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…..

Economist

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.”

Headlines

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)


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151. Tara said:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/nearly-60-killed-in-rare-attacks-on-afghan-shiites-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=8550&NewsCatID=353

Nearly 60 killed in rare attacks on Afghan Shiites
KABUL – The Associated Press

Shiites make up about 20 percent of Afghanistan’s 30 million people, most of them ethnic Hazaras.
…..
The Ministry of Interior said 55 were killed, including two women and four children. Sayed Kabir Amiri, who is in charge of Kabul hospitals said more than 160 wounded in the blast. He said casualties were taken to several hospitals and the toll could rise.

Religiously motivated attacks on Shiites are rare in Afghanistan although they are common in neighboring Pakistan. No group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blasts, reminiscent of the wave of sectarian attacks that shook Iraq during the height of the war there.
…..

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December 6th, 2011, 2:45 pm

 

152. N.Z. said:

“نصر الله: في هذه الأيام نستذكر مقتل الحسين وأهل بيته ظلما وعدوانا”
صدقت ولكن أين أنت من الشعب السوري الذي يقتله نظامك

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December 6th, 2011, 2:52 pm

 

153. Juergen said:

As it looks like Putin could face serious problems with his latest election fraud.

“No one will stop us!”

Russian authorities have imposed the first jail sentences against opposition activists who had protested against the election results. In the evening there were still new demos and arrests – including ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nemtsov. He had previously told the ARD (German tv station), the government was afraid.

Stephan Laack, ARD radio studio Moscow

Several thousand people had gone to Moscow on the road. About 300 demonstrators following the demonstration were arrested. They had tried to go as close to the seat of the Central Election Commission.

Today in summary proceedings, the first prison sentences were imposed. Thus, the opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced to 15 days in jail. Many others are still in police custody.

At the Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy Andrei Isayev from the party United Russia, defended the arrests: Young people were running around on the road, no cars were allowed through – a traffic jam was created. “Some of these people struck it on the car and shouted slogans, which I would not comment,” he continued. “For me those are not approved demonstrations. I think that we see a mass unrest here.”

Special units put in place, government critics arrested

Today, the Interior Ministry special forces moved in strategic locations along the center of Moscow. There are reports of dozens of armored personnel carriers near the parliament building and along the major arterial roads. A spokesman for the readiness troops justified the use of: the population must be protected from acts of provocation.

For new protests against the outcome of the election in the evening more than 100 government critics were arrested, among them the chairman of the party Yabloko, Sergei Mitrokhin, and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov.

The Russian opposition Boris Nemtsov was arrested in Moscow

Russian opposition Boris Nemtsov was arrested in Moscow shortly before Nemtsov had accused in an interview with ARD, the ruling party United Russia, massive electoral fraud. Million votes had been falsified. “Putin is also scared to death that no one he takes seriously and he does not automatically become the next president ” he said. “That’s why these repressive methods are applied.” This is also the reason why 300 people were arrested yesterday and today, the first sentences were imposed – for example, against Yashin.

“Those in power believe that the people should shut up,” criticized Nemtsov. “But no one can stop us, sooner or later Putin will go -. Russia will be free!

To reinforce the troops of the Interior Ministry, which, at least until the announcement of the official final results of the Duma election, remain in use, said Nemtsov: “They made in their pants and have an incredible fear of us and move in the direction of Lukashenko in Belarus. This repression is applied by them to keep their money and their power. ” But that will not help them.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks to supporters of the Kremlin party United Russia Indirectly, Prime Minister Putin agreed on the protests of the past days. The United Russia party must take seriously the problems of the people and respond to violations of human rights, he said, in the presence of party members. If citizens come to them with their problems, especially everyday, such as housing, pensions or social issues, and the party members would see that the rights of citizens would be violated, “then you have to react quickly and committed.”

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov had seen earlier that the prime minister distanced himself from the ruling party, United Russia. Putin’s popularity can not be equated with those of the party. The Premier was never directly connected with the party. Therefore, he would be perceived as an independent politician.

Although Putin is nonmember of the party, but party leader of United Russia. A role so far he has always committed to play.

translated

http://tagesschau.de/ausland/demonstrationenrussland104.html

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December 6th, 2011, 3:11 pm

 

154. Tara said:

League action reflects regional rivalry
Arab Spring has done little to make the political institution assume a leadership role, despite Libya and Syria
By Ramzy Baroud, Special to Gulf NewsPublished: 00:00 December 7, 2011

http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/league-action-reflects-regional-rivalry-1.945123

According to various media commentators, the rapid Arab League mobilisation against Syria is proof of the organisation rising to an urgent collective responsibility against impending dangers. However, such an assumption is either misguided or misconstrued.
The so-called Arab Spring has largely been credited for the League’s actions. While the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen have indeed introduced a new factor — the people — that will affect any future political trends in Arab and Middle Eastern countries, it is misleading to claim that the League has been empowered by such a collective movement.
The ability to champion decipherable foreign policy shifts could only follow fundamental shifts in the political attitudes of such consequential member states as Egypt, which, frankly, are yet to take place.
While the League’s new-found power might not be a reflection of a genuine desire to assume a leadership role, it is at least a fretful response to the court of Arab public opinion. “Gone are the days when Arab leaders could act with total disregard for their people’s opinions,” wrote Robert M. Danin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Public opinion throughout the Arab world resoundingly disapproved of Gaddafi’s behaviour, and now of [Bashar] Al Assad’s. This sentiment is motivating Arab leaders to respond to their people’s anger, through the Arab League” 

But why are such enthusiastic actions confined to Libya and Syria, which have been decidedly demonised by western powers? Surely Danin realises that Arab popular opinion is not exclusively focused on these two nations. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was hardly on Arab public opinion radar, and few seemed concerned with Al Assad’s domestic policies before his regime’s crackdown on protesters. The latter had, in fact, garnered many fans throughout Arab countries owing to his support of the Hezbollah, which has twice defeated Israeli military designs in south Lebanon. 

Strategy
A quick overview of history may be useful here.
The League, since it was founded in 1945 by merely six Arab countries, shifted its allegiance to any centre of power that happened to dominate the Arab world. When Egyptian president Jamal Abdul Nasser sat on the throne of Arab nationalism, the League seemed anti-colonial to the core, locking horns with the most powerful western countries on behalf of Arab nations seeking independence.
Palestine became the rallying cry of Arabs, as League members didn’t hesitate to use military and economic might to help Palestinians achieve freedom.
When Egypt’s far less popular president Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David agreement with Israel in 1978, the League still possessed a semblance of resolve. League members rejected both Sadat and his undemocratic initiative, which disjointed the ‘Arab front’ and once again shifted the centre of power elsewhere.
In later years, the League became devoid of any real value as a political institution. Its overriding political objectives — of unity and economic integration — faded into oblivion.
The League’s response to Libya and Syria cannot be explained by the Arab Spring, but there are some other signs that point to an explanation. A major clue can be found in the League Summit held in Damascus on March 29, 2008, which reflected the deep chasm dividing the Arabs.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia sent low-level representatives to attend the conference, while others boycotted the summit altogether. Points of contention between competing Arab camps included Syria’s role in Lebanon and Iran’s influence in the region. Al Assad, who saw his country as the engine that would steer the Arab fold back to its days of glory under Nasser, had, more or less, a free podium to present a new vision of the Arab world.
Gaddafi, on the other hand, had one of his freest platforms to express ideas almost never communicated on a stage defined by tedious formalities and little action.
In addition to criticising the Arabs for doing nothing as the US invaded and destroyed Iraq, Gaddafi asked:  “Where is the Arabs’ dignity, their future, their very existence? Everything has disappeared … Our blood and our language may be one, but there is nothing that can unite us … We hate each other, we wish ill of each other and our intelligence services conspire against each other. We are our own enemy” (as reported by Al Jazeera and cited by Bridget Johnson in About.com).
Gaddafi, no saint by any standard, paid heavily for his intransigence — with a Nato war coupled by enthusiastic League approval and participation. No surprises here. Al Assad, whose crackdown on Syrian protesters has been harrowing to say the least, is also facing the wrath of the League.
Interestingly, aside from its response to Syria and Libya, the League still remains as irrelevant as ever. For example, on November 29, the UN-designated International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the League’s Secretary-General Nabeel Al Arabi said: “Israel’s disregard for international law, public opinion and human rights conventions is far beyond all limits” (Middle East Monitor. December 1). True, but this indignation remains confined to press releases and fiery statements. If ‘Arab public opinion’ was indeed of much concern, the League would have pushed the issue of Palestine with all of its might and resources.
The fact is, the activation of the League will not endure. It is a temporary renewal aimed at realising regional policies, punishing or isolating old foes, and ultimately redrawing the centres of powers in the region. This largely resembles its behaviour following the second Gulf war in 1990-91.
The so-called Arab Spring has really done little to truly revolutionise the political institution, which continues to tread between its members’ own political ambitions and outside influences and pressures.
 
Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story.

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December 6th, 2011, 3:26 pm

 

155. Khalid Tlass said:

51. DARRYL said:

” My Ancestors have passed stories where Turkish soldiers would walk up to a pregnant woman and tear the baby out of her stomach with a knife, Alawites would be placed on a Khazouq”

Your ancestors were obviously liars, or perhaps your parenst invented those stories themselves.

Similar to the Christian priest of Damour in Lebanon, at the time of the notorious “Damour Massacre” during the Civil War ( I am sure you have heard about this incident); who claimed that the PLO fighters and other Palestinians were shouting “let us offer a holocaust to Muhammad” and that the Palestinians were castrating Christian men and stuffing their penises in their mouths. Do you believe all this ? If you don’t, then you shouldn’t those incredulous stories as well.
Syrian and Lebanese Christians are experts in making up stories.

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December 6th, 2011, 3:45 pm

 

156. newfolder said:

video of the 8 members of the Shwierati family massacred by Alawi militia and dumped in Zahra Homs yesterday:

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December 6th, 2011, 3:47 pm

 

157. Humanist said:

Ghat Al Bird and co.,

Don’t you realise: IF B. Assad really was a threat to Israel, he would have be gone long ago – or rather: he wouldn’t even have become president because his father would have been gone even longer ago…

The “zionists/neocons” won’t attack a country that neither has enough oil or is considered a REAL threat to Israel (=Syria).

Saddam’s Iraq was (probably) attacked for both reasons and
an attack against Iran is also likely for both reasons.

Assad’s Syria, on the other hand, is a poor and weak country in the american and israeli eyes (and surely in the rest of the world too). So no one could really care about the “humanitarian” situation there they talk about so much…

And I don’t see how the return of the american ambassador could be considered a “win” for the Syrian regime against “zionists/neocons”. But then I guess the common definition of victory is radically different from the Assadist one…

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December 6th, 2011, 3:49 pm

 

158. Khalid Tlass said:

NEWFOLDER, lest hope retribution from the Al Farouq Battallion of the FSA is swift and brutal. I hope they burn down Hadara. Nusayris should now REALLY be placed on the Khazouq.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:08 pm

 

159. Son of Damascus said:

@ Dale Andersen

I don’t think the US administration would be sending their ambassador as bait, probably has more to do with the meeting Hillary had with the SNC today. We have been hearing of a Russian/American plan for the Assad clan to leave, this could be the start of it. AL leagues sudden silence is head scratching as well.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:12 pm

 

160. newfolder said:

#153 there will be retribution and counter retribution from both sides, Homs is like Beirut in the civil war. Divided and in open sectarian conflict. This situation was brought on by Assad ordering his forces and militia to slaughter innocent protesters, they had no choice but to fight back, and then it escalated into a civil war. Bashar and his regime have the blood of many thousands of Syrians on their hands, and many thousands more until they leave.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:16 pm

 

161. Mango said:

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/12/06/us-gangsterism-actually-reinforces-latin-american-unity.html

US Gangsterism Actually Reinforces Latin American Unity
Nil NIKANDROV | 06.12.2011 | 00:00

Judging by the coverage provided by Western media, especially in the US, they were under an impression that the establishment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) ranked essentially as background news. Reporting from Caracas, where a forum of 33 presidents and premiers of the region’s countries convened on December 2-3, was deliberately minimalistic, with emotions surfacing only in connection with the health problems of Venezuelan leader H. Chavez, who hosted the summit. In fact, he made it clear a number of times that he had coped with them and is ready to take charge for a couple of decades to come, but the Empire, with its permanent reliance on disinformation campaigns, does not seem to hear.

Yet, the summit left no chance to the notorious Monroe doctrine which only recently promised to live on as long as the US stays in place. Back in 2008, Chavez called the US Administration to scrap the Monroe doctrine introduced by US fifth President J. Monroe and implied that the US would not interfere with European colonies but would in return insulate the Western Hemisphere from European colonization attempts. Chavez reiterates in every contact with the US media that Washington should drop the doctrine and cites US third President T. Jefferson’s statement that the US would one by one absorb all the republics south of it as evidence of the US imperial nature.

Tighter Latin American integration willed by the continent’s liberator Simon Bolivar was a recurrent theme during the Caracas forum. Bolivar said in 1828 that, paradoxically, the US was destined to saw poverty across Latin America in the name of freedom. Right, left, and centrist Latin American leaders alike made frequent references to the concept in Caracas. Washington’s aggressive foreign policies evoke explainable concerns in the countries south of Rio Grande. The Empire constantly uses raw power to implement its strategic and geopolitical designs, meddles on fake pretexts in the affairs of sovereign states, and routinely organizes plots with the purpose of killing defiant politicians. Now that the Pentagon got bogged down in Asia and Africa, illusions may rise that the Empire lost interest in Latin America, though actually the US subversive activities against it never came to a halt. Washington’s most serious efforts were focused on identifying strategic targets in Brazil, Venezuela, and Cuba, but the US allies like Columbia, Chile, and Mexico should not feel immune either. Today’s allies may be tomorrow’s foes and are similarly subject to surveillance and oversight.

Raul Castro urged the forum participants to be more muscular in countering external attempts to destabilize the situation in the region. He stressed that Washington would not be allowed to treat Latin America as it used to when it imposed on the continent’s peoples unfair development models and subdued them. Castro spoke of the decades of the ruthless US economic blockade against Cuba, which he described as one of the worst crimes against humanity in history. He said that, similarly, the US campaigns in Libya and other countries were international crimes which, moreover, threatened to become a norm given the shameful UN inaction.

Quite a few watchers interpreted the establishment of CELAC as the Latin American countries’ “historical revenge”. Since 1948, all of them were members of the US-engineered Organization of American States which the Empire routinely employed to reign – by repressions, tortures, and mass killings – in defiant countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, or Chile. The torture programs put together in the School of Americas are still in use in the countries politically aligned with the US.

It is worth noting that the list of presidents “punished” by Washington includes both left and right politicians. The list of the slain left – Columbia’s J. Gaitan, Chili’s S. Allende, Panama’s O. Torrijos – is almost endless. Panama’s M. Noriega, though, was by all means a rightist and still ended up treated harshly by Washington. He loyally helped the US supply arms to Central American contras, but was put behind bars by Washington over cocaine business once no longer needed. Noriega made it difficult for the US DEA to monopolize cocaine supplies from Columbia via Panama to the US. Former Columbian president A. Uribe is a potential next target. Uribe was instrumental in organizing the paramilitary formations which launched bloody raids against insurgents. Trying to remain useful to his US patrons, afterwards he instigated campaigns against populist regimes, relaying Washington’s invectives against H. Chavez, C. Correa, and E. Morales. As many times before, betting on the US gratitude to “its own son of a bitch” did prove an ill-conceived tactic in Uribe’s case.

Washington fairly often pressed for sanctions against defiant regimes in the Organization of American States. No doubt Chavez has been drawing Washington’s ire more than any other Latin American political figure in the recent past. The Venezuelan leader spearheaded an OPEC reform which set fairer energy prices and therefore could not but anger the US, staunchly advanced Latin American integration, and, with Russia’s and China’s backing, started a rearmament of the Venezuelan military. Chavez slams the Organization of American States – an obsolete, inefficient, and hostile formation, in his words – over its pro-US orientation and de facto support for the blockade imposed on Cuba. Chavez and his Ecuadoran, Bolivian, and Nicaraguan allies call into question the ability of the Organization of American States to sustain a sensible reform and hold that a withdrawal from the malfunctioning alliance might be the optimal solution.

It is clear that regional security will be climbing higher on the CELAC agenda. Privately, Latin American leaders discuss at length the potential impact the socioeconomic instability in the US may have, especially in the wider settings of the current global crisis. As of today, the wars waged by Washington are of an openly gangster type, the undisguised objective being to completely undermine the existing global configuration in the interests of Pax Americana. As a result, the Empire’s strategic priority is to maximally neutralize alternative centers of power. Chavez maintains that absent a permanent state of war the Empire’s chances to stay afloat are slim: the US economy will face an even deeper crisis unless the country’s bloated military-industrial complex perpetually gets a full workload. The recent US attack on the nuclear-armed Pakistan’s checkpoints sent to the world an ominous message as the motives of the Pentagon planners remained obscure. Chavez believes that Washington faces a dilemma of choosing between a nuclear war and a total evaporation of its global might by the middle of the XXI century.

It is impossible at the moment to predict which exactly forms the dismantling of the Empire will take, but its domestic politics already appears to be ready to explode with protests. In particular, the US elites are afraid of the thousands of veterans of the Iraqi and Afghan campaigns. The media abound with veterans’ suicide reports but say nothing about the readiness of many of these people to seek revenge for the lost years of their lives, the deaths of their peers, and the collapse of their ideals. This new type of a terrorist threat is brewing in America’s disadvantaged suburbia, waiting to be unlocked by the crisis. The US elites hope to par the challenge based on the myth of a new external source of peril. The role used to be given to Al Qaeda, while today’s US enemy is Syria where the administration suppresses protests which are actually staged by the agents of the CIA and the Israeli, British, and French intelligence services, plus Iran, the country showered with allegations of building a nuclear arsenal for a snap attack against the West.

Chilean poet and 1945 Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral said that, in addition to their beautiful language, Latin Americans are, more than by anything else, united by the hate for the US. Regardless of how many things have changed since the epoch in which she coined the phrase, the hate is still there and growing stronger, being one of the reasons which make the CELAC rock-solid.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:25 pm

 

162. Mango said:

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/12/06/anti-regime-protest-held-in-saudi-arabia.html

Anti-regime protest held in Saudi Arabia
News | 06.12.2011 | 16:56

Saudi Arabian demonstrators have taken to the streets in oil-rich Eastern Province to condemn the killing of five protesters two weeks ago, witnesses say.

Protesters on Monday held placards bearing the pictures of those killed by Saudi forces in the city of Qatif.

Demonstrators also took to the streets in nearby towns and villages including Awamiyah, shouting slogans against the ruling Al Saud family.

Meanwhile, activists said military vehicles have surrounded some villages and parts of Qatif.

Last month, Saudi regime forces opened fire on thousands of anti-regime protesters and killed five people.

Saudi demonstrators criticize “systematic discrimination” in the kingdom, saying they are targeted for demanding more freedom and equality.

Amnesty International accuses Saudi authorities of arresting hundreds of people for demanding political and social reforms, and calling for the release of their relatives who have been detained without being charged or tried.

Saudi authorities banned public gatherings on March 5 after demonstrations were held in Eastern Province.

More than 300 people have been detained for taking part in peaceful demonstrations in the cities of Qatif, Ahsa and Awamiyah in the Eastern Province since March, Amnesty says.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:29 pm

 

163. Mango said:

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/214095.html
‘US turns CIA into Israel’s servant’
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah says the Obama administration has turned the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) into a servant of Israel.
Addressing a gathering of his supporters in the southern suburbs of Beirut on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH) – the third Shia Imam – on Tuesday, the Hezbollah leader said CIA agents have become “spies” in the service of Zionist intelligence agencies.
He cautioned all Muslims and “political forces” across the world to be aware of the US tricks, describing Washington and Tel Aviv as the real threats to the Islamic Ummah.
Nasrallah also held Israel accountable for the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
He noted that Israel is a tool in the hands of the US administration to steal oil and other resources in the Middle East.
Nasrallah went on to say that his public appearance was a message to those who think they can threaten Hezbollah, adding that those who want to terrorize the Lebanese people should know that Hezbollah members are the “companions of Imam Hussein (PBUH).”
Nasrallah spoke to the crowd of thousands for several minutes before leaving to continue his speech via video link.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:37 pm

 

164. ghufran said:

كلينتون والمعارضة
من جهتها قالت وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية هيلاري كلينتون اليوم الثلاثاء إن السوريين ينبغي ألا يكتفوا بإبعاد الرئيس بشار الأسد، وإنما عليهم أن يمضوا قدما أيضا في اتجاه حكم القانون.

وأضافت في مستهل اجتماع مع أعضاء بالمعارضة السورية في جنيف “يتضمن الانتقال الديمقراطي أكثر من إزالة نظام الأسد، إنه يعني وضع سوريا على طريق حكم القانون وحماية الحقوق العالمية لكل المواطنين بغض النظر عن الطائفة أو العرق أو النوع”.

كلينتون قالت إن الانتقال للديمقراطية يتضمن أكثر من إزالة الأسد (الفرنسية-أرشيف)

وقالت إن المعارضة تدرك أن الأقليات السورية بحاجة لطمأنتها إلى أنها ستكون أفضل حالا في ظل نظام من التسامح والحرية
Translation: the US is not ready to recognize the SNC yet and wants to see a political program that meets international standards and norms.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:45 pm

 

165. Tara said:

The Arab league silence is indeed strange. From one deadline to another within 24 hour then complete silence… Aljazeera is silent too. No attempt to contact Hamad or al Arabi for comments. What are they mulling over? It is simple. They either accept the modifications or decline. If a NFZ is on the near horizon, Ambassador Ford would not have been permitted to return as his safety can not be guaranteed.

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December 6th, 2011, 4:52 pm

 

166. Bronco said:

Norman

Ford is back?

Strangely when everybody is talking about the dangerous escalation of civil war in Syria, when the US has asked its citizens to urgently leave on the first commercial flight, Heckle is coming back, suddenly not worried about his security. Contrary to the Russian ambassador to Qatar who got beaten by the “charming” Qataris at Doha Airport, Heckle may just receive few more eggs and tomatoes but now he probably wears an anti-eggs vest prepared specially for him by the Pentagon.

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December 6th, 2011, 5:03 pm

 

167. Mango said:

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/290025.html
05/12/2011
Russian-Chinese draft resolution on Syria ready, open to suggestions – FM
MOSCOW, December 5 (Itar-Tass) —— A Russian-Chinese draft resolution on Syria is ready and Moscow is open to alternative suggestions, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.
“Discussions on Syria continue in the U.N. Security Council all the time and we keep our draft at hand. We are actualising it constantly,” Bogdanov told Itar-Tass on Monday, December 5.
He noted that Security Council partners “are aware of the draft”.
Russia “is ready to work on its basis and discuss all other alternative suggestions”, he added.
Events in Syria are a matter of concern to Moscow “for good reasons”: “people are dying on all sides. Unfortunately, there is violence on all sides as well. But it’s a fact that people die every day,” the diplomat said.
“Something must be done, and Russia is exerting real efforts in order to solve problems constructively, including in the Security Council,” he said.
The Russian-Chinese draft resolution is ready and if Security Council partners wish to work on it, “we do not object and are ready for such work”, Bogdanov said.
At the same time, Russia hopes that the Syrian problem will be solved within the “Arab family” without turning to the U.N. Security Council.
“If the Syrians themselves as one of the LAS [League of Arab States] founders and their Arab brothers agree on how to tackle [the problem], that would be the best solution,” the diplomat said.

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December 6th, 2011, 5:05 pm

 

168. Tara said:

Bronco

What is your reading? Why is Ford back and the AL silent?

Do they use organic eggs in Syria supplemented with DHA?

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December 6th, 2011, 5:09 pm

 

169. Tara said:

Also, why do the French and the American Amassadors leave at the same time and return at the same time? Are they friendly?

Syria can keep Imad Mustafa though. We don’t want to have him here.

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December 6th, 2011, 5:20 pm

 

170. Bronco said:

Tara #160

The Arab league is stuck. Most Arab countries privately oppose the sanctions that would punish them more than they would punish the Syrian government. The AL thought that these sanctions would frighten off Syria. Obviously they don’t know the Syrians, proud, stubborn and inflexible.
Turkey is increasingly worried about the sanctions impact on its economy and the internal opposition to his Syria policy is starting to become vocal. In addition there are signs that Turkey is getting ready for a reconciliation with Israel.
The SNC got another tap on the back from Clinton with a vague appointment to finally see the after-Bashar plan. Ghalioun is busy making academic interview full of faux-pas to boost his ego and he just produces air. The FSA, supposedly allied with the SNC is continuing its attacks on the syrian regular army. They are now qualified as a terrorist organization and no one will blame the Syrian government to treat them as such.
The whole buildup of Turkish sponsored opposition is crumbling and falling apart. The US is now stepping in. They have lost hope in the SNC.
In my view, Ford is back to evaluate if it is worthwhile for the US to boost the local opposition instead of the SNC so it takes a major role in the dialog with the government. This is done in conjunction with the AL who got discouraged by the arrogance of the SNC and its lack of compromises that failed the promised “unity” with the NCC.
More episodes in the saga in the next few weeks..

Ford and Chevalier are Heckle and Jeckle, what do you expect?

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December 6th, 2011, 5:25 pm

 

171. Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: GHAT Al BIRDINSKY

RE: “…US Ambassador can only be interpreted as a “win” for the regime…”

Dream on, you garlic-eating little dummy. There’s no way in hell Besho would let an unpredictable, loose-cannon like Bob Ford back in the country. The plain fact is, Besho hasn’t the power to keep him out. And Barack Obama knows it.

This is gonna be a fucking hoot! The minute Ford gets back, he’s gonna drive into Homs and light up the town. The town will rock!

Stay tuned…

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December 6th, 2011, 5:29 pm

 

172. Humanist said:

Report from Homs:

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December 6th, 2011, 5:35 pm

 

173. jad said:

We heard a lot of this priest, today he is saying that Aljazeera and the French media twisted his words to make him sound as a fierce opposition who is calling for violence instead of peace:

التباسات وتوضيحات – االأب باولو دالوليو
السلام لكل محبي سوريا وبعد،

هناك نقاش في البلد حول استخدام وسائل الإعلام بطريقة مؤيدة أو معارضة، مع الادّعاء بالموضوعية المطلقة من كِلي الطرفين.

هذا لا يساعد بلداً يحتاج لخلق ميدان للتفاوض الشفاف الصريح في سبيل وضع أرضية للوفاق الدستوري الضامن الوحدة الوطنية و الذي يشكل الشرط لممارسة الديمقراطية في مجتمع تعددي ومركـّب كالمجتمع السوري.

“حرية الصحافة لها عيوب كثيرة، وعدم حرية الصحافة لها كل العيوب!” أما اليوم وللأسف، لا يوجد في الميدان من يمارس خدمة حرية الصحافة، بل يوجد من يستخدم تكنولوجيا الميديا للإرشادات المذهبية والأكاذيب المصطـَفـّة والتخندُق الإعلامي.

وكما يقال: ” اسأل مجرب ولا تسأل حكيم” .

ألقيت يوم أمس الخميس 1/12/2011 بضع كلمات عبر اتصال هاتفي مع قناة الجزيرة أثناء نشرة أخبار في الساعة 2:00 عصراً بتوقيت سوريا، وانتقدتُ صراحة ً المصارعة الإعلامية التي تخدم هلاك وطننا وتدمير وحدته، وهذا في جملة ما قـُلتـُه للقناة من نداءٍ للمصالحة عبر التفاوض وحرية الصحافة.

في هذا النطاق، نعم، أشرتُ إلى ضرورة حماية المدنيين واستخدمت مصطلح “مناطق آمنة” ـ لا سيما المستشفيات والحرم الجامعي ـ فبنظري لا بدّ من المحافظة على إنسانية كل مواطن، وكرامة الميدان الأكاديمي بإبعاد التصادم العنيف عن قدس أقداس الإنسانية. فهذا لا يحتاج إلى تدخل خارجي ولا يحتاج لحماية من الجوّ ولا يحتاج لمناطق عازلة، بل يكفي أن تطلب سوريا حضور منظمات إنسانية سلمية لا عنفية تاتي لتساهم مع هذا الشعب الكريم،عبر حماية المواطنين على كافة انتماءاتهم، في بناء المجتمع التعددي الديمقراطي الناضج الذي تشتاق إليه ـ حسب ما أرى ـ الأغلبية الساحقة من المواطنين.

وما الذي حصل ؟!

في التقرير الإخباري اللاحق للجزيرة، التـُقطـَت جملةٌ واحدة مما قلت، لكي يُجعل من الأب باولو ـ الراهب المسالم ورسول المصالحة والتفاهم والحوار ـ رجلاً مصطفاً ينادي بدعم الكفاح المسلح في البلد.

فأنا أقول هنا للإعلام المشوِّه من أي جهة وتمويل كان: إن القنوات الخاصة بالأطراف المتنازعة لها حق أن تصطـَف، لكن للمواطن الحق بالحصول على شيء من خدمةٍ إعلاميةٍ منصِفة ونزيهة في سبيل دعم شفافية المجتمع.

كم استغربت أيضًا عندما قرأت الترجمة العربية لما قلته لجريدة كاثوليكية فرنسية اسمها “الصليب | لوكروا “، وهي أهم جريدة مسيحية فرنسية، وشككت حينها بإخلاص المترجم، لأكتشف أنني ظلمتهُ بشكـِّي، فمن شوَّهَ أقوالي، لربما بنية غير سيئة، كان الصحفي الفرنسي.

بالواقع كنت قد ألقيت بعض الجمل بمقابلة مسجلة عبر اتصال هاتفي باللغة الفرنسية، و”الشاب الطيب” قد ترجمها إلى فرنسيته مبسِّطاً الأمور بحسب رغبته بأن يدغدغ مسامع القراء الفرنسيين، وأعارني لغة ً معارضة ً بشراسة، حتى أن النص الفرنسي للمقابلة أصبح متناقضاً جداً بين أقوالي التي تنادي إلى التوافقية وإلى التفاوض وإلى المصالحة وإلى اللاعنف، وبين أقوال ٍ أخرى يبدو انها خرجت من معارض ٍ متشدد.

“الله يسامحك” أيها الصحافي الفرنسي وقد وثـِقتُ بك لاسم جريدتك “الصليب”، و “الله يسامحني أنا” لعدم مراجعتي للمقابلة قبل نشرها.

وفي الختام “لا يحميك من عيوب الصحافة الحرة سوى الصحافة الحرة وتعدديتها”.

فلستُ نادماً على ما حصل، بل أطلب المزيد من الفرص لي ولغيري للنقاش والحوار الهادئ المنفتح المصغي، أرضية ً وأساساً لبناء التفاهم الوطني والإقليمي، لا بل العالمي، والذي يضمن مستقبلنا، مستقبل الشباب الرائع الذي يدفع بحياته مطالباً بالحرية الناضجة مع الحفاظ على الوطن.

إني مستعد لأي مقابلة مع قنوات وطنية وعربية وأجنبية، في سبيل تقدم النقاش البنـَّاء، بَيْدَ أنني حالياً أرغب بتهدئة الجو والانسحاب من الخوض بالتحليل السياسي، لأن لي واجباً غالياً وجوهرياً في هذا الوطن، هو واجبٌ ديني وروحي، يطالبني به الكثيرون، لذلك “أفضل الصمت الملتزم داخل البلد، على الكلام اللامسؤول في المنفى”

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

االأب باولو دالوليو

ررئيس دير مار موسى الحبشي في النبك

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December 6th, 2011, 5:35 pm

 

174. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

For the Hamsters that talk to the wall and in love with Nazi:

http://surrenderingislam.com/surrendering-islam/muslim-brotherhood

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December 6th, 2011, 5:44 pm

 

175. Dale Andersen said:

MEMO TO: BRONCO BILLY, BESHO’S FAVORITE BUTTBOY

RE: “…Heckle is coming back, suddenly not worried about his security…”

Heckle never worried about his safety. That’s why Obama sent him to Syria. Do you think they didn’t know Besho’s thugs would try to make trouble? Obama’s not stupid, Dude.

When you’re dealing with a warm turd like Bashar all-Assad, you send someone who basically doesn’t give a shit. Someone like Heckle. And you tell him to do stuff that will piss off the dictator.

Looks like he pissed you off, too, Bronco Billy. By the way, have you stopped by the local al-Mukhabarat office to get your monthly paycheck? Better hurry. I hear the Syrian currency is losing value fasssssssstttttt…

http://playwrighter.blogspot.com/2011/06/stuck-in-damascus-with-memphis-blues.html

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December 6th, 2011, 5:47 pm

 

176. ghufran said:

the massacres against civilian Shia in two countries,Iraq and Afghanistan,who were just celebrating Ashoraa is a testament about the nature of Talibani-Takfiri Islam that is invading muslim communities. Who needs enemies with friends like these ?

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December 6th, 2011, 5:55 pm

 

177. zoo said:

A BREAKTHROUGH?

Arab League hopeful over Syria road map

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News December/06/2011

A senior Arab League official heralds a coming deal with Syria to end violence, signaling that the accord may keep the al-Assad regime in power
The Arab League is close to signing a road map with Syria that could end the turmoil in the country, an official from the regional bloc has said, adding that the union could also lift sanctions against Damascus if it agrees to the deal.

“Syria is close to signing the agreement soon,” Mohammed Ibrahim al-Tuwaijri, the assistant secretary-general for economic affairs at the Arab League, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday on the sidelines of the Turkey Arab Industrial Cooperation Conference in Istanbul.

“There are some positive feelings from Syrian government that they are willing to sign the protocol and put an end to all the unrest in the country,” said Tuwaijri, adding that the league “might consider” dropping sanctions if Damascus signs the protocol.

The league’s deadline for Syria to respond to its demand to admit observers or face additional sanctions expired at midnight on Dec. 6. “We hope that there will be no foreign intervention in Syria” and that it will stabilize, Tuwaijri said.

Damascus is currently negotiating with the Arab League for the suspension of the sanctions against the country in return for allowing international observers into Syria, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported yesterday.

“We have some positive results from the talks between Syrian officials and foreign ministers of Arab states,” said Tuwaijri, adding that stability and security in the country could soon be re-established via the league.

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad might still remain in power by signing the protocol and implementing reforms, Tuwaijri said. “They would probably implement the reforms within the government.”
High-ranking figures in the league, however, seemed to contradict Tuwaijri’s words. “The response will not lead to suspending Arab sanctions on Syria,” Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi was quoted as saying by Al Arabiya News.

Tuwaijri said talks between the league members’ foreign ministers and Syrian officials were still continuing yesterday afternoon.

Possible common market

Tuwaijri also said Arab states were working on establishing a common market by 2020 that could include Turkey.

The official also said Turkey was playing a key role in the current talks with Syria.

On Dec. 3, the league imposed a raft of sanctions on Syria, including measure to freeze the assets of 19 Syrian officials, ban their travel and reduce flights to Syria if Damascus refuses to admit international monitors, release political prisoners and end its crackdown on protesters.

Ankara has also implemented sanctions against Syria, including measures to freeze state assets, suspend ties with its Central Bank and ban all military sales to the country.

December/06/2011

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December 6th, 2011, 5:59 pm

 

178. jna said:

To Syria Comment moderator:

We have a participant here who with regularity makes sexually insulting comments directed at other participants. It is gross and brings the forum to the gutter level of the participant. See:

170. Dale Andersensaid:

MEMO TO: BRONCO BILLY, BESHO’S FAVORITE BUTTBOY

Is there something moderation can do about this situation?

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December 6th, 2011, 6:00 pm

 

179. Bronco said:

#170 Dale andersen

“Syrian currency is losing value fasssssssstttttt…”

The sheckel too… , oh sorry the Mossad pays in dollars!

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December 6th, 2011, 6:03 pm

 

180. jad said:

Zoo,
“A BREAKTHROUGH?”
I don’t think so, it’s the same media trick they did last month before the AL rejected the first Syrian offer.
Something suspicious is happening behind doors.

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December 6th, 2011, 6:04 pm

 

181. irritated said:

JNA

Send a email to Camille with a copy of the indecent comment. His email is on the top right of the page.
I agree that this commenter probably lives in a sewage.

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December 6th, 2011, 6:05 pm

 

182. zoo said:

#175 Jad

This is the first time it is mentioned that Bashar will stay on for the dialog on the reforms. Very surprising.
Maybe you are right, it is just a false and misleading leak.

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December 6th, 2011, 6:08 pm

 

183. ghufran said:

There will be no “no fly zone” in the near future,and no direct military intervention in Syria. NATO and the Goat gang decided to attack Iran and Syria from the inside and via sanctions.
The mysterious “incidents” in Iran since last year and the assassination of nuclear scientists are part of this war which also includes espionage,like the US drone lost over Iran and the famous computer virus that did a lot of damage last year.
Syria is paying the price for a failed corrupt leadership and a costly alliance with Iran. If fighting factions actually agree to talk and form a national unity government,dictatorship will be gone and relations with Iran will receive a make-over,not a total remake Ghalioun-style.

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December 6th, 2011, 6:09 pm

 

184. jad said:

حوالي أربعين مسلحا حاولوا التسلل لتفخيح ” نفق سكة الحديد في بداما” ، و طابور الشاحنات التركية بلغ طوله اليوم 5 كم في منطقة باب الهوى!؟

استانبول ، الحقيقة ( خاص من : نادرة مطر + مكتب التحرير): اتضح نهار اليوم مزيد من التفاصيل حول الاشتباكات التي دارت بعد منتصف الليلة الماضية بين عشرات المسلحين التابعين لما يسمى “الجيش السوري الحر” وقوات “حرس الحدود السورية” في الوديان الواقعة بين بلدة “بداما” السورية ( التابعة لمنطقة جسر الشغور) و بلدة ” يلداغي” التركية في إقليم هاتاي( لواء اسكندرونة المحتل). وقالت مصادر تركية في “يلداغي” لـ”الحقيقة” إن قرابة الأربعين مسلحا حاولوا التسلل ” بهدف نسف نفق سكة الحديد” الواقع على بعد حوالي 1 كم إلى الجنوب الغربي من بلدة “بداما” السورية ، إلا أنهم فوجئوا بوقعوهم في كمين لقوات “الحرس الحدود” السورية في المنطقة ، الأمر الذي أسفر عن اشتباك دام حوالي نصف ساعة ، وأسفر عن إصابة ستة من المتسللين بجروح مختلفة جرى إسعافهم إلى النقطة الطبية في مخيم ” يلداغي” الذي أقامته السطات التركية للاجئين السوريين. وتبعد ” يلداغي” عن “بداما” أقل من 15 كم كخط نظر .وكشف لاجئون سوريون في المنطقة أن ” سيارات إسعاف عسكرية تركية هي التي تولت نقل المسلحين السوريين الجرحى”! وهذه أولى الإشارات إلى حصول”تورط تركي مباشر وميداني” في الأنشطة العسكرية التي يمارسها المسلحون السوريون المقيمون على الأراضي التركية . وأكد مسؤول محلي تركي في بلدية ” يلداغي” هذه المعلومات ، موضحا بالقول” حتى الآن تقتصر المساعدات العسكرية التركية للمسلحين السوريين على الدعم اللوجستي ، كالخدمات الطبية والاتصالات وربما بعض وسائط القتال الليلي”. وقال المسؤول البلدي ” يبدو من المعلومات المتوفرة أن هدف التسلل كان تفخيخ نفق سكة الحديد ( غربي بداما) الذي تعبره قطارات الشحن والركاب فيما بين مدينتي حلب واللاذقية . وهناك معطيات غير مؤكدة بعد تشير إلى أن الهدف الآخر كان نسف أحد الجسور الكبيرة في المنطقة”. ويوجد هناك عدد من الجسور الشاهقة التي تعبرها سكة الحديد بين مرتفعات جبلية وغابات كثيفة في المنطقة. ومن شأن تفجير أي منها ( الجسور أو الانفاق) قطع المواصلات الحديدية بين الساحل السوري وحلب ، بالنظر لأن أي عمل كامل من هذا النوع يحتاج إلى أشهر طويلة من العمل المتواصل لإصلاحه. وكانت سكة الحديد نفسها تعرضت إلى خمس عمليات تفجيرفي القرى المحيطة ببلدة جسر الشغور خلال الشهرين الماضيين ، أسفر أحدها عن خروج القطار عن سكته وتعرض عدد من مقطوراته إلى أضرار كبيرة.و تحظى سكة الحديد بين حلب واللاذقية بأهمية بالغة ، بالنظر لأنها تحمل غالبية المستوردات عبر ميناء اللاذقية إلى المنطقة الشمالية ، أو من المنطقة الساحلية إلى حلب ، وبالعكس.

على صعيد متصل، بدأت ” العقوبات المضادة” التي أقرتها الحكومة السورية ترخي بظلالها على الجانب التركي، لاسيما في مجال حركة النقل والترانزيت. وبثت اليوم وسائل الإعلام المرئية التركية صورا تظهر طابورا طويلا من الشاحنات التركية على الجانب التركي من معبر “باب الهوى” يقارب طوله حوالي خمسة كيلومترات. وقال سائقون في المنطقة إن ما لا يقل عن ثمانمئة شاحنة أصبحت عالقة في المنطقة. وكان الاتحاد التركي للناقلين أعلن أمس الإثنين أن سوريا “لم تسمح بعبور الشاحنات التركية أراضيها منذ خمسة أيام”. وكانت دمشق علقت العمل باتفاقية التجارة الحرة بين البلدين ردا على العقوبات التركية. وقال حميد سانوردي ، عضو اتحاد النقل التركي، لوكالة أنباء “الأناضول” التركية إن سوريا “لم تسمح بدخول الشاحنات التركية منذ خمسة أيام عبر منفذ باب الهوى المتاخم لإقليم أنطاكيا جنوب البلاد”. وفيما يتعلق بالتبرير الذي قدمته السلطات السورية لتوقف عبور الشاحنات التركية ، وهو تعطل أنظمة الكومبيوتر، قال سانوردي” هذا ليس صحيحا ، فقد بدأوا ( السوريين) العمل على أنظمة الكمبيوتر في الأول من الشهر الجاري”، أي في اليوم نفسه الذي علقت فيه دمشق اتفاقية التجارة الحرة مع أنقرة! وكشف مصدر تركي في منطقة “باب الهوى” أن قائمقام منطقة ” ريهانلي” Reyhanli التركية ومدير الجمارك على الجانب التركي من المعبر زارا مسؤولي المعبر السوريين في محاولة منهما للتوسط للشاحنات التركية وحل الأزمة ، إلا أنهما ” قوبلا بازدراء وقلة احترام (…) حيث استقبلا وقوفا ولم يدعيا حتى للجلوس ، ولم يقبل الجانب السوري حتى مناقشة الأمر معهما، وأوضح لهما أن المشكلة في دمشق وأنقرا ، ونحن ننفذ قرارا وزاريا لا يمكن مناقشته إلا في دمشق”.

وعلى الطرف الجنوبي من الحدود السورية ، لا تزال الشاحنات التركية ” تتراكم” على الجانب الأردني من الحدود. وأفادت آخر الأنباء الواردة من من معبر “نصيب” بأن عدد الشاحنات بلغ اليوم حوالي 700 شاحنة تنتظر تطبيق الرسوم الجمركية الجديدة وفارق سعر المازوت حتى يسمح لها بالعبور إلى سوريا أو من خلالها إلى تركيا.

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December 6th, 2011, 6:10 pm

 

185. Souri Qawmi Ijtimai said:

تحية الى جيشنا السوري الباسل

إن الحق القومي لايكون حقاً في معترك الأمم إلا بمقدار ما يدعمه من قوة الأمة. فالقوة هي القول الفصل في إثبات الحق القومي أو إنكاره.

انطون سعادة

قواتنا الصاروخية تنفذ بنجاح مشروعا بالذخيرة الحية
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgeXAi90mVM

احد تشكيلاتنا المدرعة ينفذ مشروعا تكتيكيا بالذخيرة الحية
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW7Gniy1xWo

الجيش السوري و الصواريخ السورية – سواحلنا آمنة
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBqJ5fwSZDs

صواريخ ياخونت
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0LbZericHc

المبدأ الخامس :

إعداد جيش قوي يكون ذا قيمة فعلية في تقرير مصير الأمة والوطن.

إن تنازع موارد الحياة والتفوق بين الأمم هو عبارة عن عراك وتطاحن بين مصالح القوميات. ومصلحة الحياة لا يحميها في العراك سوى القوة، القوة بمظهرها المادي والنفسي ( العقلي ). والقوة النفسية، مهما بلغت من الكمال، هي أبداً محتاجة إلى القوة المادية، بل إن القوة المادية دليل قوة نفسية راقية. لذلك فإن الجيش وفضائل الجندية هي دعائم أساسية للدولة.

إن الحق القومي لايكون حقاً في معترك الأمم إلا بمقدار ما يدعمه من قوة الأمة. فالقوة هي القول الفصل في إثبات الحق القومي أو إنكاره.

وإن ما نعنيه بالجيش هو جميع أقسامه البرية والبحرية والجوية، فإن الحرب التي ارتقى فنها ارتقاء كبيراُ توجب أن يكون تأهبنا كبيراُ.

الأمة السورية كلها يجب أن تصبح قوية مسلحة.

لقد اضطررنا إلى النظر بحزن إلى أجزاء من وطننا تسلخ عنه وتضم إلى أوطان أمم غريبة لأننا كنا فاقدين نظامنا الحربي، وقوتنا الحربية. إننا نريد أن لا نبقى في هذه الحالة من العجز. إننا نريد أن نحول جزرنا إلى مد نستعيد به كامل أرضنا وموارد حياتنا وقوتنا.

إن اعتمادنا في نيل حقوقنا والدفاع عن مصالحنا على قوتنا. نحن نستعد للثبات في تنازع البقاء والتفوق نصيبنا!

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December 6th, 2011, 6:14 pm

 

186. Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: JNA

RE: BUTTBOY

Buttboy is not a sexual term, you ninny. A buttboy is someone who picks up cigarette butts that a big shot drops on the ground. Sheesh!

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December 6th, 2011, 6:14 pm

 

187. zoo said:

Turkey’s flawed secularism
ELDAR MAMEDOV
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-flawed-secularism-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=8588&NewsCatID=396

When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the recently liberated Arab countries to embrace secularism during a speech in Cairo, a case was being launched back home against the Turkish journalist Ömer Baruter. His “crime?” A cartoon in daily Radikal proclaiming that “religion is a lie.”

This case is but one demonstration that Turkey’s own record on secularism is rather dubious.
{…}

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December 6th, 2011, 6:17 pm

 

188. jad said:

Zoo,
I don’t trust either the AL or Turkey, both are SOBs liars!
After reading the news you linked I read another news about the Russians supporting the AL protocol with the Syrian points to be taken and that the deal will be the right solution.
It was interesting that the first reaction from Alarabi was kind of ignoring the Syrian agreements sent by Moualem then suddenly the next day he calls for a major meeting..

الخارجية الروسية: ارسال مراقبي الجامعة العربية لسوريا سيسمح بوقف العنف

اعلنت وزارة الخارجية الروسية في بيان ان ارسال مراقبي جامعة الدول العربية الى سوريا سيسمح بوقف العنف واقامة الحوار الداخلي في البلاد.
ولفتت الوزارة في البيان الى انه “من المقرر ان يجري ذلك بالتماشي مع ما تم التوصل اليه من التفاهم والاتفاقات بين دمشق والجامعة العربية، التي تقضي، بين امور اخرى، بعدم جواز التدخل الخارجي في الشؤون السورية”.
واعربت الخارجية الروسية عن القناعة بان “ارسال بعثة المراقبين الى سوريا من شأنه ان يوفر معلومات موضوعية وشاملة حول الاحداث في البلاد، وان يساهم في استقرار الوضع هناك، وفي نهاية المطاف، ان يساعد على تحقيق الاهداف الرئيسية للمبادرة العربية، ألا وهي وقف العنف مهما كان مصدره واقامة حوار واسع بين السلطات السورية وقوى المعارضة لتسريع تحقيق الاصلاحات الاجتماعية والسياسية التي بدأت في سوريا، بما يخدم مصالح الشعب السوري”.

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December 6th, 2011, 6:18 pm

 

189. Tara said:

Bronco

I dubt very much that the US “have lost hope in the SNC”.  I think Hillary prefers to spent her time with Bill than to waste it in Geneva on an entity that the American administration have lost hope in.  

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December 6th, 2011, 6:25 pm

 

190. Tara said:

Zoo and Bronco

Agree very much that Syrians are stubborn, inflexible, and proud, therefore I believe no breakthrough guaranteeing Bashar remains in the helm is possible.  The AL can give any and all concessions they may see fit but they have NO control of what is happening on the ground.  The Syrian street has already lost 4,000 dead and 30,000 arrested/disappeared.  They have reached a point of no return.  I think for the Syrians inside Syria, the number of casualties inflicted upon them takes a back seat in front of their determination to achieve their goal.  The faster all the regional and world players understand this mere fact, the more lives get saved.

For the Syrians, it is going to be their will against Assad’s family will.

Watch Aljazeera right now.  They are discussing the impending unity between SNC and the NCV     

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December 6th, 2011, 6:33 pm

 

191. Bronco said:

Tara

I find the tone of the speech to the SNC very patronizing…

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/12/178332.htm
Remarks at Meeting with Syrian National Council

Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Intercontinental Hotel
Geneva, Switzerland
December 6, 2011

Well, first, let me begin by saying that it’s an honor to meet with all of you, the president and senior members of the Syrian National Council. I look forward to our discussion and hearing from each of you. I am particularly interested in the work you are doing about how a democratic transition would proceed. Fred Hof, my special coordinator, has told me that you’ve put a lot of work into that paper, and there are many very constructive ideas in it, because obviously, a democratic transition includes more than removing the Asad regime. It means setting Syria on the path of the rule of law and protecting the universal rights of all citizens regardless of sect or ethnicity or gender.

Second, we will discuss the work that the Council is doing to ensure that their plan is to reach out to all minorities, to counter the regime’s divide-and-conquer approach, which pits ethnic and religious groups against one another. The Syrian opposition, as represented here, recognizes that Syria’s minorities have legitimate questions and concerns about their future, and that they need to be assured that Syria will be better off under a regime of tolerance and freedom that provides opportunity and respect and dignity on the basis of the consent rather than on the whims of a dictator.

And we certainly believe that if Syrians unite, they together can succeed in moving their country to that better future. We are well aware that there is a lot of hard work to be done. There are many Syrians in exile who are committed to helping their country make this transition. And there are many Syrians in their homes and neighborhoods and communities who are struggling against the violence and the repression to realize that better future as well.

I think Syrians both in exile and inside Syria are behaving with great courage and commitment and are inspired and motivated by the aspirations of freedom and democracy that are sweeping the Arab world.

So I look forward to hearing from each of you in our time together this afternoon. Thank you very much.

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December 6th, 2011, 6:46 pm

 

192. NK said:

أحرار كلية الطب البشري – جامعة حلب

لم تعد جامعة …

إذا وجدت نفسك في ساحة يرتمي فيها أحد الأشخاص على الأرض وقد كسرت فخذه نتيجة جري مجموعة من الوحوش خلفه .. ووجدت بقرب هذا المشهد رجلاً يسيل لعابه و تشبه هيئته هيئة القتلة والسفاحين … ووجدت أيضاً شاباً يركض وخلفه العشرات ينهالون عليه بالضرب وتحاول فتاتان التوسل إليهم أن ينقذوه فاعلم أنك ما أخطأت الزمان ولا المكان ..

أنت في جامعة حلب في يوم الثلاثاء 6-12-2011 ..

لن نخوض في التفاصيل لأنها أصبحت تتكرر في كل مرة ..

اقتحام لكليات الزراعة والعلوم والاقتصاد والهندسة الكهربائية .. و عصي كهربائية بأيدي مجموعة من السفلة الذين أصبح تطاولهم على طلابنا وعقولنا من بديهيات المشهد .. كر وفر بين من يرفعون شعار ” شبيحة للأبد لأجل عيونك يا أسد ” وبين من يرفعون شعار التكبير والحرية ..

اشتراك للرموز الحزبية والإدارية في الجامعة في هذا المشهد المخزي … كل هذا يحصل في جامعاتنا على مرأى ذلك الطبيب المتنور قائد مسيرة التطوير والتحديث … ذو العقل المنفتح .. والذي يبدو أنه لم يفتح إلا على أساليب القمع والوحشية التي دربه والده عليها قبل أن يترك له هذه الأمانة التي أصبح اسمها ” سوريا الجريحة “…

إننا كطلاب في كلية الطب البشري في جامعة حلب نعلن أن جامعتنا أصبحت جامعة منكوبة .. يهان طلابها .. ويضربون .. ويعاملون بوحشية .. ويعتقلون بحسب انتماءاتهم الإقليمية … ولم تعد هذه الجامعات ذات بيئة مناسبة للعملية التعليمية …

هكذا أصبحت جامعاتنا ولن نتركها فريسة لهؤلاء الذين ما زالت ساعاتهم وتقويمهم ثابتة على العصر الحجري ..
الجامعات للأحرار .. الجامعات لنا وليست لأولئك الجهلة الذين لا يفهمون سوى لغة القوة ..

الجامعات لنا وليست لأولئك الذين يظنون أن الصوت يمكن إسكاته بالعصا حتى ولو كانت كهربائية !

وإن غدا لناظره قريب

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December 6th, 2011, 7:22 pm

 

193. jad said:

No wonder they wanted Ghalyoun to be the top of this opposition of the SNC, otherwise, we will listen to this sample of disgusting animal!
المعارض المجرم الطائفي سقراط البعاج

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December 6th, 2011, 7:28 pm

 

194. Tara said:

Another remarkable woman.  Mahs Abu Shama.  She does not look Syrian.  My be of a Jordanian origin?  She wants Bashar at the ICC.  Would be a chance to visit the Netherlands when they try Bashar, other wise another boring country that I would have not wanted to visit.    
  
Mathilde Bagneres interviews MAHA ABU SHAMA, Amnesty International campaigner for the Middle East and North Africa programme

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 6, 2011 (IPS) – “The violent crackdown against peaceful protesters and civilians in the Syrian Arab Republic has continued… since March of this year. More than 4,000 people have reportedly been killed. Tens of thousands have been arrested.”

The words of the United Nations (U.N.) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in Geneva on Dec. 2 were not new, but they reminded the international community of the dire straits Syrian citizens have been in for months now. 

The deteriorating situation in the Syrian Arab Republic prompted the U.N.’s Human Rights Council to establish an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged violations of human rights in the country since March 2011. 

On Nov. 23, the commission presented a report of its findings. It documented widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by Syrian authorities by acts such as killing of children by beating or shooting during demonstrations, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment. 

Shortly thereafter, on Nov. 28, human rights organisation Amnesty International organised a briefing at the U.N., setting out its concerns regarding these violations and others. 

Maha Abu Shama, one of the panellists, has been working for Amnesty International for four years and is the campaigner on Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Her work specifically focuses on researching the human rights violations in Syria, as well as devising and leading campaign strategies in this country. 

IPS correspondent Mathilde Bagneres spoke with Abu Shama about the situation in Syria and Amnesty International’s concerns and recommendations. 

Q: Can you tell us more about the human rights situation in Syria? 

A: The human right situation in Syria has worsened since the beginning of March 2011. We have so far documented the names of 3,200 people who have been killed, 190 of them children. 

The majority of the people who were killed were peaceful protesters or bystanders shot by the security forces, for example, during security operations in residential areas. That number includes at least 150 cases of death in custody and in suspicious circumstances. 

We are also very concerned about thousands of people who have been arrested since the beginning of the events until now, many of them are held in detention centres in horrible conditions and with high risk of torture and mistreatment. 

Q: How have the revolution and the so-called Arab Spring affected human rights violations in Syria? 

A: Human right violations by the authorities have increased significantly since the beginning of the revolution in March 2011. However, civilians were living under repression for over 40 years. 

I visited Syria on an official mission in 2010 and I met former political prisoners, families of prisoners of conscience, political prisoners and some human rights activists. They felt like an isolated group of those who tried to voice their opinion and to criticise the government, while Syrian citizens were oblivious to their suffering and causes. 

This has changed after the revolution. Now in many towns and cities, people have tried to step out and walk on the street and call for reforms and democracy and for a change. That’s a very positive step. 

It is true that the repression has increased as well. However, these people are aware of the price they are paying for freedom, and they deserve freedom and the respect of human rights. 

Q: Can you share with us a story that touched you and that illustrates human rights violations in Syria? 

A: There are many stories that really touched me, but one of them is the story of the death in custody of Giath Matar. He was a Syrian activist from Darayya, a village near Damascus, and he was a truly non-violent, peaceful activist. 

He and his friends focused on organising peaceful protests in towns. One of their tactics was to give soldiers who attacked them bottles of water with roses and messages like, “Don’t kill me; I’m like you.” 

It did work a couple of times, but the security forces were worried by Matar and his friends because they seemed to be successful and they seemed to mobilise more and more people, to have an impact. 

So they arrested him, and after four days they delivered his body to his family. His wife was pregnant at the time. He was only in his mid-twenties. His child was born a few days ago. 

That case touched me deeply because he was such an innovative, exceptional person. To be killed like this in cold blood – it is inhuman. 

Q: What is Amnesty International doing for Syria and why does Amnesty International say that the Security Council must act on Syria? 

A: As Amnesty International, our main role is to document human rights violations and to highlight them in the media and with the international community, and also to put pressure on those who are the main decision makers. 

We have to put pressure on the Syrian authorities to stop the violence and also to put pressure on the U.N. Security Council to bring this situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

The Security Council should also impose an arms embargo and freeze the assets of the Syrian president and his senior associates because we believe that there are crimes against humanity committed in Syria. 

The international community has the obligation to protect the Syrian people from these crimes and to stop these crimes. 

Q: Do you think that the report of the independent international commission of inquiry on Syria can lead to an action by the Security Council? 

A: The report is another form of pressure and it’s a positive action by the U.N. However, unfortunately, the report falls short in terms of recommendations at the end, because it doesn’t call for an ICC referral. 

But as it is, the report is excellent. It reaches the same conclusions as we do, which is that there are crimes against humanity committed in Syria. 

I would like to add that I am very impressed by the Syrian people, their determination and their commitment to the human rights. I think they should not pay for wrong decisions taken by other countries in other incidents. 

They should not suffer on their own; they need and they demand the international community’s support and that can only happen by referring the situation to the ICC. 

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December 6th, 2011, 7:36 pm

 

195. NK said:

Jad

The guy is standing against sectarianism and you’re calling him a disgusting animal because of it … interesting.

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December 6th, 2011, 7:51 pm

 

196. majedkhaldoun said:

Both ICC and SNC are political entities,FSA is True opposition party that stand along the Demonstrators.
Diplomacy is stupid,War is smart
Diplomacy does not decisively win in major conflicts,War always decide the outcome.Diplomacy wins only if backed by military power.
For those who say FSA are terrorist, they themselves are crimuinal and terrorists, FSA is a noble army,and FSA will lead us to get rid of this evil criminal dictator and will get rid of those slaves who support this dictator, and yes there will be surprise for you,the regime defenders,
there is more than 1400 officers and low ranking soldiers has been arrested by the regime , some has been killed.

I am sick and tired of the AL. weak and taking forever to reach a conclusion that should have been there a month ago.We should depend on Syrians,on FSA ,on honest syrians who are staying quiet till now,we are against American or Europe intervention, our best hope is the smartness and intelligence of Syrians,they will come out with effective way to liberate Syria from this criminal Assadist gang.

All should be carefull ,the regime supporters, those who declare it openly, and those who say contradictory statements, and those who say they are not defending Assad but clearly they are, we should be carefull they are quoting lies they twist the story, they claim there are crimes committed by FSA the truth is that Shabbiha are doing those henious crime and they blame it on FSA

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December 6th, 2011, 7:52 pm

 

197. Ghufran said:

Jad,is that the guy’s real name:
سقراط البعاج؟
I think he should sue his dad.

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December 6th, 2011, 7:53 pm

 

198. jad said:

NK
Are you kidding me or you deaf!

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December 6th, 2011, 7:54 pm

 

199. Tara said:

Watching Aljazeera program in regard to uniting the opposition was a bit depressing.  There is still much work to do.  Hilary met with the SNC today and the NCC was left out.  Both want to topple the regime which is a good start, yet it appears there are lots of differences to overcome.

http://www.rferl.org/content/syrian_resistance_increases_along_with_efforts_to_unite_it/24413686.html

Syrian Resistance Increases Along With Efforts To Unite It
 
By Dorian Jones
December 06, 2011
ISTANBUL — Efforts to unite the Syrian opposition in their struggle against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are intensifying. But for that to happen a number of political and ideological differences must be overcome.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will get a firsthand view of the status of the Syrian opposition on December 6 in Geneva, where she will meet with a group of seven Syrian exiles to discuss the situation in their homeland.

Among those assembled will be representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella organization of Syrian opposition groups — most of them based outside Syria — that calls for direct international intervention and the creation of safe havens for the opposition.

Noticeably absent will be representatives of the Damascus-based National Coordinating Committee (NCC), made up of opposition groups inside Syria itself and staunchly opposed to outside intervention or the use of violence against the Assad regime.

Abdul Aziz al-Khair, a spokesman for the National Coordinating Committee, told RFE/RL that the group was approached by a British Foreign Office intermediary and invited to attend the meeting with Clinton, but declined the offer. Khair, who claimed he was “disappointed,” said only a formal invitation from the secretary of state would be acceptable.

A Developing Relationship

The meeting comes a week after the SNC held formal talks in Turkey with the Syrian Free Army, an armed rebel group that is taking on Assad’s forces on Syrian soil.

Both sides have agreed to coordinate their efforts, says SNC spokeswoman Basma Kodmani, adding that the “relationship is developing.”

​​The Syrian Free Army (SFA) is made up of defectors from the Syrian security forces and claims around 20,000 members.

Increasingly better-armed, it has intensified its attacks on the Syrian military, although this approach has not endeared it to some outside observers. Last month’s assault on the headquarters of the Syrian Air Force in Damascus, for example, prompted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to warn that the country was heading toward civil war.

Kodmani defended the Syrian Free Army, however, saying it is ultimately committed to peaceful resistance.

“They [the SFA] have adhered to the political program of the council, which is to protect the peaceful nature of the revolution,” he said. “And those who are defecting [from the Syrian military] are taking up, so far, a role in protecting civilians. In many cities we see it; it is allowing people to continue to demonstrate, whereas without such protection the killings and victims are much higher.”

‘Skype Revolution’

The SNC is developing ties with those carrying out daily protests against the Assad regime in the country. The Internet has been cited as being of crucial importance in maintaining communications, with one SNC member quipping that this is the first “Skype revolution.”

Several prominent activists have also recently left Syria to join the SNC leadership. But Mughbir Al Sharif, who represents a Syrian opposition group based in Istanbul, has noted that the opposition in Syria is made of local coordination committees which still lack cohesion.

“There are different coordinations, in Syria, in every city,” he said. “And everybody has their own opinion and point of view. This is a real problem; they are not getting to the point of having the same opinion.”

One challenge facing the SNC, formed in October in Istanbul, is the perception that it is a Sunni-dominated organization overly influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has for decades opposed the Assad regime and is accused of wanting to create an Islamic state, a charge it denies.

Convincing The Kurds

Kodmani of the SNC maintains that the group represents all sections of Syrian society.

“We have the liberals, the Islamists, the leftists and nationalists, all these different political groups,” he said. “So it’s a broad coalition and includes many groups and trends including a lot of independent figures.”

But Kodmani accepts they still have more work to do, particularly when it comes to winning over the country’s Kurdish minority, which, she says, still remains divided, not only over supporting the SNC but whether to oppose the Assad regime.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague
​​The SNC is also struggling to persuade the National Coordinating Committee to join its ranks. The two groups have been engaged in talks in Cairo for the last month, but NCC spokesman Khair said recently that, while progress has been made, more work needs to be done.

An upcoming Syrian congress, organized by the Arab League and set to take place later this month, offers an opportunity to bridge differences. But disputes have already arisen over how the groups will be represented.

As British Foreign Secretary William Hague made clear after meeting the leaders of the two groups last month in London, it is imperative that the two camps settle their differences:

“I’ve also emphasized the importance to them of achieving a united platform and a unified body among the opposition,” he said. “At an extreme moment in their nation’s history it is important for opposition groups to be able to put aside their own differences and come to a united view of the way forward.”

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December 6th, 2011, 8:02 pm

 

200. Ghufran said:

I may have to dissent here and admit that Clinton speech is actually better than most of what I heard from western and Arab officials,however,actions speak louder than words.
I also have to agree with shami that moderate Islamists who use non violent methods should have the right to be elected and show us,Syrians,what they can do to improve the life of ordinary Syrians,however,I tend to believe that islamis-leaning candidates will get more than 20% of the votes in fair and free elections.
As for the FSA,I am simply looking at their own statements and the identity of those who are killed by the opposition especially in Homs. Claiming that the FSA and other armed groups are only targeting shabeehas and only acting in self defense is not a true .

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December 6th, 2011, 8:14 pm

 

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