who was born and raised in Syria and became famous in Lebanon.

I like Indian Sitar and Sarod music, here is a link to a youtube video of Ravi Shankar playing Sitar with his daughter (Nora Jones is his other daughter in case you did not know). Ravi Shankar makes the Sitar “cry” like a human in this particular mode of play.

BTW, I have a very old tape of SabaH Fakhri where he had a fantastic Qanoonist (he must have been a Halabi) leading the band and playing many solo taqaseems that you do not hear in later works. I converted this tape to multiple CDs so that I can preserve it forever and every time I listen to it I imagine myself at the Sabeel in the middle of Halab. I don’t what happened to Syria that it has lost its cultural heritage.

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December 7th, 2011, 7:46 pm


364. jad said:

The situation is bad to many people not only because of the regime but also because of the criminal terrorists and the ‘humane’ sanctions, however, what you linked is obviously staged and badly played, it must be directed toward idiots.
Seriously dude, didn’t you ask yourself how come all of her kids are in the same age before you linked this gem!

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December 7th, 2011, 8:00 pm


365. Ghufran said:

عبد الكريم الجندي من السلميه و ليس من حمص

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December 7th, 2011, 8:18 pm


366. Mina said:

Thanks, indeed i thought about this possibility afterwards. Then they should say that the picture is not taken in al Hussein and not yesterday! Journalism needs “democracy” and unbiased reporting…

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December 8th, 2011, 2:08 am


367. Shami said:

Darryl ,the famous aleppine qanunist you are speaking about is Shukri al Antakly.I have records of him if hou like,he used to work mostly with Sheikh Bakri al Kurdi(one of the most important figure of the aleppine music of the last century ,originally from jisr al shughur) AbdelKader al Hajar and Mohamad al Nassar some decades ago.
There are several capitals of the arab music ,i would say that Aleppo is a major one and still it’s ,the Aleppine music is mostly based on the ottoman tradition (the aleppine music of muwashahat al andalusiya are ottoman),in the second half of the 19th we had a new form of music which was inspired by Aleppo and Istanbul ,under the patronage of the Khedive Ismail which is Al Dawr ,the important figures are Abdo Al Hamuli,Mohamad Osman,Sheikh al Manyalawi,Salama Higazi and the last important figure was Saleh Abdel Hay who passed away in the 60’s of the last century.
The famous Sayid Darwish came to Aleppo to learn music during his youth.
The other important centers are Mosul and Baghdad in Iraq (which tradition is different than that of Aleppo but it must be noticed that some of the best performers of the Iraqi Mawal were aleppines such as Ahmad al Faqsh and Abo Salmo.
The caviar of the iraqi music is of course the iraqi maqam,it’s influenced by the persian and indian traditions and it uses the santur.
The other capitals are Tunis(Maluf-ottoman style) ,Tlemsen in Algeria and the moroccan cities ,Fes and Tetouan which inherited the Andalusian tradition.

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December 8th, 2011, 10:55 pm


368. Shami said:

Notice the similarities between bashar and his uncle on their attempt to disculpate themselves from their mass-killings.

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December 8th, 2011, 11:36 pm


369. sheila said:

Dear #325. Jad,
I have to admit that I was a little surprised by your post. You have been, more often than not, an ardent supporter of the regime.
Please allow me to attempt to answer the questions that are vexing you: Why would he speak in English? Why would he do this interview at all?
I believe that inside his circle, there has been this attempt at confronting and controlling the narrative about the situation in Syria. They are succeeding to a point inside the country, but completely failing outside of it. They decided to pull out the big guns. Since Bashar has been told for years how great he is, he got to the point where he believed it. He decided that he is “the big guns”. No one can do better, speak better or is more intelligent than him, evidenced by how everybody tells him so every day. In fact, he does not realize how limited his English is, because no one dares tell him so. This is the unfortunate situation in dictatorships. You are surrounded by yes men and women and are never capable of knowing the real truth.

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December 14th, 2011, 10:02 am


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